Best Single Din Radios: Top 7 Picks for an Audio Upgrade
"Putting an end to this debate after rigorous testing and research, I found Pioneer DEH-X8800BHS as the best single din radio that makes one hell of a package with all the valuable features at one good price."
A head unit plays a make-or-break role in a great in-car experience. It can set up an ambiance of your choice. And secondly, it is a great factor in the aesthetics of your vehicle.
Looking for a new single din radio for your vehicle can have many reasons—a rather obvious one being that the old one broke.
But the most exciting ones are getting those high-end acoustic features or giving a heavy lift to the aesthetics of your car. The latter ones make all the radio shopping a hundred times more fun and exciting.
Pioneer DEH-X8800BHS had to be our winner, overall best pick. It comes with excellent cosmetics, full music access and connectivity options, and the finest audio quality.
Pioneer has a lower-priced and a higher-priced model right and left of DEH-X88OO one. But we are a fan of this because it offers optimal value to your money.
8 Best Single Din Radios: Reviewed and Compared
Let's move on to our compilation of the top 8 best single DIN radios to give your vehicle a kickass audio upgrade now!
1. Best Overall: Pioneer DEH-X8800BHS
If you are looking for something with the latest digital audio technology while keeping it traditional-looking and classy, Pioneer DEH-X8800BHS has got you covered.
Starting from its aesthetics: nondescript, traditional-looking, but the magic begins when you turn it on.
Pioneer comes with a dual-zone color illumination so that you can customize the colors on your screen. And then comes the extensive color combination range of over 210,000. With a 10-level brightness control, get yourself suited. You can have the perfect visual setting while you drive!
Coming toward the high-end features of X8800, let's talk about the dual Bluetooth first, top of the list of reasons people get their car stereo replaced. X8800 lets you listen to your music without the headache of CDs and internet radio expenses.
X8800 has access to Siri Eyes Free, Pandora, Spotify, and Android Music Support so that you can go limitless with audio streaming. On top of it, wideband hands-free 1.6 is there to double the bandwidth and offer the finest audio quality.
X8800 comes with many options for tweaking your sounds, such as a 13 band Equalizer with seven preset curves, individual speaker level and time adjustments, loudness, bass boost, crossover, sub level, and fade/balance.
It has a remote control, a 12-month warranty and is CEA-2006 compliant. Some additional features that add perfection include:
- MOSFET amplifier technology for low power consumption and better amplification
- MIXTRAX for DJ-inspired technology
- FM/CD along with HD radio with several free subscriptions
- Compatible with several compressed audio files
- Now you understand why it has to be our best pick!
- Amazing audio quality
- High-end modern stereo features
- Links two devices at a time with guest mode for a third one
- Endless features for customization of the visuals
- iOS and Android devices only
- Its Bluetooth can have issues with connecting at times
2. Best for Travel Vans: JVC Single-DIN Car Stereo
JVC Single-DIN Car Stereo is great for travel vans or when traveling with a group of people. While many stereos allow only two devices to connect simultaneously, JVC Single-DIN Car Stereo allows up to five devices connected to the system. The driver has the control to maintain a fixed connection with his phone so that he doesn't miss any calls.
JVC Single-DIN Car Stereo has a shiny mirror-like finish on the front and features a big LCD screen that can accommodate a whole phone number.
Calling is made easy with the JVC Single-DIN Car Stereo with the use of voice-recognition dialing. When dialing or receiving a call, the phone number is displayed on the LCD screen, which is very convenient.
As far as quality and adjustment of the music are concerned, JVC Single-DIN Car Stereo comes with 13 EQ options and 11 presets.
But setting up a JVC Single-DIN Car Stereo can be a tricky task. The connections are confusing, and the instructions on programming the stereo are challenging to get.
Other than this, you might also want to check the list of compatible devices as JVC Single-DIN Car Stereo doesn't allow many IOS devices to connect.
- Connects five devices at a time
- MP3/WMA/AAC/USB Playback, CD/CD-R/RW
- 13 EQ options
- LCD with a great display
- Not compatible with some IOS devices
- Hooking up the stereo with your car is cumbersome
3. Best for Apple Users: Sony MEX-N5300BT
This one is for the Apple users out there. MEX-N5300BT is specially designed for those who own Apple devices. MEX-N5300BT has everything a great stereo has, but it only serves half the people.
Sony MEX-N5300BT offers crisp, clean sound with plenty of power. If you don't have a woofer or subwoofer or don't prefer to use it, it provides incredible sound quality with factory speakers. The equalizer presets are plenty to choose from, and you will find your taste. But you can always adjust it the way you like.
The digital display on MEX is not intuitive and doesn't look modern. The UI makes the stereo hard to use, and it is cumbersome to find the right button. The built-in microphone isn't the best either. It doesn't pick up voice very well over calls. To speak clearly, you have to place it very close to your mouth.
Some things don't make sense in this stereo. It features a CD/DVD ROM but doesn't have an AUX port. That's a waste of space in the stereo as not many people use CDs/DVDs nowadays.
- Reliable power output; Great sound quality
- Plenty of equalizer options to make your own sound
- Sleek design and strong body
- Works exceptionally well with Apple devices
- Only connects to Apple devices
- A limited number of ports
4. Most Affordable: JENSEN MPR210
JENSEN MPR210 is an excellent value for such a small price tag. JENSEN MPR210 might be the only stereo in this price range that offers Siri and Google voice assist. You can change the song, vary the volume and talk to your google assistant just by speaking.
It comes with a USB charging port too. I know! I wasn't expecting this feature with this price tag either. The most remarkable feature about Jensen MPR210 is its Bluetooth that works great and lets you go hands-free. You get the Jensen App on your phone, too, and let it effortlessly control the sound and music.
The design is not as appealing as its features. It has a cheap look due to the blue LED work going on and the scratchy plastic frame. It is pretty bright too. The sheer brightness shows that low-quality LEDs are used. This brightness might bug you when driving at night. Do not buy it if you drive a lot at night.
With this price tag, never expect a stereo to have a high wattage and powerful sound. JENSEN MPR210 works well with small factory-fitted speakers but is not the most powerful.
- Siri/Google assist
- Bluetooth connectivity
- USB charging port
- Jensen App gives you control using your phone
- Cheap-looking, flimsy body
- Bugging LEDs
5. Maximum EQ Options: Alpine CDE-172BT Receiver
When it comes to the audio industry, Alpine is a well-known brand. The first look of this stereo doesn't amaze you as it is pretty typical: a blue LED theme. The LCD is big but not as big as you get in a JVC single-din car stereo.
As always, Alpine has stuffed as many features as it could in a single stereo. It has one USB port and plays MP3 and WMA files. The USB port also allows charging the devices.
When talking about the quality of sound, Alpine CDE-172BT truly shines. It is equipped with a three-band equalizer,24-bit DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter), high-and low-pass filters with adjustable bass controls.
Alpine CDE-172BT has a Phone Book Access Profile so that LCD shows the name of the person who is calling you or the name of the person you are calling. The box also comes with a microphone that can help get your clear voice to reach the other person. This is a great plus point that it is wired as many stereos have crappy built-in microphones.
Bluetooth connection is not a stable one with Alpine CDE-172BT. With some Android devices, the stereo has trouble maintaining a stable connection. It might force you to reset the stereo due to its inability to connect to a device. Also, when connecting to a device, the radio skips 20 seconds which can be annoying.
- USB charging capability
- 6-Channel Pre-amp Output
- Hands-free calling
- AM/FM listening
- Choppy Bluetooth with android devices
- Unnecessary microphone annoyance
6. Optimal Mix of Best Features: Kenwood KDC-MP372BT Car Stereo
Kenwood KDC-MP372BT is an excellent mix of everything. It is practical and reliable and offers excellent sound quality. YOU ARE NEVER SHORT OF MUSIC SOURCES with a CD/DVD player, MP3 player, IOS compatibility, AUX inputs, USB ports, and Bluetooth connectivity. Thanks to the onboard EQ tuner Kenwood KDC-MP372BT has a boosted sound quality.
The 13-digit LCD screen in the middle is huge and comes with a detachable faceplate. Those who don't like bright LEDs flashing at night can dim the screen too.
The first look of the stereo shows a lot of controls, and it can be confusing to find the right button. The menu is very complicated and understanding the adjustment controls for the sound requires some time. Some even say that KDC-MP372BT is more complicated than Sony stereos which are known for their non-user-friendly interface. Kenwood KDC-MP372BT also favors IOS, and thus a separate USB-to-micro-USB cable is needed to connect Android devices.
Kenwood KDC-MP372BT is an excellent choice for audiophiles as it performs great with woofers and subwoofers.
- Adjustable screen brightness
- 13-digit LCD screen with detachable faceplate
- AUX inputs and USB ports
- Works great with woofers and subwoofers
- USB-to-micro-USB cable required to connect Android devices
- Cumbersome to use UI
7. Popular choice: Pyle Single-DIN Head Unit Receiver
Pyle is there for the single din openings to enjoy the double din features. Pyle comes with a 7-inch pull-up touchscreen- A rare feature in single din car stereos. It does fill all the slots for a high-end tech touch to the appearance of your car's interior, but more importantly, it comes with a rear camera. Even better use of an LCD!
Pyle comes with Bluetooth connectivity that lets you go hands-free with your calls or whatever you listen to.
Besides, the built-in microphone consolidates the hands-free feature and allows you to drive safely while answering your calls.
More than just a car stereo, call it an in-dash car deck console that can connect many devices, including iPhone, Android, mp3, mp4, or mp5.
About the power ratings to estimate the audio quality, it is 320 watts. You can safely expect clear and rich sound quality.
The company offers a one-year warranty, and after one year, customers report problems with the displays and Bluetooth connectivity. And we expect more from a car stereo. Besides, the built-in microphone has come out to be a little annoying for the rest seated with you. And it does not work the way you expect from a sensitive microphone. So, although an addition in the list of features but not much value.
- Double Din features in a single DIN opening: 7-inch touch screen with rear camera
- LCD with multi-color illumination
- Diverse connectivity options
- Hands-free calls and maximum device compatibility
- Built-in microphone annoyance
- Customer complaints of quality drop after one year
A Quick Buying Guide: Things to Look for When Buying Single DIN Car Stereos
What should you consider before buying the centerpiece of your car's audio system? Here's what you need to know.
Why Do You Want to Replace Your Car Stereo?
Before shopping for the perfect car stereo, the first thing you should know is why you want to replace your Car Stereo? Is it for aesthetics? Or do you want better control over the sound? Built-in Bluetooth or better connectivity options? What size fits your car?
Filter out the options that won't work for you or your vehicle. And then go looking for the car stereo with your priority features and control options. And this is how you only end up with feasible options on your list. No mess.
From there, we proceed on to the high-end features you should be looking for:
1. Sound quality
The audio quality may seem like a comparative feature and gets ignored when shopping for a car stereo. Make sure you compare and then decide. What you need exactly is not a loud sound, but a rich, detailed, clear audio. Look for power ratings, equalizer options, and better circuit design for superior audio.
Power Ratings: You need to understand the two types of power ratings that you will come across when shopping for a single DIN car stereo:
Maximum Power Output: This is the maximum amount of power that your car stereo can generate for a certain period.
RMS Power Output: This one is more important to check. RMS power output is the power that a car stereo can emit at a constant rate.
Apart from that, the more significant number of bands your equalizer offers, the better you get to control the shape of the output.
2. Access to Maximum and Latest Music Options
A new stereo, we believe, has to come with some super awesome listening options. Although you may prefer the source you like to use, having some cool additional options doesn't hurt.
Bluetooth streaming: Use the music from your phone, and control what you listen to from your phone.
Input Options: Most in-dash car receivers come with USB inputs. Or, for non-USB devices, make sure your stereo features an aux input.
CDs: We don't mind using a CD or a DVD receiver coming along. This, however, may be a little specific to your taste.
Support for Pandora, Spotify, and other app-related sources:
Your single DIN car stereo should fully support all the apps you use as music sources.
FM Radio: Look for an FM sensitivity of 8 to 12 dBf if a better-than-the-most AM/FM Radio is on your list.
SiriusXM: If you are looking for a car stereo with satellite radio, make sure you go for the 'satellite radio-ready.
HM Radio Broadcasts: Now, here comes a touch of technology. Radio stations using digital signals have become quite a talk of the town these days. For that impeccable reception and audio quality, the HD Radio tuner is a must-have.
3. Cool Cosmetics
Cutting-edge layouts and high-tech displays of the modern aftermarket car stereos can give a massive lift to the appearance of your car's interior. Why not look for a long-term addition to the aesthetics when getting your car stereo replaced anyway?
We suggest you prefer the one with customizable color schemes so that it goes in line with your dash lighting. Even better, think about the colors and lights flashing with the beats! A distinguishing feature in this matter is LED pixel count. A higher pixel count gives a better display.
4. Some Non-Music Functions that Make a Difference
CarPlay Auto and Android Auto:
Your car is your smartphone! With CarPlay Auto and Android Auto, pull in the phone services your car needs (navigation, calling, and music listening). These apps allow the whole interface of your Android or iOS device to be used by the stereo.
Stereos with built-in navigation have a navigation screen much more extensive than your phone or most portable navigation devices. Besides, the screen adds a whole lot to the high-end looks of your car.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What Do a Single DIN Stereo and a Double DIN One Mean in Car Stereos?
A: The difference lies in the size of the opening for each car stereo. Single-DIN measures 7x2" while double-DIN measures 4x7". A double-DIN, therefore, is twice as tall as a single DIN opening.
Q: Do all Single DIN Radios Fit?
A: As long as you are sure you need a Single DIN head unit or a Double DIN one, and you use the right fascia panel, any Single DIN can fit. Single DIN stereos are interchangeable because they have universal standards of sizes.
Q: Do All Car Stereos Have the Same Connectors?
A: All the aftermarket stereos use the same wiring harness unless the owner wants something particular. For instance, they are matching the build and color scheme with the car model. In that case, you need to go for the company-specific headset. Other than that, connectors are not an issue when choosing your Single Din car stereo.
Q: How do I get my Single DIN Stereo Installed?
A: Installation of a single DIN car stereo is pretty straightforward, and people with a toolbox can handle the task themselves. You need an hour of your day and a YouTube tutorial. Here’s the video you can use:
Besides, you can always use professional help. And it should not cost you more than 100 dollars.
For today's best pick, we had to go with the Pioneer DEH-X8800BHS because of the vast assortment of features for one price. It has got pretty reliable power output, and it's super easy to use. With LED backlights and sleek design, it makes a pretty irresistible offer.
But if you have got some specific priorities or are not looking for high-end features, we have the JVC Single-DIN Car Stereo. Do have a look at the buying guide above to help you better with your decision.