DAB radios come in all shapes and sizes, from tiny pocket radios that can fit in the palm of your hand to products such as the Ruark R7, which is a metre wide.
Lots of people would prefer to have a compact DAB radio rather than something large and heavy. Small DAB radios can be divided into two main categories:
- Pocket radios which fit in your pocket and you listen to using headphones.
- Portable radios which are slightly larger and have a built-in speaker.
There are lots of reasons why you might want a small DAB radio rather than something large and bulky. Perhaps you only have a limited amount of space on your kitchen worktop, or maybe you’re looking for something you can easily carry around the house or take with you on holiday.
In this article we’ve collected some of the best small DAB radios available on the market in the UK in 2018.
Best Small DAB Radios (UK 2018)
Dimensions: 16 x 10.5 x 3.5 cm
Weight: 387 g
The Roberts Play is one of our favourite small DAB radios on the market in 2018. It’s quite a basic radio without any fancy features, but it’s very well made and reliable.
The Play offers FM/DAB/DAB+ radio, a headphone jack and the ability to save 10 preset stations. It’s an easy radio to use, and has 5 useful preset buttons so you can quickly and easily access your favourite stations.
One thing that makes this radio special is that it features a built-in battery charger. It takes 4 AA batteries, which the radio will recharge (if they are rechargeable batteries) while it’s plugged into the mains.
The Play has good sound quality for a small radio, as you’d expect from Roberts. It’s a good size if you want something you can easily carry around the house or the garden.
Read our full review of the Roberts Play here.
Majority Little Shelford
Dimensions: 17 x 13 x 10 cm
Weight: 762 g
This stylish retro radio from budget brand Majority is one of the most popular small DAB radios on the market at the moment.
The Little Shelford is an FM/DAB/DAB+ radio with Bluetooth and a dual alarm clock, offering a lot of features for the price. It can be powered by the mains or with 4 x AA batteries, so you can use it as a portable radio.
This radio is fairly light (762 g) and features a carrying handle, so it’s easy to carry around the house.
You can get this radio in either a cream or blue finish, both of which would look great in a retro kitchen. The vertical design means it won’t take up much space at all on a work surface (the base measures 13 x 10 cm.
You can save a total of 20 presets (10 on FM and 10 on DAB/DAB+), though setting and accessing them can be a bit fiddly.
The Little Shelford’s sound quality isn’t bad, but it probably won’t satisfy true audiophiles. It doesn’t have much bass, but you wouldn’t expect it to given its size and low price. It has a headphone jack so you have the option of listening privately.
Read our full review of the Little Shelford here.
Dimensions: 11.5 x 5.7 x 2.45 cm
Weight: 170 g
The Sony XDR-P1 is a very small and light DAB radio. It’s a straightforward product that just offers the basics: FM/DAB/DAB+ radio, a clock and the ability to save 10 preset stations. It has a built-in speaker but can also be listened to through headphones.
There’s also a sleep timer that lets you program the radio to switch itself off in 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes, which is useful if you like to fall asleep while listening to the radio. Be aware though that this radio doesn’t have an alarm clock.
The Sony XDR-P1 has a built-in rechargeable battery that offers up to 15 hours of battery life. You can also plug it into the mains to power the radio or charge the battery.
This radio isn’t especially stylish, but it is compact and has a functional design. It comes in either black or white.
DAB reception is relatively good on this radio, and there’s an extendable aerial which you can adjust to get the best signal.
The Sony XDR-P1 is a bit pricey given its features, but it’s well built and should last a long time.
Pure Evoke C-D4
Dimensions: 22.3 x 21 x 13.6 cm
Weight: 2.8 kg
If you’d like a small DAB radio with a built-in CD player, the Pure Evoke C-D4 is one of the best options. It’s about as small as a radio CD player can be without compromising too much on sound quality.
Unlike on most radios where the speaker is on the front, the Evoke C-D4’s speaker is on the top to make way for the CD player on the front.
As well as featuring a CD player and FM/DAB/DAB+ radio, the Pure Evoke C-D4 also has Bluetooth, a remote control and an aux-in port. It has good sound quality for something so small, though it’s not as good as some of the larger and more expensive radio CD players on the market.
Like all the radios in Pure’s Evoke range, the C-D4 looks beautiful. It’s available in a choice of three finishes: Walnut, Siena Black and Grey Oak. This radio is quite expensive, but it’s one of the best small DAB radio CD players available.
Read our full review of the Evoke C-D4 here.
Roberts Play 10
Dimensions: 18 x 10.5 x 5.5 cm
Weight: 350 g
The Play 10 is a popular small digital radio from British brand Roberts. It’s one of Roberts’ cheapest radios, and offers good value for money even when compared to cheap radios from less established brands.
The Play 10 is a good simple radio for listening to in the kitchen or around the house. It’s easy to use and might be better choice for elderly or partially sighted people than more complicated radios.
The three dedicated preset buttons on the top make it quick and easy to tune into your favourite stations. This radio only saves six preset stations (three on FM and three on DAB/DAB+), but this is enough for most people.
