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You may be spending more time streaming music these days, but it’s hard to deny the good, old-fashioned appeal of listening to the radio. Whether you’re tuning into the news, checking the weather or discovering new music, radio stations add a decidedly more human element to your listening experience, with DJs and broadcasters taking you through a road trip, lazy Saturday morning or long commute home.
Listening to the radio in the car is easy, but if you want to listen to the radio at home, it’s worth investing in a decent portable radio. We’ve found radios that deliver consistent, reliable sound with stylish units that look great whether on your bedside table or kitchen counter. They’re great for the office too.
The best radios these days get you easy access to stations across the AM/FM dials with clear reception and none of the crackling you once got from poor signals. Radio dials are also more sensitively-tuned these days to pick up more stations along the dial. Accessing music in multiple ways? We’ve picked out home radios that also include CD players and Bluetooth capabilities, letting you stream music from your phone or tablet to the radio speakers. Some of our picks also double as alarm clocks, letting music from the radio serve as your wake up call.
Aside from entertainment value, it’s also worth keeping a portable radio on hand for emergencies. We’ve included a couple battery-powered options, that don’t require electricity to stay on. In other words, even when the power goes out, your radio will keep you connected to what’s going on.
All of our picks are design for portability — they’re lightweight enough to take with you to the beach or tailgate, say, or to soundtrack your next party. The battery-powered radios also work great for a camping trip, where you don’t have easy access to an outlet.
We’ve rounded up some of the best portable radios you can buy online, from a sophisticated set from an audio powerhouse, to a pocket-sized unit you can grab and go.
1. Bose Wave Music System IV
Bose delivers a chic and sophisticated radio with plenty of punch. This Bose Wave Music system comes with an AM/FM radio tuner, built-in CD player and Bluetooth capabilities to let you stream music from your phone or tablet too. You can also use a standard 3.5mm audio cable to connect the speakers to wired devices as well.
Bose’s decades of experience in the audio space help to deliver crisp, clean sound that’s surprisingly powerful for a setup this size. The streamlined design also helps the Wave blend in easily to most home decor schemes.
What we like: the Wave makes a great bedside radio, with dual alarms that let you set two different wake-up times. The included remote lets you save 12 presets.
This set includes the music player, remote control, AC power cord and owner’s manual.
PROS: No need to reach for the remote — just tap to turn the unit on and off (or to snooze) in the morning.
CONS: Most of the settings are controlled via the remote, so you’ll need to have it close at hand.
2. Tivoli Audio Bluetooth AM/FM Radio
This Tivoli Audio system combines old-school looks with updated technology, letting you listen to the radio or use it as a wireless speaker for your Bluetooth-enabled devices.
Users say the unit’s full-range drivers deliver warm, nuanced sound that isn’t tinny or brassy. The analog tuner, meantime, picks up AM and FM radio channels cleanly, even in areas with weak reception, or in houses and apartments with brick and concrete walls.
This set includes the Model One BT Radio, a power cord, FM Antenna, user manual, warranty card and adhesive-backed rubber feet that you can stick onto the bottom of the unit if you don’t want to scratch your tabletop or counter surfaces.
PROS: The wood veneer finish and retro-styled dials add a classy, nostalgic look.
CONS: Speaker doesn’t automatically connect to your phone or tablet so you have to pair your device each time you use it.
3. Panasonic RF-2400D AM/FM Radio
Everyone should have a battery-powered radio on hand and we like this model from Panasonic. The analog tuner and antenna get you a full AM/FM frequency range while the 10cm speaker delivers decent sound for its size.
The knobs and dials are super easy to understand and use, and there’s a headphone jack if you want to plug in to listen to the radio without disturbing the rest of the room.
A battery-powered radio is an essential part of any emergency kit, letting you hear alerts and listen to the news even when the power is out. The large handle makes it easy to carry the radio around with you.
Runs on four AA batteries (not included).
PROS: Runs on batteries so music will keep playing even when the electricity is out.
CONS: This is a basic radio and doesn’t have a ton of features.
4. Vondior AM/FM Battery Operated Portable Pocket Radio
This radio measures just 4.7 x 2.8 inches and weighs just 3.2 ounces, making it super portable and great for trips, camping and parties. Running on two AA batteries, it’s also super useful for when the power goes out, keeping you connected to the news without needing to be plugged in.
Users say the reception is surprisingly clean with little to no distortion.
Hold the radio in your hands, carry it in your pocket or stand it up on its stable base. This set comes with a mono earphone jack, telescoping antenna and a carrying strap for convenience.
PROS: Slim, lightweight design.
CONS: This is the smallest unit on our list so sound won’t be as loud or powerful.