In the age of the Internet, radios with classic FM reception are increasingly becoming a relic of a bygone era. With an Internet radio, you have the ability to make your entire listening experience much more personalized. Thousands of radio stations from all over the world, no annoying reception problems, best reception quality – these arguments clearly speak for an Internet radio. So more and more people are turning to this modern technology and customizing the listening experience to suit their tastes. If you start looking for an Internet radio, you will come across an abundance of models, some of which vary greatly in price.
But which models are recommended? Which additional functions are useful? What do you have to look out for when buying an Internet radio? We have taken a closer look at the leading manufacturers and their models and answer the most important questions about Internet radios in this guide.
The best Internet 2021 radios at a glance
The main manufacturers
As in most areas of technology, there are leading manufacturers when it comes to Internet radio. For a good overview we have summarized five of the most important in a list:
Despite differences in quality and functionality, these manufacturers’ Internet radios have been among the best for years. Therefore, we have chosen the TOP product from each company in the list and compared them with each other.
Internet radios from the table
Grundig DTR 5000 2.0 – Price approx. 105 EUR
The DTR 5000 2.0 from the long-established German company Grundig is the first of these. This is a compact “all-in-one” Internet radio with Bluetooth function, which is connected to the network via WLAN or LAN. This compactly designed radio can be placed almost anywhere and always cuts a fine figure with its discreet, uncluttered look. The offered colours black, white & oak offer an additional possibility to adapt the DTR 5000 2.0 to its interior design.
You have the option of storing 10 favourite stations to recall them at the touch of a button. The supplied remote control has a clear and intuitive arrangement of the buttons that no questions remain unanswered.
The 2.0 stereo sound system is equipped with 2 x 7 watts output power and offers a balanced, pleasant sound that is easily capable of providing sound even in larger rooms. Only the bass comes a bit too short.
Big advantage with this device is that you can easily connect your smartphone to the radio, so in addition to playing radio stations, you can also play your favorite music from your library. Grundig offers with the DTR 500 here a compact and inexpensive all-rounder, which has to hide with its basic functions of an Internet radio in no way before more expensive models.
TechniSat DIGITRADIO 584 – Price: approx. 240 EUR
TechniSat tries to exhaust the range of functions of an Internet radio with the DIGITRADIO 584. Not only does the radio offer powerful, crystal-clear sound, but it also comes with a host of additional features to help you stand out from the competition.
The detailed stereo sound is achieved by two 10 watt speakers and is even suitable to keep your guests happy with good music at the one or other celebration.
Apart from the integrated Bluetooth audio streaming function, you even have the option to operate the DIGITRADIO 584 via Alexa voice control. One special technology that sets this radio apart is UPnP audio streaming. This is network streaming. Once the device is connected to the home network, shared music files from the PC, laptop, smartphone, network hard drive or tablet can also be played.
Owners of modern smartphones can enjoy an extremely convenient feature – wireless charging. Via the QI charging standard, the smartphone is charged wirelessly on the top of the radio. The cherished CD collection is often neglected in times of streaming and internet radio. The DIGITRADIO 584 is completely different. TechniSat has thought of the enthusiasts of physical media and built a CD player into the device. This means that in addition to DAB+/Internet radio & FM, music can also be enjoyed directly from the CD.
Intuitive operation, useful functions, very good connectivity and excellent sound make the DIGITRADIO 584 an Internet radio that thinks outside the box but doesn’t forget its roots.
TELESTAR M 12i – Price: approx. 83 EUR
Small, chic and high-quality – that’s the TELESTAR M12i. Unlike many other internet radios, this unit is only equipped with one speaker, but it has a good output of 15 watts. The omission of a stereo system is certainly due to the compact size, because the TELESTAR M12i is small with a width of 18 cm and a height of 14.5 cm, but the color display on the front is large enough to read the displayed information easily. The buttons, both on the device and on the supplied remote control, also provide an intuitive user experience in terms of function assignment.
To play music from your smartphone or other devices, the radio and playback source must be connected to the same network. UPnP or DLNA network technology is also used here, which allows the Internet radio to access the music library in the network. Alternatively, you can connect your playback devices directly to the radio via USB.
10 preset favourite stations can be stored. In addition, the TELESTAR M12i has an integrated alarm clock, sleep timer and an option to view the current weather on the display.
The TELESTAR M12i is the cheapest model in our test, but still offers all the basic functions of a modern Internet radio.
MEDION P85289 – Price: approx. 97 EUR
Medion has always followed the philosophy of “good and cheap”. Does this phrase also apply to the P85289? Yep. The sheer range of functions of this Internet radio is quite convincing, but the sound quality is rather poor in view of the price.
