In this upgraded generation of digital electronics, where you are consistently engaged with your iPods, tablets, smartphones, AM FM radios so far have sustained their position well. When you are on a tour and outside the network, all your smart gadgets are eventually dying, yet you can connect to the world using your best AM FM portable radio.
In any tiresome days or even on holidays you can relax by listening to your treasured show with those old school radios and bring back your peace of mind. In the short term, you may be flattered with outlook when you go to buy one but your radio must meet certain qualities for long-term use.
In this article, we have accumulated the effective information and reviewed some of the best AM FM portable radios fairly to lift you in treasuring the impeccable one.
What Is an AM FM Portable Radio?
An AM FM radio is the combined receiver of both AM (Amplitude modulation) and FM (Frequency Modulation) signal from the AM FM transmission. When it comes to portability, the radio should be light in weight and should be capable to function adopting DC power with batteries.
How the AM FM Radio Works?
In my opinion, while you are practicing any product, it is necessary to understand the theory of working. The working of the AM FM radios is not that tangled. It may feel like a miracle how this small kit catches sounds sent from even a thousand miles away.
Telecasting stations perform encoded modulation on their message signals adopting the transmitter to send it very far. A high-frequency carrier helps to carry the signal, unlike TVs with wired network connections. In the case of AM, the amplitude of the carrier is changed according to the strength of the original signal and in the case of FM, the frequency is altered.
In the receiver of radio, the mixed-up signal is decoded and the original sound signal or modulating signal is extracted. Then this weak signal is filtered from noise and amplified to the loudspeaker or earphone. Thus, you can enjoy your favored music or sports from every corner of the world.
How to Manually Tune to Radio Stations?
Though few of the portable radios contain a digital tuner, most of them have an analog round dial. Tuning properly to a specific station is very tricky and a kind of a test of your patience. First, select the AM or FM option by pressing a specific button.
Second, press the button or rotate the dial to Tune+ or Tune- and find out your desired station. Third, to get clear reception to wait about 2 seconds for the LED indicator to turn on or the beep sound. To boost the reception, the telescoping antenna may be beneficial if available.
Our Choice of Best portable AM FM Radios
With a large number of products attainable, you may feel lost in an ocean. So, here we have sorted down some of the best AM FM portable radios trending in the market currently with their pros and cons to narrow down your search list.
1. Panasonic RF-2400D AM / FM Radio, Silver
Panasonic RF-2400D has served almost 5.5k customers till now with their pleasant sound quality and many other advanced features and has kept upright the prestige of the Panasonic brand.
Operating this radio is not very intricate as it does not require a series of buttons to be pressed. The simple, large, and different knobs make it easy to handle. the big dial lets you catch your desired station. It includes an earphone plug too.
This analog tuner will bring in stations in undistorted form without the aid of the collapsible antenna in-between frequency ranging from FM 87-108 MHz and AM 520-173kHz. Also, you can pick up weak stations making the ferrite antenna up. A red light will notify you if the desired station is properly tuned.
Also, the lightweight and the attached handle makes the radio handy and compact. It will enable you to operate this both in AC or DC mode as you need with a 4AA battery or AC cord which is included. So, you can carry this anywhere or keep this at home too. The battery life is amusing.
Few customers complain about the lack of bass in sound. Though the FM works like a pro but gives muffled sound in case of AM reception. The cord is stiff making an extension of 2.5 inches when. Also, the old-fashioned radio will not give you control overtone to raise or decrease the treble and bass.
2. Sony ICF-S10MK2 Pocket AM/FM Radio, Silver
When your quest for a compact AM FM radio continues, Sony ICF-S10MK2 Pocket AM/FM Radio will meet your expectations carrying out your intended work maintaining their reputation. The carrying strap makes it advantageous and handy.
With the precise tuner, you can pick up FM stations ranging from 88-108MHz and AM stations with a range of 530-1600kHz. The inbuilt speaker will give you decent sound quality which is loud enough as the output power is somewhat 100mW. There is a LED as an indicator of clear tuning.
