am fm radio

7 Best Portable AM FM Radios: Expert Reviews

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It’s tough to picture what life would be like without music. Artists can brighten our days by singing tunes, and several media stream their melodies in a manner that fills us with delight.

The radio is one of these media.

Radios aren’t as common as they’ve ever been, but they still have a presence in most families due to their reliability when other platforms, such as the internet, fail.

Today, we’ll discover what they can accomplish and how to choose the best AM FM radio for our needs. There are several options available but bear in mind that your decision will be based on which one you like more than any other.

So let’s get started.

Here’s a list of the best portable AM FM radios that we have shortlisted after hours of research.

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Product Name

Editor's Rating

Link

AM FM Battery Operated Portable Pocket Radio

5 out of 5

Sangean PR-D5BK AM/FM Portable Radio

5 out of 5

Kaito KA500 5-way Powered AM/FM/SW/NOAA Radio

4 out of 5

JENSEN CD-490 Portable AM/FM Radio

5 out of 5

Sangean TB-100 Ultra-Rugged Rechargeable Radio

4.5 out of 5

What Is an AM FM Radio And What Are the Advantages of Using one?

People born in the twenty-first century are likely to have seen or heard about FM/AM radios in movies or from elderly family members.

However, two decades ago, these machines were cool to have; they had one in every home and provided us with many great moments with our friends and family while listening to our favorite bands.

What are radios?

am fm radio

A radio is a kind of communication media that uses radio waves. These waveforms are electromagnetic impulses that flow over frequencies received by radio, allowing it to broadcast various channels.

Benefits of Using Radios

There are several advantages. We’ll go through them fast and briefly.

On the Go Entertainment

The most obvious advantage of having a portable radio with you is that you can take it wherever you go, whether indoors or outdoors. Just turn on the radio, plug in your headphones, and enjoy your day.

A Companion in the Dark

When there is a blackout, we have no choice except to wait for the officials to resolve the problem. In certain cases, owning a radio might spare you from staring at the ceiling for hours. You may use it to play music, listen to the news and sports updates. 

Compatible With iPhone, MP3, and Other Devices

The majority of AM FM radios are fully compatible with other gadgets. When linked, you may use the radio to listen to your MP3, iPod, or iPhone playlists, amongst many other things.

Adding a Sophisticated Look to Your Home

When there are guests, having a radio in the house might indicate one of two things: they will be interested or label you as ancient. In any case, there’s no doubt that an antique-style radio improves the appearance of a room. These devices have a mystery that makes them timeless.

These are just a few of the advantages of having an AM FM radio. They’re inexpensive, and as you’ve seen, there are more benefits than drawbacks to getting one.

The Best AM FM Radio Expert Reviews

After understanding a bit more about the advantages, it’s time to go further into the market to locate the radio that fulfills our needs. There are several alternatives, but we’ll attempt to keep it brief by highlighting the top options we believe are the finest on the market.

1. AM FM Battery Operated Portable Pocket Radio by Vondior

Radios have advanced dramatically over the years. They are no longer that antique object that our parents owned in the bedroom; instead, they feature current technologies like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. While these new designs are effective, many individuals preferred the traditional ones.

This AM FM radio is an excellent illustration of how those antique gadgets used to function. It is rather basic, and it lacks all of the previously listed characteristics. People may listen to stations using this transistor gadget without needing to make time-consuming changes.

As a result, it is one of the highest-quality portable radios available. When there is no power in the home, or the internet goes down, having this gadget comes in handy. It merely requires AA batteries, which are commonplace in every home.

Because of its small size, this radio is ideal for carrying in your pockets or luggage. The radio is easy to carry in your hands, and its design enables you to alter the settings with short finger motions. Also, the color is rather good.

Another advantage you might consider purchasing this radio is how efficiently it manages batteries. It’s not uncommon for our brand-new battery to run out of juice so rapidly on smartphones. On the other hand, this device makes excellent use of AA batteries by supplying power for an extended period.

Furthermore, the system is very well-designed, that you’ll be able to utilize the same set of batteries for weeks not experiencing any power loss.

As a result, if you’re seeking the best portable radio, this is the best choice. 

What we like:

  • Because of its small size, it is easy to carry in your pocket or backpack.
  • AA batteries power it.
  • This radio is pleasant to hold in one’s palm, and changing stations is easy.
  • The device’s battery lasts for a long time.

2. Sangean PR-D5BK AM/FM Portable Radio with Digital Tuning and RDS

This radio’s small design enables it to be placed practically anywhere. There’s no need to be concerned about not having sufficient room for the gadget. Because it is a tiny unit, it is ideal for keeping around the home, whether in the kitchen or the bedroom.

