In these uncertain times, we have a lot of love for the original ‘wireless’ – the radio. OK, we have myriad options for listening to music and accessing news in this day and age, but there are still times when sticking the radio on in the kitchen just can’t be beaten. With the advent of DAB, internet radio and Bluetooth streaming, the humble radio has come a long way since its bedside clock integration.
What follows is our pick of the best portable DAB radio we’ve reviewed. They all give you access to hundreds of digital radio stations, as well as a number of useful features such as Bluetooth and live recording. Our round-up includes budget and premium options, from dependable brands such as Pure and Roberts. Learn the names of these top DAB radios now and be first in line to snap up a deal when discount events roll around.
Top 10 Choices For The Best Portable DAB Radio
We choose the best products for the best portable DAB radio from all of these reviews to feature as listed below.
1. Pure Evoke H6 Portable DAB Radio
One of the most expensive in Pure’s DAB radio lineup, this model has a rich, warm sound and is incredibly easy to use. Alongside the usual lineup of controls, there’s an additional back button, which makes it easier to change stations and adjust settings. We love the digital radio slideshow on its colour screen, so you can view album artwork and more. Our only issue is that the footprint is fairly large – it won’t suit a bedside table – and you’ll need to invest in an optional battery if you want to use it on the go.
2. Pure UK Move T4 DAB Digital Radio
Most personal DAB radios offer limited features and poor sound quality, so it’s refreshing to see Pure get things right with the Pure Move T4. Nice and compact, it comes with a toughened glass screen so that it doesn’t get damaged while you’re out and about. Its built-in rechargeable battery offers up to 22 hours’ of listening time through headphones, making it the perfect companion for any adventure. As well as being a great personal DAB radio, the Move T4 also has a speaker with an impressive 4W output- putting it on a par with some much larger models. Prop the radio up on its retractable stand, and you can listen to it anywhere- so it’s a great choice for the garden or kitchen, too! With Bluetooth and an aux-in connection as well, the Move T4 really does it all.
3. Roberts Stream94i DAB Internet Radio
Roberts is best known for its retro-look radios, but we’re actually most impressed by its more modern devices, in particular the Stream 94i, which takes our top spot. It’s a great radio that boasts both Bluetooth and Spotify Connect to make it borderline a smart speaker with radio built-in. Those two front drivers are augmented by a subwoofer on its back, making for excellent sound, while the carrying handle makes it a doddle to move around with, especially if you add an optional battery pack to make it portable. For the combination of functions it offers, and its clean design, we think this is the best radio you can buy right now.
4. Sony XDR-P1DBP Pocket DAB Radio
Small but dependable, the Sony XDR-P1DBP will automatically scan and save your favourite radio stations, allowing you to access each one via five preset buttons (if you’re running it on batteries, the presets will be erased when the battery runs out). We love the design of this one, and it’s small and light enough to carry around without too much bother. It’s not the best sound quality but it’s decent – music fans might want to spend a little more if they’re looking for something to get them dancing around the living room. The set-up is a piece of cake, and the backlit display is a nice touch.
5. Majority Little Shelford DAB Radio
If 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.
6. Pure Evoke C-F6 DAB Radio
The Pure Evoke C-F6 marries modern connectivity options with old-school CD playback, and is just about the best DAB radio and stereo system you can buy today. Easy to set up, a delight to listen to, and featuring just about every bell and whistle you could need from a single-room audio device, this is a fantastic choice for anyone looking for a one-stop audio box. With 3-inch stereo speakers and a 20W output, too, it can crank up to party levels while maintaining a rich, balanced sound.
7. Tivoli Audio ART DAB Radio
The Tivoli Audio ART has been around for some years, but its update with Bluetooth for wireless streaming brings it bang up to date. It cost a whopping £199 at the time of review (now £175); it’s questionable whether any mono speaker-endowed DAB radio can justify that kind of outlay, but the PAL+ BT makes a compelling case. Not only does its built-in 16-hour battery make it completely portable around the home, but its weather-resistant casing makes it great for bath-time and trips outdoors, and a big, bold sound from both DAB and music streamed over Bluetooth gives it all-round appeal.
8. Pure Siesta Charge DAB Digital Radio
The Pure Siesta Charge is looking to the future. A longtime purveyor of alarm clock radios, Pure has added to its range with a sleek and stylish piece of audio kit, which retails for £129.99. What makes the Pure Siesta Charge stand out is – you guessed it – its charging capabilities. If your smartphone or phablet is compatible with QI wireless charging, you’ll be able to leave it on top of the Siesta Charge as it fills up your battery. QI is the leading wireless charging standard on the market, largely thanks to Apple embracing the technology. So does this make the Pure Siesta Charge a must-have alarm clock radio, or do its other features complicate matters?
9. Revo Super Signal Deluxe DAB Radio
The fact that Revo have devoted so much of the Supersignal’s face to the speaker should hopefully give a good indication of what this DAB radio is all about. This is the best digital radio for sound quality alone that we tested. In spite of, or perhaps because of, the big speaker grill, the Supersignal looks really good. You can get a variety of designs but the wooden one I tried is my favourite, with a pleasingly retro vibe. On top you’ll find a big volume knob which feels precise with each turn. The whole unit is compact enough to avoid taking up a huge amount of space, but still feels chunky and significant. It’ll be a real presence on your kitchen counter.
10. AZATOM Pro Sports S1 DAB Digital Radio
AZATOM is a brand that we reference quite frequently in our reviews of the top 10 DAB radios and other audio devices. Usually, AZATOM stands out in the radio marketplace as a brand that offers high-quality products at a very low price. The AZATOM Pro Sports S1 is one of the mini DAB radios on the UK market today that was specifically designed for athletes and people who like to “tune in” when they’re out and about. If you don’t want to be distracted by your smartphone when you’re going out for a jog, the AZATOM Pro Sports will give you access to all the FM, DAB and DAB+ channels you could want, without any complicated bells and whistles.
How To Buy The Best Portable DAB Radio?
Although digital radio still uses radio waves, instead of a single analogue signal they are used to transmit data packets containing information, such as a song’s title, artist’s name or even a forecast of the weather. The audio quality can be better than the popular AM/FM radio stations and unlike other digital radio delivery options such as Spotify or Pandora, you can listen to as much DAB+ (Australia’s upgraded version of the Digital Audio Broadcasting standard) as you’d like, without worrying about the expense of data.
Digital radios come in all shapes and sizes, just like analog models. You can still get portable and desktop models, and some hifi systems have them built in as well. Portable and desktop models can look like old-style traditional radios and the retro 1950s look seems to be in vogue. Contemporary styles are also available though if you’re feeling less nostalgic. You can also buy digital radio tuners for your home HiFi setup. However they’re less portable, of course, unless you want to take your living room with you.
Whether you need a bedside clock radio, a kitchen radio or a model that’s integrated into a home audio system, John Lewis & Partners have a style to suit. The good news is that in the last few years the price of DAB radios has come down, so models such as the John Lewis & Partners Spectrum Solo Portable DAB+/FM and Roberts Play 10 DAB offer excellent value for money. Invest a little more and you can enjoy high-end speakers, a powerful amp and luxe materials.
DAB+ is an upgrade of the current DAB system, the main advantage being that it is three times as efficient, meaning it can carry more stations and has higher audio quality. DAB+ is also the current standard across much of Europe so if you are able to travel, the radio travels with you. Finally, we hope that our article has brought the best portable DAB radio to you.