Top 10 Best Shortwave Radio 2018

top 10 best shortwave radio for your next nfl game

Shortwave radio has been around since the early 20th century but it is still one of the most simple and effective means of communication throughout the globe.

Technically speaking, it is a device that receives transmissions of frequencies usually ranging from 3 to 30 megahertz.

Shortwave radio signals are beamed up into Earth’s atmosphere from the point of broadcast and they reflect back to the planet from the ionosphere layer instead of being absorbed there.

This allows them to be picked up thousands of miles away.

Top 10 Best Shortwave Radio Comparison Table

Picture NameFeaturesRating (1-5)Price
TIVDIO V-116 Portable Shortwave Radio with AM FM TransistorSturdy and durable construction
Compact & light-weight
1 year warranty & 30 days money-back guarantee
Low price
2$
Sangean WR-11 Wood Cabinet AM/FM Table Top Analog RadioRetro-styled
Made of real wood
Dynamic bass
Tuning LED indicator
Numerous jacks and connectors
2$$
Eton Grundig S450DLX Deluxe AM / FM / Shortwave Radio50-station memory
Dual alarm clock
High sensitivity and low interference
2-way powered
2.5$$
Kaito KA500GRN 5-Way Powered Emergency AM/FM/SWCaptures NOAA frequencies
Flashlight and reading lamp
Mobile phone charger function
5-way powered
3$
Sangean TB-100SE (Toughbox) AM/FM/AUXSturdy and durable construction
Water, dust and shock resistant
2-way powered
3.5$$
Eton Grundig Satellit 750 UltimateCaptures ham & aeronautical bands
100 station memories for each band
Dual alarm clock
High sensitivity and low interference
2-way powered
3.5$$$$$$
Crane CCRadio-2E Enhanced Portable AM FMPatented Twin-Coil Ferrite AM antenna
Captures NOAA frequencies
Superior sound quality
2-way powered
4$$$$
C Crane CC Skywave AM, FM, Shortwave, Weather and AirbandCompact & light-weight
Captures weather & aeronautical bands
Superior sound quality
400-station memory
2-way powered
1 year warranty
4$$
Sangean ATS-909X BK AM/FM/LW/SW World Band ReceiverCompact & light-weight
Superior sound quality
406-station memory
3 alarms & 42 world city times
2-way powered
4.5$$$$
Tecsun PL880 Portable Digital PLL Dual Conversion AM/FMCompact & light-weight
Best selectivity & sensitivity
Best sound quality
250-station memory
2-way powered
5$$$

Thus, with a shortwave radio, you can tune into international broadcasts, pick up emergency military transmissions, listen to AM/FM radio in remote locations or even participate in ham radio communities if you like using it as a hobby.

Any of these applications makes purchasing this device worthwhile. And though its listenership has declined in the past few years with the increase in smartphone and internet usage, it is still a very relevant and contemporary medium.

If you are looking to buy a shortwave radio this year, this guide has everything you need. Here, you will find all details including their types, benefits, drawbacks as well as the best models. So, take a sneak peek at our list and get the best shortwave radio for yourself.

What Types of Shortwave Radios are There?

Basically, there are three types of shortwave radios: portable, desktop and all-in-one.

The portable shortwave radios are compact, easy to carry and are generally either battery powered or crank/solar powered so that they do not need to be plugged in to operate.

This makes them especially useful for emergency situations. Also, they are fairly affordable but the range is very limited if compared to the more advanced desktop radios.

The desktop radios are larger and more full-featured. These are more common among amateur radio operators and advanced listeners.

They pick up a wider range of frequencies outside of the shortwave band and have better audio quality. However, they need to be plugged in and are less portable.

The all-in-one radios are the most versatile devices as they can pick up shortwave frequencies as well as standard AM/FM stations.

Thus, you can use them for entertainment as well as emergency situations and international listening. Nowadays, there are many desktop radios with all-in-one functionality but this is less common in portable units.

Benefits of Best Shortwave Radio

Selecting the best shortwave radio depends on your needs, preferences and budget. Most radios offer a range between 3 to 30 MHz but some can pick up signals as low as 0.54 MHz. The wider the frequency range, the better!

Similarly, all shortwave radios tune AM mode stations but some even transmit using SSB or additional modes, allowing you to tune into a lot more broadcasts.

The sound should be clear and noise-free. If you are buying a portable radio, you usually get two bandwidth-selectivity options (wide and narrow) to reduce the amount of interference while for a desktop radio, these can be as many as five.

To further boost the range of your radio, you can purchase a longer aftermarket antenna to replace the in-built antenna. So, make sure that the device has a jack for an external antenna.

