Best digital radios in Australia

Our team has done the research and found the 7 best digital radios you can get online.

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The best digital radios in Australia

How did we pick this list?

For this list, we picked products based on actual customer reviews and ratings across sites offering a wide selection of digital radios. For every category, we carefully chose parameters based on our research and determined products with the highest review score within those parameters.

Read more detail on our methodology below.

Best overall digital radio: JBL Tuner 2 Portable Radio

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Up to 12 hours of wireless playtime

Cons

  • Doesn't come with a charger plug
  • Expensive
Price (RRP): $169
Amazon price: From $154.89
eBay price: From $199.00
Buy at Amazon
Buy at eBay

Why we chose it

For the best overall digital radio, we picked the JBL Tuner 2 portable radio, which has a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

JBL's Tuner 2 features the brand's pro sound technology for an immersive audio output. It delivers crisp sound for up to 12 hours, powered by a lithium-ion battery. It also has Bluetooth connectivity so you can stream your favourite music from paired compatible devices. You can also listen to DAB, DAB+ and FM radio stations.

Customers praised the product's compact design, ease of use and durability. Because it is waterproof, this digital radio is suitable for outdoor use or in the kitchen and bathroom. It features a backlit LCD that lets you see station details for added convenience. Users said it delivers beautifully clear sounds, a quality they expect from a trusted brand like JBL. The unit is rechargeable, but a charging plug doesn't come in the box.


Best portable digital radio: Panasonic DAB+ DAB Portable FM Radio

Pros

  • Easy operation with knobs
  • A large backlit LCD

Cons

  • Requires frequent battery replacement according to some
  • No wireless connectivity
Price (RRP): $99
Amazon price: From $99.00
Buy at Amazon
Buy at Bing Lee

Why we chose it

With a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars on Harvey Norman, Panasonic's DAB+ DAB portable FM radio is our best pick for this category.

Panasonic's radio has 10cm speakers with 4.5cm magnets and intuitive controls. The large back LCD makes seeing details a lot easier. Its knob operation also makes finding any radio station simpler. Apart from 10 channel memory, it has 10 DAB/DAB+/FM tuners, 10 direct pre-select keys and a fold-down handle for portability. It is AC cord and battery-powered so you can listen to your favourite station anywhere.

Numerous buyers were impressed by this nifty digital radio's sound quality, easy operation and durability. When fully extended, the whip antenna (for FM/DAB) picks up most radio channels effortlessly. It's the perfect option if you want to listen to music from the 50s and 60s using a single speaker. It has a programmable timer for ease of use too.

It doesn't have wireless connectivity, which seems to be a minor issue for most users.


Best pocket-sized digital radio: Sony XDR-P1DBP Pocket Radio

Pros

  • 20 station memories
  • Built-in rechargeable battery

Cons

  • The slider on/off switch is quite cumbersome to use
  • Not cheap
Price (RRP): $143
Amazon price: From $128.85
eBay price: From $148.49
Buy at Amazon
Buy at eBay
Buy at Appliances Online

Why we chose it

We chose the Sony XDR-P1DBP as the best pocket-sized digital radio. On Amazon and Appliances Online, it has an average rating of 4.35 out of 5 stars.

The Sony XDR-P1DBP pocket radio is an ultra-small digital radio that can fit inside your jean pocket. It has a digital amplifier and stereo sound quality when used with headphones. Apart from having a 20-station memory, the radio is operated using a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

It delivers clear and crisp sound with strong signal reception and easily picks up a lot of radio channels so you can enjoy your favourite music on the go. The amplifier also boosts its already epic sound quality, especially when using headphones. At just 170g (including the battery), this radio is quite lightweight as well.

A major flaw for most users is its power slider. Several others reported that it is difficult to use and tends to break after just a couple of months.


Best digital clock radio: Sangean RCR-5

Pros

  • A large backlit LCD
  • Sleek retro design

Cons

  • Some customers didn't like the plastic casing
  • Difficult to set up
Price (RRP): $99
Amazon price: From $129.55
Buy at Amazon
Buy at Appliances Online

Why we chose it

Sangean's RCR-5 is our pick for the best digital clock radio. It has a rating of 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

The RCR-5 offers excellent AM and FM reception, featuring the brand's digital tuner technology that minimises drift on AM stations while locking weak FM stations. It also has a dual timer, 1 timer selection and a human wake system radio or buzzer. You also get a 10-station memory preset and a large LCD with a soft, warm colour.

At $99, this digital clock radio boasts functionality, stylishness and performance. It picks up both AM and FM stations that even several pricier models can't do. The design is sleek, adding a retro touch to any room. While it's difficult to set up, customers said it's worth it as you'll get a crisp sound with superb treble and tone controls. It also has a 3.5mm aux input for some private listening.


Best retro-style digital radio: Sangean WR-7

Pros

  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Up to 36 hours of playtime

Cons

  • Not travel-friendly
  • Volume and selection knobs may be too small for some
Price (RRP): $145
Amazon price: From $138.85
Buy at Amazon

Why we chose it

If you're looking for a retro option, we recommend the Sangean WR-7. On Harvey Norman, it has a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars.

Featuring an analog design, the Sangean WR-7 has an acoustically tuned wooden cabinet to produce a clear and crisp sound with deep bass and treble. It has Bluetooth connectivity, so you can listen to your favourite songs from any compatible device. It also has an auxiliary audio input for convenience and up to 36 hours of playtime on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

In true retro fashion, this digital radio has knob dials for turning on the device, switching to different stations and controlling the volume. It doesn't have a built-in antenna but you'll get a wired option for connecting to FM channels. Users said it also has a pretty good AM reception. One con for them is its size, adding that it's not the most travel-friendly choice there is.


Best digital radio CD player: Panasonic RX-DU10

Pros

  • Easy to operate
  • High-quality sound with deep bass tones

Cons

  • No Bluetooth connectivity
  • Bulkier than other digital radios
Price (RRP): $145
Amazon price: From $99.00
Buy at Amazon

Why we chose it

For the best digital radio CD player, we picked the Panasonic RX-DU10. It has a rating of 5 out of 5 stars on Harvey Norman.

The Panasonic DU10 features AM/FM as well as USB and CD playback. It offers high-quality sound thanks to its 4W full-range speakers. Apart from a top-opening CD player, it has a large LCD and a 3.5mm headphone output. The built-in digital tuner also provides a band or frequency range from 87.5 to 108.MHz in FM and from 520 to 1610kHz in AM.

Customers gave positive feedback on the radio's ease of use, portable design and durability. It produces an amplified sound with clear tones and treble. It also picks up tons of radio stations – both AM and PM – effortlessly. This boom box also has a retro design, quite reminiscent of the early 90s and late 80s. However, it is bulkier than competitors in the market.


Best hand crank digital radio: Kaito Voyager Pro KA600

Pros

  • Powered in 6 ways
  • Can be used as an emergency phone charger

Cons

  • Some buyers had durability issues
  • Confusing instructions
Price (RRP): $128.42
Amazon price: From $146.39
Buy at Amazon

Why we chose it

With a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon, we selected the Kaito Voyager Pro KA600 as the best hand crank digital radio.

This Kaito radio can be powered in 6 ways: solar power, hand crank generator, 3 AAA batteries, 5V USB input, 6V DC wall power adapter or built-in rechargeable battery. It picks both AM, FM, longwave and shortwave frequencies and features 7 pre-programmed weather channels so you can keep track of news during emergencies.

A perfect option for an emergency, it has an 18" telescopic antenna and digital tuner, allowing you to pick up numerous radio channels with ease. It also has a 12-hour clock with dual alarms, a thermometer and a humidity gauge.

Customers loved that it could be used as a back-up phone charger as well. Several others had difficulty setting up the device because of its confusing user manual, but this seems to be a minor issue.


Amazon prices last updated on 2 December, 2021 at 01:00 am
eBay prices last updated on 2 December, 2021 at 12:09 pm

Methodology

24
Brands considered
87
Products compared
7
Best products chosen
  • We compared over 80 digital radios from 24 brands.
  • We then assessed hundreds of customer reviews and ratings on various websites selling a variety of digital radios.
  • The products on this list are chosen by our editorial team and are not selected based on commercial relationships.

What is a digital radio?

Digital radio is the latest generation of radio broadcast technology. Sound is turned into digital signals and transmitted. This digital signal is then picked up and decoded at the other end by a digital radio receiver. This results in enhanced sound quality close to what you'd expect from a CD without the interference that can plague AM and FM stations.

However, while a set-top box allows you to convert an analog TV to digital, you'll need to get a new radio if you want to listen to digital transmissions. Digital radios in Australia feature chips that allow them to receive DAB+ (the upgraded and most widely accepted version of the Digital Audio Broadcasting standard) transmissions.

Why should I consider a digital radio?

