Smart speakers may be taking over homes, but there’s still more than enough room in your digital life for a DAB radio.
Able to fill your kitchen, bedroom, bathroom or office with great-sounding music, news and chat, a DAB radio is an essential companion for many. No wonder then, that they make excellent gifts, with affordable prices and features galore. You’ll now find portable, pocket-sized DAB radios for taking out of the hour – and maybe to the cricket – as well as retro 1950s designs, mono and stereo arrays, added internet radio stations and even wireless Bluetooth streaming, which means some can double up as a portable speaker.
In fact, the sheer variety of digital radios available on the market right now can make finding the one that’s right for you a real challenge. To save you the trouble, we’ve taken the best DAB radios in the country that we’ve had the opportunity to test ourselves and rounded them up into a single, unified list.
So whether you’re looking for a decent-sounding DAB radio for the kitchen, an alarm clock radio for your bedside table or a portable radio you can take on your travels, we’ve got the best option for you whatever your budget. Here are the best DAB radios available in the UK today:
Our top picks
The Ruark R1 M4 is an evolution of one of the company’s most popular DAB radios, the R1 – and it’s slick Scandi-style aesthetics and easy controls make it easy to recommend if you’re looking for the best DAB radio for listening in style.
An auto-dimming OLED display and rotodial controls make it easy to use, while support for Bluetooth and USB sources make it pretty flexible when it comes to music playback.
It comes with DAB, DAB+, and FM radio support, and sounds clear and expansive in spite of its small size.
If you’re looking for a small and highly portable DAB/DAB+/FM radio ideal for taking to sports events as well as using at home and in the garden, stop looking. Pocket-sized and lasting for about 15 hours on one charge of its internal battery, the Sony XDR-P1 is easy to use and will fit in your top pocket.
Available in black and white, it’s got a headphones slot and a small 1.5W mono speaker that’s perfect for voice radio, though not so good for music. It’s also a design win, with a stylishly different orange backlight and a subtle fold-out flip-stand to keep it stable on surfaces.
Maybe its small buttons will trouble some users, but for fans of talk radio the Sony XDR-P1 is hard to beat on clarity and volume.
Read more: Sony XDR-P1 review
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 this DAB radio as it fills up your battery.
It has a lovely sound, with simple customization options and presets, while all the practical alarm, timer and radio functions of Pure’s popular Siesta range position it as a hugely practical bedside gadget. Not to mention an auto-dimming LED display and dashing glass screen.
Not everyone will make use of the wireless charging feature: but either way you’re getting a sleek, well-designed DAB radio and speaker that’s well worth a look.
Read more: Pure Siesta Charge Review
An exceptional build quality, convincing retro design and good all-round sound quality rule on this excellent, if expensive DAB radio that also deals in decent Bluetooth streaming. Available in cream, green and blue, the Roberts Rambler BT Stereo features a faux leather (vinyl)-covered carry handle and panels that stretch right across its back, with clean oak panels either side of a chrome and black speaker grille. It’s based upon the original ‘Rambler’ of the 1970s.
It’s primarily designed to look great in a kitchen or bedroom and have wide appeal; it sounds absolutely fine for both voice and music, but there are no EQ settings. We’re also slightly disappointed that a built-in battery is replaced by the need to insert four AA batteries, but there’s no doubting the quality of this DAB radio’s aesthetics and audio.
Read more: Roberts Rambler BT Stereo review
Digital radio is great, but don’t underestimate internet radio. Accessing international web-based radio stations, but crucially also their catalogues of podcasts, the utilitarian stone grey or charcoal Pure Elan Connect+ gets on your home’s Wi-Fi and also offers DAB/DAB+/FM and Bluetooth streaming from a phone.
It does look somewhat plasticky and audio-wise it’s best suited to voice radio and background music, but it’s easy to use and has a large colour display. It’s also just 82mm deep so can slide onto any kitchen worksop or bookshelf without looking too dominating. Its slimness is also helped by it’s being charged not by a big power pack, but by a micro USB cable. Either way, the Pure Elan Connect+ is a great value all-in-one for kitchens, bathrooms and patios.
Read more: Pure Elan Connect+ review
Taking your music on the go? Few digital radios have built-in batteries and splash-proof, portable designs, so the PAL+ BT is a bit of a one-off. Its 16-hour battery is simply superb, and makes it a great – though expensive – alternative to a Bluetooth speaker that you might take out into the garden or on a longer jaunt to the beach.
Its headline slot and AUX-in are handy, while the sound quality is thoroughly decent. But Bluetooth isn’t exactly an expensive technology and the sound quality isn’t perfect enough for Tivoli to be charging the kind of money it’s asking for the PAL+ BT.
The design has, however, smartly improved over the past few years, shrinking the remote and ditching the oversized analogue knob for a more capable LCD screen. The Tivoli’s PAL+ BT isn’t the most cost-effective way of getting a DAB+ radio, but it is still one of the best out there.
In the end, this is a compact, versatile DAB radio that can be taken around the home (and anywhere else) quite easily thanks to a 16-hour battery – while the PAL+BT’s inclusion of Bluetooth and a bass-heavy sound goes some way to justifying its high price. Perfect for occasional forays into the bathroom.
Read more: Tivoli Audio PAL+ BT review
A quick one-box solution for a kitchen or bathroom, this DAB/DAB+/FM unit adds internet radio and podcasts and streams from a smartphone. Its large 2.4-inch colour LCD display makes it a standout, though just as useful is its portability.
Sadly there’s a need to use four AA batteries (a built-in lithium-ion would have been better). Slimmer than most of its competitors and using a micro USB cable to charge, it’s well-suited to kitchen sides and bookshelves. If you want stereo there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack on the rear. Its mono speaker delivers sonics good enough for clear spoken word radio and background music, though it never gets close to audiophile-quality.
Read more: Pure Elan Connect review
There are few better sounding or looking DAB radios for a kitchen than the RD70. A retro-styled DAB/FM radio with a museum-like 1950s look, it brings the wireless bang up to date by adding a large colour LCD display and Bluetooth streaming from smartphones.
Its bulky size is a little too much for the average bedside table – and the colour LCD display is positioned on the top of the cabinet – so it makes for a less than perfect clock radio. However, its faux leather-covered wooden speaker cabinet produces easily enough mid-range and bass for warm-sounding sonics ideal for a kitchen or bookshelf. In fact, the only downsides are its bulky size, lack of internal rechargeable battery (it’s portable only if you feed it four AA batteries) and underwhelming Bluetooth streaming.
Read more: Roberts Revival RD70 review
The Pure Evoke C-F6 marries modern connectivity options with old-school CD playback, and is one of the best combined DAB radio and stereo systems 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.
It is expensive, but you are getting a lot for your money.
Read more: Pure Evoke C-F6 review