Sangean LB-100 Ultra Rugged Compact AM Radio

Last updated date: June 19, 2020

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Sangean LB-100 Ultra Rugged Compact AM Radio

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We looked at the top AM Radios and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best AM Radio you should buy.

Update as September 7, 2021:
Checkout The Best AM Radio for a detailed review of all the top am radios.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 85 expert reviews, the Sangean LB-100 Ultra Rugged Compact AM Radio placed 6th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

From The Manufacturer

Saugeen’s new addition compact-size utility work site LB-100 lunchbox AM/FM digital PLL radio tuner includes leading-edge features Offers best-in-class reception, durability, rain/dust/shock resistant, superior sound quality and convenience. It makes this radio suitable for both in and outdoor out not to mention its simple operation and made for tradesman who enjoys their music while at a job-site. The lunchbox features a flexible pivoting antenna and digital PLL tuner for better reception and has an AM/FM digital tuner with a large backlit LCD display to ensure excellent visibility. The lunchbox has durable ABS plastic construction. Its impact-resistant material is just one aspect that makes this radio suitable for use on building sites. The lunchbox is the best compact job-site radio in the industry. It also has 5 Easy touch memory presets for each of your favorite AM/FM stations. The lunchbox has rugged design that resists water, dust and shock. It’s perfect for outdoor job site conditions. Ruggedly design rotary tuner and volume control make this radio easy to use. Equipped with a 5 inch weather-resistant speakers with high-quality full-range sound, providing sufficient audio quality especially in noisy environments.

Expert Reviews

Expert Summarized Score

6 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

1,451 user reviews

What experts liked

It comes with all the standard features you need to play some music in the background while you work. The industrial-grade exterior comes complete with a roll cage for easy portability and long-lasting strength, and its bright orange color means you’ll be able to spot it from across the garage, even in dim light.
- Mechanical Caveman
We strongly recommend this radio to anyone looking for the best model for use in a job site, building site or any other harsh outdoor conditions. This is because the radio has a durable ABS plastic material construction. This is not only makes it an incredibly rugged radio but also resistant to drops and impact resistant. As if that’s not enough, the radio also comes designed with a rainproof, dustproof design—meaning you can use it in rainy/wet conditions without worrying about water getting into its internal parts and damaging it for good.
- Sea Slug Team
This model is steel rain resistant and shock resistant but Sangean upgraded this model with a better dynamic loudness system. This new feature provides a better and richer sound stage, even for AM and FM radio.
- Wood Working Toolkit
The radio is very simple to operate, and it’s specifically designed for workers that enjoy listening to music while on job site. The Sangean LB-100 has a flexible pivoting antenna as well as digital PLL tuner for enhanced reception. The visibility of the AM/FM tuner of the portable radio is superb thanks to its excellent backlit LCD.
April 13, 2019 | Full review
The LB-100 is available in a wide range of colors, including yellow, blue, red, green, and black. All options come with an industrial-grade black roll-cage equipped with rubber shock blocks. This makes it fall and shock-resistant. LB-100 is also rain and dust-proof.
- Music Oomph
Very durable radio that is ideal for traveling. Included Bluetooth capability makes it very convenient to use.
- Outdoor Empire
May 28, 2019 | Full review

What experts didn't like

- Sea Slug Team
A little bit more expensive than the Sangean TB-100 but with better sound quality.
- Wood Working Toolkit
Distortion and crackling at high volume. Heavy for a portable radio.
- Music Oomph
Despite working well outdoors, it doesn’t appear to get good reception indoors. Several owners complained that it didn’t pick up FM stations well. While the bass response drew lots of praise, several owners complained about mid- and high-frequency volume.
- Outdoor Empire
May 28, 2019 | Full review

An Overview On AM Radios

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. 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.

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 Retekess V115 Portable Shortwave AM Radio is the one to have. This AM radio has audible hazard alerts and comes in a choice of English, Spanish or Chinese. 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.

The AM Radio Buying Guide

  • 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.