Last updated: August 5, 2021

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The Internet radio can receive thousands of stations worldwide: whether rock, pop, heavy metal or songs from the 60s. There is at least one suitable station for every musical taste and preference. Many Internet radios also offer additional functions, such as Bluetooth reception, a Spotify Connect connection or an AUX connection.

With our internet radio guide, we want to help you find the ideal device for you. Among other things, you can choose between various additional functions and different designs. We have compared internet radios from different categories for you and listed the respective advantages and disadvantages. This should help you decide which internet radio is right for you.




Summary

  • An Internet radio gives you access to thousands of online radio stations. The station selection is much larger than with a conventional digital radio. Thanks to Internet radio, you can always listen to the music you want at that moment.
  • There is a large selection of Internet radios. In this guide, we distinguish between Internet radio adapters, Internet radios for the kitchen, Internet radios with additional DAB+ reception and Internet radios with a CD player. Of course, the different functions are also reflected in the price.
  • Internet radios also come in many different designs. There are Internet radios with a large touch screen, retro Internet radios and also very simple Internet radios. There is also a wide range of colours and materials.

The Best Internet Radio: Our Choices

The choice of Internet radios is very large and varied. But not all Internet radios are convincing in terms of quality and sound. In the following, we have picked out the best Internet radios to help you make your choice.

Internet Radio: Buying and Evaluation Criteria

In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to find the perfect Internet radio for you. The criteria you can use to compare different internet radios include:

In the following paragraphs you will find out what is important in the individual purchase and evaluation criteria.

Dimensions

The dimensions show you how high, wide and long your Internet radio is. This way, you know how much space your Internet radio will need before you buy it.

An Internet radio can have very different dimensions. The selection ranges from small and compact Internet radios to large and robust Internet radios.

  • The length ranges from approx. 10 to 19 centimetres
  • The width ranges from approx. 21 to 31 centimetres
  • The height ranges from about 12 to 18 centimetres

However, these specifications can vary. With certain suppliers, the length is given as the width and vice versa. However, you can assume that the front of the Internet radio is always the longest dimension.

Design

Of course, an Internet radio should also look great and suit your taste. There is also a huge selection and you are sure to find the right model for you. There are Internet radios with a retro design, a vintage design or even very modern Internet radios with a touch screen.

The screen size usually ranges from two to three inches.

Think carefully about which design you prefer and which design fits into your interior. Internet radios also come in a variety of colours. However, black or white is the most common. The choice of materials also ranges from plastic to real wood.

Functions

Internet radios offer a wide range of functions. Therefore, before buying, think about which functions you would like to have. Not every Internet radio offers access to all Internet radio stations. With most Internet radios, you can also receive classic radio thanks to DAB/DAB+ and FM.

For your Internet radio to work at all, you need a network connection.

The new Internet radios also have the Spotify Connect function. The Internet radio can then be connected to a smartphone, tablet or laptop that has the Spotify app. This way you can listen to your favourite music via the Internet radio at any time.

Many Internet radios offer a Bluetooth function. Thanks to this function, you can stream music from your smartphone, tablet or laptop. You can play YouTube videos or Amazon Music through the speakers of your Internet radio.

Connections

Of course, an Internet radio should not be without connections. Most Internet radios offer one or more USB connections. The USB connections can be used for music playback or for charging the smartphone.

Many Internet radios also have a headphone output in the form of an AUX connection. Thanks to the AUX connection, you can connect your headphones and listen to your music undisturbed.

Some Internet radios also have a UPnP connection. UPnP is the abbreviation for "Universal Plug and Play". With this connection, you can access all shared music files within your network from your Internet radio.

Loudspeakers

The loudspeakers are usually integrated in the Internet radio. The speaker output and sound quality vary from one Internet radio to another. The power of the speakers is usually given in watts. The higher the wattage, the higher the sound quality.

The speakers should produce at least 10 watts of power.

The power of the speakers is also reflected in the price. The more expensive Internet radios usually offer better sound quality. However, Internet radios cannot compete with the sound system of a stereo system.

Ease of use

Ease of use is also an important purchase criterion. If no external control is possible, you have to go to your Internet radio every time and control it with knobs and buttons. This can be very tedious, especially when cooking or relaxing.

To make it easier for you, many internet radios offer either remote control or app control. This way, you can easily turn up the music or change the station. And you can do it without leaving your comfortable seat.

