The world of shortwave radio is certainly changing but this is only making the opportunities more exciting.
It is true that several larger international broadcasters that have stopped transmitting. There are, however, still many options for listening including pirate radio, utility stations and a whole range of unique broadcasters. In order to do so, you will have to purchase the best shortwave radio and this isn’t always the most straightforward task.
To make it easier, we have collected together the top ten available shortwave radios and all the information you need to understand the differences between these products.
What Should You Look For?
- Durability. Often a shortwave radio will be used in emergency situations or will be knocked about while being transported. It is, therefore, necessary to consider the quality of the radio and how much it will be able to stand up to. Some of the radios on our list are designed to be more rugged than others and this should certainly be taken into account.
- Additional Features. From an included reading lamp to programmable features, there is a great deal extra you can get with a shortwave radio. If you are having difficulty choosing between the best available products then these are the details to pay attention to.
- Power. As previously mentioned, it is very common for a shortwave radio to be used in emergency situations. This means that the last thing you want to happen is for it to run out of power. Think about where the radio will be used and opt for the best possible power source.
One Key Aspect of a Shortwave Radio
While there are many features that will make certain shortwave radios more attractive to users there is one important detail that should always be considered first: the antenna.
Shortwave radio models will come with two possibilities:
- A Built-In Antenna. This will be the familiar telescopic antenna and will give the user access to the majority of international broadcasters. These are also a good option for those that will be using the radio outside.
- External Antenna. Many shortwave radios will come with an additional jack that will allow the user to use an antenna on a cable. This means that the antenna can be placed in a better location. This option is perfect for those that will be using their radio inside or in built-up areas.
By understanding the difference between these options and knowing that your radio has the ability to have an external antenna attached, you can be sure you will be able to pick up transmissions from any location.
Top 3 Best Shortwave Radio Reviews
1. Kaito KA500L Portable Solar / Hand Crank AM/FM
Not only is the Kaito KA500 a great little radio, but it is solar powered and has a hand crank too so you can make sure you always have power even when you can’t plug it in.
This is one of the things that makes this radio so appealing for both emergencies and disasters. The radio also has a USB port so it can be used to charge other devices too.
For a device so useful and powerful, it is pretty small with the face surface being smaller than a normal-sized piece of paper. It is very lightweight too which means it is great for taking with you whether it is in an emergency or for camping.
This radio also has great shortwave sensitivity, which means you can get all of the stations you want. Once the radio has honed in and is set so the station is coming in clearly you will not have to make any other adjustments.
2. Kaito Voyager Pro KA600L Digital Solar Dynamo
The Kaito Voyager Pro KA600 is the perfect portable shortwave radio. This little powerhouse of a device is a great radio but it also has incredibly useful features such as the alarm clock, the sleep timer, a thermometer, a built-in battery charger, and a USB plug. All of this comes in an incredibly compact package that can easily be put in a pocket or bag to bring anywhere.
This radio is solar-powered, which is convenient, as many other radios need to be plugged in or take huge batteries that are hard to bring with you. This device has an antenna that is very important for shortwave use. This is easy to work, as is the entire device, but it is essential to use the antenna for the best signal and clear sound.
This is the best shortwave radio that you can get for the price and the portability. It has all of the functions that a more expensive model would have but for a lot less.
3. Kaito KA321 Pocket-size 10-Band
The Kaito KA321 is a more compact shortwave radio that is in fact marketed as being pocket-size. This 10 band AM/FM shortwave radio is ideal because it picks up signals really well and is compact and light enough to bring while camping or backpacking.
Operating this radio is fairly simple. Obviously manipulating the antenna and finding the right channels is key but it is important to note that the environmental factors will have an effect on the clarity and the overall signal. This is something that needs to be accounted for when using the radio. Making the right adjustments will give you a better experience and help to avoid any frustration.
The speaker is an incredible feature of this radio, something that cannot be said for a lot of shortwave radios that come in at such an affordable price.