Best Alarm Clock Radios UK

Last updated: 17th March, 2017

Did you know, the most popular time to listen to the radio in the UK is first thing in the morning? Lots of us like to start our day with the radio, so it makes a lot of sense to have a bedside clock radio.

Instead of waking up to a stressful alarm, you can wake up to some nice music, the news or your favourite breakfast radio show.

Having a radio on your bedside table can also help you get to sleep as you can set the sleep timer and then drift off with the radio on.

This buyer’s guide will help you choose the right alarm clock radio by comparing and reviewing the best models currently available in the UK.

What to consider when choosing a clock radio

There are hundreds of clock radios available at the moment, so it can be hard to choose between them. Here are a few things to consider:

FM or DAB?

A DAB radio will give you a better choice of radio stations, but there are still issues with DAB reception in the UK. DAB radios are very affordable now, and at some point the UK will probably switch off the FM signal, so getting a radio with both FM and DAB is a good idea.

Price

Alarm clock radios vary greatly in cost, from around £10 to over £100. The more you spend, the better sound quality you can expect. If you’re mainly going to use the radio for the alarm and won’t listen to the radio very often, you should be able to find a clock radio for less than £20. If you expect to get more use from the radio feature, you might want to spend £40 or more.

Features

In addition to the essential alarm and radio, clock radios offer several other features. Here are a few to look out for:

  • Sleep timer: This lets you set a timer so the radio will turn itself off after a set period of time.
  • Multiple alarms: This is useful if you want to have different alarms, for example having one alarm for weekdays and another for weekends.
  • Dimmable display/variable brightness control: This is a good feature if you don’t want the LCD display to keep you awake at night.
  • Bluetooth: This will let you stream music or audio wirelessly from your phone or tablet through the radio’s speaker.
  • USB or iPhone charging point: Several alarm clock radios offer one or two charging points so you can charge your phone overnight.
  • iPhone or iPod dock: Useful for charging and streaming music from your iPhone or iPod.
  • Time projector: This lets you project the clock onto the wall or ceiling.
  • Nature sounds or white noise: This is useful for helping you getting to sleep.
  • Headphone jack: A headphone socket is useful if you want to listen to the radio without disturbing your sleeping partner or anyone else in the house.
  • Remote control: Handy if you want to place the radio at a distance from your bed.
  • CD player: Some clock radios also have a CD player (see below)

Your particular needs

If you or the person you’re buying the clock radio for are elderly or visually impaired, you will prefer a clock radio with a large screen and easy-to-use buttons.

If you have trouble getting to sleep, you might want a radio with a sleep timer so you can drift off while listening to the radio. You can also get clock radios with nature sounds or white noise.

Many alarm clock radios let you set two or three independent alarms. This is very useful if you want to wake up at different times on weekdays or weekends, or if you want to set a reminder for example to take some medication at a certain time.

DAB Clock Radios

About DAB Clock Radios

How much do DAB clock radios cost?

The cheapest DAB clock radios cost around £25, while more high-end models cost closer to £100. As with most products, you can spend a lot more than that if you want to, though on average DAB clock radios currently cost around £30-£80.

Can you get DAB clock radios with AM/FM radio?

Most DAB clock radios also let you listen to FM radio, which can be useful when DAB signal is patchy. It’s rare to find a DAB radio with an AM tuner, and we couldn’t find any dedicated AM/DAB clock radios when researching this article. If you want more stations than you can find on DAB, or have issues with DAB reception, you could consider getting an internet radio.

Which brands are best?

Two of the most respected manufacturers of DAB clock radios are Pure and Roberts. Both are British brands with a history of releasing quality digital radios. These brands’ reputation comes at a price; Roberts and Pure radios are more expensive than some of their less well known competitors.

Some cheaper brands of DAB clock radios include Majority and AZATOM, who produce some very affordable clock radios that offer great value for money. Some other brands that produce good inexpensive radios include John Lewis (who have a range of own-brand digital radios) and Sandstrom, which is the name of Currys’ own-brand range of electronics.

What features should I look for?

Here are some features you might want to look out for:

  • More than 1 alarm: Many clock radios let you set 2 or 3 separate alarms. This means you could have different alarms for different days, or set 2 alarms in the morning to guarantee you wake up.
  • Dimmable display: One common issue with clock radios is that the LCD displays can be too bright at night. Look for one that lets you dim the display or switch it off altogether.
  • USB charging point: Some DAB clock radios have a USB port for charging a phone overnight.
  • Docking station: If you have an iPhone, you could look for a clock radio with an iPhone docking station.

Best DAB Clock Radios

Here’s a roundup of some of the best DAB alarm clock radios you can get in the UK in 2017.

Pure Siesta Rise

Price: £64.99 on Amazon.co.uk

The Pure Siesta Rise is one of the most popular DAB clock radios in the UK. It’s not the cheapest radio out there, but it offers a good range of features and delivers solid and reliable performance.

Here’s an overview of what the Siesta Rise offers:

  • FM/DAB radio
  • 3 independent alarms (set different alarms for weekdays and weekends, or different alarms for you and your partner)
  • Use the radio or an alarm sound for the alarm
  • USB port to charge your phone overnight
  • Sleep and snooze timers

The Siesta Rise offers everything most people are looking for in a DAB clock radio, so it’s one of the best DAB clock radios for most people.

Read our full review of the Pure Siesta Rise here.

Pure Siesta Mi Series 2 Digital Radio Alarm Clock

Price: £45.99 on Amazon.co.uk

The Siesta Mi Series 2 is a cheaper DAB alarm clock radio from Pure. It’s not as highly rated as the Siesta Rise, but could be a good alternative if you’re looking to save cash.

Here’s an overview of what it can do:

  • FM/DAB radio
  • Sleep and snooze timers
  • Set 2 independent alarms
  • Adjustable alarm volumes
  • Automatic brightness level that adjusts to the level of light in the room
  • Set 16 preset stations

This radio is cheaper than other Pure alarm clock radios, and that is reflected in the sound quality. What the Siesta Mi Series 2 lacks in audio quality it makes up for in functionality and design. It’s very easy to use, and the multiple alarms and adjustable sleep and snooze timers are very useful.

Read our full review of the Siesta Mi Series 2 here.

Roberts CHRONODAB

Price: Out of stock on Amazon.co.uk

The Roberts CHRONODAB is one of the Pure Siesta Rise’s main rivals. It has a similar price tag and offers similar features, but with quite a different design.

Here’s an overview of what it can do:

  • FM/DAB radio
  • 2 independent alarms
  • Choice of using an alarm buzzer sound or the radio for the alarm
  • Adjustable snooze and sleep timers
  • Dimmable LCD display

Like the Siesta Rise, the CHRONODAB is relatively expensive, but offers the quality sound and great build quality Roberts are known for.

Read our full review of the Roberts CHRONODAB here.

Roberts DreamDock2

Price: Check on Amazon on Amazon.co.uk

The Roberts DreamDock2 is a relatively expensive DAB clock radio that has one big selling point: an iPhone Lightning dock. It’s a good clock radio even without iPhone docking, but you should consider other radios first if you aren’t looking to use the docking station feature.

Here’s a quick look at what the DreamDock2 can do:

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • Dual alarm with a choice of radio or alarm sound
  • Dimmable display
  • Adjustable snooze and sleep timers
  • Headphone jack
  • Remote control

The DreamDock2 is generally a solid product, though some people have had issues with getting the docking station to work.

See reviews of the Roberts DreamDock2 on Amazon here.

AZATOM Horizon

Price: Out of stock on Amazon.co.uk

If the radios listed above seem a bit expensive, don’t worry! The AZATOM Horizon is a good choice of budget DAB clock radio. One of the best things about this radio is that it has Bluetooth so you can stream music through it from your phone, laptop or tablet.

You might not have heard of AZATOM before, but the brand has picked up a lot of positive reviews online, and is building a good reputation.

Here’s an overview of what the Horizon can do:

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • Display with 4 brightness settings
  • Headphone jack
  • Can be battery powered
  • Bluetooth 4.0

Read our full review of the AZATOM Horizon here.

