Best DAB Radio CD Players (UK 2019)

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 all-in-one 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. They offer both radio and a CD player combined into a single sound system.

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 2019)

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. Ruark Audio R4 Mk3 – Best Radio CD Player Overall

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 is an expensive product, 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, but if you’re on a budget you might want to scroll down to see some of the cheaper radios on this list.

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • Slot-loading CD player (CD-R/RW/MP3)
  • Bluetooth
  • USB port for playing MP3, AAC or WMA files
  • Headphone jack
  • 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 doesn’t have numbers for accessing CD tracks
  • Would be nice to have WiFi given the price
  • Can’t play FLAC files

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.

 

2. 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, AAC, WMA and FLAC files
  • Aux-in
  • 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
  • Presets can be accessed easily from remote

Cons

  • Remote control looks cheap
  • Instructions can be confusing
  • Bluetooth range is short

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.

 

3. Majority Oakington – Best Radio CD Player Under £100

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. 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
  • Bluetooth
  • Multi-function alarm clock
  • Headphone jack
  • Adjustable equaliser with separate treble and bass
  • USB port for charging a phone or recording to a USB stick

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

  • Lowest screen brightness is still quite bright
  • Remote has a short range and needs to be directed straight at the unit

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.

 

5. Pure Chronos CD Series II

Pure Chronos CD Series II

The Pure Chronos CD Series II is a popular radio CD player that has a convenient triangular design, which allows it to fit neatly in the corner of a shelf or countertop.

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • Top-loading CD player (CD, CD-R, CD-RW)
  • USB port for charging a phone or other device
  • Saves 30 preset stations
  • Aux-in port
  • Alarm clock with ability to set 4 alarms
  • Sleep timer
  • Infrared remote control

Dimensions: 19.5 x 18.5 x 12.5 cm
Weight: 1.41 kg

Pros

  • Easy to save preset stations
  • Fits well into a corner
  • Compact size
  • Clear clock display
  • Good sound quality for the size and price

Cons

  • Remote control is small
  • CD player can be noisy

Summary

With the alarm and sleep timer functions, the compact size and easy-to-read clock display, the Pure Chronos CD Series II could be a good choice for a bedside table or kitchen countertop.

The CD player is top-loading, which some people prefer to slot-loading and tray designs. However, it can be noisy when playing CDs.

 

6. Roberts ZoomBox 3 – Best Portable DAB Radio CD Player

The ZoomBox 3 is a portable FM/DAB radio CD player from Roberts. You can plug it into the mains using the adapter provided, or power it with 6 C-size batteries.

This boombox-style radio is easy to set up and use, and has a convenient portable design.

It has some great additional features including Bluetooth and a USB port.

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • CD player (can play MP3s and WMAs)
  • Saves 40 preset stations
  • USB port and SD card reader for playing MP3s/WMAs
  • Bass boost function
  • Headphone jack
  • Mains or battery powered (6 x C batteries)

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

Pros

  • Clear sound quality
  • Good value for money
  • Lots of features for the price
  • Feels well made

Cons

  • Could be more stylish
  • No Bluetooth
  • No remote control

Summary

This is a very well-made radio with a lot of functionality (though it doesn’t have Bluetooth). It’s a great choice if you want something portable and affordable.

This radio is easy to use and can be easily carried around the house using the carrying handle. If you want something portable with DAB radio and a CD player, this is one of the best options. Read our full review of the ZoomBox 3 here.

 

7. Majority Willingham

The Willingham is one of the newest radio CD players from budget brand Majority, having been released in October 2018.

It’s a very affordable product that packs in a lot of features for the price.

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • CD player
  • Bluetooth
  • Dual alarm clock
  • Sleep timer
  • Colour display
  • Aux-in
  • USB port for playing MP3s
  • Remote control

Dimensions: 40 x 24 x 13 cm
Weight: 3.8 kg

Pros

  • Stylish modern design
  • Good sound quality
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Plenty of bass

Cons

  • Remote control is small
  • Build quality could be higher
  • Sound can be boomy

Summary

If you want something cheap with a lot of features, the Majority Willingham is a good choice. It’s easy to use and decent sound quality with plenty of bass, though it can sound too boomy.

 

Best FM Radio CD Players (UK 2019)

After looking at the most popular FM radio CD players available in the UK in 2019, here are 5 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. Sony CMT-X3CD Bluetooth Hi-Fi System

The Sony CMT-X3CD is quite different to most FM radio CD players. It has a stylish design and features Bluetooth, so you can use it as a wireless speaker.

The CD player is top mounted, which allows the Sony CMT-X3CD to have a very slimline design that allows it to fit on a bookshelf or other small space. The CMT-X3CD has a built-in speaker, so you don’t need to attach it to external speakers.

Features

  • FM radio
  • CD player
  • Bluetooth with NFC
  • USB port for playing music from a USB drive
  • Mains powered only
  • Remote control
  • EQ with 7 presets

Dimensions: 34 x 17.3 x 9 cm

Pros

  • Stylish design
  • Decent sound quality
  • Features Bluetooth and a remote control

Cons

  • Easy to knock over
  • Expensive for an FM-only radio

Summary

This product is more expensive than the other non-DAB options reviewed here, but it could be a good choice if you don’t need digital radio and are looking for something stylish with Bluetooth.

 

3. 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.

 

4. 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.

 

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’.

For some more recommended radios, see our roundup of the best DAB radios on the market.

 

7 thoughts on “Best DAB Radio CD Players (UK 2019)”

  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:(

    2. PETER BUCKLEY

      SUPPLIERS MUST BY LAW EITHER PROVIDE A SIMILAR REPLACEMENT OR A FULL WITHINN A FEW WEEKS AT LEAST AND IF THEY HAVE UNLAWFULLY CAUSED YOU GRIEF, THEY MUST COMPENSATE YOU. REPORT SUCH LAW BREAKING TRADERS TO TRADING STANDARDS OR THE BBC TV ROGUE TRADERS TEAM.

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