Best DAB Radio 2019

What’s the best DAB radio on the market in the UK in 2019?

That’s a tough question to answer, as there’s no single best radio for everyone.

However, after reviewing hundreds of digital radios we’ve picked out our favourites in different categories to help you choose one that won’t disappoint.

The first step in choosing a DAB radio is to answer these questions:

  • What size radio do you want? Do you want a pocket radio, a small portable radio, or something substantial?
  • Where will you use the radio? Do you want something for the shower, the kitchen, the garden or the office? Maybe you want a car radio or something you can listen to while jogging or commuting.
  • How much is your budget? Do you want a cheap radio for less than £30, a mid-priced radio for around £100, or a more high-end model?
  • What features do you need? Do you just want to be able to listen to the radio, or do you also want Bluetooth, a CD player or an iPod dock?

We’ve broken up our recommendations into different categories as there’s no such thing as a single ‘best’ DAB radio for everyone. However, we have also picked one radio that we think is the best for most people.

The Best DAB Radios in 2019

1. Pure Evoke H3 – Best DAB radio overall

There’s no such thing as a single ‘best’ DAB radio for everyone. However, if we had to pick just one DAB radio to recommend to most people it would be the Pure Evoke H3.

The H3 is a stylish radio that could be a good choice for the kitchen, bedroom or living room. It can be used as a portable radio if you buy the optional battery pack, which lasts for up to 20 hours.

Key features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • Bluetooth
  • Mains or battery powered (with the optional ChargePAK B1 battery pack)
  • Dual alarm clock
  • Kitchen and sleep timers

Dimensions: 18 x 11.5 x 11 cm

Pros

  • Good sound quality
  • Dual alarm clock
  • Stylish design
  • 3-year warranty
  • Convenient preset buttons

Cons

  • Battery pack costs extra
  • Relatively expensive given its features

Summary

The Pure Evoke H3 has good sound quality and offers the features most people want in a DAB radio (FM/DAB/DAB+, Bluetooth and a dual alarm clock). It also has a very stylish design and features a colour TFT display.

The Evoke H3 is made by a respected and reliable British manufacturer, and comes with a 3-year warranty to give you peace of mind when you buy it new.

 

2. Roberts Stream 94i – Best DAB internet radio

Regular DAB radios are starting to look a bit out of date with the rise of online streaming. If you want to be able to listen to radio from all over the world, an internet radio is the way to go.

Internet radios are also a good choice if your DAB reception is poor, as they don’t rely on picking up a radio signal.

The Roberts Stream 94i is one of the UK’s most popular internet radios. As well as offering FM, DAB/DAB+ and internet radio, it has plenty of other features including Bluetooth and a dual alarm clock.

Key features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+/Internet radio
  • Bluetooth
  • Dual alarm clock
  • USB port for playing MP3s
  • Headphone jack

Dimensions: 26 x 17 x 13.2 cm
Weight: 1.9 kg

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Great sound quality
  • Internet radio—listen to 20,000+ stations from across the world
  • Stylish

Cons

  • Using your phone as a remote is fiddly
  • Sometimes disconnects from WiFi

Summary

If you’re ready to explore the world of internet radio, the Stream 94i is a great choice. It also has regular FM and DAB radio as well as Bluetooth, so it’s quite versatile.

 

3. AZATOM Horizon – Best DAB clock radio

Our favourite DAB radio alarm clock in 2019 is the AZATOM Horizon. The Horizon is a very popular clock radio that’s generally very highly rated by users.

The Horizon isn’t the most stylish radio but it offers a good list of features, is inexpensive and works well as a clock radio. You can set two separate alarms and choose between either a 12 or 24-hour clock display. There’s also a snooze and sleep timer.

This radio also has Bluetooth, so you can stream audio from your phone or tablet through its speakers. There’s also a USB port so you can charge your phone overnight.

Key features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • Bluetooth
  • Dual alarm clock
  • USB port
  • Headphone jack

Dimensions: 14.5 x 14.5 x 4.5 cm

Pros

  • Good value for money
  • Has Bluetooth
  • Easy to use
  • Generally strong radio reception

Cons

  • Display is small
  • Sound quality isn’t great for music

Summary

The AZATOM Horizon is one of the cheapest DAB clock radios with Bluetooth, but it still has decent sound quality. It’s ideal as a bedside radio.