You have two options: one is white, and the other is black. Both shades are attractive, so picking between the two patterns is not a problem since anyone would complement your home décor.

The radio has a Ferrite antenna for improved AM reception. You also have the option of pre-programming five AM and five FM channels. After you’ve selected your favorite channels, the PLL Tuning System increases stereo sound performance, make it one of the best AM FM radio on the market.

Furthermore, the radio has two 2.5-inch speakers that play stereo music. Their performance is outstanding, and you can choose between stereo and mono quality settings.

If it isn’t enough and you need a silent gadget, you may also attach headphones.

This radio works remarkably well with the AC adaptor that comes with the box. When the radio is turned on, the audio quality is fairly good, and the wide rotating knob enables you to tune in to various stations.

If you elect to utilize a battery, the Display unit tells how much power is left until it shuts off. Everyone should be able to read it.

Other features that may be beneficial include the alarms, which operate by HWS or radio. HWS stands for Humane Wake System, and it is a reliable buzzer that wakes you up. There’s also a sleep timer.

What we like:

  • There are two colors available: black and white.
  • Because of its thin design, it may be placed anywhere in the home.
  • A system with high-grade tuning
  • It works nicely with either batteries or AC adapters.
  • It has alarms and a sleep timer.

3. Kaito KA500 5-way Powered AM/FM/SW/NOAA Radio with Flashlight,Reading Lamp and Cellphone Charger

Kaito is a forward-thinking electrical company that makes one-of-a-kind devices based on its ideas. Kaito has been a pioneer in this area for over 20 years and has created a very awesome radio gadget filled with helpful capabilities.

To begin with, this gadget can provide complete coverage of AM, FM, 2-band NOAA, and shortwave channels. As a result, users can obtain all essential updates while also listening to their favorite programs on a single device. For your convenience, seven NOAA channels have been pre-programmed.

Especially in places like Canada and the United States, you can always remain up to date on the latest atmospheric changes using the Public Emergency Alert System’s real-time weather prediction, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week (PEAS). In addition, because the radio’s body is built of sturdy, impact and water-resistant ABS, you can take it everywhere.

If you lost the charger for your smartphones, this radio would suffice! It has a DC 5V USB output connector that may be used as an emergency battery charger for various devices such as cellphones, MP3 players, digital cameras, and others.

The gadget also has different light sources that may be used for a variety of applications. For example, it contains a five-LED reading lamp, a flashlight, and a red SOS warning light. In addition, to assist you in tuning into the proper frequency more precisely, there is an Illuminated signal strength indication.

At home or on the road, enjoy the powerful and clear audio by the built-in speaker. Stretch the telescopic antenna to 14.5 inches at any moment for optimal receiving sensitivity, which is additionally aided by an innovative semiconductor. In addition, this radio features a solar panel that stores energy from the sun.

What we like:

  • It is available in five different colors: black, blue, green, red, and yellow.
  • It Covers 7 NOAA channels as well as two shortwave stations.
  • Cellphones may be charged using the built-in DC 5V USB output connection.
  • LED reading lamp, flashlight, and SOS light
  • The telescopic antenna may be extended to a length of 14.5 inches.
  • Three AA batteries are required for ABS.

4. JENSEN CD-490 Portable AM/FM Radio and CD Player with Aux Line-In

This next radio comes in five different color schemes. When you look at this gadget, you will most likely note its design, which makes it useful around the home but not in places like the workplace. However, this is totally dependent on the buyer’s preferences.

The radio has a CD player device on top for those CDs that you still have lying around the home. Several functions, including skipping, searching, moving forward or backward, and repeating one or all tracks, are controlled by the buttons.

Because of its configurable memory, the gadget learns your interests and plays your favorite channels just as you want them. It also has a stereo headphone connection with outstanding audio quality for you to enjoy the latest music.

However, there are other things you can do with the auxiliary input. You will, for example, be able to connect additional devices such as an MP3 player or an iPod.

Furthermore, the radio has an LED display with vivid red figures and indications. This allows you to monitor its performance. When you listen to an album on a CD, the screen on the front of the device displays the current track information.

Because of its size, moving this radio from one location to another would be difficult. However, the maker earns another point for adding a top handle that makes it easy to carry about. You’ll have fun everywhere you go if you have eight C batteries with you. 

What we like:

  • It has a CD player on top that is compatible with CD-R/RW devices.
  • Displays the track number on the front screen.
  • Several buttons on the radio allow you to skip, browse, and repeat music, among other things.
  • It has programmable memory.
  • Include Aux port for devices such as iPods or headphones.

