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Best internet radio 2023: Discover a new world of radio and music with the best connected radios and audio systems

Tired of poor reception or the usual UK stations? Get online with an Internet radio and enjoy the best stations from around the globe

In the UK, radio is thriving and the best internet radios can help you take full advantage of this boom. Almost nine in ten people in the UK listen to radio at least once a week and, despite the rise of podcasts and streaming, we still average nearly 21 hours of listening a week.

But what if you can’t get a good reception, or can’t find a station that suits you? The best internet radios stream radio over Wi-Fi rather than relying on an old-fashioned aerial, so they’ll work anywhere where you have a decent wireless signal.

What’s more, they can stream stations from all around the world – so you can still listen to BBC Radio, Kiss, Classic FM and the rest, or try out world music from Brazil and Mali, classical broadcasts from Berlin and Vienna, talk radio from New York and country music straight from Nashville.

With a wealth of choices out there, it can be tricky picking the right internet radio for you, but that’s where we come in. Below, you’ll find a buying guide explaining the various types of internet radio, followed by our pick of the best you can buy.

READ NEXT: The best bookshelf speakers to buy

Best internet radio: At a glance

How to choose the best internet radio for you

What types of internet radio are there?

You don’t actually need a dedicated internet radio receiver to tune into your favourite stations over the internet. There are plenty of apps and websites that let you listen on your smartphone, tablet or computer. However, a dedicated internet radio is more intuitive and convenient to use, and may well have better sound quality.

The units themselves come in a range of different form factors. There are smaller units with built-in clocks for the bedroom, as well as portable and tabletop designs, and larger stereo systems. Naturally, different designs have different strengths. The smaller units tend to be mono rather than stereo, although sound quality can still be very good – let’s face it, we frequently listen to music through mono Bluetooth speakers these days.

Portable models also tend to be more compact and able to run off batteries, while larger units have the potential for a bigger, warmer sound. Whether you want something you can carry around the house or a static unit to slot into an existing hi-fi system, there’s an internet radio to suit.

The other key question is how you control the device. Does it use buttons, a dial or a touchscreen to switch stations or adjust the volume? How easy is it to browse through the available streams and find new music? How many preset favourites can you store, and how are they accessed?

What other features should I look out for?

Many internet radios can double up as a standard Bluetooth speaker, which is useful if you don’t already own one. A growing number now support other streaming services as well, either through Spotify Connect or a direct connection to Spotify, Deezer, Tidal and others. Some even stream tracks from an iTunes or DLNA-compliant NAS or media server in the home.

Finally, remember to check the physical connections. A USB port or SD card slot gives you the option of streaming tracks from your own media collection. Phono or jack outputs let you hook up to an external amplifier for extra volume or quality – and a headphone output can be handy for late-night listening.

How we test Internet radios

When we test Internet radios, we set them up from scratch, connecting to a Wi-Fi network and scanning for DAB+ channels, while also installing any companion smartphone apps. With the radio configured, we spend around a week listening to a range of stations and material, making the most of the search and discovery features on the radio, or in the app, to find familiar stations and to look for new ones. We listen to rock, pop, jazz, classical, news, drama and podcasts, and we also use the app and/or Bluetooth connectivity to stream from music streaming services, including Amazon Music, Spotify, and Deezer. If possible, we make direct A-B comparisons with other radios in the same class.

READ NEXT: The best speaker to buy

The best internet radios you can buy in 2023

1. Pure Elan Connect+: The best entry-level internet radio

Price when reviewed: £53 | Check price at Amazon

It might be a compact radio in a cost-conscious plastic body, but the Elan Connect+ still shares many of the strengths of Pure’s more expensive radios. For a start, it’s very easy to use, with a colour screen and a rotary dial you can press to click to navigate the menus. Up to 20 presets can be stored and quickly accessed. And while it’s a slight pain that there’s no companion app, it’s surprisingly simple to set up the network connection then browse through internet stations by country, genre, language, city and more. As long as you’re not searching for a specific station – entering text letter by letter is a chore – the Elan Connect+ makes finding new favourites a pleasure.

The compromise you make is on sound. This is a fairly compact plastic radio with 3W stereo speakers and Pure has tuned it to give you a warmer, richer sound, but at the expense of clarity. Give it some time and play with the solid EQ settings, though, and you can get a decent output, at least at medium volume. What’s more, the Connect+ will run for around seven hours on a set of rechargeable AA batteries, so you can take the fun with you around the home and garden – with DAB+ for when you can’t connect to Wi-Fi.

Key specs – Type: Portable DAB+/Internet radio; Output: 2x3W; Display: 2.4in colour TFT; Controls: Volume/Select dial, Source, 3x Presets, 3x Playback controls, Back, Source, Home, On/Off; Remote control: No; Wireless connectivity: 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0; Ports and sockets: Headphone, micro USB; Dimensions: 247 x 115 x 82mm

2. Amazon Echo Dot (5th gen): The best compact internet radio

Price when reviewed: £55 | Check price at Amazon

While it doesn’t look much like a radio, the Echo Dot can play the part thanks to Alexa’s integration with TuneIn’s massive directory. You need to know what you’re looking for, since there’s no screen or user interface to help you discover new stations, and Alexa isn’t particularly reliable when it comes to finding stations playing specific genres from specific locations. What’s more, some stations just aren’t available through the service. But when it works, the Echo Dot works a treat, especially with the stronger bass and more full-bodied sound of the fifth-generation model. It’s ideal for talk radio and background music, and you can always hook up to another speaker via the 3.5mm line out or Bluetooth.

Most of all, the Echo Dot lets you try out internet radio at a temptingly low price, and with all the other advantages of a smart speaker, including music streaming from Amazon Music, Spotify and more, plus the new temperature sensing features. Spend £10 more for the LED clock version, and you even have a working internet radio alarm clock.

Key specs – Type: Smart speaker; Output: Not specified; Display: None; Controls: Voice, Volume Up/Down, Action, Mic mute; Remote control: No; Wireless connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth A2DP; Ports and sockets: 3.5mm line out; Dimensions: 100 x 100 x 89mm

3. Majority Bard: The best mid-range internet radio

Price when reviewed: £150 | Check price at Robert Dyas

Roughly the size of a shoebox, the Majority Bard crams a lot of internet radio into a surprisingly compact unit. Like its larger sibling, the Quadriga, it has a 2.1 speaker system, with two 4-inch speakers firing out from either side and a 5-inch bass speaker projecting from the top. This results in a wider, beefier sound than many compact radios can deliver, and while you still don’t get the deep lows and crystal highs you can get from the Ruark and Revo models, it’s great for news, sports, drama and podcasts – and decent, when it comes to rock and pop music. It struggles with more complex tracks or classical music, with things getting a bit too busy in the mid-range, and it’s mediocre as a Bluetooth speaker.

Many cheaper internet radios make it awkward to find or switch between stations or sources, but with its colour display and dual-funcion rotary control, the Bard’s modes and menus are easy to navigate. What’s more, while Majority recommends downloading the Undok connected radio app, you can also use it with OKTIV. Either way, you’re well set up to browse through the world’s stations: add your favourites as presets or even, with OKTIV, pin them to a homescreen in the app. Our only real complaint is that more music streaming services aren’t supported – your only option is Spotify Connect. Spending more will get you improved service support, more stylish looks and a better sound; but this is as good as internet radio gets for this kind of money.

Key specs – Type: Compact radio; Output: 100W; Display: 2.4in colour LCD; Controls: Volume/Select dial, Tuning Up, Tuning Down, Fav, Mode, Menu/Info, Alarm/Back; Remote control: Yes; Wireless connectivity: 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5; Ports and sockets: 3.5mm line in, 3.5mm headphone, USB 2.0; Dimensions: 235 x 128 x 135mm

Check price at Robert Dyas

4. Roberts Revival iStream 3L: The best portable internet radio

Price when reviewed: £199 | Check price at Amazon

The Roberts Revival iStream 3L might be the manufacturer’s best combination yet of vintage looks and high-tech features, putting internet radio, DAB+ and Bluetooth into the leather-clad body of the classic Revival. The old dog is packed with new tricks, including built-in charging for the six AA batteries, plus built-in streaming for Deezer, Amazon Music, Tidal and Spotify Connect. It will even take voice control if you have an Echo device, while the latest 3L revision delivers snappier performance when you’re switching between stations, sources or tracks.

The interface can be slightly fiddly at times, despite the twin dials and straightforward buttons, but you can also browse stations and set presets using the Undok smartphone app. And if the range of gorgeous colours doesn’t sway you, Robert’s trademark warm and detailed sound should. Voices have authority and music sounds punchy and dynamic, making it a great listen whether you’re in to podcasts, drama, stripped-back Americana or spacey electronica. You won’t find anything that looks or sounds better without spending more.

Key specs – Type: Portable radio; Output: 100W; Display: 2.4in colour LCD; Controls: Volume and Select/Snooze dials, Source, Mode, Menu, Info, Preset, Skip back/forward, Alarm; Remote control: No; Wireless connectivity: 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5; Ports and sockets: 3.5mm line in, 3.5mm headphone, USB 2.0; Dimensions: 255 x 110 x 160mm

5. Ruark R1S: The best bookshelf internet radio

Price when reviewed: £299 | Check price at John Lewis

The Ruark R1 MK4 was already the best bookshelf DAB+ radio out there, so it’s no real surprise that the new R1S is an equally superb internet radio. Like the R1 Mk4, it’s compact and elegant, with a cool slate grey finish and a wooden grille. It has the same ingenious rotary dial control scheme for navigating menus and volume control, and you can browse through stations by location, scroll through popular stations, or use the “Discover” option to find new stations by language or genre. This can be a bit slow-going, but you always have the option of using the OKTIV app, which makes the whole process even easier.

Radio is only the beginning of the R1S’s talents. It will also play podcasts or stream audio over Bluetooth, while it has built-in support for Amazon Music and Deezer, plus Spotify through Spotify Connect. Crucially, it sounds as lovely as it looks, with a warmth, depth and detail you might not expect from such a small unit. Whether you’re listening to Radio 4 dramas, Jazz radio from Chicago, or your favourite Deezer playlist – you’re in for a treat. It might seem expensive for a bookshelf radio, but it’s worth every penny.

Read our full Ruark R1S review for details 

Key specs – Type: Compact radio; Output: Not stated; Display: 2.5in OLED; Controls: Volume/Select dial, Skip forward/Tuning Up, Skip back/Tuning Down, Alarm, Menu, Play/Pause, Source, Preset; Remote control: Optional, not included; Wireless connectivity: 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5; Ports and sockets: 3.5mm line in, 3.5mm headphone, USB Type-C; Dimensions: 130 x 135 x 175mm

Check price at John Lewis

6. Revo SuperConnect: The most stylish internet radio

Price: £399 | Check price at Amazon

This high-end internet radio boasts an eye-catching vintage style. The black, white and walnut versions all look beautiful, and they don’t sound bad either, thanks to a single balanced-mode radiator driver that dishes out a warm sound with crisp highs and lashings of bass. The controls are nicely straightforward: you can either use a small joystick-style control to make your way around the sumptuous OLED display, or use the supplied remote control. The SuperConnect also makes a great Bluetooth speaker, complete with high-quality aptX streaming, and you can stream from Spotify and your own music library via DLNA. It’s an expensive bit of kit, but the marriage of sound and style is hard to resist.

Read our full Revo SuperConnect review for details

Key specs – Type: Compact radio; Output: 15W; Display: 2.7in OLED display; Controls: Volume dial, Mode, Menu, Info, Alarm, 3x playback controls, 8x preset buttons; Remote control: Yes; Wireless connectivity: 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 with aptX; Ports and sockets: Stereo phono outputs, optical digital output, 3.5mm headphone, 3.5mm line in; Dimensions: 270 x 180 x 120mm

7. Revo SuperConnect Stereo: The best audiophile internet radio

Price when reviewed: £489 | Check price at Amazon

Revo’s latest DAB, internet and streaming radio improves on the classic SuperConnect in about the only way it could: adding a second speaker to transform it from mono to stereo. It’s still an impressive-looking unit, with the 2.7in OLED screen surrounded by a glossy black panel, the rest of the front panel fashioned from anodised aluminium, and a choice of wooden enclosures to top things off. The buttons and joystick controls might look fiddly, but in use they’re anything but, while the menus and functions are intuitive and easy to follow. What’s more, you can always find stations or switch sources with the remote control or the accompanying Undok app.

Thanks to a mix of Balanced Mode Radiator drivers, a 30W Class-D amplifier and Revo’s expert acoustic tuning, the SuperConnect Stereo sounds incredible. It’s superb with folky stuff, rock or small-group jazz, where even minor details are perceptible, and there’s a lively and articulate bass. Even classical music can sound brilliant if the source is good enough. This is one of the few internet radios that could happily take over from a dedicated streaming speaker, making the most of music from Amazon Music, Deezer or Spotify Connect. Needless to say, the price makes it a luxury purchase; but if you’re after a premium, high-end radio and streaming system, it’s nearly in a class of its own.

Read our full Revo SuperConnect Stero review for details

Key specs – Type: Compact radio; Output: 30W; Display: 2.7in OLED; Controls: Volume/Select dial, Mode, Menu, Info, Alarm, 7x preset, Skip forward/Tuning Up, Skip back/Tuning Down, Alarm, Menu, Play, Pause; Remote control: Yes; Wireless connectivity: 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.1; Ports and sockets: 3.5mm line in, 3.5mm headphone, SP/DIF out, stereo phono out; Dimensions: 380 x 156 x 190mm

8. Ruark R2 Mk4: The best high-end internet radio and streaming system

Price when reviewed: £479 | Check price at John Lewis

If the Revo SuperConnect Stereo has any competition as the best internet radio, it’s the Ruark R2 MK4. Think of it as the stretched-out stereo version of the R1S. It even has the same styling, height and 135mm depth, making it surprisingly compact and suitable for placing on a counter-top or bookshelf. It also has the same capabilities, giving you DAB+ and internet radio, plus podcasts, Bluetooth audio streaming and built-in support for Amazon Music, Spotify and Deezer.

The key reason to get this over the R1S is sound quality. The R2 Mk4 can go louder with a wider, more open sound, and it’s hard to find fault with the tone or the dynamics. Everything from R&B to rock or classical sounds great. The SuperConnect Stereo is a bit more punchy with a crisper bass, but the R2 Mk4 is a little brighter. Unless you’re a serious hi-fi buff, you could happily use either as your main music system. Plus, if anything the Ruark is even easier to use, thanks to the brand’s well-crafted control system and menus, and its ability to work with either the Undok or OKTIV apps.

Read our full Ruark R2 Mk4 review for details 

Key specs – Type: Compact radio; Output: Not stated; Display: 2.5in OLED; Controls: Volume/Select dial, Skip forward/Tuning Up, Skip back/Tuning Down, Alarm, Menu, Play/Pause, Source, Preset; Remote control: Optional, not included; Wireless connectivity: 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5; Ports and sockets: 3.5mm line in, 3.5mm headphone, USB Type-C; Dimensions: 340 x 135 x 175mm

Check price at John Lewis

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