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best internet radios

The Best Internet Radios in 2021

Author: Robert Wilson

Electronics & Peripherals Expert

Countless radio devices are touted that work with WiFi and can access Internet radio stations. Our team of experts has created a list of the best internat radios thanks to reading external tests on the Internet, which has evaluation points for handling, alarm function, USB, HDMI and much more.

Ocean Digital WiFi Internet Radios WR-336N Portable Digital Radio

Ocean Digital WiFi Internet Radios WR-336N Portable Digital Radio
226 Reviews
Ocean Digital WiFi Internet Radios WR-336N Portable Digital Radio
  • Internet WiFi Radio/Built-in rechargeable battery:…
  • Enjoy listening without boundaries: More than 28,000+…
  • Station Search: input a few characters of the station name…
  • 4 preset buttons: Personalize your favorite list up to 99…
  • Bluetooth & UPnP/ DLNA Compatible: Plays your liked music…

Grace Digital Mondo Elite Classic Smart Internet Radio

Grace Digital Mondo Elite Classic Smart Internet Radio
117 Reviews
Grace Digital Mondo Elite Classic Smart Internet Radio
  • The Mondo Elite Classic provides multiple options to listen…
  • In addition to the built-in apps and radio station…
  • Group multiple Mondo Elite Classics together for multi-room…
  • 12 or 24 hour clock; Up to 5 individual escalating volume…
  • What’s in the box: Mondo Elite Classic, manual, Infra-red…

Sangean WFR-28 Internet Radio

 Our Pick
Sangean WFR-28 Internet Radio
694 Reviews
Sangean WFR-28 Internet Radio
  • Internet Radio, FM-RBDS/ USB/ Network Music Player Digital…
  • Control the radio with the free undok remote control app,…
  • Easy to read LCD display with backlight and 10 station…
  • Stereo/ mono switch, rotary treble and bass controls,…
  • Built-in battery charger with charging LED indicator, aux-in…

Ocean Digital Portable Internet Wi-Fi/FM Radio

 Our Pick
Ocean Digital Portable Internet Wi-Fi/FM Radio
242 Reviews
Ocean Digital Portable Internet Wi-Fi/FM Radio
  • PORTABLE INTERNET WIFI RADIO/ BUILT-IN RECHARGEABLE BATTERY:…
  • INTERNET/FM – Variety of listening choices over 20,000+…
  • BLUETOOTH AUDIO STREAMING – Play your favourite music from…
  • MAKE YOUR FAVOURITE LIST – Add your favourite channels up to…
  • MORE COOL FEATURES – Headphone jack, Sleep timer setting,…

Naki Radio Plus - The Kosher Wi-Fi Internet Radio

Naki Radio Plus - The Kosher Wi-Fi Internet Radio
75 Reviews
Naki Radio Plus – The Kosher Wi-Fi Internet Radio
  • Over 25 pre-approved KOSHER channels including JewishMusic…
  • Library & Available channels include an array of music, kids…
  • Now available in 3 beautiful colors: Black, Almond, & Maple
  • Alarm clock, Auxiliary input & output, battery included,…
  • Dimensions: 4.5″ x 4.5″ x 7.5″ ~ WI-FI REQUIRED

Frequently Asked Questions: Internet Radios

What is an internet radio?

The term has a double meaning. On the one hand, Internet radio refers to radio stations that broadcast their programs either exclusively or at least partially via the Internet, and on the other hand, the term also refers to devices that are capable of receiving these broadcasts.

Internet radio is sometimes also referred to as web radio or WiFi radio. Many of the current devices were examined in detail in the Internet Radio Test.

Many also use their Internet radio as an alarm clock, which is why every model has an alarm function. Most models also offer other sounds for the alarm function, such as nature sounds or beep sounds, like the classic alarm clock, in addition to the favorite station.

