DAB radio in the UK is notorious for having unreliable reception. While some parts of the country have crystal-clear reception, in many areas digital radio reception is still weak.
The good news is that some radios have better reception than others, and sometimes switching radio can make all the difference. We’ve researched the market and picked out 5 radios with a reputation for having strong DAB radio reception even in poor reception areas.
It’s important to note that DAB reception is very variable so no radio is guaranteed to have good reception in every location. It’s likely that remote and hilly areas of the UK will always have poor radio reception. You will also need to experiment with where you place your radio and the aerial to get the best signal. Read about how to improve your DAB radio signal here.
Below are 5 great DAB radios for poor reception areas in the UK.
Roberts Play Digital Radio
The Roberts Play is one of our favourite portable DAB radios. It’s simple and easy to use, and tends to have very good reception even in areas where most DAB radios struggle to get a clear signal. In addition to DAB it also has an FM tuner, so you have the option of listening to the big stations on whichever has the best signal.
The Roberts Play is small and light, making it easy to carry around the house. This radio doesn’t have any advanced features such as Bluetooth, but it does have one very rare and useful feature: a built-in battery charger. The radio’s battery charger means you can just keep the same set of rechargeable batteries in it and let them charge when the radio is plugged in, without having to worry about a separate battery charger.
This radio doesn’t go very loud and sounds best at lower volumes, so it’s not suitable if you want to really fill the room with music.
Buy online: £59.99 on Amazon.co.uk
Goodmans Portable Digital/DAB & FM RDS Radio
This portable radio from Goodmans could be a good alternative to the Roberts Play reviewed above. It’s cheaper than the Roberts Play (at the time of writing), and offers similar features except that it doesn’t have a built-in battery charger.
The Goodmans Portable Digital/DAB & FM RDS Radio has better DAB reception than average, and tends to work well in areas with a weak DAB reception. It’s also one of the best-sounding small portable DAB radios, with a crisp and clear sound.
Buy online: £29.99 on Amazon.co.uk
AZATOM Multiplex D1 DAB Digital FM Radio
If you’re looking for something bigger and more powerful, the AZATOM Multiplex D1 could be a good choice. It’s still a compact radio (27cm wide), but it has stereo sound and 30 watts of power so it can go quite loud. The bass and treble can be adjusted to get the right sound.
This radio generally has very good reception on DAB, and has a long aerial that you can extend and adjust to improve the signal. It also has Bluetooth so you can stream music or radio from your phone or laptop.
This versatile radio has a lot of features including a USB charging point, an alarm clock and a DAB+ tuner, making it “future ready”.
Buy online: £64.95 on Amazon.co.uk
VQ Hepburn Mk II
The VQ Hepburn Mk II is a very stylish retro FM/DAB/DAB+ radio available in a large choice of colours and finishes. It offers similar features to the AZATOM Multiplex D1 but with more style and class.
DAB reception is strong, and the adjustable aerial is useful for getting the best signal. This radio also has Bluetooth, so you can stream radio or other audio from your phone, tablet or laptop.
With a 20-watt output this radio is fairly powerful and can go quite loud. It has some useful additional features including a USB charging point for charging your smartphone and a dual alarm clock, making it a good choice as a bedside radio.
Buy online: £102.00 on Amazon.co.uk
The Revo SuperConnect is a very stylish and high-end radio that offers not just FM/DAB/DAB+ radio but also internet radio. It has a telescopic aerial which offers very strong DAB radio signal, and you can always fall back on internet radio if you have reception problems.
This radio is quite pricey, but it has very good build quality and it’s truly “future ready” with both DAB+ and an internet radio tuner. It has a beautiful wooden cabinet which helps give it a warm sound.
The Revo SuperConnect offers a great amount of choice of things to listen to. As well as digital and internet radio, it’s also compatible with Spotify Connect so you can stream millions of tracks from Spotify. It also has Bluetooth and an aux-in port so it’s very versatile.
Buy online: £299.95 on Amazon.co.uk
Other Solutions for Poor Reception Areas
If you live in an area with very poor DAB radio signal just buying the right radio might not be enough. Here are a few other things you can do:
- Position the radio near a window
Most people find that DAB radios have the best signal when positioned next to a window.
- Choose an internet radio instead
If you have a good internet connection but poor DAB reception, an internet radio might be the best choice. See some of our recommendations here.
- Get an external aerial
If you’ve tried moving your radio next to a window and are still having reception problems you could try attaching an external radio aerial such as the Philex 27741 Indoor DAB Aerial. However, there’s no guarantee this will improve your signal.