Best Radios for the Visually Impaired

Radio helps us feel connected to the world, and this is especially true for blind and visually impaired people. For those with poor eyesight, including the elderly, radio can be a lifeline that helps them stay informed and entertained.

Depending on your level of visual impairment different kinds of radios will be easier to use. You could look for a regular radio that has simple controls or opt for a specially designed radio for the visually impaired.

One important thing to know if you are registered blind or partially sighted is that you can often save money by claiming VAT relief when you purchase from certain sellers. At the time of writing, the British Wireless for the Blind Fund are offering a VAT discount.

We’ve researched the best radios for the visually impaired available in the UK in 2017, and have summarised the top options below.

 

Adapted radios for the visually impaired

The British Wireless for the Blind Fund offer some good advice on choosing a radio. Two of the radios they recommend are the Roberts Duet 2 and the Roberts Concerto 2, which we have reviewed below.

 

Roberts Duet 2

Price: £195.00 on Amazon.co.uk

The Robert Duet 2 is a digital radio that offers both FM and DAB radio. It’s designed for the visually impaired with large yellow buttons.

Here are some of the Duet 2’s main features:

  • FM/DAB radio
  • Saves 10 preset stations (5 on FM and 5 on DAB)
  • Headphone jack
  • Mains or battery powered
  • ‘Favourite’ button to save and quickly access your favourite station
  • Line in socket

The Duet 2 has rotary knobs for adjusting the tuning, volume and tone. The buttons aren’t too close together and have different shapes and sizes, making it easy to access different functions if you have poor eyesight.

Below is a summary of this radio’s pros and cons.

Pros

  • LCD display is large and easy to read, with blue writing on an orange background
  • Presets are easy to access and hard to lose accidentally
  • Good build quality
  • Good sound quality

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No built-in battery charger

The Robert Duet 2 is an excellent digital radio for the elderly and visually impaired, though it’s very pricey. Read more reviews on Amazon here.

 

Roberts Concerto 2

Price: £260.00 on Amazon.co.uk

Another specially designed radio for the visually impaired from Roberts is the Concerto 2. As well as FM and DAB radio, the Concerto 2 also has a CD player, a cassette player, an SD card reader and a USB port, making it a very versatile piece of kit.

Here’s an overview of the Roberts Concerto 2’s features:

  • FM RDS and DAB radio
  • CD player with bookmark feature for audiobooks
  • SD card reader
  • USB port
  • Cassette player
  • Saves 10 preset stations (5 on FM and 5 on DAB).

Like the Robert Duet 2 reviewed above, the Concerto 2 has yellow buttons which are easy to see. Some of the buttons also have raised parts so you can identify them by touch.  There are also 5 dedicated preset buttons for easily accessing your favourite stations without having to go through a menu.

Even if you’re not visually impaired you will appreciate the Concerto 2’s versatility, especially if you still have a big collection of tapes and/or CDs. This is one of the few digital radios to come with both a CD player and a tape player. You can record from the radio or CD player onto tape, which is very handy. You can also play MP3 and WMA files stored on CDs, SD cards and USB drives.

Below is a summary of this radio’s pros and cons.

Pros

  • Very versatile—offers lots of different functions
  • Easy to use
  • Good sound quality
  • Good for both fully sighted and visually impaired people

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No separate bass and treble controls

The Roberts Concerto 2 is a high quality radio that will appeal to both fully sighted and visually impaired people. It offers a combination of features that is hard to find in one product, but it’s quite pricey. Read more reviews of this radio on Amazon here.

 

Easy to use digital radios for the elderly and visually impaired

Some radios aren’t designed exclusively for visually impaired people but are still worth considering due to their simple and easy-to-use design. Some radios that fit this description include the Lenco SCD-24, the Roberts Elise, the Roberts Play and the Philips AJ3400/05.

 

Lenco SCD-24 CD Boombox and FM Radio

Price: £39.85 on Amazon.co.uk

The Lenco SCD-24 is a small radio CD player that just has a few buttons. The play button on the CD player is orange making it stand out from the other buttons, so it’s easy for visually impaired people to use.

This radio is much cheaper than the Roberts Concerto 2 reviewed above, and could be a good choice if you’re looking for something simple and easy to use without spending too much money.

Here’s an overview of the Lenco SCD-24’s features:

  • FM radio
  • CD player
  • Carrying handle
  • Mains or battery powered
  • Headphone socket
  • Telescopic aerial

The CD player is top-loading and can be programmed with a playlist of up to 20 tracks. There’s also a repeat function.

You can’t set any preset stations on the Lenco SCD-24, but this isn’t a problem if you usually listen to the same station anyway.

This radio CD player doesn’t have as many features as the Roberts Concerto 2 reviewed above, but it’s smaller and lighter so it’s easier to carry around.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Small and easy to carry

Cons

  • No presets
  • Short power lead
  • Sometimes crackles

This radio CD player isn’t as high quality as the Roberts Concerto 2, but it could be a good choice if you’re on a budget. Read more reviews on Amazon here.

 

Roberts Elise

Price: £64.99 on Amazon.co.uk

The Roberts Elise is a straightforward digital radio that could be a good choice for the elderly or visually impaired. It’s a small portable radio with an elegant curved design.

Here’s an overview of this radio’s main features:

  • FM/DAB radio
  • Saves 9 preset stations
  • Favourite station button
  • Mains or battery powered with 6 C-sized batteries

The Elise is fairly simple and doesn’t have any bells and whistles. There are 5 preset buttons as well as a ‘favourite’ button so you can quickly find your favourite stations. The volume is controlled by a large rotary dial which is tactile and easy to find.

This radio is small and lightweight, and you can power it with batteries and use it as a portable radio.

Below is an overview of this radio’s pros and cons.

Pros

  • Decent sound quality
  • Light and easy to carry
  • Affordable
  • Can be turned up quite loud

Cons

  • Not as easy to use as an adapted radio (see the radios above)
  • Only has the most essential features

While this radio is simpler than your average digital radio, it’s not as easy for visually impaired people to use as the Roberts Duet 2 or the Roberts Concerto 2 reviewed above. However, it’s much more affordable so it would be a good choice if you’re only slightly visually impaired. Read more reviews on Amazon here.

 

Roberts Play

Price: £64.99 on Amazon.co.uk

In addition to being a good choice for the visually impaired, the Roberts Play is also one of our favourite portable DAB radios overall due to its reliability and the level of performance it offers for the price.

Here’s an overview of this radio’s key features:

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • Saves 10 preset stations (5 on FM and 5 on DAB)
  • Headphone jack
  • Built-in battery charger
  • Soft-touch covering

One of the best things about this radio is that it has a built-in battery charger so it charges rechargeable batteries while it’s plugged into the mains. It takes 4 AA batteries, but you can also just plug it into the mains without batteries.

Pros

  • Receives DAB+ making it ‘futureproof’
  • Small and light
  • Good radio reception
  • Intuitive design

Cons

  • Not designed specifically for the visually impaired
  • Doesn’t sound very good at high volumes,

The Roberts Play is a nice and simple portable DAB radio that should be easy for elderly people to use. It’s not designed specifically with the visually impaired in mind, but is easier than the average radio to use so could be a good choice if your eyesight isn’t too poor. Read more reviews of the Roberts Play on Amazon here.

 

Philips AJ3400/05 Clock Radio

Price: £24.99 on Amazon.co.uk

If you’re looking for a clock radio with a large and easy-to-read display, the Philips AJ3400/05 could be a good choice. The time is displayed roughly 10 cm wide, so it’s much easier to read than your average clock radio.

Here’s an overview of this radio’s features:

  • FM radio
  • Dual alarm clock (save 2 alarms)
  • Sleep timer
  • Battery back-up to keep the time accurate in case of a power cut

The Philips AJ3400/05 lets you set two separate alarms, and you can choose to wake up to either the radio or an alarm buzzer sound. There’s also a sleep timer so you can drift off listening to the radio without having to worry about turning it off.

The alarm starts quietly and gradually gets louder. This is nice, but it continues to increase in volume and can become too loud. Another issue is that the clock can’t be adjusted to show 12-hour format, which isn’t very good if you’re not used to reading the time in 24-hour format.

Below is a summary of this clock radio’s pros and cons.

Pros

  • Clock display is large and easy to read
  • Easy to use
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • Display is bright so it might keep you awake at night
  • 24-hour clock format only
  • Tinny sound quality
  • No DAB radio

If you want a basic clock radio with a large and easy-to-read display, the Philips AJ3400/05 fits the bill. It doesn’t offer the same sound quality or number of features as the other radios reviewed here, but it does its job well at a reasonable price. Read more reviews of this clock radio on Amazon here.

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