Best DAB radios 2024: portable, Bluetooth and digital radio systems tested

Best DAB radios: Quick menu

Even though we now have myriad ways of listening to music and accessing news headlines, we still love the original 'wireless' radio. There are times when switching BBC 6 Music on in the kitchen or home office just can't be beaten, while a seasoned radio DJ's curation will likely beat any AI-powered recommendation list.

With the advent of DAB/DAB+, internet radio and Bluetooth streaming, the humble radio has also come a long way since its bedside clock integration. They can offer FM and DAB tuners as standard but also include network streaming, music service integration, physical connectivity and much, much more. However, these DAB radios' popularity and availability change depending on which part of the world you're in: they're more prevalent in the UK and various European countries like Norway, while almost non-existent if you live in the USA (which uses a different digital system).

Below you'll find our pick of the best DAB radios that have graced our test rooms (and our homes) over the years, put through their paces by our experienced team of in-house reviewers. You can read more about our radio testing process here, or carry on scrolling to see our pick of the best DAB radios you can buy today.

The quick list

Written by
Kashfia Kabir
Written by
Kashfia Kabir

I'm the hi-fi and audio editor of What Hi-Fi? and have been testing all kinds of audio products, including DAB radios, for over 10 years. I've listened to and lived with all the radios recommended in this list – and can vouch for how relevant and enjoyable the humble radio still is today. The best digital radios do more than sit in your kitchen, looking stylish and pumping out Radio 4 or Heart FM (but they do this brilliantly too), with most modern radios featuring streaming smarts, multiple connectivity and the kind of sound quality to go up against the very best Bluetooth speakers. My top picks here span ultra-portable budget models, premium radios and home stereo 'hi-fi' options, and they all sound (and look) fantastic. 

Best overall DAB radio

What Hi-Fi? Award winner. The fantastic Stream 94L continues to set the bar high for digital radios.

Specifications

Radio: FM, DAB/DAB+, internet
Network features: Wi-fi, Spotify Connect, Amazon Music, Deezer
Bluetooth: Yes
Connections: USB-A, 3.5mm aux in, line out, 3.5mm headphone jack
Dimensions (hwd): 16.6 x 25 x 13cm
Weight: 1.66kg
Finishes: 2 (black, black/walnut)

Reasons to buy

+
Enjoyable sound
+
Easy to use
+
Plenty of radio and streaming options

Reasons to avoid

-
Not a huge leap over the previous model

The Roberts Stream 94L is the latest iteration of an Award-winning radio (Stream 94i and 93i before it won multiple times) and its updates are simply a new logo, a faster processor and built-in Amazon Music and Deezer support alongside Spotify, while its considerable talents as an FM, DAB and internet radio remain the standard to beat.

Like almost every radio that Roberts makes, the Stream 94L is a handsome unit which, although not quite as gorgeous as some of the best the British brand offers, boasts excellent build quality throughout. The full-colour display is large and readable at a distance, and it's easy to use with the unit's buttons and the provided app.

Sonically, the Stream 94L is an enjoyable, consistently listenable performer. Vocals come through with crystal clarity and confident authority, while the rest of the presentation feels punchy, detailed and dynamically expressive. You can't ask for much more than that. 

The Stream 94L’s smooth, unfussy nature masks just how talented a performer it is, especially in its ability to sound so fluid and capable with anything you play through it. At an unchanged price of £200, it remains the best sound-per-pound radio we've tested.

Read our full Roberts Stream 94L review

Best budget DAB radio

Tiny footprint, fabulous design, serious sound

Specifications

Radio: FM, DAB/DAB+
Network features: No
Bluetooth: Yes
Connections: 3.5mm headphone port
Dimensions: 7.3 x 12.4 x 8.5cm
Weight: 430g
Finishes : x 7 (sunburst yellow, duck egg, pastel cream, pop orange, dusty pink, midnight blue, black)

Reasons to buy

+
Lively, engaging, punchy sound
+
Clear, detailed, natural vocals
+
Small, stylish and feature-packed

Reasons to avoid

-
Small size limits bass depth and capability

Costing £100 and boasting 20 presets (10 DAB and 10 FM), Bluetooth connectivity and a 20-hour portable battery, the tiny Revival Petite 2 offers an abundance of features for the money. The updated model adds USB-C charging, alarm and timer settings, and a 3.5mm headphone jack, while the small but bright OLED screens pack in a whole lot of information.

We couldn't be more effusive about its incredibly compact size (check out the gallery above to see it placed against other objects) and how well-built and lovely it is to hold and behold. No matter how small your space is, the Petite 2 (in its many colourful finishes) will be able to perch anywhere.

Despite its mini dimensions, the Petite 2 delivers a surprisingly big, detailed and weighty sound. Roberts judges the sonic balance beautifully, recognising it won't be able to relay true bass or a wide soundstage, but delivering just enough richness to the midrange and a lively presentation so it's an entertaining and satisfying listen. Voices are clear, solid and have natural warmth, while music, regardless of source, is dynamically and rhythmically engaging. There's drive and momentum, and it's fun to listen to. In the Petite 2, Roberts has made a terrifically stylish, entertaining and versatile radio that is an utter delight in every way.

Read our full Roberts Revival Petite 2 review

Top tip
Harry McKerrell headshot
Top tip
Harry McKerrell

It might seem obvious, but saving your favourite and most-listened-to radio stations as presets is a time-saver. Most digital radios offer ample presets you can readily access on the unit, through the menu or accompanying app, and it will save you so much time scrolling through endless station lists or attempting to find the right FM frequency, when you know you just want to tune in for a particular station, programme or even genre of music.

Best premium DAB radio

What Hi-Fi? Award winner. A premium radio system that look great, sounds stunning and is a joy to use.

Specifications

Radio: FM, DAB/DAB+, internet
Network features: Wi-fi, Spotify Connect
Bluetooth: Yes
Connections: Aux-in, 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C port
Dimensions: 18.5 x 34 x 15cm
Weight: 2.9kg
Finishes: 2 (light cream, dark espresso)

Reasons to buy

+
Rich, detailed sound 
+
Great dynamics and timing
+
Classy build and finish
+
Lovely to use

Reasons to avoid

-
Hi-res audio and AirPlay 2 support would have been nice

Oh, what a lovely thing the Ruark Audio R2 Mk4 is. We rarely find audio products that achieve the Holy Trinity of sounding fantastic, looking sublime and being so easy to use that a newborn baby could probably find its way around the navigational menu, but the Ruark R2 (now in its fourth generation) has managed it, and in some style. 

The beautifully made Ruark stole our hearts pretty much as soon as it was out of the box, and things only got better once we'd fired it up and started listening. It's a good thing too, considering its rather high price tag. It has a rich, detailed sound that doesn't sacrifice any musicality or timing, with a particularly nuanced, natural way with voices that make a great radio truly great. The Ruark is an engaging, vibrant listen no matter the genre or playing method you're using.

It's also, as you'll have guessed, a wonderfully made unit, sporting that stunning wooden slatted front, a clear, crisp display and a high-quality cabinet build that screams of a product made with care and precision. Why doesn't everything look like this?!

It supports Spotify, Amazon Music and Deezer over wi-fi, while all other music can be streamed from your device over Bluetooth. Whether you're streaming, playing FM, DAB, or internet radio, the radio is easy to use thanks to the built-in controller or by using one of two third-party apps.

It's priced at the premium end for a radio, but you get what you pay for with the Ruark R2. A wonderfully complete radio that truly deserves your consideration. 

Read our full Ruark Audio R2 Mk4 review 

Best DAB radio system

A feature-packed, dishy DAB radio with great sound and modern streaming smarts.

Specifications

Radio: FM, DAB/DAB+, internet radio
Network features: Wi-fi, Spotify Connect, Amazon Music, Tidal, Qobuz, Deezer
Bluetooth: Yes, aptX
Connections: RCA analogue input, 3.5mm aux input, digital optical output, 3.5mm headphone
Dimensions : 18 x 36 x 15cm
Weight: 5kg
Finishes: 3 (walnut/black, walnut/silver aluminium)

Reasons to buy

+
Attractive retro/modern look
+
Great range of features 
+
Impressive, wonderfully balanced sound 

Reasons to avoid

-
Might be a touch big for some 
-
Ruark R2 Mk4 offers strong competition 

The modern radio/streaming system has to be a jack-of-all-trades while still holding onto that signature look, function and feel of a classic piece of tech, and while that's a lot of different requirements to juggle, Revo's SuperConnect Stereo delivers across all fronts. It's classically handsome (more Rex Harrison than Timothée Chalamet), with its “retro with a dash of modern” aesthetic winning us over in an instant. Only the Ruark R2 Mk4 could be considered better looking. 