 

4. Ruark Audio R4 Mk3 – Best DAB radio CD player

If you want to enjoy your CD collection in high-fidelity stereo sound, the Ruark R4 Mk3 is an excellent choice. This well-built radio is easy to use and has some nice additional features such as Bluetooth an a USB port that lets you play MP3, AAC and WMA files.

Key features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • CD player
  • Bluetooth
  • Headphone jack
  • Remote control
  • USB port for playing MP3s

Dimensions: 44 x 20 x 15 cm
Weight: 7 kg

Pros

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Well made
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No WiFi

Summary

This is one of the best-sounding radios on the market, so it’s perfect for audiophiles. However, it’s also one of the most expensive radios on the market, so it’s quite a big investment.

 

5. Roberts Play 10 – Best budget DAB radio

A lot of DAB radios are very affordable, but often the cheapest products are quite low quality. The Roberts Play 10 is a very reasonably priced radio that performs well and is reliable.

You can power it with four AA batteries, which makes it convenient for carrying around the house and into the garden.

Key features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+
  • Mains or battery powered (4 x AA)
  • Headphone jack
  • Dedicated preset buttons

Dimensions: 18 x 10.5 x 5.5 cm
Weight: 350 g

Pros

  • Easy to access preset stations
  • Small and light
  • Portable

Cons

  • Not rechargeable

Summary

If you want a simple and inexpensive portable DAB radio, the Roberts Play 10 is a great choice. It’s a budget-priced option from a reliable and trusted brand.

 

6. Roberts Revival iStream 3 – Best DAB kitchen radio

 

This retro-style radio would look great in a kitchen. While this radio may look retro, its features are cutting edge. It can connect to WiFi to listen to thousands of radio stations from all around the world. This is great if you want more choice of things to listen to, or if you live in an area with poor DAB signal.

Another great feature is the built-in battery charger, which means you don’t need to buy new batteries or recharge them separately.

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+/Internet radio
  • Bluetooth radio
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa devices
  • EQ with adjustable bass and treble
  • Dual alarm clock
  • Dimmable display
  • Built-in battery charger
  • Portable with 6 AA batteries (not included)
  • Use your phone as a remote with the UNDOK app

Dimensions: 25.5 x 16 x 11 cm

Pros

  • Stylish retro design
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Useful built-in battery charger
  • Has internet radio

Cons

  • Poor battery life—unlikely to be more than about 5 hours

Summary

This stylish retro radio has great sound quality and some exciting modern features such as WiFi, Bluetooth and compatibility with Amazon Alexa.

 

7. Ruark R1 Mk3 – Best high-end DAB radio/Best for sound quality

If sound quality is your main concern and you’re prepared to spend a bit more to get it, the Ruark R1 Mk3 is perfect.

This is one of the best-sounding radios on the market. While it’s definitely a high-end model, it’s not as prohibitively expensive as some of the alternatives.

Key features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+
  • Bluetooth
  • Dual alarm clock
  • Headphone jack

Dimensions: 13 x 13.5 x 17 cm
Weight: 1.5 kg

Pros

  • Excellent sound quality
  • High build quality
  • Compact design

Cons

  • Mono sound
  • Could have more features given the price

Summary

The Ruark R1 has a stylish minimalistic design and would look great on a bookshelf or kitchen countertop. It’s a great choice if you want to appreciate all the detail and depth of what you’re listening to.

 

8. Majority Petersfield-Go – Best DAB pocket radio

The Petersfield-Go is a compact, light and affordable pocket FM/DAB radio from budget British brand Majority.

It comes with earphones included though you can use your own if you prefer. The Petersfield-Go has a built-in rechargeable battery which you charge using a USB cable.

This radio could be a good choice for listening to while exercising, commuting, walking or just relaxing around the house. It fits easily in a pocket and has a key lock function so you won’t accidentally change the station while it’s in your pocket.

Bear in mind that it doesn’t have a speaker, so you can only listen through headphones.

Key features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • Earphones included
  • Pocket clasp
  • Key lock function

Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.4 x 2.2 cm

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Small and light—ideal for a pocket
  • Decent battery life—10 hours+
  • Useful clip for attaching to pocket

Cons

  • Earphones included are mediocre
  • No built-in speaker
  • Buttons feel cheaply made

Summary

This radio performs well and offers everything you would want in a pocket radio: It’s compact, light and picks up DAB stations well even when it’s in your pocket.