Internet Radio: Frequently asked Questions and Answers

In the following, we would like to answer the most important questions about internet radio. We have selected the questions for you and will answer them shortly. After reading the guide, you will know everything you need to know about Internet radios.

What is an Internet radio and how does it work?

An internet radio is a radio that works via the internet. The device gives you access to an Internet-based selection of radio programmes. This requires a network connection, usually a WLAN function.

The internet radio offers access to over a thousand stations and therefore has a much greater range than the classic FM or DAB/DAB+ radio.

The device then connects to the internet of the home network and can thus access the available online streams of the radio stations. This works via various online broadcasting directories. The available stations are not only stations from Germany, but from all over the world.

The range of different radio stations is broad. There is at least one suitable radio station for every musical taste. With Internet radio, you will never have to wait for hours for your favourite song.

However, most Internet radios also offer access to normal radio. This means that analogue and digital signals from radio stations are also received and converted for sound playback. So if you feel like listening to a digital radio station in between, you can simply switch over.

Who is an Internet radio suitable for?

An Internet radio is suitable for anyone who has a strong home network. Because with poor or no reception, the Internet radio will not work. In addition, the purchase of an Internet radio is usually more expensive than the purchase of an FM or DAB radio.

internetradio-test

In the past, a radio only had access to a limited number of stations. Today, with Internet radio, you can always listen to the music you feel like listening to. (Image source: Eric Nopanen / unsplash)

The owner should also have a certain basic understanding of technology. Otherwise, the operation can become complicated and the added value of an internet radio is not used.

How much data volume does an Internet radio consume?

Data consumption varies from Internet radio to Internet radio and depends on the bit rate. The bit rate is used to transmit the stream. Most Internet radios transmit the stream at 128 kbit/s. Kbits is the abbreviation for kilobits per second. When listening to your internet radio, you therefore consume the following average data volume:

  • If you listen to the radio for 10 minutes, you use an average of 9.38 megabytes.
  • If you listen to the radio for an hour, you use an average of 56.25 megabytes.

Let's assume you listen to Internet radio for one hour every day. This results in a data volume consumption of around 1700 megabytes at the end of the month. Internet radio therefore consumes a lot of data volume when streaming. Your network connection at home should be correspondingly strong and stable.

internetradio-test

Internet radio consumes a lot of data volume. That's why you should have a very good WLAN connection or a very good network at home. (Image source: Praveen kumar Mathivanan / unsplash)

To limit your data consumption a little, you can download the app TuneIn. With this app, you can set the kbit/s manually and reduce it to 64 kbit/s, for example. This reduces the quality of the stream, but your internet radio only needs half the data volume.

What types of Internet radios are there?

When you buy an Internet radio, you have to decide on a type of Internet radio. There are many different types of Internet radios on the market. They differ mainly in their various additional functions. Therefore, before you buy, think carefully about which additional functions you need and which you do not.

We have put together a table with the most important types and their respective advantages and disadvantages:

Type Advantages Disadvantages
Internet radio with DAB+ You can also listen to digital radio, If WLAN is not working, you have a fallback option The different types of reception can make the operation of the Internet radio complicated, Something can be adjusted quickly
Internet radio for stereo system Usually cheaper (you only need an Internet radio adapter), The sound quality is often better (it goes through the speakers of the stereo system) You must already own a stereo system, The Internet radio adapters are not always compatible with all stereo systems, Connection cable must sometimes be purchased additionally
Internet radio for children Can listen to children's music over the internet, You don't have to buy CDs anymore, Gives a huge selection online for children Internet radio can break quickly, Even with a normal internet radio you can listen to a children's station, You don't necessarily need an extra internet radio for the kids
Internet radio for the wall socket Doesn't need batteries, Can simply be plugged in Is cumbersome to transport, Internet radio must always be near a power socket
Under-cabinet Internet radio for the kitchen The under-cabinet Internet radio does not take up any space in the kitchen, Is practically invisible, You can listen to your favourite music while cooking The under-cabinet Internet radio is permanently mounted in the kitchen and cannot be transported, Installation can be tedious, The WLAN reception must be good in the kitchen.
Internet radio with CD player You can listen to your old CDs, the CD player brings variety Most Internet radios with a CD player are larger and more robust, Look less modern and elegant

Each internet radio comes with its own advantages. There are even individual Internet radios that combine almost all additional functions in one Internet radio. However, this is also reflected in the price.

Do I have to pay to listen to the radio via an Internet radio?

