Best Portable Radio

Are you looking for the best portable radio? I have reviewed the best on the market today and in this article I will review my top picks.

Being able to take music with you ensures that you will always have something to listen to. I love my portable radio, as it ensures that I always have some great music with me, no matter if I am working in the yard or out camping. I rest easy being able to pick up local weather and emergency news even when on the go. 

Check out the quick list below for price and customer reviews of each of our top picks, or read on for the full reviews:

  1.  Panasonic RF-2400D AM/FM Radio
  2.  Jensen CD-490 Portable Stereo CD Player AM/FM Radio with Aux Port
  3.  Sony ICF-506 Analog Tuning Portable FM/AM Radio
  4.  Sangean PR-D18BK AM/FM Clock Portable Digital Radio
  5.  Portable Pocket Radio AM/FM Compact Transistor Radio

With so many different portable radios on the market, it can be a little tricky to find the right one for your needs when you first start shopping. 

I recommend thinking about the features and attributes that are going to be the most important to you. 

Knowing what you want your radio to do will help you choose the right one. Here are a some questions to ask yourself.

  • What size you want?
  • Do you want CD/MP3/Aux Ports?
  • Which bands you want to receive?
  • Do you need a waterproof radio?
  • What power source will you use?

One of the most important things that you need to consider is the size of your new radio. Some portable radios can slip into your pocket so that you can take it with you when you are on the road, while others weigh a few pounds and are best suited to use in your home. 

If you want a truly portable radio, then look for one that weighs under a pound and has a handle or is easy to carry.

Do you still want to bust out your favorite CD’s? 

Want to play MP3’s or plug in an aux cord?

Once you know what is most important to you, one of the picks below will be perfect for your needs.

What Features are Available

Some radios only allow you to tune into various FM and AM stations, while others allow you to easily connect your phone or MP3 player or even insert a CD to listen to your own music. 

If you want to be able to control the music that you hear, then you will need a radio that offers this capability. 

Of course, it’s important that you realize that this will increase the size and weight of your new portable radio.

Another feature that some small radios offer is presets so that you can easily find and listen to your favorite radio stations again. 

This is great if you have a number of stations that you love to change between, as presets will make it easy to find your favorite station again without having to turn the dial and carefully hone in on it.

I find that it can be very frustrating to try to find a specific radio station using a dial or knob, which is why I love radios that have buttons to allow you to tune into your desired station. 

This is a feature that both younger users as well as the elderly will love, as it removes a lot of the frustration of trying to find your desired station.

Another feature to consider is whether there is a headphone jack that will allow you to listen to music without bothering anyone else. 

If you are going to take your radio with you on a camping trip, want to listen after the rest of your family is in bed, or even just want to enjoy listening during a quiet evening, then this is a feature that you’re sure to love. 

Make sure that the jack size is universal so that you don’t have problems finding headphones that will work with your new radio.

Finally, if you want your radio to help you get up and moving in the morning, then look for one that has an alarm feature. 

While not everyone will enjoy this optional feature, waking up to music is a great way to start your day and will prevent you from accidentally sleeping in. Also comes in handy if the power is out and you cannot charge your phone.

Getting the Most Out of Your New Portable Radio

The best way to use your new radio is to make sure that you have plenty of batteries on hand so that you can replace them as needed. 

I find that there are few things more frustrating than my radio not working the way that I want it to because I need to replace my batteries and don’t have any on hand.

Once you buy your new radio you will want to spend some time learning how to scan for stations and how to tune into them. 

Learning how your new radio operates when you aren’t stressed or in a hurry will ensure that when you really want to listen to the radio that you can tune into your desired stations. This is particularly important if your portable radio is a part of your emergency readiness kit.

Do You Need a Waterproof Portable Radio?

While part of the pleasure of having a portable radio is being able to take it with you wherever you go, including to the bath or pool, you do want to make sure that your radio doesn’t ever fall into the water. 

Unless you have specifically chosen a radio that is waterproof or has a waterproof case, this can quickly ruin your radio and cause you to have to buy a new one. 

Rather than dealing with this frustration, simply make sure that you don’t use your radio anywhere near a body of water or go with a waterproof portable radio.

Best Portable Radio

This is a great portable radio if you are looking for a no-frills option that is small, lightweight, and easy to take with you on the go. You can rely on the handle to help you lift and carry the radio, and easily plug in headphones if you want to listen to your music privately without bothering anyone else in the family. Great choice for a backup radio to use in emergencies.


        Weighs only one pound

        Can operate on batteries and the auxiliary cord can be removed

        Able to easily bring in weaker AM stations

        Incredibly sensitive and able to pick up faraway stations

        Gets loud enough to enjoy from a distance, or while showering

        Large knobs are easy to turn and to tune


        The stiff cord is on the side of the radio, making the radio larger

        Sound can come across a little muffled

        Has more treble than bass

        Can be difficult to scan for a particular station

The foldable handle on this CD player ensures that you can easily take it with you and that the handle won’t get in your way when you have the radio set up permanently in a location. Unlike some other portable radios, this one makes it easy to listen to not only radio stations, but also CDs and MP3s. Using the large knobs makes it easy to tune into your favorite station.


        Offers the ability to play CDs

        Telescoping antenna makes it easy to pick up stations

        Can connect MP3 player, iPod, or other audio player

        Has programmable memory

        LED display

        Can be used with headphones


        CDs can tend to skip

        Doesn’t always play the whole song on a CD

        It’s easy to blow out the speakers

        Sound tends to be very muffled

This is a great portable radio if you are looking for a no-frills option that you can easily take with you due to its smaller size. At just over two pounds, this radio is light enough for anyone to carry it and small enough to pack for leaving the home to camp or during an emergency. While it can take some time learning how to correctly tune into a specific station, it’s easy to search for stations by slowly turning the knob.


        Mono speaker is designed to offer loud sound and lots of power

        Can run on three AA batteries or use the AC adaptor

        Integrated AM/FM tuner

        Built-in carrying handle for taking your music on the go

        Dedicated headphone socket for private listening


        AM stations aren’t very clear

        Quickly goes through batteries

        Very difficult to tune into a specific station

Trying to tune into a specific station using a dial or knob can be very frustrating, but with this portable radio you won’t have to struggle with that anymore. Thanks to the push button tuning and the ability to quickly find the station that you are looking for, you’ll spend more time listening and less time searching for stations. Additionally, other features, such as the alarm and the presets, mean that you will get a lot of use out of this portable radio in addition to catching your favorite songs.


        Backlit LCD display is easy to read

        Offers 10 station presets

        Features two alarm times

        Adjustable sleep timer

        Easy to tune, thanks to the digital tuning

        Incredibly easy to operate

        Different color combinations to choose from

        Headphone jack allows you to use this radio without bothering others

        Wake up to FM or AM stations or a gradual buzzer alarm


        AC adapter isn’t included

        Batteries won’t last very long before needing to be replaced

If you are looking for a simple radio that will offer you the ability to listen to AM and FM stations without a lot of frills or difficulty, then this is a great option. It’s incredibly small and weighs less than half a pound, which means that you won’t ever struggle to take it with you when you are on the road. Additionally, due to its size, it’s easy to store when not using it.


        Simple design that appeals to many

        Able to pick up a lot of stations due to great reception

        Offers plenty of volume so that you can easily hear the radio when you have it set to high volume

        Batteries last for a very long time

        Small enough to fit into a pocket or backpack for an excursion


        Can be difficult to tune into specific stations

        Very little volume control

        Tuner tends to drift

All things considered, I think the Sangean PR-D18BK is the overall best portable radio for the money. Not only is it incredible easy to tune, I love the preset tuning option. With the LCD screen and alarm function it really is a great portable stereo. No matter your age, this radio is user friendly and will work for everyone.

Any of these portable radios will be a great choice, let me know in the comments which radio you went with.

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