 

9. John Lewis Spectrum DAB Shower Radio – Best bathroom/shower DAB radio

John Lewis Spectrum Shower Radio

Lots of us enjoy listening to music or the news while in the bath or shower. However, water and electronics generally don’t mix well, hence the existence of specially designed water-resistant shower radios.

The John Lewis Spectrum DAB Shower Radio is splash-proof to IPX4 standard and has a handy hanging strap for using it in the shower.

Key features

  • FM/DAB radio
  • Rechargeable built-in battery
  • Water resistant
  • Hanging strap for use in shower

Dimensions: 15.5 x 11 x 4.7 cm

Pros

  • Rechargeable battery
  • Robust and water resistant
  • Good reception
  • Presets are easy to use

Cons

  • Switching it on and off can be fiddly

Summary

This is a very convenient radio for listening to in the bath or shower since it’s water resistant (but not fully waterproof). It’s generally well designed, though the mechanism for switching it on and off is peculiar.

 

10. Roberts Play – Best rechargeable DAB radio

Lots of portable radios use batteries that you have to recharge separately, which is awkward. The Roberts Play is a great little radio that features a built-in battery recharger for the four AA batteries it takes.

Key features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • Built-in battery charger
  • Takes 4 x AA batteries (can also be mains powered)
  • Headphone jack
  • Dedicated preset buttons

Dimensions: 16 x 10.5 x 3.5 cm
Weight: 392 g

Pros

  • Preset buttons make changing stations easy
  • Battery charger is convenient
  • Good sound for a small radio
  • Well made

Cons

  • Doesn’t go very loud

Summary

This radio is well designed and reliable. The built-in battery charger charges the batteries while it’s plugged into the mains. This is quite a small and quiet radio, but it’s good for carrying around the house.

 

Choosing a DAB Radio

DAB radio offers greater choice than FM radio, and is gradually becoming the most popular way to listen to the radio in the UK.

It’s likely that there will be a digital radio switchover in the UK at some point in the near future, so it’s a good idea to make sure your next radio has a DAB receiver if you want it to be ‘futureproof’.

DAB FAQs

If you’re new to DAB radio, you probably have some questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about DAB radio. If you have more questions, you can read more about what DAB is here.

  • Does DAB use the internet?
    No, DAB radio does not use the internet. It’s completely free to listen to DAB radio, and you don’t need any extra equipment other than a DAB radio.
  • Does DAB work abroad?
    DAB radios only pick up national stations. This means that if you use your DAB radio in France, for example, you will only pick up French stations. If you’d like to be able to pick up stations from another country, you should consider an internet radio.

Types of DAB Radio

Radios come in all shapes and sizes, and are made with different uses in mind. It wouldn’t make sense to pick out just one ‘best’ DAB radio, as it wouldn’t be right for everyone. Here are some different categories DAB radios fall into:

    • Pocket radios: These radios are small enough to fit in your pocket and either have a built-in rechargeable battery or take regular batteries. Pocket DAB radios have a headphone jack and usually don’t have a built-in speaker, though a few do have a small speaker.
    • Portable radios: These are usually too big to fit in your pocket, but are powered by batteries or a built-in battery pack. Most portable radios can also be mains-powered. Portable radios are good if you want something small you can carry around the house or use in the garden or while camping. You can see some of the best portable DAB radios here.
    • Mains-only radios: This broad category includes any radio that doesn’t take batteries. These radios are fine if you’re going to use the radio in a fixed location. If you want the best sound quality, you usually need to choose a mains-only radio, as bulkier, heavier non-portable radios tend to sound better.
    • Internet radios: Internet radios are a pretty new phenomenon, and you might not have encountered on before. They connect to the internet via WiFi, and let you listen to the thousands of radio stations available online. This includes national stations like the BBC, but also stations from all over the globe. Internet radios make a great choice if you’re interested in exploring a whole new world of radio. Most internet radios also have FM and/or DAB, so you won’t need to rely on your internet connection all the time if you don’t want to.
    • High-end radios: These radios are for the true audiophiles. If you want to experience music in all its glory, you should go for a high-end radio that will offer excellent sound quality.