The DC power requirement is 3V. The Battery backups for nearly up to 45hours for AM and 40 hours for FM which is more than enough with a 2AA battery.
The antenna for FM is of the telescoping type which is protected with a small screw joint to a metal piece in the back of the radio. You may feel the channels are jammed and may find it hard to tune, then you need to take the boost of the antenna for clear sound with acceptable 10% distortion.
The earphone jack is worth mentioning. It will help you to hook up an earphone which enables you to listen get to your desired channel even in a noisy environment and will maintain your privacy.
You cannot rotate the antenna so you have to rotate the radio, which is not a big deal. The earphone jack is mono so not suitable for stereo headphones. As the tuner is very sensitive, you may lose your tuned channel while traveling. Also, you may find it tough to control the volume.
3. Sony ICF38 Portable AM/FM Radio
Sony ICF-38 Portable AM/FM may draw your attention with its alternative AC or DC mode and this makes the radio versatile. The hardwired Ac plug can be stored in a hidden compartment. As SONY is a well-renowned brand, you can rely on them.
4AA batteries are rechargeable or standard and will allow you to be entertained with your especial station even in a power outage. While handling AC mode it is recommended to remove the batteries.
You will be able to bring in FM stations with a range of 88-108MHz and AM stations with a range of 530-1700kHz. It has 400mW power output with a 10% exaggeration.
It is small enough to carry everywhere with the retractable handle and large enough to give a loud sound with the inbuilt mono speaker earphone jack.
The built-in antenna functions for AM and the external collapsible and sturdy antenna is made for FM. With the analog tuner, the antenna assists in upgrading signal reception. The LED indicator helps to detect accurate tuning.
The radio has no auto shut off or sleeps feature and the design is outmoded. You may find it a little heavy as it is hardwired internally for ac dc conversion. The mono earphone jack will not allow you to link stereo headphones. Moreover, temperature-sensitive tuning makes it tricky to stay on the properly tuned channel.
4. AM FM Battery Operated Portable Pocket Radio
When you are on your holidays and want to loosen up yourself by picking up to your precious radio channel, then AM FM Battery Operated Portable Pocket Radio will end your pursuit.
You will not need to worry about power interruptions as this is operated by 2 AA batteries which are obtainable everywhere. So, whether its indoor lazier time or outdoor long trip, this little portable apparatus can be your best friend everywhere.
The inbuilt speaker is more than enough to fill your room with your favorite show or game commentaries. It is capable of bringing in FM stations (88-108MHz) and AM stations (530-1600KHZ) with better sound quality and a stable base. There is a telescoping antenna to assist in tuning.
It is very easy to operate as this does not contain too many buttons. All it has a mono earphone jack, on-off volume button. Also, there is a carrying strap if you need it in any situation.
It is a little difficult to find any specific station with the analog dial, especially in rural areas. The volume control is a little weird as it works in reverse. The material quality is not very good so you have to be careful while handling this. Also, the battery life may not meet your expectation of long-lasting performance.
5. Sony ICFP26 Portable AM/FM Radio
In the search of the best FM AM portable radio, SONY ICFP26 Portable AM/FM radio, the upgraded version of ICF-S10MK2, may draw your attention with its modern, sleek look. Also, the reputable SONY brand will not disappoint you.
This product is featured with an inbuilt speaker to fill your room with a beautiful song and with a headphone jack which supports stereo type headphones, helps to without bothering others sand maintaining one’s privacy. The sound quality will satisfy you with its stable base.
You can tune this to pick up FM stations (88-108MHz) and AM stations (530-1600KHz) both. With the aid of the collapsible long antenna, it is much easier to tune to any station, even when your camping in a very far place.
The main thing that may pick your attention is that it will provide you a LED indicator to notify you about the battery status. Also, there is another LED light to help you tune to a channel.
The two AA batteries enable you to carry this anywhere and anytime. Moreover, a wrist strap is given for your convenience, in case if you want to eavesdrop while walking.
