Best internet radios for 2021
An internet radio gives you greater freedom than a standard radio, with more radio stations and more features at your fingertips.
We’ve picked out the very best radios from our expert testing, 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.
Pricing and recommendations correct as of January 2021.
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.
Internet radio features
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.
The power of the internet means internet radios can theoretically have superior sound to DAB or FM radios - although in our tests, we've found the choice of radio is much more important for sound quality than the way you listen. With an internet radio, you're also not limited to radio stations broadcast locally – you can listen to radio from all over the world.
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.
Many smart speakers have scored well in our tests, so give you more options to consider when looking to access internet radio.
Listening to internet radio through a smartphone apps or a web browser
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 apps on a mobile device, a web browser on your computer, or through media players such as Windows Media Player.
You can download apps to your mobile device for free that will give you access, such as BBC iPlayer Radio, Radioplayer and TuneIn Radio. Many of these apps (as well as the websites of radio stations) will also let you catch up on programmes from the last week or month.