With the introduction of music streaming services — such as Apple Music and Amazon Music — and smart speakers which let you choose which music to listen to when you want, whenever you want, you might be wondering what the humble radio can offer.

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Whether you’re listening to Greg James on The Radio 1 Breakfast Show, Lauren Laverne on Radio 6 for your morning commute, or bopping along to your favourite dance tracks on Absolute Radio '80s or Heart Dance, radio offers structure to your day as well as the ability to discover new artists, songs, and even facts and information — and it’s not going anywhere.

Radio has come a long way since the first commercial radio broadcast was transmitted in 1920, and Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) is just one of these advancements. DAB is a radio service where analog audio is converted to digital signal. Automatically tuning to set stations, a DAB radio offers higher-quality audio and faster transitions than FM radio. The first DAB channel was launched in 1995 by The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, with the BBC and Swedish Radio following suit later that year.

DAB+ is an upgraded version of DAB. It’s more efficient, has clearer sound and broadcasts more stations. Most DAB radios come with DAB+.

So, why a DAB radio? Well, it’s a trustworthy piece of technology, and if you’re keen to stay clear of virtual assistant tech like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, it’s a simple way to listen to music. Plus, many DAB radios are wireless so you can take them out and about with you, and have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity so you can use it as a speaker and connect it to your smart device.

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Best DAB radios in 2024 at a glance:

What to consider when buying a DAB radio

Before you purchase a DAB radio, there are a few things to consider.

Firstly, its purpose. Do you want the radio for a specific place, for example a kitchen counter, or will it move around with you? If you’d like it to be portable, you’ll need to consider the weight and size, how long the battery life lasts, and whether it’s wireless or wired.

Next: functions. Is the DAB radio compatible with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi? How many speakers does it have? Does it have a display, and would you like it to? Besides listening to the radio, what else would you use it for? For example, as an alarm clock, maybe?

Then, aesthetic. You can purchase a lot of cool, retro-looking DAB radios, as well as ones in bold colours and with various prints.

And lastly, budget. Arguably the most important thing to consider when making a purchase is, how much money do you have to spend? Our best list includes radios that range from £20 up to a heftier price tag of £239.

If you're a fan of live music as well as listening to it, take a look at the Going Out section's latest ticketing releases such as Alice Cooper tickets.

Best DAB radios to buy in 2024

Roberts Rambler BT

Most compact DAB radio

roberts rambler bt best dab radio 2023
Roberts Radio

Pros:

  • Fantastic volume range
  • Small footprint
  • Aesthetically pleasing

Cons:

  • Short battery life

Roberts Radio has been manufacturing radios since 1932, so if you’re after a DAB radio from a reputable brand, you arguably can’t get better than Roberts. This compact radio — measuring just 21.4cm in length, 12.5cm in height, and 9cm in width — is perfect if you want to use it in a space with little room, such as a kitchen. One of our RadioTimes.com writers owns this radio, and swears by its brilliant volume range and small footprint. However, when researching the reviews, a frequent complaint was that the battery life is relatively short, lasting just a few hours.

Buy Rambler BT for £119.99 £99.99 (save £20 or 17%) at Amazon

Roberts Revival iStream

Best premium DAB radio

roberts revival best dab radio 2023
John Lewis

Pros:

  • User-friendly
  • Large display screen
  • Built-in streaming
  • Gorgeous colourways

Cons:

  • Expensive

The Roberts Revival iStream comes with a hefty price tag, however we think it’s worth it. Not only is it wonderful to look at — the 1950s-inspired smart radio comes in stunning colourways such as Sunburst Yellow, Berry Red and Duck Egg — but it has a whole host of innovative functions, too.

The DAB radio has built-in Spotify, Amazon Music and Deezer streaming services, as well as over 20,000 internet radio stations and thousands of podcasts. Plus, it’s Bluetooth compatible, so you can connect your smartphone and listen to exactly what you want, whether that’s Britney Spears’s Everytime on repeat (we won’t judge). One of our RadioTimes.com writers owns this radio and loves how user-friendly it is. The buttons are clearly labelled, and the screen size is large so it's easy to read.

Buy Roberts Revival iStream for £199.99 at John Lewis

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Spectrum Solo Portable DAB+/FM Digital Radio

Best budget DAB radio

john lewis best dab radio 2023
John Lewis

Pros:

  • Wireless
  • Lightweight
  • Cheap

Cons:

  • Batteries not included
  • Doesn’t support Wi-Fi or Bluetooth

One of the important things to consider when purchasing a DAB radio is the price tag, and if you’re after a budget radio, this one at John Lewis is a great choice. Weighing in at just 0.35kg, this portable, DAB+ and FM digital radio is perfect if you’re planning on taking it out and about with you, like to the park. It’s priced at just £40 and comes in four different colours.

