There’s nothing better than a road trip. One of the many reasons why these trips are so amazing is because of the music that you can play as you are barreling down the highway. To play good music, the stock radio experience is often found to be lacking. As a result, many purchase dedicated aftermarket car stereos that are feature rich and have excellent built-in options. Of the car stereo options, you’ll typically be able to choose between single and double DIN units, which you choose will greatly depend on your car’s design. Let’s take a look at some of the best single DIN car stereos available on the market.
Singe DIN Car Stereos at a Glance
Before we get into our reviews, let’s take a look at what the single DIN car stereo is. Firstly, the difference between single and double DIN is how each fits onto your dash. A single DIN product is much smaller in height than a double. The single DIN is usually 50 millimeters, whereas a double is double that size at 100 millimeters. To find out if a single DIN device is best for your vehicle, you’ll have to check out the dashboard. If it’s a little larger, then it’s double DIN and the products in this guide aren’t for you.
What Kinds of Features That You Can Expect
The current state of the car stereo is a truly high-tech experience. Many products have a wide variety of unique features that help sweeten the deal of purchasing a non-stock car stereo. Each specific brand can have a completely different suite of features, so let’s take a look at a few:
- Bluetooth Functionality – This functionality allows for the pairing with Smartphones, tablets, and other devices. With Bluetooth, you can quickly use apps on your phone like Pandora, Spotify, or Google Play Music to broadcast your music to your single DIN unit. In addition to simply listening to tunes, you can also broadcast sound from other apps like Google Maps and Waze so that those applications can guide you using voice.
- DVD/BluRay/CD Playback – For those who want additional, sometimes video-based entertainment, single DIN devices can also have disk feeders so that you can quickly playback movies on DVD, BluRay, or CD. In addition to this, if you have music on CD, you can play this back on your car stereo as well.
- Smartphone Features – Rather than just hooking up through Bluetooth, some devices have the ability to quickly pair with your Smartphone through other means. For example, some products have an automatic pairing with Siri so that you can immediately control your device hands-free.
- Applications – If you don’t have a Smartphone, many of the current crop of car stereos have the ability to use their own ever-expanding list of applications. This can include apps like Pandora, Sirius XM, and Android Music.
In addition to the previously mentioned features, many single DIN receivers can greatly affect the sound quality of your music. These units will have built in equalizers, amplifiers, and dedicated subwoofers so that audiophiles can achieve the sound quality that they crave. Of course, if you are looking for a truly superior listening experience, you’ll have to purchase an accompanying speaker system as well.
Best Design Feature
Alpine CDE-HD149BT Single-Din Bluetooth Car Stereo with HD Radio
This device has a relatively seamless interface that is touch controlled and intuitive.
Kenwood KDC-X898 Excelon In-Dash CD Receiver
This device will automatically pair with iPhones through the Siri Eyes Free control capability.
Pioneer DEH-80PRS Mobile CD Receiver
The equalization on this car stereo is perfect for the audiophile.
JVC KDR660 Single Din Car Stereo
This product has both iPhone and Android integration.
Pioneer DEH-150MP Single DIN Car Stereo With MP3 Playback
The faceplate of this product is detachable in order to deter theft.
Pioneer DEH-X6800BT CD Receiver
This product has some great hands-free dialing technology.
Kenwood KDC-BT958HD In-Dash 1-DIN CD USB/AUX MP3 Car Audio Receiver Bluetooth
This device can actually play music from an SD card.
1) Alpine Single-Din Bluetooth Car Stereo with HD Radio
The first product on our list is an Alpine unit that has become the favorite of many audio enthusiasts. First, this device is dedicated to sound and provides an app called Tuneit 2.5. This app is designed to enhance the digital sound being produced by your Smartphone. Additionally, it has controls for bass, treble, volume, fader, and even balance. For those who want to safely make calls while driving, the CDE-HD149BT has a built-in microphone so that you can be heard clearly.
The CDE-HD149BT brings it all together with a touch screen interface that is easy to navigate and control. Also, if you want a more direct connection from your device to the stereo, the product also includes a front facing USB port that you can listen to your music through. This is also a great port to charge your devices through as well.
The faceplate is also detachable so that you can take it with you when you leave your car. We always like it when a manufacturer includes this feature as a car stereo without a faceplate is certifiably useless for a thief.
2) Kenwood KDC-X898 Excelon In-Dash CD Receiver
This single DIN head unit for your vehicle has a lot of great features that we found particularly useful in our tests. From a design perspective, this car stereo has a very compact-looking design that also employs some aesthetic touches that we found to be refreshing; in fact, out of the products that we reviewed, this is probably the best-looking from a design point of view.
Outside of outward appearance, the feature that we liked most was this stereo’s ability to quickly interface and pair with Apple devices so that there is as little need to jangle around with your phone as possible. While this feature doesn’t extend to Android devices, it’s still a great feature that’ll help drivers stay safe and still utilize their phone when needed. In any case, those with other Bluetooth-compatible devices can still pair with the stereo the standard way.
We also loved the fact that this product has a built-in 22-watt amplifier and an equalizer. These features deliver a sound profile that is very versatile for the music lover.