It's also made to a gratifyingly high standard. While slightly on the large side for a radio, the SuperConnect Stereo packs in a host of streaming features that will let you play music from popular streaming services to even picking up music stored on your network. Add some glorious sound into those dimensions, and this is a bone fide hi-fi system in its own right. Speaking of sound, the Revo gets the balance just right, offering fullness, weight and body alongside detail, space and an appreciation for the music it plays. The Ruark (above) gives you a bit more spark, but the Revo is not lacking in weight and heft.

Easy to use, great to look at and a joy to listen to, the Revo SuperConnect Stereo is a genuine alternative to a modern hi-fi system, that just also happens to offer DAB radio as one of its many talents.

Read our full Revo SuperConnect Stereo review

Also consider

Roberts Revival Uno BT: It's not quite the best-sounding radio that Roberts has ever made, but the Bluetooth-enabled Uno BT looks classy, is easy to use and certainly has its sonic strengths.  

Revo SuperConnect: The standard SuperConnect is still going (it delivers mono sound compared with the new model's stereo output) and remains a smart, slightly more affordable choice for anyone wanting that excellent Revo sonic pedigree housed in an attractive, well-made package.

How to choose the best DAB radio for you

While all of the radios on this list give you access to hundreds of digital radio stations, some models include a number of useful extra features to boot, such as Bluetooth streaming and integration of your favourite music streaming service.

Most importantly, when deciding which digital radio is right for you, you need to figure out whether you want something small and portable or larger and mains-powered, or if maybe you want a radio you can install in your car. Then, you'll have to decide if you just want to listen to the radio or if you're interested in wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity, DAB+ and streaming support, or even CD player functionality.

Price will of course be a factor as well, but it's important to set your expectations depending on the budget. DAB/DAB+ tuner integration should be standard for any digital radio, but it's worth checking whether the addition of Bluetooth streaming, FM radio tuner and/or the ability to set presets is important to you. 

Our round-up above includes budget and premium options, featuring standard DAB digital radio and even various music streaming goodies. Perhaps you want something tiny and ridiculously cute; perhaps it needs to fill a larger room – we have the best digital radio options across all shapes and sizes on this list. 

But most importantly, all radios have to sound good, both with voices and with music. Whether you opt for a tiny radio or a full-blown radio system, each model recommended here offers the best performance and best value in its price category.

How we test DAB radios

At What Hi-Fi?, we independently review hundreds of products each year, including DAB radios, and always test as a team. This gives us complete control over the testing process, ensuring consistency across our reviews and our impartiality. To this end, we have state-of-the-art testing facilities located in London and Reading, where we conduct most of our reviews.

We test DAB radios in these test rooms but also take them home, especially to test out the quality of the DAB or FM tuner's reception. We also test how easy and intuitive the radio is to use in everyday situations, and how easy it is to find stations and set presents. Regardless of whether the radio is placed in a permanent place or if it's portable, we use the radio in the way most people would when living with it. Naturally, we try out a variety of stations and programmes to test out the radio's sound quality during our testing period.

With DAB/DAB+ radios, we test not just the radio functionality itself (including the FM tuner) but every feature included in the product, from any wi-fi streaming to Bluetooth connectivity to global internet radio and even setting the alarms and presets. We evaluate all aspects of a product in the context of its price to ensure you're getting the best advice.

All radio products are tested against rivals in the same price category where possible, to ensure we get a good sense of their sound-per-pound value compared with the best-in-class, and that we are recommending the best radio at any given price point. 

From those reviews, we choose only the best products to feature in our Best Buys. There's no input from PR companies, brands or sales teams, either. At What Hi-Fi? we are proud to have been delivering honest, unbiased reviews for over four decades. Our goal? To help you to find a product you'll be over the moon with.

