A head unit is the piece of equipment in your car’s central console that controls your stereo system. It’s responsible for sending sound to your speakers, whether that sound comes from the radio, a phone (via Bluetooth or cord), or even a CD or DVD. Double DIN refers to the size of the unit and is the current industry standard. You should still measure the console in your car and make sure the exact dimensions on the unit you choose match.
Getting a new stereo head can help improve the quality and fidelity of sound in your car and offer you advanced controls, enabling you to adjust EQ and road noise compensation from a touchscreen or a phone app. It can also offer you more inputs, allowing you to watch movies or stream music from different sources.
The type of display in your double-DIN radio is going to be one of the most important features, so we’ve broken up our reviews into three categories: units with touchscreens and DVD players, units with screens for navigation, and units with Bluetooth. You can also read our review of single-DIN head units.
Table of contents
Best Double Din with Touch Screen and DVD
Our Pick: Pioneer AVH-4100NEX Double-DIN
Pioneer offers the best in the business with this double din head unit. It features some of the best software available (customizable buttons and great navigation) and a host of integration features for both Apple and Android phones. It’s also got a detachable faceplate, allowing you to take the touchscreen out of your car if you’re worried about theft and you’re leaving it parked somewhere for a while.
The AVH-4100NEX has two USB ports for phones, allowing you to leave a cord in for two phone types (although you can only interact with the console with one at a time). It’s easy enough to install for most users to get things set up without outside help. After it’s installed, you can use a microphone to let the console map out the inside of your vehicle and customize audio playback for the unique acoustics of your car. The display is crystal clear and responsive and the software package is seriously the best one on the market. If you want the easiest console to use with all of the features you could want, choose this Pioneer.
Runner Up: Kenwood Double-DIN DDX773BH
Kenwood’s console is quite a bit cheaper than the Pioneer we recommend. While it offers many of the same features (Bluetooth and corded phone integration, HD radio, DVD playback, etc) it’s primarily geared towards Apple devices, meaning it’ll be a lot harder to use your Android phone with the console’s advanced features. There are also some lag issues with using your phone on Bluetooth — without a cord, you can experience some lag while streaming music, importing contacts or even having conversations.
That said, this double din stereo offers a beautiful touch screen and works great while plugged into an Apple phone. While the software is a bit less smooth than the Pioneer, this is still a great choice if you’re not too concerned with fast Bluetooth or Android connectivity, especially for the price.
On The Budget: BOSS AUDIO BVB9364RC Double-DIN
At the time of this article, this radio is FANTASTICALLY cheap compared to our options above. It’s got some of the same features, too — Bluetooth and corded phone integration are more limited, so you can stream music and make calls, but you’ll have trouble doing more advanced stuff. The included backup camera is a nice touch. While the touchscreen controls are responsive and functional, it’s probably easier to use your steering wheel instead.
If you’re not too interested in hooking up with your phone’s fancy features but want a touchscreen for playing DVDs, the price on this Boss double din radio unit is unbeatable.
Also Great: Jensen VX4022 2 DIN
Jensen’s double din touchscreen head unit is quite comparable to the Kenwood — it offers killer sound, navigation, a beautiful screen, and some apps that integrate with both Android and Apple phones. The software suite gives the user lots of customization options including background selection and UI color. It’s not too difficult to install, either, even if you don’t have experience.
The firmware with this console suffers from two issues: one, it doesn’t automatically update, so you may need to put special software on a micro SD card to keep the console software from crashing. Two, the volume doesn’t remember the level it was last at and instead sets itself to a “default” level whenever you start the car. You can change the default volume by holding down the button, but this is still a bit different than other units behave.
This unit is about the same price as the Kenwood with a DVD player, but it supports a few phone apps. If you can get it cheaper or you’re not worried about missing out on the apps, it’s a great choice.
Double Din with Bluetooth
Our Pick: Kenwood DPX502BT Double-Din
Kenwood’s Bluetooth unit features incredible sound and a pretty good microphone with easy-to-use features. Setting up hands-free Bluetooth calling is incredibly easy, and this unit comes with an Android quick charger to keep your phone topped up during short trips. You can even stream mp3’s off of a USB flash storage device. Our favorite feature is the ability to connect two phones at the same time via Bluetooth. This means that both the driver and the passenger can make and receive calls without having to disconnect one phone. If you expect to have lots of passengers, this feature cannot be oversold.
Runner Up: Pioneer FH-X731BT 2-Din
Pioneer’s Bluetooth console has great hands-free calling and streaming. It’s got tremendous sound, natively supports FLAC and has no problems with Bluetooth connectivity. That said, the USB connection on this unit is lackluster. The console doesn’t put out enough juice to charge most modern devices, and plugging anything in at all will immediately stop any music playback you’ve got going on as the console shifts to media transfer mode. In practice, this isn’t a problem (you can charge from your cigarette lighter and connect your phone via Bluetooth).
On The Budget: BOSS AUDIO 870DBI Double-DIN
With a removable front panel, this BOSS delivers great sound from your phone, radio, or internet service. It’s a few bucks cheaper than any of the other units on our list, and the features are quite similar: It’s got Bluetooth phone integration and built-in Pandora and Spotify apps. If you’re looking for a slightly cheap double din radio with hands-free calling or you just want clearer sound than your factory console without spending a lot, this BOSS is a great choice.
Also Great: Alpine CDE-W265BT Double DIN Bluetooth
Alpine’s Bluetooth head unit comes with a built-in amplifier to makes sure that your speakers are getting enough juice to sound good. As usual, it comes with hands-free calling, Spotify integration, and the ability to stream music from your phone via Bluetooth or cord. It supports both MP3 and WMA files on CDs, allowing you to burn music for your car incredibly easily. Overall this is a great unit – it’s just substantially more expensive than the other Bluetooth ones on this list with very few additional features.
Also Great: JVC KW-R920BTS Double DIN Bluetooth
This JVC console can read just about every music format from USB media — MP3, WMA, WAV, and FLAC. It’s got a built-in amplifier and a slew of audio controls (including subwoofer phase adjustment) to help you get the most out of your speaker system. It’s got hands free calling and Pandora support. JVC has included the ability to customize colors on this console’s display and even automatically adjust them based on time of day.
Bluetooth connectivity with this unit can be a bit spotty — it’s not nearly as bad as the Pioneer, but you may find yourself plugging your phone in via 3.5mm instead of streaming music wirelessly.
Best Double Din with Navigation
Our Pick: Jensen Double DIN VX7022
This console is Jensen’s navigation package. It’s quite similar to the DVD player above, but it’s loaded with iGo Primo software to help you get around town without relying on your phone. Like the other model, this console is somewhat limited in its phone connectivity — it can stream audio and video, make calls, and browse your address book, but it lacks any of the fancy apps offered by some consoles.
As with the Jensen above, this unit may require firmware updates and sets its volume to default when the car starts. If you want a mid-range double din stereo with killer navigation, this unit is a great choice.