Single Din vs. Double Din: What is the Best Din for You?

Knowing who wins in the single DIN vs. double DIN battle is NOT all about preference.


Finding out whether you’ll buy a single DIN head unit or the double DIN does not depend on what you want.

In fact, the reasons for choosing one over the other is already laid out for you right from the moment you bought your car.

Really? Yes.

So here, I'll list down reasons why one will work best for you over the other, but first lemme give you a quick history of these two types of head units.


The History of DIN

The term DIN is actually an acronym. It stands for Deutsches Institut für Normung or German Institute for Standardization in English.

This institute established the standard for head units that it should be 180 mm (7 inches) long and 50 mm (2 inches) tall. This is called the DIN 75490.

This standard was then adopted by the International Standards Organizations and called it ISO 7736.

The name DIN, however, is retained since they were the ones who came up with the standard.

So now what?

While the knowledge of this does not actually help you choose which DIN works better for your car, it gives you the upper hand among your friends because they probably don’t know about it. You’re the smart guy now.

What is the Meaning of Single DIN?

The standard DIN 75490 is the size for the single DIN radios. Most cars, especially the older ones, have this type of head unit installed in them.

Some people refer to it as 1 DIN.

A single DIN usually has the AM/FM radio, CD slots, and satellite radio. Older ones may have slots for cassette tapes while newer ones have spaces for MP3 and Bluetooth.

1 DIN is commonly used in Europe (except the UK), Asia, South America, and Australia.

What is the Meaning of Double DIN?

The double DIN has the same length as the single DIN, but it’s twice as tall. 2 DIN is common in North America, Japan, and the UK.

The double DIN has the same features as the single DIN; but since they are taller, they can accommodate touch screens, especially useful for GPS navigation.

Also, double DINs can accommodate preamps or other necessary components.

What DIN Size Should You Buy?

Basing on the information above, I think the question is best answered by another question, “What DIN size is your car?”

As mentioned, single DIN is 2 inches tall while double DIN is 4 inches. To know what DIN size is in your car, get a ruler then measure the head unit installed.

What if it is in between?

If the measurement outcome is neither 2 inches nor 4 inches, chances are, you have a 1.5 DIN.

Now that you know the DIN size, I guess you’ve pretty much answered the central question regarding the size you should buy. If the height is 4 inches, buy a double DIN and vice versa.

But it’s not over yet.

If you have a double DIN and want to try a single DIN, you may do so. There are adapters you can buy along with the head unit so that it sits perfectly on your dashboard.

You may also use the extra space for other items such as another CD player.
For single to double DIN, however, that’s not the case.

If you would like to replace your single DIN with the double one, it may pose more challenge.

Since the double DIN is taller, it is pretty obvious that this won’t fit in the single DIN slot. You have the option to cut some space in your dashboard but know that it is not easy.

What are the risks?

Well, you don’t know what’s in there. It’s like a box of chocolates. You may cut it open and see space just enough to accommodate the 2 DIN.

Or ...

You may expose the wirings the car makers have ever so carefully hidden from plain sight.

In other words, it’s better to stick with the original size.

Is Double DIN better than Single DIN?

If we were to base the answer on the sound quality, the single DIN is not a far cry from double DIN. The latter may have a built-in preamp all right, but that doesn’t mean the single DIN won’t be able to produce quality sound.

The external speakers still have a lot of say on how your entire audio system will sound.

Regarding features, however, the double DIN has the upper hand. Because 2 DINs are taller, they can accommodate touch screens which make controls easier.

But it’s not yet the end of the battle.

Single DINs may also have flip-out touch screens, so it means they’re not really behind.


I guess you know my outro for the single DIN vs. double DIN debate. One is not better over the other in terms of audio quality, but the 2 DIN may have an advantage over 1DIN when it comes to features.

But again, the deciding factor is the size your dashboard can accommodate. From double DIN, you may switch to single DIN. But vice versa, you may need Batman’s help for that.

Erin Taylor

Chief editor of YouthTune, a music adventurer. I love learning about music and audio devices, which I eventually share with others so that they too can go on exploring the melodious world of music.

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