Internet Radio Channels

The number of radio stations on the Internet is growing more and more practically every day. While just a few years ago there were tens of thousands of stations that could be received via the Internet, there are currently already more than 30,000 stations. This is due to the fact that the Internet knows no limits and no maximum ranges that put obstacles in the way of worldwide reception of terrestrial radio stations.

A web radio can receive stations from the other side of the globe as clearly as if they were broadcasting from the immeasurable neighborhood. Another point that greatly contributes to the popularity of Internet radio is the incredible variety of stations that can be received.

On the Internet there are websites with long lists of stations. Among other things, they are sorted by country of origin. Citizens with foreign roots, for example, can listen to the current programs of radio stations in their hometowns on the Web in many cases.

Fans of a particular style of music also get their money’s worth on Internet radio, because the station lists are also sorted by genre. It doesn’t matter whether the user prefers classical music, jazz, gospel, heavy metal, reggae, salsa or classic rock ‘n roll, online there is bound to be a station that plays just the right mix for the individual musical taste.

Internet radio devices are not only international, but also local. The effort required to operate a station on the Internet is considerably less than that of a classic radio station. That is why, in addition to large commercial stations, many private individuals also operate radio stations on the World Wide Web.

This allows them to create their own individual program with music contributions, greetings and local news. Listeners, in turn, benefit from this variety of programs, as they have a good chance of staying informed about current events in their hometown, even if it is only a small community for which it would not be worthwhile to operate a conventional radio station.

Receiver

With the development of Internet radio, radio broadcasting has reached a new dimension. Until a few years ago, these stations could only be received with the help of a computer. Today, however, more and more Internet radios are coming onto the market, with which reception of stations from the World Wide Web is possible even without a computer.

These devices will be reported on in detail later in the Internet radio test winner topic. The popularity of Internet radios is also understandable, because who wants to listen to music from a laptop or cell phone?

The devices are available in various designs, both as a classic music system for the living room and as a portable receiver, as an alarm radio for the bedroom or as a radio for the kitchen.

Some devices are also suitable for receiving normal FM stations or can play music from other sources such as CD players or USB sticks or memory cards. Externally, an Internet radio hardly differs from a normal radio.

Requirements for an Internet radio

The most important basis for operation is, of course, access to the Internet. Since large amounts of data are transferred when listening to music over the Internet, a fast Internet connection is an indispensable requirement. The fastest possible DSL access is best suited, which is available in the majority of the households anyway. Equally suitable is access via fiber optic cable, as offered by many cable TV companies, for example.

In principle, it is also possible to listen to web radio via mobile Internet using the UMTS standard (3G) or the fast LTE standard (4G), but the problem is that the tariffs of the mobile phone providers do not offer a real flat rate for access to the Internet, but work with a limited data volume.

If this volume is exhausted before the billing period (usually one month) is over, the provider throttles the speed so much that applications that consume a lot of data (such as Internet radio) no longer work.

To be able to enjoy stations from the World Wide Web without worries, the second requirement is therefore a flat rate. The third requirement is a so-called home network. This means that several devices in the household or in the company are connected wirelessly (WiFi) or by cable (LAN) to an interface on the Internet.

In most cases, a router, sometimes also called a Fritzbox, serves as the interface. These devices combine several functions and are the central node of the home network. To be able to connect to the router, an Internet radio needs a WiFi adapter or a WiFi modem as a fourth requirement.

In large houses or in old buildings with walls made of clay, it can happen that the wireless signals of the router cannot be received everywhere in sufficient strength. In this case, it is advisable to use a repeater or WiFi booster to improve reception. Which devices are best suited can be found in the detailed Internet radio test.

How does an internet radio work?

As already described, Internet radios hardly differ from conventional FM receivers at first glance. However, an Internet radio does not need an antenna in the classic sense: The data comes from the Internet, so access to the Internet must be established.

