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Best DAB radio 2021: which digital radio should you buy?

the Ruark Audio R1 Mk4 DAB radio on a brick wall
(Image credit: Future)

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 mk4 DAB radio in black

(Image credit: Ruark Audio)

1. Ruark R1 MK4

A classic gets a stylish makeover

Specifications
Radio: DAB, DAB+, FM
Display: OLED
Charging method: AC adaptor
Dimensions: 130 × x 175 x 135mm (W x H x D)
Output: 9W
Connectivity: Bluetooth, 3.5mm AUX input, 3.5mm line-in, USB
Reasons to buy
+Slick design+Clear sound+Easy controls
Reasons to avoid
-No Spotify Connect

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. 

the sony xdr-p1 dab radio in black with an orange screen

(Image credit: Sony)

A phone-sized DAB radio for the home, garden and travel

Specifications
Radio: DAB, DAB+, FM
Display: Amber LCD
Charging method: Built-in Li-Ion battery
Dimensions: 115 x 57 x 24.5 mm (W x H x D)
Audio: 1.5W mono
Connectivity: Headphone jack, micro USB
Reasons to buy
+Pocket-sized+Headphones slot
Reasons to avoid
-Very small buttons-Mono speaker

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

Pure Siesta Charge

(Image credit: Pure)

3. Pure Siesta Charge

Wireless charging makes this a forward-looking DAB radio

Specifications
Radio: DAB, DAB+, FM
Display: LED
Charging method: AC adaptor
Dimensions: 155 x 145 x 80mm (W x H x D)
Audio: 20W stereo
Connectivity: Bluetooth, Apple Lightning, 3.5mm AUX IN / AUX OUT, USB
Reasons to buy
+Sleek, compact design+QI wireless charging
Reasons to avoid
-Light on bass-Do you need wireless charging?

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

the roberts rambler bt stereo dab radio in light blue

(Image credit: Roberts)

A pricey retro-styled DAB radio that adds boom and Bluetooth

Specifications
Radio: DAB, DAB+, FM
Display: Colour LCD
Charging method: AC adaptor or 4x AA batteries
Dimensions: 94 x 235 x 142mm (W x H x D)
Audio: Stereo
Connectivity: Bluetooth, headphones jack, 3.5mm AUX in
Reasons to buy
+1970s retro design+Good audio quality
Reasons to avoid
-No EQ settings-Portability requires AA batteries

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

the pure elan connect plus dab radio in grey

(Image credit: Pure)

This good value all-in-one adds internet radio but lacks audio prowess

Specifications
Radio: DAB, DAB+, FM, and internet radio
Display: 2.4-inch colour LCD
Charging method: Micro USB or 4x AA batteries
Dimensions: 115 x 82 x 247mm (W x H x D)
Audio: 3W stereo
Connectivity: Bluetooth, headphones jack, micro USB
Reasons to buy
+Internet radio and podcasts+Great-sounding Bluetooth streaming
Reasons to avoid
-Plastic look-Uses micro USB

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

tivoli dab radio

(Image credit: Tivoli Audio)

A DAB+ radio you can take with you come rain or shine

Specifications
Radio: DAB, DAB+, FM, AM
Display: 70 x 30mm LCD display
Charging method: AC adaptor
Dimensions: 157 x 92 x 93mm (W x H x D)
Connectivity: Bluetooth, 3.5mm AUX IN
Reasons to buy
+Long battery life+Splash-proof
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive for what you get-Difficult built in controls

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

the pure elan connect dab radio in black

(Image credit: Pure)

A capable all-in-one that streams from the web and a phone

Specifications
Radio: DAB, DAB+, FM, internet radio
Display: 2.4-inch colour LCD
Charging method: Micro USB or 4x AA batteries
Dimensions: 109 x 85 x 187mm (W x H x D)
Audio: 3W mono
Connectivity: Bluetooth, headphones jack, micro USB
Reasons to buy
+Colour screen+Easy to use
Reasons to avoid
-Plasticky look-Bluetooth streaming lacks quality

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

the roberts revival dab radio in light blue

(Image credit: Roberts)

A 1950s-styled ‘wireless’ for your kitchen that doubles as a Bluetooth speaker

Specifications
Radio: DAB, DAB+, FM
Display: 2.7-inch colour LCD
Charging method: AC adaptor
Dimensions: 106 x 250 x 160mm (W x H x D)
Audio: Mono
Connectivity: Bluetooth, headphones jack, 3.5mm AUX in / out
Reasons to buy
+Retro styling+Warm and detailed sound
Reasons to avoid
-Bulky size-Bluetooth streaming lacks volume

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

Pure Evoke CF-6

(Image credit: Pure)

A brilliant home stereo all-in-1 system

Specifications
Radio: DAB, DAB+, FM
Display: 2.8-inch TFT color display
Charging method: AC adaptor
Dimensions: 380 x 145 x 223 mm (W x H x D)
Audio: 20W stereo
Connectivity: Bluetooth, Spotify Connect, 3.5mm AUX IN
Reasons to buy
+Incredible playback options+Spotify Connect support
Reasons to avoid
-No Google Cast support-App timeout sometimes annoys

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

the roberts revival petite dab radio in orange

(Image credit: Roberts Radio)

A diminutive digital radio with Bluetooth

Specifications
Radio: DAB, DAB+, FM
Display: 50 x 23mm OLED screen
Charging method: Micro USB
Dimensions: 73 x 124 x 76mm (D x W x H)
Audio: 40mm speaker with passive radiator
Connectivity: Bluetooth, 3.5mm AUX IN
Reasons to buy
+Small size+Decent bass response
Reasons to avoid
-Recharges using micro USB-Lacks built-in aerial

If you mainly listen to DAB radio then basic Bluetooth speakers can be a bit of a fiddle. Cue the Revival Petite, which combines both and can be used anywhere. It’s cleverly designed, easy to use, and features a surprisingly good bass response - though it’s best used indoors.

Read more:
Roberts Revival Petite DAB radio review

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Olivia Tambini

Olivia is TechRadar's Audio & Music Editor, covering everything from headphones to music streaming services. Based in TechRadar's London offices, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, Top Ten Reviews Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine.  In her spare time Olivia likes gardening, painting, and hanging with her cat Ethel and golden retriever Dora.