Best Pocket DAB Radios (UK 2019)

The price of DAB radios has come down a lot in the last few years, and there are now many affordable pocket DAB radios to choose from.

A pocket/handheld radio is a great gadget to have for when you’re walking, jogging, commuting, gardening or just relaxing around the house.

Pocket DAB radios usually cost between £20 and £100, and normally offer FM as well as digital radio.

Most people listen to pocket radios through headphones, which sometimes come free with the radio itself, and some of the radios reviewed here also have a small built-in speaker.

Read on for reviews of the best models available in the UK in 2019 or scroll down for an overview of what to look for in a pocket DAB radio.

Best Pocket DAB Radios

1. Majority Petersfield-Go

The Petersfield-Go is one of the most popular pocket FM/DAB radios in the UK in 2019. It’s made by budget radio brand Majority, and is attractively priced compared to radios from better-known brands such as Roberts.

The Petersfield-Go is small enough to fit in your pocket and can be charged via a USB cable.

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • Rechargeable internal battery that offers up to 12 hours of playback time
  • Headphone socket (3.5 mm)
  • Keylock feature
  • LCD display
  • Earphones included
  • SD port for playing MP3s
  • Clasp for attaching to clothing

Dimensions: 9.5 x 5.5 x 1.5 cm
Weight: 118 g

Pros

  • Small and light
  • Good battery life compared to other pocket digital radios
  • Easy to use even if you’ve never had a DAB radio before
  • Automatically sets the right time and finds DAB stations

Cons

  • Earphones included are poor quality

Summary

The Petersfield-Go is popular for a reason: it’s a low-priced pocket radio with a good range of features and a small, light design.

The sound quality will depend on the DAB reception where you live and the headphones you use with it. Read our full review of the Petersfield-Go here.

 

2. Pure Move R3

The Pure Move R3 is the latest in Pure’s lineup of pocket radios. It’s more expensive than the two radios reviewed above, but it has a sleek, high-end feel to it and comes with a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Unlike many pocket radios, it features a sleep timer which is great for saving the battery if you like to listen to the radio in bed.

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • Saves up to 20 FM and DAB/DAB+ preset stations
  • 3 dedicated preset buttons
  • Sleep timer
  • Earphones included

Dimensions: 10.2 x 5.6 x 1.5 cm
Weight: 88 g

Pros

  • Stylish design
  • Good build quality
  • 3-year warranty
  • Good battery life (up to 15 hours)
  • Fits easily in a pocket

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • No pocket clasp

Summary

The Pure Move R3 is smartly designed with some really useful features.

It’s light and compact, and works well in your pocket while you’re walking around. It’s also good for listening to in bed due to the useful sleep timer.

 

3. Roberts Sports DAB5

The Roberts Sports DAB5 is a popular pocket radio from well known British brand Roberts.

Despite the brand name this radio is still quite affordable, and only costs a bit more than cheaper radios from brands such as Majority.

Unlike most of the pocket radios reviewed here the Roberts Sports DAB5 takes two AA batteries rather than charging via USB. This could be an advantage or disadvantage depending on your personal preferences.

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • 5 dedicated preset buttons for quickly tuning into your favourite stations
  • Key lock so you won’t accidentally press buttons when it’s in your pocket
  • Takes 2 AA batteries (not included)
  • Earphones included
  • Sleep timer

Dimensions: 10.5 x 6.2 x 2 cm
Weight: 68 g

Pros

  • Easy to access preset stations
  • Feels well made
  • Attractive design

Cons

  • Batteries don’t last very long and replacing AA batteries can be expensive

Summary

The Roberts Sports DAB5 is a high-quality radio that feels a bit higher-end than some of the cheaper alternatives.

It’s easy to use and has some useful extra features such as a sleep timer which is great if you listen to the radio in bed. However, it gets through AA batteries quickly which can become expensive if you don’t have some good rechargeable batteries.

