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 in the UK in 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. Pure Evoke C-D4 – the best DAB radio CD player for most people

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. Read our full review of the Pure Evoke C-D4 here.

2. Ruark Audio R4 MK3 – a high-end radio with excellent sound

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 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.

3. Roberts Blutune100 – real quality without breaking the bank

The Roberts Blutune100 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: 32.9 x 22 x 11.3 cm
Weight: 2 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 Blutune100 is a good choice if you want something that offers real quality without breaking the bank. Read our full review of the Roberts Blutune100 here.

4. Panasonic SC-PM250BEBS – a compact and inexpensive micro hi-fi system

The Panasonic SC-PM250BEBS is an inexpensive micro hi-fi system that offers DAB radio and a CD player.

Features

  • DAB/DAB+ radio
  • CD player
  • Bluetooth
  • USB port for playing MP3s
  • 2 speakers
  • Adjustable bass and treble
  • Remote control

Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 10 cm (unit), 13.7 x 13.8 x 22.3 cm (speakers)
Weight: 4.1 kg

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Small and compact
  • CD player responds quickly
  • Good DAB reception
  • Good sound quality for the price
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • No headphone jack
  • No AA battery included for the remote control
  • Feels cheaply made

Summary

If you want an inexpensive and compact hi-fi system with DAB radio, a CD player and Bluetooth, the Panasonic SC-PM250BEBS is ideal. It could be a good choice if you want to replace a bulky old hi-fi with something more compact and modern. Read our full review of the Panasonic SC-PM250BEBS here.

5. Panasonic SC-HC297EB-K – a great-sounding wall-mounted radio

The Panasonic SC-HC297EB-K has an impressive range of features and a convenient wall-mountable design.

Features

  • DAB/DAB+ radio
  • CD player
  • Bluetooth with NFC for wirelessly streaming audio from a smartphone or other device
  • USB connection for playing MP3s from a flash drive, iPod or MP3 player
  • Wall-mountable design
  • Re-Master function to improve the sound of MP3 files

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

Pros

  • Stylish design
  • Good, rich sound quality
  • CD player is easy to use
  • Useful USB connection

Cons

  • No headphone jack
  • Preset radio stations are quite fiddly to use
  • Volume is limited

Summary

The Panasonic SC-HC297EB-K looks great and has good sound quality for the price. It does have some drawbacks however like the lack of a headphone jack and the limited amount of volume. Read our full review of the Panasonic SC-HC297EB-K here.

6. Roberts Radio Zoombox 3 – a well made portable radio CD player

The Zoombox 3 is a feature-packed boombox from Roberts that can go surprisingly loud for such a compact radio. The Zoombox 3 is portable, so it could be a good choice if you want to listen to CDs in the garden or if you are a contractor.

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • CD player (compatible with MP3 and WMA discs)
  • 40 preset stations
  • SD and USB ports for playing digital audio files
  • Headphone jack

Dimensions: 24.5 x 24.5 x 13.9 cm
Weight: 1.8 kg

Pros

  • Good sound quality
  • Can be turned up loud
  • Good build quality
  • Compact design
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Relatively pricey
  • No Bluetooth
  • EQ can’t be adjusted

Summary

The Zoombox 3 is a solidly built boombox, and since it’s made by Roberts you can expect it to last for years. It offers a good range of features and is quite versatile, though it sadly doesn’t have Bluetooth. Read our full review of the Roberts Zoombox 3 here.

7. John Lewis Cello Hi-Fi Music System – a beautiful radio with WiFi

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 definitely worth considering, 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.

 

Best FM Radio CD Players in the UK in 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 best FM radio CD player for most people

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. Philips AZ215B – a cheap and cheerful portable radio CD player

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.

3. Duronic Micro Hi-Fi RCD144 – a quality budget-priced radio CD player

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.

4 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.

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