Equipped with LAN, WLAN, FM and DAB+, there are hardly any limits to radio enjoyment. The reception quality is very good and on the whole the device is versatile. Spotify Connect and Amazon Music hide the missing Bluetooth function, and the display seems a bit too small at first, but proves to be just sufficient in everyday use. The USB and AUX ports can be used to play music from external audio source on the device. For quick operation at a distance, the supplied remote control is also used here.
You get a lot of features with the MEDION P85289, but you have to make sacrifices in sound quality and wireless connectivity. For use as a small, attractive radio in the office or kitchen, the P85289 cuts a fine figure. However, if you’re looking forward to the full blast of your favorite songs, you’ll probably be disappointed here.
Majority Homertron – Price: approx. 125€
With a patented HD speaker sound system, the Majorty Homertron convinces in sound and even turns out relatively compact. The sound is far fuller, more voluminous and more detailed than many other internet radios and, considering the price of the device, is a source of enthusiasm.
Bluetooth and network streaming are supported by the Homertron, as are DAB+ & FM, covering the most important basic functions. This model can also play physical media in the form of CDs. The integrated CD player rounds off the range of functions perfectly and makes the Homertron a powerful all-in-one device.
The display is clear, but the arrangement of the buttons on the device as well as on the supplied remote control could be a bit more logical and clear. The operation of the device seems a bit fiddly at first and requires a bit of getting used to and leafing through the manual. Whether this is still in line with the times in the year 2021 is something everyone has to decide for themselves.
In general, however, the device leaves a really good impression. For such a balanced sound and the abundance of functions you have to pay much more at other manufacturers. Thus, the Majority Homertron emerges as the clear test winner in our buying guide.
Alternative to the test winner
Our test shows that the Grundig DTR 5000 2.0 is a good alternative to the test winner, the Majority Homertron. Although the Grundig device does not offer quite as good a sound quality as the Homertron, it is also considerably cheaper.
Advertised as an “all-in-one” Internet radio, it can deliver on that promise and easily stand up to most devices around 100 EUR. In fact, it is far superior to many other radios in terms of sound quality and features. The DTR 5000 2.0 basically offers everything an internet radio has to have and more.
The build quality is good, the device is compact and the user-friendliness on the device as well as via remote control is one of the best in our comparison. The display is bright and shows all important information clearly.
If you’re looking for a practical and good-sounding Internet radio and don’t want to spend a lot of money, the Grundig DTR 5000 2.0 is the perfect choice.
Important features of the Internet radio
Before buying, you should consider what you expect from an internet radio. If you want to fill a room with your favourite music in the best possible way, you need a device with good sound quality. Here the loudspeakers and the output power play the most important role. There is often talk of stereo 2.0 or stereo 2.1 systems. The first number before the dot stands for the number of speakers, the number after the dot for the number of subwoofers, i.e. the integrated bass box. For a balanced and rich sound, a 2.1 stereo system with subwoofer is definitely recommended. Many models already rely on high-quality speakers that guarantee good sound. In general, it can be said that high sound quality is almost always accompanied by a relatively high price.
Connectivity and reception can be just as important. Here you should pay close attention to which connectivity standards the respective device supports. If you want to use your Internet radio to stream your favourite music from your mobile phone, you should look for models with Bluetooth functionality. If the device has a built-in rechargeable battery, an Internet radio quickly becomes a portable Bluetooth speaker. If you want to listen to the radio when you’re out and about, this might not be possible, because the device needs either FM reception or DAB/DAB+ support instead of the classic WLAN function, which is necessary for home use. With these two functions, you always have the option of choosing between pure Internet radio and the old-fashioned radio technology or digital radio.
Depending on the application, you should also think about the size and design. As a radio/Bluetooth/streaming station on the living room dresser, the device can also be a bit larger and heavier. Models with a built-in subwoofer and good sound quality in particular are therefore often significantly larger than devices with few functions and a more functional sound. Many Internet radios have large displays and an alarm function. For example, these are very suitable as an alarm clock next to the bed. As a rule, it is not necessary to provide large rooms with hi-fi sound, so the device can be correspondingly compact.
Apart from the actual type of use, an Internet radio always has features that make it an Internet radio in the first place. Basically, said devices always offer a way to connect to the home network, either via WLAN or directly with the LAN cable. If an advertised device does not have such capabilities to connect to the Internet, it is, as the name suggests, not an Internet radio.
The alarm function can also be important for many people. On the bedside table, an Internet radio can also prove to be very useful if you want to wake up to your favourite radio station in the morning. There are even models in which you can set two alarms – for example, for weekdays and weekends. Of course, it is important that the device has a stand-by function, with which the display can be dimmed or even switched off.
As you can see, when buying it is important to consider where and to what extent you want to use such a device. Internet radios can be nice little devices that sprinkle you with soft radio music in everyday life, or powerful multimedia stations with bombastic sound and a multitude of functions.
