BEST POCKET RADIOS | AUGUST 2018

Whether you are looking for an inexpensive alternative to an mp3 player or need something for emergency situations, a pocket radio is an excellent device. In order to help you find the best pocket radio for your needs, our team has performed extensive research into pocket radios and the many key features that characterize them. These include weather alerts, access to shortwave stations, Bluetooth capabilities, and more. If you are in the market for a pocket radio but are having a difficult time deciding which one is right for you, this buying guide will be helpful. Read more about our methodology.

Best Overall

89

The Sangean DT-400W is a durable and powerful pocket radio packed with a number of useful features. With NOAA weather alerts and precise PLL synthesized tuning, this radio stands out among the competition, earning it our top overall pick.

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Best Value

82

The Philips AE1500, an affordable pocket radio, has earned our top pick for best value. Featuring a portable design and easy to use controls, this radio provides everything you need at a low cost.

Read full review.

Best by Category

Best Shortwave Pocket Radio

84

The Eton mini pocket radio is one of very few that has access to not only AM/FM radio, but also shortwave bands. These frequencies allow you to tune in to radio broadcasts from across the globe, making it perfect for anyone who travels often.

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Best Pocket Radio Recorder

93

If you want a pocket radio that is capable of recording live radio broadcasts, the AGPTEK radio recorder is an excellent choice. Its long-lasting, rechargeable battery and slim design make this radio portable. Easy to use, this device is packed with many convenient features.

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Best Bluetooth Pocket Radio

89

The Archeer Bluetooth pocket radio is an attractive option if you enjoy your favorite music on the go. Capable of wirelessly connecting to laptops and other mobile devices, this radio provides versatility that others cannot. This radio is perfect for those who want to play their own music rather than depending on a radio station selection.

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Best Waterproof Pocket Radio

90

The Reacher Mini Bluetooth pocket radio is one of the few waterproof radios on the market. Its IPX5 water resistance rating allows it to remain unaffected by rainfall and other forms of water. Coupled with its Bluetooth connectivity, this radio is perfect to listen to your favorite songs in the shower.

Read full review.

Best Pocket Radio for Weather Updates

89

The C. Crane pocket radio is clearly designed for use during emergency weather situations. With access to NOAA weather bands and automatic alerts, this radio is a great tool for anyone who requires constant local weather updates, or simply wants peace of mind.

Read full review.

Pocket Radios BUYING GUIDE

  • KEY CONSIDERATIONS

    Access to AM/FM, Shortwave and NOAA Weather Bands

    When purchasing a pocket radio, it is important to understand that radios can access a number of different bands. Most people are familiar with AM and FM radio. These bands give access to local stations for news and music. Radios that access shortwave frequencies are able to tune in to broadcasts across the globe. These are especially useful for those who travel a lot or live abroad. NOAA weather bands provide listeners with up-to-date news on the local weather, making them important during an emergency weather scenario. Most radios that access these weather bands include alerts that will immediately notify you of incoming threats.

    Controls and Interface

    Over the years, the controls and interface of radios has changed quite a bit. Scrolling analog tuners have been replaced by more accurate and easy-to-use digital tuners. Additional features, such as battery level displays, auto shut off, and key lock, are becoming more common among newer models. For the most modern and simple to use device, digital tuners are the best bet. For those used to analog controls, opting for a radio with a less tech-savvy interface might save some money.

    Wireless Bluetooth Connectivity

    Bluetooth connectivity is common among the more recent models of pocket radios. This allows the radio to act similarly to an mp3 device, connecting to your laptop/cell phone in order to play music you have stored. Radios with Bluetooth capabilities are perfect for playing your favorite music at home or on the go.

  • PRICE BREAKDOWN

    There are a number of pocket radios that will perform well enough for under $10. These will usually be limited to AM/FM radio and will likely feature analog tuners. The majority of pocket radios will cost anywhere from $20-$40. Digital tuners with additional features, such as Bluetooth connection or micro SD card slots, are common in this price range. Pocket radios in the $50+ range are usually the more advanced weather and shortwave radios. These radios have access to frequencies that others do not, making them well worth the price.

FULL product reviews

We research hundreds of products in order to bring you a final, unbiased list of the very best. We also use a proprietary algorithm to score each product in terms of quality, value, and brand reputation. These subscores are then weighted to calculate our overall scores. Read more about how we calculate our scores.

555 products
considered
80K RATINGS
ANALYZED
25 research
hours

Best Overall

TOP PICK

Sangean DT-400W

This device has everything you need in a pocket radio, plus additional features that make it stand out. Its bright yellow exterior is made of hard plastic, adding to the radio’s portability and durability. A large backlit LCD display coupled with digital controls makes this radio simple to use. Most importantly, this radio has access to the seven NOAA weather bands with the press of a button. Able to alert you at the first sign of a weather emergency, this radio is great for emergency situations, as well as casual enjoyment.

  • 89overall
  • 92quality
  • 69value
  • 88brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Durable design with removable belt clip. Sangean has made its DT-400W stand out with a bright yellow exterior. Durable plastic and a removable belt clip make this radio easily portable. Many reviewers have commented on how well this radio performs while running or working out at the gym.
  • NOAA weather alerts. This pocket radio has access to NOAA weather bands with alerts. It will play a loud audible tone to alert you of extreme weather or other emergency broadcasts. This will occur even when the radio is off or tuned into a different channel, giving you an early warning when every second could be important.
  • Large digital display and controls. The display and controls of the DT-400W are digital, making for a simple experience. This radio is quite versatile thanks to features such as the 90-minute auto shut off, clock/alarm functions, and 19 programmable station presets.

Other Considerations

  • No antenna. Although the reception is usually quite strong with this radio, some reviewers would like to see an attached antenna for an even stronger signal.

Best Value

TOP PICK

Philips AE1500

This pocket radio is simple to use and convenient. Most notably, its slim and lightweight design makes this radio one that you can take with you to enjoy wherever you go. It has access to both AM and FM channels, and its thumbwheel controls make switching between the two simple. Overall, this pocket radio is sure to impress with its loud and clear sound quality at an affordable price.

  • 82overall
  • 83quality
  • 82value
  • 72brand

Why We Recommend It

  • AM/FM analog tuning. For an inexpensive radio, many consumers are impressed by the accuracy of the analog tuner. It has a simple-to-use thumbwheel tuner that most people will be familiar with.
  • Slim and lightweight design. One of the most highly praised features of this radio is its size. It is smaller than most cell phones and weighs less than three ounces. The small size and lightweight construction, coupled with a telescopic antenna, enables this radio to fit comfortably in your pocket.
  • Loud speaker and headphone jack. For such a small pocket radio, the Philips AE1500 is impressively loud. The included 3.5mm headphone jack lets you enjoy your favorite music without disturbing others.

Other Considerations

  • Signal strength varies with antenna. Although the signal is impressively strong when the antenna is fully extended, it may suffer when the antenna is collapsed.
  • Does not feel durable. A common complaint with this radio is how flimsy it feels. Some people enjoy how lightweight it is, but note that the radio feels as if it could break very easily.

BEST BY CATEGORY

Best Shortwave Pocket Radio

why buy?

The majority of radios are only capable of accessing AM/FM radio stations. However, those with shortwave capabilities allow you to tune in to broadcasts from across the globe. These radios, though uncommon, are perfect for anyone who travels or lives abroad.

Top Pick

Eton Mini Shortwave Pocket Radio

The Eton mini shortwave pocket radio is one of the most impressive models on the market, being one of only few pocket radios that has access to shortwave radio frequencies. For anyone who wants to listen to broadcasts from across the globe, this radio is an excellent option. It also provides very precise AM/FM tuning thanks to its easy-to-use digital controls. Additional features, such as a sleep timer and alarm clock settings, make this a well-rounded pocket radio.

  • 84overall
  • 87quality
  • 64value
  • 76brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Easy-to-use digital controls. The overall interface and controls of this radio make it simple to use. It is digital, ensuring accuracy while navigating stations. Features such as key lock and clock settings are accessible with the press of a button.
  • Access to shortwave radio frequencies. The main selling point of this pocket radio is its access to shortwave radio frequencies, allowing one to listen to radio broadcasts from across the globe. It’s perfect for anyone who travels abroad.
  • Convenient sleep timer and alarm features. With its internal clock, this radio can be used as an alarm clock. Also, you can fall asleep knowing that its sleep timer will shut the device off automatically in order to conserve energy.

Other Considerations

  • Short battery life. Some reviewers note that this radio suffers from a short battery life. Although it can be powered by an AC adapter, it loses portability when plugged into an outlet.

Best Pocket Radio Recorder

why buy?

While pocket radios are great for listening to music and news on the go, very few are able to record radio broadcasts. If you find yourself needing to record an important news alert or simply want to record your favorite song on the radio, a pocket radio recorder is an excellent option.

Top Pick

AGPTEK Pocket Radio Recorder

The AGPTEK pocket radio recorder is able to do what many other radios cannot. With its line-in radio recorder, this device can record live radio broadcasts for playback at a later time. It also features a micro SD card slot that allows it to function as an mp3 player. This is perfect for those who prefer to choose their own music—this radio offers the option at a much lower cost than traditional mp3 devices.

  • 93overall
  • 94quality
  • 91value
  • 88brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Line-in radio recorder. This pocket radio features a built-in microphone that is perfect for recording radio broadcasts. Additionally, this microphone can be used as a voice recorder. Reviewers attending university have noted that the recorder is perfect for recording lectures for future reference. Whether you want to record an important news broadcast or your favorite song on the radio, this radio recorder is useful.
  • Long-lasting lithium-ion battery. Powered by an internal lithium-ion battery, this radio is able to perform up to six hours of continuous playback. While that may not seem like much to some, the battery is fully rechargeable and will never need to be replaced. This helps to cut down on operational costs when compared to other radios that will go through many packs of batteries over their lifetime.
  • Micro SD card slot. Not many pocket radios have a micro SD card slot; the inclusion of one makes this radio recorder versatile. Not only does it support high-quality FM radio, music can be stored music on the SD card, allowing you to listen to your favorite songs on the go. Many reviewers have taken advantage of this feature, opting to use this radio while running/jogging rather than their smartphones.
  • Digital controls with number pad. Digital tuners provide much more accuracy when selecting radio frequencies, and the number pad helps to quickly jump from station to station. This radio also has dedicated buttons to activate and control the radio, making it very easy to use.

Other Considerations

  • No access to AM radio stations. This pocket radio is only capable of playing FM radio stations. If you need access to AM radio stations, this radio may not be ideal.

Best Bluetooth Pocket Radio

why buy?

Nowadays, most music is stored on cell phones and other mp3 devices. This is what makes Bluetooth pocket radios so useful. Not only do they function as a standard am/fm radio, but they can also connect wirelessly to your other devices, allowing you to listen to your favorite music with ease. These radios are perfect for people who keep most of their music on their cell phone and simply need something that can amplify the sound.

Top Pick

Archeer Bluetooth Pocket Radio

At first glance, the Archeer Bluetooth pocket radio does not look like a radio at all. With stylish brushed chrome and LED lights, this radio has impressed many not only with its looks, but also with the variety of features included. Bluetooth connectivity lets you listen to all of your favorite music stored on other devices. Its built-in microphone allows you to connect to your smartphone with hands-free calling. Overall, this device is made to impress with its loud sound and slim design.

  • 89overall
  • 90quality
  • 82value
  • 82brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Ultra slim and compact design. There is no denying that the Archeer pocket radio features an attractive design. It is roughly the same size as an average smartphone, making it easy to take wherever you go. A handful of reviewers were shocked by how good this radio looks while remaining fairly inexpensive. One feature that really catches the eye is the LED ring around the mini subwoofer that flashes according to the intensity of the music.
  • Bluetooth Compatibility. While many pocket radios are limited to AM/FM radio stations, this device is capable of so much more. With Bluetooth connectivity up to 10 meters, this radio lets you enjoy the music stored on any of your devices.
  • Multi-functional. This pocket radio features a wide variety of useful functions. Its integrated microphone allows for hands-free phone calling and can be used as a simple voice recorder. Its kickstand allows for greater sound amplification and doubles as a cell phone stand. Many reviewers found this feature to be much more useful than they originally had expected, saying that it was clearly made with cell phone pairing in mind.

Other Considerations

  • Exposed subwoofer. Although the design of this pocket radio is quite pleasing, it is not without flaws. The subwoofer is exposed and is liable to be damaged over prolonged use. There were not many complaints of it breaking, but it is something to consider before purchasing.

Best Waterproof Pocket Radio

why buy?

For an electronic device made with portability in mind, a waterproof pocket radio could prove to be useful, if not essential, in some situations. These pocket radios offer everything that a standard radio would, with the included benefit of being water resistant. This makes it ideal for outdoor uses, such as camping and fishing, but it can also work perfectly as a shower radio.

Top Pick

Reacher Mini Waterproof Pocket Radio

With an IPX5 water resistance rating, the Reacher Mini Bluetooth pocket radio is able to withstand a great deal of water pressure without being damaged. It also features Bluetooth capabilities, allowing it to connect to almost any wireless device up to 10 meters away. This allows the radio to function similarly to an mp3 player, letting you choose the music rather than depending on radio stations. Its internal battery is rechargeable and provides up to eight hours of constant playback, making it great for at-home or on-the-go uses.

  • 90overall
  • 92quality
  • 88value
  • 84brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Wireless connectivity up to 10 meters. Bluetooth connectivity is one feature that really sets this pocket radio apart from the competition. It is able to connect to wireless devices, such as laptops, cell phones, and mp3 players, from a distance of 10 meters, allowing you to listen to your favorite songs stored on other devices along with the standard AM/FM radio bands.
  • IPX5 water resistant. With an IPX5 rating of water resistance, this pocket radio is unaffected by contact with rain or the shower. Many reviewers who purchased this pocket radio specifically to use in the shower, note that its water-resistant claims hold true.
  • Attractive and portable design. As with most pocket radios, portability is one of the key selling points. This radio is one of the most portable on the market. Not only does it feature a slim and durable housing, the included wrist-strap and water-resistant features allow this product to go where others cannot.
  • Very loud speaker. Perhaps the most common theme among reviews of this product is how loud the speaker is despite its compact design. Its impressive sound makes it perfect for many people to enjoy at once.

Other Considerations

  • Audio quality diminishes at longer ranges. When connected to wireless devices, a handful of reviewers have noted that the audio quality begins to fade at further distances. This is easily fixed by keeping your laptop/cell phone nearby when using the radio.

Best Pocket Radio for Weather Updates

why buy?

Pocket radios that provide NOAA weather monitoring are useful during emergency situations. These radios are designed to constantly monitor NOAA channels in case an emergency should arise. If you are looking for a pocket radio to use in emergency scenarios, or simply want quick access to the latest weather updates, these are the radios for you.

Top Pick

C. Crane Pocket Radio

A pocket radio is an essential tool during an emergency weather situation. Thankfully, C. Crane provides a radio with access to NOAA weather bands, keeping you up to date with local weather alerts. Its durable design features rubber grips that let you take this radio with you even in the harshest conditions. It also features an easy to use digital interface and five memory presets, making it a great pocket radio for casual use as well. Whether you are in an emergency situation or simply depend on knowledge of the local weather, this radio is a must-have.

  • 89overall
  • 92quality
  • 63value
  • 86brand

Why We Recommend It

  • NOAA Weather band with alerts. Along with the standard AM/FM radio stations, the C. Crane pocket radio has easy access to NOAA weather bands. With the simple press of a button, gain access to your local forecast and current weather updates. This radio also has a weather alert feature that will automatically play emergency weather reports when enabled. Many reviewers use this radio as their designated emergency radio because of these NOAA weather alert features.
  • Crisp and easy to use interface. This pocket radio features a simple and accurate digital tuner and display. With additional features, such as a lock switch, signal and battery strength indicators, and programmable clock, this radio is very easy to use.
  • Durable design. This portable pocket radio is built to be durable. Many reviewers say the device feels sturdy and can take a beating thanks to its hard plastic exterior. This, coupled with its rubber side-grips and pocket clip, makes this radio ready to go anywhere.
  • Five memory presets. Much like a standard car radio, this pocket radio stores up to five stations. With the press of a button you can cycle through your favorite stations without having to even look at the radio. This is a nice feature to have when casually listening to music while performing tasks that require more of your attention.

Other Considerations

  • Low battery life. Some reviewers complained that this radio goes through batteries quickly. This is likely due to how powerful this device is. Purchasing rechargeable batteries would be a wise decision.