3) Pioneer DEH-80PRS Mobile CD Receiver
The Pioneer DEH-80PRS is one of the most solid performers in this guide. This device provides a full sound that resonates excellently within the confines of your car. Pioneer has been known for this type of audio experience for decades and this device is just the latest in a long line of quality products. This car stereo has a full suite of features that enhance the experience, including Android and iPhone Bluetooth support, an ability to recognize compressed audio files, and an excellent sound performance by way of the proprietary 40later circuit board.
In addition to these features, this single DIN car stereo can playback CDs, has two rear USB outputs, two auxiliary outputs, and an SD card slot. We particularly appreciated the inclusion of the card slot because this opens up a wider range of music choices for those who don’t want to be confined to the often small hard drive capacities of Smartphones.
4) JVC KDR660 Single Din Car Stereo
It’s a good thing when a modern car stereo has integration with the top two Smartphone systems today, and the JVC KDR660 excels in this regard. Able to seamlessly integrate with both Android and Apple’s iOS, this device also can playback music from any of the CD formats, including CD, CD-RW, and CD-R. It can also recognize most types of music files so that you have a wide variety of audio options to choose from.
Additionally, it has an auxiliary port on the front and you can also hook up to the device through a USB connection as well. Unfortunately, this single DIN car stereo doesn’t have Bluetooth capability, but it is an optional feature that you can get through the manufacturer. The KDR660 also has a four-channel preamp output, which we really liked because it helps the device generate some great-sounding music. Additionally, the device comes with a remote, but we liked the direct interface from the front of the stereo better.
5) Pioneer DEH-150MP Single DIN Car Stereo With MP3 Playback
This is an exceptional single DIN car stereo that has most of the features that many users need for a base car stereo. Its price is amazing; it goes for about $50 or so. It’s an entry-level CD player, so you won’t get bells and whistles like USB compatibility or Bluetooth functionality. That being said, the device does have an auxiliary jack, a crossover, and a three band equalizer.
The device does include a remote control so that you can easily control your music when you are driving. While many might consider this product under-featured, its actual price and reliability really impressed us during our review. This is an easy-to-use, very inexpensive option for anyone looking to move past the stock radio experience of many cars.
6) Pioneer DEH-X6800BT CD Receiver
If you’d like a little more of a feature-packed product, the next Pioneer product, the DEH-X6800BT, has many of the features that many users seek, while still maintaining a really low price point. Unlike the DEH-150MP, this product has Bluetooth functionality, USB playback, support for Android Music, and built-in Pandora. We really also liked that the faceplate has a variable color setting so that the whole single DIN receiver is a multicolored experience. You get all of these modern features for less than $100.
Additionally, this car stereo has a 50-watt output with four channels of sound for your speaker output. In addition to these features, Pioneer also made the faceplate detachable so that you can deter and unscrupulous individuals from stealing your car stereo. We also liked the USB auto switch feature. This feature allows you to select whether your Smartphone will be used as an audio source or whether the stereo simply charges it. For Apple users, the device also supports Siri Eyes Free so that you won’t have to constantly look down at your device or your stereo while driving.
7) Kenwood KDC-BT958HD In-Dash 1-DIN CD USB/AUX MP3 Car Audio Receiver Bluetooth
This single DIN stereo does a great job at providing quality sound and audio quality, but also packs on some of the features that true car stereo gearheads crave. It employs a somewhat minimalist design that actually impressed us with its simplicity. This simple design hides a plethora of features that a user will have no problem accessing. For example, when we tested its ability to quickly navigate through our folders when we connected the USB, we found that quickly finding and selecting songs was very easy and intuitive.
When it comes to formats, this device has a wide range of compatibility. You can playback AAC, WMA, MP3, and can also handle physical formats like CDs, CD-RWs, and CD-Rs. The device also employs two USB ports in the front and the rear so that connection is easy. For those who like to AUX in, you can also quickly connect your devices to a front-facing auxiliary port. Finally, we also thought that the seven band equalizer that comes with this product was a great option for enhancing the audio output of any music.
We hope that you enjoyed our reviews and found the products that we’ve featured useful for your search for a single DIN car stereo. All of the devices in this guide are exceptional and provide a truly great listening experience that’s complete with additional options like Bluetooth playback and hands-free dialing. Simply put, each has its own strengths and weaknesses, but each will definitely provide you with the features that will make owning the device a positive experience.
That being said, you have to know that we’ve picked a favorite. The best pick out of all the products that we’ve covered today is the Alpine CDE-HD149BT. It has some great built-in features for sound like a built-in subwoofer preamp RCA output, an excellent equalizer, and a series of sound presets. In addition to this, it even has the ability to play HD radio and can easily sync up with your Smartphone for a wide variety of musical options.
If you are just looking for the best bang for your buck, the Pioneer DEH-150MP is an excellent choice. This product has a sleek design, great functionality that includes a theft-deterrent removable face, an included wireless remote, and a great 50-watt output. In addition to all this, the product barely costs more than $50, which makes it a winner in our book.