Whether you’re gardening, camping or just relaxing in the sun, it’s nice to be able to listen to the radio outdoors. However, you can’t just take a regular radio outside and expose it to the elements without expecting trouble.
If you want to listen to the radio outside or in a greenhouse, it’s best to invest in something a bit tougher.
You might also want to think about buying a solar-powered or wind-up radio so you don’t need to rely so much on batteries.
In this article we’ll look at some of the best outdoor radios on the market in the UK in 2019.
Choosing an Outdoor Radio
What to look for in an outdoor radio
Here are a few features to look for in a good outdoor radio:
- Water resistance: There are very few (if any) truly waterproof radios, but you can buy models designed to withstand rain and damp.
- Solar charging: The UK climate isn’t ideal for solar charging, but solar charging can be useful when you’re camping and run out of batteries.
- Bluetooth: If you choose a radio with Bluetooth, you’ll be able to stream music or other audio from your phone. This is much better than listening to music through your phone’s tinny speakers. Outdoor radios with Bluetooth usually only have a Bluetooth receiver rather than a transmitter, so they can’t be used with Bluetooth headphones.
Types of radio to use outdoors
There are a few different kinds of radio that can work well outdoors:
- Jobsite radios: These radios are designed for construction sites. They’re very tough and are usually water resistant up to a certain point. They tend to be expensive, but there’s little chance of the radio being ruined through outdoor use.
- Solar radios: There are several small and inexpensive portable camping radios on the market that can be charged by winding them up or using solar energy. There are also some more expensive DAB radios with solar charging.
- Shower radios: If rain is your main concern, a shower radio might be a good choice. These radios usually have the most water resistance but aren’t as sturdily built as jobsite radios.
- Regular radios: If you’re careful about radio, a regular portable or pocket radio could be a good choice for using outside.
Below we’ve reviewed some of the top radios in these categories.
Where to Buy an Outdoor Radio
It’s harder to find a water-resistant outdoor radio than a regular DAB radio. Some places to look are listed below.
Amazon UK sells over 200 million different products, so it’s unsurprising that they have quite a large choice of outdoor radios. All of the radios mentioned in this article are available on Amazon, except for John Lewis own-brand products. Amazon sell shower radios, jobsite radios, solar radios and shower speakers.
Argos have quite a large choice of radios, including some shower radios and speakers. However, they don’t sell jobsite radios from brands such as Makita.
On Ebay, you can find a lot of cheap AM/FM portable radios and Bluetooth speakers which could be used outdoors. They are often made by lesser known brands, so they might not be especially high quality. See their selection of outdoor radios here.
John Lewis sell a good own-brand shower radio, the Spectrum Shower Radio, but apart from that most of the radios they sell aren’t particularly suited to using outdoors.
Screwfix is the UK’s largest trade tools retailer. They sell a few rugged jobsite radios that are suitable for using outdoors, including products from DeWalt and Makita. See their selection here.
Which Outdoor Radios Have Bluetooth?
If you want to listen to music from your phone while you’re outside, you’ll probably want a radio with Bluetooth. You could keep your phone indoors away from the elements while streaming music through the radio’s speaker if the Bluetooth range is long enough.
Here are some outdoor radios that have Bluetooth:
- UEME Job Site Radio
- Makita DMR106
- Makita DMR108
- Makita DMR200
You could also consider using a Bluetooth shower speaker. Shower speakers aren’t technically radios, though they sometimes have a built-in FM radio. Shower speakers are usually fully waterproof, so they could be good for using outside.
Which Outdoor Radios Are Waterproof?
There aren’t many truly waterproof radios. As mentioned above, you could use a shower speaker if you want something fully waterproof.
The dust- and water-resistance of a radio is measured using IP codes. IP codes are four-character codes. The first two characters are the letters IP, which stands for “International Protection”. The next character is a number which relates to dust resistance, and the last character is a number which relates to water resistance. The higher the number, the more resistance.
An example of an IP code is IPX4, which means. This code has an ‘X’ in the position for dust resistance, which means that it hasn’t been tested for dust resistance. The ‘4’ means that it can withstand being splashed with water for 10 minutes.
An IP code of IPX7 means a product can be fully immersed in water, so it’s fully waterproof. Some shower speakers have an IPX7 rating (we’ve written about a few in our roundup of the best shower radios).
Some products that are water resistant (IPX4) include the following:
Some products that are waterproof (IPX7) include the following:
There isn’t a single best radio for listening to outdoors. Which radio is right for you will depend on exactly where and when you want to listen to it. Here’s a summary of the radios reviewed here to help you make a quick decision:
- Makita DMR104: A rugged splash-proof FM/DAB radio.
- UEME Job Site DAB and FM Radio: A tough radio with FM, DAB and Bluetooth.
- Duronic Hybrid Radio: A small AM/FM radio with solar charging.
- Roberts SolarDAB 2: An FM/DAB radio with solar charging and a built-in battery charger.
- Sony ICF-S80 Shower Radio: A water-resistant AM/FM radio.
- John Lewis Spectrum Shower Radio: A water-resistant FM/DAB radio.