There are lots of reasons why you might want a water-resistant radio. Perhaps you want to listen in the garden, in the shower, in the shed, by the pool or while working outside. You might even want to listen to the radio underwater while swimming.
While there aren’t many fully waterproof radios on the market, there are lots of quality water-resistant products available. Here’s a roundup of some of the best options available in the UK in 2018.
IP Ratings – How Water Resistance Is Measured
When researching water-resistant radios one of the first things you will notice is that they have an IP rating (also known as an IP code or International Protection Marking).
IP codes are four characters long. They all start with the letters IP, which are followed by two digits. The first digit corresponds to solid particle protection (protection from dust etc.), while the second digit corresponds to liquid ingress protection (water resistance). The higher the numbers, the more protection. If there isn’t enough data to assign a protection level, the digit is replaced by the letter X.
Water-resistant normally only have a water resistance rating, not a dust-proof rating, so they will have an X instead of a number for solid particle protection. Common IP ratings for radios include the following:
- IPX4: Splashproof – the radio can withstand being sprayed/splashed for at least 5 minutes.
- IPX7: Waterproof – the radio can be immersed in water up to a depth of 1 metre.
- IPX8: Waterproof – the radio can be immersed in water deeper than 1 metre.
Best Water-Resistant Radios (UK 2018)
Sony ICFS80.CE7 Splash Proof Shower Radio
Radio bands: AM/FM
IP rating: IPX4 (splashproof)
The Sony ICFS80.CE7 is an AM/FM shower radio that can withstand being splashed by water from a distance of 30 cm or more. This radio has a compact and light design, measuring 16 x 14 x 8 cm and weighing 499 g, so it’s convenient for carrying around. There’s also a rubber hanging strap so you can hang it up in the shower.
This radio takes three C-size batteries which should last a long time (around 100 hours according to Sony). These aren’t included, so you need to buy them separately.
There are 5 dedicated preset buttons on the top of the radio, so accessing your favourite stations is quick and easy. There’s also a timer that you can set to switch the radio off after 10, 20, 30, 45 or 60 minutes, which is useful if you’re using it in the shower.
For a shower radio, the Sony ICFS80.CE7 has good sound quality and strong signal strength. Be aware that it’s only an AM/FM radio, and doesn’t have DAB.
Makita DMR108 Site Radio
Radio bands: AM/FM
IP rating: IP64 (splashproof)
The Makita DMR108 is designed for use on building sites and other workplaces where something tough and weatherproof is needed. It has an IP rating of IP64 which means it’s both dust- and water-resistant, which is useful if you’re using on a construction site.
This radio is relatively pricey, but it’s very rugged. The Makita DMR108 is an AM/FM radio with no DAB receiver, but it does have Bluetooth so you can connect your smartphone and use it as a wireless speaker.
The Makita DMR108 can be powered by the mains or used with Makita batteries, which could be inconvenient unless you already have some Makita batteries. Some extra features include the ability to save 10 preset stations (5 on AM and 5 on FM) and a USB port for charging a phone.
Roberts Splash Mini
The Roberts Splash Mini is one of the few water-resistant DAB radios available on the market. It also has Bluetooth, making it one of the most modern water-resistant radios available.
The Bluetooth feature is useful for playing music from your phone without worrying about getting your phone wet. The Splash Mini only has a Bluetooth receiver, not a transmitter, so you can’t use it with Bluetooth headphones or speakers.
This radio can be powered by the mains or with 2 D-size batteries. It doesn’t recharge batteries, so you will need to replace them or recharge them separately.
The Splash Mini saves 8 preset stations (4 on FM and 4 on DAB/DAB+), which you can access quickly using the 4 preset buttons.
This radio is fairly compact and light, measuring 20 x 11.2 x 8 cm and weighing 680 g. However, it’s lighter than you might expect given the ‘Mini’ name. There’s a convenient strap for carrying it around or hanging it up.
This product is quite pricey for a shower radio, but with Bluetooth and DAB/DAB+ radio, it has more features than most similar products out there.
John Lewis & Partners Spectrum DAB/FM Shower Radio
Radio bands: FM/DAB
IP rating: IPX4 (splashproof)
The John Lewis Spectrum Shower Radio is designed for use in the shower but could also be a good choice for listening to in the garden or humid workplaces. Unlike most water-resistant radios, it offers DAB radio in addition to FM.
One of the best things about the Spectrum Shower Radio is that it has a built-in rechargeable battery, which is more convenient than having to replace batteries or recharge them separately. However, the battery will only last 12 hours or so before needing to be recharged.
This radio is sleek and stylish and has a useful hanging strap that you can use to hang it up in the bathroom. It feels quite robust, and is backed by John Lewis’s 2-year warranty should anything happen.
VicTsing Shower Speaker
Radio bands: FM
IP rating: IPX4 (splashproof)
This product from VicTsing is a Bluetooth shower speaker with built-in FM radio. It features a suction cup on the back which you use to attach it to a shower wall or other surface. The VicTsing Shower Speaker uses a built-in battery which offers up to 8 hours of playtime.
You can use Bluetooth to play music from your phone through the speaker without having to worry about getting your phone wet while you’re in the shower. The speaker also has a built-in microphone so you can take phone calls. The Bluetooth range is up to 30 feet (9 metres).
One downside to this product is that the radio reception isn’t great. It’s a good product if you want an affordable Bluetooth shower speaker, but if you’re more interested in listening to the radio than using Bluetooth you will probably prefer one of the other products reviewed here.
Waterproof Swimming Radios
Waterproof swimming radios for listening to underwater come in the form of a headband that contains a radio and MP3 player, with earphones attached. These products usually aren’t particularly effective. Some common problems with waterproof swimming radios include the following:
- Interference while listening to the radio
- Earphones coming out of the ears while swimming
- Water getting into the ears, affecting the sound
If you are interested in trying a swimming radio, one of the best options is probably the Evo 8GB Waterproof MP3 Player, which is available here on Ebay. This MP3 player is inexpensive and has an IPX8 waterproof rating. It also has reasonably loud earphones, which is necessary if you’re swimming. However, the earphones can be quite uncomfortable.
Another option is the E-PLAZA 4GB Waterproof MP3 Player, which has an IPX8 waterproof rating is available here on Amazon. This product is quite cheap and has a good amount of volume but can be unreliable and uncomfortable.
Are there any DAB swimming radios?
We couldn’t find any underwater DAB swimming radios available when researching this article in November 2018. Most swimming radios are designed primarily as MP3 players with FM radio added as an extra, so the radio feature isn’t prioritised.
Which of these radios is best for you will depend on what you’re looking for in a water-resistant radio.
The Sony ICFS80.CE7 is a good choice if you want a straightforward and reliable shower radio, though bear in mind that it only has AM/FM radio, not DAB. The John Lewis Spectrum Shower Radio offers good value for money if you want something similar with DAB. While they are designed for the shower, both of these radios would also be good for listening to in the garden.
If you need something more rugged, the Makita DMR108 is a good option. It’s designed for worksites and is dust- as well as water-resistant.
It’s important to realise that very few radios are actually waterproof—most of the radios reviewed here are merely water resistant, and shouldn’t be submerged in water or exposed to excessive amounts of water. The swimming radios mentioned above can be submerged in water, but they don’t function as well as the less waterproof options reviewed here.
For some more options, see these articles: