Best Portable Radio (AM/FM) Reviews

“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 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 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 Radio Reviews in 2021

1. Sangean BB-100 - Best Portable Radio 

best portable radio

Review

Portability
Quality of material
Volume control
Sound quality
Battery life

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 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.

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 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 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.

Final Words: Sangean went complete “You want it? You got it!” on BB-100, 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.

Features

  • Bluetooth connectivity with streaming devices
  • Auxiliary jack for non-Bluetooth devices
  • Built-in Battery charger with other sources of recharging
  • 10 pre-set stations

Pros

  • Brilliant sound quality
  • Water, Dust and shock-resistant
  • Backlit LCD
  • Highly durable

Cons

  • None

2. Sony ICFP26 - Best Portable Radio Under Budget

Best Portable Radio Under Budget

Review

Portability
Quality of material
Volume control
Sound quality
Battery life

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 radios. Being an ardent Sony fan, I vehemently used most of its launches, and while the ICFP26 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 the battery of their 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.

ICFP26 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 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.

Final Words: You cannot call this production 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 radios in its league.

Features

  • Built-in speaker 
  • Integrated AM and FM tuner
  • Powered by AA batteries 
  • Headphone jack 

Pros

  • Highly portable  
  • Supports headphones 
  • Pocket friendly price tag 
  • Carrying strap for better grip

Cons

  • No Stereo

3. Tecsun PL880 - Best Portable Radio for Excellent Features

Best Portable Radio for Excellent Features

Review

Portability
Quality of material
Volume control
Sound quality
Battery life

Overall Rating - 4.4/5

The PL880 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.

The 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 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 radio allows easy tuning as you have clearly defined tuning knobs. People who are unfamiliar with radios' usage may find it tricky to use it at first, but only you get a hold of the functionality a little, you will have a great experience.

Final Words: If you’re thinking, “but there is still something missing” right now, stop thinking because there isn’t! The 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.

Features

  • Have Internal and External antenna
  • Have Internal and External antenna
  • Sleep timer
  • Can be powered via USB port or replaceable batteries

Pros

  • Long-lasting battery life
  • Unmatched sound quality
  • Efficient backlight  
  • Easy scanning

Cons

  • Doesn't work with Airband

4. JENSEN CD-490 - Best Portable Radio With CD Player

Best Portable Radio With CD Player

Review

Portability
Quality of material
Volume control
Sound quality
Battery life

Overall Rating - 4.4/5

For people who want a lightweight and compact device, you should look no further as you have found your perfect companion.This unit 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 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 of the existing one kind of makeup for it. 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.

Final Words: There could be a chance that you would have to make some additional investments to extract the full enjoyment out of the system. 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 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 portable radio list.

Features

  • Programmable memory
  • AM/FM services 
  • Auxiliary Jack 
  • Headphone Jack  

Pros

  • Brilliant sound quality
  • User-friendly design
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Slightly over-priced

5. Sangean PR-D5BK - Best AM/FM Portable Radio

Best AM/FM Portable Radio

Review

Portability
Quality of material
Volume control
Sound quality
Battery life

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 radio? Sangean 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.[Read More]

Features

  • 200mm Ferrite Antenna
  • Dual speakers
  • Backlight

Pros

  • Real-time clock 
  • Alarm clock
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Not an HD Radio

6. Sony ICF-506 - Best Portable Shortwave Radio

Best Portable Shortwave Radio

Review

Portability
Quality of material
Volume control
Sound quality
Battery life

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 the 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 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.

Final Words: You can never go wrong with Sony productions, and this launch 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!

Features

  • Integrated AM/FM tuner
  • Powered by backup batteries as well as AC adaptor
  • Powerful mono speaker

Pros

  • User-friendly design
  • Long-lasting battery life 
  • Highly portable 
  • Easy to operate  

Cons

  • Doesn't have emergency band
  • No Step Tuning

7. Avantree BTSP-850-BLK - Best Portable Digital Radio

Best Portable Digital Radio

Review

Portability
Quality of material
Volume control
Sound quality
Battery life

Overall Rating - 4/5

This multipurpose 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.

The 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 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.

Final Words: 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 radio playing behind you.

Features

  • Bluetooth connectivity  
  • SD card for storage 
  • Automatic and manual scanning

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Adjustable sound effects
  • Easy to Use

Cons

  • No Stereo
  • Not Waterproof

8. C.Crane SSB - Best Outdoor Portable Radio 

Best Outdoor Portable Radio

Review

Portability
Quality of material
Volume control
Sound quality
Battery life

Overall Rating - 3.9/5

Listen to non-stop weather updates, music, news with this C. Crane production 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 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.

Final Words: 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 can 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.

Features

  • AM/FM/NOAA reception
  • Single sideband
  • 400 memories

Pros

  • Excellent reception
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • No Atomic Clock Signal
  • No Internal Recording

9. Sangean DT-800YL - Best Portable Weather Radio

Best Portable Weather Radio

Review

Portability
Quality of material
Volume control
Sound quality
Battery life

Overall Rating - 3.7/5

A completely reliable device, 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.

Final Words: An ideal choice for people who want a 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 production.

Features

  • Backlit LCD
  • 45 memory channels
  • AM/FM/NOAA services

Pros

  • Inexpensive yet commendable performance
  • Good sound-quality 
  • Easy to use 

Cons

  • Headphone doesn't turn off the speaker
  • No Bluetooth connectivity

10. Panasonic Portable Radio - Best Pocket Friendly Portable Radio

Best Pocket Friendly Portable Radio

Review

Portability
Quality of material
Volume control
Sound quality
Battery life

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 radio. If your region is about to become a natural calamity subject, you will be immediately informed and be advised to take caution.

Final Words: 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.

Features

  • AM/FM services
  • LED tuning indicator or AC adapter  
  • Powered by AA batteries 

Pros

  • Vintage design 
  • Large tuning dial  
  • Excellent reception

Cons

  • No External Antenna Jack
  • Not Weather Proof

Conclusion

Despite the era, the need for 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.

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About the Author

Tim

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.