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Last updated: 04 April 2017

Digital radios deliver extra channels and broadcasting flexibility that you just can't get with AM and FM radio. However there is a balance between low costs and a premium experience. We lab test and review the latest models to help you find the best portable digital radio for you. Our buying guide will help explain their features and whether a digital radio will even work where you live. How we test explains our testing rigour.

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CHOICE has tested over 30 digital radios, portable and benchtop, from brands including Bush, Pure, Sony, Panasonic, Sangean and more. Our expert testers give every model a thorough workout to tell you which digital radio:

  • is best at picking up and holding reception
  • has best speaker volume and clarity
  • can play music on alkaline batteries the longest, if the radio is battery-powered.

Our interactive comparison tool helps you find out which models come with features such as USB input, wireless and Bluetooth functionality, internet radio and streaming. Our Recommended list will help you see quickly which models come out on top.

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List of brands we tested in this review.


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This is the recommended retail pricing. You could find a more competitive price by shopping around.

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Remote control app available

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Apps available on iOS or Android can control the radio menu items, select stations and may even be able to play content from the smart device on the digital radio.



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Some portable digital radios have in-built chargers. With the setting enabled and the power plugged in, rechargeable batteries can have their charge replenished. 


Annual standby energy cost

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Test results

Ease of use score

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We look for ease of the initial setup, clear labelling, placement and functionality of the buttons and knobs, size and clarity of the display and intuitive and logical menus.

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Listening score

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A panel listens to each radio at a comparable volume for distortion, rattles or other odd noises, stereo separation where appropriate and a natural sound across all frequencies.

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Reception score

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We check for reception quality in three different locations. The first site is classed as optimal reception, while the second site represents an area of marginal reception. The final test involves an area with difficult reception due to its distance from the broadcast tower and no line of sight for the signal to reach the radio.

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  • Type
  • Overall score
  • Listening score
  • Reception score
  • Ease of use score
  • Annual standby energy cost
  • Battery life (in use)
  • Good points
  • Bad points
  • Recommended
  • Brand
  • Model
  • Status
  • Remote control supplied
  • Remote control app available
  • Bluetooth
  • NFC
  • Price
  • Dimensions (cm, HxWxD)
  • Weight (kg)
  • Claimed power output (W)
  • Number of speakers
  • Stereo 35mm aux input
  • USB input
  • Headphones 3.5mm
  • Line out 3.5mm
  • AM
  • FM
  • Internet radio
  • Number of DAB presets
  • Streaming
  • Wireless
  • Clock in standby
  • Info shows bit rate codec
  • Display lines x characters
  • Screen dimensions (mm, WxH)
  • Battery type
  • Rechargeable
  • Batteries supplied
  • Clock has alarms
  • Country of manufacture
  • Contact
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