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The Best AM Radio

Last updated on January 18, 2023

We looked at the top 12 AM Radios and dug through the reviews from 93 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best AM Radios.

Best AM Radio

Our Review Process

Don't Waste Your Money is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to. Learn more.

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Our Picks For The Top AM Radios

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Top Pick

PowerBear Compact Emergency Ready AM Radio

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Compact Emergency Ready AM Radio

Perfect for emergencies, this AM radio is both compact and portable. Not only does it have a long range, but it also runs for 800 hours before needing a new set of batteries. There's even the option of ordering this radio with a black, red or silver finish.

Overall Take

Affordable Price TagWhen shopping on a budget, this economical AM radio is the way to go.

" Compact enough to fit in your palm"
 Runner Up

ByronStatics 1950s Style Lightweight AM Radio


1950s Style Lightweight AM Radio

You'll love the retro look of this AM radio, which comes in a lovely cream color. The radio can be powered using four AA batteries or the provided AC power cord. Users will appreciate the large AM/FM knob, which is easy to read, as well as the included earphone jack for more quiet listening.

Overall Take

Blast From the PastThe large handle on this AM radio makes it a cinch to move from one location to another.

 We Also Like

Panasonic RF-2400D Easy Read Digital AM Radio


Easy Read Digital AM Radio

This AM radio is rated best value by consumers for its easy-to-use controls and portability. A large speaker projects the sound well across a long distance. The manual dial allows you to get the clearest station possible, unlike a digital analog that skims through stations that don’t come in crystal clear. The weather-resistant case also makes it...

Overall Take

Large SpeakerThe massive speaker on this AM radio projects the sound well, and the manual dial will help to find the clearest stations.

" This has user-friendly controls and dials. A plastic handle on the top allows you to carry it conveniently."
"Sound is OK for this kind of radio and at this price point we don’t get a tone control. You can get somewhat better overall performance if you are willing to spend more."
 Strong Contender

Sony ICFP26 Built-In Speaker Portable AM Radio


Built-In Speaker Portable AM Radio

Since this AM radio is small enough to fit in your pocket, it's a good choice when traveling. It has a long telescoping antenna, so you won't have to worry about getting a good reception. It also has an indicator light to let you know when you're batteries are running low.

Overall Take

Handy Indicator LightsThis AM radio has two indicator lights to let you know when the battery is running low and whether you're successfully tuned into the station.

" One of the most notable features in this radio revolves around the integrated headphone and speaker jack. This gives you a choice of either broadcasting your radio through the entire room or listen to it alone. It also features an..."
"If you’re looking for a bit bigger sound in a somewhat less portable package, however, the ICF-506 ($36) may be a better fit."

Buying Guide

Although they are often though of as a thing of the past, AM radios are still a valuable asset to have around the house. When the radio was invented, they were a popular luxury to have in your house. They have had a long life and continue to serve a purpose for many people. Perhaps one of the best reasons to keep an AM radio in the house is for live alerts of current happenings. However, before we look at the reasons to have one, let’s talk about how they work.

AM or Amplitude Modulation is a type of radio that utilizes radio waves that are transmitted through the air. Radio waves are a specified length or frequency of electromagnetic waves that are all around us. Each electromagnetic wave has attributed characteristics that are different from each other. Radio waves can reflect, polarize, diffract and refract. They are close to light waves, but our eyes just can’t see them.

Alternating Current (AC) generates electromagnetic waves. This current is used to make all our electronics function. It works at different levels in each country, which is why you may need to travel with a special connector for outlets to use American electronics overseas. In the United States, the AC works with 120 volts at 60 hertz. This basically translates to the current being able to change direction in the wire roughly 60 times per second. Most other countries use 50 hertz. These are considered low-frequency, but still emit a small amount of electromagnetic radiation through the wires into the air. It is often explained as electricity in the air.

As this electricity is given off, it makes unorganized sound. For it to be transmitted as a coherent message, it has to undergo “modulation.” This is where the AM and FM get their names. So, what is modulation? Think of it simply as a change. In order to hear music or voices through the radio, the waves must be changed from their random patterns. The best way to think of it is simply a way of communicating. A quiet mouth tells us nothing, but once it starts to talk, it creates a change that is understandable to the listener. It’s the same with AM radio. The electricity has to be changed into a format that can be understood.

The way this is accomplished is called amplitude modulation. The radio takes the amplitude or height of the signal and transforms it into a single sound. So, for each level of amplitude, a different sound is heard by the listener. The combination of amplitude transformations creates a noticeable pattern either in words or music.

The frequency range that AM transforms is from 520kHz to 1710 kHz in the U.S. Each country has other frequency that their AM and FM radios transmit, so if you travel often, you may be surprised to see music and talk shows coming through at different channel settings.