The headphone jack is not stereotype. As the volume and on/off switch are combined, every time you turn it on you will have to adjust the volume. It’s a weaker collector than the previous version. The coating is made of poor-quality plastic. For some people, the two LED lights may be visually annoying.
6. Sangean PR-D5BK AM/FM Portable Radio
When you are searching for a portable radio that is digital and smart then Sangean PR-D5BK AM/FM portable Radio is the one for you. It’s a complete package of digital features. You can operate this with the included AC adapter or batteries.
The greatest feature of this product is its LCD which is very easy for anyone to read. The battery power indicator will show you the level of battery life so that you can be aware of how long it will serve you. If you push a specific button it will also show you the time.
It is manufactured with 10 previously arranged stations; 5 for AM and 5 for FM. So, you need not waste your time and be bothered by searching every time with the digital tuner. The 200mm antenna gives a boost to AM reception.
You can devour your adored show with the stereo audio system. Also, it gives you the freedom to choose between stereo or mono. So, you can hook up with any kind of headphone you have.
The things that may attract you to this product are the additional smart feature of sleep timer and Alarm or human wake system buzzer. You can also attach external devices like your smartphone or CD player with the Aux-in port.
The sound quality is a little dull and muffled. Battery life is not that satisfactory as it is featured with so many functions. The volume and tuning nob are made of rubber so it is not perfect for the tropical zone.
7. C Crane CC Skywave AM, FM, Shortwave, Weather and Airband Portable Travel Radio with Clock
C Crane CC Skywave AM FM portable radio is a loaded package of many advantageous features. It ensures its high manufacturing quality just by appearance. It is powered by 2AA batteries for 60-70 hours approx. or can be powered by an AC adapter
You can tune this with the knob which is very tight and solid without any annoying sounds while adjusting. Furthermore, there is a sensitive keypad to direct entry to your desired frequency for FM (87.5-108 MHz) and AM (520-1710kHz). It has previously set 400 channels.
There is an inbuilt ferrite antenna for AM reception. The short-wave radio makes you pick up channels from long distances like the other corner of the world. Moreover, the radio is also of the Airband type.
It has a wonderful option for a weather alert. The clock with alarm, sleep timer, earbuds, USD, LCD, battery life indicator is worth mentioning. Stereotype headphones are usable with the radio. There is a Foldout back-stand to comfortably watch the display and a carry case.
You cannot scan between stored air frequencies if you want. The sound may not gratify you with base. Equipped with those additional functions, it is a bit complex to operate. Also, the micro SB port will not accept the USB adapter plug.
8. Studebaker SB2000TG Turquoise/Gold Retro Classic Portable AM/FM Radio
With the super cute antique type look and dual power operation, Studebaker SB2000TG Turquoise/gold Retro Classic Portable Radio will impress you. You can operate this by your normal ac power outlet or 4 C batteries. You can fold the cord in the back of the radio and store it when not in function.
The large analog round tuning knob is very efficient and you can bring in FM stations with frequencies 88-108MHz and AM stations with frequencies 530-1710 kHz. The collapsible antenna helps in greater signal reception.
The 350 mW output power of the premier speaker ensures to give out loud sound. through the auxiliary jack, you can join it with your audio players like mp3, mobile phone, or iPod.
There is a carrying handle for your convenience making it very handy and compact. It is very easy to operate with only two knobs.
Here is no LED tuning indicator. Antenna length is not enough as it requires to be. As a result, the signal reception is not excellent. The sound quality is not very good. The circuit design is not efficient as it has a high- power consumption compared to be a little radio.
Qualities of The Best AM FM Portable Radio
It is difficult to differentiate the radios by judging only their outlooks. You have to acknowledge all the beneficial aspects of a product. Finally, then you will be able to get the best one and get full delight. Here are some of the important details you have to consider discussed below.
When you are a regular radio attender, there must be some stations that you don’t like to miss. Also, everyone wants more stations to bring in their radio. The range of AM signals is from 535 to 1705 kilohertz and for FM it is 88 to 108 MHz. So, try buying a wider ranged radio or at least the radio capable of tuning to your cherished stations.