This is done either (in most cases) via the wireless standard WiFi or alternatively via a cable connection LAN. In principle, there is then access to all stations worldwide that distribute their program via the Internet. These can be large, established radio stations as well as micro stations that are operated privately and often only go on the air for a few hours a day.

Of course, not all of these stations are legal and recognized by the relevant government. Criminal groups and terrorist organizations have also long recognized Internet radio as a way to quickly spread their propaganda.

In order to play radio programs, the radio device itself usually accesses pre-installed databases, through which the desired station is distributed. With a little more effort, however, the device can also be connected to the computer and configured differently.

In terms of output technology, i.e. playing the received music, an Internet radio also works with traditional technology. It has loudspeakers and volume control and often also setting options for the sound quality. Most devices also have a display that shows the currently selected station. A remote control has also become standard for Internet radios. However, this is also the case with FM receivers.

How to receive broadcasts from the Internet?

The most important component required for an Internet radio to function is a WiFi adapter or WiFi modem for wireless reception of data from the router, the home interface to the Internet. This component is already integrated in the Internet radio.

To play the compressed audio files, a special program is required that is also pre-installed in the Internet radio. This program is called Media Player and is also used by computers for playback. Very common are, for example, Windows Media Player or VLC Media Player and a whole range of other programs. 

How to connect to an internet radio station?

The button or the button for the station search, as it is on every FM receiver, is missing on an Internet radio, because the stations are not classic radio stations, but the names of the stations stand for websites with Internet addresses.

In many devices, numerous stations are already pre-programmed ex works. When setting up the device for the first time, it is advisable to take a little more time and thoroughly familiarize yourself with the function and setup of the Internet radio. This will definitely require the manual for the device in question and a computer with an Internet connection.

The preset stations are usually sorted geographically by country and region and by genre. However, this is only a pre-selection. Names can be added to or deleted from the list of stations as desired. It is recommended to do this search not only during the initial installation, but to repeat it at regular intervals, as the market for web radio is constantly changing. New stations appear and others disappear, and the automatic update doesn’t always work.

Setup individual channels

To search for stations individually, the user must go to a website on the computer, which varies depending on the manufacturer of the Internet radio. There you will find a list of stations, brief information about the location and genre, as well as the transmission format. The list is constantly updated. The exact address can be found in the manual of the device.

During the initial setup, passwords and important identification data have to be entered with the remote control of the device. This is somewhat cumbersome and takes some time, but it is worth it. As a rule, the entry only needs to be made once, as the device stores the data.

Stations that the user particularly likes can be saved as favorites so that they can be found again quickly later and a long list of stations does not have to be worked through every time.

Ensure optimum reception

To ensure optimal reception, the WiFi signal at the Internet radio’s installation location should be as strong as possible. If it is too weak, it may be worthwhile to use a WiFi repeater or WiFi booster. Alternatively, you can use powerline technology to transmit data from the Internet via the power outlets and receive it with special adapters.

If all else fails, a LAN connection is also an option. With a LAN connection, a direct connection to the router is established with the help of a cable.

The Internet radio does not find a connection. What can be the reason for this?

The reasons why the Internet radio cannot connect can be very different. If you want to establish a connection with WiFi, the encryption is sometimes not compatible. If the Internet radio encrypts with WEP and the router uses the more secure WPA2, a connection cannot be established.

Sometimes the login did not work because the router does not allow new devices, If the Internet connection is not stable enough, it breaks down, and the stream of the radio station is unte

How much MB does an Internet radio consume?

The consumption in MB when using the Internet radio depends on the bit rate at which you listen to the music. The average rate is 128 Kbit/s. With this rate, you listen to the music in a really good quality. Assuming you use the Internet radio for half an hour every day, you will accumulate about 850 MB of data in a month.

It is also possible to listen to the Internet radio with a bit rate of 64 kbit/s. The quality is slightly worse, but you save data volume. The consumption is only 425 MB per month.

Advantages of Internet Radios

Advantages

  • reception is independent of distance and weather
  • wide variety of stations from all over the world and from all music genres
  • good reception everywhere in the house within the home network
  • number of devices on the market is constantly increasing

Disadvantages

  • Internet radios are more expensive than normal devices
  • not everywhere in the house the home network is sufficiently strong
  • Broadband DSL or fiber optic cable connection not available everywhere

Types of Internet Radios

As with other radio receivers, Internet radios are divided into stationary and mobile devices. Mobile devices are also known colloquially as boomboxes or boomboxes. Some of the devices are even modeled on the portable radios of the seventies and early eighties.

In most cases, these devices are powered by batteries and/or mains power. Other mobile Internet radios belong to the clock radio category and are used as alarm clock radios in bedrooms or children’s rooms.

There are considerable differences in size among stationary devices. So-called under-cabinet radios or kitchen radios are relatively small with low power. The main difference between them and mobile devices is that they are powered exclusively by a power cord. The small Internet radios, whether mobile or stationary, have in common that they require relatively little energy for operation. In addition, the devices are compact and space-saving.

On the other hand, the consumer cannot expect any sound miracles from them. In many cases, the sound of devices in these categories can only be reproduced in mono. However, critics should keep in mind that the main purpose of these devices is a pure entertainment function, and a kitchen radio is usually not required to have a sound quality like a concert hall.

In addition, one should be aware that the price of these devices is still higher compared to conventional FM receivers, although here, as with most electronic devices, a falling trend is noticeable.

Internet radios are of course also available in the category of music systems. In terms of external design, such web radios hardly differ from conventional devices. In terms of sound quality, it depends less on the individual device and more on the compression method used by a particular station on the Internet.

For the same device, there can be big differences between different stations. In general, however, the sound quality does not come close to that of a good HiFi radio if one were to compare them directly. Although in this field, technical development is constantly bringing out improvements.

Which device is the best, the consumer can learn from the Internet radio test. The great advantage of these music systems with integrated Internet radio is the variety of stations that are available for selection. In addition to the lower quality of playback, the currently still relatively high price of the systems acts as a disadvantage. However, this will probably change soon in the foreseeable future.

How are internet radios tested?

The test of Internet radios examined various factors that have a more or less strong influence on the quality of the examined devices.

Power

This criterion is one of the most important criteria for selecting an Internet radio. The power is measured in watts according to the so-called RMS (Root Mean Square) method. The power is determined over the entire frequency range. The measurement method is standardized and relatively complex, but yields fairly accurate values.

However, customers should note that the power does not yet allow a direct conclusion about the sound quality, since this measurement method does not differentiate between mono and stereo, for example. Two stereo speakers with half the power each have the same power as a mono speaker with twice the number of watts.

Depending on the type of Internet radio tested, the power plays a more or less important role in assessing the quality of the device.

Sound Quality & Volume

There is a direct correlation between the volume and the power. In general, the greater the power, the higher the volume. On this point, we recommend better to choose devices with a higher power. To achieve the necessary volume, radios with high power do not need to turn up the knob for the speakers so far.

If a speaker box is operated at full or near full power, it often starts to clang and the sound quality suffers. Therefore, it is better to choose a device that still has enough reserves in this area.

In terms of sound quality, consumers have to be prepared to make certain concessions with Internet radios. The sound system of most devices does not come close to that of good hi-fi systems. On the other hand, sound quality is not the most important factor for most consumers when deciding on a particular Internet radio.

On this point, customers should keep in mind that good quality has its price. A high-quality HiFi Internet radio with good sound quality is usually more expensive than mass-produced goods of poor quality.

USB

This is especially true for USB ports, because they are very versatile. For example, a smartphone or other devices can be charged at the USB port of an Internet radio. Many top-of-the-range smartphone charging cables have a USB port at one end. In addition, you can also connect a memory stick to a USB port and play the files on it with the Internet radio.

