The best DAB radios 2018

If you’re looking to upgrade from an old FM radio or hi-fi system, cast your eye over our round-up of great-sounding and great-looking DAB radios, from models that allow you to rock out to your CD collection to those streaming internet radio for infinite options

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There are a lot of good reasons to invest in a DAB radio: if you like a large array of musical styles, or one in particular, and find regular radio just doesn’t cut it; if you find cycling blindly through the frequencies and just missing a decent signal infuriating beyond belief; if you’ve ever got distracted and miss the punchline to that joke on your favourite panel show, or that plot twist on The Archers, and wished you could rewind.

As you’ve probably guessed by now, we love a DAB radio, and why shouldn’t we? With their wide choice of stations and, in many cases, clever added features, they certainly have the edge on traditional analogue. But how do you find a good one? Well, that all depends on what, and where, you want it for.

If you like to have the radio on in the kitchen, you won’t want anything that’s difficult to turn up or down with wet or floury hands; for the bedroom, you may want to consider a model with a built-in alarm clock that uses a buzzer, your own music, or — of course — radio. For picnics and al fresco dining, look for a light, battery-powered portable model with an integrated carry handle; and for the living room… well, that’s your license to go a little bolder! If it’s in a permanent residence, you can afford to go for a bigger model that does more than just DAB. Fortunately, some of the best DAB radios come armed with sleek design features and considered aesthetics, meaning they won't be an eyesore in a well-designed living room

Finally, look out for models with Bluetooth capabilities if you’d like to be able to stream your own music from a phone or tablet, for party playlists or just for when you’re in the mood for something specific. They pick up your device’s signal with no fiddly wires needed, so are worth the extra if you’ll take advantage of the added usage.

1. Ruark R1 MK3 DAB Bluetooth Digital 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.

2. ROBERTS Revival Mini DAB/FM Digital Radio

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.

3. VQ Retro Mini 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.

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

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.

5. Roberts Stream 217 DAB Internet Radio

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).

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

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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