In the long search of your portable radios, the size and weight of the radio are is influential factors. You have to scrutinize the dimension and weight so that it perfectly fits in your pocket or anywhere you want to keep it maintaining the quality.
In some situations, you may want to stay jingled while moving. Then a carrying strap or handle may prove to be a plus factor for you. Your selective requirements vary with your purpose, so carefully examine the size and weight of the radio in accordance where your purpose.
The power source with which the radio will operate is very relevant. Hence for portability, your radio must be able to function by a DC power source; a couple of rechargeable batteries. But so far, some radios have dual powering options. That means they take in AC or DC power based on your requirements.
So, this type of radio will make you feel like a winner buyer as you can play the radio inside or outside everywhere. You will not miss any emergency news while power outages and you can carry it with you for hours. Also, your normal AC wall outlet will allow you to let batteries rest and relish your devoured show without any worry.
Truly speaking, the more functions you want the more sacrifice you have to make with the battery life. It is found that while earphones are plugged in, radios will consume lesser power.
If you are going on a long trip with your radio, then look at how long it will accompany you. Battery life depends much on the number of batteries needed and battery quality.
Digital features indeed make the radio complicated to handle. If operating your radio is bothersome then what is the point of buying one? So, your radio must be user friendly.
In this respect, a radio that has fewer buttons or dials might be perfect. Most radios contain a power button, a volume dial, a tuning dial. Some radios are manufactured with digital LCD monitors to assist you in better understanding.
A good speaker quality leads to great sound quality. But you have to remember that you are buying a portable radio, so you cannot expect it to sound like those speakers played in concerts. But up to now, some radios will please you with their sound quality.
The inbuilt speaker must be efficient enough to give out loud sounds of your desire. For this contemplate the output power ratings. No one wants the bothersome and muddy sounds. So, search for a speaker that will give some decent bass and treble. Also, see the sound is mono or stereo type.
A very crucial aspect of any radio is the antenna. A good antenna improves the received signal quality. The antenna length hugely affects signal reception especially to hook stations of very far. So, find out a radio with a good antenna.
Not always everyone around you will want to participate in you. So, to maintain your privacy and for the convenience of others around you, your radio should have a headphone jack, mono or stereo as you want.
To avoid the strenuous effort of tuning each time, some digital radios offer presets so that your beloved stations are saved constantly.
LED indicators are often given to indicate perfect tuning and battery life. These are very helpful to find outstations and also to be careful if the battery is running out.
In the limit of compromising with battery life, who doesn’t want many digital functions in a single product? Many radios allow you to associate your tablet phone or other devices with the aid of USB ports or aux in.
With the upgrade of portable radios, many small radios contain LCD monitor and buttons in place of analog dials. Some have sleep and clock functions to enable you to watch time and set sleep time. Also, you can set alarms if you want.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Some frequently asked questions and their answers are given below
Q: What is a shortwave radio?
Ans: A radio that is capable of bringing in shortwaves; signals of frequencies 3-30 MHz. So, most of them are AM.
Q: Why AM reception is better at night?
Ans: Because the ionosphere has better reflection characteristics at night due to the absence of sunray.
Q: Why touching the radio antenna improves reception sometimes?
Ans: it increases the length of the antenna and your body becomes a part of antenna in some frequencies.
Q: How far can FM and AM signal travel?
Ans: 30-40 miles approx. for FM and 100miles for AM. For the low frequency, AM signal travels further.
Though the FM AM radios seem like a simple gadget, one should not judge a book by the cover. In this article, we gathered up some best AM FM radio with their aspects that may attract you and pitfalls you should keep in mind.
In my judgment to get a pro sound quality and better reception, you can lean on one prestigious brand like Panasonic, Sony, or Sangean. The Sangean PR-D5BK and C Crane CC Skywave, AM, FM, Shortwave Weather, and Airband radio meritorious for its advanced digital features that may draw your interest.