When the first DAB radios were released in the UK in the late 1990s they were very expensive, often costing over £500. It wasn’t until 2002 when Pure released the first sub-£100 DAB radio, the Evoke 1, that DAB radios became affordable for most people.
Today, there is a huge choice of budget DAB radios available. The most popular digital radios nowadays normally cost around £30-£40, though you can find DAB radios for as little as £20.
How Do You Define ‘Budget’?
Whether or not a radio is considered ‘budget’ depends not only on its price, but also on the features it offers. For example, a budget internet radio with Bluetooth will cost more than a budget DAB radio with no special features.
In this article, we’ll interpret ‘budget’ to mean any product that is cheaper than the majority of other products in the same category. We’ve selected 5 popular categories of digital radio and recommended a budget product for each.
Best Budget Portable DAB Radio
Many of the most popular DAB radios in the UK are small portable FM/DAB radios that can be plugged into the mains or powered by either batteries or an internal battery. Budget radios in this category typically cost £20-£50.
Our favourite budget portable DAB radio on the market in 2018 is the Roberts Play 10. The Play 10 is a simple and straightforward radio that doesn’t have any fancy features but is easy to use and functional. As well as featuring a DAB/DAB+ tuner it also picks up FM stations, and there are 3 useful preset buttons so you can quickly access your favourite stations.
You can power it using the mains or with 4 x AA batteries. The Play 10 is small and light (350 g) and has a useful carrying handle which makes it easy to carry around the house. It also has a headphone jack, which is something many portable radios unfortunately lack.
There’s a lot of choice for this kind of radio. Some of our other favourites are summarised below:
- John Lewis Spectrum Solo: This compact portable radio from John Lewis comes in a good choice of colours and can be bought with a 2-year guarantee. It picks up FM, DAB and DAB+ stations and can be powered by the mains or 4 x AA batteries. Read our review of the Spectrum Solo here or see it on JohnLewis.com.
- AZATOM Blackfriars: The Blackfriars is a stylish retro-style DAB radio from British brand AZATOM. It features a built-in rechargeable battery, which could be more convenient than having to replace AA batteries. The Blackfriars picks up FM, DAB and DAB+ stations and also features an alarm clock. Read our review of the AZATOM Blackfriars here or see it on Amazon.
Best Budget Personal/Pocket DAB Radio
A pocket radio is a good choice if you want something you can easily listen to while walking around the house or travelling. As the name suggests, these radios are small enough to fit in your pocket. They are normally listened to through headphones, which also act as an aerial. Budget radios in this category typically cost £20-£30.
Our favourite budget pocket DAB radio on the market in 2018 is the Majority Petersfield-Go. It’s a very affordable, light and compact radio that can easily fit in most pockets. It also features a clasp so you can attach it to your clothing. The Petersfield-Go picks up FM, DAB and DAB+ stations and lets you save 20 presets.
This radio has a rechargeable internal battery that you charge using the mini USB cable provided. It can only be listened to through headphones/earphones, as it doesn’t have a built-in speaker.
Some other good budget personal DAB radios include the following:
- AZATOM Pro Sports S1: Unlike the Majority Petersfield-Go, the Pro Sports S1 features a built-in speaker, which is quite convenient if you don’t want to listen through headphones all the time. It picks up FM, DAB and DAB+ stations and is powered using a rechargeable internal battery. Read our full review of the AZAOTOM Pro Sports radio here or see it on Amazon.
- Majority Romsey: This is another pocket radio with a built-in speaker. It has similar features to both the Pro Sports S1 and Petersfield-Go, but also has a telescopic aerial rather than relying on the headphones to work as an aerial. Read our full review of the Majority Romsey here or see it on Amazon.
Best Budget DAB Clock Radio
Lots of us like to wake up to the radio, which explains the popularity of clock radios. These radios let you use the radio as an alarm, and often have other features that make them good for the bedroom such as large clock displays and sleep timers. Budget DAB radios in this category typically cost £20-£40.
Our favourite budget DAB clock radio on the market in 2018 is the AZATOM Horizon. This popular bedside radio offers a good selection of features for the price, including Bluetooth and a USB port for charging a phone or other device.
The Horizon picks up FM, DAB and DAB+ stations and lets you set two separate alarms. The Horizon has relatively strong DAB reception and should pick up a decent number of stations.
Other good budget DAB clock radios include the following:
- John Lewis Tempo Solo: This clock radio from John Lewis is exceptionally stylish with its minimalistic Scandinavian-style design. The Tempo Solo has a compact design and picks up FM, DAB and DAB+ stations. It has a dual alarm clock, a sleep timer, and can be powered by either batteries or the mains. Read our full review here or see it on JohnLewis.com.
- Majority Milton: This radio has a similar design to the AZATOM Horizon. It can be powered by the mains or with 4 x AA batteries. The Milton is cheaper than the Horizon (at the time of writing) but has more basic features and doesn’t have Bluetooth or a USB charging point. Read our full review here or see it on Amazon.3
Best Budget DAB Internet Radio
Buying a radio that picks up stations via the internet gives you access to thousands of stations from around the world and also fixes the reception issues that can affect DAB and FM radio. As long as you have a good internet connection, you will be able to listen without any interruptions. Budget DAB internet radios typically cost £80-£120, though you can find cheaper internet-only radios that don’t have a DAB tuner.
Our favourite budget DAB internet radio on the market in 2018 is the Roberts Stream 104. It’s one of the smallest internet radios on the market, but also one of the cheapest. It picks up FM, DAB and DAB+ stations and connects to the internet via WiFi or an ethernet cable to receive stations from all over the world. The Stream 104 also has a dual alarm clock and can be controlled from your phone using the UNDOK app.
There isn’t as much choice when it comes to budget DAB internet radios as there is with other categories of radio. Internet radios tend to be significantly more expensive than regular DAB radios. Here are two other good budget options:
- Ocean Digital WR282CD: This is another affordable DAB internet radio. It can pick up FM, DAB and DAB+ stations and also features a dual alarm clock. Unlike the Roberts Stream 104, this radio also has a Bluetooth receiver so you can wirelessly stream music from a phone, tablet or laptop. See it on Amazon here.
- Roberts Stream 107: This radio is quite similar to the Stream 104. It’s a bit more expensive, but it comes with a built-in battery charger, making it more convenient as a portable radio than the Stream 104. Read our full review of the Roberts Stream 107 here or see it on Amazon.
Best Budget DAB Radio CD Player
CDs remain popular, even if they are being replaced by online streaming. There are lots of quality DAB radios with a CD player on the market that range greatly in price. Budget radios in this category typically cost £70-£100.
Our favourite budget DAB radio CD player in 2018 is the Majority Oakington. This radio is at the upper end of the “budget” price range, but it offers a great list of features including Bluetooth, a USB charging port, a remote control and stereo speakers. It picks up FM, DAB and DAB+ stations and has a nice retro design.
Here are a few other good budget DAB radio CD players:
- Roberts Zoombox3: This boombox-style radio can be plugged into the mains or powered with 6 x C batteries. As well as a CD player and FM/DAB/DAB+ radio, the Zoombox3 also has a USB port and SD card reader for playing MP3 and WMA files. Read our full review of the Roberts Zoombox3 here or see it on Amazon.
- AZATOM Zenith Z1: This is another popular boombox-style radio CD Player. It’s quite similar to the Roberts Zoombox3, but is more affordable. Like the Zoombox3 it also features a USB port and can be powered by 6 x C batteries. See it on Amazon here.
Which Brands Make the Best Budget DAB Radios?
A number of different brands are mentioned in this article. Some of them, such as AZATOM and Majority, tend to make inexpensive budget products. Others, such as Roberts, offer a few budget radios in addition to other, more high-end radios. We’d recommend the following brands if you’re looking for a budget radio:
- AZATOM: AZATOM are a British brand owned by 4Cool Technology Ltd. They specialise in digital radios, docking stations and wireless speakers. Their products are usually affordable yet well made, with good sound quality. Some other budget radios from AZATOM include the Sonance T1 (a DAB clock radio) and the Multiplex D1 (a Bluetooth DAB radio).
- John Lewis: John Lewis sell thousands of products, including lots of high-quality own-brand products. They have quite a large range of affordable and well-designed DAB radios, which tend to offer good value for money. Some good choices include the Aston MK2 (a straightforward DAB radio with a retro design) and the Spectrum Duo (a stereo version of the Spectrum Solo mentioned earlier in this article).
- Majority: Majority are one of the most popular budget radio brands in the UK at the moment. Their products are designed in Cambridge and manufactured in China. They have a large selection of affordable products, including the Huntingdon (a radio CD player).
- Roberts: British brand Roberts are known for making high-quality products, most of which are relatively expensive. However, they do offer a few good budget radios. Some not already mentioned in this article include the Roberts Play (a small portable radio with a built-in battery charger) and the Roberts Sound38 (a radio CD player).
For some more options, see these articles: