The times when you turned on your FM radio in the kitchen to finally get your own favorite station are definitely history. It only took a short time for the Internet to influence the radio landscape and to provide Internet radio with the optimal alternative to conventional FM radio. With internet radio, you have a much wider and wider choice of radio stations. Whether local or national, private or public: you have access to a variety of good and high quality maintained radio stations that you did not have with the FM radio.
Almost every third German nowadays only listens to radio over the internet. This has caused the Internet radio market to explode in recent years. Therefore, many consumers ask the question: What should I pay attention to when buying an Internet radio? And which models are currently the best on the market? In the big Internet Radios.
Top 10 Internet Radios
What is an internet radio and how does it work?
You can find them now in more and more German households, where they help to banish annoying noise and other noise from the music use of the citizens: the speech is of course Internet radio, which is often referred to as digital radios. Other common names are also web radio or wireless radio. The advantages of this radio are obvious: their number of stations is sometimes up to 200,000 Internet radio stations significantly higher than their old UKW or DAB + / DAB colleagues, the classic radio programs.
So one thing is for sure: the days we spent in our kitchens or workrooms trying to get the right frequency for our favorite station were long gone. The internet radios offer us a much better alternative and many other applications and advantages (see section below). The market leaders in digital radios have also recognized this and, to a large extent, have converted their production to WLAN-capable models. In fact, the selection of good Internet radio stations is now so large that the layman can lose an overview at a glance in Amazon and Co. ever.
Therefore, this Internet radio comparison on STERN.de offers, in which we have compared different products (see above) and give important tips and advice that you should consider when buying such a radio type.
Advantages and application of an internet radio
The central advantage of Internet radio is obvious and has already been mentioned several times: The special Web radio receives a variety of Internet radio stations with which a normal FM radio cannot compete. Beyond that, the big and wide world of podcasts is open to you, whose topics can turn around from sports to music to trendy films and series. But the web radio is not just for streaming radio stations or podcasts. Thanks to modern Bluetooth technology and features like Spotify Connect, you can use internet radio to easily stream your favorite music from the internet or the popular music app Spotify.
Why you should use this option? Well, that’s because of another advantage of internet radios: they have a much better sound than any normal radios you can find in the market, and there may be big differences in the quality of the sound between the different models (s. Comparison above). Internet radios also have a variety of other applications. This will allow you to continue listening to FM stations or DAB / DAB + stations on most radios if you wish.
In addition, wake-up features, a sleep timer, and station memory storage options favored internet stations provide a unique radio entertainment experience.
The different types of internet radios
In the big web radio comparison on we took a lot of different WLAN radios under the microscope and compared them on different aspects. It is striking that you can classify Internet radio because of their functions in the end in three “types”, which you can read in the next section.
1. The classic WLAN radio or web radio
With a classic web radio, to which we can count all models in comparison, data transmission takes place via the mostly integrated WLAN module. No matter where you are, you can always receive the online stream. Since the Internet channels are broadcast worldwide, you can also listen to the radio wherever you have a stable Internet connection. A normal router or a Wi-Fi network is sufficient for this. So you can choose the right one for yourself from up to 200,000 radio stations.
2. Internet radio with wake-up function
Almost all Internet radios, but not all, also have an integrated alarm function, which is very important to many customers. What is an alarm function and how it works, we do not need to explain at this point. But you should know that some wake-up sounds from the Web Radio are so weak that it is worthwhile for deeply sleeping people an amplifier. Many radios also have the option to set two different alarm times – so you avoid unnecessary noise in the morning! A sleep timer and a snooze function are usually included as well.
3. Internet radio with Bluetooth function
Many devices in the WLAN radio have a Bluetooth interface, which you can easily connect your smartphone and other Bluetooth-enabled devices with the Web radio. A cable is completely superfluous. But many radios do not have this additional feature.
Buy the right internet radio: The most important criteria
There are some important criteria that you should keep in mind when buying an internet radio. For many buyers, design and general workmanship are the # 1 and # 2 purchase criteria, but there are many more things you should keep an eye on if you’re considering buying an internet radio. In the following sections we present the most important criteria:
1. processing and design
Many customers pay close attention to the design and workmanship so that the Internet radio fits well into the home kitchen or the study. Most manufacturers have taken a huge step forward in terms of style in recent years and made some changes. So the displays are now all pretty big and more and more radios are next to plastic also made of real wood, which gives you a noble design. There are also differences in how the buttons, knobs, and connection ports are attached to the case.
When buying a Wi-Fi radio, also pay attention to how the radio can be operated. Of course, you can control everything on the radio using the above-mentioned rotary controls, buttons, and Co., but there are clearly more pleasant methods that would be there:
- By remote control: Many web radios come with a remote control that allows you to operate the radio remotely. Even if no such remote control is included in the package, you can order it online for a small extra effort.
- Per app: Many providers also offer you a modern app that allows you to control the device from your smartphone. These apps are mostly free and available for Android and iOS.
3. Functional scope
Another important point in the buying process is the number of functions that the radio offers you. The streaming of internet radio stations, as well as classical radio reception over VHF and DAB as well as DAB +, is absolute standard with nearly all devices. In addition, good web radios nowadays have the Spotify Connect feature – which in principle means you can use the radio to stream your favorite music from Spotify even when not connected to a smartphone or laptop. But you need a Spotify Premium Membership.
In addition, should be included in a solid wireless radio also a wake-up function with sleep timer, snooze function and various alarm times. A storage option for your favorite channels is also one of the most important features of modern Internet radio.
Now we all know that radios are not sound wonders, but surprisingly many models in the Internet radio have convinced with a strong sound. Although you can not achieve the sound of a strong soundbar due to the lower wattage alone, the sound and sound volume are absolutely sufficient for use in the kitchen, study or nursery.
Last but not least, you should also pay attention to how many and which connections the radio has. In addition to an AUX-in and -out connection, a good spot for a headphone and MP3 access is good sound. Many devices also have a USB slot.