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The Best AM Radio

Last updated on October 31, 2019

We looked at the top 10 AM Radios and dug through the reviews from 85 of the most popular review sites including Mechanical Caveman, Sea Slug Team, Wood Working Toolkit, CMUSE, Music Oomph, Outdoor Empire and more. The result is a ranking of the best AM Radios.

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Our Picks For The Top AM Radios

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

Kaito

Solar AM/FM/SW/NOAA Radio

Overall Take

Multiple Power SourcesThe many power options for this Kaito Solar AM/FM/SW/NOAA Radio make it a consumer favorite.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus Top 5 Reviews, Gist Gear, CMUSE, Weather Station Reviews, Music Oomph, Best Marine Radio and 2 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" This model offers various ways of charging its built-in rechargeable battery pack or run the unit. You can use the dynamo cracking feature, solar panel standard AA batteries. You can also chare through your computer via the USB port or..."
Cons
"Cell phone or other USB devices connected to the radio cannot be charged through the solar panel. Tuning mechanism of this device is quite primitive due to analog design."

Midland

Deluxe NOAA Emergency Weather Radio

Overall Take

Best For EmergenciesThis Midland Deluxe NOAA Emergency Weather Radio is an excellent radio for staying informed on local hazards.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus Weather Station Reviews, Thoroughly Reviewed, Consumer Search, WX Observation, All Top Guide, Top 5 Reviews and 6 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" It has all-hazard warning feature. You can tune to FM, AM and 7 NOAA weather channels and stay updated with the important weather updates and events."
Cons
"However, unlike the Sangean, it doesn't shut off automatically at the end of an alert message, a feature many users say can be really annoying in the middle of the night."
  The Best Value

Panasonic

RF-2400D AM / FM Radio

Overall Take

Large SpeakerThe massive speaker on this Panasonic RF-2400D AM/FM Radio projects the sound well, and the manual dial will help to find the clearest stations.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus 429 Records, Sea Slug Team, Basshead Speakers, Wire Reviews, Wiki EZ Vid, Do Best Products and 9 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Best Buy.
Pros
" This has user-friendly controls and dials. A plastic handle on the top allows you to carry it conveniently."
Cons
"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."

Sangean

AM/FM Portable Digital Radio

Overall Take

Best PortabilityYou won't find a lighter, more portable AM radio than this Sangean AM/FM Portable Digital Radio.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus No Place Called Home, Top Review Hut, Best Brand Reviews, Wire Reviews, Best Seekers, CMUSE and 11 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" The lightweight, portable AM/FM/Digital Clock Radio puts everything you need in the palm of your hand with this compact (6.54″T x 4.26″L) unit that can go any way you want it to. The alarm clock function includes a fully programmable..."
Cons
"This device does not come with an AC adapter and battery."
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.
17

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the am radios available to purchase.
10

Products Analyzed

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

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85

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Mechanical Caveman, Sea Slug Team, Wood Working Toolkit, CMUSE, Music Oomph.

52,375

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Home Depot and 6 others.

Our experts reviewed the top 10 AM Radios and also dug through the reviews from 85 of the most popular review sites including Mechanical Caveman, Sea Slug Team, Wood Working Toolkit, CMUSE, Music Oomph, Outdoor Empire 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.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

Kaito Solar Powered AM/FM/SW/NOAA Radio

Our Expert Score
10.0
8 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.2
3,076 user reviews
Our Take

The Kaito Solar AM Radio offers multiple ways to charge the battery and stay powered up.  To get this radio up and running, you can use the solar panel, the hand crank, AA batteries, a USB charge or simply plug into the regular outlet. The programming buttons offer easy access to the channels you listen to the most. The extension antenna is also a plus.

What other experts liked
This model offers various ways of charging its built-in rechargeable battery pack or run the unit. You can use the dynamo cracking feature, solar panel standard AA batteries. You can also chare through your computer via the USB port or...
- Top 5 Reviews
January 8, 2019 | Full review
The 7 pre-programmed NOAA weather channels will give you hours of entertainment, breaking news all around the globe, and a 24/7 real-time weather forecast with PEAS (Public Emergency Alert System). You can extend the telescopic antenna up to 14.5" to...
- Best Advisor
May 22, 2019 | Full review
Works as an emergency mobile battery charger with built-in standard DC 5V USB output port for charging mobile devices, such as smart phones, GPS units, MP3 players, digital cameras, and etc. Other features include a 5-LED reading lamp, LED flashlight...
- Gist Gear
August 1, 2019 | Full review
The kaito KA500 is made of ABS materials that are impact and water resistant. This feature makes the radio ideal for outdoor use where it can be exposed to moisture. It comes with a telescopic antenna for improved reception. The...
- CMUSE
April 13, 2019 | Full review
The device has a battery level indicator LED that keeps the user updated about the battery. It has integrated lamp and flashlight for user convenience. It also has a cell phone charging port.
- Weather Station Reviews
There are five different colors to choose from - black, yellow, blue, green, and red. Besides being able to handle regular AM, FM and shortwave frequencies, it also features seven pre-programmed weather channels. It’s built to last and quite sturdy....
- Music Oomph
The Kaito might look complicated because of its analog knobs. But it's pretty easy to select a frequency. It can receive broadcasts over all NOAA channels as well as over AM, FM, SW1 and SW2.
- Best Marine Radio
It is very light in weight so you can carry it anywhere.
- Compact Analysis
November 21, 2017 | Full review
What other experts didn't like
Aside from being bigger than expected, this model, according to some users, has a plasticky feel and a less acceptable sound quality. However, users need to remember that this is a lightweight emergency radio so it is designed with less...
- Top 5 Reviews
January 8, 2019 | Full review
The device is a bit heavy, so it won't be as convenient on a hiking trip.
- Best Advisor
May 22, 2019 | Full review
Cell phone or other USB devices connected to the radio cannot be charged through the solar panel. Tuning mechanism of this device is quite primitive due to analog design.
- Weather Station Reviews
However, you need to purchase an AC adapter separately. Black looks good, but other colors make it look like a toy.
- Music Oomph
Solar power is not the most reliable and it takes lots of hand rotations to have power for only a short time when using the hand crank.
- Best Marine Radio
It is not having the digital display.
- Compact Analysis
November 21, 2017 | Full review

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Panasonic RF-2400D AM / FM Radio

Expert Summarized Score
9.4
15 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.8
3,167 user reviews
Our Take

The Panasonic RF-2400D AM/FM 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 ideal for both indoor and outdoor use.

What other experts liked
This has user-friendly controls and dials. A plastic handle on the top allows you to carry it conveniently.
- 429 Records
July 25, 2019 | Full review
The performance score card for this radio soars above average. This is made possible by the awesome features the radio comes with. One such feature involves the large speaker which delivers a well-balanced sound, so that you can listen to all channels clearly. Changing between channels is done using a...
- Sea Slug Team
The sound performance of the Panasonic RF-2400 is really clear and pristine. The radio produces a decent amount of bass on AM channels with crisp highs and detailed vocals in both the AM and FM station channels. Listening to music from our favorite radio stations with this radio was a...
- Basshead Speakers
June 1, 2019 | Full review
It's a decent, old-fashioned radio which comes with all the necessary tools to run it as a simple, straightforward radio. For me at least, the most special thing about this device is its simple design and usability. Panasonic has always prioritized user friendliness, and this product is a great example...
- Wire Reviews
The Panasonic RF-2400 is known for its exceptional signal sensitivity, even when those signals are coming from far away.
- Wiki EZ Vid
May 4, 2019 | Full review
The Panasonic radio boasts of its power output; 770mW which make is outstanding. Its compact medium size and carry handle facilitates its portability making it’s easy for you to carry it whenever you what without giving you stress.
- Do Best Products
This AM/FM radio is an ideal gift for the elderly because it is straightforward, compact, and lightweight. These features also make this portable radio for your outdoor activities. The Panasonic RF-2400D is not meant for outdoor use only; you can listen to your favorite channels or song while in the...
- CMUSE
April 13, 2019 | Full review
This portable radio has a big heavy speaker with a great tone and the design is attractive. Also, FM performance is great and the AM band is awesome either. Moreover, AM and FM Tuner lets you choose from the wide range of radio talk shows and music programming with Telescopic...
- Best Products
It has a large carry handle which will make it very portable. This is a simple radio with few features but completely excels in its primary job of being a brilliant radio. It is able to pick up a vast range of signals to constantly give you clear stations and...
- Globo Turf
June 27, 2019 | Full review
This is also a great choice for compact portable radios. You will be able to fit it in your jacket pocket, shirt and even handbag easily. The radio requires 4 AA batteries so that it can function as needed. To get the best performance out of this portable radio, you...
- Best Selected Products
Definitely a no-frills set the RF-2400D is a basic AM/FM portable radio with a pleasing retro look and a large slide rule tuning dial. At its price it offers good utility where maximum performance is not needed nor expected. Controls are basic – and it is a cute little radio...
- Radio Jay Allen
First thing off, buyers love the user-friendly features. Its simplicity is adored by multiple users. Even the retro look and old fashion style is indeed a plus for some.
- Buzzing Radio
This radio features 4 inches speaker for better sound. There are distinct FM and AM tuning with LED light indicator.
- Trust Reviewz
Its control design is also pretty straightforward and basic. It has an easy-to-read radio dial which has a separate scale for AM and FM stations, a built-in LED indicator perfect for tuning in low-light environments, a thumb wheel volume control, and 4-inch built-in speaker. This radio also includes an AC...
- My Audio Lover
It is easy to use, the dials are easy to read and the turning knob is of adequate size. The Volume Wheel is also well positioned for easy access.
- Best Buy Guides
February 27, 2017 | Full review
What other experts didn't like
No USB ports and not water resistant. Other products in the market come with more features such as flashlights.
- 429 Records
July 25, 2019 | Full review
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.
- Radio Jay Allen
Radio sound is still loud even when set at the lowest volume and the antenna can break off easily.
- Buzzing Radio
Too much bass sound when set on the AM band.
- My Audio Lover