Features to Look For

Here are some of the most useful features to look for in a DAB radio:

  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth allows you to connect two devices wirelessly, and transfer audio from one to the other. For example, you could connect your smartphone to your radio and play a podcast through the radio’s speakers via Bluetooth. Bluetooth is now quite a common feature in radios, though radios with Bluetooth tend to be more expensive than those without.
  • Headphone jack: If you want to be able to listen to the radio privately, you should make sure the radio you choose has a headphone jack. This will usually be a 3.5 mm headphone jack.
  • DAB+: DAB+ is the more modern version of DAB radio. If you want a radio that is truly ‘futureproof’, you should choose a radio that can pick up both DAB and DAB+ stations.
  • Alarm clock: Many DAB radios have an alarm clock feature and allow you to wake up to either a regular alarm sound or the radio. Some also have dual alarms, so you can set separate alarms for weekdays and weekends or set alarms at different times if you and your partner have different schedules.

Other Things to Consider

Here are some more things to think about:

  • Where will you use it?
    The best radio for the kitchen probably won’t be the best radio for the bedroom, bathroom or garden. Before looking for a radio, consider where you want to use it.
  • What do you want to listen to?
    DAB radio lets you listen to regular stations like Radio 2 and Radio 5, but also additional stations like 6 Music and Radio 4 Extra. If you want an even greater choice of stations, you should consider getting an internet radio.
    You should also think about whether you will be mainly listening to music or speech programmes. If you will be listening to music, you will appreciate a radio with better sound quality, whereas for speech you might not mind if the radio doesn’t have a lot of bass or detail to the sound.
  • How much is your budget?
    DAB radios vary greatly in price. A budget pocket or portable radio could cost £20 or £30, while a really high-end radio could cost over £400. A mid-sized radio for the kitchen or living room will normally cost £50-£100.
    Of course, you get what you pay for, so it’s worth paying more if you want better sound and build quality, and more features.
    Some radios are overpriced, while some budget radios over-deliver for the price. Try to read several reviews before purchasing a radio and look out for deals and discounts.

What is DAB radio?

Should You Buy a DAB Radio in 2019?

DAB radio has never been particularly well loved in the UK. Despite promises that DAB would offer better sound quality than FM, reception has always been patchy across parts of the country.

It’s harder to listen to a DAB radio with weak reception than an FM one as instead of just getting a bit of interference the radio cuts out entirely or produces an unpleasant gurgling sound.

The good news is that you don’t need to give up FM altogether. Almost all DAB radios on the market also feature and FM tuner, so you can always switch to FM if you find the reception is better on FM.

Despite rumours that the UK government will switch off FM radio, this doesn’t look likely to happen in the next 10 years, so if you don’t want to switch to DAB there’s no rush.

Choosing a DAB radio will ‘futureproof’ you to an extent should the UK ever switch off FM, but it’s quite possible that DAB itself will become obsolete at some point.

Most European countries that use digital radio use the newer DAB+ standard, which the UK may adopt at some point. For this reason, it’s a good idea to make sure whichever digital radio you choose can also pick up DAB+ stations (most digital radios on the market today can).

A greater threat to DAB radio is the internet—it’s quite likely that online listening will overtake both FM and DAB in the next few decades. Listening online doesn’t necessarily mean listening through tinny computer speakers or headphones, as you can now buy standalone internet radios that have excellent sound quality.

While DAB radio isn’t perfect and probably won’t be around forever, we’d still recommend choosing a DAB radio in 2019 unless you live in a very remote area where the signal won’t be strong enough.

If you live in a very remote area, an internet radio is your best bet as long as you have a good internet connection. Unless you want to listen to AM-only stations, we’d recommend getting an FM/DAB radio or a radio with FM, DAB and WiFi.

 

Conclusion

We hope this article has helped you decide which DAB radio is right for you.

To recap, we’d recommend the Pure Evoke H3 to most people, but if it doesn’t fit your needs or budget, take a look at the other recommendations above.

2 thoughts on “Best DAB Radio 2019”

  1. I want to listen to the BBC World Service when I’m wandering about in Britain in my Motor Caravan which is no longer available otherwise than on DAB.
    I’ve read all sorts of adverse comments about DAB and the requirement to have a special antenna so what DAB radio should I look at and do I need a specialist antenna?

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