Read our full review of the Roberts Sports DAB5 here.

 

4. Sony XDR-P1

The Sony XDR-P1 is very high quality product and one of the top-rated small digital radios in the UK.

It’s slightly bigger than most of the radios reviewed here. This radio measures 11.5 x 5.7 x 2.4 cm so it might be a bit large for your pocket.

The product is more expensive than some of the other handheld radios reviewed here, but if you want an assurance of quality, this radio is a good option. It has an inbuilt amplifier which means you don’t need to use earphones.

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • Inbuilt speaker
  • Saves 20 preset stations
  • Headphone jack
  • Sleep feature
  • USB charging cable
  • Auto-tune feature

Dimensions: 11.5 x 5.7 x 2.4 cm
Weight: 168 g

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Good reception
  • Built-in speaker sounds surprisingly good
  • Finds DAB stations quickly

Cons

  • Volume when using headphones doesn’t go very loud

Summary

This is a very high-quality product, and the speaker sounds amazing for its size. It’s not the cheapest or smallest pocket DAB radio, but it’s definitely one to consider. Read our full review of the Sony XDR-P1 here.

 

5. AZATOM Pro Sports S1

Designed with sportspeople and runners in mind, the AZATOM Pro Sports S1 DAB FM radio is a handy device to take with you when you’re out and about. The radio was designed and engineered in the UK (but made in the Far East).

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • Built-in speaker
  • Earphones included
  • Save up to 20 stations
  • Autoscan feature to automatically find and tune into DAB stations
  • Shows song titles on LCD screen
  • Key lock
  • USB charging
  • Telescopic aerial

Dimensions: 9 x 5 x 2 cm
Weight: 104 g

Pros

  • Good battery life (up to 15 hours)
  • Quite cheap
  • Charger included

Cons

  • Aerial isn’t very sturdy and can be easily bent
  • Mono speaker (stereo with earphones)

Summary

This is a great radio to take with you while travelling (provided you can recharge it), or to listen to while walking and jogging.

It’s available at a very affordable price and has garnered lots of positive reviews. If you’d like more information, read our full review of the AZATOM Pro Sports S1 here.

 

6. Goodmans GDPRDAB Pocket DAB Radio

Unlike many pocket DAB radios, the Goodmans GDPRDAB has a built-in speaker so you aren’t limited to listening to it through headphones.

When listening through the speaker, the radio uses the extendable aerial to pick up a signal. When listening through headphones, the headphones act as an aerial, so you don’t need to extend the aerial while its in your pocket.

Features

  • FM/DAB radio
  • Built-in speaker
  • Headphone jack
  • Rechargeable built-in battery (charges via USB)
  • Extendable aerial
  • Saves 20 presets

Dimensions: 8.9 cm high x 5.2 cm wide x 1.7 cm deep

Pros

  • Built-in speaker
  • Very compact—fits in the palm of your hand
  • Well built

Cons

  • Speaker sound quality is quite poor
  • Aerial is delicate

Summary

The Goodmans GDPRDAB is a well-made little radio that gives you the option to listen through either the speaker or headphones.

As you’d expect from something this small, the speaker doesn’t sound amazing. However, it serves its purpose well.

 

Choosing a Pocket DAB Radio

Here are some things to look for when choosing a pocket DAB radio:

  • DAB+
    DAB+ is a more modern digital radio standard than DAB. Most of the UK still uses DAB, but the network could switch to DAB+ at some point in the future. Look for a radio with DAB+ so that it’s “future ready”.
  • Newer models
    Always look for the latest model of a digital radio as it will have the most up-to-date technology. For example, you should avoid buying the Roberts Sports DAB2 and instead buy the newer Roberts Sports DAB5.
  • Key lock feature
    A key lock feature means that you can’t accidentally change the channel or turn the radio off by knocking it.
    You select the station and volume you want, then lock the device before putting it in your pocket.
    This feature is really helpful if you’re listening to the radio while walking, running, cycling or doing any other physical activity.
  • Small size
    Not all “pocket” radios will actually fit easily into your pocket. Try to find out the product’s dimensions before you buy it to avoid being disappointed. Pocket radios can be as small as two inches long, meaning you can fit them comfortably in your pocket.
    The smallest DAB radio we could find is the Tin-Nik DAB Portable Radio, which measures just 4.8 x 3.5 x 1.5 cm. Most pocket radios are roughly 9 cm high, 5 cm wide and 2 cm deep.
  • Battery life and recharging options
    One of the most common complaints about pocket DAB radios, and portable DAB radios in general, is that they have poor battery life. If you’re used to listening to an AM/FM radio for weeks before changing or recharging the battery you will be disappointed with pocket DAB radios.
    Most pocket DAB radios have a battery life of less than 10 hours, and this tends to deteriorate over time. Nevertheless, some radios are better than others when it comes to battery life.
    You should also consider recharging options: would you rather charge the radio via USB or use batteries?
    The radios reviewed on this page can all be charged from a computer using a USB cable, except for the Roberts Sports DAB5 which takes AA batteries.
  • Positive reviews
    Look for a pocket radio with plenty of positive genuine reviews. The radios listed here some of the top-rated handheld digital radios currently available in the UK.

Pocket DAB Radio FAQs

Here are some other frequently asked questions about pocket DAB radios and digital radio in general.

  • Why buy a pocket DAB radio?
    If you have a smartphone, you could use it like a pocket radio by using radio apps such as TuneIn. However, these apps use quite a lot of data, which can become expensive. Listening to the radio on your phone also runs down the battery quickly.
    Pocket radios offer you a convenient and easy way to listen to the radio for free (except for the cost of the radio).
  • Can you get pocket DAB radios with Bluetooth?
    At the time of writing, we couldn’t find any pocket DAB radios with built-in Bluetooth. However, it is possible to use wireless headphones with a pocket DAB radio if you have a Bluetooth transmitter such as this one from Taotronics.
    This is a small device that plugs into the headphone jack and transmits audio to Bluetooth headphones (or a Bluetooth speaker).
    While Bluetooth transmitters are small, having to keep both a pocket radio and a transmitter in your pocket isn’t an ideal solution.
  • How long does the battery last on a pocket DAB radio?
    Unfortunately, DAB radio is relatively power-hungry, so most pocket digital radios only have a battery life of around 10 hours or less. If you use the FM mode you will be able to listen for longer. Most pocket DAB radios are recharged by plugging the device into a computer using a USB cable.
  • Do pocket DAB radios actually work? Won’t my pocket block the signal?
    These radios are designed to work in your pocket and use the headphones as an aerial, so putting them in your pocket shouldn’t be a problem. However, DAB signal in the UK can be temperamental and is poor in some areas.
  • Can I use a pocket DAB radio in my car?
    Yes, pocket radios can be used in the car either by plugging them into your car stereo or just using with headphones. However, a more suitable option for the car would be a plug-and-play DAB radio adapter.
  • Which stations can I get on DAB?
    If you live in the UK, you will normally be able to receive all of the popular BBC and commercial stations such as Radio 4, Radio 5 Live, TalkSport etc. as well as at least 10 extra stations you wouldn’t get on an AM/FM. You can use our coverage checker here to get a better indication of what’s available in your area.
  • Can I use a DAB radio abroad?
    Yes, but you will only get stations from that country (if the country uses DAB). All of the radios reviewed here offer both FM and DAB/DAB+, so you will be able to pick up local and national FM stations in the country you are visiting. We’ve published a few articles on listening to the radio abroad:

  • Does DAB radio require WiFi?
    No, DAB radio doesn’t require an internet connection. You use it just like you would listen to FM radio.
  • Is DAB radio free?
    Yes, once you own a DAB radio it doesn’t cost anything to listen to digital radio (except for the electricity costs of recharging your radio).

