Despite the advancements in technology and the incredible tasks a smartphone can complete, the humble portable radios still remain popular. In order to find the best portable radio, there is a checklist to complete to make sure it suits all your needs. Good sound quality is a given but you also want it to be easy to carry, easy to power, and have all the modes and features that you want.
Here we will go through that checklist to make sure you are getting the perfect radio for you. We have also looked at the portable radio reviews to show you the best portable radios available on the market. Once you’ve finished reading this, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for.
How To Choose The Best AM FM Radio – Buying Guide
If you are looking into portable radios, then size is going to be very important as you want to take your radio with you wherever you go. If you are camping, for example, then you probably would want it to be a little bigger in order to produce a good level of sound. If you are going to be hiking then you would most likely need a radio which is going to be smaller and able to either fit into your clothes pocket or easily fit into the pocket of your backpack. Size is very much an individual need but there are other aspects to consider around this.
Smaller models usually just take two AA batteries while the ones that are a bit larger generally take around four. Larger models generally have more features which makes it preferable by a lot of people. They also produce more sound; therefore if you wanted to play the radio to the whole camp, then you would ideally want to have a larger model. In choosing the size, you need to simply assess the reason. If you are going to be somewhere more static like a camp then you would want something bigger, but if you are on the move then you would most likely prefer something smaller.
With portable radios, one of the biggest things that you need to consider is how it is going to be powered. All radios can be powered by batteries but some require more power than others. The smallest radios can be powered by a couple of batteries and will last for a long time while a lot of the models can be powered via a power cord. This is ideal if you will be close to a power source as you wouldn’t have to be so reliant on a battery.
There is also the option of having an internal rechargeable battery. This has negatives and positives with the positive being that you wouldn’t have to constantly spend money on batteries. The negative is that you won’t be able to carry extra batteries as a back-up and if you weren’t near a power source, you’d simply be without a radio.
Again, consideration has to be given to the situation that you are going to be in. If you are going to stay close to a power source then this won’t be an issue but if you are going to be away from power for a while then you would ideally want a radio with low energy consumption and long-lasting batteries.
When buying any product it’s always nice to get some extra features that will help you enjoy your product even more. A lot of the radios are simple and don’t have many features whereas others are a bit more complex in terms of how they operate.
One useful feature to have is the preset function which will help you set your favorite stations so that you can listen to them instantly. Most people are aware of how to use these as they have been a common feature of car radios for many years.
One of the reasons that you might get a portable radio is that you don’t have to use the battery on your phone. There are times though that you might want to use your phone and being able to connect it to your radio via an auxiliary cable or by Bluetooth, which is going to be a very useful feature for many people.
If you are going to be leaving the radio out in the open, then the radio with a good level of water resistance is going to be important. Only a few products will have this feature and it’s something that you specifically need to look out for if you’ll often be outside.
There are other small features that can be useful too such as a carry strap or indicators that will let you know when your radio is low on battery.
Stability And Sturdiness
One aspect of portable radios is that they receive a lot more punishment than regular radio. The reason is that they are taken on the go and are much more likely to encounter bumps, drops, and water contact. Thus, they need to be well-built in order to cope with anything. There are some devices that are built for more resistance and have built-in shock proofing and water resistance. These won’t give you much space if you place them in a backpack and they are ideal for more rugged use.
One way to ensure that you are getting a quality product is to make sure that you are getting one from a reputable company. It is also a good idea to check the user ratings from those who have been using the product for a long time. This will give you an idea of whether or not the product is built to last or not.
When buying a radio, it is ideal to get one that is going to be very easy to use. This depends on the set-up and the controls of the radio. The most basic radios have very few controls like a power button, a tuning scroll, and volume control. This means that you can’t go wrong in using these products.
LCD screens can be a very useful addition where you can easily see the information that you need. If you want an LCD display then you need to ensure that you are going to have enough power to be able to keep it going. With the AM FM radios, you also want to be able to easily switch through the modes depending on what radio type you want. If you are willing to learn how to use a more complicated radio then having one with extra functions is going to be a good choice.
All these radios are fairly simple to use and it’s worth checking where the controls are and how easy they are to use before buying it. Aspects like an LCD screen, presets, and alarms are nice features but not absolutely essential to your radio use.
The importance of a carrying handle will depend on just how small your radio is and also how much it is going to weigh.If you have a pocket radio, for example, then it is not going to come with carrying handles as it would be more of a hindrance. It would often get in the way and become a barrier for you to be able to place it in a pocket.
There are a few things that a small pocket radio can have for convenience and one of them is a carrying strap. Another is having the radio being able to be clipped to a belt, as it would mean you could use it on the go whilst not having to carry it or place it in a pocket.
It’s worth noting what you are going to be doing with your hands, too. If you are gardening, cooking or on a building site then your hands might be dirty and therefore having a carrying handle would be a good way of moving the radio without having to get the main part of it dirty.
Speakers And Sound Quality
There is no use having a portable radio if the sound coming out of it isn’t great. This depends on three main factors; namely the quality of the speaker, the size of the speaker, and also how good the radio is at picking up a signal. In terms of picking up AM FM signals, this is where these radios are much better and can pick up great signals from many miles away.
The size of the speaker is also important. The obvious reason is that the volume of the radio is hugely affected by the size of it. Radios such as the Panasonic has a large speaker that will be able to project over a good-sized space. All the radios that we have featured here have quality speakers. Getting radios from a reputable brand will help to ensure that the sound quality is going to be good, as well.
Headphones vs Speakers
You may be looking into these radios and already know whether or not you are going to be using them with speakers or headphones. All the products that we have featured here can be used with headphones, therefore you’ll always have the choice.
This, again, will often come down to the size of the radio and your intended purpose. If you have a pocket radio then there is a good chance that most of the time you will be listening through headphones. For an outdoor scenario, getting a portable radio with a large speaker might be your best bet.
If you’re planning on using your headphones, then it doesn’t matter too much what type of radio you buy but if you will rely on the speaker, then you would either want a quieter place if you had a pocket radio or get a larger portable radio if there is going to be background noise or wind.
The presets are a feature that we only see on a few of these radios. Most smaller pocket radios are designed to be very simple and therefore won’t have this as an option. Other radios will have many different preset options which can be very useful. Presets give you the option to set your radio by simply pressing a button. It takes you to your station of choice without having to manually tune it in. The number of times you can do this depends on the radio.
This can be very useful to some as it means that you don’t have to worry about trying to find your favorite radio station. If you like the idea of presets but don’t want it to be too complicated, then looking for a radio with a low number of possible presets is a good idea.
It’s worth noting, however, that if you want to use your radio for an activity such as hiking, this could mean that those presets are useless as you will be different distances away from the radio signal and they may no longer be strong enough to reach you.
As we have already seen, purpose plays a big role in what type of radio you want. If you were hiking then it’s likely that you would prefer a pocket radio that you would be able to carry around your shoulder, slip into your clothes pocket or place it into your backpack. This would give you a piece of highly convenient music or forecast wherever you are.
If you are backpacking then the same applies, and you would be able to set your radio down at night when it comes to camp. Having a radio that is too big would be a hindrance as it would take up too much space in your bag. Being in a more permanent spot such as at a beach or at a fixed camp would allow you to take a bigger portable radio and allow the music to be played through the speakers.
There are other types of activities that would also affect your buying decision such as the environment. If you will be at a construction site, where you would be outside and possibly getting dirty, here you would want a more durable radio that will be able to cope with tougher conditions. Whatever type of activity you plan on doing with your radio, it’s important to match it up with the design aspects of the radio. That way you’ll be able to get a product that suits your needs and one that is going to last you for a long time.
The antenna of your radio is going to be a crucial aspect and one that will differentiate a radio from a smartphone. As good as smartphones are these days, they don’t have a purpose-built large antenna to pick up a radio signal. Having antennas will enable you to get a wide range of radio signals and pick up radio stations clearly in order to play them with good sound quality. A good antenna will help your radio serve its purpose and give you exactly what you want.
A good antenna often doesn’t need a large extension in order to pick up good signals though, and the best portable radio will be able to attract a good level of the signal. Checking the user reviews is a great way of making sure the signal is good as this will show you opinions from users all over the world in many different areas with many different signaling challenges.
These radios won’t have the highest level of functionality available as one of their key features is that the batteries inside of them need to last for a very long time. Excessive functions would quickly drain that, leaving you without a radio. One great feature that many people would enjoy is that these radios have a port available for an auxiliary cable. This would provide a very easy connection with your phone and allow you to play your favorite music through the radio.
Many might think this would be a useless feature as you could just play it through your phone but this is useful for a few different reasons. The speakers of your radio will be a lot clearer and louder than your phone so you are going to be able to get greater sound quality. Also, the battery on people’s smartphones is more valuable than their radio battery, as you wouldn’t want to drain your phone by using the speakers, especially if you are camping.
One port that your radio should always have is for your earphones or headphones. This will give you the option of using both headphones or earphones. Even if you don’t plan on using your radio in this way, it’s always a good option to have.
Q: How AM/FM works?
AM and FM are both sent via electromagnetic waves but the way they are sent is different and therefore different settings are needed from your radio in order to pick them up. AM has poorer sound quality but is cheaper and able to be sent over long distances. That is why information channels are often AM and music channels are usually FM.
In this digital age, there is still a place for radio signals. If you are strolling through a city center then listening to the radio through the internet signals on your phone would be perfectly fine and easy to use through your headphones. In many other scenarios, listening to your portable radio will be a better option. It will be able to pick up those radio signals through the air and sent them down to your speakers. Radio signals are still more widespread than internet signals so you are going to get a lot more coverage.
Q: Why Do I Need A Radio, Can’t I Just Use My Phone Or Car Radio?
Using a manual radio is still a great way of listening to your favorite station or listening out to key information. Radio signals still stretch for much further than phone data signals and therefore if you are in the great outdoors, listening to the radio waves is your only option.
Your phone also won’t have the same volume or quality of speakers as a portable radio and therefore you would get a much better, bigger, and deeper sound. Using a portable radio also means that you don’t have to worry about draining your phone or car battery. There are many situations where a portable radio would be the best choice.
Q: How Can I Reduce The Fm Radio Noise?
You can reduce the Fm Radio noise by following either one of these simple methods. Shield the antenna in a metal can, this will restrict the noise from reaching the antenna. Use the method of bonding which will create a low resistance path for the radio frequency noise and reduce it.
Q: How Can I Improve FM Radio Reception?
Radios come with an in-built antenna, rod or wire. By taking these out to their fullest and also by moving them, you will see a drastic improvement in the FM radio reception.
Q: How Can I Improve Radio Reception For Portable Radios?
Portable radios are directional, meaning that you should point it’s back towards the station you are planning to listen. Additionally, adding an antenna to it will give you access to better and improved reception.
Globo Surf Overview
The portable radio still has its place in the world. Many might have feared that it could have died out but until they create a smartphone that is able to pick up radio signals as well, and have speakers that are going to be able to match it, then it will still live strong. Picking the best portable radio for you depends heavily on the purpose you will have for it. You might need a very simple pocket radio or you could well wish for something bigger which is able to have a bit more functionality to it.
There are key considerations such as whether you are going to listen to it through speakers or headphones, how durable you need it to be, whether or not you need a carrying handle, and if you would want to be able to have presets. Once you have been able to figure all of that out, then you would be able to decide which is the best portable outdoor radio for you. Then you would be able to get out there knowing that you’ll always be able to pick up those signals.