A USB port is just as suitable for connecting an MP3 player to the radio and playing the music stored there via the radio. That’s why we recommend choosing a device that has at least 2 USB ports when testing Internet radios.

Headphones Jack

Equally indispensable are jacks for connecting headphones. This not only allows the music from the radio to be enjoyed in peace without disturbing other people, experts also know that a radio develops the best sound quality when listened to through headphones.

What to look for when buying an Internet radio?

Of course, every consumer wants to buy a good device. However, which one is best suited depends entirely on the purpose for which the device is intended. For example, if you are planning a temporary stay abroad, be it for work, study or simply on vacation, a mobile device is the best choice. In this case, the device should be as light as possible and have compact dimensions so that it can be easily transported.

We recommend devices that can be operated with both mains power and batteries, because there are different sockets and plugs in different countries and a suitable adapter is not always at hand. With batteries as a power source, the Internet radio can also be used on the go. Then it is also useful if the device is also equipped with a conventional radio.

For reasons of increased reliability, these criteria also apply to alarm clock radios. In the case of mobile radios for receiving stations from the Internet, user-friendliness is an important criterion in the purchase decision, because the device has to be reset to the corresponding WiFi network in every hotel. It can quickly become a nuisance if you have to fiddle around with it every time and need a thick manual.

For Internet radios that are used as travel receivers, a connection for headphones is very useful so that users can enjoy the program of their choice without disturbing fellow travelers or room mates.

For kitchen radios, on the other hand, one of the things that matters is that they work without problems even in a humid environment and are easy to clean. In the case of an Internet radio for the living area, on the other hand, what counts above all is sufficient power and the best possible sound quality.

For devices in this category, a remote control makes a significant contribution to improving ease of use. The question of networkability also plays an important role here. This means how well the Internet radio can be connected or coordinated with other devices such as the TV, DVD player or speaker boxes.

It is true for all Internet radios that they can never have too many connection options. The more connections there are, the more versatile the device can be used.

For example, a USB jack can be used on the go as a full-fledged replacement for the smartphone charger. As a rule, the customer also has to dig a bit deeper into his pocket for a high-quality device. However, the extra cost is worth it because a quality product is simply more enjoyable.

With cheap products, on the other hand, the money saved is quickly forgotten. Instead, you have to deal with poor sound quality or meager features on a daily basis. We recommend relying on proven brand quality when testing Internet radios.

Internet Radio Accessories

As with any other device, the practical use of an Internet radio can be extended with accessories. This definitely includes a good set of headphones. They not only come in handy with the Internet radio, but can also be used with the music system, DVD player or TV receiver in most cases.

Headphones not only allow for unadulterated music enjoyment without disturbing other people in the vicinity, they also really bring out the sound quality of the device’s sound system. A remote control is just as practical. If it’s not included, it’s worth considering buying a good universal remote control that can operate multiple devices at once.

To improve the sound, additional speakers can be connected under certain circumstances, provided the device has the corresponding connection options. For small Internet radios that are used when traveling it may also be advisable to carry a power bank as an additional power supply. Many of the devices are equipped with a USB port to which the powerbank can be connected.

Internet Radio Alternatives

From the beginning, channels from the Internet could also be received on the PC. This method has only become less widespread because it is cumbersome and a constantly running PC consumes a lot of energy. But that has changed with the advent of tablet PCs. They are small, powerful, require little power and can be taken anywhere.

You can receive stations from the Internet on these devices just as you can on a PC or Internet radio. They are even more versatile, as they are also suitable for Web TV.

Their only drawback is that they cannot compete with a good Internet radio in terms of volume and sound quality. However, this shortcoming can be at least partially compensated for with additional speakers.

A tablet PC can even be used to listen to music from the Internet while on the move, provided the device has a slot for a SIM card and the customer has a contract for access to the fast mobile Internet LTE.

Last product update on 2021-06-18 | Source: Amazon Affiliate