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9 Best Portable DAB Radios: Value For Money 2020

Good DAB radios can be hard to find. But if you need top sound quality, you need to buy the best portable DAB radios. With the advantage of portability, these radios can offer a fun listening experience no matter where you go. Built with impressive materials, these radios allow you to save some of your favourite FM and AM stations.

Some of the best portable DAB radios also feature digital functions such as WiFi and an integrated backlit display. Apart from the regular radio stations they work with, some of these are also compatible with Spotify Connect. Internet radio is now a reality which further opens up thousands of stations for your DAB and FM. This article explores some of these listening devices as well as the features that make them attractive.

Top 3 best portable DAB radios

Best overall – Roberts Radios REV-ISTREAM3

The compact radio has all of the features you need in a modern design.

Best for battery life – Pure Evoke H6

This radio comes with an impress 30-hours battery life.

Best compact radio – i-Box DAB FM

The UK-made radio is perfect for travel based on its reduced size.

 

1.     Roberts Radios REV-ISTREAM3

You wouldn’t believe a retro-looking radio can be as good as the one made by Roberts. The company is mainly known to enthusiasts and this means it comes with high sound quality. It features a warm audio profile that works for most music genres.

It also comes with internet radio once connected to your local WiFi. This opens up various streaming channels such as Spotify, Deezer, and even Amazon Prime. The little device is compatible with Alexa voice commands which means fans of Amazon Prime will easily integrate it into their smart homes.

The portable DAB device works with thousands of local and web stations which means you can simply use it as an entertainment box around the house. When you travel, you also benefit from its built-in rechargeable battery which offers you a few hours of uninterrupted playback.

But the design of these little systems is what interests them most. Made to look and feel like a premium product, the devices from Roberts look good in your home and they are a true conversation starter for many users.

Main radio characteristics

  • Compatible with DAB, DAB+, RDS, and FM
  • Included Bluetooth connectivity
  • Voice control activation through Echo Dot 4

2.     Pure Evoke H6

The compact mobile DAB radio is very easy to use and this is why its high on our list. It comes with 40 station presets so that you can save all of your favourite local stations to access with the press of a button as needed.

Other functions of the listening device include kitchen timers and sleep timers. All of these functions are controlled through a compact digital display and just a few buttons. With good audio quality, you might even be interested in choosing this mobile listening device for your streaming needs from your smartphone or laptop. You can use Bluetooth to listen to your favourite artists directly on the loud speaker.

Main radio features

  • Digital and analogue stations preset
  • Included headphones output
  • Engineered in the UK

3.     Pure Evoke H6 Prestige Edition

The H6 Prestige edition comes in a unique white colour that’s compatible with an office look in your home or at work. Unlike the regular H6 radio, it features Digital Tick readiness for all possible upgrades the digital radio world can see in the future. It also has a 3-year warranty which recommends it as a product to consider for years to come, especially if you need a durable radio to travel with from time to time.

With Class-D amplification speakers, this compact radio is one of those devices that is capable of CD-quality audio. While not particularly known for bass performance, the audio quality of this compact radio recommends it for vivid sound.

With the help of a small 2.8” TFT screen, the radio also tells you which station is currently playing as well as artist information when streaming Spotify. But maybe most impressively, this radio comes with the handmade quality and top materials that make it feel like a high-quality product.

Main radio features

  • Colour touchscreen navigation
  • Made with high-quality stereo sound
  • DAB stations compatibility

 

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4.     i-Box DAB FM Radio

If you only need a compact best portable DAB radios without complicated touchscreens, this little performer is a top choice. Designed in Bedford (England) it represents the quintessential design of classic DAB device. It even comes with 5 large preset buttons on top for your first 5 favourite radio stations.

It comes with the classic expandable antenna so that you can look for better audio and more stations in areas with poor reception. While simplistic, this station still comes with modern perks such as USB charging. You can expect its batteries to last up to 15 hours, which should cover 1-2 days of music listening or your favourite local radio chat show listening.

We also prefer this system for simple FM listening. You can save up to 60 stations locally whenever you scan the frequencies in your area. How these stations are saved is a mystery, however. The device automatically saves the most popular stations as most users assume.

Main radio features

  • Compact and easy to use
  • Designed in England
  • Made with 5 quick memory presets

5.     August MB225 Portable Digital Radio

This simple digital radio is one of the best choices if you want to listen to music or the news at work, at home, or on weekends away. It can be one of the interesting choices for those seeking simple stereo and mono transition. But this little performer also saves 40 channels. It saves up to 20 DAB stations and 20FM channels so that you can listen to all types of music and radios through the day.

It doesn’t feature any rotating knobs as it’s designed with small buttons. This means all settings are quickly adjusted. If you want to give this little device new use, you might also consider it your daily alarm to use instead of a digital clock. With the help of a small LCD, it will also tell you the time. Highly affordable and simple, it’s one of the efficient designs that doesn’t require you to part with a large sum as other DAB devices.

Main radio features

  • It stores 20DAB stations
  • It memorizes up to 20FM channels
  • Included Li-Ion rechargeable battery

6.     i-Box Portable Pocket Radio

Not all DAB devices are made to be used on the desk or stored on shelves. Some may even fit your pocket. I-Box offers this compact performer as a true experience for those who need a lightweight design. While some may accuse it of looking too similar to an iPod, it can be your local station’s playback machine with its included headphones.

These best portable DAB radios from i-Box come with up to 20 channels you can listen to with the help of its built-in 3.5mm headphone socket. You may even use your headphones with it. However, given it comes with such a small size, this device only stores 20 channels. But the great news is you can listen to them up to 8 hours before you need to recharge its batteries.

Main radio features

  • Made with a pocket-friendly design
  • Designed with large volume adjustment buttons
  • Included micro USB charging cable

7.     Roberts Stream94i

Made with built-in batteries, this station is another Roberts masterpiece. It uses a wooden shell to add depth or richness to the sound. But it also comes with all of the benefits of internet radio such as free access to over 20.000 radio channels.

Unlike other Roberts radios, it also stores more channels. You can memorize up to 120 channels on the device so that you can go always go back to your favourites. It also comes with excellent metallic buttons which can be used as navigation shortcuts for your devices. At the same time, this radio can be controlled by your smartphone. You need to install the Undock app to switch channels form your smartphone, however.

Main radio features

  • It stores up to 120 channels
  • Acoustically-tuned wooden construction
  • Made with a leather handle for portability

8.     Pure Evoke H2 Portable Radio

This compact H2 portable radio is an excellent choice from Pure when you don’t want a larger alternative such as the H6. It comes with just a few buttons and premium walnut construction. 20 channels can easily be stored on this compact device and most of them sound impressive as the audio profile has been tuned to sound more realistic.

An AUX socket has also been installed on the device. It can be one of the only options for wired listening. You can connect your smartphone or tablet to the device through cable, which also means you’ll get very solid audio quality.

Main radio features

  • Made with a long 30-hours battery power
  • Small footprint design
  • Backed by a 3-year warranty

9.     Majority Histon II

This small radio is one of the few that comes with standard AA batteries compatibility. You can use your rechargeable or standard 4 x AA batteries to power it up. It comes with a small LCD screen which shows you the name of the station as well as the time.

A large front-facing speaker forced the brand to put all of the navigation buttons on top of the system. But this also makes it a practical choice since these buttons are so easy to access. This affordable stylish device is now available on both black and white.

Main radio features

  • It runs on 4 x AA batteries (not provided)
  • Included alarm clock function
  • It stores up to 10 DAB channels

How to choose the best portable DAB radios

When you need to choose a small DAB radio, you might be a bit unsure of what to expect. If you’re coming from an old radio, you might not even know some of the features seen on these new releases. This is why the following guide serves as stepping stones towards an informed purchase.

Find the number of stored stations

The number of stations your listening device can save is limited. Some can save as many as 150 channels. Others only save around 10 radio channels. But you should know that this number can affect what you can listen to, especially in large metropolitan areas where there are tens and hundreds of stations.

Your favourite broadcasters might be difficult to listen to when you don’t have sufficient memory for your stations. The radios listed above have different memory settings. Some are accessed by browsing channels by moving forward or backwards one by one. Others allow you to manually input your stored station. For example, BBC Radio 1 can be stored on the first free memory spot and you can jump to this station by pressing 1.

The number of channels and the way you access them is what makes DAB radios unique. You can even use some of these radios directly from an app where you can also choose the type of navigation that works best for you.

Check sound quality

Sound quality is generally better on digital audio stations than on local FM channels. However, you shouldn’t expect something truly out of the ordinary here. It’s not even about maximum wattage or maximum decibels. The sound has to be clear.

