DAB radios provide us with a plethora of radio stations dedicated to our favourite genres of music, as well all of the traditional stations we listen to for news and weather, all through the method of 'digital audio broadcasting' or DAB. A far cry from FM radios, DAB radios allow for much clearer listening, a wider choice of radio stations (as some stations are now digital only) and come with easy to read LCD screen to boot. So if you have found yourself falling in love with a digital only radio station such as Jazz FM or BBC Radio 1Xtra, unfortunately, your old FM/AM radio is no longer going to cut it. But fear not, we have rounded-up the best DAB radios so you can tune back in, in no time.
DAB radios are the future for radio stations, with many stations becoming 'digital only', over time. So if you love listening to radio stations online or even in the car if you radio is DAB optimised, it's frustrating when you can't the listen to the same stations through your radio at home. Investing in a new DAB radio should see you through the next era of radio evolution, so whilst the prices might occasionally make you gawp, you shouldn't need to upgrade again for a few more years, so it's a worthy investment piece. The best DAB radios on the market right now offer even additional tech features too, such as Bluetooth connectivity or iPhone docks so you can play your own music, playlists from other peoples phones or of course, just the radio. If it is truly solid sound quality you are after with great speakers, keep your eyes peeled for brands such as Ruark and Roberts, who not only offer the 'traditional radio' style but also unrivalled sound quality.
There are a diverse range of models available when it comes to DAB radios so have a think about which room in the house you want to place it - maybe multiple rooms, in which case portability is a must. The general rule of thumb is that portable radios tend to (but don't always) compromise on sound quality. So if it's crystal clear hertz you're after, go for a mains powered DAB radio. Portable radios are great choices for moving around the house, garden, and when on the move, but you may need to compromise on volume of quality for the added benefit of travel-friendliness.
1. Ruark R1 MK3 DAB Bluetooth Digital Radio
A little pricey but a fantastic quality speaker that looks great in the home
Best for: Sound Quality | Bluetooth: Yes | Alarm: Yes | Size: H17xW13xD12.5cm | RRP: £219.95
This digital radio is rather pricey, however it has a range of features which make it a great little gadget that will stand the test of time. You’ll benefit from Bluetooth connectivity for when you’d rather listen to your personal music collection and a headphone jack if nobody else wants to hear it! It also has an alarm which makes it great for the bedroom.
2. ROBERTS Revival Mini DAB/FM Digital Radio
A classic looking radio for retro lovers
Best for: Retro style | Bluetooth: No | Alarm: No | Size: H19xW14xD14.5cm | RRP: £149.95
For a classic retro feel, this is the best DAB radio for country kitchens. Customers love the duck egg blue colour but it also comes in red, cream and green so you can pick one that matches your décor. It’s very lightweight and is powered by either mains or battery which means it’s great for taking outside in the garden during the summer. Although it doesn’t have Bluetooth, it does have an AUX cable so you can tune in your iPod or MP3 player to play your own music.
3. VQ Retro Mini DAB Radio
A portable radio with a range of features
Best for: Portability | Bluetooth: Yes | Alarm: Yes | Size: H22.4xW14.7xD10.5cm | RRP: £59.99
For those who like the retro look of the Roberts Revival Mini Radio, this is a retro looking DAB radio that is small in size and easily portable. And just because it’s small doesn’t mean it lacks in features, either. This little radio includes Bluetooth connectivity, an alarm and even a kitchen countdown timer which is perfect for leaving dinner in the oven while you sit out in the garden. You can choose from a selection of 11 colours and connect headphones when on the go for personal listening.
4. Pure Evoke Compact All-in-One Music System
A music system that is compatible with both Bluetooth and CDs
Best for: Full music system | Bluetooth: Yes | Alarm: Yes | Size: H13.6xW21xD22.3cm | RRP: £189.99
If you want more than just a DAB radio, this is an all-in-one music system that allows you to play both CDs and your personal playlists from your iPod or smartphone. It features 10w of powerful sound as well as crystal clear radio channels and you can set it up to access your favourites at the touch of a button. Whilst this is a full sound system that has a slightly bigger footprint that many of the other radios on this list, this is an investment piece that really enables you to make the most of your music as well as benefit from the perks of digital radio.
5. Roberts Stream 217 DAB Internet Radio
Access your favourite internet radio stations through this DAB radio
Best for: Internet radio | Bluetooth: No | Alarm: Yes | Size: H12.4xW20xD10.5cm | RRP: £150.00
Internet radio stations are accessible on all DAB radios, but with this one you can open up a whole host of additional stations to broaden your listening. It doesn’t have Bluetooth but does have a USB port which still allows you to play music through your phone or tablet and it is powered by either battery or mains. With its handy carry handle you can take this DAB radio with you on the go and listen to your favourite radio stations wherever you are.
6. John Lewis Spectrum Solo Portable DAB+/FM Radio
A great value for money radio that looks cool on the go
Best for: Students | Bluetooth: No | Alarm: Yes | Size: H17xW20xD10.5cm | RRP: £40.00
This DAB radio is a great value for money purchase which would make a great gadget for students. Not only does it look cool, it can easily be taken with you to the library and used with headphones when studying. It also doubles as an alarm clock so you’ll never be late for your morning lectures again. It has an intuitive interface that is easy to set-up and tune so you can access your favourite radio stations with ease.
7. Panasonic Bluetooth Micro Hi-Fi System
A full Hi-Fi system for when you want the best quality sound
Best for: Hi-Fi System | Bluetooth: Yes | Alarm: Yes | Size: H17xW29xD9cm | RRP: £249.95
If you want to invest in something that has great sound quality and is more than just a DAB radio, then this Panasonic Bluetooth Micro Hi-Fi System is the perfect audio package. This system has 4GB of internal memory so you can store up to 25 CDs without having to change the discs, as well as Bluetooth streaming from your smartphone or tablet. The sleek design of the DAB radio system would look great in any lounge and has a 40W speaker for the clearest sound you could want.
8. Acoustic Solutions DAB Radio
A colourful portable radio that plays all your favourite stations
Best for: Teens | Bluetooth: No | Alarm: Yes | Size: H17xW29xD9cm | RRP: £24.99
This is a cute little radio that is ideal for teen bedrooms or using to take out and about on day trips. It boasts no frills but comes with 20 pre-tuned channels which make it easy to simply plug and play. You can connect this radio to the mains when not on the go and use it as a clock radio/alarm on your bedside table. Customers love the deep purple colour and this is a great budget buy for teens and adults alike.
If you are looking for a sound-boosting speaker system for your home, check out our round-up of the best sound bars.