5. Sangean TB-100 TOUGHBOX FM/AM/Aux Ultra-Rugged Digital Rechargeable Radio

We can understand if your first response to seeing this radio is confused; this item does not seem enticing at first glance. It seems to be big and awkward. However, there aren’t many others capable of doing what this one does when it comes to technology.

Unlike most of the other radios discussed here, this one has Bluetooth technology, allowing it to communicate with a variety of different devices. It provides wireless streaming of music, news, and other content.

There are several factors why many people regard this device as the best AM/FM radio on the market. It also comes with a built-in battery charger! That’s correct. If you have a pair of rechargeable batteries, this gadget will keep them charged and display the indicator light level.

You’d have to buy the battery packs separately since they don’t include them in the package, but the additional money is well worth it. There’s no need to be concerned about the power outage.

If you’re not comfortable working with batteries, you can always attach the power cable from an outlet. This wire is included so that you won’t be paying more for it.

For durability, the radio includes a roll cage. It is a framework that stops the gadget from slipping off the shelf or tables. However, As the radio is already capable of water and shock resistance, it may not be essential.

The memory settings on this machine allow you to program five AM and five FM stations. You may think that this is not the best portable AM/FM radio, but it covers up for it in other ways.

What we like:

  • It has Bluetooth technology
  • Extra-large LCD Display
  • It comes with a battery recharge mechanism.
  • A roll cage is supplied.
  • Water and impact resistance
  • This radio has ten memory settings for your favorite channels.

6. C Crane CC Skywave AM FM Shortwave Travel Radio with Clock and Alarm

This small black gadget may be fairly pricey compared to other radios, but it comes with so many advantages. One of these benefits is mobility, which makes this radio an excellent partner for outdoor activities.

It is one of the most competent radios, with a storage capacity of up to four hundred songs. All radio buttons are on the front, and it comes with a simple keypad to help you navigate the channels and frequencies.

There is also an LCD that shows the frequencies to help you navigate through the programs. Volume control and an Aux input for the headphone jack is located on the side of the radio.

This radio delivers exceptional performance. It uses two AA batteries, which can power the gadget for 65 to 70 hours. After all, the time duration is determined by the volume. You can also use an AC adapter to power this radio.

Earbuds, a travel bag, and a stand are all included with the purchase. These accessories will help if you chose to travel with this radio.

Furthermore, it should be stated that this radio exceeded all of our expectations. It is a little gadget that packs a punch in terms of power, audio quality, and portability. These are the reasons we’ve included this radio in our recommended list.

What we like:

  • Small and light portable radio
  • It has a clock and an alarm.
  • LCD shows the current frequency.
  • Aux input for headphone
  • There are up to 400 presets available.
  • Runs at a medium volume for nearly 70 hours.

7. Sangean PR-D18BK AM FM Portable Digital Radio with Protective Bumper

We got another radio from Sangean.

This portable radio comes in four different colors. The cheapest one comes in black and grey color, and we must confess that it is also the least appealing. For those prepared to spend a little more, the blue and white or red and white are attractive options.

Nonetheless, the physical layout is the same in all versions. All buttons on the front enable you to easily change the channel when that terrible song you dislike begins to play.

The frequency is also shown on the front of the radio through an easy-to-read LCD display. The backlit gives a clear view of all digits on the screen. Even for those who are unfamiliar with how radios function, it is rather straightforward to grasp.

An Aux input available for headphone, enabling you to listen to your favorite songs without bothering people around you. Due to this feature, you can carry this portable radio anywhere.

The radio also features a clock and a dual alarm system. If you sleep a lot, this radio will give you at least two alerts on the same day. For example, the first at 7:00 a.m. and the second at 7:05 a.m., based on your requirements.

What we like:

  • You can save ten channels, five AM and five FM.  
  • The radio automatically searches for channels.
  • People can set their sleep timers.
  • Dual alarm clock with distinct awakening noises
  • The LCD display is easy to read with a backlit.
  • Battery status indication
  • Works with AA batteries or an AC adapter.
  •  Available in different colors.

Things to Look For Before Buying Portable AM FM Radio

Because selecting a radio from all of the alternatives might be difficult, we’ve compiled a list of the greatest characteristics to consider before making your pick. Remember that not all of these features are required; occasionally, a basic radio may provide excellent performance.

Stereo or Mono Speakers

One of the most important factors to consider when shopping for the best portable radio is the sound quality. A mono radio will have just one channel. Stereo, on the other hand, has two channels, resulting in louder and clearer sound.