No. Listening to the radio via an Internet radio is not subject to a charge. It is free and completely legal. You only need an Internet connection to listen to the radio via the device.

internetradio-test

With an Internet radio, you can listen to your favourite music at any time. And it's completely free. (Image source: PourquoiPas / pixabay)

However, the internet radio itself is chargeable. We'll go into the prices of an internet radio in more detail in the next question.

What does an internet radio cost?

As already mentioned above, an internet radio with many additional functions is more expensive than an ordinary internet radio. Of course, the brand of the Internet radio also plays a role in the price. The cheaper models cost around 65 euros. The more expensive models cost around 260 euros, but usually offer more.

We have compiled a price table for you. We distinguish between three types.

Type price range
Internet radio adapter (for stereo system) approx. 65 to 150 euros
Internet radio with CD player approx. 95 to 130 euros
Internet radio with many additional functions approx. 120 to 260 euros

The difference between the cheapest and the most expensive Internet radio is about 200 euros. However, there should be an Internet radio to suit every budget. Note, however, that a high price does not necessarily mean high quality.

What alternatives are there to an Internet radio?

Of course, there are other ways to listen to the radio besides the internet radio. In our alternatives, we also look at conventional radios. In the following table, we give you a brief overview of the alternatives:

Alternative Description
FM radio An FM radio, also known as an FM radio, works analogue via FM broadcasting. The abbreviation FM stands for ultra-short wave. On average, an FM radio in Germany can receive about 20 stations. However, you shouldn't rely on an FM radio for too long, because digital radio and internet radio are becoming more and more popular. They will replace FM radio in the future. In Switzerland, the FM switch-off will take place as early as January 2023. Here in Germany, no date is known yet. Experts expect FM to be phased out between 2025 and 2028.
Digital radio With a digital radio, a digital broadcasting method transmits the radio programmes. A digital radio in Germany can receive around 100 programmes. It also offers a more interference-free reception than FM radio. With digital radio, a distinction is made between DAB and DAB+. The + here stands for the best sound, more reception, greater variety and new possibilities.
Radio App You can also listen to the radio on your smartphone via the Internet. There are many different apps for this. Most of them are free and offer you a large selection of radio stations. However, the sound quality is not comparable to that of a radio. In addition, you consume a lot of data volume when listening to web radio.
Listen to internet radio on your laptop You can listen to online radio on your laptop via many different websites. The choice is really huge. Depending on the laptop, however, the sound quality may leave a lot to be desired.
Listen to internet radio via your smart TV You can often listen to internet radio via the new smart TVs. You have access to many different stations. But if you want to turn up the music to the max, then a real internet radio might be better for you. The sound of Smart TVs is usually not designed for loud music.

You probably already have a device at home that allows you to listen to internet radio. However, the alternatives for Internet radio usually offer limited sound quality. The exceptions are digital radio and FM radio. These two alternatives usually offer good sound, but limit your choice of programmes massively.

So if you enjoy Internet radio and appreciate the huge selection of programmes, you should get an Internet radio with good sound quality.

How do I set up my Internet radio?

Setting up an Internet radio is very easy. But to make sure everything goes smoothly for you, we have created a short step-by-step guide for you.

  • Switch on: The first thing you need to do is switch on your Internet radio. To switch on the Internet radio, you must either insert batteries or plug the Internet radio into a power outlet.
  • Search for a network: After you have switched on the Internet radio, it will automatically search for the receivable networks, which are usually WLAN radio networks.
  • Select network: When the search is complete, all receivable radio networks are displayed. Now select your network.
  • Connect network: If your network is encrypted, you must enter your password here. Your Internet radio should now connect to your network. You should only need to enter your password once, as your password will be saved afterwards.
  • Listen to the radio: Your Internet radio is now set up and should automatically switch to the main menu. Here you can select the Internet Radio symbol and choose the desired radio station.

Setting up your Internet radio should only take a few minutes. After that, you can enjoy great music and your new Internet radio.

Conclusion

Internet radio brings with it many different advantages. An Internet radio adapter can bring your dusty stereo system back to life, while an under-cabinet Internet radio can accompany you musically while you cook. In any case, the Internet radio is part of the basic equipment of a music lover.

With worldwide access to thousands of stations, there is a suitable station for every musical taste. With many Internet radios, you can connect your smartphone via Bluetooth or plug in a USB stick with your favourite music. The wait for your favourite song on the radio is over, because with Internet radio there are no limits to what you can listen to. With the large and varied selection of Internet radios, there is something to suit every taste.

Picture: 123rf / 35327167

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