Single-DIN radio that allows 2 phones to connect via Bluetooth. Features voice control for hands-free use and navigation guidance. Includes a built-in amp. Has a radio tuner and accepts CDs. Lights move to the beat of the music. Comes with earbuds.
Included app is glitchy.
Compatible with most Bluetooth devices and voice assistants. Features a USB port for charging a phone and accessing music. Has a 7-character LCD screen. Music tone settings are adjustable with 4 equalizers presets. Comes with a 1-year warranty.
Requires a separate amplifier.
Single-DIN stereo with LCD display. Uses Bluetooth to connect to smartphones and works hands-free. Features a USB port, aux port, and a maximum of 120 watts of power. Comes with remote control. Pre-amplified with a removable faceplate.
Faceplate may shift or be hard to reattach.
Single-DIN radio with remote control. Features a 13-band equalizer with 11 presets. Works with a JVC app that functions as a remote. Can be connected to 5 devices at once via Bluetooth. Comes with earbuds and accepts CDs.
Navigation guidance does not play through the radio.
Single DIN radio connects to Bluetooth devices and works with voice assistants for hands-free use. Features a slide-out Qi wireless charging pad with an anti-slip surface. Has an adjustable equalizer with 4 presets. Comes with a 1-year warranty.
The included wireless remote may not work well from the steering wheel.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
If you’ve got an older car, there’s a decent chance it doesn’t have a touchscreen or in-dash “infotainment” center, but just because your car looks like it doesn’t have room for the latest tech doesn’t mean all hope is lost! That’s where a single DIN car stereo comes in.
Cars typically make room for stereos in one of two ways: by including a double DIN unit with a full-color display (which is pretty much standard on modern cars), or by including a single DIN unit where the stereo is half the size, comes with an LCD screen for displaying text, and everything is controlled by buttons and dials. If the front of your car stereo is about the size of a 6-inch ruler, it’s a single DIN unit.
The good news is that single DIN car stereos have come a long way since the tape deck, and modern units connect to your phone so you can get all of your digital music while you’re driving. If you’re ready to bring your old car stereo into the digital age, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know to find the perfect single DIN car stereo, as well as some of our favorites.
Before you start shopping, answer these two questions. They’ll help you save a lot of time by ruling out the models you don’t want.
Believe it or not, there are single DIN car stereos that support 7-inch touchscreens; the screens attach to the units so you can have the double DIN experience in a single DIN car. Naturally, they’re more expensive, but if you’re itching to bring touchscreen tech to your ride, it’s definitely possible. If you’re not looking for anything that fancy, save some money and stick with the models with old-fashioned LCD displays.
Digital media can be great for portability and access, but most streaming music services cut corners on fidelity and play music at a compressed bit rate, which sounds good, but not as good as a CD does. If you’re an audiophile, or you just have a binder of CDs in your car that you can’t bear to part with, get a car stereo with a CD player. If you’ll mostly be listening to whatever’s on your phone, skip the models with CD players and don’t pay for features you don’t need.
Most single DIN car stereos look pretty much the same, so it can be hard to tell them apart. Here are the features to expect and a few that make some models stand out from the crowd.
Bluetooth: All single DIN car stereos nowadays support Bluetooth, so no matter which one you end up with, you’ll be able to stream music wirelessly from your phone or tablet.
Auxiliary inputs: A port for connecting a 3.5 mm cable comes standard in most single DIN stereos, and we consider them essential. Whether you want to wire your phone in or let a friend share their music, an auxiliary input that’s easy to reach is key.
USB connectivity: Some single DIN car stereos have USB ports, so you can play your music back digitally (instead of using an analog cable with an auxiliary input). USB ports are mostly found on premium models, so if you’re an audiophile, expect to pay a little more.
iOS compatibility: If you’ve got an iPhone, keep your eyes peeled for car stereos with iOS-specific features; for example, some models let you browse your iPhone’s music library directly on their screens.
Inexpensive: Budget single DIN car stereos cost between $30 and $60. We recommend avoiding stereos in this price range because they usually make too many compromises on features or have inferior audio quality. There are a few models in this range that are great bargains, but if you’re serious about upgrading your ride’s sound system, plan on spending a little more.
Mid-range: The best values in single DIN car stereos are between $60 and $100. Models in this price range cover all the right bases: they sound great, they’ve got input options like USB and microSD, and they’re easy to use while driving. Unless you absolutely must have a model that’s more expensive, we don’t recommend spending much more than this.
Expensive: Single DIN car stereos that cost more than $100 are built for the long haul: the price tag usually goes along with units that are especially durable or have interfaces that are especially easy to use. If you drive for a living or spend a lot of time in you car, consider models in this price range.
If you’re looking for a car stereo with everything (including a touchscreen and a CD player), check out the BOSS BV9976B DVD Player. We’re not kidding about the “everything” part: it’s got Bluetooth, USB port, motorized 7-inch touchscreen, and it even plays DVDs when you’re parked. It’s not the fastest interface we’ve seen, but at this price point, it’s still a solid value. If you’re looking for a car stereo that’s got a solid feature set but won’t break the bank, we recommend the JVC Digital Media Car Stereo Receiver. It streams music via Bluetooth, it’s got a CD player that can read data discs (so you can bring a disc full of MP3s), and it’s even got support for high-resolution audio formats like FLAC. Don’t let it’s modest looks and price tag fool you: JVC’s receiver is a solid option that sounds great.
Q. Will replacing my car stereo improve the audio quality?
A. Probably. After-market car stereos often have superior sound quality, although it depends on the car. The biggest difference in audio quality usually comes from EQ settings: most single DIN car stereos give you a lot more control over how your music sounds, so you can tune yours to your liking, which will make a huge overall difference.
Q. Do single DIN car stereos include everything I need to install one myself?
A. Not usually. Because every car interior is unique, you’ll need to buy special parts designed to make your particular make and model of car work with a standard single DIN stereo, like a wiring harness or a connectivity kit. We recommend working with a professional installer who will be able to purchase all of the necessary parts for you.
Q. Do any single DIN car stereos have GPS?
A. No, although they can play back the audio from your phone’s GPS, single DIN units don’t have enough space to display a map, and units that include a touchscreen don’t have onboard GPS. That said, if you connect your phone while you’re driving and use your phone’s route guidance, you’ll be able to hear the turn-by-turn directions through your car speakers.