Compare the quality of digital TV with what your old analog TV used to produce and you'll get an instant idea of why digital radio is a big deal. There are plenty of reasons why you might want to upgrade your AM/FM model to a digital radio:

  • More choice. Digital radios provide access to a much wider range of stations, allowing you to listen to a variety of music, chat shows, talkback programs, sports channels and more. Many units also allow you to pick up your favourite FM and Internet radio channels as well.
  • Automatic station tuning. Rather than turning a knob this way and that to try and find the reception sweet spot, digital radios allow you to skim through the available stations simply by pressing a button.
  • Know what you're listening to. Ever heard a song you like on the radio but been frustrated by the fact that you don't know what it is? With a digital radio, the song title and artist are displayed on a screen right in front of you along with other info like the station you're listening to, news feeds and more.
  • More than just a digital radio. There are digital radios for use at home and on the go, models that allow you to access FM and AM channels, radios with alarm clocks and even radios that allow you to stream music via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

However, digital radio reception varies, especially in regional Australia. To find out whether digital radio reception is available in your area, head to Digital Radio Plus and enter your postcode.

What types are available?

There are 2 main types of digital radio to choose from:

  • Desktop digital radios. These household digital radios plug into your wall socket and include features like a display screen, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. This category can be divided even further into units for use in the kitchen or living room (these are generally larger and more powerful) and those for use in the bedroom (these are more compact and include features such as an alarm clock).
  • Portable digital radios. Lightweight and compact in design, you can take these units with you wherever you go. They offer the convenience of battery power and many are also water-resistant, but they tend to have fewer features than desktop models. However, they're usually cheaper than desktop radios.

Though nowhere near as widely available, there's also a third type of digital radio to choose from: in-car models. If you've got a new car, then you'll likely have digital radio already, but drivers of older vehicles will need adaptor radios that allow you to play digital content through your car's stereo.

How to compare digital radios

When shopping for a digital radio, you'll need to consider your budget, whether you want a portable or home unit, the design of your radio and the type of listening you want to do. To find the perfect digital radio for your needs, remember to consider the following factors:

DAB

DAB+ is the digital audio broadcasting standard used in Australia, so make sure any model you choose features "DAB+" in the product description.

Sound quality

Most digital radios feature 1 or 2 speakers, so you have a choice between mono and stereo sound. Sound quality is essential to ensure that you get the most out of the radio, so it's worth asking for an in-store demo of how a radio performs.

Ease of use

How easy is the unit to set up and use out of the box? Is it straightforward to find new stations? Is there a preset feature to allow you to program in your favourite channels? If the unit has a remote, is its layout intuitive and easy to understand?

Power output

You can match your digital radio's power output to the size of the room. 20W and above will be needed for most large living rooms, while smaller rooms require less power. Anything over 50W will be overkill in most situations.

Display screen

Many digital radios feature an LCD display screen that shows the name of the station and the song you're listening to, the current time and the Wi-Fi signal strength. Make sure this screen is easy to read and, if choosing a model for your bedroom, ensure that it's softly lit or that the brightness can be dimmed.

Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth

Many modern digital radios offer Bluetooth music streaming and the ability to access thousands of Internet radio stations via Wi-Fi. Models with Wi-Fi also allow you to take advantage of services like Spotify Connect and stream your Spotify library straight to your radio. Some digital radios are NFC-enabled, so you can easily sync them with your smartphone.

Design

From sleek, modern units to retro models sporting a "1950s wireless" look, digital radios come in designs to suit a wide range of decor.

Pause and rewind

Some desktop models allow you to pause live radio and rewind up to 15 minutes if you get distracted or simply want to listen to something again.

Clock and alarm

Most radios will display a clock on their LCD screen, but bedroom models will also allow you to set an alarm to help you wake up in the morning.

AM/FM support

Most digital radios also allow you to tune into FM stations, but very few models can access the AM band.

CD player

If you want a unit that can play CDs as well, some models provide digital radio as part of a larger hi-fi system.

Line out

If you want to hook your radio up to a better set of speakers or a soundbar, check that it offers the necessary audio out port to do so.

Batteries

If you're choosing a portable model, some models have an internal rechargeable battery while others require AA or C-cell batteries. Most models offer between 10 and 16 hours of playback time, but some provide as much as 20 hours.

Dimensions and weight

If you're buying a desktop radio, check the dimensions to find out how much space it'll take up on your kitchen bench or bedside table. If you're choosing a portable model, make sure it's lightweight and compact enough to take with you wherever you go.

Headphone jack

Make sure you can plug in headphones if you want to listen to the radio without disturbing anyone else.

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