As much as Spotify, Apple Music, or other best music apps would like you to believe, traditional radio is by no means dead. Sure, the rise in popularity of streaming services and on-demand music means fewer folks are willing to tune their radio sets, but even now, there are many uses where the radio is still king. Perhaps you want to tune into the early morning antics of your local breakfast show, or you want to follow along listening to the commentary of a sports match.
The latest technology in radio (albeit quite dated nowadays) is DAB or Digital Audio Broadcasting (or HD Radio in the United States). Unlike traditional FM radio, you don’t need to know the exact frequency of what you want to tune in to as DAB signals also transmit the station’s metadata. What this means in practice is that DAB radios have “station lists,” which you can cycle through. This is great for the discovery of stations also, as you can easily cycle through all the station options in your area. DAB radios tend to be more expensive, though, and some local radio stations can’t afford to transmit by DAB. DAB signals have a much longer range than FM, though, so regional stations can be picked up much easier.
Also read: 5 best AM radios for long-distance reception
It can be quite difficult to find the right radio for you, given the available standards in your country. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the best radios available on Amazon broken down by type for you to buy right now in 2021.
Best FM, HD, and DAB Radios on Amazon
- FM Radios:
- HD Radio (HDR)
- DAB Radios
FM is the universal standard for radio broadcasting, and the majority of radio stations broadcast on this frequency. Pretty much all radios have an FM receiver built-in, so the following radios are attractive for their value and/or sound performance.
- Great retro look
- Battery powered or DC
- Mostly analog
- Can’t set station presets
- Not very loud speaker
First up is this beautiful retro-looking analog AM/FM radio from Retekess. If you’re not a digital fan and miss the days of an old-fashioned 50’s style manual tuner, this radio is perfect for you. With its large tuning dial, you can easily set your desired station in a tick.
If you’re in the market for a radio for your old folks, this is a perfect option for you! The large text on the tuning bar is easy to read, and the radio will feel right at home to anyone born in the yesteryear. For those more accustomed to the digital age, you might, however, miss the electronic comfort features of automatic tuning, seeking, and station presets. It’s all knobs and not a lot else. If you tend to forget station frequencies, you’ll need a post-it note to write it all down.
If you need to take this radio on the go with you, this can be battery-powered. If you do want to go wire-free, though, you’ll have to use 3 ‘D’ batteries, a strange and obsolete battery standard. A trip to a hardware store should get you some, but we’re not quite sure why they didn’t just use AA batteries? Luckily, as there’s no display or digital components to power, the battery life on this bad boy is excellent. You’ll only have to swap out these batteries every few months, even after hours a day of use.
Though, if batteries aren’t your style, this radio still does plug into a wall outlet. There’s an included 110V AC power supply in the box with a generous 1.4m cable for the added convenience.
Priced at $23.79, this FM radio is an affordable and useful device for anyone looking for a simple and easy-to-use radio. For accessibility, this is great for elderly folk or anyone who doesn’t like to use digital buttons and technology.
- Cool, retro look
- Decently loud
- Tuning dial is difficult to read
- No station presets
A flashback to the 50s, this neat little radio combines trendy retro appeal with a super-handy design, finished in a classic cream and black color. You can plug it into the mains or pop in batteries to take it on the road.
This radio knows what it wants to be: a pure vintage-style accessory. If you like the design of this radio, you’ll love using it. The dials feel sturdy and weighty, and it’s endless fun to tune using the analog knob. Unlike the previous pick on this list, the tuning dial, however, is not very easy to read. For those with good eyesight, you’re unlikely to have an issue, but you may need to squint to read the numbers. Again, style over utility.
This analog radio is easy to use, lightweight; the sound is full and excellent. The radio also has a handle that can be folded over. Coming in either this lovely black and white ice-cream sandwich look or full cream color, this radio looks classy and really fits with any other vintage décor you have in your home.
The external antenna is long enough and can swivel fully so you can easily optimize your signal. Flicking over to AM mode, the radio uses a fixed coil wound antenna inside the housing of the device to provide excellent AM reception.
Priced at $19.99, this radio is an affordable style accessory for your home. If you’re into the vintage look, you’ll love this wonderful FM radio from ByronStatics.
- Great, vintage design
- Metal and wood construction
- Bluetooth connectivity
- EQ Controls
- Average sound quality
From Victrola, this retro FM/AM radio is a perfect synergy between old and new. With a timeless wooden design, our Victrola retro wooden radio is perfect for any home or office!
Listen to music from traditional analog with AM/FM tuning dial. Crafted perfectly with a metal dial, the AM/FM tuner is so satisfying to turn, perfect for anyone looking for a vintage radio experience. Flicking between AM and FM is as seamless and flicking the knob, perfect if you want a spot of late-night coast-to-coast AM radio. In the day, the FM receiver can pick up your usual commercial radio station.