The reason that AM radio has stayed around for so long is because it can transmit signals over very long distances. The only con to this function is that it allows for more static and noise, particularly when there is inclement weather. It is so sensitive that when lightning gives off electricity, the AM radio will pick up that change in electric activity. In addition to that sensitivity, it only picks up strong signals from 200Hz to 5kHz, making it ideal for talk shows more than music.

Now that you know all about how an AM radio works, let’s look at the different types. If you like to travel with your radio, even if it’s just from room to room in your house, you’ll want to opt for a portable AM radio. Consider a battery-operated model with a digital display feature that has a battery power level indicator. If you prefer to keep the adapter on hand, you can purchase that separately.

For a day at the beach or out on the boat, opt for a radio that features not only a solar panel, but also a hand crank generator that will keep it going in case of a cloudy situation. There is usually a place for batteries as an additional backup, and if all else fails, you can purchase an adapter separately for listening while in the house.

When AM radios first came out, they required an analog tuner and antenna for getting the best reception. The Panasonic has radios that work similarly, making them as retro as you can get. With an extension antenna and a manual knob for selecting your station, this type of AM radio will take you back in time. It can be powered by batteries or an adaptor, depending on where you’d like to use it.

When you want an AM radio specifically for severe weather alerts or emergency protocols, choose a model that has audible hazard alerts and a choice of English, Spanish or Chinese. A digital display that is big and bright with buttons that are very well-marked is also helpful. Finally,  a large extension antenna for the best reception is a must.

Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the am radios available to purchase.

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

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Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Toolz View, Purdy Lounge, Find This Best, Talkie Man, TheWalkieTalkGuide.


User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including

Our experts reviewed the top 12 AM Radios and also dug through the reviews from 93 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best AM Radios.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

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The Best Bang For Your Buck

Sony ICFP26 Built-In Speaker Portable AM Radio

Key Takeawy

Since this AM radio is small enough to fit in your pocket, it's a good choice when traveling. It has a long telescoping antenna, so you won't have to worry about getting a good reception. It also has an indicator light to let you know when you're batteries are running low.

What other experts liked

One of the most notable features in this radio revolves around the integrated headphone and speaker jack. This gives you a choice of either broadcasting your radio through the entire room or listen to it alone. It also features an LED tuning indicator that enables you to easily find your...
- Sea Slug Team
The pocket radio features a new LED battery indicator, and two AA batteries power it. Therefore, you will always enjoy fantastic sound whether you are listening through a headphone or the main speaker. Furthermore, this portable radio is easy to operate; you can consider getting one for your parent or...
April 13, 2019 | Full review
One useful feature that this radio has is a carrying strap which will be able to give you added convenience when you are on the move. With portable radios AM FM function should be very simple and this device is very easy to use. It is powered by two AA...
- Globo Turf
May 20, 2019 | Full review
Sony’s ICFP26 portable AM/FM radio is as solid a choice as ever if all you’re looking for something is small, dependable and affordable.
- Popular Mechanics
March 8, 2018 | Full review
The battery compartment cover happens to be hinged to avoid cases of it getting lost. You will always be warned when the battery gets lower thanks to the dimming of the battery indicator light. As a bonus you will get a carrying strap and a perfectly working telescoping antenna. The...
- Best Selected Products
The Sony ICFP26 is the successor to, arguably, the most beloved device in the history of this product type. Unlike many other handheld models, it has an antenna for better signal strength, and a handy LED indicator lets you know how much battery life is left.
- Wiki EZ Vid
May 4, 2019 | Full review
The Sony Pocket AM/FM Radio will fit easily into your shirt or jacket pocket for convenience and easy portability. The AM/FM Tuner lets you choose from the wide range of radio talk shows and music programming, the Built-in Speaker enables convenient listening anywhere, and the Earphone Jack permits private listening...
- Review Finch
The model runs on 2AA batteries and has an innovative LED battery indicator that helps you know when your cells require replacements surprises. With this radio, you can enjoy your entertainments even in public by taking advantage of the dedicated headphones socket. Its compact size makes it a great pick...
- Wire Reviews
With the carry strap, this simplifies the portability of this radio and to add up on this; the radio is small, compact and easily fits in your pocket or even handbags and you can travel with them all through.
- Do Best Products
This is a pretty great little radio. It plays mono sound through both ear buds instead of just one like most similar radios. The sound quality is pretty great even though it’s not stereo. Moreover, the signal comes in great condition and the dial is big enough. Overall, this portable...
- Best Products
This compact vertical AM/FM radio is the perfect device where space is a factor. It features a new LED battery status indicator and uses two AA batteries. You will get a headphone socket for personal listening.
- Car CB Radios
March 23, 2019 | Full review
It has a more stable and flatter base, easy to use and has long battery life, and can take rechargeable batteries.
- TL Dev Tech
September 25, 2018 | Full review
This Sony pocket radio is powered by 2 AA batteries, sold differently. The batteries are readily available in any store near you. Additionally, an LED indicator for the battery status is fitted onto the radio. There is also an LED tuning indicator.
- Enjoy The Wild
February 15, 2019 | Full review
This little fella is very competitively priced and one of the lightest portable radios I’ve ever seen. Still, don’t let this scare you off, as it sounds pretty mighty, considering its size and weight.
- Music Oomph
It is designed for easy and efficient operation, so you won’t have to deal with unnecessary added frills when using it. The Sony ICFP26 has a simple on and off slide switch doubling as the AM/FM station selector, thumb wheel for volume control and another thumb wheel for tuning control....
- My Audio Lover
The professional and sleek looking design give it an edge over other boxy looking pocket radios. The device weighs just 167 grams, which makes it pocket-friendly. It has a loud built-in speaker and has a headphone jack as well. It has LED tuning indicators and LED Battery indicators. This gadget...
- Best Buy Guides
February 27, 2017 | Full review

