“Of all the dramatic media, radio is the most visual,” are the grandiloquent words said by one named John Reeves, and predictably, the words are still relevant today. The striking and conspicuous features that the radio offers were and are something of quite a distinction that no other mode of communication can offer.
Even with the absence of visual aid, you can feel the radio more than television in the same way you can feel a book more than the movie. The relevance and prominence of radio have made a special place in the world of mass communication, and nothing can replace it.
The classification of radios is another thing of excellence as we have a kind of radio for each of our needs. Be it professional people such as police officers, members of the Armed Forces, or the aviation, or for personal reasons such as contacting a friend through the means of radio waves, or even for recreational purposes, we can virtually meet all our social and professional needs through radios. That is precisely why they are still widely in demand. Of all the radio types that are of prominence today, one type sets itself apart from more than any other. This is a portable radio.
What is Portable AM/FM Radio?
As the name suggests, a portable radio is one that you can carry anywhere with you and virtually performs all the functions of regular radio. This means you can listen to your favorite radio entertainment channels such as AM and FM or various NOAA channels that gives you regular weather updates and alert on-demand and even the sports and news channels.
You can comfortably recline at home anywhere or even take it into the woods, and you will get the same reception and enjoyment everywhere. This is what sets it apart from modern-day cellular technology that requires the service of the internet to give information on these particulars. The Internet service cannot be found everywhere and especially not in the areas with high elevation. In contrast, the radio will remain your companion regardless of the location, with a few exceptions.
In this article, I am going to list some of the best portable am fm radios which have been widely acclaimed to be the best. After using an assortment of radios myself, I have compiled this list meticulously. If you are looking for emergency weather alert radio means check our best weather radio review guide.
Best Portable AM FM Radio Reviews in 2021
1. Sangean Radio BB-100 - Best Portable AM/FM Radio
Overall Rating - 4.75/5
Fundamentally, I prefer radios, which are extraordinarily compact and lightweight, which is why this beauty has consolidated its position at the top of the list! But behold Ladies and Gentlemen, as the BB-100 AM FM Portable Radio has much more to offer than mere compactness.
The wireless feature receives much importance and praise because of the convenience it offers, and these days as we want almost everything to be wireless. These prayers have been heard by Sangean, as can be noticed in the user-friendly design of BB-100 Portable Radio.
It provides the most appraised feature of Bluetooth connectivity with high sound quality. It enables you to connect any streaming device of your choice with it and allows you to reap the benefits of the contemporary radio as much as possible. The sound quality is unmatched, and the distortion is minimal even if you are on elevated terrain.
Not only does it facilitate linkage with a device supporting Bluetooth connectivity, but it can also be linked with non-Bluetooth devices with the feature of an auxiliary or AUX jack. So, you can virtually link all the streaming devices with it and get to enjoy its full potential.
The portability is further strengthened by the sustainment of built-in battery, which has helped me enormously on unnumbered trips. All you need are four rechargeable C-type batteries, and you can enjoy long-lasting power with highly efficient performance.
The batteries can be charged via the battery charger which is incorporated inside the am fm radio. The durability is another talk of the street and something I can personally vouch for. The exterior acts as a shield to any natural component thrown at it, such as water, dust, and even shock.
The portable radio is resistant to practically everything to some extent and completely water-proof. You can take it with you for a fun day at the beach or even a camping trip without worrying about it getting damaged or being extra careful in handling it.
Thus, when it comes to durability, this product is unrivaled. 5 AM and 5 FM constitute a total of 10 pre-set stations, which will keep you entertained and updated wherever you go.It is also compatible with CD player, MP3, iPod, or iPhone. This little buddy has got your back at every other turn.
Sangean went complete “You want it? You got it!” on BB-100 AM FM Portable Radio, because why not! If you want a radio which has excellent portability with unquestioned durability and entertainment propensity, search no more. The manufacturers have rounded-up an absolute wholesome product which lags in no aspect. A little shade of antiquity in its design makes it a prime demand for the masses.
2. Sony ICFP26 - Best Pocket AM FM Radio Under Budget
Overall Rating - 4.5/5
Sony never fails to deliver to the needs of its user, and it is because of this reason that it is still a top manufacturer of portable am/fm radios. Being an ardent Sony fan, I vehemently used most of its radios, and while the ICFP26 Portable Radio does not quite reach the mass expectations or personal as such, it still qualifies to be in the top tens.
In contrast with its predecessors, one might find it quite dull, however, it does have a few improvements worth being noticed. For one, the battery life is worth the money. Most travelers find themselves in a tough spot when their battery operated radio depletes, and they have no way of recharging it. “They” are me, I am “them.” We do not like being in this spot, and Sony took care of that. Once the batteries are replaced, it will go a long way.
Sony ICFP26 AM FM Portable Radio is revered for its portability incorporated with efficient analog AM and FM radio. The portability can be underlined in the radio's clear-cut design and self-demonstrates how it can be easily carried into the pocket with the utmost ease.
Being a successor of the revered ICFS10MK2, you almost get all its predecessor features with improved performance in some aspects. The reception for one is beyond brilliant and exceeded the expectations of many.
Not only does it beat its superior in this aspect, but even defeats cellular technology. The design of the portable radio is also something to consider, with the base being much more supportive on the hard surface than its predecessor. Sources of powering the radio up include AA batteries replaceable batteries or even rechargeable ones.
It supports the use of headphones and blasts the music in your ears with unreal sound quality. The quality of the build-in speaker is conspicuous once you use it.
You cannot call this battery powered radio just “decent” with a straight face as it offers multiple improved features from its predecessor, which was also a widely demanded and praised product. With an inexpensive price tag and the assortment features, it easily beats most of the portable am/fm radio in its league.
3. Tecsun PL880 - Best Portable Radio with SSB Reception
Overall Rating - 4.4/5
Tecsun PL880 Shortwave Radio offers few essentialities of an ideal radio, including the services of AM and FM with sideband. It sustains a phase-locked loop, which constantly calibrates to match the frequency of an input signal. So, whilst fiddling with the radio, you could avoid the tedious noisy and buzz sounds.
The radio's selectivity has been made as per the needs of the user and aimed to eliminate the tiring work. With fitting and advanced speaker, you could take the sound quality to a whole new level. When it comes to sound quality, with decent collaboration, the sound quality of PL880 is easily one of the bests.
This small portable radio is powered by a USB port or replaceable lithium battery. The battery life is fairly decent and can get by with a week of continuous use.
Even with the backlight on, the usage span of this battery operated radio is adequate to last a whole trip. It took me ten days to deplete its battery once I charged it completely.
The comprehensive design of the am fm portable radio allows easy tuning as you have clearly defined tuning knobs. People unfamiliar with portable radios usage may find it tricky to use it at first, but after getting a hold of the functionality a little, you will have a great experience.
PL880 Shortwave Radio's key features have exceeded my expectations completely with the improved sound quality, battery life, storage, and other features such as alarm clock, sleep timer, headphone jack, external antenna jack, and many more. It may be considered expensive for some, but the functionality makes up for every penny.
4. JENSEN CD-490 - Best Portable Radio CD Player
Overall Rating - 4.4/5
For people who want a lightweight and compact am/fm radio, you should look no further as you have found your perfect companion. This mini fm radio has everything one would ask for to be content with his or her purchase. Let’s starts by talking about the sound quality of this am fm CD player.
It cuts out all the external noise and lets you recline to the sound of the radio alone comfortably. The radio speaker outdoes sounds that you would consider irrelevant at your recreational time, and the quality is fantastic.
Due to the absence of a few key elements, the price seems a little too much, but the quality it delivers is unmatchable. The auxiliary jack enables you to link almost all the streaming devices, including your mp3, iPods, or any other digital audio player of your liking.
There could be a chance that you would have to make some additional investments to extract the full enjoyment out of the portable radio. For one, it does not come with a power cord. You would need to power it with replaceable batteries, which is often considered a huge cost incurring investment.
Nonetheless, a fully incorporated battery operated radio would enable you to have the best of experiences. The near-bass element present in the system gives it the shade of a contemporary sound system, which is a huge one-up if you ask me. This is precisely why I have no left it out of my top 10 best am fm portable radio list.
5. Sangean Radio PR-D5BK - Best Small AM/FM Radio
Overall Rating - 4/5
Let’s talk business now. We strive to make an economically sound investment in everything. Why should this system be negated while purchasing a portable radio? Sangean radio productions exceed the expectations in all sphere, and the best thing about their product is that the price tag is always correspondent to the performance and still sounds like a bargain.
The dual stereo speakers are one thing to consider while we are on the topic of excellent performance. The audio performance excels in every aspect and keeps this beauty ahead of its competitors.
The presence of headphone jack also puts a goody-goody label on it. The system contributes to sound cancellation through bass adjustment. It also comes with the AUX jack to facilitate connection with mp3, iPods, smartphones, CD players, basically almost all the audio players.
The internal ferrite antenna boosts up the reception, and you get heavenly audio quality of AM and FM. No more buzzing irksome sound of the radio just pure bliss of the channel. It also possesses the PLL tuning system, so no more useless fiddling.
Tuning the system is also extremely easy with this portable radio. Let me stop and say that this is not just your usual portable radio. It possesses additional qualities that are mostly absent in other am fm radios and much more than what I have already mentioned.
The epitome of ideal radio, this Sangean production, beats its rivals in every given field. Be it the assortment of features or the audio quality and loudness of the stereo or the variety of stations or even the reception of FM. It makes up for a wholesome product no matter where you look at it.
6. Sony ICF-506 - Best Small Portable Radio
Overall Rating - 4/5
The portability, which is promised by prominent manufacturers, turns out to be nothing but a hoax most of the time. A portable looking radio can prove to be futile if lightweight is not incorporated with it. Who would want a heavy device dangling on our side when all one wants to have a fun day at the beach? Certainly not me. This is precisely why I have included ICF-506 on this list.
For me, a radio being lightweight is an absolute necessity, and for that, I am even willing to compromise with other features. But the thing about this production is you do not have to compromise with anything!
The FM reception of this device deserves many appraisals as in that aspect, and it stands out even against the big boys of the radio world. The tuning is easier than ever before, and on top of that, the compactness makes up for a wholesome product.
The handle at the top of this mini am fm radio not only gives it a shade of vintage but also makes handling it convenient. Now you can listen to your favorite tunes whilst taking this baby out for a walk. The reception does not get interrupted in hilly areas to some extent. It does have a limit, but as far as average usage goes, it is unbeatable.
It is powered by 3 AA batteries and can also be powered by AC adaptor, which comes with the portable radio. Having two reliable sources of energy gives you comfort that you will never be out of power. Once charged, it will go a very long way.
You can never go wrong with Sony productions, and this portable stereo radio stands witness to it. You’ve got excellent portability, great audio system, unmatched reception, and whatnot. The cool design of the radio will also make a good prop for Instagram pictures!
7. Avantree BTSP-850-BLK - Best Portable FM Radio
Overall Rating - 4/5
This handheld fm radio offers many features, which is enough to characterize as one of the bests. It facilitates a connection with most digital audio devices via Bluetooth.
Once connected, you can listen to the songs with superior sound quality and efficiency. The wireless connection allows you to reap the benefits from anywhere. The sound quality is as clear as it gets, and due to excellent reception, you can even take this with you on trips to diverse locations.
Radio reception can be improved if you link USB cable with it, as it can act as an antenna. It can also store songs in the micro SD card and listen to your favorite tunes on demand.
The channel fiddling becomes easy with automatic as well as manual scans, and it comes with auto-channel saving. The digital portable fm radio is highly compact and lightweight; the radio's small size can make itself a comfortable space inside your pocket. Ideal for travelers, you can never go wrong with this selection.
The FM receives excellent reception to start your mornings by listening to the latest news and taking an afternoon stroll to the FM tunes. Be reclining on a sofa or working for an important presentation or even cooking dinner for your family; you can do everything with utmost efficiency and enjoyment with this portable fm radio playing behind you.
8. C.Crane SSB - Best Tabletop AM FM Radio
Overall Rating - 3.9/5
Listen to non-stop weather updates, music, news with this C. Crane pocket radio as it facilitates all the key features of an ideal radio under the sun.
Sometimes when the internet service is down, you may feel cut out from the world because we have come so far that we virtually want all the current news, no matter what.
The C. Crane portable radio has taken care of that need as you can get all the major updates even during power cuts at home. The single slide band can be entrusted with giving all kinds of information in the time of dire need or just for recreational purposes.
A reliable companion in every minute of the day, this radio will take care of your entertainment needs as well as give you all the relevant updates of the world.
It has many additional features due to which it has received much praise, including the feature of a built-in real-time clock, alarm clock, backlit display to facilitate usage in pitch darkness, headphone jack, and whatnot.
9. Sangean DT-800YL - Best AM FM Portable Radio with Weather Alert
Overall Rating - 3.7/5
A completely reliable radio, this beauty will serve all your recreational and enlightenment needs as it possesses all those services which one would need to remain entertained and updated all the time.
It has 45 memory stations that give you AM/FM and NOAA services no matter where you are. As it is highly compact and lightweight, you can carry it anywhere you want without worrying about losing reception.
The figures on display are easy to read even in the dark thanks to the backlight feature. Additional features include an Alarm clock with snooze features, live clock, etc. It can be charged via USB port or through a backup battery. The battery life is adequate to get you by days without charging.
An ideal choice for people who want a am fm radio that goes easy on their pocket and also provides all the key features of a weather alert device. You will get more than what you asked for on the price with this Sangean Radio production.
10. Panasonic Portable Radio - Best AM/FM Portable Radio for Reception
Overall Rating - 3.65/5
The wide pool of features and incredibility offered by Panasonic has always been the central figure of modern radios. It encompasses every aspect and function that one would need to characterize a radio as perfect.
The Easy-to-read dial of the radio renders infinite convenience to the user who is incorporated with AM and FM's service with extraordinarily good reception. The tuning is another subject of under as the process is thoroughly easy.
It not only offers useful functionality, but the design of the radio takes you back in time. The handle allows you to carry the object anywhere you want, and you can even take it on trips with you if need be.
It is highly useful for an array of reasons, entertainment being the prominent one. You can get the latest and weather updates via this portable radio. If your region is about to become a natural calamity subject, you will be immediately informed and be advised to take caution.
You will be getting all the key features that makeup of an ideal radio in this Panasonic production at a fairly low price. Many past users also credit the improved features, and the functionality is as easy as it can get.
Portable AM FM Radio Buying Guide
AM FM Radio
When we are going to start learning about something, it becomes essential that we have a clear idea about that thing. Similar is the case with the AM FM radio. This is one of the most basic and prime questions that can take strike anyone's mind. What is AM FM radio? How is it used? Are there any advantages of using it?
These are some of the crucial questions that need to be addressed. We'll go through all of these questions step-wise and gradually move to these topic's depth. In this section, we'll only try to understand what AM FM radio is.
These radios use the AM and FM waves to get the required signal strength to connect to a station. In the older times, people found it very difficult to connect to a particular radio station and enjoy themselves. They need to hustle a lot to get an optimum frequency range to connect to that station. This was wholly a hit-and-trial method. But, with the help of AM FM radios, all these troubles are just shooed away.
These are battery operated radios that don't need a lot of hustling to connect to the intended radio station. With the advancement in technologies, these portable AM FM radios have become a real gem for usage.
Nowadays, these radios are powered with Wi-Fi connectivity, so that you can easily take them from one place to another and it doesn't pose any problems on the way. Moreover, they are so lightweight that they can make your travel extra smooth and convenient with much entertainment.
This is just the beginning and if you are fascinated with the extensive convenience and features that this small device has in store for you, then keep on reading further. All these layers will keep on unfolding gradually and will make you realize how amazing these AM FM radios are.
What are the advantages of using AM FM Radio?
When you plan to use one product, you must be appealed by its set of advantages. If that thing is not going to make your life easier or benefit you in any way, then there is no use in possessing it.
Everything comes with a set of advantages and disadvantages to go with. You will get tons of AM/FM portable radios in the market, but if they won’t make your life easier, why would you switch to them.
To get a better idea about this, let’s ponder over some of the critical advantages of the small portable radio. These key advantages will make you realize the importance that this small radio can play in your life. Let’s get started!!
1. No need for internet connectivity
With the AM/FM portable radio, you don’t need direct internet connectivity to keep the radio functional. Various other app radios require Wi-Fi for connectivity, but these radios don’t require so. You can seamlessly listen to your favorite stations without any disturbance and not even worrying about the internet issues that can come your way.
2. Suitable for emergencies
These portable AM/FM radios are a blessing in disguise for emergencies. Even when you are stuck somewhere or want to know the weather predictions to plan your next step, these radios are a true asset. These battery powered radios don't need any electricity to remain functional as they can even work perfectly well with the batteries.
You can carry this pocket sized radio with you wherever you go and can make the most out of it. Even if you are a traveler, you can also use this radio to stay connected with the entire world. This is one of the greatest boons to travelers to keep them updated on the changes taking place around them.
3. Long-range signals
AM FM radio gives you the flexibility of long-range signals. With traditional radios, people feel losing connectivity, but thanks to the flawless AM FM radio, you can stay updated with the latest entertainment.
With the long-range signals, you don't face the connectivity issue. You can flawlessly take them with you wherever you go. These long-range signals make these radios an optimum choice to go with.
Portability is one of the key advantages of possessing mini portable radio. It is not very bulky and comes in a compact size that makes it an ideal choice to go with.
