Who would have thought that good old radio would still be such a massively popular medium in 2019?
The key to the format’s ongoing popularity, like many things, has been digitisation. Even before the rise of the podcast, DAB radio sold a modern audience on the charms of an audio-only experience.
UPDATE:The medium may be old, but new DAB radios packed with the latest tech are being released every month. If you're looking for a DAB radio that offers a little bit more functionality, check out Pure's StreamR. This is a Bluetooth speaker, DAB radio and Alexa-enabled device that's built for portability – great for summer picnics and outdoors entertaining.
Digital audio broadcasting offers a more robust radio listening experience than classic analogue, with the capacity for way more stations and the potential for superior sound quality.
The only thing is, you’ll need a dedicated DAB radio to take advantage of this digital listening platform. Here are eight of the best currently available in the UK.
Related: Best Bluetooth speaker
Best DAB radio
1. Ruark R2 Mk3
The Ruark R2 is a bigger, louder speaker than the Ruark R1 featured elsewhere, though it adopts a similar retro design. Its twin speakers provide rich output and full stereo separation, offering something much closer to ‘proper’ hi-fi sound than most of the other speakers on this list. You also get Spotify Connect support, while the entire Ruark line links up for multi-room listening. One of the pricier DAB radios out there, but also one of the most complete.
2. Ruark R1 Mk3
The Ruark R1 is a brilliantly balanced DAB radio with a square retro design. If wood’s your thing, it’s a strong contender, and it’ll fit on the smallest of tables. Despite the vintage approach, a modern OLED display ensures clear visibility when tuning in your favourite stations. The R1 is also very capable on the sound output front, with deep bass and impressive maximum loudness. It also packs a USB socket for phone charging.
3. Geneva Touring S+
The Geneva Touring S+ features its own distinct retro design, with a large volume/power dial strongly reminiscent of an old camera. Meanwhile the red LED display is arguably the most stylish, if not the most practical, on this list. But the best thing about this DAB radio is its sheer portability, with a removable rechargeable battery that’s good for 20 hours of use. It’s ideal for those long trips where you might not get to a power point for days.
4. VQ SuzieQ
If money is no object, and you’re after the ultimate in stylish, sweet-sounding digial radio, the VQ SuzieQ is your perfect pick. Its 1950s-inflected design is arguably the most eye-catching of any on this list, all chrome and wood and curvy enamel. The feature set is similarly impressive. Wi-Fi offers both internet radio and Spotify Connect compatibility. Impressive sound quality seals the deal for this premium DAB radio.
5. Pure Move T4
The Pure Move T4 is far more compact than most of the other choices on this list, meaning the onus is on portability over punch. It’s literally the kind of device you can slip in a pocket and take out and about with you, helped by a lengthy 15 hours of battery life. This is a very thin, flat device as a result, though there’s a kickstand to keep things stable. Despite its compact proportions the T4’s sound is reportedly crystal clear.
6. Revo SuperSignal
The Revo SuperSignal resembles a high-class vintage speaker that, besides looking awesome, offers a clue as to its strong suit. Out of its dominant speaker grille you'll hear exemplary, booming sound. Despite this, the Revo SuperSignal is also the perfect DAB radio for the bedroom. Not only does it have the ideal squat design for a bedside table, it also features easy-to-access top controls and a handy touch-to-snooze alarm function.
7. Roberts iStream 3 Revival
The classic Roberts iStream 3 Revival will be familiar to anyone who regularly uses boutique hotels or B&Bs. It’s a very popular DAB radio thanks to its iconic retro ‘handbag’ design, rounded sound and portability. It also has an extensive list of features you might not expect given that vintage style. Besides DAB you can tune into internet radio over Wi-Fi and push music from your smartphone over Bluetooth. There’s also direct support for Spotify, Amazon Prime Music, Deezer and Tidal.
8. Roberts Stream 94i
Roberts turns in another sterling effort in the Stream 94i. It might not have quite the same retro charm as the iconic Roberts iStream 3 Revival, but some will actually prefer its more modern design. It’s certainly not lacking where it counts, with a full suite of connectivity options, Spotify Connect support, and a built-in sub woofer for extra bass. It even packs a remote control, which is a rare inclusion for a compact DAB radio.