Are you looking to lighten up the atmosphere in your village house or small workshop? Handheld AM / FM Radios come in handy particularly in remote places, are perfect for picnics and other environments where electricity is not necessarily available. Bellow, we will look at a few of the best Handheld AM/FM Radios on the market, to help you decide easier and get your money’s worth.
What to look for when choosing the perfect handheld AM/FM Radio?
Mostly, handheld AM/FM Radios are used for two things. The first one is entertainment, be that good music while making a barbecue or enjoying the authentic rustic feel by listening to radio channels. Secondly, radio is still a medium for sharing news and information, with a surprisingly high number of daily users. Also, many people are used to waking up with a radio and listening to their favorite program first thing in the morning. Therefore, we will focus on one-way radios, as sending radio waves and messages is not important in this case. So, we want to pay attention to a few things that would make a handheld AM/FM Radio decent.
Firstly, a good band connection is crucial, so, high-quality antennas and good tuning are required. Additionally, we want good audio, speaker/s producing high-quality sound. Even though you won’t get as high fidelity from a handheld AM/FM radio as you would from your home surround system, this aspect shouldn’t be neglected. Speaking of the audio performance of a handheld AM/FM radio, Equalizer settings are also an important feature. While some devices come with automatic EQ, others will allow you to adjust the bass and treble to your likings. Most of the time, a bigger speaker means better sound but that is not necessarily always the case. Some additional features might also add up to the overall quality of the radio device.
A digital clock and alarm expand the functionality of a handheld radio. Also, having a few memory slots for channels is always cool, as it allows you to quickly switch through your favorite channels. Weight and dimensions are of great importance as well, especially when you are looking for a portable AM/FM radio. A huge and heavy AM/FM radio is everything but portable.
Lastly, the power of your handheld AM/FM radio is an important aspect to consider. The more powering options there are, the better for you. Mostly, a good handheld radio would have both AC and battery power options. Some might even have solar energy powering, which is amazing for picnics and similar activities. While we are on the subject of power, battery life is also worth mentioning. Devices with backlit LCD usually have shorter battery life, as the LCD would be constantly draining more energy.
With all being said, this is our list of Best Handheld AM/FM Radios on the market.
Top Handheld AM/FM Radios
Sangean PR-D5 FM-Stereo RBDS / AM Digital Tuning Portable Radio
The PR-D5 AM/FM portable radio produced by Sangean has a unique design and a gentle overall look. With nice rounded corners, round buttons, and speakers, this radio is straight-up smooth. On it is a 200mm Ferrite AM Antenna, which allows for a great AM Reception. As you can see, on the front wall of the radio 5 little buttons are placed which can memorize 5 FM and 5 AM stations. Furthermore, the radio displays the frequency and time on an easy-to-read LCD Display with Backlight. Besides having a clock, the PR-D5 also has a sleep timer and a radio or HWS (Humane Wake System) alarm function. The radio can be powered either by batteries or an AC adapter, and it also has a battery indicator that will warn you when your battery is getting low.
Despite the really good AM Reception, the PLL Synthesized Tuning System and the Auto Seek Station increase the overall performance. On top of that, the Mono/Stereo Switch and the two 8 Ohms speakers make for high-quality audio. Overall, a stylish radio of good quality, which is slightly reflected in its price.
- LCD with Alarm and sleep timer
- 10 Memory channels
- PLL Synthesized Tuning
- AC/Batteries powered.
- Durability (the plastic can be damaged easily and scratches would be visible due to the design)
- No tone adjustment.
Panasonic RF-2400D AM / FM Radio, Silver
We have already done a full review of the RF-2400D AM/FM Radio by Panasonic, which has to be a good sign. This radio made by one of the most successful technology companies comes at a very reasonable price. As you can see, it has a very old school feel to it, a simple but neat design. Besides the rustic look, it also lacks most of the features of the latest radios, but do not let that fool you. Panasonic has focused on classic high-quality performance instead of modern features. So, you will not find an alarm clock or memory channels or tone adjustments.