Madingley Hall DAB Radio Alarm Clock

Price:  £32.95 on Amazon.co.uk

Here’s another inexpensive DAB clock radio. The Madingley Hall is made by Majority, a newish audio brand whose products are designed in Cambridge (this radio is named after Madingley Hall, a stately home just outside Cambridge).

The Madingley Hall is a small radio with two USB ports, so you can your partner can charge your phones at the same time.

Here’s a quick look at what this clock radio can do:

  • FM/DAB radio
  • Dual alarm
  • Snooze function
  • 2 USB ports
  • Dimmable LCD screen
  • Aux-in port

Read our full review of the Madingley Hall clock radio here.

Milton DAB Bedside Digital FM Radio Alarm Clock

Price: £26.95 on Amazon.co.uk

Another Majority clock radio, the Milton DAB Bedside Digital FM Radio is similar in many ways to the Madingley Hall Bedside radio.

Here’s what it can do:

  • FM/DAB radio
  • Automatically sets the correct time
  • Snooze and sleep features
  • 20 preset stations (10 on FM and 10 on DAB)
  • Rubberised finish
  • Uses mains power or 4 AA batteries
  • 2 alarms

This radio offers good value for money. However, the screen is quite small and could be difficult to read, plus it doesn’t dim completely.

Read our full review of the Majority Milton radio here.

Sandstrom SDABXCR13 DAB Clock Radio


Price: See on Currys

The Sandstrom SDABXCR13 is produced and sold by Currys, and is an affordable DAB clock radio with some useful features. It has a neat, compact design that will look good on most bedside tables.

Here’s an overview of what the SDABXCR13 offers:

  • FM/DAB radio
  • Choice of waking up to an alarm buzzer sound or the radio
  • Sleep function
  • Save 20 preset stations (10 on FM, 10 on DAB)

See reviews of the Sandstrom SDABXCR13 on Currys here.

John Lewis Spectrum Clock DAB/DAB+/FM Digital Radio

Price: See on John Lewis

The Spectrum Clock Radio is a reasonably priced DAB clock radio made by John Lewis. It has a classic clock radio design and comes in a choice of four colours.

Here are some the Spectrum’s key features:

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • Dimmable LCD display
  • 5mm headphone jack
  • Snooze function

The Spectrum is attractively priced, but the process of setting the alarm is quite lengthy and inconvenient. It could certainly be improved, but it still offers good value for money.

See reviews of the Spectrum Clock Radio on John Lewis here.

John Lewis Astro DAB+/FM Digital Clock Radio

Price: See on John Lewis

The Astro is a more expensive DAB clock radio from John Lewis. Here’s an overview of what the Astro can do:

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • 2 alarms with a choice of using the radio or a buzzer sound
  • LCD display with adjustable brightness
  • Dedicated preset station buttons

With its solid build quality and reasonable price, the John Lewis Astro offers a good alternative to more expensive clock radios from brands like Pure and Roberts.

See reviews of the Astro Clock Radio on John Lewis here.

 

FM Clock Radios

The UK government is expected to switch off the FM signal at some point in the next decade, which means it’s a good idea to get a DAB radio. However, FM radios are still very popular, and often offer better reception. Here are some of the best FM clock radios.

Best FM Clock Radios

Philips AJ3400/05 Clock Radio

The Philips AJ3400/05 is a bedside clock radio with a large display.

Features

  • FM radio with 10 preset stations
  • Sleep timer and snooze function
  • Battery back-up so the clock keeps the correct time in the event of a power cut
  • Adjustable brightness

Pros

  • Stylish design
  • Easy to read with large numbers—good for visually-impaired people
  • Good reception
  • Easy to use and set up

Cons

  • Lowest volume setting is louder than on some other radios
  • Display doesn’t dim completely
  • Hard to read the clock when the sun shines on it
  • Alarm control button is hard to use when it’s dark

Verdict

The best thing about the Philips AJ3400/05 is its large, easy-to-read display. However, it does have some serious faults, including the fact that the display doesn’t dim completely so it might disturb you at night.

 

Roberts Radio CR9971 Chronologic Vi Dual Alarm Clock Radio

The Roberts Radio CR9971 is one of the most popular FM clock radios in the UK.

Features

  • MW/FM radio
  • Adjustable sleep timer
  • Snooze feature
  • Automatically set the date and changes for daylight saving
  • Dual alarm

Pros

  • Good signal on MW and FM
  • Two alarms so you can have one for weekdays and another for the weekend
  • Good build quality for the sound
  • Battery backup so it won’t be affected by power cuts
  • Good value for money (see price on Amazon)

Cons

  • Finding buttons when you wake up can be difficult
  • Speaker sounds quite tinny
  • The automatic time and date doesn’t always work properly

Verdict

The Roberts Radio CR9971 is a good clock radio for the price. Its main flaw is that it’s auto time and date feature can be quite unreliable.

 

AZATOM Home Hub Lightning Dock 30W Bluetooth

The AZATOM Home Hub is more than just a clock radio—it’s a phone charger and Bluetooth speaker as well.

Features

  • FM radio that lets you set 20 preset stations
  • Lightning Connector for Apple products
  • Bluetooth
  • Stereo sound
  • Adjustable EQ
  • Dual alarm with choice of alarm sounds: radio or buzzer
  • Adjustable brightness
  • Remote control

Pros

  • Good sound with a nice balance of bass, mid and treble frequencies
  • Stereo speakers
  • Powerful, with plenty of volume
  • Feels sturdy
  • Good range of features for the price
  • Connecting a Bluetooth device is easy

Cons

  • Controls are quite difficult to use and not very intuitive
  • Sounds quite muffled on speech stations
  • Docking station isn’t very reliable

Verdict

This attractive docking station has an impressive range of features and a budget-friendly price (see price on Amazon here). However, the AZATOM Home Hub does have some issues regarding reliability, especially with the docking station function. Read our full review of the Home Hub here.

 

Sony ICF-C1PJ Clock Radio with Time Projector

The cube-shaped ICF-C1PJ FM/AM Clock Radio has an AM/FM radio and a projector so you can see the time projected onto the wall or ceiling.

Features

  • AM/FM radio
  • Projector to project the time onto the wall or ceiling
  • USB port for charging a smartphone or other device
  • 2 independent alarms
  • Nature sounds to help you sleep or for use as an alarm sound

Pros

  • Projection can be rotated so you can position it in a place that suits you
  • Alarm starts quiet and then gets gradually louder
  • Buttons are laid out in a logical way
  • Nice and small—ideal for a bedside table

Cons

  • No headphone socket
  • Sound quality is average
  • Relatively expensive for an AM/FM clock radio

The Sony ICF-C1PJ Clock Radio is a quality product made by the respected brand Sony. It’s star feature is the clock projection which means you don’t need to look at a bright screen to see the time. For some more great clock radios from Sony, take a look at these.

 

Clock Radios with a CD Player

Lots of us enjoy waking up or going to sleep to the sound of the radio, which explains the popularity of alarm clock radios. Most of these radios just come with FM or DAB radio, but a few have a CD player as well. Here are five of the best CD alarm clock radios currently available in the UK.

Best Clock Radios with a CD Player

DENVER MC-5220 CD Player Stereo

The Denver MC-5220 is a wall-mountable CD player stereo with an FM radio. This stereo is available in a choice of colours: black, pink, purple and white. Let’s look at the MC-5220 in more detail…

Features

  • Front-loading CD player that lets you program up to 20 tracks
  • FM radio with 20 preset stations
  • Wall-mountable (can also be used on a flat surface)
  • Aux input
  • Clock with alarm
  • Snooze feature (9 minutes)
  • Remote control
  • Blue backlit LCD display
  • Battery backup so the clock will still be accurate after a power cut (uses two AA batteries)

Dimensions: 32.8 cm wide x 18.8 cm high x 7.2 cm deep

Pros

  • Comes with a remote control which can be used to activate sleep and snooze functions. This is very useful for using the stereo when you’re in bed.
  • Can be mounted to the wall to save space
  • Nice design with a choice of colours
  • Easy to use and mount to the wall

Cons

  • Sounds quite tinny
  • Plastic buttons feel flimsy
  • Doesn’t go very loud
  • No DAB radio

Verdict

This Denver MC-5220 offers good value for money (see price here) as long as you’re not too fussy about sound quality. It’s a good option if you’re budget-conscious and want something that will look nice on the bedroom wall. If you want DAB radio and/or better sound quality, read on and consider one of the radios reviewed below.

