With so many portable radios in the market, the chances of purchasing a suitable radio become increasingly difficult, considering that these products possess vast features and come at different prices. These factors even make it even harder to buy the best radio for FM reception.
With the rise of music players and all other streaming services, it might seem that the quest to buy a radio is gradually going extinct because you feel people don’t listen to it anymore.
Well, the simple fact is that there are still people who still want to stick to the radio listening culture. So, they choose to listen to a quality radio broadcast over a music player or the various streaming services.
In other words, they go on the lookout for the best FM reception portable radio.
Portable radios are becoming more technologically advanced these days, with better features, all coming at slightly affordable prices.
Most portable radios have wireless speakers, Bluetooth functionality, and a better range. Their portability makes it even more ideal because you can easily carry it along with you wherever you go.
All these features make portable radios one of the best mediums to listen to music, and news and stay connected.
Top 5 Best Portable Radio for FM Reception
1. Sangean PR-D5BK AM/FM Portable Radio – Best Overall
The Sangean PR-D5BK radio doesn’t lack when it comes to portability. In a statement released by the manufacturer, they claimed this radio to be the last portable radio a buyer can ever purchase.
While this statement may be entirely exaggerated, the Sangean PR-D5BK is indeed one of those radios that you can slot into your pocket and not feel any bulkiness.
This radio has a lot of great features too that make it worth considering such as a radio alarm or HWS (Humane Wake System), low battery power indicator, AUX jack for connecting an external device to your radio, earphone jack and a mono/stereo switch.
There are five FM, and AM presets on this radio, and you will find the volume rocker and tuning knobs that you can use to scan through channels automatically on the left side of the radio.
In the area of delivering quality sound, this radio is not lacking either. It has two reliable 2.5 round speakers at either side of the functions that produce superior stereo audio output.
The radio comes with a long Ferrite antenna, measuring seven inches (200mm) that enhances quality AM reception and a 2.5 adjustable telescopic FM antenna for FM reception, making it two excellent antennas that will ensure you get the best of reception irrespective of where you are.
The readable LCD screen shows a couple of radio functions such as preset station, clock, etc. The radio is powered by 6 ‘C’ cell batteries and a power adapter, which is a great dual charging option, designed by Sangean.
● It comes with an easy-to-read LCD screen with a backlit display.
● Features two different antennae for both AM and FM bands. A 200mm Ferrite antenna for AM band and a telescopic antenna for the FM band.
● Has an easy tuning knob for easy scanning of channels.
● Has dual powering options.
● The sound quality of this radio is excellent.
● It is portable.
● Dual powering options.
● Provides quality reception.
● The battery life is unimpressive.
● Bluetooth functionality is absent.
The Sangean PR-D5BK is one of the most portable radios you can find on the market. This radio comes loaded with features that you will find in high-end receivers while arriving at a high price tag.
However, the lack of Bluetooth functionality and miserable battery life can be a dent in this portable radio, but overall, it’s a great device that’s worth the price tag.
2. Panasonic Rf-2400D Am/FM Radio – Best for Reception.
Panasonic is a household name in the electronics world that is trusted. The Panasonic RF-2400D is no different and a portable radio in the market that is popular amongst radio users. The design on this radio is old school, reminiscent of electronic styles in the early 1980s.
Despite the aesthetic design, this portable radio packs a lot of features that can keep you in awe, especially when you consider the price tag. Unlike other radios that come at the same price tag, the Panasonic RF-2400D has a foldable handle that enables easy carriage.
Besides, this radio comes with a long antenna that boosts signal/reception strength. The tuning knob is large and quite delicate, which helps users to get stations with precisions and fine-tune easily.
The sound quality of this radio is also cool. It features a single round speaker on the left side of the radio, which delivers decent sound quality, compared to radios within the same price range.
This radio is powered in two ways – An adapter and 4 AA batteries, which offer flexibility. Using 4 AA batteries is quite an ideal and affordable power option when compared to other radios that use bigger C cell batteries.
● Has an earphone jack.
● Comes with a ferrite antenna for good quality reception.
● Has a dual power mode.
● Features a 10cm large speaker for good sound output.
● Has a large radio tuner for more precision and easy tuning.
● Good FM reception.
● Produces decent sound quality.
● The battery life is okay.
● Dial glows in the dark and is easy to read.
● Comes at a great, affordable price.
● An external auxiliary port is absent.
● The speaker produces a static noise in the background.
For the price and decent features, the Panasonic RF-2400 would make a good buy for anyone, despite the lack of a headphone jack and an auxiliary port.
3. Sony ICF-P36 Portable AM/FM Radio – Black – Best for Battery Life
Sony is long known as a company that is renowned for making excellent electronics. This portable radio is no different from the ones designed by the famous maker.
The Sony ICF P36 portable radio features an easy-to-use radio tuner, AM/FM bands, and a battery indicator for showing the status of the battery.
Enjoy listening to incredible music hands-free with a dedicated headphone port on the radio.
The single square speaker is decent when it comes to sound production, so you won’t strain yourself, trying to get the message behind a broadcast. This radio comes with a telescopic antenna that enables a clearer reception.
Powering this radio are two AA Polaroid batteries. Other features on this radio include a Ferrite antenna for AM band and headphones.
● Has a dedicated headphone port.
● Comes with dual antennas- a Telescopic antenna for FM bands and Ferrite antenna for AM bands.
● This radio is powered by 2 AA Polaroid batteries.
● It’s easy to use.
● Excellent talk and music radio.
● It’s compact.
● The battery lasts long.
● Has a good reception.
● The audio quality is not so good.
The Sony ICF P36 has everything you need in a portable radio. You don’t need to break the bank to listen to a quality radio, and the Sony ICF P36 is one such radio.
4. Rolton W405 Portable Mini FM Radio Speaker Music Player – Best for Sound
Rolton W405 is a mini USB portable radio that fits into any buyer’s budget, while still offering decent features and quality services. It comes with an AUX port, supports USB charging, and has an earphone jack.
With an easy-to-read red display, you can see the time clock and other valuable radio functions on the small screen. The volume rocker is extensive and easy to use. The large speaker is by the left side of the dial and produces quality audio sounds together with the inbuilt amplifier.
If you are seeking hands-free radios, this one would probably be the one on your list because it comes with a leather strap that you can hang over your neck. Walking, working, and even jogging is made easy with the leather strap.
In case you need some seeing at night or in the dark, this radio comes with an emergency flashlight function, to keep you safe in the dark. A 1500 mAh Li-ion battery powers this device, which is enough to power you for a full day of listening to music and your favorite stations.
● Supports USB charging and USB connection for listening to music on external devices like smartphones, tablets, etc. You can turn your portable radio to an mp3 player through this.
● Supports TF Card where you can listen to some of your favorite music clips and broadcasts.
● Features an inbuilt amplifier for excellent sound quality.
● It comes with a leather strap to enhance hands-free operations.
● Comes with an emergency flashlight function for easy sight at night.
● The battery life is decent.
● The sound quality is also good.
● Compact size and fits in the pocket.
● Supports dual charging modes.
● It doesn’t support a USB drive.
● The volume knob feels rough in the hands.
This radio is probably one of the cheapest radios you can see out there. For what it’s worth, it’s a huge bargain.
5. DreamSky Alarm Clock Radio for Bedroom – FM Radio Clock with Battery Backup – Best for Budget.
Being hands-free is one of the things every buyer wants. This is what the Dreamsky mini portable radio is all about. If you wish to hang your radio around your neck while walking or slot it into your pocket, this radio provides convenience and great listening pleasure.
This little clock radio is portable to the core and about the size of an iPod, which makes it handy and comfortable to carry with you anywhere you want to go.
With a built-in speaker, this mini radio has what it takes to deliver a high-quality sound for your listening pleasure.
Getting your favorite channels is made easy with the manual and auto-search functions. It features an AM/FM button that enables easy switching should you want to change to your favourite station.
For better FM reception in weak locations, this radio comes with a telescopic antenna that you can extend to approximately 14 inches. So, you can hear your stations loud and clear without static background noise.
Dreamsky portable clock radio features a clear and easy-to-read LCD backlit display that shows a real-time clock and alarm clock. For those who have poor night sight, this radio could be perfect for you.
Should you encounter a rainstorm, earthquake, or any other natural disaster, this radio can still work effectively and share broadcasts even when your cell phone fails.
The volume rocker enables you to adjust the volume level accordingly on your radio. Other functionalities on this radio include; a lock button, the alarm on/off switch, headphone jack, etc.
● Features an alarm clock that is easy to set with a click of a button.
● Has a bright LCD screen with an alarm, time clock, and low battery power indicator display.
● Comes with a headphone jack for hands-free connectivity.
● This radio is powered by 2 AAA batteries.
● Has a lock button.
● This radio is compact size and lightweight and easily fits into the pocket.
● It is portable and easy to carry because it comes with a neck strap that allows you to wear it over your neck.
● Very affordable.
● The radio is versatile and easy to use.
● The display is great.
● The cords are too short.
● FM reception is average.
It’s challenging to find a portable radio with that incredibly low-price tag that offers excellent value for money. It’s inexpensive, easy to use, and, overall, a great radio.
The Ultimate Guide
Before you go ahead to purchase a portable radio, you need to keep some critical factors in mind to ensure you won’t be making any mistakes.
Choosing a portable radio is no easy thing due to the abundance of products on the market. That is why before you decide to buy a portable radio, you need to ask yourself what you need in a radio.
What your needs are will determine the type of radio to buy. If you are seeking portable radios with more power, don’t go for radios that offer quality speakers.
Of course, it’s possible to find a radio with both features, but it’s easy to get disappointed if you realize your purchased radio is lacking your primary function.
These factors are what you should consider before selecting your preferred radio:
A compact radio is the ideal choice and dream of every radio user. Most people hate bulky items that will weigh them down while doing one activity or the other.
They opt for a little portable radio with a strap that they can easily carry about in their pocket or bag. That is why we decided to write this review of portable radios in the first place.
● Sound Quality
You should try and opt for a radio that has the best sound. The better the sound quality in radio, the more precise the broadcast is to the ears. A radio with excellent sound quality will enable you to enjoy listening to your radio often.
Apparently, the size of the speakers affects sound output, but that’s not always the case.
For instance, modern radios come with sound bass technology, preset equalizers, and other adjustable sound settings that enhance the quality of sound produced.
You should opt for a radio that is not lacking any of these. Otherwise, you won’t be able to have a great listening experience.
A radio with excellent sound quality will enable you to listen to the radio anywhere, whether you are in a noisy environment or not.
In case you decide to use your radio more for outdoor use, you must go for radios that can withstand the pressure of outdoor activity.
No matter how careful you are, at one point, your radio may fall out of your hand or encounter some hits. A durable radio should be able to survive these rough circumstances and rigorous handling and still be able to function normally.
Weather conditions are inevitable. However, you must prepare for unexpected weather changes during your outdoor activity should they happen. The radio should be able to withstand any weather conditions, be it storm, rain, snow, etc.
Also, it should be waterproof and dustproof and be able to work in perfect condition even after being exposed to these weather changes.
The length of an antenna determines the clarity of reception and, of course, the sound output. A radio with a bad and short antenna will result in weak signals and background noise.
A quality adjustable antenna, on the other hand, will eliminate any kind of static noise and improve sound and reception.
You can also be on the lookout for radios with telescopic antennas. They improve signal strength and radio reception significantly.
● Power Options
A radio with more than one source of power is easily one of the best features you can seek in a radio. A radio with different power options is ideal so that you never run out of power.
Should you be low on power, you can alternatively use another source of power to charge your device. Most radios rely on wall power, batteries, and solar to function.
● Battery Life
A radio with a good battery life will ensure that you stay longer days before looking for a power source. This means that you can listen to your radio on the go for as long as possible.
This factor should be greatly considered before making your choice of radio.
If your radio has backlit capability, that means you will need a radio with a tremendous life because a backlit display drains a lot of power.
● Earphones Vs. Speaker
In addition to being hands-free, you might want to go for radios that have an earphone jack than those that do not or who still use speakers.
This won’t be a problem because most portable radios nowadays come with a headphone jack, so you are likely going to be listening to your broadcasts via headphones than over speakers all the same.
Besides, most modern radios, with or without the headphone jack, come with built-in speakers, so you don’t need to be afraid of listening to loud broadcasts.
The cost of a product is probably the factor that influences a buyer’s decision the most. Portable radios come at different price tags, so depending on what your budget is, you can easily find a radio that suits your budget.
It’s vital to know that the quality of a radio speaks a lot about the price. The more features a radio possesses, the more expensive it becomes.
If you are looking for a portable radio with a variety of features, you need to be ready to spend some cash.
You can get a portable radio with a low budget of about $20 and a high-end radio for about $80-$100.
● Additional Features
Modern portable radios are designed with some other features that just prove that portable radios are still evolving and not going out of existence soon.
Flashlights, for instance, are an example of such features that you can find in a portable radio. You will be able to find your way out of the dark situation easily because of this feature.
Another feature is the presence of a USB port. This provides connectivity options. Users can be able to connect portable radios to their smartphones or tablet as external speakers.
A roll cage is another feature that is commonly found in portable radios for outdoor use. They are plastic and provide an additional body cover that acts as a shock absorber. It protects the radio from damage during a fall and from other minor hits.
Belt clips and straps make portable radios handy. Belt clips allow for easy attachment to the body during walking. Straps allow a user to be able to carry the radio easily.
A radio that has an LED screen will enable you to use your radio in dim or low-light conditions. It will also allow you to see time and other useful details on the screen.
There is an alarm clock feature. Some models come with dual alarm clocks, while others come with a single alarm clock. If you need some sort of timer for waking up, buying a radio with this feature is the right choice.
FAQs About Portable Radios For Fm Reception
● Can you get a clear reception if your campsite is far from a station?
If your campsite is far from a reachable station, getting a clear reception may be difficult.
The alternative solution is to continually change the position of the antenna until you get better reception. Also, change dead batteries as often as possible as they affect radio reception.
● How can I clean my radio if it’s stained?
If you find stains on your radio, soak a clean cloth in water, squeeze it hard to remove excess water and then, use it to wipe off the stains.
● How can I improve my radio signals?
Several factors can impede your radio from getting a good signal. CD players and microwaves have radioactive rays that can act as signal interference.
Also, a poor antenna can also contribute to you not getting a clear signal. Eliminate anything that can cause interference and get rid of poor antennas in favor of a new ones.
● Is it true that the length of an antenna can affect reception?
Most times, it’s true. Short antennas generally receive weak signals, but there are other factors involved that affect reception, such as location.
Reading this review will give you insights on the different radio products in the market and help you understand the features that will be relevant to you should you decide to buy a portable radio when next you visit a mall or a shop.
We hope this review has made it easier for you to select your portable radio according to your needs and budget.