Best Shortwave Radio

Are you searching for the best shortwave radio?

There are many types, sizes, and makes to choose from. I have reviewed the most popular models on the market. After reading this article you will know my recommendations for you.

Check out the quick list below for links to customer reviews and price for my picks, or read on for my full review:

  1.  Tecsun PL880 Portable PLL Digital Dual Conversion Shortwave Radio
  2.  ICOM 7300 02 Direct Sampling Shortwave Radio
  3.  C Crane CC Skywave Portable Shortwave Radio
  4.  Kaito KA500 5-Way Solar Power Crank Shortwave Radio
  5.  Sangean ATS-909X Shortwave Longwave World Band Radio

I’ve owned many shortwave radios over the years and there is a wide range of quality out there. Having a high quality shortwave radio is well worth the investment.

Choosing a powerful shortwave radio allow you to pick up more frequencies clearly. 

Frequency coverage is one of the primary factors I consider. 

Make sure that you look for a radio with a minimum frequency coverage of 540 kHz to 30 MHz.

Also ensure the radio has a shortwave broadcasting station mode, not just an AM mode. 

SSB can sometimes be used by some stations as well as by maritime, ham, marine, and aeronautical communications, which will increase the information that you are able to receive with your shortwave radio.

Another important feature is the ability to add an external antenna. 

Unfortunately, many shortwave radios only have internal antennas, and these simply aren’t powerful enough for you to get the best reception. 

Keep in mind, built-in antennas are great for tuning into major stations, but they won’t work well in certain buildings.

Shortwave Radio Benefits

Shortwave radios make it possible for you to listen to transmissions on a wide range of frequencies

In fact, they are the type of radio that makes it possible for people to hear international broadcasts. I like being able to tune in to broadcasts from Japan.

While you may not need to hear news from around the world in an emergency, shortwave radios are going to be powerful enough for you to connect with other people around you. 

When there is an emergency scenario, it is very likely that cell phone and landline phones won’t work anymore. 

Because of this, you need to make sure that you have the ability to listen to what is going on around you, no matter whether you are in your home or have left for the woods. A shortwave radio will allow you to hear the news and emergency alerts in your community.

What to Look For in a Shortwave Radio

There are a few features that will really set a radio apart from others on the market. 

One of my favorite features is a memory function that allows you to save preset frequencies. 

This makes it fast and easy to tune in to your favorite frequencies.

I also recommend selecting a radio with scanning capabilities. 

When you choose a shortwave radio that will allow you to scan, then you won’t have to worry about manually trying to find a frequency. 

This allows you to set the radio to scan and then allow it to work.

You will also want to consider how you are going to power your radio. 

If your intended use is for power outages or when in the woods, opt for a shortwave radio that is solar powered or hand cranked. 

Otherwise, I find that a durable battery offers me all the power that I need.

The size of your new radio will also play a huge role in whether or not you are able to take it with you when you leave your home. 

I prefer a smaller radio that is still easy to use, but won’t be so big that I can’t throw it in my backpack. But I also have a powerful, larger radio in my workshop.

Some shortwave radios come with a built-in flashlight. 

There are many other optional features that come down to personal preference. 

How to Best Use Your Shortwave Radio

Most shortwave radios available are straight forward to use. 

All you really have to do is turn it on and start scanning through available frequencies to see what you can find. 

If you are primarily securing a shortwave radio to use during an emergency it is important to test your radio before you are faced with an emergency situation. 

Familiarize yourself with the frequencies that will allow you to hear local news and emergency alerts.

This can include tuning in specifically to military, CB, maritime, aviation, clandestine, and international broadcasts. 

Best Shortwave Radio

Tecsun PL880 Portable Digital PLL Dual Conversion AM/FM Longwave Shortwave Radio

While small, this is a very powerful short band radio that allows its users to easily tune into frequencies, whether at home or on the road. It comes with a pair of earphones so that you can listen without bothering your family, and it has a rechargeable battery that is designed to last for a long time. Switching between ranges is fast and easy, as is setting presets.


        Offers full range covered

        4 & 5 selectable filters on AM and SSB

        Works as an alarm clock

        Powered by a single rechargeable battery

        Weighs just over 1 lb


        Fine tuning in lower sideband can be difficult

        AM band is prone to imaging

ICOM 7300 02 Direct Sampling Shortwave Radio

This is an incredibly powerful shortwave radio that is great for avid ham users, but not ideal for people who simply want to be able to monitor frequencies and take their radio on the road with them. It is packed with great features such as recording signals to a memory card and 8 CW memories, which is great for serious users who are interested in a radio that offers them a lot of control over their listening experience.


        Features 100W output power

        Has 4.3” color LCD touchscreen

        Built-in auto tuner

        FM, AM, SSB, CW, RTTY modes

        Great for picking up weak signals


        Doesn’t have internal power

C Crane CC Skywave Portable Shortwave Radio

Thanks to the small size and light weight of this shortwave radio, it’s great for slipping into a backpack and taking on the road. It’s packed with features like NOAA weather alerts, rotary volume knob, reliable clock, and sleep timer. It’s easy to put it safely into the included carry case and to keep an eye on battery life with the battery meter. I like the handy arm band and alarm clock feature when hiking and camping.


        Lighted LCD display is easy to read at all times

        Has 400 memory presets

        Runs for 60-70 hours with 2 AA batteries

        Features autoscan tuning as well as a direct entry keypad

        Does a great job reducing signal interference


        LCD screen scratches easily

Kaito KA500 5 Way Powered Solar Power Dynamo Crank Wind up Shortwave

For an all-in-one shortwave radio, this is a great option that functions as a flashlight and cell phone charger and will automatically receive alerts from the NOAA when set to the “alert” mode. With coverage of FM, AM, and 2-band shortwave frequencies, you’ll find that it’s easy to stay connected with what is going on around you.


        Can be powered in 6 ways, including hand crank and solar panel

        Features 7 pre-programmed NOAA weather channels

        Works as mobile battery charger in an emergency

        Antenna extends to 14.5” high

        Has powerful indicator for best tuning accuracy

        Made of water-resistant material


        Solar panel doesn’t charge the battery quickly

Sangean ATS-909X BK AM FM LW SW World Band Receiver

The battery life indicator, signal strength, and durability of this shortwave radio make it an excellent choice for use at home or on the road. It is easy to use, thanks to the memory channels and the fact that it only uses 4 AA batteries. Additionally, it can be plugged into the wall with the AC power adapter for use when you’re at home.


        Includes 406 preset memory channels

        Powerful auto scan feature

        5 tuning methods to find the right frequency

        Large LCD screen is easy to see and to read

        Has SSB tuning up to 40 Hz


        Difficult to pick up frequencies in lower sideband

        Doesn’t have the best FM reception


Because I think that it’s really important to be able to take your shortwave radio with you on the go, I recommend the Kaito KA500. I really like that you have so many options for how you want to power your radio and the fact that it has such a durable chassis. Additionally, thanks to the comprehensive shortwave, AM, and FM coverage, you won’t have to worry about missing out on news. Since this radio will alert you to NOAA alerts, you can be sure that you won’t miss any important news about conditions in your area. Additionally, the LED signal strength indicator makes it incredibly easy to find the strongest signal, no matter where you are.

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