Best Pocket DAB Radios (UK 2018)

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 2018 or scroll down for an overview of what to look for in a pocket DAB radio.

Best Pocket DAB Radios (UK 2018)

1. Majority Parkside-Go

The Parkside-Go is one of the most popular pocket FM/DAB radios in the UK in 2018. It’s made by budget radio brand Majority, and is attractively priced compared to radios from better-known brands such as Roberts. The Parkside-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 Parkside-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.

2. 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.

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.

3. 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.

4. Pure Move 2520

The Move 2520 is made by digital radio pioneers Pure. It’s a more high-end model than some of the other radios reviewed here, and is therefore more expensive. Like many of the pocket radios reviewed here, the Pure Move 2520 comes with earphones included.

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+
  • Saves 20 preset stations
  • Sleep timer
  • Keylock function

Dimensions: 10.2 x 5.6 x 1.5 cm
Weight: 105 g

Pros

  • Useful sleep timer for saving battery life
  • Good reception on DAB
  • Compact and light
  • Good build quality

Cons

  • Orange screen looks a bit dated
  • Fiddly control dial
  • Fairly expensive

Summary

The Pure Move 2520 is a well-made product that should be more reliable than some of its cheaper competitors. Some people find the control dial fiddly to use, but it should be ok once you get used to it. Read our full review of the Pure Move 2520 here.

5. 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.

Also consider: Sony XDR-P1

The Sony XDR-P1 is very high quality product and one of the top-rated small digital radios in the UK. However, it’s slightly bigger than most of the radios reviewed here so we didn’t want to include it in the main list of pocket radios. 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.

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 pocket DAB radio currently for sale in the UK is the OXX Clip Pocket Radio. 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 below 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 the postcode search 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).

Conclusion

If we had to pick just one of these radios to recommend it would be the Majority Parkside-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.

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.

Here are a few other pocket DAB radios we have reviewed:

2 thoughts on “Best Pocket DAB Radios (UK 2018)

  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!

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