The best DAB radio 2019: portable, Bluetooth, radio alarms and more

Looking for the best DAB radio to upgrade your old FM or hi-fi system? From portable and Bluetooth enabled devices, to traditional radio alarms, our pick of the best sound as good as they look

bedroom with white side table and bedding as well as light blues roberts dab radio, n example of the best dab radios

Looking for the best DAB radio? Whether you're considering an upgrade because regular FM radio just isn't cutting it; you frequently find yourself cycling blindly through the frequencies and just missing a decent signal; or you’ve ever got distracted and missed the punchline to that joke on your favourite panel show, or that plot twist on The Archers, and wished you could rewind, our pick of the best DAB radios are here to enhance your radio experience.

From models that come complete with Bluetooth connectivity – allowing you to stream your own music, should you wish to, from your phone or tablet  – to more traditional radio alarms that make waking up that little bit easier, you're sure to find a model that suits your needs in our pick of the best DAB radios.

For plenty more home tech advice and information, head over on our technology hub page. 

What is the best DAB radio?

In our opinion, the best DAB radio comes in the form of the RUARK R1 MK3 DAB Bluetooth Digital Radio, which for a small speaker, offers sound of unrivalled quality.

On top of this, it comes complete with Bluetooth and phone charging capabilities and a stylish, curved design.

Looking for a radio alarm to help you wake up in the morning? You may find a more appropriate model in the following guides:

How to buy the best DAB radio

When it comes to buying the best DAB radio to suit your needs, as well as your budget, there are a few factors worth looking out for. 

Alarm

If you're looking for a DAB radio that can help you wake up, gradually, from a good night's sleep, it's important that you ensure that the model you choose comes complete with a built in radio, as this does not come as standard in all models.

Bluetooth

If you'd like the option to connect your phone, or tablet, to your radio from time to time, it's worth ensuring your DAB radio comes complete with Bluetooth connectivity. If you have no interest in doing so, this is a feature that can be by-passed.

The best DAB radios you can buy right now

1. Ruark R1 MK3 DAB Bluetooth Digital Radio

Best DAB radio: small but powerful, this beautifully-designed radio takes our top spot

Specifications
Best for: Quality sound
Bluetooth: Yes
Alarm: Yes
Size: H17 x W13 x D13.5 cm
Reasons to buy
+ Excellent sound quality + Looks fab 
Reasons to avoid
- Quite expensive for a small radio 

It might seem a little on the steep side for a small radio, but this Ruark radio packs a serious sonic punch with its high-quality speakers, earning it our top spot as the best DAB radio 2017.

The sound that this petite radio puts out is remarkably well-rounded, even when it comes to speech, and its convenient Bluetooth feature and phone-charging capabilities are adding benefits that other DAB radios on the market don't offer. Its good looks are a definite bonus too, and we particularly love the curvy walnut casing.

This Ruark radio is the best DAB radio on our list for all round design and performance.

Shop the full range of DAB radios available from John Lewis & Partners

2. ROBERTS Revival Mini DAB/FM Digital Radio

Best DAB radio for looks: Roberts’ Revival radio combines retro looks with modern functionality

Specifications
Best for: Retro design
Bluetooth: No
Alarm: No
Size: H19 x W14.5 D14.5 cm
Reasons to buy
+ Iconic retro look  + Power options and portability 
Reasons to avoid
- Expensive for no Bluetooth 

If someone said the words “DAB radio” to you, chances are this is what you’d be picturing. The Roberts revival radio comes in a range of sweet pastel shades — we’re particularly taken with this duck-egg blue — and a quality construction that’s guaranteed to last.

It would look particularly at home in a vintage-styled country kitchen, but as it’s portable and has the choice of mains or battery operation, you can take it anywhere you please. If you are looking for a high-quality, portable DAB radio, you can't get better.

Shop more DAB radios available from Go Electrical

3. VQ Retro Mini DAB Radio

Best portable DAB radio: a lovely little leatherette radio for a great sound on the go

Specifications
Best for: Portability
Bluetooth: Yes
Alarm: Yes
Size: H22.4 x W14.7 x D22.3 cm
Reasons to buy
+ Easy to carry and move + Superb value 
Reasons to avoid
- Speaker isn’t the best-looking 

This teeny-tiny portable radio is an equally sweet-looking alternative to the Roberts at a fraction of the price, so if you’re looking to take your music on the move, such as for picnics (don't forget your picnic basket!), parties or glamping, go for this one.

The leatherette finish is very attractive, and the built-in timer makes a handy addition, especially if it spends most of its time in the kitchen. The headphone jack also means that you can have it as your own personal player while pottering about in the garden, working or studying. This is best budget DAB radio on our list.

Shop more DAB radios available from Amazon

4. Pure Evoke C-D4 DAB+/FM Bluetooth Compact All-In-One Music System

Best all-in-one DAB radio: trade in your hi-fi and get the best of both worlds with this DAB radio-meets-CD player

Specifications
Best for: All-in-one system
Bluetooth: Yes
Alarm: Yes
Size: H13.6 x W21 x D22.3 cm
Reasons to buy
+ DAB radio and CD player in one + Powerful speaker 
Reasons to avoid
- Saving presets can be a bit fiddly 

If you’re looking to update a trusty old hi-fi, this is a great package to go for. The wide-range speaker is pretty powerful stuff, giving out full-bodied sound from a variety of inputs.

Link up a phone or tablet with Bluetooth to play from Spotify, Youtube and more; tune into one of your favourite preset stations on DAB or FM radio; or use the CD drive to enjoy your physical collection.

If you are looking for the best DAB radio with a CD player and you’re nervous about making the transition into digital because you don’t want your CD stash to go to waste, this is a wonderfully useful buy.

Browse the full rage of DAB radios available from AO

5. Roberts Stream 217 DAB Internet Radio

Best DAB radio for internet: to keep millions of stations at your fingertips, go for this internet-streaming DAB radio

Specifications
Best for: Internet radio
Bluetooth: No
Alarm: Yes
Size: H16.6 x W9.6 x D9.6 cm
Reasons to buy
+ Extremely high-tech; lots of ways to listen + Stream internet radio and podcasts 
Reasons to avoid
- Not the best-looking 

If you like the guarantee of quality that comes with a Roberts radio, but are looking for something more along the lines of modern functionality than retro style, then look no further.

This souped-up version streams internet radio for an almost infinite choice of listening material from around the world, including podcasts, and it’s Wi-Fi enabled so you can take it wherever you like in the house or garden.

With its dual alarm function, we recommend this high-tech model as a clock radio that’s useful for the rest of the day, too. For anyone who listens to internet radio stations more often than not, this DAB radio is the ideal pick (if you can get past the design).

Find more DAB radios at Currys PC World

6. John Lewis Spectrum Solo Portable DAB+/FM Digital Radio

Best DAB for students: this bright, brilliant and budget-friendly DAB radio is superb for students

Specifications
Best for: Students
Bluetooth: No
Alarm: No
Size: H16.6 x W9.6 x D9.6 cm
Reasons to buy
+ Lovely choice of colours + Handy headphone and aux ports 
Reasons to avoid
- Eats batteries 

This colourful, affordable DAB radio isn’t just great for students because it’s budget-friendly and fun, it’s also ideal for when students need to get their heads down, plug in, and focus on that last-minute assignment.

They can pop their headphones in for me-time, or take it into the kitchen to soundtrack pre-drinks — with the easy-set presets, useful auxiliary port and surprisingly high-quality sound, there’s a minimal amount of faffing to be done.

The only issue to watch out for is that it’s very battery hungry, so plug it in where possible to save some pennies.

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