The advancement of smartphones and tablets may have reduced the demand for AM and FM radios, but many people still cling to the old ways. Rechargeable and battery-powered AM and FM radios are still the best options for outdoor activities like camping, hiking, and the like.
Hundreds of portable radios are out there, and a list of the most popular and reliable will help you decide when it’s time to purchase. You can read a more in-depth review of these AM FM radios here.
Best Selling AM FM Portable Radios for Outdoors
1. Kaito KA500
If you’re a fan of radios like me, then you would no doubt agree that multifunctional radios are the nose reliable. The Kaito KA500 gives you everything you need in one portable package at a good price. This radio is made of ABS material, making it water and heat resistant. It has a strong range, so you will get a signal anywhere you go. It doesn’t matter if you’re on top of a heel or deep in the woods. Unlike many other waterproof radios, the Kaito AM and FM radio have soft wavy bands and round-the-clock coverage regardless of the weather. The radio gives you different options when it comes to maintaining power.
On the one hand, you can use a USB cable to charge it when you have access to an electrical outlet. No electrical outlet? No problem; there is a Ni-MH battery and an internal generator that automatically recharges the battery. That’s not the only way you can get power. The Kaito KA500 radio also comes with a solar panel, a flashlight, and a reading lamp. As if that’s not enough for a printable radio, there is an SOS Beacon that can help you call for help if you get lost. You can buy the Kaito KA500 radio on Amazon.
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2. Monster Nomad MNMD-S
The Nomad MNMD-S isn’t called a monster radio for no reason. This product was designed to lash for a lifetime. Unlike the Kaito KA500, primarily a radio, the Monster Nomad MNMD-S is a speaker that doubles as an FM radio. It has an AUX port that can be used to connect other devices when you want to enhance sound. If you want to connect it to a Bluetooth-enabled device like your smartphone or Android, you can do so with ease. Made from the best materials in the market, the Nomad MNMD-S is weatherproof with a solid IPX4 rating. The sound output is 30 watts. If you know anything about sounds, you’ll know that this is ideal for both indoor and outdoor use. Fully charged, the Monster Nomad MNMD-S can last for 30 straight hours.
You can buy the Monster Nomad MNMD-S on Amazon.
3. Bosch PB180
The Bosch PB180 is another portable radio that will most likely meet your outdoor and indoor needs. Despite the compact size, the sound quality is out of this world because of the two neodymium speakers. While I was testing it, I noticed that the material used for production is strong and reliable. It has a shock absorber that keeps it from breaking even when it falls from a distance. This durability, especially when you consider the size and affordable price. Thanks to the 7-inch antenna, you can get a strong reception all the time. Like many other Bosch products, the Bosch PB180 has a power adapter for the 18V Lithium batteries. However, you will need to buy the batteries separately. Just like the Kaito KA500 radio, the Bosch PB180 is an FM and AM radio.
You can buy the Bosch PB180 on Amazon.
4. Sangean U3
You can’t make a list of the most reliable weatherproof radios without listing the Sangean U3 radio. While it was built to be dust and water-resistant, the manufacturers did not compromise on quality. It might not be the most lightweight radio, but it will fulfill your indoor and outdoor needs. You will get 5 FM options and 5 AM options which is more than enough for your radio needs. The 7-watt speaker is full range. So, you will always get excellent sound even when you’re not in a confined space. Did I mention that it has a beautiful LCD backlighting making it easy for you to use it in the dark? You can buy the Sangean U3 on Amazon.
5. Wayl Buzz4000
Wayl Buzz4000 is one of the most affordable yet reliable radios for emergencies. It weighs just 1.2 pounds but has more features than you’ll ever need. It is an AM and FM radio. So, you’ll have many options, and you can also connect to the emergency weather broadcast stations. With an IPX3 rating, harsh weather isn’t going to cause any problems. It comes with a small but reliable solar panel, USB cable, and a strong 4000mAh Lithium-Ion battery. When fully charged either with the solar panel or the USB, the Lithium-Ion batteries can last for up to 12 hours. When you can’t charge the Lithium-Ion battery, you can buy the 3 AAA batteries and use them as a backup. Additional accessories include the SOS alarm, flashlight, and a reading lamp. You can buy the Wayl Buzz4000 on Amazon.
6. Ancord S7
The Ancord S7 is the option I choose when I want something compact but functional simultaneously. It has classic and modern features like Bluetooth connectivity, a digital FM option, and AUX cable. Despite the compact size of the Ancord S7 radio, it is made of weatherproof and shock-absorbing materials. This explains the IPX6 rating. Apart from the FM radio, you can connect the Ancord S7 to your Bluetooth-enabled device. However, Bluetooth mode will kill the battery faster (12 hours) than when you use FM (30 hours).
7. Sony ICF-S80
The Sony ICF-S80 is an upgraded version of the Sony ICF-S79W. It has a 4.5 volt DC power source, and the design is compact and beautiful. It isn’t waterproof, but it is splash-proof. This means that it will get damaged if it falls into the pool but not if a few drops of water splash on it in the bathroom. The water-resistant rating of this radio is IPX4, and it offers AM and FM stations. It isn’t rechargeable like many others on this list and doesn’t have access to the NOAA channels. However, you can power it with three C batteries. You can buy the Sony ICF-S80 on Amazon.
All the radios above have good features that make them handy for indoor and outdoor activities. If you need something functional and don’t mind the heavyweight, the Sangean U3. If you want something with many features and power options, the Kaito KA500 will do just fine. On the other hand, if you need a lightweight radio that can fit into your small bag, the Wayl Buzz4000 will do. The one you pick should depend on your needs and your budget.