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While English band, the Buggles, sang about ‘Video Killing the Radio Star’ back in 1970, it’s certainly not the case today as radio has made a true revival thanks to Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB). In fact, new Radiocentre research indicates that 89% of people who work from home are tuning in more than ever before and listening for longer than we did pre-Covid.
Yes, AM and FM radio is still around, but DAB radio has taken centre stage with the service boasting more than 50 stations nationally, along with many local and regional stations. These radios offer crystal clear digital sound and allow you to seamlessly flip between stations – which is as simple as changing channels on the TV.
Many of the latest models come with DAB+, which provides higher audio quality and even more station choices. Add to that a range of extra features including Bluetooth and built-in Wi-Fi and you can stream your favourite podcast or international show from anywhere in the world. What’s not to love?
We spent countless hours researching the best DAB radios on the market and also looked to the Mumsnet forums for our users' recommendations.
Here are the best DAB radios to buy in 2021.
1. Best overall DAB radio: Roberts Stream 94i
Price: £175.21 | Buy now from Amazon
“I've got a Roberts radio which is brilliant. Great sound for the size of the unit. I happily listen to all genres of music on it as well as spoken word. It also has Internet radio on it as well as DAB.”
So much more than just a basic radio, but really simple to use, there’s a reason why the Roberts Stream 94i won the 2020 What Hi-Fi? Awards for the second year running. This DAB radio includes FM, DAB and DAB+, plus Bluetooth (an update on its predecessor, the 93i), Internet radio and Spotify. It also has 120 station presets – 40 for DAB, 40 for Internet radio and 40 for FM.
With a large speaker at the back (subwoofer) and two smaller subunits at the front, users are impressed by the sound quality coming from such a small box. Rechargeable batteries make it fully portable too.
- Modern, sleek design
- Full colour screen and remote control
- Button functions clearly printed
- Offers a complete listening experience
- Rechargeable batteries have to be ordered separately
- DAB signal quality can drop in some areas
- No dimmer feature for display at night
- Connectivity: DAB and DAB+, Wi-FI, Bluetooth, 3.5mm audio in, Ethernet, USB
- Power: Mains and optional battery
- Dimensions: 26cm x 17cm x 13.2cm
2. Best budget DAB radio: Groov-e Paris Portable DAB/FM Digital Radio
Price: £23 | Buy now from Amazon
Thanks to its competitive price point and generous offering, this budget-friendly digital radio wins a place on our list.
The Groove-e Paris edition comes with both DAB and FM options, plus 20 preset stations and a clear LCD display screen. It’s also a handy alarm clock with a snooze and sleep timer, as well as a choice between radio or buzz alarm. Users love that it’s portable, functional and lightweight.
- Sleek and compact - ideal for home or travel
- Alarm clock plus DAB radio
- Good signal
- Display screen is overly bright
- Presets can be fiddly
- Not as robust as other models
- Connectivity: DAB, FM
- Power: Battery and mains-powered
- Dimensions: 9.5cm x 14.9cm x 5.0cm
3. Best rechargeable DAB radio: i-box DAB/DAB+ & FM Radio
Price: £29.99 | Buy now from Amazon
It may be one of the smallest DAB radios out there, but this compact radio packs a powerful punch when it comes to sound quality.
If you’re looking for a rechargeable DAB radio, this is a great option as it offers up to 15 hours on a single charge. Plus, it’s the perfect size for a weekend trip, long bus or train ride and comes with a handy carry strap. The classic wood finish is a popular choice, but this model is also available in black and grey.
The British design is simple to use with five station presets, as well as a sleep timer that turns the radio off when you turn in for the night.
- Clear LCD screen display
- Easy-to-use buttons
- Portable and compact
- Long, good-quality aerial for poorer signal areas
- Limited base due to size of the speaker
- Up to four-second delay when you click the on button
- Can be fiddly to use
- Connectivity: FM, DAB, DAB+
- Power: Long-lasting rechargeable batteries or plug in with a 3.5mm jack
- Dimensions: 19.9cm x 12.1cm x 6.2cm
4. Best quality DAB radio: Pure Evoke H6
Price: £179 | Buy now from John Lewis & Partners
“I have a Pure Evoke radio in the kitchen which I love. I mainly listen to Radio 4.”
Pure’s range of digital radios are a firm favourite among Mumsnetters, coming highly spec’d with great features at a competitive price.
The Pure Evoke H6 not only looks chic and sophisticated, but it comes packed with impressive features including DAB, DAB+, two 10-watt speakers, Bluetooth, clear colour screen displays and two alarms, plus a kitchen timer.
The Pure Evoke H6 is functional, versatile and can be fully portable if you purchase the optional ChargePAK F1 rechargeable battery, which offers 30 hours playback.
- High-quality stereo sound
- Digital Tick – making it future ready
- Large, full colour screen
- Can store up to 40 preset stations
- Quite pricey
- Heavy on the bass
- Connectivity: DAB, DAB+, FM, Bluetooth
- Power: Mains or ChargePAK F1 (offers 50 hours of portable listening)
- Dimensions: 12.8cm x 30.5cm x 18cm
5. Best pocket DAB radio: Roberts Radio SportsDAB5
Price: From £59.95 | Buy now from Amazon
Ideal for pram walks, picnics in the park or outdoor Sunday lunches, most reviews point to the versatility of this nifty pocket DAB radio and we have to agree.
Weighing in at only 66g, it fits neatly in your pocket, backpack or handbag, yet it’s large enough to offer great signal and superior sound,- with DAB, DAB+ and FM stations. It also comes with stereo earphones but has a headphone socket too.
- Compact and portable
- One-handed control
- Good-quality signal
- Limited display
- Poor battery life
- Connectivity: DAB, DAB+, FM
- Power: Battery
- Dimensions: 2cm x 6.2cm x 10.5cm
6. Best DAB radio for poor reception areas: Duronic Apex
Price: £20.99 | Buy now from Amazon
“I have a Duronic wind up radio which is really good. It’s small and portable, and includes a torch too.”
If you enjoy camping and the great outdoors, or you simply want a functional DAB radio for your windowsill, the Duronic Apex is the perfect companion.
One of its biggest perks is that it has both DAB and FM stations, plus three charging options including solar, wind-up or USB, providing up to nine hours of power. Plus, it has a list of impressive features such as blue LED lighting, a torch, alarm clock and telescopic antenna.
Mumsnetters agree that it’s good value for money and won’t leave you stranded with no charge.
- Compact and portable
- Good signal in poor areas
- Tuning and volume knobs can be fiddly
- Torch switches on too easily
- Connectivity: DAB, AM/FM
- Power: Solar, wind up (crank), USB
- Dimensions: 5.5cm x 15cm x 7.5cm
7. Best Bluetooth DAB radio: Pure StreamR
Price: £54.99 | Buy now from Amazon
With DAB+, FM and Bluetooth, the Pure StreamR is one of the best wireless speakers we’ve come across. It comes with access to Amazon’s Alexa – enabled by pressing the voice assistant button or holding down the speech bubble in the Pure Home app on your smartphone.
Users tend to agree that the Pure StreamR delivers on its promise to offer bold sound, while the touch-sensitive buttons on top of the speaker make it easy to navigate and flip between stations.
- Solid and robust speaker
- 3.5mm input cable to connect to wired devices
- Offers room-filling sound
- The speaker itself doesn’t have WI-FI
- Limited Alexa functionality
- Only four preset stations
- Connectivity: Bluetooth, DAB+, Alexa
- Power: Mains and rechargeable batteries
- Dimensions: 10cm x 10cm x 10cm.
8. Best bedside DAB radio: Pure Siesta S6
Price: £117.43 | Buy now from Amazon
This DAB radio is one of the only models that offers three separate alarm functions – which can be set for weekdays and weekends, making it a reliable bedside companion.
In addition to the DAB and FM audio options, wireless charger, kitchen timer, Bluetooth connectivity and the ability to preset up to 40 stations, the sleek design also has an all-important snooze button located on top of the radio – super convenient if you’ve been up with the kids all night.
The unit also includes a headphone output so you can listen to the radio quietly at night or early in the morning.
- Large screen/visible display
- Excellent audio quality
- Three alarm clocks
- Wireless charging pad on top
- Dull beeping alarm may not be pleasing to the ears
- Low base
- Connectivity: DAB, DAB+, FM, Bluetooth
- Power: Mains-powered
- Dimensions: 14.5cm x 15.5cm x 8cm
9. Best DAB radio under £50: ANYDAY John Lewis & Partners Spectrum Solo Portable DAB+/FM Digital Radio
Price: £40 | Buy now from John Lewis & Partners
Mumsnetters say that John Lewis & Partners’ own DAB radios are cost-effective, easy to use and stylish. The Spectrum Solo Portable radio is a particular favourite.
This one comes in a range of colours and the sound quality is good indoors and outdoors. One of the biggest selling points is that it’s lightweight and made with a rubbery finish to allow you to grip and carry it with ease.
It has everything you need including both DAB and FM options, an alarm clock, five preset stations and an LCD screen display.
- Good quality at this price
- Perfect size for any room
- Reliable signal
- Fun design
- Limited preset stations
- Low base
- Small screen
- Connectivity: DAB, DAB+, FM
- Power: Mains and battery
- Dimensions: 9.6cm x 16.7cm x 9.6cm
10. Best DAB radio under £100: VQ Retro Mini
Price: From £56.96 | Buy now from Amazon
“I have a VQ in the kitchen and love it. I think they are a really highly recognised DAB brand. I have one in mustard.”
The VQ Retro Mini is one of the prettiest, albeit compact, DAB radios we’ve reviewed. Coming in at under £100, users agree that it’s great value for money and the ideal gift for a special occasion.
Made with the design-conscious in mind, it offers a wide range of colours and finishes and is fully portable too. It boasts the following features: DAB, DAB+, FM, Bluetooth, USB port, full range five-watt speaker, 60 radio presets and a dual alarm clock.
- Lightweight and portable
- Adjustable speaker settings
- Limited battery life
- Station presets aren’t easy to set
- Connectivity: DAB, DAB+, FM, Bluetooth, AUX, USB
- Power: Mains and battery-powered
- Dimensions: 14.7cm x 10.5cm x 22.4cm
How do I choose a DAB radio?
There are many factors to consider when choosing a DAB radio. You’ll ideally want a radio with a rechargeable battery and high-quality sound.
Your budget will also determine the type of DAB radio you want to invest in. You can pick up a reasonable single-speaker unit with a few preset station options for a little over £20. Or, if you’re looking for a DAB radio with all the bells and whistles, expect to pay anywhere between £150 to £300.
Additional features to consider
Before purchasing a DAB radio, think about what you ultimately want from your listening experience. Then look at whether the DAB radio has. Look for:
- Good sound quality with the choice to tweak the base or treble
- Aerial quality and length
- The ability to connect with voice assistant-enabled devices such as Alexa
- Preset stations
- Wattage - can the DAB radio double up as a speaker?
- An alarm clock with dimming light options
- A phone charging portal
- Battery or mains power options
- Additional buttons to record and rewind
- Bluetooth connectivity - with a good range
- Optional Internet connectivity.
Does a DAB radio need Wi-Fi?
You don’t necessarily need Wi-Fi for DAB radio – but if you’re looking for more variety, consider a DAB radio with Wi-Fi. This will allow you to connect to the Internet and stream music from Spotify, Deezer, YouTube or online radio services like BBC iPlayer. Additionally, Internet radio isn’t limited to any specific geographic location. This allows you to tune into international music stations or shows.
The good news is that DAB radios without WI-FI also offer a variety of stations. According to Digital One, “National DAB digital radio networks cover most major towns and hundreds of miles of motorways and major roads. Both Digital One and the BBC currently reach more than nine out of 10 people in Britain with their national transmitter networks.” And now with the addition of DAB+, a digital radio that broadcasts with new coding technology, more stations can broadcast with a clearer signal.
To check your station coverage and signal in your area, use the UK Digital Radio Postcode search here.
What is the best DAB radio to buy?
The award-winning Roberts Stream 94i is the best DAB radio to buy in 2021. Not only is Roberts a trusted DAB radio brand, the Stream 94i model is so sleek and stylish that it’ll look good just about anywhere in your home. Plus, it promises a wide range of features and high-quality sound no matter where you are.
It comes complete with DAB and DAB+ streaming, as well as WI-FI and a supreme quality sound system with two drivers at the front and a solid base unit at the back. It’s one of the few radios that can double up as a speaker in its own right.
How we chose our recommendations
All our recommendations for the best DAB radios came from Mumsnet users, as well as a variety of trusted online reviews. Plus, we looked at other reviews and plenty of tech sites to see which DAB radios performed well across the board, analysing their sound quality as well as their features.
Why you should trust us
We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust – based on intensive research. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.