Buy Spectrum Solo Portable DAB+/FM Digital Radio for £20 at John Lewis

Pure Siesta Digital Radio

Best alarm clock DAB radio

siesta best dab radio 2023
Amazon

Pros:

  • Alarm clock
  • Wireless charging pad
  • Display screen
  • Supports Bluetooth

Cons:

  • Doesn’t support Wi-Fi

Not only can you listen to up to 40 already-set radio stations, but this digital radio is compatible with Bluetooth, meaning you can use it as a speaker and listen to whatever you fancy — whether that’s dancing to Kylie Minogue’s I Believe in You while you’re whipping up a storm in the kitchen, or English Rose by The Jam to wind down in an evening. As well as an alarm clock, this DAB radio comes with other useful functions too, such as a kitchen timer and a headphone output.

Buy Pure Siesta Digital Radio for £69.95 at Amazon

Ruark Audio R1 Mk4 Deluxe Bluetooth Radio

Best display on a DAB radio

ruark audio best dab radio 2023
Selfridges

Pros:

  • Adaptive EQ listening experience
  • OLED display with auto dimming
  • Alarm

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Heavy at 1.5kg

In comparison to the Spectrum Solo Portable DAB+/FM Digital Radio which weighs just 0.35kg, the Ruark Audio R1 Mk4 Deluxe Bluetooth Radio is quite hefty at 1.5kg, although this is potentially the only downfall. The wireless DAB radio boasts adaptive EQ, which adjusts the frequencies in music to offer a more consistent listening experience, and is used by companies such as Apple in its products. The radio also has an easy-to-use control system, and functions like an alarm and Bluetooth receiver.

Buy Ruark Audio R1 Mk4 Deluxe Bluetooth Radio for £239 at Selfridges

Are you a fan of live music as well as listening to it? Then stay up to date with our Going Out section for the latest ticket releases.

Philips TAM2505/10 DAB+/FM Bluetooth Radio

Best smart DAB radio

philips best dab radio 2023
Currys

Pros:

  • Bluetooth compatible
  • Alarm clock

Cons:

  • Large
  • Heavy at 1.71kg

With an aerial, stand and wall mount as well as a remote control, the Philips DAB radio really does think of everything so you can place the device in a prime location and switch it on and off with ease. With a buzz and a radio alarm, you can wake up to the sound of your last played radio station, too, which is sure to make that 7am wake up call less abrupt.

Buy Philips TAM2505/10 DAB+/FM Bluetooth Radio for £99 at Currys

Emma Bridgewater Polka Dot Retro Mini DAB Radio

Best retro DAB radio

Emma Bridgewater Polka Dot Retro Mini DAB Radio

Pros:

  • Small footprint
  • Bluetooth connection
  • Designer prints

Cons:

  • Doesn’t support Wi-Fi

If there was an award for the sweetest design, this Emma Bridgewater polka dot radio would win, hands down. This compact radio is Bluetooth compatible so you can listen to music streaming services like Apple Music, Spotify and Deezer, as well as 60 pre-set radio stations.

Buy Emma Bridgewater Polka Dot Retro Mini DAB Radio for £89.99 £79.99 (save £10 or 11%) at JD Williams

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Roberts Revival Uno BT

Best DAB radio for design

roberts revival bt uno best dab radio 2023
Roberts Radio

Pros:

  • Compact
  • Fantastic sound
  • Brilliant colourways

Cons:

  • Doesn’t support Wi-Fi

The great thing about the Roberts Radio site is that it includes customer reviews (and plenty of them), so you can take a look at what other people have thought about the product before you buy. The Revival Uno BT is a take on the classic Revival, except it’s 35 per cent smaller. Where it squeezes on the size, however, it doesn’t skip on the quality. You can listen to DAB, DAB+ and FM stations in crystal clear audio, and there’s the option to save your favourite pre-set stations for easy, one-touch access.

Buy Roberts Revival Uno BT for £149.99 at Roberts Radio

Pure Evoke Spot

Best sustainable DAB radio

pure evoke best dab radio 2023
Amazon

Pros:

  • Supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
  • Foldable display
  • Sustainable

Cons:

  • Plug-in charge

This smart speaker supports both FM and DAB radio stations with internet connectivity, so you can listen to your favourite songs, artists, podcasts and audiobooks however the mood takes you. The radio uses eco-certified and recycled wool for its front, but this sustainability initiative doesn’t hinder its performance. Powerful sound is produced from a three-inch full range speaker and a bass reflex port, and it has 20W of audio power.

Buy Pure Evoke Spot for £179.99 £141.95 (save £38.04 or 22%) at Amazon

Sony Portable DAB+ Radio

Best portable DAB radio

sony best dab radio 2023
JD Williams

Pros:

  • Small footprint
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to set up
  • Inexpensive

Cons:

  • Only five pre-set stations
  • Not Bluetooth or Wi-Fi compatible

Another cheap and cheerful DAB radio is this portable one from Sony. Costing just £74.99, the radio packs in a lot of features, such as a sleep and wake-up timer, LCD display screen and a headphone jack. However, it has fewer pre-set stations than other DAB radios (the Sony Portable DAB+ Radio has five).

Buy Sony Portable DAB+ Radio for £74.99 at Amazon

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