Best Pocket DAB Radios

The price of DAB radios has come down a lot in the last few years, and there are now many affordable pocket DAB radios to choose from. A pocket/handheld radio is a great gadget to have for when you’re walking, jogging, commuting, gardening or just relaxing around the house.

Pocket DAB radios usually cost between £20 and £100, and normally offer FM as well as digital radio. Most people listen to pocket radios through headphones, which sometimes come free with the radio itself, and some of the radios reviewed here also have a small built-in speaker.

Read on for an overview of what to look for in a pocket DAB radio followed by some reviews of the best models available in the UK in 2017.

What to look for in a pocket DAB radio

DAB+

DAB+ is a more modern digital radio standard than DAB. Most of the UK still uses DAB, but the network could switch to DAB+ at some point in the future. Look for a radio with DAB+ so that it’s “future ready”.

Newer models

Always look for the latest model of a digital radio as it will have the most up-to-date technology. For example, you should avoid buying the Roberts Sports DAB2 and instead buy the newer Roberts Sports DAB5.

Key lock feature

A key lock feature means that you can’t accidentally change the channel or turn the radio off by knocking it. You select the station and volume you want, then lock the device before putting it in your pocket.

This feature is really helpful if you’re listening to the radio while walking, running, cycling or doing any other physical activity.

Small size

Not all “pocket” radios will actually fit easily into your pocket. Try to find out the product’s dimensions before you buy it to avoid being disappointed. Pocket radios can be as small as two inches long, meaning you can fit them comfortably in your pocket. The smallest pocket DAB radio currently for sale in the UK is the OXX Clip Pocket Radio.

Most pocket radios are roughly 9 cm high, 5 cm wide and 2 cm deep.

Battery life and recharging options

One of the most common complaints about pocket DAB radios, and portable DAB radios in general, is that they have poor battery life. If you’re used to listening to an AM/FM radio for weeks before changing or recharging the battery you will be disappointed with pocket DAB radios. Most pocket DAB radios have a battery life of less than 10 hours, and this tends to deteriorate over time. Nevertheless, some radios are better than others when it comes to battery life.

You should also consider recharging options: would you rather charge the radio via USB or use batteries? The radios reviewed below can all be charged from a computer using a USB cable, except for the Roberts Sports DAB5 which takes AA batteries.

Positive reviews

Look for a pocket radio with plenty of positive genuine reviews. We’ve aggregated some of the top-rated handheld digital radios currently available in the UK below.

 

Best Pocket DAB Radios in the UK (2017)

1. AZATOM Pro Sports S1 DAB FM radio

Price: £34.99 on Amazon.co.uk

Overview

Designed with sportspeople and runners in mind, the AZATOM Pro Sports S1 DAB FM radio is a handy device to take with you when you’re out and about. The radio was designed and engineered in the UK.

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • Built-in speaker
  • Earphones included
  • Save up to 20 stations
  • Autoscan feature to automatically find and tune into DAB stations
  • Shows song titles on LCD screen
  • Key lock
  • USB charging
  • Telescopic aerial

Dimensions: 9 x 5 x 2 cm
Weight: 104 g

Pros

  • Good battery life (up to 15 hours)
  • Quite cheap
  • Charger included

Cons

  • Aerial isn’t very sturdy and can be easily bent
  • Mono speaker (stereo with earphones)

Verdict

This is a great radio to take with you while travelling (provided you can recharge it), or to listen to while walking and jogging. It’s available at a very affordable price and has garnered lots of positive reviews. If you’d like more information, read our full review of the AZATOM Pro Sports S1.

 

2. Majority Petersfield DAB Digital FM Radio

Price: £29.95 on Amazon.co.uk

Overview

The Petersfield is one of the most popular pocket FM/DAB Radios in the UK in 2017. It’s made by budget radio brand Majority, and is attractively priced compared to radios from better-known brands such as Roberts. The Petersfield DAB radio is small enough to fit in your pocket and can be charged via a USB cable.

