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Single-DIN vs Double-DIN car stereos

What's the difference and why does it matter?

W

hen shopping for a car stereo, one of the first concepts you run into is something called "DIN size" and it might be something you've never heard of before. Don't worry, most people haven't.

DIN size refers to the size of the stereo's chassis, and car stereos come in two standard sizes:

  • Single-DIN refers to stereos that are two inches tall (and seven inches wide)
  • Double-DIN refers to stereos that are four inches tall (and seven inches wide)

You might also hear about something called a "DIN-and-a-half" size, but stereo manufacturers rarely make those anymore. That was a special size needed for a lot of older GM vehicles.

Your car will be able to accept one or both sizes. The fun part is that you can't always tell just by looking at the factory stereo, especially in modern vehicles. The best thing to do is use our vehicle selector to tell us what you drive.

Here at Crutchfield, we've researched over 28,000 vehicles – by hand. We've taken them apart and measured the dash space. We'll show you which stereos will fit your car, and you won't have to worry about this whole "DIN size" thing.

No radio in the dash

Which is better – single-DIN or double-DIN?

Well, it depends. For basic stereo functions like power and sound controls, they're pretty much the same. Double-DIN stereos have more room for the controls, so they tend to be easier to use.

The big differences come when the stereo has a touchscreen. Generally speaking, that usually means that it's a double-DIN size, but there are a few single-DIN stereos that have fold-out touchscreens. These let you have the benefit of the touchscreen even when your car only has room for a single-DIN stereo.

Regardless of chassis size, touchscreen stereos have lots of advantages:

  • Easier operation and a big, colorful display
  • Better phone integration, especially those stereos compatible with Apple CarPlay® or Android Auto™
  • Rear-view camera capability
  • Onscreen GPS navigation, either built in or via your phone

Touchscreen stereos are also a little more difficult to install because you have to connect a few extra wires.

Those are the basics. Check out our article about the benefits of touchscreen stereos for more details.

Factory radio

But my current stereo isn't a rectangle...

...and even if it is, what you see can be deceiving. These days, it's rare to be able to remove the factory stereo and just slide an aftermarket stereo into its place. Nearly every vehicle requires an installation kit to let you install a new stereo and trim it out to look nice in the dash.

Factory radio

After market receiver

The custom installation kit for this Hyundai transforms the sloping space to let the owner install a new double-DIN stereo.

Get the installation gear you need

Our job at Crutchfield is two-fold:

  • to make sure that you know which stereos will fit (and work in) your car, and
  • once you choose a new stereo, to make sure that you get all the installation gear you need to put it there

The second part, as I mentioned above, includes a mounting kit to help the stereo fit into the dash. You'll also need a wiring harness to help with all the connections. Many vehicles also need other adapters to make the stereo work safely with your car's electronics.

When you shop with Crutchfield, we'll show you all the installation gear you need. If there are multiple options available, we'll tell you and also tell you the differences between them. You select which gear you want, add it to your cart with your new stereo, and then we'll give you a hefty discount on the whole package – up to $50. Depending on what your vehicle requires, that means the extra gear might end up being free. Learn more about Crutchfield's car audio advantage.

Questions? Call us.

If you have any questions while shopping for a new stereo, contact us via phone, chat, or email and one of our advisors will make sure you get the answers you need to find the perfect car stereo.

Last updated 8/14/2020

Please share your thoughts below.

  • Tim Russell from Hillsdale

    Posted on 9/16/2020

    This was a very interesting read. Very informative.