 

Best Pocket FM Radios

While digital radio is growing in popularity, many people still find they can get better reception on AM/FM radio.

Pocket AM/FM radios have the additional advantage of offering better battery life than pocket DAB radios, which sometimes only last 5 hours or so before the battery runs out.

Pocket AM/FM radios often have a built-in speaker as well as a headphone jack so you have a choice of ways to listen to them.

A pocket radio can help provide some companionship and entertainment if you’re unwell or spend a lot of time on your own.

These radios are popular among people staying in hospital for extended periods of time as well as people with solitary jobs, for example postal workers.

A pocket radio is also a nice thing to take with you when walking the dog or fishing.

To help you choose the right radio, here’s a roundup of some of the best pocket AM/FM radios currently available in the UK.

1. DreamSky AM FM Portable Radio

The DreamSky AM FM Portable Radio is a compact product that you could use for listening to around the house, in the garden or while travelling.

This radio offers a choice of listening through either the built-in speaker or headphones. It’s powered by 2 AA batteries.

Features

  • AM/FM radio
  • Carrying strap
  • Built-in speaker
  • Headphone jack
  • LED tuning indicator
  • Takes 2 x AA batteries

Dimensions: 11.9 cm wide x 7.4 cm high x 2 cm deep

Pros

  • Sturdy and well built
  • Plenty of volume
  • Value for money
  • Sound quality is good for the size & price

Cons

  • No preset station function

Summary

If you want a simple, easy-to-use and inexpensive personal AM/FM radio, this product is a great choice.

The sound and volume are quite impressive for something so small and cheap.

 

2. PRUNUS DEGEN-DE333

This tiny AM/FM radio is the size of a credit card, so it will easily fit in a pocket.

It has a built-in speaker which sounds surprisingly good for something so small.

There’s also a headphone jack for listening privately, though unfortunately there isn’t a key lock function so it’s easy to accidentally change the station or adjust the volume if it’s in your pocket.

Features

  • AM/FM radio
  • Extendable aerial
  • Built-in speaker
  • Headphone jack
  • Takes 2 x AAA batteries

Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.4 x 2 cm
Weight: 65 g

Pros

  • Good sound quality for something so small
  • Very small and light
  • Has both a speaker and headphone jack
  • Straightforward and easy to use

Cons

  • No key lock function

Summary

This product is a good choice if you want something very small and compact. The PRUNUS DEGEN-DE333 doesn’t have any flashy features but it’s functional and easy to use.

 

3. ZesGood AM/FM Portable Radio

This compact radio from ZesGood features a built-in speaker, a headphone jack and a telescopic aerial. It’s a simple and unflashy product that offers very good value for money.

Features

  • AM/FM radio
  • Takes 2 x AA batteries
  • 14-inch extendable aerial
  • Built-in speaker
  • Headphone jack

Dimensions: 11.5 x 6.5 x 2.5 cm

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Long battery life
  • Generally very good reception
  • Clear sound
  • Compact and light design

Cons

  • Aerial can be fragile

Summary

This product is a great choice if you want something small, cheap and functional. The lack of an LCD or LED display helps give this pocket radio last a very long time on batteries, especially when compared to pocket DAB radios.

 

4. Mifine Pocket Portable AM FM Radio

The Mifine Pocket Portable AM FM Radio has more features than similar products, while maintaining a low price.

Unlike most pocket AM/FM radios, this product features an alarm clock and sleep timer. It also has a digital display so you know exactly which frequency you’re tuned into.

Features

  • AM/FM radio
  • Built-in speaker
  • Headphone jack
  • Digital display showing frequency and time
  • Dual alarm clock
  • Saves 20 AM and 20 preset stations
  • Sleep timer (10-90 minutes)
  • Takes 2 x AA batteries

Weight: 60 g

Pros

  • Has a sleep timer—good for listening in bed
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • Reception can be unreliable
  • Instructions manual uses very small font

Summary

This radio could be a good choice if you want something to listen to in bed as it has a sleep timer which will switch the radio off after chosen period of time from 10 to 90 minutes, thereby saving battery life.

 

5. Sony ICFP26.CE7 Portable AM/FM Radio

The Sony ICFP26.CE7 is a popular handheld AM/FM radio with the choice of listening through the built-in speaker or headphones.

At 11.9 cm tall it might be a bit large for a trouser or shirt pocket, but it should fit easily in a coat pocket.

Features

  • AM/FM radio
  • Hand strap
  • Headphone jack
  • Takes 2 x AA batteries
  • Battery level indicator

Dimensions: 11.9 x 7 x 3.8 cm
Weight: 197 g (with batteries)

Pros

  • Very good battery life
  • Simple and straightforward

Cons

  • Speaker sounds quite tinny
  • Quite large for a personal radio
  • Reception can be poor
  • Fiddly to get the correct volume

Summary

The best thing about the Sony ICFP26.CE7 is that batteries last a long time—some users find that batteries last over 100 hours.

However, the overall quality of this radio is quite disappointing for a Sony radio.

 

Choosing an AM/FM Pocket Radio

Here are some things to consider when looking for an AM/FM pocket radio:

  • Price – The radios reviewed here all cost less than £40 at the time of writing. You can get a pocket AM/FM radio for under £15, though you will typically need to pay more if you want something with more features or something by an established brand.
  • Size – The radios reviewed here range in size from 8.4 cm (3.3 inches) long to 12.6 cm (5 inches) long. If you want to use the radio in your pocket, consider the size of your pocket so you can choose something small enough.
  • Built-in speaker – Some pocket radios have a built-in speaker which is useful if you don’t want to listen through headphones all the time. The sound quality of a small pocket/personal radio will usually be quite tinny but should be ok for listening to speech and sports programmes.
  • Battery type – One of the most important things to think about when choosing a pocket radio is how it’s powered. Some radios have a built-in battery that will only last 5 hours or so before needing to be recharged. Others take AA batteries which can last over 100 hours on some models. The downside to AA batteries is that you either need to replace them or recharge them yourself once they run down. It’s also a good idea to choose a radio with a battery level indicator so you’ll have some warning when the battery is about to run down.
  • Brand – Some of the radios reviewed here are made by established brands such as Roberts and Sony, while others are made by less well-known Chinese brands such as Tivdio. While you can normally expect better build quality from established brands, this isn’t always the case.

 

Conclusion

If we had to pick just one pocket DAB radio to recommend it would be the Majority Petersfield-Go as it performs well and offers great value for money.

If you have more money to spend, the Pure Move R3 has a more stylish design and comes backed by a 3-year warranty.

If we had to recommend just one pocket AM/FM radio, it would be the DreamSky AM FM Portable Radio as it’s well built, easy-to-use and inexpensive.

The radios reviewed above are some of our top picks, but there are plenty of other good pocket radios available if none of them appeal.

If you’re a runner, check out our roundup of the best pocket radios for running, which includes some DAB radios as well as AM/FM radios and MP3 player radios.

3 thoughts on “Best Pocket DAB Radios (UK 2019)”

  1. Just a small point. Neither the AZATOM Pro Sports S1, or any other portable radio, is suitable for camping/hiking etc unless you can replace the batteries. The included usb charger won’t be much use in a field.

    1. I have a solar powered charger which will charge any device in the field… So no electricity needed! They’re not expensive and it comes with two USB ports and one micro USB port. It even has a little torch! Hope this helps!

  2. I often listen to DAB radio in the wee small hours when I can’t sleep. One thing you haven’t considered in your review are the softness of the radio buttons and user interface in the dark. Your partner is not going to be amused with you clicking away every time you change stations or volume. Most of the above radios have hard buttons, hence loud plastic clicks! Bear this in mind if you are a night listener!

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