How to choose the best radio for your budget

BBC Music Magazine's audio expert Chris Haslam explains the technology behind today's radios, and how to find the right radio for you

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Smart Radio

Launched earlier this summer, Smart Radio helps you get to grips with the myriad streaming options available. Its logo (see smartradio.info) tells you if your model can play FM, DAB/DAB+, stream Internet stations and work in areas of poor reception.

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DAB

The go-to option for modern radio. There are over 350 stations available, each offering crystal-clear reception. FM signals still sound better, however, especially if played through a good-quality hi-fi system.

DAB+

Offering even better sound, there are now 140 DAB+ stations broadcasting in the UK, including Jazz FM. Do check if you’re covered, as it isn’t yet as widespread as DAB.

Bluetooth

Streaming digital content from your smartphone opens up a world of options from services such as Spotify or Apple Music, and it also gives you a chance to listen to your digital library on a different speaker.

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Extras

Most radios offer alarms (with snooze), but increasingly you’ll also find designs that can be linked to voice control systems such as Alexa, so you can just ask it to play your favourite station.