Roberts Radio CD Cube 3-Band Stereo Radio

The Roberts Radio CR9986 CD Cube is an LW/MW/FM clock radio with a CD player. It doesn’t offer DAB radio, but it does have lots of other features. Let’s see what it can do…

Features

  • LW/MW/FM radio
  • Dual alarm with the choice of waking up to an alarm sound, a CD or the radio
  • Adjustable sleep timer
  • Snooze function
  • Programmable CD player
  • LED display that dims automatically
  • Digital clock (12 hour)
  • 5 mm headphone jack
  • Battery backup so the clock will still be accurate after a power cut
  • 5 W speaker

Dimensions: 14 cm wide x 13 cm high x 17 cm deep
Weight: 1.29 kg

Pros

  • Dual alarm lets you set two alarms, for example on for you and one for your partner
  • Can be programmed so you can wake up to a CD
  • Small and compact
  • Generally easy to use

Cons

  • Can develop a hum after a few months of use
  • No preset station function
  • Sounds quite tinny

Verdict

The Roberts Radio CR9986 CD Cube is a very compact radio with a CD player. The two alarms and sleep features make it useful for the bedroom. The lack of DAB and the tinny sound let the radio down, but if you don’t mind this it is a good basic alarm clock radio/CD player.

Roberts Sound38 CD/DAB/FM Stereo Clock Radio

The Roberts Sound38 is an FM/DAB alarm clock radio with a CD player. The CD player has a ‘bookmarking’ feature which lets you save your position on a CD so you can resume playing it where you left off.

Features

  • FM RDS/DAB radio
  • MP3/WMA CD player with CD bookmarking feature
  • Headphone jack
  • Snooze and sleep functions
  • Multiple alarms
  • 20 preset radio stations
  • Dimmable display
  • Aux-in socket

Dimensions: 13.8 cm high x 13.2 cm wide x 16.8 deep
Weight: 1.1 Kg

Pros

  • CD bookmarking feature is useful. Most CD players don’t have this feature, so it is one of the Roberts Sound38’s main selling points.
  • Easy to use
  • Automatically sets the date and time
  • Good sound quality, especially considering its small size

Cons

  • CD player isn’t especially reliable—several buyers have had problems with is after a few months of use
  • Speaker is powerful enough for the bedroom but not for larger rooms

Verdict

The Roberts Sound38 offers a great range of features, the highlight of which being the CD bookmarking feature. It’s a good size for the bedroom and has good sound quality. It’s relatively expensive (see price here), but it’s hard to find something similar for the less.

Read our full review of the Roberts Sound 38 here.

 

Grouptronics GTMC-101 Black CD Player Stereo

The Grouptronics GTMC-101 is a wall-mountable FM radio with an alarm clock and a CD player. It has two speakers, giving it stereo sound. This radio is available in either black or white and comes with a remote control, which is great for using the stereo in the bedroom. Let’s see what it can do…

Features

  • Front-loading CD player
  • Dual alarm with a choice of sounds: buzzer, radio or CD
  • Aux-in
  • Remote control

Dimensions: 47 cm wide x 18 cm high x 6 cm deep

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Can be used on a bedside table or attached to the wall
  • Slim and stylish design
  • Easy to connect and set up

Cons

  • Not especially loud, but should be fine for the bedroom
  • Sounds quite tinny
  • No adjustable EQ
  • Feels quite cheaply made

Verdict

As long as you don’t have very high standards when it comes to sound quality, the Grouptronics GTMC-101 is a stylish and elegant CD clock radio. Its main advantage is that you can mount it on the wall. However, it sounds quite tinny and doesn’t feel very durable, which is to be expected given its low price.

