Listening to the radio while you’re running can make getting through your run easier, as you have something to take your mind off how tired you are.
There is a large choice of pocket radios available in the UK, all of which could be used for running. Some offer AM and FM radio bands, while others offer FM and DAB digital radio. You can also get MP3 players with FM radio so you can take your whole music collection with you.
Some pocket radios also have a built-in speaker, which would be good if you’re worried that earphones might make you less aware of your surroundings.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing a radio for running:
- FM or DAB? DAB radio is gradually taking over analogue radio in the UK, but you still get a better signal on FM a lot of the time. DAB offers you a bigger choice of stations to listen to, but it eats through batteries quicker, so you will be able to use an FM pocket radio for longer without needing to recharge the battery.
- Does it have a keylock feature? A keylock feature will lock the keys on the radio so that you can’t accidentally change the station or volume when you knock it. This is very important if you’re going to be using the radio while running.
- How big is it? Obviously, when it comes to radios for running, the smaller the better. You want something light that can easily fit in your pocket or clip to your shorts or t-shirt.
Let’s look at some of the best radios for running currently available in the UK.
DAB pocket radios for running
The OXX Clip is the smallest DAB radio in the world, according to its manufacturer at least. It weighs just 45 grams and, as the name implies, you can clip it to your clothing. This means you’ll hardly notice it when you’re jogging.
The OXX Clip has a rechargeable built-in battery that lasts for up to 8 hours on DAB or 22 on FM. This is a decent amount of time, and you should be able to use it on several runs before you need to recharge it.
This radio comes with a free pair of earphones, though they’re not great quality so you might want to buy something better (see our recommendations below).
AZATOM Pro Sports S1
This radio has a built-in speaker, which is good if you don’t want to wear headphones. Lots of people think it’s a bad idea to wear headphones while running as it can make you less aware of your surroundings, putting you in potential danger. The speaker is quite tinny, as you’d expect from a small radio.
The AZATOM Pro Sports S1 lets you listen to FM, DAB and DAB+ stations. Its rechargeable internal battery has a similar life to that of the Oxx Clip reviewed above. The Pro Sports S1 is about twice as heavy as the Oxx Clip at 109 g, which is still light.
Roberts Radio Sports DAB5
This is another radio with ‘sports’ in the name and as you’d expect, it’s designed with exercise in mind. The Roberts Radio Sports DAB5 is made by legendary radio brand Roberts, and it feels higher quality than the Oxx or AZATOM models reviewed above. It’s nice and light and has an elegant, minimalistic look reminiscent of an iPod.
One good thing about the Roberts Radio Sports DAB5 is that it takes AA batteries, which are much easier to replace than the bespoke batteries used in the radios reviewed above. Battery life is relatively poor though, at around 5 hours on DAB.
For some more recommendations, see our roundup of the best pocket DAB radios.
Am/FM pocket radios for running
Sony ICF-P26 Portable AM/FM Radio
The Sony ICF-P26 is a straightforward AM/FM radio that will fit in a largish pocket. It’s 11.9 centimetres tall and weighs 191 grams, making it bigger and heavier than most of the other radios reviewed here. It works well on both AM and FM and features a built-in speaker as well as a headphone jack.
The Sony ICF-P26 takes AA batteries which are easy and cheap to replace, and since it’s an analogue rather than a digital radio it has very good battery life.
We’d advise most people to get one of the smaller pocket DAB radios reviewed above rather than this radio, but it’s a good option if you want a good old-fashioned AM/FM radio and don’t mind something a bit bulkier. It’s substantially cheaper than most pocket DAB radios (see price on Amazon). If you’re interested, you can read our full review of the Sony ICF-P26 here.
Radio MP3 players for running
Kubik Evo 8GB MP3 Player with Radio
The Kubik Evo is an 8GB MP3 player with an FM radio. In addition to MP3s, it can also play WMA and FLAC files, and can also read music from a microSD card. The LCD screen can be used to view photos and videos, though you probably won’t use that feature while you’re running.
The Kubik Evo offers up to 20 hours of playtime once it’s been fully charged, which is better than you’d get from a DAB radio. The 8GB of storage is enough for storing over a thousand songs unless you only listen to 20-minute prog rock epics.
This MP3 player is 8 centimetres tall and only weighs 32 grams, so it’s a good choice for listening to while running.
AGPtEK M07 8GB Music Player
Like the Kubik Evo reviewed above, the AGPtEK M07 is an 8GB MP3 player with a built-in FM radio. You can use a microSD card to take the amount of storage up to 64GB if you need to.
This MP3 player weighs 80 grams and is 8.8 centimetres tall, which is a good size for keeping in your pocket while you’re out running.
In terms of features and price, the AGPtEK M07 is very similar to the Kubik Evo, so which you go for will probably come down to the design. See more pictures and read reviews on Amazon here.
Some good earphones to use while running
Most runners who listen to music while running do so through headphones or earphones. One problem with using earphones while running is that the cord can get in your way. You can get around this by using Bluetooth headphones which wirelessly pick up a signal from your radio.
Since none of the radios reviewed here have Bluetooth built-in, you would have to buy a Bluetooth transmitter like this one from Taotronics. This transmitter only weighs 18 grams and plugs into the radio’s headphone jack. It can then send a Bluetooth signal to a pair of Bluetooth earphones like these (also from Taotronics).
If using a Bluetooth transmitter sounds complicated, a good pair of corded earphones for running are JVC HA-EB75 earphones.
These earphones feature an ear clip to prevent them falling out of your ears, and are also sweat-resistant. They sound good and are cheaper than Bluetooth earphones.