Though, the trick up this radio’s sleeve is its Bluetooth connectivity. This has an in-built Bluetooth receiver that can easily pair with your phone, tablet, or computer. This unlocks a whole host of internet radio options, giving you the power to listen to radio stations across the world and even – the enemy – Spotify.
Measuring at 9.5″ x 4.9″ x 6.3”, this radio is little and compact, fitting easily into a corner. The wood is MDF and doesn’t feel the best, but from afar, it looks great. The speaker performs best for talk shows, whilst those looking for a powerful speaker with an oomph for music may be disappointed.
Priced at $42.95, this radio may be a little expensive. But, if you can fork out the cash and want a beautiful radio to tuck into a room corner, perhaps next to a vintage style lamp, this is a perfect option for anyone looking for a classy vintage FM radio.
HD Radio (HDR)
HR Radio is the digital radio standard in the United States. If you live in the US, these are the radios you’re going to want to have a look at. If you live elsewhere, for example, in Europe or Asia, the standard you’re looking at is DAB. Scroll down to see our picks for DAB radios.
- HD Radio
- Good sound
Receive local stations with additional content, including sports, news, and music. Access digital entertainment and technology and discover fresh digital content in a whole new way with more stations, better sound, and no subscription fees. Digital radio unlocks a huge multitude of different stations you wouldn’t otherwise get on FM radios.
The HDR-14 is equipped with a real-time clock and date with alarm and sleep function, 2 alarm timers by radio, buzzer, HWS (Humane Wake System) buzzer and radio, and snooze function. The tuning on this little radio is by push button, and the tiny LCD doesn’t display much in the way of information.
The small speaker used in this tiny portable radio is tiny as well, so you shouldn’t expect deep bass or anything like that, but it still produces a pleasant sound, and it’s surprisingly loud. Sound quality is great when using headphones and combined with good reception with the collapsed antenna. It results in a radio that you can put into your pocket and enjoy listening to with headphones.
Measuring at 5″ x 3.02″ x 1.28″, this radio is super compact. It can easily fit in the palm of your hand, perfect if you need to throw this radio into a pocket for an adventure or if you want a handy little companion that’s very portable. If you want extra portability, this radio uses 3 AA batteries for power on the go. If batteries aren’t your style or if your radio dies on you, you can use the included DC power adapter to drive this radio from the mains.
Priced at $80.49, this radio isn’t the cheapest in the world. But, if you want to access digital radio broadcasting, this is a fantastic first foray into HD radio.
- Great sound
- Still compact
- Great radio reception
Bumping up a notch, we have the Sangean HDR-16. Backed by Sangean’s 41 years of experience in quality, high-performance radios, the HDR-16 features the latest HD Radio Technology in a stylish package. Easy to take on the go, the HDR-16 delivers local HD radio stations with clear digital sound.
Keep track of favorite stations and quickly tune to the best programs in standard or HD Digital Radio with 5 AM and 5 FM presets. This radio is a great heavy-duty set, with the option to connect portable devices to use the HDR-16’s stereo speakers. You can also connect the HRD-16’s Line Output to your home stereo if the two loudspeakers aren’t enough for you.
The speakers in this radio seem to be of very high quality, and there are separate bass and treble controls accessed electronically by pushing in on the volume control, giving you some excellent control over your sound.
If you want to take this HD radio on the go with you, this device can be powered by batteries. But, at home, you can plug in the AC adapter and listen away. This radio teeters into the prosumer, high fidelity range of radios, and it shows. The reception is excellent, outperforming the weak radio receivers in other cheaper products.
With a price of $100.71, it’s not cheap at all. But, you’re paying for exceptional radio performance, great sound, and an overall reliable premium product.
- Great, rich sound
- Excellent radio performance
- Stellar build quality
- Really expensive
- Radio loses its time and alarm settings if power turns off.
If you have a lot of cash to blow and want the best-in-class HDR radio for your tabletop, this premium cabinet-style radio from Sangean is a fantastic choice. Discover the experience of crystal-clear, distortion-free HD Radio with the Sangean HDR-18 Table Top Radio.
With memory for 10 AM and 10 FM station presets, quickly and easily tune to a favorite station via the console or remote control. The HDR-18 remote control allows you to directly input your favorite AM/FM frequency.
If you want to periodically switch from radio to your own input (dare I say, Spotify!), you can connect an MP3 player or other external devices with the Aux-input. It’s super easy to scan through HD and standard AM/FM stations at the push of a button with the full-function remote control. The HDR-18 also features a convenient sleep timer and headphone jack allowing you to comfortably experience your favorite local HD station without disturbing others.
The radio has excellent reception and sound quality. Amazon customers comment on how this radio still can pull in all available HD stations, even in rural areas. However, whilst this radio features a clock and a “humane waking system,” just a gradually increasing in volume alarm, the clock on this bad boy is problematic at best. If the power of the radio goes out for even one second, the lack of non-volatile memory means you’ll lose your clock settings and your alarms. Irritating!
