Best DAB radios Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best DAB radios you can buy in 2021.
We still have a lot of love for the original 'wireless' – the radio. OK, we now have myriad options for listening to music and accessing news headlines, but there are still times when sticking the radio on in the kitchen just can't be beaten.
With the advent of DAB, internet radio and Bluetooth streaming, the humble radio has come a long way since its bedside clock integration, too.
What follows is our pick of the best DAB radios we've tested. They all give you access to hundreds of digital radio stations, as well as a number of useful features such as Bluetooth and live recording. Our round-up includes budget and premium options, from dependable brands such as Pure, Ruark and Roberts. Learn the names of these top DAB radios now and be first in line to snap up a deal when discount events (such as Black Friday, which should be on your radar now) roll around.
How we choose the best DAB radios
We independently review hundreds of products each year, always as a team. This gives us complete control over the testing process, ensuring consistency and of course, impartiality.
All products are tested in comparison with rivals in the same price category, and all review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole rather than an individual reviewer, again helping to ensure consistency and avoid any personal preference.
We choose the best products from all of these reviews to feature in our Best Buys, as listed below. That's why if you take the plunge and buy one of the products recommended here, or on any other Best Buy page, you can rest assured you're getting a What Hi-Fi? approved product – just read the attached review for in-depth analysis on your next potential purchase.
Read on for our pick of the best digital radios.
The Stream 94i is a great upgrade on previous, excellent Roberts radios and includes FM, DAB and internet radio, plus Spotify Connect, wi-fi connectivity and USB playback. A basic radio, this is not. (It's actually a What Hi-Fi? 2021 Award-winning radio.)
Build quality is excellent, it looks smart and has all the functionality you could need in a radio. There's a subwoofer on the back to boost the bass, and two drivers at the front which, together, deliver great sound quality.
The Stream 94i is the complete package, and that makes it one of the best sound-per-pound radios we've tested.
Read the full review: Roberts Stream 94i
The Model One Digital Generation 2 looks for all the world like a normal radio, complete with fabric grille, antenna and real-wood finish, but don't be fooled. At its core, the Tivoli is a wi-fi radio, with DAB+/FM taking the reins and now, Chromecast, AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth connectivity its valuable passengers.
This little gem scored five stars across the board in our testing, not just overall but for build, features and a clean, engaging sound – a fact which left us with little choice but to hand it a What Hi-Fi? 2021 Award. Its footprint is roughly that of a paperback (rather than a bigger shoe-box, say), it is thoroughly likeable and it could have come straight from a cover shoot with Livingetc.
It's pricey, but if that doesn't bother you, the Tivoli Model One Digital Generation 2 is a splendid and fully-featured wi-fi radio.
Read the full review: Tivoli Model One Digital Generation 2
The Evoke H2 continues the fine work of a multiple Award-winning range – and indeed, this particular product won our What Hi-Fi? Award last year (2020) for the best radio priced under £100. This is the budget DAB radio to beat, frankly, offering an excellent affordable option if you just want a simple and great-sounding radio.
As well as FM and DAB radio, there's a 3.5mm input for connecting other music sources, and a headphone socket if you need to listen in silence. Ideal for a bedroom or kitchen, there's a clock, sleep timer and kitchen timer.
It's not a portable radio out of the box, but you can buy an optional Pure battery pack if you want that functionality. Available for well under £100, it's a real bargain.
Read the full review: Pure Evoke H2
It’s been more than 60 years since Harry Roberts took a look at his wife’s handbag and decided to design a radio in its image, and it's an aesthetic that's still going strong today.
Integrated music streaming apps sets it apart but it still has FM, DAB, internet radio and Bluetooth, too. There's a full colour screen, a 3.5mm headphone output and aux line in, USB input and buttons for presets, playback and alarm. It can even be voice-controlled when partnered with an Amazon Alexa device. Add six AA batteries and it's a portable radio, too.
The combination of connectivity, classic design and fine build quality feels good value for money. It’s Roberts’ sonic presentation that makes the Revival iStream 3 an obvious choice at this level though, thanks to a warm, welcoming sonic character that's great with music and speech.
Read the full review: Roberts Revival iStream 3
If you want something neat and portable to take on your travels (or just into the garden), the Move T4 will serve you well, thanks to a 15-hour rechargeable battery.
This great portable radio has FM and DAB radio, Bluetooth streaming, alarm and clock functions and a headphone output.
It may not go terribly loud, but it’s a whole lot better than just playing from your phone’s speaker, and ideal for talk radio or background tunes.
Read the full review: Pure Move T4
At this price, the Revo is head and shoulders ahead of other DAB radios. It's jam-packed with extra features, including Bluetooth, DLNA streaming and Spotify Connect, so you should be able to play music from just about any source.
We like the design; it's easy to use and the audio quality is impressive, too, with a weighty, grippy sound. You have to pay for those extra features (and the room-filling sound) but if you want a premium radio with a whole lot more on offer than just DAB, this could well be the one for you.
Read the full review: Revo SuperConnect
Most new cars now come with DAB radio fitted as standard, but if you have an older model you may be stuck with FM/AM. So here's a simple solution from Pure. As aftermarket in-car DAB solutions go, this is a fine option, and it's simple enough for almost anyone to use. There are aux and USB inputs, too, so you can connect an iPod or smartphone.
And how does it all sound? Well, that will depend massively on the quality of the amplifier and speakers already built into your car, but having experimented with three different models we can say that the Highway delivers clear, crisp and neutrally balanced sound. A good in-car DAB option.
Read the full review: Pure Highway 300Di
The Ruark R2 Mk3 is a gorgeous looking system packed with streaming features that delivers an effortlessly musical and richly detailed performance.
It's much more of a complete music system than 'just' a DAB radio – a viable option if you want something more substantial. Sonically it sounds big, spacious, detailed and dynamic; a truly hi-fi sound.
There are a whole wealth of features here, including the ability to form a multi-room music system with other Ruark devices. If you want a serious radio system, this might just be it.
Read the full review: Ruark Audio R2 Mk3
The Geneva Touring S+ is a classy-looking DAB radio. Clad in aluminium and a faux-leather material, its buttons and volume knob feel great, while that big dial on top of the radio gives a satisfying clunk when you switch it on. It's practical too: the aerial is telescopic and its built-in battery provides around 20 hours of juice from a single charge.
One area that needs a little work is DAB reception. It scans and find stations, but it's limited to showing just 99, which means some bigger stations can be missed off the list.
Sonically, the Touring S+ is solid and weighty and its tone is pleasing. It also sounds surprisingly composed at higher volumes, which isn't always the case with portable radios.
Read the full review: Geneva Touring S+ review