What other experts didn't like

Unfortunately, the radio does not give you the option of using rechargeable batteries.
- Sea Slug Team
If you’re looking for a bit bigger sound in a somewhat less portable package, however, the ICF-506 ($36) may be a better fit.
- Popular Mechanics
March 8, 2018 | Full review
It doesn’t offer DAB radio and made from plastic and therefore feels quite cheap. The built-in speaker doesn’t sound very exciting.
- TL Dev Tech
September 25, 2018 | Full review
It looks cheaply built and does not pick some stations in certain instances.
- Enjoy The Wild
February 15, 2019 | Full review
Unfortunately, this radio runs exclusively on batteries. Flimsy build quality.
- Music Oomph
One downside though is that it’s a bit too big to fit in pant or shirt pockets.
- My Audio Lover

What to Look For

  • If you will be using your AM radio for specific talk shows, it might be best to purchase an analog radio. With an analog radio, you can manually adjust the tuning to get a better reception than with a digital that doesn’t always find the frequencies clear enough.
  • A few tips for getting a radio program to come in clear are to turn your treble to the lowest setting and your bass to the highest setting. The tone can also be turned all the way down, and in combination, this can bring in a much clearer talk show.
  • Your AM radio will usually get the best reception when placed near a window. One exception: If it is placed in a window that is near a power line, then you may pick up interference.
  • Using a small type of marker to track where the best reception is on the dial can help you the next time you want to find that station.
  • The orientation of your antenna is another way to get your AM radio to function at its best. The AM radio antenna is a rod with a small wire that should work best when aligned with the signal from the broadcast tower. It is not the telescoping rod, which is for FM Radio.
  • The worst interference occurs when your radio is within a foot or two of the source of interference. For example, if your AM radio is near a florescent light, television or even a cell phone charger, it will have more interference than normal.
  • Some sources of interference cannot be avoided or shut off, such as hard-wired smoke detectors, aquarium heaters, motion sensor lights and even a faulty electrical switch within your home.
  • Remember that AM radios dated before 1991 will not have the extended range of frequencies that an AM radio has post-1991, when the FCC added an extension of frequencies from 1605 to 1705 on the dial.
  • A digital AM radio is ideal if you need to be doing other things while the talk show is broadcast. So if you are across the room from the radio, you can just use the remote to scan through the other stations.

More to Explore

In 1896, Guglielmo Marconi was named the father of radio after he sent the first radio transmission. The first transmission was only a mile and a half. But by 1899, he was able to send signals over the English Channel between France and England. In 1901, he sent transmissions between Cornwall and Newfoundland across the Atlantic Ocean, roughly 2100 miles. He had numerous patents for all his work and was a true pioneer in the world of radios.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was home to the very first commercial radio station, KDKA. The letters in the call names of radio stations were established by location. The stations that are located west of the Mississippi River start with “W” and the stations east of the Mississippi River start with “K.”

The Eiffel Tower was left standing because it was turned into a radio tower to intercept transmissions in WWI. The country of Colombia found another military use for the radio. The Armed Forces of Colombia commissioned a pop song that included a morse code message to kidnapped military personnel. It read, “19 people rescued, you’re next. Don’t lose hope.”

Broadcasting at 500kW, WLW or 700KHz AM, was the strongest commercial radio station that, during the clearest of times, could be heard halfway around the world. It is said that people living close to the transmitter could hear the station in their pots and pans.

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