By: Jeremy Neisser
In this article, I will be reviewing the best single din car stereos in 2023. These picks will be based on a variety of categories including cost, connectivity, and sound quality. As technology continues to advance, it's important to have a head unit that is compatible with smartphones and internet radio apps. That's why I will be looking for stereos that have features such as USB ports, Bluetooth technology, and integrated music app functionality.
Not only should these head units output high-quality sound, but they should also incorporate the latest trends in digital technology to simplify how we listen to music, navigate, and make phone calls. With that said, let's dive into our top picks for the best single din car stereos in 2023.
Our best single din car stereo picks are based on a variety of categories including cost, connectivity, and sound quality.
The top picks will have features such as USB ports, Bluetooth technology, and integrated music app functionality.
It's important to have a head unit that incorporates the latest trends in digital technology to simplify how we listen to music, navigate, and make phone calls.
Here Are Our Best Single DIN Car Stereos and Head Units in 2023
I have researched and tested the top single DIN car stereos and head units on the market to bring you the best options available. Here are my top picks for 2023:
Best Overall Single DIN Car Stereo: Pioneer DEH-X8800BHS
Runner Up, Best Overall Pick: Kenwood KDC-BT778HD
Best Looking Single DIN Head Unit: JVC KD-X270BT
Best for Sound Quality Single DIN Car Stereo: Pioneer DEH-S6220BS
Best Features Single DIN Head Unit: Alpine UTE-73BT
Best Single DIN Receiver on a Budget: Boss Audio 508UAB
Not sure if these head units will fit in your dash? Use our Dash Size Search Tool to find out if they match the dash opening of your car. With these options, you can upgrade your car's audio system with confidence and enjoy high-quality sound on the road.
Best Overall Single DIN Car Stereo
When it comes to finding the best single DIN car stereo, the Pioneer DEH-X8800BHS is a top contender. This CD receiver offers a great combination of power, function, and aesthetics that is hard to beat.
One of the standout features of the DEH-X8800BHS is its customizable text colors on the screen. With over 210,000 color combinations to choose from, you can create the perfect visual setting to match your car's interior. Additionally, the unit has a 10-level brightness control, which allows you to adjust the display to your liking.
In terms of audio quality, the DEH-X8800BHS delivers exceptional performance. It comes with a built-in MOSFET amp and 13-band equalizer with seven preset curves, allowing you to fine-tune your sound to your preferences. The system is also compatible with several audio files such as WAV, WMA, AAC, and MP3, and offers FLAC playback.
The DEH-X8800BHS also boasts a range of additional features that make it a great choice for any car owner. It comes with built-in Bluetooth, allowing you to stream audio and make hands-free calls. It also has access to Siri Eyes Free, Pandora, Spotify, and Android Music Support. The MIXTRAX feature provides DJ-inspired technology, and the system has AM/FM/CD, and HD Radio with 100% free subscription on selected stations.
The DEH-X8800BHS is also designed for convenience and ease of use. It comes with a remote control, allowing you to control the head unit without having to touch it. It's also compatible with most steering wheel controls, and has a 12-month warranty. The system is CEA-2006 compliant, ensuring that it meets industry standards.
One of the best features of the DEH-X8800BHS is its ability to link two phones to the unit at once, with the option to use Guest Mode for a third phone. This makes it easy to switch between devices and keep everyone connected on the road.
Overall, the Pioneer DEH-X8800BHS is a fully packed single DIN car stereo that offers great audio quality, essential and extra stereo features, and customizable options. The only downside is that it's limited to android and iOS devices. But if you're looking for a reliable and high-performing car stereo, the DEH-X8800BHS is definitely worth considering.
Runner Up, Best Overall Pick
When it comes to single din CD receivers, the Kenwood KDC-BT778HD is a top contender. This unit offers a range of features that make it a great choice for anyone looking to upgrade their car's audio system.
One of the standout features of the KDC-BT778HD is its built-in Bluetooth, which allows for hands-free calling and music search. The unit can connect to up to five phones simultaneously, making it perfect for road trips with friends. The Kenwood app also allows for smartphone remote control, adding to the convenience of this unit.
The KDC-BT778HD also boasts excellent sound quality and power, with a factory-rated 22 watts RMS per channel. It includes three sets of four-volt pre-outs for powering front, rear, and subwoofer channels, making it a great choice for those who want to add external amplifiers.
The unit features a 13-band digital equalizer for tuning the system to your car, and variable color LED backlighting allows for customization to match your dash lighting. The front-loading CD, HD radio tuner, Pandora and Spotify compatibility, and SiriusXM-ready options give you plenty of ways to play music files in the car.
While the faceplate does not detach, the KDC-BT778HD still offers a simple, aesthetic design and a friendly user interface. It is also compatible with most factory steering wheel audio controls (adapter required) and includes built-in Alexa voice control.
Overall, the Kenwood KDC-BT778HD is a great choice for anyone looking for a powerful, feature-packed single din CD receiver.
Best Looking Single DIN Head Unit
When it comes to finding the best-looking single DIN head unit, the JVC KD-X380BTS is a top contender. This CD receiver offers a sleek design and conveniently-placed buttons that make it easy to operate. The 2-line, 13 character LCD display is also easy to read, even in bright light.
One of the standout features of this head unit is the dual-zone color lighting effects. The outer buttons and middle buttons can each be customized with up to 33,768 different colors, and there are even 10 different color animation patterns to choose from. This makes it easy to add interest and personality to any car interior.
But the KD-X380BTS isn't just a pretty face. It also offers a range of connectivity options and performance features. It has built-in Bluetooth capabilities for wireless streaming of music from compatible iOS or Android smartphones, and it can pair with up to five devices simultaneously using JVC Streaming DJ. Bluetooth is also used for voice control with Amazon Alexa.
In terms of performance, the KD-X380BTS provides a robust 22 watts per channel, making it a great choice for a factory head unit replacement or an amplified system with 6-ch 4v preouts. It also features several technologies to optimize sound quality, including JVC's K2 Sound Optimization, which corrects audio sources from lossy formats like AAC to give you CD-quality sound. Time and space alignment help optimize sound for your car's specific speaker setup, and virtual lift technology can make low-mounted speakers sound elevated.
For those who like to fine-tune their sound, the KD-X380BTS also features a built-in 13 band EQ with Volume Link technology. However, some users have found that certain settings can be confusing and difficult to navigate. Additionally, the LCD backlight is not changeable and the display brightness is subpar.
Overall, the JVC KD-X380BTS is a great option for those looking for a stylish and feature-packed single DIN head unit. Its dual-zone color lighting effects and range of connectivity options make it a standout choice, while its performance features help ensure great sound quality.
Best for Sound Quality Single DIN Car Stereo
If you're looking for a single DIN car stereo that delivers exceptional sound quality, the Pioneer DEH-S6220BS is a great option to consider. This CD receiver comes with built-in Bluetooth, a front USB port, and three pairs of RCA outputs, making it easy to connect your music library and expand your car audio system.
One of the standout features of the Pioneer DEH-S6220BS is its 13-band EQ, which allows you to fine-tune your music to your preferences. Additionally, this head unit offers a selectable crossover network that lets you manage frequencies for the front, rear, and subwoofer channels, or control the highs, mids, and lows of your favorite music.
The Pioneer Smart Sync app is another great feature that sets this head unit apart. With this app, you can access a 31-band EQ and nearly all of the functionality of a double-din touchscreen head unit, using your compatible smartphone. The app is free to download and opens up a world of tuning possibilities.
One of the advantages of the Pioneer DEH-S6220BS is its ability to restore compressed music files with its Advanced Sound Retriever tech, which enhances sound quality. The head unit also offers variable and separate color control, allowing you to customize the unit to blend with your car's interior.
While the Pioneer DEH-S6220BS is an excellent choice for sound quality, it's worth noting that tuning without the Smart Sync app can be fairly limited. Some users have also reported odd issues with streaming, including the inability to change stations while driving.
Overall, the Pioneer DEH-S6220BS is a solid single DIN car stereo that delivers exceptional sound quality and a range of features to enhance your listening experience.
Best Features Single DIN Head Unit
The Alpine UTE-73BT is a single DIN digital media receiver that offers a range of features at an affordable price point. It comes with a 24-bit digital-to-analog converter for high-quality sound and is compatible with both Android and iOS devices.
18w RMS, 50w peak
6-channel RCA preouts, 2v
Variable color option
Compatible with Android and iOS
Front USB and Aux-in ports
Compatible with music streaming services
Steering wheel control adapter required
The Alpine UTE-73BT is an excellent option for those who want to add advanced hands-free tech to their car without breaking the bank. It offers Bluetooth connectivity that lets you wirelessly stream music from Pandora or Spotify, and even gives you on-screen track skipping and channel selection. Android users can take advantage of the benefits offered by Android Open Accessory Protocol (AOA 2.0).
The receiver has a USB port and an Aux-in port on the front, which offer excellent options for connecting a media player or playing music files stored on a thumb drive. On the back, you’ll find three pairs of RCA outputs that you can use to add amplifiers or a subwoofer to further enhance the audio quality in your car.
While the power and tuning options are somewhat limited, the three-band EQ allows for some basic tuning features. However, this unit could benefit from a more advanced tuning system. Overall, the Alpine UTE-73BT is an excellent budget option for getting advanced hands-free tech into your car with ease.
Easy way to get Bluetooth for hands-free calls and music streaming
Great options for expanding your car audio system
Not as powerful as some other options
Lacks tuning options that can limit how well the receiver plays music
Best Single DIN Receiver on a Budget
Boss Audio 508UAB
If you're looking for a budget-friendly single-DIN CD receiver with built-in Bluetooth, the Boss Audio 508UAB is worth considering. Despite its affordable price tag, this receiver offers some impressive features and sound quality.