Ideally, it should also have a digital frequency display as it gives much more detailed and accurate data than the ones with analogue displays. With analogue, it takes some guessing to land on the right frequency.

If you are frequently travelling, look for a model with solar panel or hand crank as it can function under any circumstances, even when there’s no power. Buying a good model has many advantages, so we advise you to invest in only the best.

Downsides of Shortwave Radios

There are a few downsides too. Firstly, the sound quality is not always perfect. Because shortwave frequencies travel such great distances, the output is not always as clear as your local FM station.

Fading of signals due to atmospheric conditions and interference from other stations are a common phenomenon.

Because of the way these signals bounce off the ionosphere, they are not as strong during daytime as in night (when ionosphere’s conditions are ideal).

Usually, frequencies above 10 MHz can be easily picked up during the daytime but lower range frequencies come in clearer in night only. Also, using a shortwave radio well is not easy.

It requires a significant learning curve and you need to be patient with your practice. Fortunately, there are many online forums and communities which offer a wealth of information and answers to common queries.

10. TIVDIO V-116 Portable Shortwave Radio with AM FM Transistor Support Micro-SD Card AUX Input MP3 Player Speaker Alarm Clock Sleep Timer (Black and Orange)

This is a two band FM/AM radio and MP3 player with a built-in green LCD backlight for easy operation in dark. Measuring 4.7” (W) x 2.6” (H) x 1.1” (D) and weighing 0.38 pounds, it is of pocket size and can be easily carried along when travelling.

It uses a DSP radio chip and a perfect combination of other chips and lines for maximum reception ability. Also, it has 5 selectivity modes to reduce interference.

It has 12 shortwave bands and supports 24 languages, so it’s especially useful for people who like listening to foreign broadcasts.

It comes equipped with some useful features like calendar, clock, sleep timer and an alarm that can wake you up with a radio station, memory card music or buzzer as per your liking.

Its easily accessible USB port allows you to use a flash card of up to 32GB memory and listen to your favorite tunes. It is battery rechargeable and includes an 850mA lithium battery and a USB charging cable.

The battery lasts for up to 10 hours even when continuously used at normal volume. The radio has a decent sound quality and a surface that’s UV protected and corrosion-resistant for durability.

Also, it is low-priced. If you are on a tight budget, probably this is the best shortwave radio for you.

Pros:

  • Sturdy and durable construction
  • Compact & light-weight
  • 1 year warranty & 30 days money-back guarantee
  • Low price

Cons:

  • No recording function and no automatic tuning.

9. Sangean WR-11 Wood Cabinet AM/FM Table Top Analog Radio

The WR-11 is a retro-styled AM/FM radio with a solid MDF cabinet and a real walnut finish. The materials used not only make it look elegant but also improve the sound quality due to their acoustically tuned properties.

The radio has a simple design with three big knobs on front for bandwidth, tuning and volume.

The back side has several jacks including aux in, record out & headphones and connectors for external antennas and a 12V DC coaxial power plug. Unlike most radios having tinny/weak sounding speakers, this one booms.

It is 3-inch 7W full range speaker with an enlarged magnet and its bass is exceptionally loud, so it’s especially useful for those who are hearing-impaired.

The tuning is soft and precise with its rotary dial. It also has a tuning LED indicator that helps you know when you’re getting the best reception possible from the antenna.

The rear connections are very convenient. Its 3.5 mm auxiliary input allows you to connect your favorite devices such as iPod or other media player and its 3.5mm headphone jack allows for private listening.

There is also a record-out jack so that you can route your audio output to a recording-equipment or any other external device. It is a table top radio measuring around 9.4” (W) x 4.4” (H) x 6.2” (D) and weighing 5 pounds.

It comes with a small 12V gel-cell battery for charging but can also be rigged with a solar panel.

Overall, it’s a great product if you do not need something very portable. It has an old-world charm and if you need something vintage & retro-styled, this is probably the best shortwave radio to consider.

Pros:

  • Retro-styled
  • Made of real wood
  • Dynamic bass
  • Tuning LED indicator
  • Numerous jacks and connectors

Cons:

  • No MP3 player function

8. Eton Grundig S450DLX Deluxe AM / FM / Shortwave Radio – Black, NGS450DLB

It is a simple, black model with a memory of 50 stations, each with 10 presets for each band.

It provides continuous frequency range (from 1.7 to 30 MHz) for the AW, MW, FM and SW frequencies and is highly sensitive to them.

It has a strong anti-interference quality, so there is lower background noise and sound disposition. It also has a micro controller unit and a large LCD backlight display for easy reading during night time.

The front features a lot of controls for wide/narrow bandwidth, fast/slow tuning across bands and volume. Its built-in 5 inch full range speaker is powerful and can be adjusted to control bass and treble.

You can also use this radio for time management as it features a clock and dual alarms.

On sides, it has an earphone jack, an antenna jack for FM/SW, an AM IF Output jack for outboard DRM or SSB adapters, a line input, an earphone jack and a MW 500 Ext./GND socket for improved MW sensitivity.

Measuring 12.2” (W) x 8.5” (H) x 3.8” (D) and weighing 3.6 pounds, it is not very small by today’s standards but has a strap type handle for easy carrying.

It is powered by six D batteries or DC power via an included 500mA adapter. It is bit expensive but truly worth the price!

Pros:

  • 50-station memory
  • Dual alarm clock
  • High sensitivity and low interference
  • 2-way powered

Cons:

  • High price

7. Kaito KA500GRN 5-Way Powered Emergency AM/FM/SW Weather Alert Radio, Green

This 5-way powered radio is especially designed for emergency preparedness. It can be charged via AC/DC adapter, three AA batteries, hand-crank, computer or even solar panel.

Compared with any other solar-powered emergency radio, it has a unique 180-degree adjustable solar panel which helps maximize sunlight exposure for quick charging.

The USB port on side can be used for charging the radio via PC or for charging other electronic gadgets such as mobile phones using hand crank.

The radio captures shortwave radio signals as well as AM/FM and NOAA frequencies. With it, you can tune into 7 pre-set NOAA weather channels and get alert in time.

It also features a 5-LED reading lamp with red and white lights and a flashlight mode for ease of use during night time.

It measures 8.3” (W) x 5.3” (H) x 2.3” (D) and weighs 1.3 pounds only, so it’s easily portable.

Also, it has a dedicated handle for easy carrying. Other than green, Kaito KA500GRN is available in blue, black, red and yellow colors, so you can choose anyone you like. Needless to say, it’s worth considering when making a purchase.

Pros:

  • Captures NOAA frequencies
  • Flashlight and reading lamp
  • Mobile phone charger function
  • 5-way powered

Cons:

  • Analog display system

6. Sangean TB-100SE (Toughbox) AM/FM/AUX-In Ultra Rugged Digital PLL Tuning Rechargeable Radio (Black) Special Edition

This is a sturdy radio made with impact-resistant ABS plastic. Unlike most other shortwave radios, it is completely resistant to water, dust and shock.

Measuring 12.8” (W) x 9.2” (H) x 7 .6” (D) and weighing 6.61 pounds, it is quite large but much of this extra size and weight comes from the shock-absorbing bars that surround it.

These bars also make it easier to carry. It is an AM/FM radio with flexible pivoting antenna and a digital PLL tuner for better reception.

The top section features two large dials, one for volume and the other for tuning. The front features a power button, 5 quick-tune buttons, a button to select FM/AM band and a large backlit LCD display (2.25” x 1”) that ensures excellent visibility.

For each of the bands, there are 5 easy touch memory presets. The aux-in on the right side is also convenient as it can be used for MP3, CD player, iPod/iPhone or any other external device for indoor and outdoor use.

Sangean’s 5 inch full-range speakers deliver great sound quality, making it suitable for backyard parties.

It can be powered with 4 ‘C’ batteries or household electricity using its built-in 2.7 meters cable.

Other than black, it is also available in blue, green, red and yellow colors but the black one seems to be most popular. This high-quality product is stylish, trendy and is sure to make heads turn.

Pros:

  • Sturdy and durable construction
  • Water, dust and shock resistant
  • 2-way powered

Cons:

  • The cable is a permanent fixture and cannot be removed when not in use.

5. Eton GrundigSatellit 750 Ultimate AM / FM / Aircraft / SSB / Shortwave Radio, NGSAT750B

This is a high-end radio with more advanced features, reception and performance. It receives almost every band frequency out there (AM, FM, SSB, long-wave, shortwave and aircraft), giving a huge range of options when it comes to radio listening.

With it, you can tune into AM talk shows, FM music stations, amateur radio (ham) broadcasts and even aeronautical bands from all over the world.

You can find a frequency by auto scanning, manual entry or direct frequency key-in. It has 100 programmable memories for each band, so you can easily save your favorite frequencies for future use.

The reception is excellent, thanks to its advanced 360-degree rotating antenna. In case you want to use a more advanced antenna to pick up a wider range of frequencies, there’s an external antenna port as well.

