Internet-compatible radio devices (“Internet radio”, “WLAN radio”) are ideal for the kitchen, bedroom and hobby room. Ideally, you receive music and messages via Bluetooth, FM, DAB + and the Internet. GIGA audio expert Stefan shows the best WiFi radios from different price ranges and explains what to look for when buying.
The best WiFi radios 2020: All test winners and recommendations at a glance
|Test winner at Stiftung Warentest:||Roberts Stream 218||approx. 230 euros||To Amazon|
|Amazon bestseller||Grundig DTR 5000 2.0||approx. 100 euros||To Amazon|
|The Internet radio with the best sound||Teufel 3sixty internet radio||approx. 280 euros||To hell|
|MediaMarkt bestseller with CD||TechniSat DigitRadio 361 CD IR||about 200 euros||To MediaMarkt|
Bluetooth speakers are already bringing music to every room. Compared to WLAN radio, however, they have a decisive disadvantage: they always rely on an additional device (smartphone, tablet, etc.) that plays the music. A good WiFi radio, however, is a All-in-one devicethat is as versatile as possible when it comes to receiving content. If FM radio and DAB + (digital terrestrial radio) are integrated, this is referred to as “digital radio”. Only when the Reception of programs via the Internet is possible (web radio), then one speaks of an “Internet radio” or “WLAN radio”. An expansion or networking with other loudspeakers (multiroom system) is not in the foreground. The price range starts at around 60 euros for a WLAN radio from an established brand. The most expensive WiFi radios can also cost several hundred euros.
Test winner at Stiftung Warentest: Roberts Stream 218
- Versatile and well equipped
- Good build quality
- FM reception could be better
The Stiftung Warentest from Berlin tested 18 digital radios (edition 07/2018; Internet radio with FM and DAB + reception, 10 of which with Internet radio reception). The test winner among the devices with Internet radio function is the Roberts Stream 218. The traditional manufacturer Roberts Radio comes from Great Britain and – as the name suggests – specializes in the construction of radio devices. This focus on one product category seems to be paying off.
The Roberts Stream 218 scores at Stiftung Warentest with an overall grade of “good” (2.2), but at around 230 euros it is also one of the more expensive representatives. Technically it is fully equipped. There is a color display on the top, control is via hardware buttons. Even the Battery operated is optional (6 pieces LR20) – not all internet radios have that to offer. Jack input and output (for headphones) are available, but a LAN socket is missing.
The manual of the Roberts Stream 218 (PDF) is quite extensive with 72 pages – it is a versatile device with a lot of functions. In terms of sound quality, a good average is the order of the day, but certainly not a sonic boom. According to the Stiftung Warentest, none of the devices sounded very good, but “less brilliant and full-fledged than similarly expensive WLAN or Bluetooth boxes”.
Bestseller at Amazon: Grundig DTR 5000 2.0
- Many functions for a fair price
- Line-in (AUX) and headphone jack available
- Sound quality: bass a bit muffled
- DAB reception not optimal
A constantly updated list of the best-selling Internet radios can be found on Amazon. This has been found in one of the front places for quite some time Grundig DTR 5000 2.0 for just under 100 euros. The customer reviews have an average value of 4.3 out of 5 stars – that is impressive. “Very suitable as a kitchen radio or also for children’s rooms. Would recommend it to everyone, ”is how one customer summarizes his experiences.
The device advertised by the manufacturer as an “all-in-one” internet radio is well equipped: in addition to receiving Internet readios stations, you can also switch to DAB + or Bluetooth. Incidentally, the “2.0” in the product name stands for stereo (= 2 speakers). The expensive sister model “Grundig DTR 6000 2.1” (approx. 125 euros) is also equipped with an integrated subwoofer that promises a better overall sound. The Grundig DTR 5000 2.0 internet radio was rated 2.0 (“good”) in the SFT magazine (02/2019 edition). There is praise for the valuable appearance and the color display, the dull bass is less convincing. The DAB operation has to struggle with dropouts, which is also confirmed by some Amazon customers.
The best sound: Teufel 3sixty internet radio
- Good 360-degree sound, can even replace a small stereo system
- The monochrome display looks technically out of date
- No headphone jack, no remote control
Many internet radios sound too thin or too dull – that Teufel 3sixty internet radio convinces, however, with a surprisingly rich sound for the housing format, which is even emitted all around (360 degree sound, hence the name “3sixty”). The Berlin-based manufacturer Teufel is a recognized name in the field of Bluetooth speakers: Models like the Rockster Go were able to convince us in the test. The Boomster has long been our sound reference, against which other speakers have to prove themselves.
