The radio is typically associated as a thing of the past which is why there’s demand for retro style radios for that nostalgic feeling and the designs are quirky yet cool, making it look good in any home.
Combining the style of the past with the tech of today, retro DAB radios can give a better radio experience as there are more channels to choose from, and you get better sound quality without the usual static, hiss and crackle that usually arises from a standard AM/FM radio.
Some of the best retro DAB radios have modern features incorporated such as Bluetooth, USB port or a docking station so you can play music from your smartphone whilst charging it too.
As there’s such a wide range of models available, it can be hard to choose one that’s stylish yet functional, so we’ve made it easier for you by putting together 8 of the best vintage style DAB radios of 2017 along with a brief review on each one. You may also be interested in our portable DAB radios too.
Best Retro DAB Radios Reviewed
8. Bush Leather Retro DAB Radio
- Clear LCD Display – With RDS scrolling text to display the radio station you’re on, time and date.
- Sleep Timer – Keep your radio on for a set amount of time before it switches off when the time runs out.
- Wake-Up Alarm Function – Option to set an alarm so you can wake up to your favourite radio station.
- Headphone Socket – Allows you to listen to the radio with your headphones.
Made from a beige coloured leather fabric, this Bush Leather vintage DAB radio is of a modern style that’s sure to catch a few glances. With a few simple buttons and 2 dials, it’s easy to figure out how to use this radio without looking at the instructions. The 2 dials allow you to control the volume and to manually tune the radio to select a specific station if it doesn’t come up on the preset stations or auto scan.
Yes, as with many DAB radios, this one has an auto scan function that can be accessed with the touch of a button. It also has preset stations and you can see what radio station you’re on with the LCD display. The DAB radio can be turned on/off with the power button and there’s a button to set an alarm or timer to turn off the radio.
Featuring a movable metal handle with a comfortable wooden bar in the middle, this DAB radio is easily portable from room to room so you can enjoy your radio stations wherever you go. Sound wise, it’s not the loudest but that makes it ideal for the elderly or for night time listening and being small, it doesn’t take up much space either. If you’re looking for a radio that’s easy to use and with basic functions at an affordable price, then this is the one for you.
7. VQ Retro Mk II
- DAB+ Tuner – Reduces static noise, improves reception and you can get more radio channels than a standard DAB multiplex.
- Apple Lightning Dock – This hidden pull out dock allows Apple users to connect their device on this dock to play their own music and also charge their device at the same time.
- Connectivity for Other Devices – Enhanced connectivity options through Bluetooth or USB.
- Wooden Construction – Gives better audio sound by reducing distortion so the sound is clear with excellent bass.
- Wide Range of Colours to Choose From – Available in 11 vibrant colours so you can choose one to suit your individuality.
- Leather Carry Handle – Makes it easily portable and comfortable to carry your radio.
- Born in Britain – Designed and engineered in the UK.
The retro inspired VQ Retro Mk II is more than just a DAB radio as it’s enhanced with modern technological features that include a hidden Apple lightning dock that’s easy to access with a push of the button, Bluetooth and a USB port. These allow you to charge your device whilst playing your own music from them and out of the radio’s crisp and clear dual ultra wide speakers with MyEQ function that gives you the option to tailor sound to your liking.
Being a DAB+ radio as well, this means you can get better reception which is particularly ideal if you live in a poor reception area and it will find you more radio stations too. There’s a set of buttons to the top right which gives you:
- Music control over your device when it’s plugged in.
- To set your alarm.
- To set a countdown timer for the radio to turn itself off.
- Auto scan for stations.
- Save 10 of your favourite radio stations in the preset function.
It’s powered by the mains plug but there’s the option to take this with you on breaks with a separately sold VQ rechargeable battery. This retro DAB radio is best for anyone looking to bring a bit of the old into today’s modern hi-tech world. With great sound, DAB+ radio, device charging and the option to listen to anything from your phone or tablet, it’s almost everything you need in one machine saving you money and space.
6. VQ Retro Mini
- Compact Size – Makes it easy and light to transport with the carry handle and it doesn’t take up much space wherever it’s placed.
- High Audio Fidelity – Thanks to the wooden construction, the sound coming from the speaker is sharp and clear.
- Bluetooth Connectivity – Allows you to wirelessly connect your smartphone to the radio so you can play your own music from it.
- VQ Lifestyle Alarm – Has options to set an alarm and countdown timer.
- DAB/DAB+/FM Radio – Gives you full access to all analogue and digital radio broadcasts with excellent reception thanks to the DAB+.
- MyEQ Function – Set the sound you want with the equalizer settings.
- Battery Operated – Can be used with AA batteries for better portability when it’s not connected to the mains.
A mini version of the previous vintage DAB radio in this list, the VQ Retro Mini has similar features without the Apple lightning dock and dual speakers. It has one ultra wide full range speaker with the same MyEQ function and is just as clear. There’s no tinny sounds like other DAB radios that gives you a headache. It’s one of the best retro DAB radios that’s compact yet produces great loud yet smooth sound with reasonable bass.
In addition to the Bluetooth connection for you to connect your smartphone to listen to it from, there are also cable connections of a 3.5 mm headphone jack, a USB port and a 3.5mm aux-in connection. It features a large LED display with RDS scrolling text to show the station you’re on and clock.
The backlight is adjustable and it’s goes quite dim on standby which it makes it ideal to use as a bedroom clock too. Besides operating via the mains plug, this radio can run on 4 x AA batteries making it handy for travel use too. It’s a great little retro radio with lots of functions and many different colours and Emma Bridgewater patterns to choose from that will look stylish in any home.
5. KitSound Jive 1950s Style
- Multi-Function Control Panel – Has options for sleep/snooze, to do a quick scan, set an alarm, scroll the menu and preset radio channels.
- Clear Digital Display – Features easy to read text that displays the radio station, clock and track title with artist name so no more searching the internet to find out what song you just heard.
- Old Style Speaker Grill – Protects the speaker cones from damage and gives it that vintage look.
- Adjustable Carry Handle for easy portability
The KitSound Jive 1950s Style Retro DAB/FM Radio features a multi-function control panel which has 7 buttons and 2 dials for you to fiddle around with to adjust the radio to your taste. You can save up to 10 of your favourite radio stations in the preset function for quick access to them and you can set an alarm so you can wake up to the sound of the radio.
On the top of the radio is a small easy to read digital display that turns off after a few seconds during use which helps to save power. However, with a tweak of the dials or touch of a button, the display light will come back on. Behind the cool vintage metal mesh grill are two speakers which gives the radio good sound quality without distortion and it’s quite loud even when it’s just at the halfway point.
Although the colours and designs are limited, the retro flower pattern is by far the best one if you’re after a truly vintage design. This DAB radio boasts a pretty good sound for its small size and has some decent functions which isn’t bad for the price.
4. VQ Hepburn Mk II Retro DAB Radio
- Digital Sound Processing – Combined with the upgraded dual ultra wide full range speakers, the sound is of a premium quality.
- Play Music Wirelessly – You can connect to the radio through Bluetooth to play your own audio from any Bluetooth enabled device.
- USB Port – Enables you to charge your device.
- DAB, DAB+ & FM Radio – Full access to a range of digital and analogue broadcast services.
- 10 Preset Stations – You have the option to save up to 10 of your favourite radio stations in the preset feature.
Another one of the best retro DAB radios from VQ is their Hepburn Mk II with its classic vintage styling that’s designed from the original award winning Hepburn DAB radio model. It’s got a white metal mesh grill protecting the speakers and the radio is wrapped in soft leather that comes in a variety of colours and authentic Emma Bridgewater designs.
This new version offers a more premium acoustic sound thanks to their digital sound processing technology and upgraded acoustics in the dual wide speakers which makes it a pure joy to listen to. You can play or stream your own music via a USB port, a 3.5 mm aux-in cable or wirelessly through Bluetooth which is quick and easy to setup. The Bluetooth range is very good even if you were to leave the room and go downstairs, the signal stays strong.
You barely need to do anything to setup, just plug it in and the radio will automatically scan and set itself up. On the top is a bunch of buttons which looks pretty daunting but is actually easy to use whether it’s to set an alarm, adjust the equaliser to your taste or tuning into a saved preset station. This radio is perfect for anyone who is after a luxurious vintage DAB radio with modern features that belts out a super high quality sound.
3. Steepletone 2 Band Dorset
- AM/MW, FM & DAB Radio – Gives you a range of radio stations to choose from including local or national ones that use AM/MW to broadcast.
- Easy to Read Large Analogue Dial – Has clearly marked numbers to make it easier for you to see where you’re rotating the dial to select the radio station you want.
- Clear LCD Display – Shows the DAB radio channel that you’re on along with the time.
- Powered By Mains or Battery – Allows you to use it without the mains plug and with 6 ‘C’ batteries instead making it ideal for travel.
- Push Button Control – Easy to select the different functions to control the radio including volume, presets and tone control.
Looking very different from the other retro styled DAB radios in this list, the Steepletone 2 Band Dorset Retro DAB Radio has a very unique design that looks like something saved from the 1950s. It features radio channels from AM, FM and DAB radio. Some reviews mention about the MW radio function which is actually medium wave frequency transmitters used to broadcast AM radio stations. Mostly analogue broadcasts use AM radio.
On the front is an eye catching large easy to read cream coloured analogue dial that displays the selected radio station for AM or FM radio. There’s a dial on the side that is used to rotate to the desired station and for extra clarity from AM radio, there’s a built-in Ferrite antenna. When using DAB radio, the LCD display on the top will display the radio station and next to it is a bunch of buttons including the option to preset up to 10 DAB radio channels.
Consumers mentioned that the sounds when using AM radio had no hiss or static sounds and most was able to get pretty good reception. Although it’s a fairly big radio, it’s not overly heavy making it comfortable to carry with the wide adjustable carry handle. The price isn’t expensive considering you could pay more for a DAB radio that also has AM radio and there aren’t many. What’s more, it’s got good acoustics and it’s sure to catch the eyes of many people.
2. Goodmans 1960’s Vintage Style
- 5 mm Line-In Socket – Enables you to connect other audio devices for playback.
- Headphone Socket for personal listening
- Clear LCD Display – Lights up to show the radio station and clock.
- Cool Metal Mesh Grill – A classic retro design.
The Goodmans 1960s Vintage Style DAB Radio has a distinct classic retro style that’s pleasing to the eye. It’s encased in a plastic build but the metal mesh grill that covers the speakers, offsets this to give a genuine vintage style. There’s a leather carry strap across the top to complement the overall design which also makes the DAB radio easily portable.
At the top of the radio, there’s a small LCD display showing the radio station you’re on and the time when it’s switched on. It’s energy efficient as the digital display switches off after a few minutes. On one side are dials for the volume control which is also used to turn on the radio and a rotary tuner. To the other side are 6 push buttons to control the scan, mode, menu and presets for your favourite radio stations.
With just the option of 3 presets, it’s a bit disappointing but it’s so easy to search for stations that it’s not a problem. Although the sound isn’t as great some more expensive DAB radio models, it’s still clear and there’s no distortion even when it’s at full volume. It’s pretty loud for such a small speaker. Considering the price and material, that’s quite impressive and it’s got some good functions too.
1. Roberts RD60DE Revival Retro DAB Radio
- DAB/DAB+/FM Radio – Opens you up to a wide range of radio channels without the hiss and crackle that comes with poor radio signals.
- Portable Listening – It can be run on 4 x D size batteries which offers 120 hours of playback time, and the comfortable carry handle makes transporting a lot easier.
- Acts as a speaker for your mobile phone, tablet or MP3 player as it has a line-in socket
- Wooden Cabinet – Ensures better sound quality and opens up to reveal the speakers and inner workings along with the battery compartment.
- Luxurious Leather Cover – Soft to the touch and beautifully finished to add elegance to the design.
It’s no surprise that the Roberts RD60DE Revival comes at the top of our list of best vintage DAB radios as it’s one of the most popular retro style DAB radios known for having kept its style from the 1950s. You’ll notice the iconic Roberts brand name in gold plating with the classic matching speaker grill and fittings which complement the carefully finished soft leather fabric cover over the sturdy MDF wooden cabinet.
This modern version features an updated set of buttons and dials to complement the orange lit LCD display that enables you to automatically scan for your favourite station and save it into your presets for quick access. If you plan on operating the radio with batteries, there’s a handy light indicator next to the LCD display that will tell you when your battery is low. It will be a long time before that comes on though as the radio gives up to 120 hours of battery life.
Sound wise, it’s rich and can fill a medium sized room well without any distortion for a pleasant listening experience but there isn’t much bass. This DAB radio is quite expensive and has basic functions but if you’re after a truly classic style with a touch of luxury and excellent craftsmanship, then this is the one for you . There’s so many colours and patterns to choose from as well so you’re bound to find one that suits your home.
Final Word | Best Retro DAB Radios
Our list is pretty varied so there should be one for every budget and each one is unique in its own way too. There’s so many functions to consider especially the modern technological ones.
Although the best modern retro DAB radios with more advanced functions are a bit more expensive, they offer a more varied and convenient listening experience. You may also want to check out our 8 best portable DAB radios too.