The ultimate guide to the best DAB car radio adapter
Wish you could listen to the digital channels you love in your car?
While many of the latest vehicle models come with access to DAB, DAB+ and even Bluetooth streaming features, there are thousands of cars out there still stuck in the FM age.
Fortunately, there could be a way to upgrade your listening experience without buying a brand-new car. All you need to do is invest in a DAB adapter.
DAB radio adapters give you the extra dose of technology that you need to listen to your favourite DAB and DAB+ radio stations on the go. These DAB car radio converters are often very cheap to use and work by plugging into the cigarette lighter socket in your car or van. Another big bonus? DAB adapters plug into your existing stereo, so you don’t need to replace that either.
A DAB car radio converter is the cheapest and easiest way to enhance your everyday journeys with state-of-the-art tech. If you’re sick of your FM stations but you don’t want to spend a fortune on streaming content through your phone, we’ve got you covered.
To help you make the right choice in a new investment for 2020, we’ve tracked down the best car DAB adapters that money can buy, and we’ve put them to the test.
Here are our top picks.
1. Pure Highway 600 in-car DAB adapter
Let’s start with a DAB car adapter from a brand that we know and love – Pure. The Pure radio company is one of the best-known and most respected in the UK, delivering an excellent blend of amazing design, high performance audio quality, and smooth functionality.
The Pure Highway 600 is the priciest version of the Highway DAB adapter, and it’s equipped with a few extra features for the cost, including Spotify control, Bluetooth streaming, and more. If you’re not worried about Spotify control, then you can downgrade to the Highway 400. However, you’re only actually paying around £10-£15 more for the extra features overall.
More than just a DAB car radio converter, the Pure Highway 600 gives you plenty of fantastic ways to enhance the entertainment in your car. There’s even voice control built-in so you can receive and make hands-free calls via Bluetooth. The DAB adapter is also a Bluetooth transmitter, which allows you to connect and play your music through your existing audio system.
Digital tick approved
Bluetooth FM transmitter
Built-in voice control
Crystal-clear DAB quality
Easy-to-use intuitive display
Spotify control for streaming
Like many of the Pure radio products that we’ve reviewed in the past, the Highway DAB car radio converter comes with a variety of features to set it apart from the crowd. For instance, you can use the “Go” button on your Highway 600 device to tag a track that you want to add to your Spotify playlist for later. The 3-year warranty is also another nice touch for those who need some peace of mind with their purchase.
Though it can be a bit of a hassle connecting this device to your phone, and the app has a few issues from time to time – this is a great piece of tech for under £70.
FirstE might not be as well-known of a brand as Pure radio, but that doesn’t mean it can’t provide one of the best DAB car radio adapter options for your money. This DAB005 product is a fantastic portable solution for quick access to digital radio, with a 2.3-inch display and relatively impressive sound too. For a little under £35, the FirstE adapter even includes a charging port for your phone, so you don’t have to choose between listening to radio and juicing up your gadgets.
There are 3 playing modes available, including DAB, DAB+ and Bluetooth streaming. You can also still access your FM radio as normal by switching away from the adapter. If you’re looking for a simple plug and play DAB car radio converter that’s easy to install and use – then this could be the choice for you. The product comes at a very reasonable price which should be affordable for most DAB lovers, and it’s small enough that it won’t take up too much of your dashboard either.
Plug and play functionality
DAB and DAB+ connectivity
Bluetooth for streaming and hands-free calling
Micro TF/SD card reader
External antenna for stronger connections
Up to 20 station preset options
The FirstE DAB car radio adapter might not be the most intuitive or futuristic radio system that we’ve ever seen for a car, but it’s still an excellent choice. If you’re looking for an affordable piece of tech that provides all the connectivity options you need, including Bluetooth streaming, then you can’t go wrong here. We particularly liked the fact that the system can quickly scan through available stations to give you the widest range of channels.
On the downside, the screen is a little smaller than some of the options available on the market today, which could mean that you find it harder to read. Additionally, the interface could be more user-friendly.
Instructions are easy to follow with plug-and-play functionality
If you’ve read some of our other “top” reviews lately, then you’ve probably noticed that Majority is a name that appears frequently in the marketplace. Majority is a company that has earned a lot of popularity over the years for its ability to deliver a high-quality selection of features to customers, usually for a budget-friendly price.
The Majority Journey A10 is a DAB car radio converter that’s available for a little under £40. That means that it’s not the least expensive DAB adapter on the market – but it’s not the most expensive either. This digital tick approved device will allow you to either directly stream DAB or DAB+ radio stations, or you’ll be able to use Bluetooth instead. You can connect your phone or tablet and play your favourite music using Spotify, TuneIn, and countless other apps.
The Bluetooth functionality of the Majority Journey 10 also means that you’ll have the option to make safe hands-free phone calls too!