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • Rechargeable internal battery that offers up to 12 hours of playback time
  • Headphone socket (3.5 mm)
  • Keylock feature
  • LCD display
  • Earphones included

Dimensions: 9.5 x 5.5 x 1.5 cm
Weight: 118 g

Pros

  • Small and light
  • Good battery life compared to other pocket digital radios
  • Easy to use even if you’ve never had a DAB radio before
  • Automatically sets the right time and finds DAB stations

Cons

  • Earphones included are poor quality

Verdict

The Petersfield DAB radio is popular for a reason: it’s a low priced pocket radio with a good range of features and a small, light design. The sound quality will depend on the DAB reception where you live and the headphones you use with it. For more details, see our full review of the Petersfield DAB radio here.

 

3. Majority Romsey DAB/DAB+ With Speaker

Price: 

Overview

The Majority Romsey is an inexpensive pocket DAB radio with the useful addition of a built-in speaker. Of course you can still listen to it through headphones if you prefer. Like the Majority Petersfield reviewed above, this radio is very affordable has a very compact and lightweight design.

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • Built-in speaker
  • Headphone jack
  • Internal battery with up to 12 hours of playback time (charges via USB)
  • Saves 20 preset stations (10 on FM and 10 on DAB/DAB+)

Dimensions: 9 x 5 x 2 cm
Weight: 100 g

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Cheap
  • Light and compact

Cons

  • Battery life can be poor
  • Sound quality through speaker is unimpressive

Verdict

As you’d expect from such a small radio, the speaker doesn’t sound great and isn’t very loud, but it’s fine for listening to speech programmes if you’re in quiet place. The Romsey doesn’t have the highest build quality possible but it offers great value for money. Read our full review of the Majority Romsey here.

 

4. Roberts Radio Sports DAB5

Price: 

Overview

The Roberts Sports DAB5 is a popular pocket radio from well known British brand Roberts. Despite the brand name this radio is still quite affordable, and only costs a bit more than cheaper radios from brands such as Majority.

Unlike most of the pocket radios reviewed here the Roberts Sports DAB5 takes two AA batteries rather than charging via USB. This could be an advantage or disadvantage depending on your personal preferences.

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • 5 dedicated preset buttons for quickly tuning into your favourite stations
  • Key lock so you won’t accidentally press buttons when it’s in your pocket
  • Takes 2 AA batteries (not included)
  • Earphones included
  • Sleep timer

Dimensions: 10.5 x 6.2 x 2 cm
Weight: 68 g

Pros

  • Easy to access preset stations
  • Feels well made
  • Attractive design

Cons

  • Batteries don’t last very long and replacing AA batteries can be expensive

Verdict

The Roberts Sports DAB5 is a high-quality radio that feels a bit higher-end than some of the cheaper alternatives. It’s easy to use and has some useful extra features such as a sleep timer which is great if you listen to the radio in bed. However, it gets through AA batteries quickly which can become expensive if you don’t have some good rechargeable batteries. Read our full review of the Roberts Sports DAB5 here.

 

5. VQ Blighty Portable Digital Radio (DAB/DAB+/FM)

Price: £46.99 on Amazon.co.uk

Overview

The VQ Blighty is an attractive portable radio that makes a good companion while walking, running, in the gym or just around the house.

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • Save up to 10 preset stations
  • Up to 10 hours of battery life
  • 6-inch LCD screen
  • USB charging
  • Earphones included
  • Choice of colours: red or grey

Dimensions: 9 x 5.5 x 1.6 cm
Weight: 82 g

Pros

  • Small yet solid
  • Stylish
  • Good battery life
  • USB charging is convenient

Cons

  • Reception can be inconsistent, though this happens with most radios
  • LCD screen brightness can’t be adjusted

Verdict

This is a fashionable and attractive pocket DAB radio from British brand VQ. It’s great for listening to the radio while exercising or commuting. Read our full review of the Blighty here.

 

Also consider: Sony XDR-P1DBP Pocket DAB/DAB+ Radio

Price: £59.89 on Amazon.co.uk

Overview

The Sony XDR-P1DBP is very high quality product and one of the top-rated small digital radios in the UK. However, it’s slightly bigger than most of the radios reviewed here so we didn’t want to include it in the main list of pocket radios. This radio measures 11.5 x 5.7 x 2.4 cm so it might be a bit large for your pocket.

The product is more expensive than some of the other handheld radios reviewed here, but if you want an assurance of quality, this radio is a good option. It has an inbuilt amplifier which means you don’t need to use earphones.

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • Inbuilt speaker
  • Saves 20 preset stations
  • Headphone jack
  • Sleep feature
  • USB charging cable
  • Auto-tune feature

Dimensions: 11.5 x 5.7 x 2.4 cm
Weight: 168 g

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Good reception
  • Built-in speaker sounds surprisingly good
  • Finds DAB stations quickly

Cons

  • Volume when using headphones doesn’t go very loud

Verdict

This is a very high-quality product, and the speaker sounds amazing for its size. It’s not the cheapest or smallest pocket DAB radio, but it’s definitely one to consider. Read our full review of the Sony XDR-P1DBP here.

 

FAQs about pocket DAB radios

Here are some other frequently asked questions about pocket DAB radios and digital radio in general.

Can you get pocket DAB radios with Bluetooth?

At the time of writing, we couldn’t find any pocket DAB radios with built-in Bluetooth. However, it is possible to use wireless headphones with a pocket DAB radio if you have a Bluetooth transmitter such as this one from Taotronics. This is a small device that plugs into the headphone jack and transmits audio to Bluetooth headphones (or a Bluetooth speaker). While Bluetooth transmitters are small, having to keep both a pocket radio and a transmitter in your pocket isn’t an ideal solution.

How long can you listen to DAB radio before needing to recharge the battery?

Unfortunately, DAB radio is relatively power-hungry, so most pocket digital radios only have a battery life of around 10 hours or less. If you use the FM mode you will be able to listen for longer. Most pocket DAB radios are recharged by plugging the device into a computer using a USB cable.

Do pocket DAB radios actually work? Won’t my pocket block the signal?

These radios are designed to work in your pocket and use the headphones as an aerial, so putting them in your pocket shouldn’t be a problem. However, DAB signal in the UK can be temperamental and is poor in some areas.

Can I use a pocket DAB radio in my car?

Yes, pocket radios can be used in the car either by plugging them into your car stereo or just using with headphones. However, a more suitable option for the car would be a plug-and-play DAB radio adapter.

Which stations can I get on DAB?

If you live in the UK, you will normally be able to receive all of the popular BBC and commercial stations such as Radio 4, Radio 5 Live, TalkSport etc. as well as at least 10 extra stations you wouldn’t get on an AM/FM. You can use the postcode search here to get a better indication of what’s available in your area.

Can I use a DAB radio abroad?

Yes, but you will only get stations from that country (if the country uses DAB). Most of the radios reviewed here offer both FM and DAB/DAB+, so you would pick up local and national stations in the country you are visiting.

Does DAB radio require WiFi?

No, DAB radio doesn’t require an internet connection. You use it just like you would listen to FM radio.

Is DAB radio free?

Yes, once you own a DAB radio it doesn’t cost anything to listen to digital radio (except for the electricity costs of recharging your radio).

 

Other options to consider

The radios reviewed above are some of our top picks, but there are plenty of other good pocket radios available if none of them appeal.

If you’re a runner, check out our roundup of the best pocket radios for running, which includes some DAB radios as well as AM/FM radios and MP3 player radios.

Here are a few other pocket DAB radios we have reviewed:

One thought on “Best Pocket DAB Radios

  1. Just a small point. Neither the AZATOM Pro Sports S1, or any other portable radio, is suitable for camping/hiking etc unless you can replace the batteries. The included usb charger won’t be much use in a field.

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