Last updated: May 24, 2017
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.
- 1 What to look for in a pocket DAB radio
- 2 Petersfield DAB Digital FM Radio
- 3 Sony XDR-P1DBP Pocket DAB/DAB+ Radio
- 4 VQ Blighty Portable Digital Radio (DAB/DAB+/FM)
- 5 AZATOM Pro Sports S1 DAB FM radio
- 6 Goodmans Pocket Sized Digital & FM Radio with Speaker
- 7 Kite DAB Digital FM Personal Portable Pocket Handheld Radio
- 8 OXX Clip Pocket Radio
- 9 Other radios to consider
- 10 FAQs about pocket DAB radio
What to look for in a pocket DAB radio
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.
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.
Battery life and recharging options
A good battery life is one of the most important things to look for in a pocket or handheld radio. Some radios such as the Majority Petersfield reviewed below can be charged from a computer using a USB cable, whereas others require you to continually replace the batteries.
Look for a pocket radio with plenty of positive reviews. We’ve aggregated some of the top-rated handheld digital radios currently available in the UK below.
Petersfield DAB Digital FM Radio
Price: £29.95 on Amazon.co.uk
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 the Sony radio reviewed below. The Petersfield DAB radio is small enough to fit in your pocket and can be charged via a USB cable.
- FM/DAB wavebands
- Rechargeable internal battery that offers up to 12 hours of playback time
- Headphone socket (3.5mm)
- Keylock feature
- LCD display
- Small (9 cm high) and light (118 g)
- 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
- This radio was released recently (2016), so its long-term reliability isn’t known yet
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.
Sony XDR-P1DBP Pocket DAB/DAB+ Radio
Price: £59.89 on Amazon.co.uk
Regarded by many as the best pocket DAB radio available, the Sony XDR-P1DBP is a top-quality product with over 100 reviews on Amazon and a near-perfect average rating.
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.
- DAB, DAB+ and FM radio
- Inbuilt amplifier
- Saves 20 preset stations
- Headphone jack
- Sleep feature
- USB charging cable
- Auto-tune feature
- Easy to use
- Good reception
- Built-in speaker sounds surprisingly good
- Finds DAB stations quickly
- Volume when using headphones doesn’t go very loud
This is a very high-quality product, and the speaker sounds amazing for its size. It’s not the cheapest pocket DAB radio, but it’s definitely one of the best.
VQ Blighty Portable Digital Radio (DAB/DAB+/FM)
Price: £46.99 on Amazon.co.uk
The VQ Blighty is an attractive portable radio that makes a good companion while walking, running, in the gym or just around the house.
- DAB and FM 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
- Small yet solid
- Good battery life
- USB charging is convenient
- Reception can be inconsistent, though this happens with most radios
- LCD screen brightness can’t be adjusted
AZATOM Pro Sports S1 DAB FM radio
Price: £34.99 on Amazon.co.uk
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.
- DAB, DAB+ and FM radio
- 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: 2×1.5×0.5 inches (roughly)
- Good battery life (up to 15 hours)
- Quite cheap
- Charger included
- Aerial isn’t very sturdy and can be easily bent
- Mono speaker (stereo with earphones)
- No case included
This is a great radio to take on a camping trip or holiday, 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.
Goodmans Pocket Sized Digital & FM Radio with Speaker
Price: Out of stock on Amazon.co.uk
The Goodmans Pocket Sized Digital & FM Radio is about the size of a small calculator. It lets you listen to both DAB and FM radio, and runs on a rechargeable Li-ion battery.
- Rechargeable Li-ion battery
- Displays radio signal strength
- Battery life up to 13 hours (likely to be less in practice)
- USB charging
- Builtin in DAB antenna
- Made in China
- Sounds very crisp, which is surprising for its size
- Comes in a gift box, making it ideal as a present
- Hard to open the case to put the battery in
- Tuning can be inconsistent, though this depends on where you use it
Small, affordable and reliable—this pocket radio ticks all the boxes. It’s not designed with the same attention to detail and durability as the Sony XDR-P1DBP, but at roughly half the price it’s a good alternative. Read our full review of the Goodmans Pocket Sized Digital & FM Radio here.
Kite DAB Digital FM Personal Portable Pocket Handheld Radio
Price: £21.95 on Amazon.co.uk
The Kite Personal DAB Radio is one of the best selling personal DAB radios in the UK. It’s a small and lightweight radio that offers both DAB and FM radio. The product comes in a gift box, which is great if you want to give it as a present.
- Takes three AAA batteries
- Up to 6 hours of playback when fully charged (in most cases this is closer to 3 hours)
- Up to 20 preset stations
- DAB and FM
- Displays current time
- Majority earphones included
- Lockable keys
- Can be used in the car with the aux input
- Very light
- 12-month warranty
- Good reception
- Very reasonable price
- No sleep timer
- Can’t be recharged - runs on batteries only
- The earphones included aren’t too impressive
- Battery life is quite poor
This is a very light and portable handheld radio that should fit easily in your pocket. The sound quality is impressive, especially if you use good headphones.
The Kite Personal DAB Radio is an impressive product at a very affordable price. If you want a dependable radio that fits easily in your pocket and lets you listen to both FM and DAB radio, this product is a good option. The battery life is quite disappointing, but overall it’s easy to see why the Kite has become one of Britain’s most popular pocket DAB radios. Read our full review of the Kite Personal DAB Radio here.
OXX Clip Pocket Radio
Price: £49.00 on Amazon.co.uk
According to its manufacturer, the OXX Clip Pocket Radio is the smallest DAB radio in the world. OXX Digital is a Danish brand that brings Scandinavian design to its portable digital radio range. If size is what matters, this ultra-small pocket radio is a good option.
- Comes with OXX Digital S120 Earphones
- Supports various languages: English, French, German, Italian, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish
- Up to 8 hours playing time for DAB/DAB+; up to 22 hours playing time for FM
- Key lock feature
- 5mm stereo output for headphones or to connect the radio to your car stereo
- USB charging cable
- Takes two AAA batteries
- Easy to use
- Quality earphones included
- Earphones unlikely to tangle thanks to flat design
- Very small
- Some users find that the radio only gets adequate reception outside
OXX Digital have created a really impressive little radio in the OXX Clip. This radio is perfect for taking with you when you’re out for a run or commuting, but you may experience issues using it indoors. Read our full review of the OXX Clip here.
Other radios 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. It includes some DAB radios as well as AM/FM radios and MP3 player radios.
FAQs about pocket DAB radio
Here are some 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 capable of streaming audio wirelessly by Bluetooth. A number of small portable DAB radios such as the 1byone Portable DAB Radio offer Bluetooth, but they aren’t small enough to fit in your pocket.
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, 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, 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).