Our editors independently research and rate the best products. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases made through the links on our site. Learn more

best wifi radios

The Best WiFi Radios in 2021

Author: Robert Wilson

Electronics & Peripherals Expert

The basic design of most radios has hardly changed, which makes it much easier to get used to them after purchasing a WiFi radio. As a rule, the device only has to be registered once in the WiFi for reception.

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…

Ocean Digital WiFi/FM Internet Radio WR230S Alarm Clock Radio

Ocean Digital WiFi/FM Internet Radio WR230S Alarm Clock Radio
180 Reviews
Ocean Digital WiFi/FM Internet Radio WR230S Alarm Clock Radio
  • – Stereo FM RDS and Internet Radio: Simply connect the radio…
  • – Setup via Wireless Network Connection (Wi-Fi Connection)…
  • – Bluetooth & UPnP/ DLNA Compatible: Stream Bluetooth audio…
  • – Personalize your favourite list up to 99 presets: Easy to…
  • – Option to display the big clock when radio is playing /…

Ocean Digital WiFi/FM Internet Radio, WR-800D with Dual Alarm Clock

Ocean Digital WiFi/FM Internet Radio, WR-800D with Dual Alarm Clock
36 Reviews
Ocean Digital WiFi/FM Internet Radio, WR-800D with Dual Alarm Clock
  • Stereo DAB/DAB+/FM RDS and Internet Radio: Simply connect…
  • Internet WiFi radio: Steady WiFi reception playing for…
  • Bluetooth & UPnP/ DLNA Compatible: Stream Bluetooth audio to…
  • Personalize your favourite list up to 99 presets: Easy to…
  • Option to display the big clock when radio is playing /…

iHome Bluetooth Speaker Home Office Bedside Clock Speaker

 Our Pick
iHome Bluetooth Speaker Home Office Bedside Clock Speaker
103 Reviews
iHome Bluetooth Speaker Home Office Bedside Clock Speaker
  • Alexa is built in the cloud, so it is always getting…
  • Stream audio wirelessly via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi
  • Let Alexa control your home from the bedside. Works with…
  • Programmable smart button to access Spotify, answer calls…
  • 1 amp USB port to charge mobile devices

Frequently Asked Questions: WiFi Radios

What is a WiFi Radio?

A WiFi radio is used to play music that is transmitted by a radio station. The basic principle is therefore similar to that of a conventional FM radio. However, the WiFi radio does not receive the data via a classic antenna, but rather obtains it from a wireless network. Thus, it is theoretically possible to receive radio stations from other regions, countries or even continents.

How does a WiFi Radio work?

It is often said that a WiFi radio does not need an antenna. This is not entirely true: The WiFi radio does not need to receive radio waves. However, it must be able to communicate with the WiFi, which also requires some kind of antenna. However, this antenna is usually not visible.

The difference between a WiFi radio and an FM radio is mainly found in this antenna, while other components of the radios are very comparable or even identical.

For example, you will find a display on both a newer FM radio and a WiFi radio that shows information about the selected station. Most of the time, you can also read the date and time. Even more important are the speakers of the radio.

The basic design of most radios has hardly changed, which makes getting used to a WiFi radio much easier. For reception, the device usually only has to be registered once in the WiFi, after which you are automatically guided through a settings menu. Later, the radio stations can be searched, found and selected as easily as with an FM receiver.

Advantages of WiFi Radios

There are two main advantages of a WiFi radio compared to an FM radio:

Firstly, the reception via WiFi provides an absolutely noise-free sound, which is only possible in optimal cases with FM reception. Everyone who knows FM radios has often struggled with the reception quality. With WiFi radios, it is only important that the device is within range of the WiFi and that it is correctly integrated into the network. Without entering the WiFi password at least once, the WiFi radio cannot work.

Secondly, the selection of stations that can be tuned in is many times larger than with FM. While FM radios usually offer a choice of around a dozen radio stations, depending on the location, WiFi radios offer thousands of stations from all over the world.

Since the WiFi radio also plays the live program, several WiFi radios can of course be operated in parallel, all tuned to the same radio station. This is useful, for example, if you want to listen to the same music throughout the house without having to lay any new cables.

Types of WiFi Radios

As already described, WiFi radios are inseparably connected to the WiFi in the house. This aspect does have the disadvantage that you cannot take a WiFi radio to the soccer field or camping, unless there is an accessible WiFi there for some reason.

However, it also removes the function of listening to the radio from the case otherwise known from the radio. Therefore, some variants of WiFi radios have only become possible through this new technology.

Simple WiFi Radio

Such a WiFi radio is reduced to its basic function. It is able to access radio stations via WiFi and play the music sent there. The other functions are limited to the volume control. Plus point: Such WiFi radios are usually very easy to use.

WiFi Radio with DAB+

If a WiFi radio has a DAB+ function, you can display additional information on the display. Examples of this are the artist and album, and with the appropriate display, the album cover as well.

WiFi Radio with FM receiver

Such a device combines the old with the new standard. In addition to radio reception via WiFi, you can also listen to the radio stations in the classic way via FM. This is especially useful when you take a WiFi radio with you on your travels. In many hotels, it has long been possible to access the Internet via WiFi and listen to the radio in this way.

However, since this is not yet the case everywhere, the FM receiver is available as a kind of reserve.

There are also some companies that switch off their WiFi after regular business hours for security reasons. Employees who are still busy on the company premises do not have to completely forgo radio reception.

WiFi Radio with additional streaming function

While a normal WiFi radio only uses the streaming data of radio stations, a radio with an extended streaming function can also access other streaming services. The advantage of this is that you can select the station when receiving the radio, but of course you do not have any influence on the broadcasted program.

With other streaming services, you can select individual tracks, albums or entire playlists and listen to them according to your own taste.

WiFi radio with additional connections

Such a WiFi radio not only streams the data of a radio station, but can also be used “offline”. For this purpose, it has additional ports like line-in (jack socket), USB or a slot for a memory card. In addition, many WiFi radios are Bluetooth-capable. Thanks to these ports, the radio can be connected to another player or play music stored on an inserted data carrier.

Integrated WiFi Radio

In principle, anyone who owns a computer with Internet access already has a WiFi radio. With this computer, you can easily go to the website of the desired radio station and click on the live stream. Special software is almost never necessary for this, but the PC must of course have functioning speakers.

Of course, there are also various WiFi radios that combine many of the functions mentioned here or offer additional options on top of that. One example is the Amazon Echo Spot, which is also an alarm clock and a clever assistant with voice control.

How are WiFi Radios tested?

As has already been described in detail, there are many different versions of WiFi radios. It is therefore not easy for product testers to evaluate and compare the different devices according to a uniform scheme. However, the following criteria are of central importance for every product type and were therefore also part of the product test.

Sound Quality

As with any normal radio, there are also serious differences in the sound of WiFi radios. The spectrum here ranges from shabby sound in mono quality to high-quality surround sound. Of course, the testers made sure to test all WiFi radios with an identical stream, because not all radio stations transmit their programs in the best quality. With most transmitters however a qualitatively outstanding live stream is present.

The testers use the so-called RMS method (Root Mean Square) to determine the performance. This method can be used to determine the performance of a WiFi radio in which frequency range.

Volume

This aspect is basically inseparable from the sound quality. It is not simply a matter of how loud a WiFi radio can be turned up. Rather, it is about measuring and comparing possible distortions that can occur above a certain volume level. With many WiFi radios, you can hear a booming or humming noise even with your naked ears in a higher volume range, especially when playing strong basses.

Features

Possible optional extras, such as a color display and connections for a LAN cable or various storage media, were gladly registered by the testers and could definitely influence an overall rating. However, extras of this kind were also put through their paces and rated negatively if they did not function well.

Accessories

Since there is no uniform product standard for WiFi radios, you usually have to resort to the accessories offered by the respective manufacturer. These can be transport packaging, accessories for installation in furniture, but also a remote control or external speakers.

A good selection of high-quality accessories was worth a good grade for the product testers.

Material & Quality

This aspect is common to all product tests, no matter what the object under test is. The testers attached importance to stable workmanship and scratch-resistant, easy-to-clean surfaces in the WiFi radios. Some products also scored points here because they have splash water protection, for example.

This is not only relevant for use in the kitchen or on the balcony, but also makes cleaning much easier.

What should I look for when buying a WiFi radio?

In general, a WiFi radio can be used by anyone and almost anywhere. Nevertheless, you should consider some aspects before buying and ask yourself some questions that can be answered individually.

Is there sufficient WiFi reception at the planned location?

Unlike an FM radio, which can be used anywhere (except for the open sea or the inside of a cave), a WiFi radio requires a connection to the Internet. Therefore, a WiFi radio can only be used where there is a sufficiently strong wireless network.

Its reception can also vary within a house, so the quality of the connection should be checked beforehand if in doubt. This works best with a smartphone where a WiFi connection is established.

If a WiFi radio is to be used in a room that is far away from the WiFi router, such as in the workshop in the basement or in the garage, the network may no longer be available. However, an additional amplifier (“WiFi extender”) can usually remedy the situation.

Which WiFi radio is suitable for the intended room?

Even with conventional FM radios, completely different devices have been offered for many years, tailored to the respective conditions. The situation is very similar for WiFi radios: Devices for the living room usually have particularly good sound quality and an attractive design.

In the kitchen, a WiFi radio should usually be quite space-saving and is therefore often offered for installation underneath a wall cabinet. In addition, the radio must be splash-proof and easy to clean. Finally, there are devices for workspaces that can withstand strong temperature fluctuations and are not affected by a dusty environment.

Who uses the WiFi radio?

Most WiFi radios are as easy to use as FM radios once they have been installed correctly. However, there are quite a few differences in operation that can be quite relevant depending on the user. Many seniors are happy about WiFi radios in retro look, which of course also have the correspondingly designed switches and buttons.