This radio doesn’t have an alarm clock or sleep timer, so it’s not ideal as a bedside radio. It also doesn’t have any more advanced features such as Bluetooth.
You can power this radio with the mains or with four AA batteries, though batteries don’t last long before they need replacing or recharging.
This radio is available in either white or black. It has a large tuning dial on the top which is easily mistaken for a volume dial. It has a headphone jack, so you can listen privately.
This is one of the most popular and highly radio small radios in the UK. It’s simple and straightforward and offers good value for money. Read our full review of the Roberts Play 10 here.
Pure Elan BT3
Dimensions: 20 x 11.5 x 5.3 cm
Weight: 420 g
The Pure Elan BT3 is a stylish radio with a compact design. It offers a good list of features for the price including Bluetooth, a dual alarm clock, a kitchen timer, an aux-in port, a headphone jack and the ability to save 40 preset stations.
It also has a large 2.8-inch colour TFT display that shows album artwork and information about the radio station and song being played.
You can power this radio with the mains or with 4 x AA batteries. Like with the Roberts Play 10 reviewed above, battery life is quite poor, but this is true for all portable DAB radios.
This radio is mid-priced; it’s cheaper than most of Pure’s other radios but more expensive than some of the alternatives from budget brands. This radio has more features than most small radios, so it’s a good choice if you want something versatile.
Read our full review of the Elan BT3 here.
AZATOM Pro Sports S1
Dimensions: 9 x 5 x 2 cm
Weight: 105 g
The AZATOM Pro Sports S1 is a pocket radio with a built-in speaker. This means you can either listen to it in your pocket via headphones or around the house or in the garden through the speaker.
Earphones are included when you buy the radio, but you might want to use a different pair as they’re not especially high quality. When listening through earphones, they work as the aerial which means you won’t need to extend the aerial while the radio is in your pocket!
The Pro Sports S1 has a built-in rechargeable battery that charges via a USB cable. Most people will find this more convenient than having to replace AA batteries.
The radio has a decent-sized display that shows the battery level, time, signal strength, radio station and song being played.
The AZATOM Pro Sports S1 is an inexpensive product that offers good value for money, though you can’t expect it to last forever.
Read our full review of the Pro Sports S1 here.
Roberts Revival Uno
Dimensions: 20.7 x 12.9 x 8.5 cm
Weight: 990 g
The Revival Uno is 35% smaller than Roberts’ standard Revival FM/DAB/DAB+ radio, which is based on classic Roberts radios from the 1950s.
It’s fairly expensive, but it’s beautifully designed with an authentic vintage look. You can buy this radio in a large choice of colours, so it will suit any décor.
The Revival Uno features a dual alarm clock and a sleep timer, so it would make a good bedside radio. You can program the sleep timer to switch the radio off up to 90 minutes in the future, which is nice if you like to fall asleep listening to the radio.
This radio doesn’t have Bluetooth, but you can connect an external audio source using the line-in socket. The sound quality is good for a small radio, as you’d expect from Roberts. You can power the Revival Uno with the mains or with four AA batteries.
While this is a quality radio in terms of its sound and build, the main reason to buy it is for its classic 1950s design and cute small size.
Read our full review of the Revival Uno here.
Choosing a Small DAB Radio
Here are some things to consider when choosing a small DAB radio:
Portable DAB radios tend to have worse battery life than AM/FM radios, and batteries rarely last longer than about 12 hours. If you are planning to use the radio with batteries, you will want to think about which kind of battery/batteries would be most convenient for you.
Some radios have a built-in rechargeable battery that is charged when the radio is plugged into the mains or when it’s connected to a computer via a USB cable, whereas other radios take AA or C batteries.
If you have a battery recharger, AA batteries might be convenient; otherwise, a built-in battery might be better.
Speaker or headphones?
If you want a small radio to listen to through headphones, you should check out our roundup of the best pocket DAB radios. If you’ll only be listening through the speaker, you’ll want to make sure the radio you choose has good sound quality and an adequate amount of volume.
It’s important to note that not all radios have a headphone jack, so if you want the option of listening through headphones, check that this will be possible before you buy a radio.
If you just want a basic radio, something simple like the Roberts Play 10 would be a good choice. Making a list of the features you want will make choosing a radio easier.
Would you like to be able to play music from your phone via Bluetooth? Do you want to use the radio as an alarm clock? Would you like it to have a CD player?
Portable or pocket?
Small DAB radios can be divided into two main categories:
- Pocket radios, which often don’t have a speaker and can only be listened to through headphones
- Portable radios, which have a built-in speaker
It’s a good idea to establish whether you’re looking for a portable radio or a pocket radio. However, there is some overlap as some pocket-sized radios come with a built-in speaker, while many portable radios are very compact and can be listened to through headphones.
If we had to recommend just one of these small DAB radios to recommend it would be the Majority Little Shelford as it’s stylish, has a great list of features including Bluetooth and a dual alarm clock, and offers great value for money.
For some more recommendations, see our overview of the best DAB radios in the UK.