Top three best internet radios for 2019
By Oliver Trebilcock
Listen to your favourite radio programmes at any time that suits you with the flexibility of an internet radio. Here are some of the best available.
An internet radio gives you greater freedom than a standard radio, with many radio stations letting you catch up on programmes from the last week or month, such as with BBC iPlayer Radio or Radioplayer.
The power of the internet means sound quality can be superior to DAB or FM, and you’re not limited to radio stations broadcast locally either – you can listen to radio from all over the world.
Internet radios can come in all shapes and sizes, from tabletop ones that are perfect for the kitchen, bedroom or living room, to portable ones you can take out and about.
The most important thing to consider is where you want to use your internet radio. Some with a well-placed snooze button will be great next to your bed, and it's likely you'll need a battery-powered portable one if you want to listen in the garden.
We’ve picked out three of the very best radios from our expert testing, each ideal for different uses and with a range of functionality. They all have sensational sound quality and are easy to use, giving you the best possible listening experience. Underneath, we've also highlighted an inferior internet radio so you know what not to buy.
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Top internet radios
One of the very best internet radios on the market, this British brand DAB+/FM/internet radio launches radio design into a new era. Not only does it bring sensationally warm, crisp and entertaining stereo sound to whatever you’re listening to, its premium real-wood finish and full-colour screen make it a highly stylish package. Its feature-packed as well, with Bluetooth, NFC, aux in and RCA sockets to connect to your services, a handy USB port for charging your smartphone, Spotify Connect music streaming built-in and even multi-room support to combine the radio into a wider speaker sound system. Find out the full details of this incredible radio in our extensive review.
For those who love a highly connected radio, this stylish-looking radio has a modern full-colour 2.4” LCD display, a remote control and a smartphone app-style interface. You can play audio from your smartphone via Bluetooth, plus Spotify Connect’s built in. It’s a very pleasing package – read our full review to find out how great it sounds and its full range of features.
And here's one to avoid
Beware that internet radios can get very expensive, some with a seemingly endless array of features. When you are paying hundreds for a radio, you’re often no longer paying for better sound quality but just a wider range of features, such as a live radio record function or a CD player. Make sure you don’t pay more for things you don't expect to use.
Spending more is no guarantee of excellent sound quality and ease of use, so be sure to check our reviews to avoid an expensive mistake.
One of the worst internet radios
Smart speakers are internet radios too
Don’t forget that modern smart speakers can also be used as internet radios, and they can even be cheaper than a traditional internet radio.
Similarly, if you already have a smart speaker such as an Amazon Echo, you already have access to internet radio without having to buy a separate device. Smart speakers can access the internet over your home broadband in just the same way as an internet radio but you usually control them with your voice rather than with buttons.
For example, just say: ‘Alexa, play Radio 4’ to get started.
Some smart speakers, such as the Amazon Echo Show, can also be controlled through their in-built touchscreen if you prefer, as well as with your voice.
Many smart speakers have scored well in our tests, so give you more options to consider when looking to access internet radio.
See our full list of smart speaker reviews to find a model for you, with great-sounding ones starting from only around £90.
Listening to internet radio through a web browser or smartphone app
If you don’t mind not having a dedicated device, or want to see whether internet radio is for you before spending any money, you can access internet radio through a web browser on your computer or mobile device, and media players such as Windows Media Player.
You can also download apps to your mobile device for free that will give you access, such as BBC iPlayer Radio, Radioplayer and TuneIn Radio.
See our guide to internet radio for more information on what it is, its benefits and how to listen.