Receives DAB+ and DAB stations
Bluetooth for handsfree calls and music streaming
Antenna mount and line-out cable
10 pre-set stations included
Can connect to your stereo via aux cable or FM transmitter
Like many products from Majority, the Journey 10 DAB radio adapter is an easy-to-use piece of technology that’s brimming with features to make your audio experience easier. The mount system and device itself is incredibly easy to set up, so you should be able to start listening to the tracks that you love within a matter of minutes. Additionally, another big bonus of this Majority device is the fact that it comes with a 36-month warranty. Just keep in mind that the FM signal quality isn’t always perfect.
You won’t find many of the better-known radio brands like Revo and Roberts experimenting with plug and play DAB car radio adapters. Simply put, these brands love an opportunity to show off their unique aesthetics as well as their audio quality – and you can’t really do that with a DAB adapter. Because of this, many of the top-performing tools in this particular area come from lesser-known brands, like Wonsidary.
The Wonsidary V4.2 DAB car adapter is a reliable way to access high-quality DAB radio within just about any car. You can plug the system straight into your cigarette lighter, and it will wirelessly transmit the DAB signal to your car through your FM signal. Like most of the DAB car radio converters that we’ve covered so far, the Wonsidary also comes with a Bluetooth functionality built-in for streaming and hands-free calls.
Available for just over £35, this device is quick and easy to install, with a mount and antenna that comes included as part of the system.
DAB and DAB+ connectivity
Multi-functional Bluetooth receiver
Easy install and mount
2 year guarantee
This particular device is one of the smaller options that we’ve reviewed so far, which is good news if you’re looking for something that will fit into a little car. You don’t want to have to deal with things like a huge screen and endless cables when you’re trying to keep your eye on the road. However, a smaller screen can also be a little more difficult to see. The addition of a 2 year guarantee also offers some peace of mind.
One thing you’ll notice when you start your search for the best car DAB adapters, is that most of the devices available today look pretty much the same. They usually come with a small rectangle screen and a system that allows you to plug your device into your cigarette lighter. However, the Dual-Use DAB car adapter from Esuper takes a slightly different approach to design.
This circular mini radio receiver can work both in your car and at home. All you need to do is connect the tool to your car using either the FM transmission, or the 3.5mm cable included. This also leaves your cigarette lighter input open for other things – like charging devices. Created to offer easy access to DAB radio, the Esuper offers a sleek and stylish solution to a common problem.
Compact and easy-to-use, the Esuper dual-use solution is available for just over £35, and for that price, you’ll get features like:
Windscreen attachment features
Clear LCD screen
The Esuper DAB car adapter is compact, easy to use and attractive. However, it is missing one of the primary functions that a lot of people look for when they buy an adapter today – and that’s Bluetooth streaming. If you need a device that allows you to play DAB+ radio stations, but also offers hands-free calling, then you’re out of luck here.
On the other hand, if you’re just looking for a quick and simple way to update your sound system, and you’re not worried about Bluetooth streaming, then the Esuper will definitely get the job done, with excellent audio quality to boot.
Heading back to the team at FirstE, we have yet another reliable DAB car radio converter created for ease of use and convenience. This particular adapter can be fitted to the roof of your car, so it’s not taking up any space in your glovebox or on your dashboard. The system comes with all the features that you would expect from a FirstE converter, including DAB and DAB+ connectivity, as well as Bluetooth streaming for your hands-free calls.
One thing that really makes the FirstE colour display DAB car adapter stand out is the fact that it comes with a comprehensive colour display that you can use to skip through channels or check out the content that’s available to you. There’s even the option to adjust the brightness of the display so that you’re not overly distracted when you’re driving.
For a little over £40, the colour display DAB car adapter from FirstE comes with features like:
Self-fit easy install
Bluetooth music and TF card playing
2.4-inch colour display
Built-in DAB/DAB+ connectivity
Easy to use interface
Streaming from your device
The First2 colour display device comes with everything you need to manage your audio within your car and access more channels than ever before. It’s easy to install and use, and according to other DAB car radio converter reviews that we’ve read, owners agree that the signal is pretty good too. There are even instructions that you can follow available on YouTube if you prefer to access video guidance. Unfortunately, it can be a little difficult to switch between DAB and Bluetooth modes.
Attractive colour display
Easy to use (once you’ve gotten used to it)
Mountable on the ceiling of your car
Bass gets a little distorted at high volumes
Hard to switch between DAB and Bluetooth streaming
If the idea of a colour display with your Bluetooth and DAB streaming device appeals to you – but you’re not enamoured by the option we covered above, then don’t worry. There’s always the slightly more expensive version from Esuper to consider. This DAB car radio converter comes with a large 2.4-inch colour screen that you can use to swipe from Bluetooth streaming through to DAB radio channels and beyond.
With a high-quality connection enhanced by an extra aerial, the Esuper will help you to track down the music and programs that you love in no time. This colourful DAB car adapter plugs straight into your cigarette lighter, and it also comes with an intuitive interface that most people will be able to use immediately without having to read through endless instructions.
Choose between four playing modes, including DAB streaming, FM and Bluetooth, or manage your calls using the wireless connection.
