Best Plug-and-Play DAB Car Radio Adapters (UK 2017)

Car stereo

Last updated: 24 June, 2017

A plug-and-play DAB car radio adapter lets you listen to DAB and DAB+ radio stations in your car using its existing FM radio. These adapters are generally cheap and easy to use, and work by plugging into your car or van’s cigarette lighter socket.

Using a plug-and-play adapter is one of the easiest ways to upgrade your car radio to DAB.

After looking at the top-selling and top-rated DAB car radio adapters on the market, we recommend the Pure Highway 400 as the best DAB car radio adapter for most people. We’ve reviewed this adapter in more detail below.

Here’s a roundup of the best plug-and-play DAB car radio adapters available in the UK in 2017.

Pure Highway 400 In-Car DAB Adapter

Price: See prices on Amazon

Overview

Unlike most of the DAB adapters on the market, the Highway 400 is made by a well known digital radio brand, Pure. While it’s more expensive than the average adapter, the Highway 400 is made to a high standard and has a great range of features including Bluetooth and the ability to stream music from Spotify.

Features

  • Picks up DAB and DAB+ radio
  • Antenna included
  • Bluetooth for streaming audio from your phone
  • Integrates with Spotify and lets you save your favourite tracks

Pros

  • Clear sound
  • Smart, attractive design
  • Easy to install
  • Pairs quickly with Bluetooth

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • Antenna can be difficult to attach
  • Reception isn’t always perfect

Verdict

While it doesn’t always offer the same performance as an manufacturer-fitted DAB car radio, the Pure Highway 400 is arguably the best solution for quickly upgrading your FM car radio to DAB/DAB+.

 

Veyron V-DAB+ Universal Cigarette-Lighter Plug-and-Play In-Car DAB Radio Adapter

Price: See prices on Amazon

Overview

This DAB radio adapter from Veyron plugs into your cigarette lighter socket, making it very easy to install. It lets you listen to DAB, DAB+ and FM stations.

Features

  • 4 simple buttons
  • Stores up to 99 stations
  • Offers mobile phone charging
  • Aux input for connecting a phone or MP3 player
  • FM transmitter
  • 24 volts
  • Suitable for cars and trucks/lorries
  • Comes with an aerial

Pros

  • Easy to install – literally plug and play

Cons

  • Signal is poor in some areas, though this is a problem with DAB radios generally

Verdict

This adapter not only allows you to listen to DAB radio stations, it should also offer a better FM signal thanks to its impressive aerial. Tuning into DAB stations is much easier than fiddling with traditional FM radios, making it great for the car.

 

Pama Plug n Play DAB Add On

Price: See prices on Amazon

Overview

This DAB car radio adapter from Pama is easy to install and has good signal strength.

Features

  • 12 volts
  • Plugs into cigarette lighter socket
  • 4 buttons
  • 5mm jack for connecting a phone, tablet or MP3 player
  • Stores 99 DAB stations

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Good reception

Cons

  • Changing stations while driving can be awkward

Verdict

This is a reliable DAB car radio adapter that should work fine provided you are driving in an area with good DAB reception.

 

EasyDAB V-DAB+ Universal Car DAB/Digital Radio Adapter

Price: See prices on Amazon

Overview

This DAB radio adapter is easy to use, but is unreliable when compared to the other two models reviewed above.

Features

  • Stores as many as 99 DAB radio stations
  • Aux input lets you connect a smartphone, tablet or MP3 player
  • Plugs into your car or van’s cigarette lighter socket
  • Allows you to listen to both DAB and DAB+ stations
  • Compatible with radios in 12 and 24 volt vehicles
  • 44” colour screen

Pros

  • Easy and safe to use when driving
  • No professional installation required
  • Cheaper than buying a regular DAB car radio

Cons

  • Often doesn’t show radio information on your original radio screen as advertised
  • May require frequent re-tuning
  • Doesn’t work well in built up areas

Verdict

This DAB radio adapter is cheaper and easier than buying a regular DAB car radio, but it often loses signal. This is frustrating and undermines the listening experience.

 

PURE Highway 300Di

Price: See prices on Amazon

This plug-and-play adapter from Pure comes with lots of great features such as the ability to pause and rewind digital radio. Pure, who are best known for their Evoke series of digital radios, are one of the most respected DAB radio manufacturers.

Features

  • USB connectivity for listening to music on USB drives or MP3 players
  • Connects to Apple devices including the iPhone, iPad and iPod
  • Aux-in connection
  • 30 station presets
  • Comes in three parts: control unit, control circuitry, aerial (not included)

Pros

  • Display is easy to read in any light
  • Very easy to use – the interface only has a few buttons and is designed very intuitively
  • Automatically scans for new stations as you drive around

Cons

  • Listening to MP3 players via a USB cable
  • Not compatible with every car – be sure to check compatibility before ordering
  • Fitting this DAB radio adapter could be difficult unless you have previous experience with car audio systems. Getting it installed could be expensive.

This adapter works best with the Pure Highway external aerial that sticks to the top of your windscreen. This aerial should work much better than your regular car aerial.

 

Alpine EZI-DAB

Price: See prices on Amazon

Overview

This DAB/DAB+ can connect to MP3 players and smartphones to give you a larger choice of music to listen to. The adapter constantly scans for new stations and updates the station list as you drive around.

Features

  • 30 pre-set radio stations
  • DAB/DAB+ radio
  • High contrast OLED display
  • Pause and rewind live radio

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Small and inconspicuous – doesn’t clutter up the dashboard
  • Connects to all Apple devices
  • Software is easy to update via USB

 

AutoDAB SmartDAB Universal Plug & Play Wireless In Car DAB Digital Radio Adapter

Price: See prices on Amazon

Overview

This is a plug-and-play adapter with a difference: it is controlled via the SmartDAB app on your smartphone. It’s a relatively new product, released in 2015.

Features

  • Powered via cigarette lighter socket
  • USB port for charging portable devices
  • Connects via 3.5mm aux-in
  • Smartphone and adapter communicate via Bluetooth

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Doesn’t incur any data charges
  • Colourful smartphone display

Cons

  • App is only available on iOS and Android phones, not Windows phones
  • You need to keep your phone charged up

Verdict

This is an interesting product. However, it’s new and so is something of an unknown quantity.

 

Alternative solutions

A DAB adapter isn’t the only cheap way to get DAB radio in your car. You could use a pocket DAB radio and attach it to your car stereo. Another alternative is to stream online radio, MP3s or podcasts from your smartphone by plugging a Bluetooth receiver like the TaoTronics Receiver into your car stereo.

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