Your Guide to Buying a Cheap Digital Radio

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Your Guide to Buying a Cheap Digital Radio

Radios have come a long way since the days of AM/FM broadcasts. While many radio stations still use this format, modern technology is gradually creating many more radio stations that only use a digital broadcast signal. Homeowners who have a digital radio can access all of these channels, allowing users to pick and choose the stations that are right for them. Digital radio stations tend to be more narrow in scope than traditional AM/FM stations. For this reason, it is entirely possible to find a channel that only plays classical jazz music, or even less popular hits from 1980. Radio and electronic shops frequently sell digital radios along with websites like eBay, but some of these models can be quite expensive. For most customers who only want to listen to music, there are many cheap digital radios available that play high quality sound through a reliable set of speakers and even include some extra features.

Understanding Digital Radio

Digital radio has its pros and cons. Unlike AM/FM radio, which is constrained by limited radio frequencies, digital radio uses the much larger digital broadcast band called DAB. Therefore, the selection of channels is almost unlimited, allowing users access to hundreds of channels. DAB broadcasts are quieter than radio broadcasters, as they lack all of the extra static and background noise. However, there are a few issues with digital radios than one must note before committing to a purchase.

Digital Radio Issues

Because there is an overwhelming number of channels to choose from, digital broadcasters often have to compress the signal. They do this by eliminating the frequencies that most people cannot hear, but this may result in a lower quality sound. Another problem with digital broadcasts is that they are not available everywhere. Before purchasing a digital radio, buyers need to check to make sure that their area can receive digital broadcasts, as well as become aware of what stations are available.


In 2007,  the World Digital Multimedia Broadcasting organisation changed the standard digital format from DAB to DAB+. This change was implemented to address the issues mentioned above pertaining to sound quality. On DAB+ radios the broadcast does not need to be compressed, resulting in a better listening experience. However, the UK is still committed to the old DAB format, but manufacturers did start offering digital radios with a DAB+ microchip in 2009. If the digital radio format does change in the future, any radios equipped with this microchip are compatible with both DAB and DAB+.

Digital Radios and Speakers

One of the prime concerns when selecting a digital radio should be the quality of the speakers. Most cheap models come with only one speaker, but it is possible to find affordable models that use two. While the dual speakers do increase the overall size of the radio, they provide for a better overall listening experience. Another option for buyers who want to save money but also need a good radio, is to look into the small models that come with stereo connexions. This allows the user to connect the radio to his or her speakers at home, forgoing the need to pay more for a digital radio with large speakers.

Digital Radio Features

Digital radios come with several different features besides the basic ability to receive and play music. Customers need to know that these extra features affect the overall price of the radio. Those who are looking to purchase an inexpensive digital radio need to decide which features they need, and which ones they can live without. Some buyers may be fine with purchasing a digital radio that only uses a good set of speakers, while others may want the ability to stop and rewind digital broadcasts. Ultimately, the final decision rests with the customer on how much money they are able to spend for extra features.

Recording Features

Some digital radios are able to record what is being broadcast, allowing users to pause and rewind the broadcast in case they want to hear a particular song or a segment. It is even possible to find models that use a memory card so that owners can save broadcasts directly from the radio. However, these features are somewhat costly, and they are becoming less common because they use so much energy. Consider that the radio is constantly recording what has been broadcast, and it becomes clear why the recording feature requires so much more energy. It is best to only choose this option for AC radios, not battery radios.

FM and AM Features

Owners who want a digital radio, but don't want to give up their favourite AM or FM radio stations, can rest assured knowing that many digital radios can also work with traditional radio frequencies. This feature is not terribly expensive, and even the cheapest models usually carry this option. It is especially useful to have for buyers who live in an area where there are not a lot of digital radio stations.


While presets may not sound like a particularly useful feature, if one considers that there are hundreds of radio stations to choose from, then this option quickly becomes attractive. Presets allow operators to set their favourite stations directly into the radio, giving them the ability to switch around with a single press of a button. Some of the more complicated models are accompanied by a menu setup, but these are both more expensive and less convenient to use.


Many digital radios come with a small display screen that allows them to use Intellitext. This feature transmits text over the broadcast. It is different from the normal scrolling text that announces the name and artist of the song that is currently playing. For example, listeners who often use their digital radio for sports broadcast, appreciate the Intellitext function that instantly updates game scores from around the league. This feature is not incredibly expensive either, making it a useful yet affordable choice.

Electronic Programming Guide

Radios accompanied by an electronic programming guide, typically include the ability to record digital broadcasts. The guide allows users to scroll through the upcoming broadcasts to see what is coming on later. It is useful for those who like to record programmes, but it can be an expensive alternative . For one thing, it requires a radio with a large display screen. It also requires a radio with recording features to operate at maximum efficiency. It may be worth the extra cost if the buyer likes to save their favourite radio programmes, but those who simply enjoy listening to live broadcasts can forgo this option with little consequences.

Used Digital Radios

One of the best bargains found on eBay is the used digital radio. Customers who are on a tight budget can really save money by purchasing a fully-featured used digital radio, instead of a brand new one. In fact, used radios sell for only a fraction of the price as new ones. Always make sure that the item's condition is clearly stated and that the photos included are accurate and up to your standards.

Buying Digital Radios on eBay

There is such a wide selection of digital radios currently available that it would be impossible to fit them all together inside a single location. Luckily, buyers can find almost all of them on eBay. One of the largest websites in the world, eBay allows sellers to list their merchandise from all over the world. Buyers can find both the newest models at a reasonable price, and bargain hunters can find used models in excellent condition all in the same place. Anyone who is looking for an inexpensive digital radio should start their search on eBay

Searching for Digital Radios on eBay

The search engine on eBay allows you to type in the product you are searching for. Therefore, if you merely want to browse the listings eBay currently has available, type in 'digital radio'. This returns all current results for digital radios. If you want a certain type of digital radio, such as the Pure Evoke 3, then you can search for this product by name by entering 'Pure Evoke 3'. If you want to search digital radios by features, you can do this as well. For example, if you want a digital radio that works with batteries you can type in 'battery powered digital radio'. Adding and subtracting terms to your search query subsequently changes the auction results.


Digital radios are a terrific way for listeners to get the most out of live radio wherever they live or work. They include hundreds of channels not found on AM and FM radio, and some models also allow users to listen to both. When choosing an inexpensive digital radio, it is worthwhile to pay attention to the possible extra features that are included. The price points vary in digital radios based on which features it uses, so buyers can expect to pay more for a model with two stereo speakers, or a large LCD screen. By understanding what the different features represent, buyers can decide if they truly need those extra options. If a buyer really wants a digital radio with all the bells and whistles, then he or she can always search the used listings on eBay. This allows everyone to find the radio they want at a price they can afford.

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