For just over £40, features include:
4 playing modes
1 year manufacturer’s warranty
Easy install and set up
Full colour display
If you’re looking for the Best DAB car radio adapter that also comes with a bunch of other exciting features to explore, like Bluetooth streaming and built-in applications, then you’ll love this product from Esuper. You can also install it wherever you like in your car, whether that’s on the roof, the dashboard, or wherever else you choose.
Easy to set up and use
Built-in Bluetooth streaming and hands-free calling
Finally, we come to the last option on our list of the best car DAB adapters. The Blufree In-Car DAB digital radio adapter is a compact and convenient tool that will immediately enhance your signals and help you to browse through a wider range of channels when you’re listening to the radio. There are two ways that you can connect this device to your car, including either plugging it in with an aux cable, or using the FM transmitter in your vehicle.
Unlike a lot of the DAB car radio adapters that we’ve looked at so far, the Blufree features the option to save and store up to 60 presets for quicker browsing. This will come in handy when you want to jump from one channel to another without having to worry about tuning. Additionally, the Blufree offers an excellent quality of sound for such a small device.
For a little less than £35, this product comes with Bluetooth connectivity so you can stream your favourite music and shows from your smartphone or take calls without using your hands. There’s also a large adjustable LCD screen with multiple brightness options.
Other features include:
DAB, DAB+ and FM listening
Bluetooth streaming and hands-free calls
Aux in for your device
DAB active antenna included
USB ports for charging your phone
We particularly liked the fact that this device comes with two separate USB ports included, so you can charge your phone through your adapter while you’re listening to music. The large LCD screen shows plenty of useful information too, such as the program type that you’re listening to, or your FM radio frequency. You can even track your signal strength so you know when you might be about to lose a connection.
DAB car adapters allow today’s listeners to receive DAB radio station information without replacing either their stereo, or their car. More often than not, you’ll power these nifty devices using the cigarette lighter in your vehicle, but there are also products that use your aux-in connections and FM radio transmissions, too, along with an external battery.
A DAB car radio adapter with FM transmission function will be able to connect to your stereo wirelessly. All you’ll need to do is tune your car stereo into the same frequency as your new adapter so that you can connect the two. The adapter will then act as your very own miniature transmitter, broadcasting information just a couple of metres to cover your car.
Some of the best car DAB adapters that we’ve covered today also come with an antenna that you can use to improve the quality of your signal once you set up your new device. If you do get one of these aerials with your system, you’ll need to attach it to the roof of your car. Other devices come with a small wire antenna that attaches to the inside of your vehicle instead.
How to choose the best car DAB adapters
Now that you know what a DAB car radio converter is and how it works, you’ll need to figure out what you’re looking for in your new investment. As with most radio products, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy to selecting the ultimate DAB adapter.
However, there are a couple of factors that all customers will need to consider, for instance:
Budget: We recommend never using price as the only strategy that you use when deciding what DAB radio converter to buy. While it’s often tempting to go for the cheapest product you can find that offers the widest selection of features, that often means compromising on quality of sound and longevity. While a higher price won’t always guarantee you a better experience, there’s a good chance that many products are more costly for a reason.
Functionality: The most obvious features that you’ll need to look for in any DAB radio adapter is a strong DAB connection, and a fantastic Bluetooth streaming functionality. Bluetooth streaming will mean that you don’t have to buy two separate devices for your DAB radio and when you want to stream podcasts from your phone. Let’s face it; it’s also helpful to have something in your car that allows you to make and receive hands-free calls too.
Extra features: Aside from the essential functionality that you’ll need such as DAB and Bluetooth, you may decide that there are some extra features that you want too, such as USB connection ports that allow you to charge your phone from your adapter, or the option to control your system using nothing but your voice. Browse through the different features offered by some of the products we mentioned above and make a list of the functionality that appeals most to you.
Ease of set up and use: Ultimately, you’re not going to be able to do much with your DAB radio adapter if you don’t feel comfortable using it. Make sure that the instructions are easy to follow, and that you don’t have a problem following the guide provided. It’s also helpful to look for an adapter that you can mount anywhere you want to in your car.
Brand: If you want the best plug and play DAB car radio adapter, then you’re probably going to need to think about which brands you can trust. An obscure manufacturer from overseas probably isn’t going to give you the same amazing experience that you can expect from companies like Pure or Majority, for instance.
Time to upgrade your radio?
When you’re tired of being restricted to your old-fashioned listening options, or FM radio just isn’t cutting it for you anymore, a DAB car adapter can be an incredible investment. It’s much easier to buy a plug-and-play adapter that you can set up in your car in a matter of minutes than it is to invest in a brand-new stereo.
Of course, choosing the best car DAB adapters might not be as easy as it seems. There are a lot of features that you’ll need to think about, and each brand often claims to offer the best experience. We think that if you’re looking for performance you can trust, then Pure is always a great choice – particularly for high-quality sound. On the other hand, if you want a system that’s simple to use and affordable, consider the Esuper colour display adapter.
Which devices are using to access DAB radio in your car? Let us know in the comment section or join the conversation on social media.
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