 

Duronic RCD144 Micro Hi-Fi Audio System

The Duronic RCD144 Micro Hi-Fi Audio System is a Hi-Fi with an FM radio, CD player and slots for a USB stick and an SD card. Like the Grouptronics GTMC-101 reviewed above, it has two speakers offering stereo sound, but unlike the GTMC-101 it can’t be mounted to the wall. Let’s look at this Hi-Fi in more detail.

Features

  • FM radio
  • Programmable CD player
  • USB port
  • SD card reader for playing MP3s
  • Two 1.5 W speakers
  • Digital clock and alarm
  • 5 mm headphone socket
  • 5 mm aux-in port
  • Remote control

Dimensions: 30 cm wide x 22 cm high x 25.5 cm deep

Pros

  • Stylish design
  • Good sound for the price
  • Feels reassuringly heavy and solid (unlike the Grouptronics GTMC-101 reviewed above)
  • Warm sound—not tinny
  • Quite small, unobtrusive and compact
  • Takes USB sticks and SD cards

Cons

  • Doesn’t go very loud, but it should be fine for the bedroom
  • Remote control is very small
  • Only FM radio, not DAB

Verdict

The Duronic RCD144 is a great-looking Hi-Fi with a useful alarm feature. One of the best features of this Hi-Fi is that you can play MP3s from a USB drive or an SD card. Its main flaw is that the remote control is very small and therefore quite hard to use. Overall, it’s a good choice if you’re looking for a CD player/alarm clock radio for the bedroom.

 

PURE Chronos CD Series II

The Pure Chronos CD Series II is made by respected British DAB radio manufacturer Pure. It has an unusual triangular design and features an FM/DAB radio as well as a CD player. ‘Chronos’ is the Greek word for time, which reflects how this radio features a digital clock with multiple alarms. Let’s explore its features, pros and cons…

Features

  • FM RDS/DAB radio
  • CD player that can play CD-R/RW discs
  • Multiple alarms with a snooze function
  • Sleep timer
  • PowerPort for charging devices via USB
  • Remote control

Dimensions: 19.5 cm wide x 18.5 cm high x 12.5 cm deep

Pros

  • Very small and compact
  • Good build quality
  • Clock and alarm features are easy to use
  • Good sound quality for its size

Cons

  • CD player makes a distracting spinning sound when it’s playing a CD
  • Remote control is small and easy to lose
  • Buttons aren’t very responsive and need to be pushed hard

Verdict

The Pure Chronos CD Series II works very well as a DAB radio and alarm clock, but its CD player is quite disappointing as it makes a rattling sound when spinning a CD. It’s a compact radio with good sound quality and easy-to-use alarms, so it would be ideal for the bedroom.

 

Unusual clock radios

Lumie Bodyclock Active 250 Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock

The Lumie Bodyclock Active 250 is an alarm clock radio combined with a wake-up light, which gradually gets brighter to emulate daylight and offer you a more natural way of waking up.

Features

  • Light that gradually gets lighter as you wake up
  • 15-90 minute sunrise and sunset functions
  • FM radio
  • Choice of alarm sounds: FM radio, alarm buzzer, dawn chorus, waves, roosters, white noise

Pros

  • Display goes completely dark at night
  • Gradual sunrise makes you feel better as you wake up. It’s good for winter months when it’s hard to wake up in the dark.

Cons

Verdict

This alarm clock is excellent for people who have sleeping problems and want a more natural way to wake up. The main feature of this alarm clock is its light, so it’s not recommended if you’re more interested in the radio feature.

 

Clock Radio Accessories

Pillow speakers

If you like to fall asleep listening to the radio but don’t want to disturb your partner, you might like a pillow speaker. It’s a bit like a headphone, but it’s safer and comfier to sleep with as it doesn’t go in your ear or over your head. One of the most popular pillow speakers is the Roberts Radio Pillow Talk Speaker. Make sure your alarm clock radio has a headphone jack before buying a pillow speaker.

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