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Best digital radio alarm clocks

By Alison Potter

Find a brilliant digital radio alarm clock that’s easy to use and a delight to wake up to. We pick our top three radios to put by your bedside.

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Getting up in the morning can be a struggle, especially if you’re waking up to the sound of a shrill alarm. Investing in a good digital alarm clock – one that wakes you gently with a soft crescendo – will help you start the day on the right note.

Most bedside digital radios offer a choice of alarm sounds, including your favourite radio station or a buzzer or bell tone. And some let you set multiple alarms, which is ideal if you and your partner wake up at different times, or if you want to set a later time for the weekend.  

We’ve rounded up the most important things to consider if you’re about to buy a digital radio alarm clock. We’ve also picked our top three digital radio alarm clocks. They all scored highly our lab tests and would make brilliant bedside companions. 

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Best digital radio alarm clocks

Pure Siesta Rise
Today's best price £73.80
Which? score 82%
Reviewed Dec 2015
Best Buy
Overall sound quality:
5 out of 5
Power use:
5 out of 5
Ease of use:
5 out of 5
Number of alarms:
Member exclusive

This Best Buy is our highest-scoring DAB/FM alarm clock radio. It sounds great across all genres of music, has a big, bright display that can be easily dimmed, and allows you to set three alarms. The snooze button is large and placed in an easy-to-reach spot, and you can set the snooze time to anything between 5 and 59 minutes.

Roberts Blutune 100
Today's best price £235.00
Which? score 76%
Reviewed Aug 2014
Best Buy
Overall sound quality:
4 out of 5
Power use:
5 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Number of alarms:
Member exclusive

This sleek wooden Best Buy radio alarm clock plays both DAB/FM radio and it also has a CD player, Bluetooth and two independent alarms. The sound quality is impressive, and the stereo speakers ensure that the audio is evenly distributed. It has a USB port you can use to charge your phone overnight.

Ruark Audio R1 MK3
Today's best price £219.00
Which? score 73%
Reviewed Jan 2015
Best Buy
Overall sound quality:
4 out of 5
Power use:
5 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Number of alarms:
Member exclusive

If you’re short on space, this smart-looking Best Buy radio is incredibly compact and will fit on the smallest of bedside tables. It sounds fantastic whether it’s playing DAB radio or streaming audio from your mobile or tablet using a Bluetooth connection. It has two alarms, and the controls are well laid out and easy to use.

Rouse with the best alarm clock radio

A good digital alarm clock can cost anywhere between £50 up to £250. If you like using your alarm clock radio’s snooze button to grab a few more minutes’ sleep, it’s really important to consider its size and how easy it is to reach. Ideally it should be placed somewhere prominent, so you don’t struggle to find it when you’re drowsy.

Don’t forget to also look at the size of the other buttons and dials, and how they’re labelled. Some radios may look sleek, but you’ll quickly get frustrated with the ones that have fiddly buttons on the back and the front. It’s always worth checking measurements, too, to make sure the radio will fit comfortably on your bedside table.

And if you like falling asleep to the radio as well as waking up to it, look for a radio alarm clock with a sleep timer that turns the radio off after a set period of time.

Getting a good night's sleep

Digital alarm clock radios have a much larger screen than table-top or portable radios. If you want to be able to check the time at a glance, pick one with a large, clear display. In addition to showing the time, some radios use scrolling text to show track titles, programme names and what’s coming up next.

Most will let you choose whether to show a 12 or a 24-hour clock. Some high-end models have automatic clock updates, so you won’t need to adjust them for daylight-saving time. These clock radios are extremely accurate, as the time is received from a central radio transmitter rather than an approximation taken from a wristwatch or wall clock.

Devices that emit light in your bedroom can disrupt your sleep, and blue light can keep you awake more than any other type of light. If this is an issue for you, look for a clock radio that uses red, green or orange numerals and text. 

If you’ve found a radio you like, but it uses blue light, check whether it has a dimming function, so the display is visible but not bright enough to keep you awake. Some digital alarm clock radios do this automatically to match the ambient light, while others need to be manually programmed and have different settings to turn down the brightness.

Other functions to consider 

Besides playing the radio, some digital alarm clock radios have CD players or built-in wi-fi, allowing you to access music streaming services such as Spotify. You might be able to find some with Apple Lightning docks for charging and playing music from compatible iPhones, iPods and iPads, although these aren’t that common any more.

If your radio has Bluetooth or near field communication (NFC) you can sync it with your smartphone or tablet and play music from your library. Some radios have a USB port for a wired connection, which is handy for bedside charging – especially if you’re short on mains socket space and need to charge a smartphone or smartwatch overnight.

It’s handy for a digital alarm clock radio to take batteries, even if you’ll plug it into the mains, as this will ensure it maintains the time and alarm settings in a power cut. It also makes it more practical if you want to take the radio with you on your travels. If you plan to take it abroad, make sure to get a model with DAB+ so it can pick up radio signals overseas.  

If you can't find what you're looking for here, other digital radios are just a click away in our expert digital radio reviews.

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