The Best Portable Radios in 2020

The best portable radio can be used everywhere like while camping, at home, at work, etc. Almost 8 out of 10 people listen to the radio every day.

The JBL Tuner finds the right model while comparing the other brands (Sony, etc.), the number of stations stored, the connections (headphone jack, USB, etc.), and the price is all ok.

Check Below Guide to the best portable radios.

MOST PURCHASED

JBL Horizon

  • Stereo sound
  • Long battery
  • Digital tuner
SAIM PICKED

Sony ICF-506

Sony ICF-506

  • Small vintage
  • 4 batteries
  • Compatible
LESS EXPENSIVE

Sangean Digital

Sangean Digital 

  • Beautiful
  • Low Cost
  • Efficient
NameAlready SoldRatingPricing
JBL Horizon Bluetooth Clock Radio Black1500+4.4
Sony ICF-506 Analog1100+4.5
Sony ICFP26 Portable6000+4.5
Sangean PR-D18BK3000+4.6

JBL Horizon Bluetooth Clock Radio Black

The JBL Black Bluetooth is a good little digital radio with a clear and powerful sound. Easy to use, it makes a funny Sangean PR-D18BK AM/FM/Portable Digital Radionoise on switching on and off. The only downside: the insensitive buttons.

The JBL brand digital radio has a dual analog and digital tuner, with automatic station search. In total, the device can store up to 5 radio stations. It also has the RDS function, which allows receiving without interruption, taking charge of the passage from one frequency to another.

The JBL Tuner is also a Bluetooth speaker with a wireless range of 15 m. MP3 and WMA compatible, this model can play music or podcasts from a smartphone or USB stick. You can use it anywhere, and the battery can last most of the day. Finally, the device emits a rather strange noise on switching on and off, but nothing serious.

Pros
  • Simple programming
  • Stereo sound perfectly correct in radio configuration or Bluetooth speaker
  • Good reception (analog and digital tuner)
  • Good size power
  • The battery lasts almost all-day
Cons
  • The buttons are quite painful to press

Sony ICF-506 Analog Tuning Portable FM/AM Radio

The best entry portable radio range

The Sony ICF-506 is great for working while listening to the radio. The mono sound is pleasant to listen to and Sony ICF-506 Analogsufficiently clear. A good choice despite a not always precise station search.

For the price, the Sony ICF-506 portable radio is a good FM receiving station. It also receives medium waves, abbreviated MW. Operating on mains power or using 4 C / LR14 batteries, this device offers a headphone jack and an auxiliary input (AUX) allowing it to be used as a speaker for an MP3 player.

Reception is done analogically. Ditto for the selection of radio stations. Big flat all the same regarding the lack of precision of the chain adjustment dial. The mono sound, even if it is not exceptional, has the merit of being clear. Note that this magnificent radio is also available in black.

Pros
  • Small vintage radio, can be used everywhere
  • It’s ok for radio at such a price
  • Connects to the mains or uses 4 batteries
Cons
  • Don’t expect exceptional sound
  • Wheel for station search lacks precision
  • No station memorization

Sony ICFP26 Portable AM/FM Radio

The best digital radio or DAB, the Sony ICFP26 is the best portable radio. This small table radio does not take upSony ICFP26 Portable AM/FM Radio much space and has excellent autonomy. Certainly the most intelligently designed portable radio on the market.

The Sony ICFP26 digital radio can store 10 stations: 5 DAB or RNT and 5 FM. The most interesting is the possibility of turning the upper dial and finding the memorized stations in an instant. There is nothing like it elsewhere! You can connect this radio to the mains or to the battery, for maximum autonomy of 17 h.

For once, the RDS function is functional and ultra-fast. Stereo sound has a bass present for such a compact device. Although not hi-fi, this is still perfectly acceptable. This small table radio does not take up space and passes easily from room to room. For our pleasure, Sony offers a headphone jack, an AUX jack, and a programmable sleep timer.

Pros
  • The best digital radio or DAB
  • Rechargeable battery and up to 17 h of autonomy
  • Design and simplicity
  • Small enough to fit on any table
  • Can store 10 stations: 5 FM stations and 5 AM stations
Cons
  • Unable to sensor web radios. It is not an internet radio!
  • Price

Sangean PR-D18BK AM/FM/Portable Digital Radio:

The Sangean PR-D18BK was designed to use it everywhere. This digital radio can store 5 FM stations and 5 AM stations in memory.  Once again, Sangean has a masterstroke with this best digital radio. In total, the device can store 10 stations, 5 of which are FM accessible via a key or a shortcut key. Also, note that the station selection is digital.

Operating with 4 AA batteries, this radio has a theoretical autonomy of 100 hours. Among the negative points, we note the absence of backlight on the digital screen. The frequency is displayed, not the name of the radio station. It’s a little most beautiful in design.

Pros
  • Beautiful design
  • Digital selection tuner
  • Quick access to 5 FM stations in memory
Cons
  • Non-backlit display

How to choose Portable Radio 

As the name suggests, the portable radio responds to mobile use. It is a convenient way to listen to music or radio broadcasts at home, on the road, or at work. Its small size also allows it to be used during outdoor activities. Here are the criteria to remember before buying.

Based on preferred stations

It can quickly get annoying to find your favorite station when you are not the only one using the radio at home. The preset allows you to remedy this and find in one click the programs that interest you. Depending on the price, the preset can go up to 20 stations and is also useful for fast synchronization of AM and FM stations.

Portability

Depending on whether you predestine the portable radio for portable use (on a desk, a dining table, in a workshop, etc.) or sedentary (travel, picnics, etc.), it will be necessary to pay attention to the ease of transport. . For external uses, for example, the presence of a handle can be useful for moving around with the radio easily.

Battery life

Variable depending on the model, the battery life of a portable radio can reach 20 hours. But it will depend heavily on usage. If you are used to using headphones or earphones, be aware that they consume less power than the speaker. In addition, many portable radios use 3 or 5 batteries.

Connectivity

A portable radio has nothing to do with connected speakers. So don’t expect an ultra-sophisticated device. It is nonetheless able to connect to other devices via Bluetooth and/or USB for more comfort of use. You can play your playlist from a smartphone or USB stick, and turn the radio into a speaker.

Related functions

They can range from a simple time display to an integrated alarm clock, via the front LED lamp and the solar power panel. The choice is yours depending on what interests you. Do you want a basic radio or do-it-yourself equipment that can be used in many situations?

The different types of portable radios

There are 3 types of portable radios on the market: analog, DAB and internet. The choice will depend on your aesthetic tastes and your real needs for use. Indeed, it makes no sense to buy an ultra-sophisticated device if you are content with basic use.

Analog radio

Analog radio often sports a vintage look, which is not to displease. Its name comes from the analog tuner to receive FM and AM stations via a dial. However, there are analog radios with digital selection, that is, buttons and an LCD screen to automatically search for stations.

You can pick up waves for free in the air with analog sound quality. Expect some crackling if the antenna is not well pointed or if your location picks up badly. The number of channels available is also limited and the offer will depend on where you live.

Digital terrestrial radio or DAB

The DAB + standard is used worldwide for DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting), known in France as RNT or digital terrestrial radio. As with TNT, this technology significantly improves sound and reception. In addition, DAB stations receive all FM radios.

Note that the digital tuner only receives in the covered areas. In other words, thematic channels will not be available to everyone, at least not until the network is fully deployed. In fact, many local FM radios have not yet taken the step towards DAB +.

Internet radio

This type of radio is equipped with an internet tuner, which allows it to receive the famous web radios. The station has access to thousands of online stations (NRJ, RMC, thematic radios, foreign stations, etc.), no matter where you are. You can also listen to music via Spotify, Deezer, or from your computer.

However, using an internet radio requires an internet connection. In addition to the costs that this will generate, it will be necessary to take into account the headache related to the quality of the network, the climatic vagaries, and the existence of Wi-Fi terminals nearby. The Pure Evoke F3 is an excellent choice in this area.

Why buy a good portable radio?

According to a study published in 2019, radio represents almost 2/3 of the overall volume of all the audio content listened to during a day. And portable radio figures prominently among multimedia supports. Here are the reasons for this plebiscite.

Portability

Super light, the portable radio is easy to carry. She accompanies you on trips, excursions, hikes, campsites and other fishing trips. No electrical connection is required: batteries or a battery is enough to start it from anywhere.

Autonomy

One of the major characteristics of portable radios is their great autonomy. Indeed, although they are often accompanied by a power cable, their batteries last long enough and allow cordless use for long hours.

Convenient

Often accompanied by related functions such as alarm clock, alarm or clock, portable radios are certainly very simple devices, but very practical. Many of them are multifunctional and particularly suitable for travelers.

Compactness

Another advantage of drinking radios concerns their ultra-compact dimensions. This makes it easy to store them in a suitcase, pocket, or bag. They can also decorate your bedside tables, desks or worktops without interfering.

What is the price of a portable radio?

Entry-level portable radio.

From 20 to 60 dollars, you can buy an analog portable radio. Overall, a model at this price will only offer basic functions, with average quality. If possible, favor the brand over the price.

Mid-range portable radio.

For 60 to 100 dollars, you will have a very satisfactory sound quality, interesting features, and quality reception. The mid-range is the best segment of the market for most portable radio buyers.

High-end portable radio.

From 120 to 150 dollars, you will mainly have DAB + radios and internet radios. Prices can reach 300 euros, even if it is not necessary to climb as high to find satisfaction. The sound has little to envy to the connected speakers.

Tips

  • Place your portable radio near a window.
  • Use your portable radio as a speaker for an MP3 player!
  • If you anticipate this scenario, we recommend choosing a model with an auxiliary port or AUX input. Only digital tuner radios are equipped with this.
  • Use the headphone jack in public transport.
  • If you want to listen to the news, your favorite shows, or music on the bus or train, you will need a pocket radio with a headphone jack.
  • Use the related functions of your radio.
  • Portable radio with a flashlight comes in handy after dark. A pocket radio with a belt clip or strap makes it easy to carry on the go. Some pocket radios also have a clock and built-in alarm functions, making them useful when you have to wake up early in the morning.
  • Use a waterproof radio in the bathroom or at the water’s edge.
  • If you want to use a pocket radio during a fishing trip, while boating or when taking a bath, buy a waterproof model that will not be damaged if you accidentally get it wet.

FAQs

Q:-Which portable radio should I choose?

Answer:- In our opinion, the best portable radio for most people is the JBL Horizon. The Sony ICF-506 and Sony ICFP26 will be of particular interest to those looking for an inexpensive analog radio. Finally, the Sangean PR-D18BK is aimed at users who are a little more demanding.

Q:-What criteria are used to choose a portable radio?

Answer The choice of the right device will have to be made according to the possible presets to receive the favorite stations, portability, autonomy, Bluetooth and USB connectivity as well as additional functionalities.

Q:-What are the different types of portable radios?

Answer:- On the market, a distinction is made between analog radio, DAB, or RNT radio and internet radio. The first 2 types have the advantage of being free. For the third type, you will have to pay for an internet connection before you can receive the famous web radios.

Q:- What are the best brands of portable radios?

Answer:- Sony is a safe bet. Other manufacturers such as the Dutch Philips, the Japanese Panasonic, the Chinese JBL, and the French Muse are also trustworthy.