If you have been struggling with the conventional, then the portable AM FM radio can serve your purpose. Moreover, it doesn’t need any wired connections, and you need not worry about its portability.
5. Appealing look
Preferring a portable radio suffices the other essential needs and comes bundled with an appealing look. It comes in a stylish design that can also be used as a decorative piece for your place, and people will remain stunned by its looks. It not only serves the purpose of mere radio but also serves the purpose of a good antique and appealing decorative piece for the home.
AM FM radio is a precisely designed radio that is compatible with most devices. You can easily connect it with MP3, iPhone, and various other devices. With this connectivity, you can easily travel from one place to another without worrying about your entertainment.
How AM FM Radio is different from other radios?
When one is using the AM FM radio, then there must be one question that must strike your mind. What makes this different? This is one of the most crucial questions that need to be addressed.
Because without knowing the core reason behind it, why would you use it? Moreover, what makes it more preferable as compared to others? These are some of the brainstorming questions that one should be aware of. Let's have a clear picture of the facts that make AM FM radio different from others.
Unlike the old and conventional radios, with the AM FM radios, you get the privilege of easy accessibility and portability. You can't take all the radios with you wherever you go, but you can impeccably take these portable am fm radios with you.
Most radios take a humungous time to catch a particular frequency range, but you can easily serve the purpose with the handheld AM FM radios. These radios don't consume much time to set to a specific frequency range, and they don't lose signal strength easily.
With the traditional radios, there is only a limited signal strength that limits its functionality. But with the portable AM FM radio at your disposal, you need not worry about it.
These radios come with an excellent signal strength that even assists in long-range communication. The best part of the AM FM radios is that they don't consume much time in configuration, and you can easily avail of its benefits without wasting your time.
AM FM radios offer a convenient gateway with the assistance of wireless connections. They are battery powered, and they only require batteries for proper functionality.
You can flawlessly use these radios, and they will function properly without the lack of power. The batteries can function adequately even for weeks without requiring any replacements. All these things in collaboration make AM FM radios different from other ones.
Which one is best? AM FM Radio or Internet Radio Apps?
When it comes to choosing between two things, then one must be aware of their distinctions. Every radio has a set of factors that makes them stand out from others. If we talk about the AM FM radio and Internet radio apps, we should be aware of which one is best? And what makes that best? Let's have a brief discussion about them to know which one can overshadow the other.
If we consider connectivity as one of the aspects for distinguishing between them, then AM FM radio scores more than Internet radio apps. AM FM radios don't use internet connections for work. Therefore they don't suffer from losing connectivity when you take it for some trip with you. On the other hand, internet radio apps primarily use internet connectivity to keep the apps functional.
You can use these apps on your smartphones, and to experience great outputs, you must have a stable internet connection or Wi-Fi support. If you only rely upon these apps while traveling, it might pose some hurdles in your way. Various places have connectivity issues when you travel, so you can't always rely on internet apps to satisfy your needs. In this scenario, AM/FM portable radio emerged out as the winner.
If you consider the factor of portability, then indeed, the internet radio apps stand out. These apps are already installed on your device, and you can switch to the channel of your choice without any problem. You need not carry any dedicated radio device to meet your needs as all the radio stations work perfectly well on your smartphone.
But with the portable AM FM radio, you need to carry a separate radio to listen to various stations of your choice. So, in this context, internet radio apps are the best.
We have seen that we can't precisely predict which one is best. As the factors vary, so does their performance. Based upon the only single factor, we can't say that one is superior to the other.
It wholly depends upon your needs and preferences that which one is best for you. Don't fall into the rat race of going behind one another and use your needs as the major factor to decide between both.
Despite the era, the need for portable am fm radios will never be a thing of the past. In some regions, radio is considered to be way more reliable than cell phones as they can function even when one has to deal with nature's wrath.
Choosing the best portable radio sounds like a tricky task, but it is very easy once you make up your mind about getting it. I hope this article pointed you towards the right direction, and if you were indecisive before, things got cleared up.
About the Author
I am Tim, a weather enthusiast who loves to watch hurricanes and all other harsh weather conditions. I studied B.Sc(Meteorology) at the University of Miami. With excellent knowledge of Weather Forecasting, Meteorology, and Environmental Science, I am currently working in San Francisco as a Meteorologist. Also, I am a member of The Weather Channel and AccuWeather. In this blog, I will write a detailed review of Weather instruments that you need for survival and other activities.