On the other hand, you can of course also find futuristic devices that can be controlled via a touchscreen or even by shouting. You should therefore be able to assess the technical understanding of the most frequent users as well as possible in advance.

WiFi Radio Accessories

Although a WiFi radio is basically a complete device that does not require any other accessories, some additional purchases can make the use of the device even better and more pleasant. These are for example.

Headphones

Headphones not only allow you to listen to loud music without disturbing your neighbors: Sometimes the speakers integrated in the headphones are even better than those that are installed in the WiFi radio as standard.

And since a WiFi radio has an ordinary headphone jack, the headphones can also be used elsewhere, such as on the hi-fi system in the living room or while watching videos on the computer.

Additional Speakers

Most WiFi radios are no bigger than they have to be from a technical point of view. However, this compact format can be at the expense of sound quality under certain circumstances. External speakers, which can often be connected directly to the radio, are a remedy.

It is also an option to connect the WiFi radio to the hifi system. Then, if available, you can also use the surround system for listening to the radio. Almost all Internet radios broadcast their programs in the necessary quality.

Remote Control

When used in the living room, there is hardly any need to say anything about the usefulness of a remote control: it is simply particularly convenient not to have to get up from the sofa to set the station or regulate the volume.

But a remote control can also be useful in the kitchen or workshop, because here you can not spontaneously approach the radio at certain moments. Using the remote control, you can turn up the volume for your favorite song without burning your food. WiFi radios that can be operated via voice control are even better.

Power Bank

A WiFi connection is an absolute requirement for using a WiFi radio, but a 230Volt power supply is not mandatory. Many WiFi radios are supplied with power via USB cable and also have an integrated battery. A power bank as an external battery ensures that the WiFi radio does not run out of breath even when traveling.

WiFi Extender

Anyone who lives in a larger house (especially an old building) will be familiar with this phenomenon: Due to certain structural conditions or simply because of long distances in the building, the WiFi does not always cover every last corner. However, a stable connection to the wireless network is indispensable for operating a WiFi radio.

However, this is not a problem that you simply have to live with. Shortly after the invention of WiFi for private use, so-called WiFi extenders could be found on the market, which increase the network range.

Such a extender is placed relatively far away from the router, but still within the reception range. There, it serves as a kind of external antenna that can carry the signal further in the desired direction.

In this way, a WiFi radio can really be used anywhere in the house – and even in the garden or garage. When buying a WiFi extender, however, it is important to make sure that the device offers sufficient range and good reception and transmission quality.

WiFi Radio Alternatives

Anyone who lives in a larger house (especially an old building) will be familiar with this phenomenon: Due to certain structural conditions or simply because of long distances in the building, the WiFi does not always cover every last corner. However, a stable connection to the wireless network is indispensable for operating a WiFi radio. However, this is not a problem that you simply have to live with.

Shortly after the invention of WiFi for private use, so-called WiFi extenders could be found on the market, which increase the network range. Such a extender is placed relatively far away from the router, but still within the reception range. There, it serves as a kind of external antenna that can carry the signal further in the desired direction.

In this way, a WiFi radio can really be used anywhere in the house – and even in the garden or garage. When buying a WiFi  extender, however, it is important to make sure that the device offers sufficient range and good reception and transmission quality.

FM Radio

There’s life in the old dog yet again. Time and again, there is talk that FM radio will soon no longer exist because the standard has long since become obsolete.

However, FM radio does offer crystal-clear radio reception, although it is limited to the region. From a technical point of view, this reception is so simple that radio receivers can be purchased in stores for as little as a few euros. The shortcomings of these cheap devices lie more in the material and the speakers, but hardly in the actual reception element.

Another advantage is that FM radios can be made so small that they can even fit into many smartphones. The FM standard will continue to exist for a very long time due to its distribution alone – but it will never again have the central importance it had in the past.

DAB+

DAB+ is a standard for digital radio reception that has now completely replaced the previously used DAB in this country. With this radio standard, which can be received via the antenna like FM, users can enjoy much better reception than before.

DAB+ can also transmit a lot more information, such as the current program or the track currently being broadcast. As with FM, however, reception depends on external factors, such as the distance to the transmitter mast, geographical features or current weather conditions.

DAB+ is also limited to the reception of local or regional radio programs. If the reception quality is less than 15 percent, it is usually no longer possible to listen to the radio. However, the station does not lose itself in an increasing noise, as is known from FM, but breaks off abruptly.

DVB-T

The abbreviation DVB-T stands for “Digital Video Broadcasting – Terrestrial”. In principle, this is television reception via an indoor antenna, as was standard until the 1980s. However, it is a digital antenna that technically has little in common with its predecessor. Reception quality is generally much better and the choice of stations is also much wider than it was back then.

In addition to the antenna, a special receiver is required to use DVB-T (or its successor standard DVB-T2). DVB-T can generally only be received in places where the corresponding signals are broadcast from a local transmitter mast (“TV tower”). If these conditions are met, it is also possible to listen to radio programs via DVB-T.

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