At the Stiftung Warentest (edition 07/2018) the Teufel 3sixty internet radio scored with the overall grade “good” (2.5). It delivered the best sound quality from all participants. There were deductions for the weakening FM radio reception, but DAB + and Internet radio are fine. By the way, the power consumption in standby, at 0.9 watts, is somewhat higher than that of most other WLAN radios.
The ratings on Amazon are excellent with 4.6 out of 5 stars: The Teufel 3sixty internet radio is not only praised for the good sound, but also for the multitude of possible sources (DAB +, WLAN, FM, Bluetooth, AUX, USB). On one point of criticism, customers and the trade press agree: the monochrome display looks outdated, the manufacturer should have installed something better here.
MediaMarkt bestseller with CD: TechniSat DigitRadio 361 CD IR
- CD drive available
- Overall, good value for money considering the facilities
- The monochrome display looks technically out of date
- Setup and operation require a certain training period
We have that in MediaMarkt’s Internet radio top seller list TechniSat DigitRadio 361 CD IR discovered for 250 euros. Its most important peculiarity is that integrated CD drive for music CDs. The TechniSat DigitRadio 361 CD IR also works with FM, DAB +, WLAN, Bluetooth, USB, LAN, AUX IN and headphone jack as equipment miracles – the manufacturer’s video provides a good overview:
The Amazon customer ratings for the Technisat 361 CD IR are somewhat mixed: criticism is given for the stale design and the monochrome display, which is no longer up to date, just like the Teufel 3sixty. The sound is fine and that too Price-performance ratio is classified as good. If you are looking for a generally higher-quality CD Internet radio, you will have to spend significantly more money: For example for the Sangean Revery R6 (approx. 400 euros) with color display, which can be found in the magazine “Digital Fernsehen” (edition 09/2019, also available from Readly) earned the grade “very good”.
Internet radio test 2020: This is how we chose
GIGA editor Stefan has incorporated his own experience and research in specialist journals into this summary. Current Internet radio models are presented, which have received special praise from the press and customers and are therefore recommended for a purchase. The test procedure used by the Stiftung Warentest is also explained on the corresponding website. Sources used: Stiftung Warentest (edition 07/2018), SFT (edition 02/2019, available from Readly), digital television (edition 09/2019, available from Readly),
WLAN / Internet radio: what you should know before buying
WLAN radio, internet radio, IP radio: what is it actually?
The WiFi radio is a stand-alone device that can access thousands of radio stations and podcasts over the Internet and can often also support or expand other sources. So for the reception no additional computer or a smartphone is required. WLAN, internet and IP radios are included to be distinguished from so-called digital radios. Many WLAN radios also support digital radio stations (DAB +), but digital radios do not have Internet access and therefore cannot receive radio stations from the network. Apart from the form factor and quality the devices differ mainly in the range of functions: In addition to radio stations via the Internet, various WLAN radios also support other formats and devices.
Terms WiFi radio: formats, connections & more
Bluetooth can be used to connect other Bluetooth-enabled devices (smartphone, tablet, etc.) wireless Connect to some WiFi radios and play music, news and podcasts over them – just like with a Bluetooth speaker or headphones.
If the WiFi radio supports DAB +, this means that you can also receive the digital radio stations. DAB stands for Ddigital Aaudio Broadcasting.
The Ddigital Living Nsthork Alliance (DLNA) has developed a series of standards and protocols with which devices understand their content without any major configuration. If the WLAN radio supports DLNA, shared music and audio files can be played from the computer or NAS server.
A jack connection (AUX-In) also allows other playback sources (smartphone, MP3 player, CD player etc.) by cable connect to the radio and use it as a speaker.
Spotify Connect is not the complete Spotify software, but an additional function. You also need a device with the Spotify app installed (smartphone, computer etc.) as a “remote control” to select and control the content. The internet radio then plays them.
If the WLAN radio supports FM, this means that you can also receive the usual radio stations nearby. FM stands for UltrakshortwElle and is often mistakenly synonymous with broadcasting FM (Frequenzmodulation) is used.
Even more buying advice on GIGA: