Best AM/FM Radios

AM/FM radio is still very popular, despite the growth of DAB digital radio. Many people find AM/FM radio has better signal with less interference than DAB radio.

Another advantage of AM/FM radios is that they are usually very easy to use, with tuning and volume dials rather than fiddly buttons. They also eat through batteries much more slowly than DAB radios do.

Here’s a roundup of some of the best portable AM/FM radios available in the UK in 2016.

Roberts R9928 LW/MW/FM Radio

The Roberts R9928 is a classic-style AM/FM radio with a large speaker and adjustable treble and bass controls. It’s a portable radio that takes either 4 C batteries or mains power.

This radio doesn’t pick up DAB stations, but if you only want to listen to FM and AM stations like BBC Radio 2 and BBC 5 Live, this radio should be fine. Let’s look at its features, pros and cons in more detail.

Features

  • LW, MW and FM wavebands (stereo on MW and FM)
  • Save up to 4 preset FM stations
  • Adjustable bass and treble controls
  • Takes 4 C batteries

Dimensions: 28 cm wide x 17.5 cm high x 9.5 cm deep
Weight: 1.17 kg

Pros

  • Good sound quality thanks to the large speaker
  • Traditional tuning dial makes it quick to find stations
  • Easy to use, especially for people used to older technology
  • Lasts a long time on batteries, especially when compared to DAB radios

Cons

  • No modern features like DAB or Bluetooth
  • Preset stations can move after you set them, so you need to keep retuning them

Verdict

If you’re a technophobe and want a classic-style portable AM/FM radio rather than a DAB one, the Roberts R9928 is a good choice. It’s very easy to use and has decent sound quality for using around the house.

One drawback is its preset stations feature, which requires you to keep retuning stations as they tend to drift after you’ve set them.

Buy online: £39.99 on Amazon.co.uk


Roberts R9993

The Roberts R9993 is similar to the Roberts R9928. It’s a portable battery/mains-powered radio with a classic design and an intuitive layout.

Features

  • LW, MW and FM bands
  • Dial tuning slider
  • Headphone jack (5 mm)
  • Takes either 4 AA batteries (not included) or mains power (adapter not included)
  • Power indicator

Dimensions: 20 cm wide x 13 cm high x 5.5 cm deep
Weight: 420 g

Pros

  • Good battery life, especially compared to a digital radio
  • Better reception on AM than most radios
  • Sturdy construction
  • Clear sound

Cons

  • Neither the batteries nor the mains adapter are included
  • No DAB or other modern features

The Roberts R9993 is one of the best selling portable AM/FM radios in the UK. It’s a very straightforward and reliable radio, with a classic feel and easy operation.

Buy online: £19.99 on Amazon.co.uk

Read our full review of the Roberts R9993 AM/FM radio


Sony ICF-P26 Portable AM/FM Radio

The Sony ICF-P26 is a small portable radio with a built-in speaker that could be used as a pocket radio (if you have large pockets).

Features

  • Uses 2 AA batteries
  • AM/FM radio
  • Hand strap makes it easy to carry
  • LED indicators for tuning and battery level
  • Headphone socket

Dimensions: 7cm wide x 3.8 cm deep x 11.9 cm tall
Weight: 191 g

Pros

  • Small, light and portable
  • Sturdy build
  • Battery life of up to 110 hours (about 10x what you’d get from a DAB radio)

Cons

  • The sliding on/off switch is easy to knock if you put the radio in a bag
  • Sound distorts when you turn it up very high

Verdict

This small portable radio is great for travelling or carrying with you around the house or garden. It only uses 2 AA batteries, which last for a very long time.

Buy online: £14.99 on Amazon.co.uk


LEFON Mini AM FM Radio

This radio is just 2 cm thick, making it very compact and portable. It’s a good radio to take camping as it has a built-in torch. It also lets you listen to music or audiobooks from a USB drive or TF card.

Features

  • Takes a TF card or USB stick for playing MP3 files
  • LED display
  • 5mm headphone jack
  • Built-in rechargeable battery (7V 800mAh Lithium-ion)
  • USB charging cable
  • Built-in flashlight

Dimensions: 11.7 cm wide x 6.4 cm high x 2 cm deep
Weight: 122g

Pros

  • Very small and light
  • Crisp and clear sound, even when the volume is turned up
  • Easy to tune

Cons

  • USB charging cable is short
  • Battery only lasts 3-6 hours

Verdict

The LEFON Mini packs a lot of features into a small package. Being able to connect a USB drive to listen to podcasts, audio books or MP3 music files is a very useful feature, and the sound quality is impressive for the radio’s size.

Buy online: £16.99 on Amazon.co.uk


Roberts Radios Sports 925 3-Band Radio

As the name suggests, the Roberts Radios Sports 925 is a pocket radio you can take with you while jogging or walking.

Dimensions: 12.5 cm high x 7cm wide x 3 cm deep
Weight: 154 g

Features

  • Three bands: LW, MW, FM
  • Tuning light
  • Built-in speaker
  • Headphone jack

Pros

  • Good sound quality for its size
  • Batteries last a long time – they should last for months if you listen for 2 hours a day
  • Strong – can usually withstand being dropped
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • Earphone socket is on the side rather than the top, which is inconvenient when it’s in your pocket

Verdict

The Roberts Radios Sports 925 is a simple no-frills AM/FM radio. It’s made by respected radio brand Roberts, and offers better sound quality than cheaper Chinese alternatives.

£24.90 on Amazon.co.uk

Duronic Hybrid Radio Wind Up Solar and Rechargeable AM/FM Radio

This radio features solar charging, which makes it ideal for using in the garden or while camping. You can also recharge it by winding it up, saving you money on batteries and helping reduce your carbon footprint.

Features

  • 5mm headphone jack
  • LED torch
  • 300mAh 2.4V battery
  • Solar panel
  • USB charging
  • Clock

Dimensions: 13cm wide x 7.3 cm high x 4.1 cm deep
Weight: 203 g

Pros

  • Multiple ways to recharge the battery: solar, wind-up, USB charging
  • Very small
  • Very cheap
  • Ideal for using in places with no or little electricity

Cons

  • Aerial is easy to break
  • Only has the essential features
  • Solar panel requires direct sunlight

Verdict

The Duronic Hybrid Radio is an impressive radio for its size and price. Its star feature is its solar panel, but given the British weather you might need to rely on USB charging and winding the radio up by hand.

Buy online: £14.99 on Amazon.co.uk

Read our full review of the Duronic Hybrid Radio


Sony ICF-306 Portable AM/FM Radio

The Sony ICF-P36 is a small and portable AM/FM radio that would be ideal for use in the bathroom. It has a straightforward, classic design and layout, and offers the durability and dependability you’d expect from Sony.

Features

  • Carrying handle
  • Headphone socket
  • LED tuning and battery status lights
  • Takes 2 AA batteries

Dimensions: 19 cm wide x 9.7 cm high x 5.1 cm deep
Weight: 399 g

Pros

  • LED battery indicator warns you when the batteries are going to run out
  • Carrying handle makes it very portable
  • Clear sound
  • Durable and reliable
  • Small and light

Cons

  • Can’t be used with mains power – battery only
  • Doesn’t feel very sturdy

Verdict

There’s nothing remarkable about the Sony ICF-306. If you want a reliable AM/FM radio that’s light and easy to carry, this radio is a good choice.

Buy online: £27.99 on Amazon.co.uk


Sony ICF-P36 Portable AM/FM Radio

The Sony ICF-P36 is a portable AM/FM radio that is small enough to fit in a large pocket such as a coat pocket. It’s a basic radio that would be ideal for use in the bathroom, garage or garden. It’s very similar to the Sony ICF-P26,but has a slightly different design.

Features

  • LED tuning and battery status indicator lights
  • Takes 2 AA batteries
  • Hand carrying strap
  • 5mm mono headphone jack

Dimensions: 13.2 cm wide x 7 cm high x 4.3 cm deep
Weight: 222 g

Pros

  • Controls are easy to use
  • LED lights show you when you’ve found a good signal and when the battery is about to run out
  • Very good battery life (up to 110 hours)
  • Decent sound for the price

Cons

  • Can switch itself on when it’s in a backpack or bag due to the switch design

Verdict

The ICF-P36 is a dependable radio from respected brand Sony. You should be able to use this radio for months before changing the batteries unless you listen to it constantly.

Buy online: £20.00 on Amazon.co.uk


Sony ICF-M260 FM/AM Digital Tuning Portable Radio

The Sony ICF-M260 tunes itself digitally, but it’s important to note that this isn’t a digital DAB radio. The digital tuning feature lets you see the exact frequency you’re tuned into, which you couldn’t do with a regular tuning dial.

Features

  • Takes 2 AA batteries
  • Saves up to 15 preset stations (10 FM stations and 5 AM stations)
  • Clock and sleep functions

Dimensions: 13 cm wide x 8 cm high x 3.1 cm deep
Weight: 100 g

Pros

  • Doesn’t have any bright lights, which makes it good for using in bed
  • Accurate tuning
  • Simple and easy-to-use preset station function
  • Very small and light
  • Good battery life
  • Crisp and clear sound quality

Cons

  • Can’t be used with a mains adapter

Verdict

The Sony ICF-M260 is a reliable radio with good sound quality, but it seems overpriced for what it is. It’s worth buying if you can get it at a discount.

Buy online: Out of stock on Amazon.co.uk


Other radios

If you’re willing to try a DAB radio after all, check out one of these DAB radios for less than £30. You can also read our other radio reviews.

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