Best Radios for the Visually Impaired

Best Radios for the Visually Impaired 2024

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Radio helps us feel connected to the world, and this is especially true for blind and visually impaired people.

For those with poor eyesight, including the elderly, radio can be a lifeline that helps them stay informed and entertained.

Depending on your level of visual impairment different kinds of radios will be easier to use. You could look for a regular radio that has simple controls and big buttonsor opt for a specially designed radio for the visually impaired.

One important thing to know if you are registered blind or partially sighted is that you can often save money by claiming VAT relief when you purchase from certain sellers. At the time of writing, the British Wireless for the Blind Fund are offering a VAT discount.

We’ve researched the best radios for the visually impaired available in the UK in 2020, and have summarised the top options below.

Radios Designed for the Visually Impaired

The British Wireless for the Blind Fund offer some good advice on choosing a radio.

Two of the radios they recommend are the Roberts OPUS and the Roberts Concerto 2, which we have reviewed below.

These radios are described as “adapted radios”, which means they have been specially designed and adapted for use by blind and visually impaired people.

Roberts OPUS

The Roberts OPUS is a portable digital radio that offers both FM and DAB/DAB+ radio. It’s designed for the visually impaired with large yellow buttons.

Here are some of the OPUS’s main features:

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • Bluetooth capabilities
  • Saves 10 preset stations (5 on FM and 5 on DAB)
  • USB recording and playback
  • Headphone jack
  • Mains or battery-powered (4X C size batteries)
  • Aux input

The OPUS has rotary knobs for adjusting the tuning, volume and tone. The buttons aren’t too close together and have different shapes and sizes, making it easy to access different functions if you have poor eyesight.

Below is a summary of this radio’s pros and cons.


  • LCD display is large and easy to read
  • Presets are easy to access and hard to lose accidentally
  • Good build quality
  • Good sound quality
  • If rechargeable batteries are used, they can be recharged using the radios in-built charger


  • Expensive
  • C batteries are less easy to come by

The Roberts OPUS is an excellent digital radio for the elderly and visually impaired, though it’s very pricey, but it should last a long time and the sound quality is great.


Roberts Concerto 2

Another specially designed radio for the visually impaired from Roberts is the Concerto 2. As well as FM and DAB radio, the Concerto 2 also has a CD player, a cassette player, an SD card reader and a USB port, making it a very versatile piece of kit.

Here’s an overview of the Roberts Concerto 2’s features:

  • FM RDS and DAB radio
  • CD player with bookmark feature for audiobooks
  • SD card reader
  • USB port
  • Cassette player
  • Saves 10 preset stations (5 on FM and 5 on DAB)

Like the Roberts OPUS reviewed above, the Concerto 2 has yellow buttons which are easy to see. Some of the buttons also have raised parts so you can identify them by touch.

There are also 5 dedicated preset buttons for easily accessing your favourite stations without having to go through a menu.

Even if you’re not visually impaired you will appreciate the Concerto 2’s versatility, especially if you still have a big collection of tapes and/or CDs.

This is one of the few digital radios to come with both a CD player and a tape player. You can record from the radio or CD player onto tape, which is very handy. You can also play MP3 and WMA files stored on CDs, SD cards and USB drives.

Below is a summary of this radio’s pros and cons.


  • Very versatile—offers lots of different functions
  • Easy to use
  • Good sound quality
  • Good for both fully sighted and visually impaired people


  • Expensive
  • No separate bass and treble controls

The Roberts Concerto 2 is a high quality radio that will appeal to both fully sighted and visually impaired people. It offers a combination of features that is hard to find in one product, but it’s quite pricey.


Cobolt Systems Talking Multi-Function Portable Radio

This radio is made by Cobolt Systems, a manufacturer of living aids for the blind and partially sighted.

Here’s an overview of its features:

  • Can be voice-operated (also has large tactile buttons)
  • Record and play memos/reminders
  • FM radio
  • Mains or battery-powered (4 x AA)

It’s specially designed for visually impaired and blind people and can be operated by your voice.

You can save preset stations by using your own voice, and you can also record memos or reminders using your voice and have the radio play them to you at set times.

This radio is FM only, so it doesn’t pick up DAB stations. It can be plugged into the mains or powered with four AA batteries.


  • Voice operated
  • Useful memo feature
  • Has spoken instructions (available here)


  • FM only
  • A little pricey for a radio

This radio is a good choice for those who want to control the radio using their voice rather than buttons. The memo feature is very useful for setting reminders.


Easy-to-Use Digital Radios for the Elderly and Visually Impaired

Some radios aren’t designed exclusively for visually impaired people but are still worth considering due to their simple and easy-to-use design.

Some radios that fit this description include the Lenco SCD-24, the Roberts Elise, the Roberts Play and the Philips AJ3400/05.

Lenco SCD-24 CD Boombox and FM Radio

The Lenco SCD-24 is a small radio CD player that just has a few buttons. The play button on the CD player is orange making it stand out from the other buttons, so it’s easy for visually impaired people to use.

