With so many radio companies in the market today, deciding which brand to choose can be a daunting task. This is especially true for first-time buyers who are keen on quality but don’t really know precisely what to look for. If you happen to be looking for a great radio but aren’t sure about which features to compare, then this guide on the best radio brands was created for you. We’re going to break down what matters when choosing the perfect radio, as well as some of our top picks that you ought to look out for when going through the top radio brands.
What to look for when choosing the best radio brands
Sound quality: Nobody wants to entertain a radio that offers less than acceptable audio quality. You want to have a radio that produces high fidelity sound, and one that’s also loud enough to fill the room that you intend to place it in. Check the speaker wattage to get an idea of how loud your radio will go.
Portability: Here, you ought to consider how weatherproof the radio is, how compact it is, and also examine its build quality. You want to establish whether it’s made up of brittle material, or something that’ll withstand a few drops here and there.
Aesthetics: For many people, the radio they own is often an expression of their style or an extension of their personality. This is why design also influences the kind of people who buy it, as well as where it fits into your home. This is where many of the best radio brands come into their own.
Power options: This is very important especially if you expect to have a radio that you listen to for long periods of time, or to be constantly on the move. There are radios that come with a rechargeable battery and a mains adapter, and others that are only powered through the socket, but can work with an optional battery pack. For flexibility, the best bet is to go for a radio that can work with either off-the-shelf AA/AAA batteries, or a mains adapter.
Connectivity. Most modern radios come with the ability to connect to the Internet through WiFi, or to your phone or tablet through Bluetooth. This allows you to use the radio as a speaker outlet to play songs that you have stored on your device or elsewhere. It’s a great option for those of us who want to control exactly what music gets played, but for those who are a bit more old school, it’s not really that much of a concern.
Budget. The determining factor that supersedes everything else here is of course how much you’re willing to spend. There are radios at the top end of the scale that have everything that can be packed into a radio and impeccable design to match, and there are also pocket friendly choices that put functionality before anything else. If you know how to pick well enough though, you will definitely find options that offer top shelf quality, at a mid-range price. We’re going to cover all these and more, as we examine a selection of the leading radio brands in the world, and the amazing products they produce.
The best radio brands in the world
1. Revo Radio
Kick starting our list is Revo Radio, a top radio brand that was founded back in 2004 by Coline Urie and David Baxter. Their main aim was to produce radios that exude both style and quality, with a focus on the very popular retro look and feel. Over the years, Revo Radio has been the recipient of various awards and titles, as a result of their constant innovation and ability to see ahead of the curve. This was marked by their major success in 2013 when they announced the multi award winning Revo SuperConnect radio. This winner launched an entry into a range of top-tier radios within the SuperSeries that have gained a wide following among radio lovers all over the world. Some of them include:
Revo SuperConnect: Lauded as the point guard of the SuperSeries, the Revo SuperConnect offers an FM tuner with RDS, access to over 36,000 stations through Internet radio, and support for both DAB and DAB+. It’s WLAN capabilities allow for playback from devices sharing the same network, and its 15W speaker produces super crisp quality sound. (Cost: £290)
Revo SuperCD: This well-known classic stands out thanks to its vertical slot landing CD player, as well as its ability to tune in to more than 30,000 stations all over the world. It allows for Bluetooth music streaming, and also supports Spotify Connect availing a wide array of tracks to choose from. The radio supports DAB, DAB+ and FM radio, and allows for full mobile control through the UNDOK app. The speakers churn out 40W of audio, which is loud enough to easily fill a big room. (Cost: £500)
Ruark Radio has certainly come a long way from its humble beginnings as a family business back in 1985. This world leading radio brand came to be through the hard work of Alan O’Rourke and his dad, back at the South Coast of England. The brand is well known for pushing the boundaries in terms of design, and this might be the reason why the Sunday Telegraph once described it as the Aston Martin of DAB radios. Nonetheless, the radio brand has gone on to gain critical acclaim, most recently in 2015 when it won the Which? Awards for the best radio brand. As most would expect, a rich design comes with a hefty price tag, and radio from Ruark Audio is no exception. Here are two key products:
Ruark R1 MK3: Packaged within a luxurious wooden finish, the Ruark R1 MK3 is a compact choice that many have fallen in love with. It offers Bluetooth streaming, a line input, as well as both DAB/DAB+ and FM radio support. There’s also an AUX in port and a USB charging socket, as well as a rechargeable battery that’s bought separately to ensure you keep listening even when on the move. Its multifunctional alarm also makes it the perfect bedside companion. (Cost: £219)
Ruark R4MK3: This stylish music hub boasts a 2.1 speaker system with an integrated subwoofer, and a RotoDial controller that sits on its top side. You don’t get Internet radio with this model, so its either DAB/DAB+ or FM. It allows for CD playback, and has a USB port for the tracks that you have on your memory stick. It’s 80W power output ensure the bass is well defined, and its 3.5mm jack allows you to take it all in privately through your headphones. (Cost: £649)
Roberts Radio is the brainchild of two friends, Harry Roberts and Leslie Bidmead, who both came up with a product so good they even had the British Queen buying from them. Established in 1932, Roberts Radio has managed to perfectly capture the British heritage through its quality products, to the point that the brand was awarded a Royal Warrant. This type of recognition is only given to brands that have demonstrated the highest level of standard and quality, as seen fit by British Royalty. This award allowed the brand to further develop its retro look and stick to it up until today, with the only difference being the technological advancements that lie under the hood. Here are some of the products Roberts is well known for:
Roberts Radio Stream 93i: This two time Product of The Year award winner (What Hi-FI? Awards) allows for access of up to 20,000 stations through Internet radio, while still featuring DAB/DAB+ and FM tuning. It allows for up to 120 radio presets, supports Spotify Connect, and can be used as a speaker output sourcing music from a computer when connected to a shared network. It’s optional removable battery pack adds up to 10 hours of playback, so you might want to think about getting it as an accessory. (Cost: £160)
Roberts Radio Revival RD70: For those who prefer to have a reminder of history in their living room or kitchen, there’s no better option than the Roberts Revival. It has all its controls on the top side, with a customizable clear resolution display placed well in the middle of all the dials and buttons. It allows for DAB/DAB+ and FM connections, 20 FM/DAB presets, Bluetooth streaming and a sleep timer making it great for your bedside. There’s also an AUX in port for external music sources, and a headphone jack for uninterrupted listening. (Cost: £200)
Pure Radio is especially well known in the UK, and is easily one of the best radio brands on the planet. The company was established as a subsidiary in 2002, but later on gained notoriety as a leading digital radio manufacturer. The decision to name the company “Pure” was actually made in a bar, with the idea behind it being to bring forth products that portray a superior level of audio quality and design to the market. Its popularity soared with the success of the £99 Evoke-1, which was a mains powered DAB radio that dominated the market especially since it retailed at below a hundred pounds. This then paved the way onto other pioneering achievements, as well as top shelf products such as:
Pure Avalon N5: This woollen covered masterpiece features a 20W speaker output, up to 20 station presets, a monochromatic LCD display, and backlit buttons for easier visibility at night. It’ll allow you to tune into DAB/DAB+ or FM Radio, or even connect your device to stream tracks through Bluetooth. The Pure Avalon N5 also gets you 2 alarms, a headphone jack for your own listening, and a portable rechargeable battery so that your power never runs out. (Cost: £179)
Pure Siesta Charge: This alarm clock radio comes in a small form factor, but that doesn’t stop it from offering advanced features such as wireless phone charging. The radio has a great LED display that dims to match your surroundings, and Bluetooth support for streaming music from your phone through its speakers. (Cost: £130)
Launched in 2011 as View Quest, Jonathan Merricks later saw it fit to cut down on the wording and leave it as VQ. The products sold by the company are largely inspired by his own personal taste, as he has been quoted as saying that VQ’s products are essentially what he would love to have in his living room. That being said, VQ is one of the few leading radio brands that has gone forward to collaborate with well-known designers to provide the perfect fusion between sound and style. The designer collections offer a more personalized range of prints, offering a lot more options as to what you’d like to have your radio draped in. Some of the designers that have worked with the brand include Emma Bridgewater, Laura Ashley, Lulu Guinness with a couple more others that are yet to be announced. Our top picks from VQ are:
VQ Retro MKII: The MK II is a more current version of the Retro Radio, offering an Apple lightning deck, DAB/DAB+ and FM connectivity as well as up to 60 radio presets. The MKII features a 20W speaker output for great audio quality and My EQ equalizer for customizable sound adjustment. Bluetooth streaming is also supported, along with more sophisticated features such as ‘Prune’ for deleting obsolete stations. (Cost: £120)
VQ Portable Monty: Being the current highlight of the VQ stable, Monty represents a portable alternative that is both stylish and functionable. The radio features a 10W speaker, a USB charging port, dual alarms, DAB/DAB+ and FM radio connectivity, and a real wood coating as the icing on the cake. The Monty also features an adjustable display alongside Bluetooth connectivity. (Cost: £100)
Tivoli Audio is an American company that was founded in the year 2000 by Henry Kloss and Tom DeVesto. Their collaboration actually came to be after Kloss developed a radio dubbed the Model One without knowing exactly how he would sell it. That’s when they came together and had DeVesto manufacture and market the new radio through Tivoli Audio. These guys hit a homerun on their first try, as the Model One went on to be a huge success mainly since it was capable of receiving FM stations in very congested areas. The PAL portable radio followed next, combining the analog dial from the Model One into a smaller size, and offering a rechargeable battery. These two major milestones paved the way for the company to venture into manufacturing CD players, Internet radios and subwoofers, among other things. Here are two great radio products from Tivoli Audio:
Tivoli Model 1 BT: This reincarnation of the Model One adds Bluetooth technology to its list of features to allow for seamless music streaming from your smartphone, tablet or computer. The analog tuner gets retained to conserve the simplistic nature of the Model One, allowing users to accurately tune the radio through FM/AM stations. The radio also features a headphone jack, and an AUX input for external music sources. (Cost: £190)
Tivoli Model 1 Digital: If you might think the Model 1 BT is still a bit lacking in terms of its technological capability, then the Model One Digital has everything else you could be looking for. Its beautiful design features a high resolution display, encircled with a multi-operational dial that allows users to change stations and set presets. It’s also Wi-Fi enabled, allowing users to connect more speakers, play music from other connected devices, and stream tracks from the Internet. (Cost: £230)
Easily the highest grossing company on this list in terms of revenue, Bose stands squarely in a class of its own. Known for best-in-class pro audio systems, home audio systems and noise cancelling headphones, the American company didn’t really have a clear set path to success in its beginning. In fact, the first radio that its founder Amar Bose developed in 1966 was a huge failure. He later got it right with the Bose 901 stereo system, and from then on, the rest is history. The wide range of products offered by Bose forces us to zero in on to its Wave Music System line up. This is a great line of Bose radios that include:
Wave Music System IV: The Wave Music System IV features a CD/MP3 player, supports DAB/DAB+ and FM tuning, as well as dual alarms to allow for different settings. The system allows for up to 12 radio presets, and spots an AUX-in port for playback from other sources. Owners also get up to 12 station presets, and a headphone jack to plug in and shut down any other distractions. (Cost: £500)
Wave SoundTouch Music System IV: This is essentially a cousin of the System IV, but it includes a SoundTouch pedestal which offers all the benefits that Bluetooth, WiFi connectivity and Internet access have to deliver. Users also get to control playback through the SoundTouch app right from their device. The compact system also features a CD/MP3 player, and integrates seamlessly with Alexa to allow for voice control. (Cost: £600)
The leading radio brands reviewed above are sure to have products that will arouse your interest, or fit into your list of specific preferences. If you happen to make a purchase based on the recommendations we’ve made above, we’d really love to hear about it. Leave us a comment in the section below, and we’ll be sure to respond.
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