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Ultimate Review of the Best Portable Radio in 2020

by Lisa Hayden
Best Portable Radio

With the rise of streaming services, it’s easy to think that the radio has lost its place in the entertainment domain.

But that is simply not the case.

See, it’s hard to deny the good, old-fashioned appeal of listening to the radio.

Listening to the radio is nostalgic, and for people like me, it's hard to let go of the little ritual of listening to the radio.

For others who don't want to get bothered about choosing what music to listen to,a radio can be quite appealing.

Either way, whether you're tuning in for news, checking on the weather updates, or discovering new music, radio adds a humanly experience to the listening experience.

That said, listening to the radio in your car is easy, but if you want to listen to the radio at home or when working, it's worth investing in a reliable portable radio.

Portable radios are lightweight, compact, and easy to use, meaning you can enjoy the listening experience even when you’re on the go.

They also deliver a consistent and reliable sound for the ultimate listening experience. Some will even give you easy access to stations across AM/FM dial with clear reception, devoid of crackling sounds.

And depending on the model, you might even come across radios with Bluetooth capabilities, alarm, waterproofness, and much more.

To find out more about the portable radios in the market, read our detailed review of the best portable radios in the market.

Quick Comparison Table & Our Pick

This as you would expect from us is an EPIC post so grab a coffee before you start  and see how we cut through every product and review it with precision. IF YOU ARE SHORT ON TIME and just need to know the results of our reviews , CHECK THE RESULTS TABLE BELOW!

Product

Bluetooth

SD Card Player

Reception

Weight

BUY NOW

Yes

Yes

FM

5.6 oz

No

No

AM/FM

3.2 oz

No

No

AM/FM

9.57 lb

Other Great Recommendations

No

No

AM/FM

1.21 lb

Yes

No

AM/FM

7.7 lb

No

No

AM/FM

3.04 oz

No

Yes

AM/FM

3.4 oz

No

No

AM/FM

1.0 lb

Best Top 5 Portable Radio in the Market for the Money 

Best Top 5 Portable Radio in the Market for the Money

Avantree SP850 3-in-1 - Best Portable Radio for General Use

Avantree SP850 3-in-1

Avantree SP850 3-in-1 is a multi-purpose and highly versatile portable radio.

A 3-in-1 option, it features Bluetooth, FM radio and a MicroSD card playback.

Other handy features on this model include a rechargeable Li-Ion battery, a headphone jack, and auxiliary ports, which are great inclusions, especially for the price.

The Avantree SP850 3-in-1 is well designed, and it includes a nice on/off volume control switch with a bit of retro. It's also quite small, and it sits comfortably in your hands.

The design is also very modern, and the front panel sports an LCD screen with six buttons, including the menu, mode, and Bluetooth function, which makes the radio easy to use.

The inclusion of a carry strap offers a convenient way for users to carry the radio around.

The integrated antenna, on the other hand, offers an easy way for you to search for the signal if the strength is not enough, and you can use a USB cable as an extension.

The sound quality is not the best feature of the radio. While the 3-watt speaker delivers a decent sound, it's not impressive either.

The radio also operates at relatively low volumes, and so, it's only ideal for use in quiet places. But the good thing is it has a headphone jack so you can always personalize your listening experience.

The biggest downside of the radio is its limitation to FM coverage only. Depending on the usage, FM-only coverage might be a huge deal-breaker, especially if you’re looking for a radio that is quite versatile.

Also, the radio lacks an AC power output despite its small size. It would have been nice if the radio used both the rechargeable battery and the direct current.

Although the Avantree SP850 3-in-1 is quite compact, it’s filled with plenty of features, and the performance is pretty reasonable.

However, an AM support and maybe a more powerful speaker would have made it even better.

For the price, however, I still think the Avantree SP850 3-in-1 presents an unbeatable value.

Pros

  • 3-in-1
  • Lightweight
  • Value-purchase

Cons

  • Only FM coverage

Check Avantree SP850 3-in-1 Price on Amazon

Vondior Portable Pocket Radio - Best Pocket Radio

Vondior Portable Pocket Radio

If you care about the portability of your radio, you should then consider a pocket radio.

Pocket radios, like their name suggest, are minuscule and are meant to be stashed into the pocket.

One such option is the Vondior Portable Pocket Radio.

It’s a simple and frills-free radio that lets you take a break from the technology surrounding you.

The radio allows you to unwind by tuning into your favorite music station, with zero distractions and annoying touchscreens with endless options.

Despite the small size, the battery power on this radio is among the long-lasting in the market.

I know endless power isolations can be frustrating, but with this radio option, it's always easy to stay in touch with the outer world. The radio runs on AA batteries, which are present in nearly every home, so you can never miss getting entertained by this radio option.

The battery storage on this radio is long-lasting, and a suitable option, especially when traveling.

Vondior Portable Pocket Radio offers a dual-coverage option, allowing you to tune to both FM and AM channels.

Better yet, the radio has incredible sound quality and a non-compromising large speaker.

The built-in speaker is quite a performer and a far cry from what we had earlier seen on the Avantree 3-in-1 radio.

The speaker can fill your room with your favorite song or show.

However, the Vondior Portable Pocket Radio has its share of drawbacks. Sometimes, it gets a little tough to connect to your desired FM station, maybe because the radio doesn't catch the weak signals efficiently.

The material construction is also not the best, and it tends to break down easily.

Other than that, Vondior Portable Pocket Radio has an excellent performance, and would even make a perfect gift for your parents, or grandparents.

It's classy and simple, yet worth the money.

Pros

  • Truly compact (Pocket size)
  • Both FM/AM coverage
  • Long-lasting batteries

Cons

  • FM coverage is skimpy

Check Vondior Portable Pocket Radio Price on Amazon

Sangean U3 - Best Weatherproof Radio

Sangean U3

If you're searching for a weatherproof radio for emergencies, you can never go wrong with the Sangean U3.

This portable radio is rugged and built to survive the harshest terrains and weather conditions while at the same time keeping you entertained.

The model boasts of solid construction that promises to keep it intact even if you accidentally drop it.

Additionally, the construction is both splash and water-resistant, and both properties help to boost the outdoor appeal of the radio.

Unfortunately, the solid constriction comes at a cost: at 11 pounds, this model is by no means lightweight and quite heavier than other options we had reviewed above.

But besides weight, the Sangean U3 excels in all other crucial areas.

For instance, the Sangean U3 has coverage for both the FM and AM stations. It also offers ten presets for your favorite stations; 5 for AM and 5 for FM.

Performance for this model, particularly the sound output is impressive, thanks to the 7-Watt full-range speaker that easily blasts and fills your room with sound.

Despite the richness of features, this radio is easy to use because it features LCD, making it easier to operate even in the dark.

It also includes an auto-scanning feature, two-alarm function, and is programmable for shutting off at a set time.

Pros

  • Heavy duty
  • Weatherproof
  • Easy to use
  • Powerful 7-watt speaker

Cons

  • Quite heavy

Check Sangean U3 Price on Amazon

Wayl Buzz4000 - Best for Emergency Situations

Wayl Buzz4000

Wayl Buzz4000 resembles binoculars, and it ranks highly, especially considering its emergency adeptness.

It’s also an intriguing option for those on a budget.

It additionally has numerous performance and design elements, making it an all-around solution for those in the outdoors.

To begin with, it’s quite lightweight, weighing around 1.2 pounds. With such a lightweight option, you don't have to worry about getting fatigued, even when carrying the radio for an extended time.

Another feature underlining its suitability for outdoor use is the water resistance rating of IPX3. While it won't allow you to submerge the radio in water, it can stand up to the light showers and occasional splashes.

The performance of this model is also quite impressive since it has both AM and FM coverage.

Additionally, the radio lets you listen to 7 NOOA weather stations, thus keeping you up to date with the emergency broadcasts and timely coverage of the weather situation in your locality.

The radio also boasts of 4Ah, rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery that packs sufficient power to last you for an extended period. The battery can be charged through solar power or a micro USB.

The runtime of the battery is equally impressive since it promises up to 12 hours of playtime.

The best feature of the battery performance is the ability to charge other devices such as phones, in case there’s a power outage.

Other notable features on this portable radio include a headphone jack, and SOS alarm and emergency flashlight.

Pros

  • Ideal for emergencies
  • Lightweight
  • Impressive performance

Cons

  • NOOA channels are full of static

Check Wayl Buzz4000 Price on Amazon

ION Audio Tailgater Express - Best for Camping

ION Audio Tailgater Express

ION Audio Tailgater Express isn't exactly a compact radio, especially compared to other radios on our list.

However, it's portable enough to be used for tailgating or camping.

For starters, it’s a full-fledged and wireless option that won’t inconvenience you when outdoor.

At the same time, it affords you the opportunity of not missing your favorite radio shows.

The design for this model is ideal for use on both the outdoors and indoors.

It's a lightweight option, weighing less than 8 pounds, and it features a handle to promote portability.

The radio is also rated IPX4, meaning it has a certain level of water resistance, meaning it's not easily affected by water splashes or even light rain showers.

For your radio needs, the radio supports coverage of both AM and FM frequency bands. And like the Wayl radio, it comes with 10 presets for convenient and easy access to your favorite stations.

The two-way 20-watt speakers on this radio offer a powerful sound performance, which is enough to fill your room. The robust 4-inch woofer further enhances the speaker's performance.

The radio also supports both NC and Bluetooth, so it will let you stream music from compatible devices from up to 100 feet away.

For the power option, a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 30 hours will provide you with all the power you need.

Pros

  • 20-watt powerful speakers
  • Supports Bluetooth
  • Water-resistant

Cons

  • Not compact

Check ION Audio Tailgater Express Price on Amazon

Sony ICFP26 - Best AM/M Radio

Sony ICFP26

Sony is a popular brand in the electronic manufacturing brand.

The Sony ICFP26 is no different, and it extends the legacy of this brand.

It's a durable, reliable, and resilient, portable AM/FM radio that will last for long, even with frequent use.

The presence of both a headphone jack and speaker gives the user the convenience of choosing whether to broadcast to the entire room or personalize the listening experience.

The Sony ICFP26 comes with a modest, yet straightforward design. It’s quite compact, and this is quite helpful in many situations, especially when you’re hiking or even on the move.

The sleek design is also a plus since it makes the radio an excellent option for displaying in modern houses.

Besides the compact size, portability is enhanced by a carry strap that grants you entry to high-quality audio without the need to keep the device in the picket.

Unfortunately, Sony ICFP26 doesn’t include a rechargeable battery. However, it gives the user the option of purchasing two AA batteries individually.

Sony ICFP26 is also easy to use, thanks to the LED indicator, which users find handy at night or in low-light conditions.

Overall, the Sony ICFP26 is among the best AM/FM portable radios in the market.

Pros

  • Sleek
  • Light
  • Compact size

Cons

  • No rechargeable battery

Check Sony ICFP26 Price on Amazon

Jensen CD-490 - Best Portable CD Player

Jensen CD-490

Jensen CD-490 is designed to provide you with quality audio, while at the same time giving you access to every radio station or channel you intend to hear.

It’s also ultra-portable audio equipment that allows you to pick it effortlessly.

A significant benefit of this radio is the integrated CD player that allows you to tune and listen to your preferred music collection whenever you need it.

To ease the operating system, the radio has an LED display, allowing you to realize information, including the tracking number, volume, and much more.

There're also multiple switches on the front interface, and these can be used to play/pause, skip, or even rewind particular music.

For the music lovers, they'll appreciate the auxiliary input jack that guides them on how to plug their MP3 players, iPods, and so much more.

For those looking to personalize their listening experience, a headphone jack does an excellent job of freeing your listening experience from external noise.

Pros

  • Portable
  • Both FM/AM coverage
  • Easy to use
  • CD player unction

Cons

  • Tad expensive

Check Jensen CD-490 Price on Amazon

PANASONIC RF-2400 - Most Popular

PANASONIC RF-2400

PANASONIC RF-2400 is probably the most popular portable radio we’ve on the list.

Its popularity arises from the fact it's a product from one of the reputable brands in the market.

Most importantly, however, it has an impressive performance and is quite reliable.

In my case, I like the PANASONIC RF-2400 because of the aesthetic design, in particular the retro style that was more common in the 80s.

Away from the physical appearance, the PANASONIC RF-2400 is rich in features, and it even incorporates a bunch of features not common on other portable radios for the price range.

For starters, the handle on this radio doesn't fold as most of the radios do. Instead, it folds to the back, therefore creating a ready-made stand.

Though it doesn’t feature an LCD, it has a light that glows in the dark, illuminating the control dials and making it easy to tune the radio even in the dark.

The radio is also quite easy to use, and it has several features that extend the ease of use.

The antenna, for instance, can extend up to 24 inches, and this helps the radio with the FM reception strength.

The on/off the dial doubles up as a band selector when you move it on either direction.

The radio tuning wheel is also quite large, sensitive, and precise, which greatly helps with fine-tuning when searching for a specific radio station.

The sound performance is also quite impressive, especially for the price point.

The 4-inch speaker, which is typically found in the premium option, delivers a great sound performance.

Regarding power options, the radio has both the AC and battery-powered options, which helps to increase the overall versatility of the radio.

The only flaw we found on the PANASONIC RF-2400 is the absence of an external auxiliary port, limiting the usage of the radio as a speaker for other portable media players.

Pros

  • Fantastic AM & FM reception
  • Great sound quality
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • No auxiliary port

Check PANASONIC RF-2400 Price on Amazon

Best Portable Radios Buying Guide

Best Portable Radios Buying Guide

Knowing what to look for in a portable radio makes the selection process much easier.

While there's a wide array of handy features for a portable radio, there're the key elements that you should consider.

Factors to Consider When Selecting the Best Portable Radio in the Market

  • Portability

For a portable radio, both the weight and dimension of the radio are of the essence.

Ideally, your choice of the radio should be lightweight and compact enough not to be an inconvenience even when on the move.

If you care so much about portability, you can as well choose the pocket or walking radios.

These radios are minuscule and will easily fit into your pockets.

  • Power Options

Most of the portable radios run off purely off the battery power.

Occasionally, however, some of the radios come with a power cord to AC/DC charging.

  • Battery Life

The battery life of a portable radio determines how long your radio can run.

Choosing radios with extended battery-life is crucial, especially if you plan to use your radio out of the house often.

buying guide for portable radio
  • Mono or Stereo Speakers

Sound quality is a critical factor for portable radios.

Now, if you choose to purchase a mono device, understand that it will only have one channel.

On the other hand, stereo support requires two channels, which results in clearer and better sound quality.

  • DAB Compatibility

Digital Audio Broadcasting is a type of radio broadcast offering more efficient use of bandwidth than the regular AM or M spectrum.

Always consider a radio with DAB compatibility, especially if you want to listen to higher sound quality radio stations.

  • Waterproofing

Waterproofing isn't always necessary, but if you'll be taking your portable radio to the outdoors, maybe camping or on a job site, you would want your radio to be water-resistant.

Also, consider a radio with dustproof capabilities.

While the waterproofing won’t allow you to submerge the radio in water, it will stand up to the light showers and even the occasional water splashes.

  • Headphones Vs. Speakers

The choice of either depends on your listening preferences and the purpose of your radio.

Portable with in-built speakers are the most common, and they're meant to be used as traditional speakers.

A radio with a speaker is ideal for those who need to broadcast the contents to others, maybe for the family or rather for communal listening.

On the flipside, radios with headphone jacks are built for those who need to enjoy solitary listening.

Consider getting a radio with a headphone jack, if all you need is a personalized listening experience.

The third option is the radio with both speakers and headphones. They're a convenient variant since they let you switch from either mode, depending on the circumstances. It’s a great option for those who are looking for versatility on their radios.

  • Conclusion

There’s so much to consider when selecting the best portable radio.

Fortunately, we’ve outlined everything you need to know about portable radios and even suggested some of the popular options worth considering.

We hope our guide shall make the selection process easier for you.

Current Best Selling Portable Radios!

Originally posted 2020-07-15 11:33:32.

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