Best DAB radios 2021: the best digital radios you can buy
Make sure you are listening to the radio on the right radio.
Who would have thought that tuning into the radio would still be a popular pastime in 2021 but. as this best DAB radio guide shows, listening to the radio is still a thriving, wonderful thing - especially now that we are spending a lot more time indoors!
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: We don't know if someone is an Alan Partridge fan or not, but it's just been revealed that North Norfolk Digital has won an Ofcom radio licence to broadcast on DAB. This was Alan's radio station when he was presenting Mid-Morning Matters so we're hoping that we get something similar from the station when we listen to it on one of the following best DAB radios.
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 10 of the best DAB radios currently available.
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. Pure Evoke H3
Compact and portable, the Evoke H3 is a small yet delightful offering from the British audio brand, Pure. A DAB/DAB+ radio that offers an FM alternative, the H3 model features a full colour display, alongside Bluetooth and wireless connectivity.The H3 is available in Walnut and Oak wood finishes and comes with an optional ChargePAK B1, which gives you up to 30 hours playback whilst on the move.
3. Revo Supersignal
A name that says it all, the Revo Supersignal is a true superhero when it comes to sound quality. Devoting most of its front face to the speaker, the model comes equipped to receive DAB and DAB+ broadcasts and supports Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to stream your favourite tracks via the device. Complete with a detailed graphical OLED display and joystick control, this is a sleek piece of audio kit that puts sound at the fore.
4. Ruark Audio R1 MK4
The fourth generation of Ruark's iconic R1 radio, the Ruark R1 MK4 DAB comes complete with Bluetooth, Aux and USB connectivity. The pint size alternative to the larger R2 model that also features on this list, the R1 MK4 is ideal for bedside tables or kitchen countertops alike. With auto-adjusting display, this model is something of an upgrade to its predecessor, available in two attractive colour options - Espresso and Light Cream.
5. Sharp DR-1470
Audio veteran Sharp has unleashed the ultimate multi-tasking DAB radio for your listening pleasure. The DR-I470 Pro rolls internet radio, DAB+ and FM audio into one compact device, in addition to it being used as a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth speaker and offering users built-in Spotify Connect. It's a smart-looking radio packed with innovation
6. Pure StreamR
The StreamR because it brings you the best of both worlds, it's a DAB radio but it's also a bluetooth speaker with Alexa integration as well. It has intuitive touch controls and a cute, minimal design. Despite the fact it has more features than a typical radio, it still boasts 15 hours of battery life, meaning it's portable too.
7. Tivoli Audio ART Series Model One
Tivoli certainly haven't scrimped on the appearance of the new ART Model One. Compact in its design, allwhilst retaining a stylish, retro charm, the radio comes in a variety of finishes, including black, white and grey. Incorporating Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, alongside Spotify connect, the ART Model One can be used alone or as part of a multi-room audio setup. Complete with a striking circular front screen and rotary dial, this model is certainly pleasing on the eye.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
How to buy a DAB Radio: buying advice
When buying a DAB radio there are a few things you need to consider. The first is a bit of an obvious one but you need to make sure that you can currently get a DAB signal in your household - the majority of the UK now has DAB, but it's worth using the UK Radio postcode searcher to find out.
The second thing to look for is price. While our best DAB Radio guide has radios ranging from £100 to £400, you might be tempted to go a little lower or higher. If this is the case, then always try and go for a make that you know, or one that you know to be trusted in this area.
Ruark Audio has been making radios for a number of years now and are a brand that's been awarded for their products. Likewise Pure - who was one of the first to get into the DAB radio space. These types of brands are trusted for a reason, because they have a history of making great products. Go for a lesser brand and it may be that the device you get doesn't last quite as long as you would like it to.
Don't just look for DAB when looking for a DAM radio, either. Many DAB radios will also come with internet radio. Unlike DAB, this is radio that comes from the web so the radio you buy will have to link up to your Wi-Fi signal, or connected via Ethernet. Internet radio opens up your radio to thousands more stations, beyond what you get with DAB.
Many DAB radios will also have Bluetooth, which means you will be able to play the likes of Spotify through the radio on your phone. Look out for DAB+, too. This is a better quality of DAB that can carry more stations and something that is starting to become more and more apparent in the UK.