What unimportant features do internet radios have?
There are Internet radios that have so many functions that you no longer know which of them are important and which are unimportant. Of course, this is always in the eye of the beholder, but there are a handful of features that you can safely do without in an Internet radio. It is important to note whether these are practical additional functions or nonsensical gimmicks. Judging this can sometimes be tricky. For a better overview, we present those functions that for many people are not necessarily the main competence of an Internet radio, but are in the area of “nice, but not earth-shattering”.
In the age of smartphones and tablets, most people shouldn’t care about a headphone jack on an internet radio. No one sits in front of their radio listening to music or news with wired headphones. A smartphone with a radio app is suitable for these purposes.
The integration of various Connect apps such as Spotify Connect or Amazon Music might also be relatively pointless. Much more flexible and practical is a Bluetooth function that allows you to play music from your smartphone from many streaming apps directly on the internet radio. This means that you always have your remote control in your pocket instead of having to go to the radio all the time to operate the rather small displays. Features like Spotify Connect sound relatively sensible at first, but are unnecessarily fiddly rather than practical and intuitive for most people on a day-to-day basis.
Design and appearance can be important, but you shouldn’t be fooled by ambient lighting, retro looks or particularly exciting shapes of a radio. It can be tempting to buy a device that looks nice but offers poor sound, for example. In addition, it should be noted that many photos from manufacturers do not correspond to reality. It is not uncommon for a wonderfully designed model to turn out to be a pure plastic bomber.
Those who are looking for an internet radio usually want to have just that. A device that allows you to listen to your favorite stations in the best quality. And only on this device. Nevertheless, some high-priced models have a multi-room function. Here you can connect your radio with other Multiroom speakers, for example in the bedroom or bathroom. This gives you the opportunity to enjoy your music throughout the house. Sounds quite nice on paper, but should only be of great relevance to very few, especially because of course, apart from the main device with additional costs for the said additional speakers to be expected.
In the end, everyone has to weigh up for themselves which additional functions are important and which are not. Many of the features of Internet radios feel immature and often serve only to justify a higher price. One should not be misled by the litany of functions. More is often less here and a good sound quality can be much more useful in everyday life than one or the other additional function.
What do other tests say?
Various tests by trade journals speak a similar language. Here, too, special attention is paid to sound quality, radio reception, handling, versatility and workmanship.
The sound quality is clearly the most important factor for good test results. If models offer many functions but are not convincing when it comes to reproducing content, this shortcoming always has a negative effect on the overall rating. It can be observed that good speakers and a rich sound correct the rating significantly upwards even with a somewhat meager feature set. Stiftung Warentest tested 18 digital radios, of which only 3 were convincing in terms of sound. This gives food for thought, but also confirms our assessment.
In many tests, the sometimes poor user-friendliness is highlighted. Many devices offer too small displays, no intuitive operation and simply have too many buttons, which are then also poorly marked.
Due to the subjectivity, design and optics are hardly dealt with, but it is also pointed out that when buying an internet radio, one should concentrate less on the appearance and more on the technical features.
In general, it can be seen in many product tests that many of the really good Internet radios are in the price range around 150 EUR. So if you are looking for a device that you can have fun with for a long time and which is also equipped for the future, you should not be deceived by supposedly cheap models.
Internet radios have received sufficient praise for their versatility. Various tests show that with a good Internet radio you can not only listen to the radio, but also do much more. If you buy an expensive model, you usually also get a lot of quality and functions. Thus, missing Bluetooth function or missing network streaming often results in hefty point deductions.
Which device for which target group?
For those who are looking for a small, inexpensive Internet radio , the TELESTAR M 12i the right device. The manufacturer puts together a nice overall package for people who want to run the radio on the side and do not attach great importance to particularly great sound quality.
Price-conscious and yet demanding users could find a good everyday companion in the Grundig DTL 5000 2.0 find a good everyday companion. This internet radio covers pretty much every function and also offers a balanced, good sound.
If you are willing to spend a little bit more for your new internet radio, this is the Majority Homertron warmly recommended. Super sound, wide-ranging connection options and a timeless design make this high-quality device the test winner. In the price range around 120 EUR the Homertron is unbeaten and plays with its very good price-performance ratio almost in the league of the big ones.
Things are always going higher, faster and further. This is also proven by the TechniSat DIGITRADIO 584 . The German manufacturer has brought an Internet radio onto the market that is hard to beat in terms of sound quality, range of functions and user-friendliness. Of course, this comes at a price. At just under 240 EUR, the DIGITRADIO 584 is well worth its price, but almost twice as expensive as our test winner, the Majority Homertron, which has both an impressive sound and quite sensible and well-implemented features.