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The best DAB radios of every size and for all budgets

Get crystal-clear sound and the widest range of stations whether you’re at home or on the move with the best DAB radios

FM radio has been saved from extinction and will keep running until at least 2032, but if you’re thinking of buying a new radio, then picking up one of the best DAB radios is the way to go.

There are now more than 50 stations broadcasting nationally on DAB, along with many regional and local stations. You can listen to them without interference and – as long as you can get a signal – you’ll get flawless, clear digital sound.

The DAB radio market isn’t quite as busy as it was a few years ago, but there are still a lot of options out there. That’s why we’ve picked a selection of the best, covering different styles and price points, so that you can buy the best DAB radio for you.

Best DAB radio: At a glance

How to choose the best DAB radio for you

DAB radios are now available at around the same prices as the old analogue models, and you can pick up a decent, simple, single-speaker radio for £30 to £40. A higher spend will get you more luxurious materials, a larger speaker, a more powerful amplifier, stereo and more features; but you don’t have to spend more than £250 unless you’re looking for something that’s less a radio than an all-in music system with DAB built in. If you’re interested in streaming music or podcasts, or suffer poor reception, you should consider paying extra for an internet radio, which will have the required features built in. Check out our guide to the best internet radios to find out more.

Is DAB available in my area?

DAB reception now stretches across most of the UK, covering 97% of the UK population. In the event that you’re not covered, or your station selection is poor, you could opt for an internet radio station instead. This streams radio stations from the internet by connecting via your household Wi-Fi network. This is great, but it might restrict where you can listen. DAB, in case you’re wondering, uses a broadcast DAB signal so it will work in places where Wi-Fi isn’t available.

How good is the sound?

One of the most confusing things about DAB is that there are actually two standards in play: vanilla DAB and the newer DAB+. Some UK stations still broadcast over the older DAB standard, which uses the dated MP2 codec. In a bid to cram more stations on a single multiplex and keep costs down, they also tend to use low bit rates in their broadcasts. The result? DAB doesn’t necessarily sound that amazing and can even be inferior to old-fashioned FM. Don’t get us wrong: a good DAB radio makes the most of every station, bringing talk shows and music to life, but if you’re expecting hi-fi quality audio, you may feel mildly disappointed.

DAB+ is now supported by even the cheapest new digital radios – it’s a requirement for the green digital tick mark – and allows broadcasters to use the more efficient HE-AAC v2 audio codec, providing space for more stations without the same compromises on sound quality. The problem, until fairly recently, was that the UK authorities weren’t making DAB+ mandatory for stations, and only a handful broadcast in the format. However, the situation has changed over the last year or so, and now roughly half of the UK’s commercial national stations broadcast in DAB+. Weirdly, the BBC doesn’t, though as the BBC hasn’t resorted to the same compression levels and mono output tricks as some commercial stations, its programmes have always sounded pretty good, anyway.

What other features should I look for?

DAB radios usually have buttons or a dial to quickly scroll through and select a station, but nearly all will also allow you to assign your favourite stations to a preset button. Some also have features that allow you to pause, and even rewind, live radio so that if you’ve missed the start of a programme or have to answer the door in the middle of a song, you don’t lose out.

Otherwise, the best bonus feature is extra connectivity. Headphone sockets are standard, but some DAB radios have an analogue line-in for connecting a smartphone or Amazon Echo as a source. Better still, a growing number include Bluetooth connectivity, while a few cram in Wi-Fi to function as an internet radio, too. Some DAB radios work better as Bluetooth speakers than others, but it’s definitely a handy option if you would rather drop the DJ and listen to your own playlists for a change.

How we test DAB radios

We test DAB radios by setting them up from scratch, scanning for channels, then listening to a range of stations and material over a period of around one week. During that time, we’ll also test Bluetooth streaming where available and use battery-powered devices away from the mains to see if the audio quality changes. We also evaluate how long the batteries last. Where possible, we make direct A-B comparisons to other radios of the same size and class.

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The best DAB radios you can buy in 2024

Roberts Play 11: The best fuss-free DAB radio

Price when reviewed: £49 | Check price at Amazon

The Play 11 is Roberts’ most basic DAB+ radio. It’s a compact portable model, powered by four AA batteries or a USB-C cable, and there’s no Bluetooth connectivity or additional modes beyond DAB and FM radio. The design is equally simple, with a black or white plastic casing with a dark or light grey fabric cover at the front, and only two knobs and three buttons to handle volume, tuning and presets. This makes it extremely easy to use, particularly with the ability to store up to ten of your favourite stations just by pressing and holding the heart button.

It’s quick to find and lock on to channels, and while the two-line LCD display doesn’t provide a lot of info, it does the job. Most importantly, the sound is great for the money. It doesn’t have the rich bass or warmth of the tiny Revival Petite, and some boxiness creeps in at higher volumes, but it’s clear and authoritative with news, sports, spoken word and drama programmes, and reasonably adept with music. You might want to steer clear of dance and heavy rock, where everything starts to sound cluttered, but for easy background listening it’s fine. You’ll need your own USB adaptor or some rechargeable AAs – these sadly don’t recharge inside the unit – but as a simple, straightforward DAB radio, the Play 11 takes some beating.

Key specs – Output: N/S; Display: Two-line backlit LCD; Bluetooth: No; Connections: USB Type-C, AUX-in; Batteries: 4 x AA; Dimensions: 174 x 110 x 60mm

2. Groov-e Milan: Best rugged, pocket-sized DAB radio

Price when reviewed: £35 | Check price at ArgosLike the Roberts Revival Petite, below, the Groov-e Milan is a tiny DAB radio, easily small enough to shove in a bag or jacket pocket and take with you anywhere you go. It has a built-in Lithium Ion battery that lasts for 12 to 15 hours of listening, and its rock-solid splash-proof construction and sealed ports mean it can handle a little adverse weather. It packs in more features than you might expect, too, including Bluetooth connectivity, two alarms and a countdown kitchen timer.

With just a 2W output and a single, small speaker, you have to be realistic about the sound, but it’s clean and enjoyably lively. While there’s little bass to speak of and busy tracks can sound congested, it’s pretty good with rock, pop, news, sport and drama, and you can turn it up quite loud without distortion. Unfortunately, crammed-in controls and a poor button layout make the Milan slightly tricky to operate. Using the four preset buttons helps, but even switching from channel to channel or changing the volume involves squinting at the keys to work out which to press. Learn to live with that, and this is a great little DAB radio, albeit one with room for improvement.

Key specs – Output: 2W; Display: Two-line backlit LCD; Bluetooth: 5; Connections: Headphone, micro USB; Batteries: 4 x AA; Dimensions: 174 x 90 x 53mm

3. Majority Little Shelford: Best cheap compact radio

Price when reviewed: £40 | Check price at AmazonIf you’re looking for a rival to Roberts’ retro radios at a third of the price, then you might want to adjust your expectations. The Majority Little Shelford does a decent job of capturing that fifties vintage look, but the gold plastic doesn’t look as good in the flesh and there are some minor issues with usability. Perhaps the biggest niggle is that the Mode button for switching between DAB, FM and Bluetooth modes also doubles as the on and standby, and holding it for long enough to go to standby rather than switching modes seems to be a touch-and-go affair. The menus aren’t clear or intuitive, and audio streamed over Bluetooth sounds horrifically weak and tinny.

However, the Little Shelford still wins a place on this list thanks to three advantages. It’s cheap as chips, reasonably stylish and it sounds half-decent when it’s playing DAB and DAB+. Sure, in terms of weight or presence it’s not going to trouble the Pure Evoke H3 or the Ruark R1 Mk. 4, but the output’s clear with a little more oomph than the budget competition. It’s fine for news and talk shows, while pop, rock, classical and country programmes are perfectly enjoyable as long as you don’t push the volume up too high. It’ll run from the bundled micro-USB charger or from four AA batteries, so it’s portable as well.

Key specs – Output: Not supplied; Display: 2 line mono LCD; Bluetooth: Yes; Connections: Headphone; Batteries: 4 x AA; Dimensions: 130 x 110 x 170mm

4. Pure Elan DAB+: Best budget portable DAB radio

Price when reviewed: £44 | Check price at AmazonIf you’re looking for an affordable, portable DAB radio, the Pure Elan DAB+ should be right at the top of your list. It’s nice and simple to use, with a dial for scrolling through your station list and changing the volume, plus two presets at the touch of a button and eighteen more available with a few turns of the dial. The 2.4in colour screen makes navigating the menus easy and also gives you useful info while you’re listening.

At first, the output is a little underwhelming. There’s more warmth than you might expect from a small plastic radio, but not much clarity or definition. Give it a few minutes, though, and the sound opens up. While the quality is still a bit boxy and congested, with a muddy low-end, it’s both very listenable and easily tunable through preset and custom EQs. With four AA batteries, you’re only looking at around eight hours of use, but this is a great radio for the money, all the same.

Key specs – Output: 700mW; Display: 2.4in colour TFT; Bluetooth: 5; Connections: Headphone, micro USB; Batteries: 4 x AA; Dimensions: 187 x 109 x 85mm

5. Sharp Tokyo DR-430: Best budget bookshelf radio

Price when reviewed: £60 | Check price at Amazon

While it doesn’t have the looks or the premium materials of the Pure Evoke H3 or Ruark R1 Mk 4, the Sharp Tokyo DR-430 is brilliant value for money. There’s a lot to like about its compact form and unobtrusive looks, and it’s also very easy to set up and use, with a dual-function dial at the top to handle volume and menu selections, and straightforward buttons for switching presets and controlling the alarm. The two-line backlit LCD panel provides plenty of info, and we also found that the DR-430 even picked up marginal DAB+ stations that cheaper radios often struggle with. We also like the handy headphone socket, which sits in the bottom-right corner of the front panel, underneath the speaker. Just be aware that the unit is mains only, with no battery for mobile use.

The sound has its pros and cons. On news, sports, talk and drama programmes, it’s clear and surprisingly weighty. However, there isn’t a lot of low-end welly, meaning rock, pop and classical music can sound thin or even sibilant as you pump up the volume. This goes double for Bluetooth streaming, where podcasts are perfectly listenable while Spotify playlists sound weedy, with shrieky strings and biscuit-tin drums.

The Tokyo DR-430 is alright for background listening while you’re doing the washing up, but it can’t replace a dedicated Bluetooth speaker. All the same, you can’t expect Ruark R1-performance for this kind of money, and it’s about as good as DAB+ audio gets for under £60.

Key specs – Output: N/S; Display: Two-line backlit LCD; Bluetooth: 5; Connections: Headphone; Batteries: N/A; Dimensions: 171 x 105 x 110mm

6. Roberts Revival Petite: Best ultra-portable DAB radio

Price when reviewed: £99 | Check price at John LewisRoberts’ pint-sized miracle gives you 90% of the sound of a full-sized Roberts radio in roughly a quarter of the size, thanks to a bass radiator that adds a surprising depth and authority to talk shows and music shows alike. Push the volume up too far and the illusion breaks, and the sound when streaming over Bluetooth can be slightly boxy, but listen to Radio 4 dramas or jazz, rock and pop and you’ll be amazed what this tiny radio can do.

It’s a practical option, too, with simple controls, basic features and a built-in battery that around 20 hours without a break when listening at moderate volume. Sure, the titchy display can be hard to read and the micro-USB charging port feels a bit outdated, but with its slick retro styling, zingy colours and smooth sound, this is one of the most desirable DAB radios out there.

Read our Roberts Revival Petite review

Key specs – Output: 6W; Display: 2.8in colour TFT; Bluetooth: Yes; Connections: Headphone, line-in; Batteries: Internal lithium-ion; Dimensions: 124 x 76 x 73mm

7. Pure Evoke H3: Best compact DAB radio

Price when reviewed: £88 | Check price at Amazon The Pure Evoke H3 is a lovely example of a mid-range DAB radio with a choice of oak and walnut cabinets in a compact bookshelf format that’ll fit as well in the kitchen or bedroom as the lounge. It’s easy to tune, switch sources and flick between stations, thanks to the clear 2.8in colour screen and a dual-mode dial that scrolls through menus and changes levels.

There are four buttons for up to 40 presets and the H3 has two alarms, plus a handy kitchen timer feature – ideal for those inclined to burn the dinner. Pure has done some clever audio tuning here to make the best of DAB and DAB+, and the Evoke H3 has a really crisp and lively presentation that’s superb on talk radio and great for rock, pop, classical and jazz. Switch to Bluetooth or an Amazon Echo connected by the 3.5in line-in, and the sound lacks a little warmth and weight, but this is arguably – pound for pound – the best-value DAB radio in town.

Key specs – Output: 6W; Display: 2.8in colour TFT; Bluetooth: Yes; Connections: Headphone, line-in; Batteries: Optional ChargePak B1; Dimensions: 115 x 110 x 180mm

8. VQ Monty: Best DAB radio for under £100

Price when reviewed: £95 | Check price at AmazonVQ’s Monty gives you the style of a high-end radio at a lower cost than the premium brands, with a choice of oak and walnut finishes that look fantastic. Much the same goes for the sound. It’s best with talk radio, news and pop rather than more complex rock or classical music, as the output can be slightly boxy and some of the detail gets lost along the way. For casual listening, however, it’s a treat – and you can tune the sound to make it richer and more sparkly with just a little work in the MyEQ settings. The Monty also doubles as a decent Bluetooth speaker, if you fancy the odd podcast or some background music in the kitchen.

We have a few quibbles, like the way scrolling text makes the display flicker and the tiny buttons set into the front panel. These are presumably designed to look like touch controls, but they’re merely fiddly. Get over that, though, and it’s easy to add your own presets or set alarms – and we like the way the sound fades in gently rather than giving you a sudden shock-start to the morning. You don’t get perfection for under £100, but the Monty isn’t too far off the mark.

Key specs – Output: 10W; Display: mono LCD screen; Bluetooth: Yes; Connections: Headphones, line-in, USB; Batteries: Optional Li-ion rechargeable; Dimensions: 130 x 186 x 100mm

9. Roberts Revival RD70: Best portable DAB radio for style

Price when reviewed: £180 | Check price at John Lewis Like vintage style and old-fashioned class? The Revival RD70 combines the best of 1950s style and modern features, hiding a colour TFT screen among the old-school knobs and buttons at the top, while cramming in DAB, DAB+ and Bluetooth. The two push-to-click knobs – one handling volume and the other handling channel and menu selections – make everything intuitive, and you have to love the small touches like the custom display themes you can use to match your radio’s finish.

The display even shows station or album art. The big surprise here, though, is that the sound is so warm and punchy, although it takes on a slightly boxy tone as you push the volume up. It’s not quite as brilliant as a Bluetooth speaker, where it goes slightly woolly with a soft high-end, but it’s nigh-on impossible not to love this blast from the past.

Key specs – Output: Not stated; Display: 2.4in colour TFT; Bluetooth: Yes; Connections: Headphone, line-in; Batteries: 4 x AA; Dimensions: 252 x 160 x 104mm

10. Pure Siesta Charge: Best DAB clock radio

Price when reviewed: £94 | Check price at AmazonDAB clock radios are often either too big or too basic, but this compact number does it all. While it’s a fairly small, square unit, measuring 15.5 by 14.5cm, it packs in a big CrystalVue+ display and – more impressively – an even bigger sound. Music is detailed and surprisingly spacious, and talk comes through crisp and clear. It gets much louder than your average clock radio without losing any clarity.

It also moonlights as a Bluetooth speaker, although here we found the output got a little muddy and congested as you push the volume up. Still, it’s easy to use and set alarms, either once, daily or for weekdays only, and the sound creeps in steadily so you don’t get a rude awakening in the morning. Best of all, the Siesta Charge has a party piece: QI wireless charging, working flawlessly with our test Samsung Galaxy S8 phone. And if your handset won’t do wireless, don’t worry: there’s a USB port to plug your cable into. Make no mistake: this is the DAB clock radio that other clock radios wished they were.

Key specs – Output: Dual 4W; Display: CrystalVue+ LCD; Bluetooth: Yes; Connections: Headphone, line-in, USB; Batteries: No; Dimensions: 145 x 155 x 80mm

11. Pure Evoke Home: Best DAB radio for versatility

Price when reviewed: £339 | Check price at AmazonThe Evoke Home isn’t as much a DAB radio as an all-in-one audio system, complete with DAB+, FM and Internet radio, Spotify streaming, Bluetooth and a CD player. It’s got some great Scandinavian-influenced styling – and, where some internet radios suffer from opaque interfaces that make them awkward to use, the Evoke Home is fairly straightforward, even if navigating backwards doesn’t always work in the way you might expect.

It’s also mostly a great-sounding radio. Spoken word material sounds weighty and authoritative, while jazz, soul and folk-tinged singer-songwriter stuff is warm with plenty of detail. It can go loud without sounding harsh or shouty. However, some rock and bass-heavy pop can get boomy and remind you that you’re listening to a fairly small box. The output’s good, but not quite at the level of a Hi-Fi system or the best streaming speakers, both of which would be an option at this price point. All the same, if you want one compact unit that can do it all, this is the best we’ve found.

Key specs – Output: Not stated; Display: 3in colour TFT; Bluetooth: Yes; Connections: Headphone, line-in. Ethernet, USB; Batteries: No; Dimensions: 162 x 25 x 163mm

12. Ruark R1 Mk4: Best high-end DAB radio

Price when reviewed: £239 | Check price at John Lewis The latest version of the prestigious British DAB radio is better than ever, with a touch of Scandinavia in the stripped-back bookshelf design. It looks great and sounds fantastic, with more weight and authority than you might expect from a compact, bookshelf radio and impressive levels of space and detail. Whether you like listening to rock and pop, classical or jazz, you’ll be impressed, and it handles radio news, sport, documentaries and drama with just as much skill.

It’s not quite as brilliant as a Bluetooth speaker, where the Roberts Stream 94i pulls ahead, and it doesn’t have any Internet streaming features, only basic functions for streaming music over a USB Type-C connection. But it’s elegant and easy to use, and the best compact DAB radio we’ve heard.

Read our full Ruark R1 Mk4 review

Key specs – Output: Not stated; Display: 2.5in Monochrome OLED; Bluetooth: Yes; Connections: Headphone, line-in, USB Type-C; Batteries: Optional Backpack MkII; Dimensions: 130 x 135 x 175mm

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