One of the standout features of the Boss Audio 508UAB is its Bluetooth connectivity. With A2DP technology, you can wirelessly stream audio from your smartphone apps like Pandora or Spotify. Plus, the built-in microphone allows for hands-free calling.
In addition to Bluetooth, this receiver also has a front-mount USB and Aux-in port, making it easy to play music from MP3 players or thumb drives. It even plays CDs, which is not always the case with more expensive head units. And with front and rear outputs, you can customize your car audio system to your liking.
The power ratings for the Boss Audio 508UAB are 50 watts x 4 channels peak, and the sound quality is surprisingly good for an inexpensive head unit. While it may lack some connectivity features like built-in Pandora and Spotify or SiriusXM compatibility, the Bluetooth connection is excellent and allows for easy media selection.
Good sound quality and features for the price
Bluetooth quality is good and streaming works flawlessly
Stylish faceplate and design
Basic, no-frills stereo with limited tuning capabilities
No on-screen control of Pandora, Spotify, or other streaming apps
No clock display when using Bluetooth
Can’t customize the button or screen color
No dedicated subwoofer output
Overall, if you're on a budget but still want a quality single-DIN receiver with Bluetooth connectivity, the Boss Audio 508UAB is a solid choice.
Innovative Features Pick
Jensen MPR419Q is a single-DIN stereo with a mechanical QI wireless charging shelf, built-in Bluetooth, front USB and Aux-in, and 50 w x 4 Peak. It also has front and rear preamp outputs, J-Link compatibility, and comes with a microphone and remote. One of the most innovative features of this stereo is the motorized tray that has QI wireless charging. This feature allows for a cozy cradle perfect for running Google Maps or Waze and keeping your phone charged at the same time.
When selecting the best head unit for your car, there are a few important specs to consider, including power output, pre-out voltage, and equalizer bands. We have put together a few quick charts to help you easily compare across the units that are on our list.
What size is my dash?
Before purchasing a head unit, it is important to determine the size of your dashboard. In general, there are two common types of head units on the market that fit the majority of vehicle dashboards: Single-DIN (SD) and Double-DIN (DD). To find out exactly what size dash your car has, check out our interactive list of vehicles in our Dashboard Size: Find Your Vehicle article!
Who Is This Review For?
This review is for anyone looking to upgrade their car's head unit. Whether you want to integrate Bluetooth connectivity for wireless calling and music streaming, enable streaming and easy control of music through Pandora or Spotify on your head unit, upgrade your car stereo due to compatibility issues with your smartphone or wireless device, or simply want a new, fresh look and the latest technology, the head unit you choose should best fit your personal needs.
How We Tested
To find the best head units for our list, we read through hundreds of reviews across the industry and combined users' opinions with our own first-hand tests. We consider factors such as style, display type, features, power ratings, price, expandability, quality, and online reviews from multiple vendors such as Sonic Electronix, Crutchfield, Amazon, and more.
What to Look For
When choosing the best car stereo for your vehicle, it is important to consider power ratings, display features, and control of the output sound's shape through a built-in equalizer. The higher the number of bands that the car stereo's equalizer has, the more you will be able to customize the frequencies and shape of your music and sound. Additionally, the limitations in size and wiring configuration make selecting the best head unit even more difficult, so it is important to find a quality car stereo that will give you the features you love while conforming to the environment of your car and creating an excellent reproduction of the music that you love.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the top-rated single DIN car stereos in 2023?
After extensive research, I have found that the following single DIN car stereos have received high ratings in 2023:
What are the key features to look for in a single DIN car stereo?
When looking for a single DIN car stereo, it is important to consider the following key features:
Compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
Display screen size and resolution
Input and output options
Ease of use and installation
Which brand offers the best single DIN car stereo with Apple CarPlay?
Based on my research, Pioneer and Kenwood are known for offering the best single DIN car stereos with Apple CarPlay.
Is it better to choose a single DIN or double DIN car stereo?
This ultimately depends on personal preference and the specific needs of the user. Single DIN car stereos are typically more affordable and easier to install, while double DIN car stereos offer larger display screens and additional features.
What are customers saying about the sound quality of single DIN car stereos?
Overall, customers have been satisfied with the sound quality of single DIN car stereos. Many have praised the clarity and depth of the sound, while others have noted the importance of choosing a high-quality speaker system to complement the stereo.
Who are the top manufacturers of single DIN car stereos?
Some of the top manufacturers of single DIN car stereos include Pioneer, Sony, Kenwood, JVC, and Alpine. These brands are known for their high-quality products and innovative features.
Hi & Welcome!
My name is Jeremy and I have been an avid car nut for many year. My first car was an 1987 Honda CRX. I put in my first Kenwood stereo, amp, 2 10" JLs and a CB Radio in it and have been an avid user of CBs and car radios for years. I'll do my best to share my tips, information and thoughts to help you with whatever question you might have, ABOUT ME