What you will find is a great reception and quality sound. Their new tuner with Automatic Frequency Control (AFC) has an expended frequency range. Additionally, the tuning light assists you as it lights red when you are in tune. The crystal-clear sound without any noise comes out of a single 10cm speaker. The RF-2400D also has an easy-to-read design with a large dial scale and AC/battery dual power option. If you are looking for a durable high-quality hand-held radio that will not fail you for years, Panasonic RF-2400D is the one.
- Easy Tuning and great reception – AFC
- Clear sound
- AC/Batteries powered
- No alarm clock
- Not many additional features
Kaito KA500 5-way Powered Solar Power,Dynamo Crank, Wind Up Emergency AM/FM/SW/NOAA Weather Alert Radio with Flashlight,Reading Lamp and Cellphone Charger, Yellow
Despite its somewhat off-putting design, the Kaito KA500 is still a top competitor in this category. The features packed in Kaito KA500 add up for its design, and then some more. From its channels capability, powering, durability, to its many additional features, this hand-held radio has it all. In a nutshell, if you are looking for an outdoor hand-held radio, this might be the best choice.
Perhaps, this is the best device regarding powering options. Unbelievably, it offers six different alternatives for powering. The first, most common ones, are batteries and AC/DC. The radio has a 3 AAA batteries compartment and a 5B AC/DC input with a wall power adapter which u need to buy separately. Additionally, the Kaito KA500 has a hand crank generator and a solar panel, making it the perfect radio for long usage in remote places. Lastly, the built-in NiMH replaceable and rechargeable battery pack and the 5V USB input make the powering of this hand-held radio the last of your worries. The two Hi and Low battery indication lights are also handy, notifying you when you need to charge the device.
Uniquely for this hand-held radio, it can serve as an emergency mobile charger, as it also has a standard 5V USB output.
The telescopic antenna can extend up to 14,5 inches, providing a high sensitivity reception. Also, a LED tuning indicator will assist you and turn on when you are in tune. Besides the complete AM/FM coverage, the Kaito KA500 has 2-band shortwave and 7 pre-programmed NOAA weather channels. For the USA and Canada, there is also a 24/7 weather forecast with PEAS (Public Emergency Alert System).
This hand-held radio is equipped with a 5-LED reading lamp, a LED flashlight, as well as a red LED S.O.S. beacon light. Finally, the most important feature of the Kaito KA500 is its durability. The device is made of a premium ABS material, both water and impact resistant.
- 6 way powering
- Can be used as a mobile charger
- Shortwave and NOAA channels.
- Offputting design
RunningSnail Emergency Hand Crank Self Powered AM/FM NOAA
Similarly to the Kaito KA500, the RunningSnail is a well-packed outdoor radio that did not earn its place on the list because of its design. But that is not a big issue, as the primary purpose of RunningSnail is to be an Emergency hand-held radio. Expectedly, it does not offer as much as the Kaito KA500, which is reflected in the price. Still, if you need a good camping or hiking hand-held radio, this is worth considering.
The Running Snail does not have the traditional wall AC/DC powering option. Instead, it can be powered by a micro USB cable. Additionally, this hand-held radio offers two other uses of alternative power. The solar panel and the hand crank allow for mobility and usage in remote places. Moreover, the RunningSnail has a 1000 mAh power bank that can charge a mobile device up to four times.
Besides the AM/FM reception, the Running Snail also has 7 NOAA weather channels. That way, you can always be up to date with the weather forecast in real-time. It has a bright but low-power 1W LED light, which is a practical detail that will save you some space. Buying the RunningSnail, you also get a Micro USB cable, a manual, and a 12-month warranty for additional convenience.
- 3 charging options
- 1000 mAh power bank
- 1W Bright LED light
- 7 NOAA channels
- 12-month warranty
- No AC/DC powering.
Sony ICFP26 Portable AM/FM Radio
If you are not looking for a rough-terrain hand-held radio and don’t need any emergency features, this one is for you. The Sony ICFP26 is made for the fans of good old quality radio music. Despite being rather plain and simple, the Sony ICFP26 produces a very good sound from its built-in Sony speaker. It has a telescoping antenna for a better connection and a carrying strap for convenient carrying. Additionally, a LED tuning indicator will help you find channels and get in tune easier. This unit is very tiny and lightweight. However, its pocket size means that the ICFP26 is rather fragile, so you will have to handle it carefully.
It only has one powering option, with 2 AA batteries (not included). Additionally, you will find the LED battery status indicator, which changes colors according to the charge in your batteries. Lastly, Sony ICFP26 has a headphone jack, so you can enjoy the old radio sounds from a pocket music player.
However lacking in features, you are surely getting a high-quality device from one of the major electronics producers. Also, it comes at a rather affordable place. Overall, a very decent device for in-doors use.
- Quality audio
- Pocket-size & light-weight
- Headphone jack
- Not durable
- Not many features
C Crane CC Skywave AM, FM
Another convenient hand-held radio with cool features. In terms of design, it does not stand out from the competition. However, Skywave is handy and rather easy to use. It is rather small and lightweight. It comes with a telescopic antenna and besides AM and FM bands, can handle shortwaves and weather channels. Unlike the other devices that only have a mono Earphones Jack, the Skywave comes with a stereo option for the earphones.
A backlit LCD screen on the front indicates the time in either 24h or 12h format. Additionally, there is a sleep timer and an alarm clock. Also, there is a Signal Meter and a battery indicator on the top corners of the LCD screen. Using the manual, one can get their way around this device rather easily. As the manufacturers have stated, the large buttons and numbers make this device perfect for the elderly. The Skywave has 400 channels memory, as well as a direct entry keypad for easy tuning to your favorite stations. Otherwise, the Autoscan Tuning comes in handy in exploring radio stations.
What is outstanding is the 60-70 hrs of battery life at a moderate volume. Alternatively, an AC adapter can power the device, but it is not included. However, buying the C Crane CC Skywave, you also get earbuds, carry case, Fold-out Back stand, and a 1-year warranty.
- Easy to use
- 400 Memmory channels
- LCD Screen with battery life, Signal Meter.
- Alarm and Sleep Timer
- Can run for 60-70h
- No AC adapter included
- Not durable.
Retekess TR604 AM FM Radio Portable Transistor Analog Radio
The next item on our list is the Retekess TR604, with a simple but eye-catching design. The rustic dial-scale fits perfectly into the modern black case. A 24-inch extendable antenna allows for a great FM reception. The 3.5-inch speaker produces a high-quality crystal-clear sound. Additionally, a standard 3.5mm jack allows for a personal use of the device. Below the volume knob, you can find a tone knob, allowing you to switch between low and high tone. The design and audio quality make this the perfect radio for home use.
However, the TR604 is also portable, as it is rather tiny and has a double powering option. Besides the traditional AC/DC cable input, you can also put 3x D cell batteries (not included). The tuning knob has a great ergonomics, making it easy to tweak noisy signals and pinpoint the perfect frequency.
Overall, this makes for a decent hand-held radio. Good quality of sound, easy tuning, great reception.
- Good design
- Quality sound
- Earphone jack
- Not durable
PRUNUS J-05 Transistor Radio Battery Operated AM FM Radio
The last on our list, but definitely not liest, is the J-05 by Prunus. The one thing that gets your attention right away is the design. Just like the Retekess TR604, this hand-held radio has a balanced and modernized old-fashion look. The dirty white color of the dial scale is well combined with the modernized black of the case. But, the J-05 has way more to offer than its cool design.
Unlike most hand-held radios, this one has a three-way band with good frequency range of 87-108 MHz (FM), 520-1710kHz (AM), and 162.40-162.55kHz (WB). Additionally, it has a high-end DSP chip and a telescopic antenna, offering a static-free signal reception. Another cool feature is the NOAA access, which, as explained before, offers live weather updates. However, there is no option to automatically get NOAA alerts. Instead, you need to switch the channel manually.
The sound is another aspect of this device worth mentioning. The built-in big speaker has a 3W of power and produces a clear and loud sound. Alternatively, you can connect your earphone in the 3.5mm jack to enjoy the music without disturbing those around you. As most of the hand-held radios on this list, this one also has two power sources. The traditional AC/DC powering and a battery compartment. The 110V AC power cord is included in the price. However, if you want to use the battery option, you will need to get a set of three D Cell Batteries.
If you are looking for a more fancy and affordable hand-held radio, with high-quality loudspeakers, and easy to use, this might be it.
- Three-Way Band
- Cool Design