Radios buyer’s guide
Whether you’re you looking for a new clock radio, or want to upgrade your portable radio to a shiny new DAB model, Crowdstorm is here to help you compare the best radios on the market.
If you’re in the UK radio market we’ve got you covered: we let you easily compare a massive range of products that are available from the most well-known and trusted online and high street retailers.
First we’ll take you through the options below, before explaining the simple buying process you can use above. So sit down, tune in and find the best radio for you in just a few easy steps.
Types of radio: FM, DAB or internet radio?
Times have changed since the days of AM, FM, short and medium wave: most of us face a simple choice between FM and DAB digital radio (somettimes called internet radio):
- FM radios: In the UK we’ve been listening to FM since the 1980s and it was the main stay of radio listening until DAB came along. But FM’s reign will come to an end soon, with a Government report suggesting it will be switched off for good by 2022 (with its spectrum going over to boost digital) – so now is a good time to upgrade. Norway switced off its FM signal in 2017, but ours is likely to live on until at least 2020.
- DAB radios: ‘Digital Audio Broadcast’ radio is the digital age’s answer to FM. It was introduced in the mid ‘90s and offers enhanced sound, less interference and a wide range of stations. DAB is now well established and covers almost the whole of the UK (you’ll also find the channels on your digital television). Just check this link to make sure your area is covered: http://www.ukdigitalradio.com/coverage/postcodesearch/
- Internet radio: Where digital uses a traditional aerial to receive a signal, internet radio uses Wi-Fi to get its channels. You’ll get even more choice, with many smaller stations only being online – while they can usually be used as speaker for your MP3s too. But they tend to be a little more expensive and need some setting up, where a DAB radio will be ready to go (working much like a traditional radio, with pre-set channels).
Of course many radios will offer you the best of two (or maybe all) of these worlds, so be sure to shop around.
Buying the best radio: key extra features
In such a crowded market it’s not simply a case of saying one radio is better than another. You may want a cheap radio for the garage, or a stylish and feature rich device for your front room. But either way, below are some of the key features you may want to look out for.
Price is also an important consideration. Cheap radios may offer less fancy features, but what will you really be using it for? If you’re simply going to switch it on and off each day on your favourite channel, a cheap £10 radio may well be enough to do the job. But if not…
- DAB+: This is a slight improvement on standard DAB but isn’t really a thing in the UK – and there are no plans to. Most new DAB radios will be DAB+ capable anyway, but it’s worth checking if you intend to travel with your radio: countries including Belgium, Holland and Australia use this new standard.
- Pause and rewind: The top digital radios have a pause and rewind function, which unsurprisingly gives you the option of pausing and rewinding live radio, much like on digital TV.
- Live recording: This option allows you to record live radio straight to an inbuilt SD card. Check the capacity of the SD card before purchasing; as a general rule 1MB will allow you to record around a minute of live radio.
- Remote control: Non-essential, but super convenient.
- LCD screens: LCD screens on digital displays can often show news headlines, DJ names or what track and artist are currently playing – super useful!
- Clock/timer/alarms: If you’re buying a radio for practical purposes, don’t just be blinded by the posher shiny features – keep your eyes on the prize! If you want it to help you get up in the morning, it’s going to need these simple functions but they’re far from universal.
- iPod dock: This allows you to plug your iPod in and output your playlists and downloaded songs through your radio speakers. But be careful: different generations of iPod use different connections (and adaptors can be stupidly expensive).
- USB port: Android and Windows devices can often be connected to your new radio via a USB port – as can other devices (such as laptops).
- Mains and/or battery radios: This is another simple but important option that can be overlooked for fancier bells and whistles. Think carefully about where you’ll be using your new radio and make sure it has a power supply to match.
Buying your new radio via Crowdstorm
Once you’ve weighed up all your options, and checked out a few radio reviews to avoid getting a model with known issues or a poor track record, it’s time to seal the deal.
Crowdstorm isn’t a retailer: we just put all the information you need in one place so you can compare with confidence. When you click on a deal here you’ll be taken directly to the website of the retailer of your choice.
Once there you’ll be buying directly from them, with no hidden charges added by us (we make our money from advertising). So happy shopping!