Portability

If you’re looking for compact, pocket-sized radios, then portability will be among your top priorities. Many portable radios are also known as pocket or travel radios. If the size is an issue, portable AM FM radios are much more popular than portable DAB radios, which are still not established in the portable radio industry.

In addition, most portable radios offer a 3.5mm headphone jack; some even come with earbuds. Radios with earbuds make them portable and easy to listen to while on the road.

Battery Life

A portable FM and AM radio battery performance should always be considered while selecting the best portable radio. Although most of the time you can plug the AC power and use the radio at home,  there are situations when you would want a radio with a longer battery backup.

There are two sorts of battery-powered radios to consider: rechargeable radios and those that utilize standard AA batteries. The benefit of the rechargeable is that you save money on battery costs in the long run; the disadvantage is that you must have a battery charger.

Water Resistant

Water-resistance or weather resistance of a pocket-size radio is uncommon, and if waterproofing is essential, you should get a water-resistant radio. Most water-resistant radio devices are also dustproof; however, the radio sound quality may suffer when cheap elements are used.

Power Options

The majority of portable or tiny AM/FM radios are battery-powered. Only a few portable FM radios come with only an AC DC power option. Some radios that are meant to be used on a table or bedside usually always have an AC adapter.

Alarm and Sleep Timer

Radios can be very annoying at times. That’s not necessarily a negative thing, as you may leverage it to your advantage.

Many products that provide alarm systems have been reviewed in our portable radio reviews above.

 You may configure the alarm to match your needs. Certain radios have the option of waking you up on the radio sound instead of a typical alarm beep.

There’s also a sleeping timer, which is just a preset period when the radio will turn off automatically. This function comes in handy when you’re ready to go to bed and want to listen to some music.

Even if you don’t need the alarm, you can utilize the clock feature.  It’s better to have even if you don’t need rather than need it and don’t have it.

Auxiliary Input or Speakers

If you’re searching for the best portable radio, you’re probably going to use it with headsets and while travelling. M many radios, even the less portable ones, include headphone ports, so you’re certain to have it anyway. In addition, all radios, whether with or without earbuds, have a built-in speaker.

However, In our recommended portable radios, you won’t have to choose between earbuds and a speaker – you’ll get both.

What Makes an AM FM Radio Different From Other Radios

With the rise of technology and similar gadgets, it is understandable that people would ask why someone would select an AM FM radio.

After all, there are plenty of alternative items that can perform the same thing, if not better. While this is somewhat correct, there are a few reasons why these radios outperform others.

Variety

Several radio stations are now accessible to listeners. Sure, it’s a profession that can’t keep up with popular channels like digital platforms, but such services, among other things, need individuals to have an internet connection.

You may browse among a selection of programs broadcasting on both frequencies by using an AM FM radio, and you just need a pair of cells to do so.

Keeps You Connected with the World

This is a circumstance we wish never to happen, but suppose there is an event or a tragedy nearby and you don’t have a connection to cellular signals. The radio is quite important in this situation since it keeps you informed of what is happening.

Flexibility

The radio is useful in various situations, such as while you’re cleaning your house or going for a walk outdoors. It is a technology that makes our everyday tasks much more enjoyable than they are.

If you’re feeling bored while doing routine tasks, put on some music, and you won’t even notice how quickly time passes.

FM radios may go out of production one day, which would be a sad moment. Let us make use of these magnificent devices as much as possible.

FM Radio vs. Radio Apps

After reading our portable FM radio evaluations, you now know what these gadgets are capable of, but most people have another question: why not use radio applications instead?

That is an excellent question. It is fair that many folks have this discussion before purchasing a radio, however once we grasp how each media works, selecting between the two becomes simple.

Choosing a Portable FM Radio

Let us begin by expressing that, in our view, having a portable radio is always preferable. You receive a portable gadget that you can take with you wherever you go and runs only on batteries. There is no need to be concerned about power failures or other comparable events.

You may also place your radio in other parts of your home, such as the bedroom or kitchen, but you can even take it to the workplace. You won’t annoy anybody close if you use headphones.

Choosing a Radio App

There’s no denying that Internet radio applications have a lot of advantages. You may browse through a vast collection to locate your favorite music, and you can listen to them on most platforms, including smartphones and computers. But what about the internet failure?

While some radio applications do operate offline, they still fall short of what traditional radios do. For us, there is no question about which one to chose.

How FM Radio Works

AM/FM radios are an intriguing invention. At first look, the ability to transmit sounds from hundreds of kilometers distant seems to be magical. But there’s nothing mystical about it since it’s just a bunch of technology put together. We’ll now explore how these radios work.

What are Radio Waves

You’ve undoubtedly had more knowledge of FM Radio devices by now, but how does it all work?

FM stands for Frequency Modulation, while AM is for Amplitude Modulation. Every channel in these wavelengths broadcasts through radio signals, a mixture of infrared, gamma rays, and other transmitters such as microwave.

Every day, these signals surround us and operate at a variety of frequencies. While we as human beings cannot detect them, transceivers such as the greatest FM radio can.

FM and AM Frequency Broadcasts

As previously stated, FM employs Frequency Modulation, while AM employs Amplitude Modulation.

The AM frequency is the simpler of the two, which makes it easier for receivers to pick up signals. The frequency range is often between 520 and 1710 kHz. However, there are certain drawbacks, one of which is that this wavelength is more prone to failure under extreme weather circumstances such as storms.

FM operates on a frequency range of 87.5 to 108.0 MHz. It is much greater than the AM frequency, yet the frequency spectrum needed is less than what AM requires. Therefore, this frequency is ideal for music programs and other related activities.

There is a lot of complex knowledge that goes into these frequency bands, but we’ve covered the basics that everybody should be aware of. Furthermore, there is no need to choose between the two since many radios provide both FM and AM, providing you with a wide range of entertainment options.

So, if someone attempts to sell you the best AM radio or the best FM radio, don’t accept that offer; instead, go for one that supports both frequencies.

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What is the difference between AM and FM bands?

Both frequencies reflect an analog means of broadcasting audio signals. The way the transmitted signal is adjusted differs between the two bands.

The wavelength of the radio wave fluctuates in FM radio, while the amplitude of the radio signal fluctuates in AM band. Furthermore, the AM frequency band is 535-1605 kHz, while the FM frequency band is 88-108 MHz.

How to improve radio reception?

As with your mobile phone or television, the quality of your radio signal is determined by various elements, understanding which helps you improve the reception of your radio. The following are the most important elements to consider while attempting to increase reception quality:

Remove any electrical waste: CD and DVD players, TV boxes, video game consoles, light switches, microwave ovens, and monitor displays are all typical sources of radio interference.

Choose a more suitable place: Even though radio transmission speeds are as fast as light, bricks, steel, and concrete constructions may block radio waves. Make sure there is nothing in the way of the radio and the transmission tower that streams your FM music.

Bad radio antenna: When a radio comes with a built-in antenna, it looks nice and makes it more portable. At the same time, to provide the optimum reception, the antenna must give as much physical length as practical, which is why an external antenna is so important.

Stereo FM. Our present FM stereo technology was established in the 1960s to replace a more dependable FM band that had previously only delivered a mono signal. Regardless of sound quality, the mono signal is cleaner, more steady, and stronger. The subsequently upgraded FM stereo band compromised signal reliability in favor of stereo sound, and the FM band has not been changed in almost 40 years. Most portable FM radios feature a button to convert between Mono and Stereo; switching to Mono will offer you an improved radio signal at very little cost in terms of audio quality.

Mono Vs. Stereo in radios

Despite its technological potential and historical usage, the modern AM band is only available in mono. An effort was made in the mid-1980s to bring stereo to the AM band, but since it needed compatible equipment and music stations shifting to the FM band, the desire for AM Stereo technology has faded away.

The FM band was and continues to be stereo compatible, which increases the radio sound quality.

Are radio waves dangerous?

To fully address the issue, we must first define radiofrequency radiation (RF). In a nutshell, it is the release of energy from a certain source. In radio transmitters, the emission is created by the FM or AM transmitter and broadcasted through radio and microwaves.

These waves are low in electromagnetic radiation and generate non-ionizing radiation, which means they do not interact with human bodies. As a consequence, such waves are incapable of causing any harm or triggering changes in our DNA.

Non-ionizing waves are much less dangerous than X-rays, Gamma, and UV. At the same time, no research has decisively concluded that FM and AM waves are not harmful to human bodies or the other way around.

Conclusion

Have you discovered your favorite portable radio yet? One fast way to narrow down your selections is to determine if you need a basic radio to play music or a gadget with current capabilities such as Bluetooth. Choosing gets easy after you’ve figured it out.

Whatever the younger generation says, radios are worthwhile, and you’ll appreciate them quite a bit. When the power goes out, or your smartphone’s battery dies, these gadgets will keep you entertained for hours by playing your favorite tunes continuously.