FAQ

What’s better: internet radio or DAB radio?

Internet radio gives you access to tens of thousands of radio stations from across the globe, so you get far more choice than DAB radio. DAB is perfect if you're happy to listen to local and national stations, though, of which there are plenty in the UK in particular. 

Internet radio is your portal to world music but remember, you will need a wi-fi/internet connection, whereas DAB radios have the required tuner built in. Sound quality? Again, that depends on the radio station, the quality it has chosen to stream at, and the strength of your connection. It isn't necessarily true that one always sounds better than the other.

What’s better: FM radio or DAB radio?

DAB and FM are two different formats: DAB is digital, while FM is analogue, but which sounds best depends entirely on the strength of the signal and your location.

FM radio has the potential to sound better with more detail and depth, but the quality of the signal depends on your proximity to a station's transmitter, and how powerful that transmission is. A basic 128kbps stream of a DAB station may not sound as good as an FM radio station with an incredibly strong signal, but that compressed-sounding DAB station is your best hope if your FM radio signal is weak, patchy and sounds too static-y and fuzzy. 

On a practical note, DAB radio stations are easier to pick from a named list (and the built-in tuner will automatically pick up the stations available to you), while FM requires you to go through the frequency band (sometimes manually) to find the right local station.

One isn't necessarily better than the other, but it's worth trying out both options when you buy a new radio to find out which sounds best in your location.

Why buy a radio these days?

That's a fair question. After all, we live in a world of smartphones, smart and wireless speakers and multi-room connectivity, so what place does the humble radio have in this ruthless new era? 

Well, as we've hopefully shown above, radios do more than just play Classic FM and a bit of TalkSport – but that is still entirely valid as your main listening source. After all, radio stations are free to listen to, and can be a lifeline to plenty of people who are either living on a strict budget or live in remote areas where wi-fi connection is patchy. Or both.

However, streaming services and platforms over wi-fi such as AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect are the benefit of internet-enabled models, while Bluetooth and internet radio have become more prevalent in digital radios, even on budget models. Not all radios offer such benefits, but most new digital radios don't limit themselves to a single use case (e.g. just a FM tuner) these days.

Additionally, many of the best radios can match, or even better the finest comparative wireless and Bluetooth speakers in terms of performance. The real bonus, though, is that they are often very good-looking (just look at the retro Roberts and Ruark models), and offer more stylish designs than your standard, often utilitarian, Bluetooth speaker models. So if you care about how your tech looks and don't want to sacrifice sound quality, radios are a solid option for music fans.

Recent updates

  • May 2024: Added new Roberts Revival Petite 2 entry as best budget DAB radio following five-star review.
  • March 2024: Replaced the Revo SuperConnect with the newer, five-star Revo SuperConnect Stereo. 
  • February 2024: Added FAQ section to help with buying decisions and answer common queries.
  • November 2023: What Hi-Fi? Award winners labelled after the 2023 Awards Best Buys and Product of the Year announcements.

MORE:

Here's our best music streaming services for you to play 

More interested in voice control? Our best smart speakers are for you 

These are the best music streamers tested by our experts

Kashfia Kabir
Hi-Fi and Audio Editor

Kashfia is the Hi-Fi and Audio Editor of What Hi-Fi? and first joined the brand over 10 years ago. During her time in the consumer tech industry, she has reviewed hundreds of products (including speakers, amplifiers and headphones), been to countless trade shows across the world and fallen in love with hi-fi kit much bigger than her. In her spare time, Kash can be found tending to an ever-growing houseplant collection and shooing her cat Jolene away from spinning records.

With contributions from
  • Jhhm
    Old article I know but is there a single DAB radio that has Bluetooth headphone connectivity? Some act as Bluetooth speakers but I'd like one that I can connect my headphones to.
    Reply
  • 12th Monkey
    Jhhm said:
    Old article I know but is there a single DAB radio that has Bluetooth headphone connectivity? Some act as Bluetooth speakers but I'd like one that I can connect my headphones to.
    You'd be better off asking the question in the radio section - there's little traffic here.
    Reply