Priced at $168.06, this radio is priced at a premium. But, if you’re looking for a beautiful tabletop radio cabinet, you’ll adore this wonderful radio from Sangean.
And so, if you’re a US reader, that’s your lot! We’ve got some fantastic picks there for HD Radios. Sangean is one of the best radio manufacturers, and there’s a reason I can’t recommend anything else. They perform amazingly, sound great, and are built to last.
If you’re from Europe, Asia, or anywhere else in the world where the digital radio standard is Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), read on.
For the purposes of the following three picks, as DAB radios are not available in the US, we’re using the UK Amazon as a reference. All the products will be available elsewhere in Europe, but availability anywhere else around the world may vary.
- Great DAB performance
- Battery powered
- Good sound quality
- Speaker lacks low-end
- Does not support AM radio
First up, from British radio start-up Majority, we have this handy little portable DAB radio: the Majority Histon II. This lovely compact DAB+ digital and FM radio has a cool industrial design that fits snuggly on any worktop or surface without taking too much space.
The Majority Histon II looks great in your kitchen, lounge or bedroom, and can be made portable with 4 x AA batteries. If you’re not looking to take this radio on the go with you, you can easily plug it into a power outlet. With the simple set up you can begin listening to various stations on this stylish unit. For example, you can get the BBC’s full range of radio stations, including BBC Radio 1X, BBC Radio 4 Extra, and commercial regional stations like Manchester’s Radio X can be heard across the country.
Set up to 20 preset station options (10 on DAB and 10 on FM) so that you can listen to your favorite stations quickly. As you can see, there’s no presets for AM radio, and that’s because this radio can’t receive it. Although most stations in Europe are FM or DAB, so we don’t see this being too much of a problem. AM isn’t that big of a thing here (as it’s much easier to have coast-to-coast radio stations with high-fidelity broadcasting).
Priced at Price not available, this radio is super affordable, perfect for anyone looking for a starter DAB radio in Europe. I highly recommend the Majority Histon II.
- Good, reputable brand.
- Great radio clarity
- Lacks low-end due to its size
- No AM.
The Sony XDR-S41D is very straightforward. Housed in this compact black plastic housing, the radio fits into any environment you stick it in. Power it on, and it’ll automatically scan and find all the stations available in your area. Once you’ve found your favorite stations, you can easily set up to 5 presets to come back to later.
You can plug this radio into the mains or use it with 4 AA batteries. The compact nature of this radio makes it perfect for taking into the bathroom with you or having as a little companion whilst you’re cleaning around the house. Battery life can vary depending on your use, but the typical battery life for this radio is around about 15 hours.
The backlit five-line LCD offers just enough information about the status of the radio and the track that’s playing to fully make use of the station metadata transmitted over digital radio. The backlight stays on for up to 30 seconds, which helps you save some power, especially if you’re using batteries.
As for sound quality, it’s sort of limited by the laws of physics. This is a thin radio, so of course, you probably won’t expect that much bass to come out of its speaker. And that’s what you get, though what you can expect is some great clarity. This radio performs better with spoken word as voices are clear and sharp.
Priced at Price not available, this is an excellent no-frills radio, perfect for anyone looking for a useful and reliable compact DAB radio.
- Great, rich sound
- DAB+, Spotify and Internet Radio!
- Great build quality
The all-guns-blazing option for the DAB radio is this, the Roberts Stream94i, a masterclass in high-end features and great sound. Use the Stream 94i as a stylish speaker and stream your music collection from a smartphone or iPad. Featuring built-in FM/DAB/DAB+, built-in wireless connectivity, access to millions of songs via Spotify Connect, and a choice of 20,000+ internet radio stations and podcasts.
If you don’t fancy using Spotify Connect (perhaps you’re using downloaded music on your phone or use Apple Music), you can connect your phone via Bluetooth. Not in front of your speakers and want to change the track? Not a problem. The Stream 94i can be fully controlled from anywhere in your home using the Undok smartphone app.
Using real walnut wood, this cabinet is acoustically tuned to really pack a punch with its rich, room-filling sound. If you love a warm, vintage sound, you’ll love what Roberts has on offer here. The sound quality is amazing for such a small unit. It has surprising bass and plenty of detail in all other areas.
With 120 presets, you can save radio stations – FM, DAB, and Internet – whilst you’re discovering new music. So you can switch back at the touch of just a few buttons.
Priced at Price not available, this radio comes at a steep premium. But, for the extra money, you’re getting a whole host of extra features, and this futuristic WiFi-enabled radio performs great, sounds wonderful, and looks fantastic in your house. If you have this amount of money to spend on a radio, go ahead and pick up a Roberts Stream 94i.
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