There are a few factors that influence sound quality on these devices. The quality of the speakers is one of them. But the built quality also impacts sound quality. This is the reason so many listening devices that sound great are made from hardwood such as walnut. It can take a while for some users to understand that it’s not just about how wood makes radios look, but how it avoids ratting plastic noises. This is not to say that plastic DAB radios aren’t good. They are certainly better than they used to be. Furthermore, they can be a lot more affordable than their wooden counterparts.

Consider built quality

Built quality is important for portability and durability. You need a lightweight radio that is not going to weigh you down too much when you plan to travel. Weekends away, camping trips, or simple days spent outside are going to be a bit more pleasant when you don’t have to carry heavy radios with you.

At the same time, build quality has to sustain the travelling and the consistent physical interaction of the user. Flimsy buttons still work, but they can detract from the overall user experience. You can also say that some of the DAB radios of the moment are made by cutting corners or built quality. But as seen with the recommended radios above, you can still find good designs that are available at different prices. Some of the best portable DAB radios of the moment are made to be reliable. They need to last.

This is also the reason we mention warranty policies. They represent a safety net when it comes to investing in a premium quality DAB portable radio. A typical warranty policy for a portable radio covers the product for 2-3 years.

Prioritize streaming capabilities

Digital audio broadcast portable devices are known for their streaming capabilities. They work with a high number of stations and they offer web connectivity for more streaming. As seen with the product recommended above, these streaming options can include Spotify and Amazon Prime. But you might even be able to listen to any online station with a DAB radio using your smartphone and Bluetooth connectivity,

Streaming options from some of these popular apps are still limited for most devices. However, with third-party apps, you might be able to increase the number of digital stations you listen to easily.

Look at the accessories you can use

Some of the best portable DAB radios come with headphones’ connectivity. You may be able to hook your 3.5mm headphones to these devices. At the same time, the radio may also be used as a speaker for your smartphone. You need to check if it comes with an AUX port for this purpose. Otherwise, you might find connectivity options are often limited to micro USB without the ability to connect other gadgets to your radio.

Alarms might be important

It might seem weird to buy a portable device with an alarm clock. But you might change your mind when you think how practical this feature is. When you’re travelling, you need a good alarm clock. Since these systems can easily be used out camping or in hotel rooms, they can also help you wake up at a certain hour. Some of them feature an alarm clock function that can act as a backup alarm after then one on your smartphone.

Look at extras such as nighttime dimming

Many portable DAB radios are used to improve the look of a room or space in the house while at home. In these situations, the LCD screens they come with can be distractive. But the best portable DAB radios come with brightness display dimming functions. Only seen on some of the best designs of the moment, this function is one that impresses even those who’re used to high tech gadgets.

If you want to make any room look better, you can choose a vintage DAB portable station to put on display. Given they come with an LCD screen, they combine the best of old-world designs with new technologies. This is appreciable in how they work and how they look. But if you don’t care about the design of the station, you can always choose a simple affordable DAB radio with a compact size as a perfect travel companion.

Given most have batteries that last at least 15 hours, you should be able to listen to the station for more than a day before recharging. Some of the radios above reach this long-lasting battery poqwe even with their digital display brightness at a maximum level.

Final words

Only the best portable DAB radios can be considered by those looking for good audio quality. Luckily, the selection of top DAB radios seen above offers an option for any type of user. If you only use your radio around the house, we recommend one of the premium designs that can be integrated into any room. But if you travel frequently, you might even choose a pocket-size DAB radio that’s going to be practical.

At the moment, all of these radios offer access to at least 40 digital channels and there are good chances of finding good music and talk shows on them. Given they support a larger number of radio channels, you might even be able to listen to all national radio channels.

 

 

FAQ
Which are the best portable DAB radios?

The Roberts Radios REV-ISTREAM3 is the best device. It comes with the best features, the best materials, and an excellent touchscreen that allows you to easily browse your favourite channels. It also comes with a long list of extras such as Alexa voice controls compatibility and Spotify compatibility. For most users, it offers excellent value for money.

What is the difference between DAB and DAB+?

DAB is the digital audio broadcasting system that used to be popular in the UK a few years ago. Its improved DAB+ version was established as a new version for enhanced performance.

Is DAB radio good?

DAB radio is good for digital radio channels. It also works for analogue channels and it can be the only device you use to listen to the radio. For most users, DAB radio is the first true experience with internet radio as well.

Do DAB radios work everywhere?

DAB radios work in areas where they can connect to the internet. You can create a mobile hotspot for your listening device to listen to your favourite music almost anywhere in the country. These systems also pick up the land signal for FM channels in most areas around the country.