Best DAB & FM Radio CD Players (UK 2018)

CDs may be on the way out, but many of us aren’t ready to replace our large CD collections with MP3 downloads and online streaming. The good news is that there are still lots of great CD player radio combos out there to choose from.

Radio CD players range in price from less than £50 to over £500, and there are similarly large differences in the number of features offered and the sound quality. This guide will help you find the best radio CD player combo for you by looking at some of the best options at different price points and with different features. We hope you find these reviews useful.

Best DAB Radio CD Players (UK 2018)

After looking at all the DAB radio CD players on the market in the UK at the moment, we’ve picked out 7 of the best. We’ve included budget radios as well as high-end models, and have reviewed hi-fi systems, portable boomboxes and regular radios, so there should be something for everyone. We hope you find your ideal radio in this roundup!

1. John Lewis Cello Hi-Fi Music System

John Lewis Cello Radio

This sleekly designed radio from John Lewis offers not just DAB/DAB+ radio and a CD player, but also internet radio, giving you access to the 20,000+ stations that broadcast online from around the world.

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+/Internet radio
  • CD player
  • Bluetooth
  • USB port for playing MP3 files
  • Dual alarm clock
  • Saves 20 preset stations

Dimensions: 35 x 21.5 x 12.4 cm
Weight: 4.8 kg

Pros

  • Very attractive design
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Includes internet radio

Cons

  • Remote control looks cheap
  • Instructions are confusing

Summary

If looks matter to you, the John Lewis Cello is a great choice, as it’s one of the best-looking radios on this list. There’s more to the Cello than just looks though—the radio has lots of features including internet radio which gives you a huge choice of things to listen to. If you want something stylish and versatile without breaking the bank, the Cello is a good option.

2. Pure Evoke C-D4

The Pure Evoke C-D4 is one of the most highly rated DAB radio CD players on the market in the UK at the moment. It’s an expensive product, but it offers a good range of features including Bluetooth and comes with a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty. This stylish radio comes in a choice of attractive finishes: Grey Oak, Siena Black and Walnut.

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • CD player that can play CD-R and CD-RW discs
  • Bluetooth
  • Remote control
  • Alarm clock
  • Sleep timer
  • 10 watts of audio output

Dimensions: 22.3 x 21 x 13.6 cm
Weight: 2.8 kg

Pros

  • Compact design
  • Feels solid and well made
  • Backed by a 3-year warranty
  • Stylish and attractive

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Some people find the CD player to be unreliable

Summary

The Evoke C-D4 is expensive, but it’s a really high-quality product made by trusted British brand Pure. It offers all of the features most people want in a DAB radio CD player including Bluetooth, an alarm clock and the ability to play MP3 CDs.

A few people have had problems with the CD player on this machine, but the radio is backed by a 3-year warranty which should give you peace of mind. If you have more money to spend, you might want to consider the Evoke C-D6, which is essentially the same as the C-D4 but with stereo sound. Read our full review of the Pure Evoke C-D4 here.

3. Majority Oakington

The Majority Oakington is one of the most affordable DAB radio CD players on the market, and it offers great value for money. It’s a good inexpensive alternative to products from more established brands such as Pure and Roberts.

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • CD player
  • Bluetooth
  • USB port for playing MP3s and charging devices
  • Aux-in port
  • Remote control
  • Headphone jack
  • Alarm clock

Dimensions: 40 x 20 x 13 cm
Weight: 1.2 kg

Pros

  • Good value for money
  • Easy to use
  • Plenty of features
  • Useful remote control
  • Nice sound with a good amount of bass

Cons

  • Remote could be more responsive
  • FM reception isn’t great

Summary

The Oakington is one of the most popular DAB radios in the UK at the moment as it offers a lot of performance and features for the price. It costs a fraction of the price of similar products from Roberts and Pure, and has surprisingly good sound quality. Read our full review of the Oakington here.

4. Ruark Audio R4 Mk3

The Ruark R4 Mk3 is an attractive, classy radio CD player that comes in either a high-gloss lacquered or walnut wood veneer cabinet. The Ruark R4 Mk3 isn’t cheap, but it’s one of the best-sounding radio CD players on the market. It’s a good choice for audiophiles who want to enjoy their CDs with the most detailed sound quality possible.

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • Bluetooth with aptX
  • Multi-format CD player
  • Remote control

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

Pros

  • Sturdy, high-quality construction
  • Excellent sound quality—one of the best-sounding radio CD players on the market
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Remote control has limited functions
  • Would be nice to have WiFi given the price
  • Design has a 1960s feel to it, which not everyone will like

Summary

Ruark probably produce the best-sounding DAB radios currently available on the market, and the Ruark R4 Mk3 matches the high standard of their other products. This radio is very expensive, but this level of sound quality comes at a price. Read our full review of the Ruark R4 Mk3 here.

5. Roberts Blutune 200

The Roberts Blutune 200 is one of the most affordable radio CD players that can still be considered ‘high-end’. It’s priced somewhere between the Majority Oakington and the Ruark R4 Mk3, and offers the build and sound quality you’d expect from Roberts without being too expensive.

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • CD player that can play MP3 and WMA CDs
  • USB socket for charging a phone
  • Bluetooth
  • Multi-function alarm clock
  • Headphone jack
  • Adjustable equaliser with separate treble and bass

Dimensions: 36 x 27 x 12.5 cm
Weight: 3.9 kg

Pros

  • Very good sound quality
  • Good equaliser settings to help you find the right sound
  • Bluetooth is easy to use
  • Convenient USB charging point
  • Good amount of volume

Cons

  • Remote control has a short range
  • Lowest screen brightness is still quite bright

Summary

The Roberts Blutune 200 is a good choice if you want something that offers real quality without breaking the bank. Read our full review of the Roberts Blutune 200 here.

 

Best FM Radio CD Players (UK 2018)

After looking at the most popular FM radio CD players available in the UK in 2018, here are 3 of the best. These radios are all quite reasonably priced, so choosing one of these radios could be a cheaper alternative to buying a more expensive DAB or internet radio.

1. Roberts CD9959 Swallow

The Roberts CD9959 Swallow is an affordable portable radio CD player with the prestigious Roberts brand name. It lets you program up to 20 tracks on a CD so you can choose the order they’re played in.

Features

  • LW/MW/FM radio
  • CD player
  • Program up to 20 tracks on the CD player
  • CD repeat function
  • Bass boost function
  • Headphone socket

Dimensions: 25 x 25 x 13.5 cm
Weight: 1.79 kg

Pros

  • Light and easy to carry
  • Above average sound quality for this kind of radio
  • Can go quite loud
  • Speakers sound nice and warm when using the bass boost function

Cons

  • The slider for switching between Radio, CD and Off is quite fiddly

Summary

The Roberts Swallow is a dependable portable radio CD player with above average sound quality. It offers great value for money. Read our full review of the Roberts CD9959 Swallow here.

2. Panasonic SC-HC195EB-K

The Panasonic SC- HC195EB-K is a micro hi-fi with a CD player and FM radio that can be mounted on a wall or positioned on a table. The SC- HC195EB-K also features a USB port, so you play MP3s from a flash drive.

Features

  • CD player
  • FM radio
  • Wall-mountable design
  • USB port
  • Remote control
  • 5 EQ presets

Dimensions: 40 x 19.7 x 10.7 cm
Weight: 1.9 kg

Pros

  • Sleek and stylish design
  • Good sound quality for the price
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • No headphone jack
  • No advanced features such as Bluetooth

Summary

The Panasonic SC- HC195EB-K  has a nice slim, compact design and doesn’t take up much space. It performs well for the price, is easy to use and has decent sound quality.

3. Duronic RCD008

The Duronic RCD008 is a portable boombox radio CD player that comes in either a black or black and red finish. It’s an affordable product that can be powered by the mains or used as a portable radio with 6 x C batteries.

Features

  • CD player
  • FM radio
  • Aux-in port
  • Headphone jack
  • Can be portable with 6 x C batteries

Pros

  • Compact size
  • Affordable
  • Simple to use
  • Has a headphone jack

Cons

  • CD can rattle
  • Sounds quite tinny

Summary

If you want something small, cheap and portable, the Duronic RCD008 is a good choice. It’s not a hi-fi though, and the sound quality isn’t very impressive.

4. Philips AZ215B

The Philips AZ215B is an inexpensive portable FM radio CD player that comes in a choice of colours: black, pink, red and silver.

Features

  • Programmable CD player with shuffle and repeat functions
  • Plays CDs, CD-Rs and CD-RWs
  • Dynamic Bass Boost function
  • Mains powered or battery powered with 6 x LR14 batteries

Dimensions: 25.2 x 23.2 x 12.4 cm
Weight: 1.2 kg

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Good choice of colours
  • Can be turned up quite loud
  • Decent sound quality for the price

Cons

  • No headphone jack
  • Only has a carrying hole rather than a proper handle

Summary

If you want a cheap and cheerful radio CD player with only the most basic functions, the Philips AZ215B is a good choice. It doesn’t have any advanced features like Bluetooth, and doesn’t even have a headphone jack, but if you just want to listen to CDs and FM radio it gets the job done at a very reasonable price.

5. Duronic Micro Hi-Fi RCD144

The Duronic RCD144 Micro Hi-Fi Audio System is an affordable radio CD player with a good range of features.

Features

  • AM/FM radio
  • Top-loading CD player that plays regular CDs and well as MP3 CDs
  • USB port for playing MP3s from a USB device
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • LCD display
  • Remote control

Dimensions: 30 x 25.5 x 22 cm (unit)
Weight: 1.6 kg

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Nice-looking design
  • Feels well made given the low price
  • Good sound quality for a small, affordable Hi-Fi
  • USB port is a useful extra feature

Cons

  • Remote control is small and fiddly
  • Volume is quite limited

Summary

The Duronic RCD144 Micro Hi-Fi Audio System isn’t perfect, but it offers great value for money if you’re looking for a decent quality budget-priced CD player with AM/FM radio.

 

How to Choose a Radio CD Player

Choosing a radio CD player can be difficult, as modern radios come with a confusing array of features. This buying guide will help you decide which features you need.

DAB or FM radio?

DAB, which stands for “digital audio broadcasting” is a more modern method of transmitting radio than FM. DAB radios usually pick up more radio stations and when the signal is good the audio quality is higher. However, DAB reception is still patchy in the UK, so sometimes the signal is more reliable on FM radio.

There’s a chance that the FM signal in the UK will be switched off in the future in favour of DAB, so if you buy an FM-only radio it could become obsolete. Almost all DAB radios sold today also offer FM radio, so in general it makes sense to buy a radio with both FM and DAB rather than just FM.

However, if you want something very cheap and don’t plan to use it for more than a few years, an FM-only radio should be fine for listening to the big national and local radio stations.

Portable or mains-only?

Most of the radios reviewed above are mains-only, so you can’t use them with batteries. A few, however, can optionally be used with batteries. If you want a radio you can carry around and listen to in different rooms or in the garden, make sure you buy a portable radio. Portable radio CD players are often called ‘boomboxes’, which are compact and robust devices with a carrying handle.

Radio or micro hi-fi?

Some of the products reviewed above are micro hi-fi systems. This means they have a unit with the CD player and controls and then two separate speakers. This could be a good option if you want more stereo separation, as the two speakers will normally offer more of an obvious stereo sound than a radio with two speakers built into the same unit.

Bluetooth

Bluetooth allows you to ‘steam’ audio from a Bluetooth-enabled device such as a smartphone through the radio’s speakers. This means that you can play an MP3, YouTube video or other source of audio on your phone but hear the audio with better sound quality through the radio’s speakers. Most tablets and laptops also have Bluetooth, so you can stream audio from these devices through a Bluetooth radio. Pairing the two devices is usually very easy, so Bluetooth can be a convenient feature to have.

You can see some more of the best DAB radios with Bluetooth here.

USB port

Some of the radios reviewed above also have a USB port for charging a device such as a smartphone or playing MP3 files from a USB flash drive. This is a good feature if you have lots of MP3 files stored on an MP3 player or USB drive and want to play them through your radio’s speakers.

You can see some more of the best radios with a USB port here.

Ability to play CDs you’ve burnt yourself

All CD players can play CD-Rs with uncompressed WAV or AIFF audio files on them. This means if you download an album and burn it to a CD as an audio disc you should be able to play it on any CD player. However, not every CD player can play CDs containing MP3 files. MP3s are compressed audio files that take up less space on the disc, so you can fit a lot more music on an MP3 CD (around 150-200 songs). When a radio manufacturer says that a CD player can play CD-RW discs this usually means that it can play MP3 CDs.

 

Conclusion

If we had to pick just one of these radios to recommend it would be the John Lewis Cello as it has a stunning design, great sound quality and offers a plenty of features including a dual alarm clock and internet radio, making it truly ‘futureproof’.

6 thoughts on “Best DAB & FM Radio CD Players (UK 2018)

  1. Very nice but you need to concentrate on the range of the remote and whether you can use it from a side angle and of course the distance.

  2. roberts 38 dab/fm/cd sound ok BUT has great problem in playing past track 13 on some cds also the slighest vibration on surface where it is placed can cause the CD to stop or jump. I am talking of maybe putting a coffee cup 12-14 inches away. would nor recommend it!!!!!!!!

  3. Very frustrating how many players do not have a headphone socket or if they do have one they are on the back which is awkward if the player is located on a bookshelf etc.
    Also, many manufacturers do not state if self-recorded CDs are compatible/playable.

  4. Personally I would not include Roberts in this ‘Best’ list. I bought one and the machine is extremely disappointing, the laser that reads the CD’s is constantly failing despite the regular cleaning that is recommended and it is only months old, it starts playing and after a time fails even with a brand new CD! Very poor quality which is not immediately apparent. I think the clue is in the pathetic knob for switching on/off +radio/cd, do not buy! a complete waste of money I will never buy Roberts again.

  5. POOR from PURE. I bought a Pure evoke c-d 4 and it failed on the first day – no sound from either radio or cd. I got a replacement and unbelievably that failed after one day too! – again no sound. I corresponded with Pure customer support who apparently dont ‘do’ compensation and would only offer a like for like replacement. As I have completely lost faith with this product another unit was not what i wanted. All I got from Pure were empty platitudes about how great their products are (obviously not in my experience), but no good will gestures….very disappointing all round.

    1. I sympathise with you as i am just about to rerturn my third unit. I have perservered as it looks so nice , but all have failed within a day or two of set up.
      No.1 – kept reverting to aux mode, hence no sound
      No.2 – played happily…but no sound
      No.3 – again kept reverting to aux mode
      I even attempted a factory reset on third unit, but again started reverting to aux…..Perhaps a less attractive option is the only answer:(

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