This radio is much cheaper than the Roberts Concerto 2 reviewed above, and could be a good choice if you’re looking for something simple and easy to use without spending too much money.

Here’s an overview of the Lenco SCD-24’s features:

  • FM radio
  • CD player
  • Carrying handle
  • Mains or battery-powered
  • Headphone socket
  • Telescopic aerial

The CD player is top-loading and can be programmed with a playlist of up to 20 tracks. There’s also a repeat function.

You can’t set any preset stations on the Lenco SCD-24, but this isn’t a problem if you usually listen to the same station anyway.

This radio CD player doesn’t have as many features as the Roberts Concerto 2 reviewed above, but it’s smaller and lighter so it’s easier to carry around. It also comes in a wide range of jazzy colours to suit the listener’s home decor or personality.


  • Inexpensive
  • Small and easy to carry


  • No presets
  • Short power lead
  • Sometimes crackles

This radio CD player isn’t as high quality as the Roberts Concerto 2, but it could be a good choice if you’re on a budget.


Roberts Elise

The Roberts Elise is a straightforward digital radio that could be a good choice for the elderly or visually impaired. It’s a small portable radio with an elegant curved design.

Here’s an overview of this radio’s main features:

  • FM/DAB radio
  • Saves 9 preset stations
  • Favourite station button
  • Mains or battery powered with 6 C-sized batteries

The Elise is fairly simple and doesn’t come with bells and whistles. There are 5 preset buttons as well as a ‘favourite’ button so you can quickly find your favourite stations. The volume is controlled by a large rotary dial which is tactile and easy to find.

This radio is small and lightweight, and you can power it with batteries and use it as a portable radio.

Below is an overview of this radio’s pros and cons.


  • Decent sound quality
  • Light and easy to carry
  • Affordable
  • Can be turned up quite loud


  • Not as easy to use as an adapted radio (see the radios above)
  • Only has the most essential features

While this radio is simpler than your average digital radio, it’s not as easy for visually impaired people to use as the Roberts OPUS or the Roberts Concerto 2 reviewed above.

However, it’s much more affordable so it would be a good choice if you’re only slightly visually impaired.


Roberts Play

In addition to being a good choice for the visually impaired, the Roberts Play is also one of our favourite portable DAB radios overall due to its reliability and the level of performance it offers for the price.

Here’s an overview of this radio’s key features:

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • Saves 10 preset stations (5 on FM and 5 on DAB)
  • Headphone jack
  • Built-in battery charger
  • Soft-touch covering

One of the best things about this radio is that it has a built-in battery charger so it charges rechargeable batteries while it’s plugged into the mains.

It takes 4x AA batteries, but you can also just plug it into the mains without batteries.


  • Receives DAB+ making it ‘futureproof’
  • Small and light
  • Good radio reception
  • Intuitive design


  • Not designed specifically for the visually impaired
  • Doesn’t sound very good at high volumes

The Roberts Play is a nice and simple portable DAB radio that should be easy for elderly people to use.

It’s not designed specifically with the visually impaired in mind, but is easier than the average radio to use so could be a good choice if your eyesight isn’t too poor.


Philips AJ3400/05 Clock Radio

If you’re looking for a clock radio with a large and easy-to-read display, the Philips AJ3400/05 could be a good choice. The time is displayed roughly 10 cm wide, so it’s much easier to read than your average clock radio.

Here’s an overview of this radio’s features:

  • FM radio
  • Dual alarm clock (save 2 alarms)
  • Sleep timer
  • Battery back-up to keep the time accurate in case of a power cut

The Philips AJ3400/05 lets you set two separate alarms, and you can choose to wake up to either the radio or an alarm buzzer sound. There’s also a sleep timer so you can drift off listening to the radio without having to worry about turning it off.

The alarm starts quietly and gradually gets louder. This is nice, but it continues to increase in volume and can become too loud.

Another issue is that the clock can’t be adjusted to show 12-hour format, which isn’t very good if you’re not used to reading the time in 24-hour format.

Below is a summary of this clock radio’s pros and cons.


  • Clock display is large and easy to read
  • Easy to use
  • Good value for money


  • Display is bright so it might keep you awake at night
  • 24-hour clock format only
  • Tinny sound quality
  • No DAB radio

If you want a basic clock radio with a large and easy-to-read display, the Philips AJ3400/05 fits the bill.

It doesn’t offer the same sound quality or the same number of features as the other radios reviewed here, but it does its job well at a reasonable price.



We hope one of the radios on this list meets your requirements. If you’re looking for a specially designed radio for the visually impaired, the Roberts OPUS is a good choice, but it is expensive.

The Roberts Play is a good simple radio that is reasonably priced, though it’s not designed specifically for the blind or visually impaired.


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2 thoughts on “Best Radios for the Visually Impaired 2024”

  1. Rosalind Glaser

    A comment on the font on this page – as it should be, it is sans serif, but why grey??? Those of us with poor vision need good contrast, black on white.

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