Overall Product Rankings

1. Kaito Solar Powered AM/FM/SW/NOAA Radio

Overall Score: 9.7
Reviews Included: 11

2. Midland Deluxe NOAA Emergency Weather Alert Radio

Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 16

3. Panasonic RF-2400D AM / FM Radio

Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 18

4. Sangean AM/FM Portable Digital Radio

Overall Score: 9.3
Reviews Included: 19

5. Sangean Wood Cabinet AM/FM Radio

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 2

6. Sangean Lunchbox Compact AM/FM Radio

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 10

7. Studebaker AM/FM Radio

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 3

8. Retekess V115 Portable AM/FM Radio

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 7

9. Sony ICFP26 Portable AM/FM Radio

Overall Score: 8.5
Reviews Included: 19

10. Vondior Battery Operated Portable Pocket Radio

Overall Score: 8.4
Reviews Included: 7

Our Findings

Kaito Solar Powered AM/FM/SW/NOAA Radio

What We Liked: The Kaito Solar AM Radio offers multiple ways to charge the battery and stay powered up.  To get this radio up and running, you can use the solar panel, the hand crank, AA batteries, a USB charge or simply plug into the regular outlet. The programming buttons offer easy access to the channels you listen to the most. The extension antenna is also a plus.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Panasonic RF-2400D AM / FM Radio

Best Value

Panasonic RF-2400D AM / FM Radio, Silver (Electronics)


List Price: $29.99 USD
New From: $26.99 USD In Stock
Used from: $26.99 USD In Stock

What We Liked: The Panasonic RF-2400D AM/FM 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 ideal for both indoor and outdoor use.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Midland Deluxe NOAA Emergency Weather Alert Radio

What We Liked: Midland Deluxe NOAA Emergency Weather Radio is one of the top contenders for AM radios. With all-hazard warning features, you can rely on the visual or audio signals on the face of the radio. This radio features S.A.M.E. technology that zones in on the hazards in your specific area. Consumers also particularly like the event expiration time feature on this AM radio, which gives you the end time of each hazard during the broadcast.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Midland Deluxe NOAA Emergency Weather Alert Radio

What We Liked: Midland Deluxe NOAA Emergency Weather Radio is one of the top contenders for AM radios. With all-hazard warning features, you can rely on the visual or audio signals on the face of the radio. This radio features S.A.M.E. technology that zones in on the hazards in your specific area. Consumers also particularly like the event expiration time feature on this AM radio, which gives you the end time of each hazard during the broadcast.

Our AM Radio 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.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

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.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

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.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

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. The Sangean Am/FM Portable Digital Radio is an excellent option. With an aesthetically pleasing design, rubber bumper around the edges and preset options, this AM Radio is great for hauling around the house. It is battery-operated, and the digital display features a battery power level indicator. If you prefer to keep the adapter on hand, you can purchase that separately through Sangean.

The Kaito Solar AM Radio is great for a day at the beach or out on the boat. This radio 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 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.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

When AM Radios first came out, they required an analog tuner and antenna for getting the best reception. The Panasonic RF-2400D AM/FM Radio works similarly, making it as retro as you can get. With an extension antenna and a manual knob for selecting your station, this 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, the Midland WR400, Deluxe NOAA Emergency Weather Alert Radio is the one to have. This AM Radio has both audible and visual hazard alerts. The digital display is big and bright, and the buttons are very well-marked so you won’t be confused about how to operate this AM Radio. In addition, it features a large, extension antenna for the best reception.

DWYM Fun Fact

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.

The AM Radio Tips and Advice

  • 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.

About The Author

Genevieve Nino
Genevieve Nino 

Genevieve Nino is a professional writer located in the Topsail Island area of North Carolina. Genevieve loves to explore and thoroughly research electronics that will help make life easier.