Due to the use of DSP technology, tuning sensitivity is enhanced and there’s almost no interference.

The product measures 15.65″ (W) x 7.25″ (H) x 5 .75″ (D) and weighs 7.1 pounds. It is not very compact by modern standards but it is indeed very useful.

It even has a digital display with two alarm clocks, allowing you to set multiple alarms and wake up to your favorite stations.

The aux in jack on back allows connecting it to MP3 players, smartphones or other external devices.

It is battery powered but is also DC plugin compatible. If you want to enjoy more content and quality, this radio is worth considering.

Pros:

  • Captures ham & aeronautical bands
  • 100 station memories for each band
  • Dual alarm clock
  • High sensitivity and low interference
  • 2-way powered

Cons:

  • High price

4. C. Crane CCRadio-2E Enhanced Portable AM FM Weather and 2-Meter Ham Band (Black) CC2BE

For over 10 years C. Crane’s CCRadio series has had some of the best AM reception in radios.

For the new 2E Enhanced version, it’s even better. This boost in AM performance comes from the company’s patented Twin-Coil Ferrite AM antenna that gives a noticeable boost to weak AM signals.

The radio captures AM, FM and NOAA frequencies. The 2-Meter Ham band of NOAA frequencies is especially useful because all life saving information in natural disasters like hurricanes come through on this band.

It measures 11” (W) x 6.5” (H) x 4” (D) and weighs 4 pounds. It is a mid-sized radio and can be easily carried along.

It has 5 one-touch memory presets to save your favorite frequencies and a headphone jack for listening privacy.

There are line-input and line-output jacks as well for connecting with external devices.

The clock and alarm feature keeps you motivated and on-time.

It runs on included AC power cord or four ‘D’ batteries and has a long battery life. It is bit expensive but a great product for AM lovers.

Pros:

  • Patented Twin-Coil Ferrite AM antenna
  • Captures NOAA frequencies
  • Superior sound quality
  • 2-way powered

Cons:

  • High price

 

3. C Crane CC Skywave AM, FM, Shortwave, Weather and Airband Portable Travel Radio with Clock and Alarm

The newest entry to C.Crane’s radio line is the CC Skywave Radio. Measuring 4.75” (W) x 3” (H) x 1.1” (D), it is probably the smallest radio that receives not only standard AM, FM and shortwave but also NOAA and aircraft band frequencies.

While the NOAA band alerts you about weather conditions, the aircraft band tells about nearby air traffic controllers and keeps you updated with flight schedule changes and other informative bits.

Weighing mere 0.3 pounds, it’s extremely light and easy to carry.

It has 400 memory presets, so you shouldn’t have a problem saving your favorite frequencies.

To find a particular frequency, you can press the FREQ button and then key in that frequency or you can also auto scan.

A unique feature of this radio is a switchable audio filter for voice and music. When set to ‘voice’, it enhances the audio for human voice intelligibility and when set to ‘music’, it optimizes audio fidelity.

Also, it has an improved DSP-chip-based design, so sound quality is really good, especially on the FM band. It has a large LCD display for easy visibility and a clock with alarm function to help manage time.

On one side, there is a rotary volume knob and on the other side, it has a stereo headphone jack and USB port. It can be powered by 2 AA batteries or an AC adapter.

The battery life is good as it runs approximately 60-70 hours at moderate volume. Overall, it’s a great C.Crane radio at a lower price.

Pros:

  • Compact & light-weight
  • Captures weather & aeronautical bands
  • Superior sound quality
  • 400-station memory
  • 2-way powered
  • 1 year warranty

Cons:

  • It does notinclude an adaptor or USB cord for charging.

2. Sangean ATS-909X BK AM/FM/LW/SW World Band Receiver – Black

The ATS-909X is the new and much improved version in the Sangean line of radios. It has wide-band frequency coverage (AM/FM/Longwave/Shortwave) and features that are generally found in more expensive table top radios.

It comes with a new ‘Squelch’ function that effectively minimizes background static noise so that distant stations sound clearer than ever.

Performance is also enhanced due to use of DSP technology. Finding stations is easy with its Auto Tuning System (ATS) which scans and automatically adds all available stations to the 406 preset memory bank.

Other tuning options are direct frequency tuning, manual tuning, memory recall and rotary tuning.

Measuring 8” (W) x 5” (H) x 1” (D) and weighing 1 pound, it is compact and easily portable.

It has an extra large LCD screen with bright white LED backlights so that visibility is good in any situation.

There are three programmable wake timers and the clock has 42 world city times stored.

When tuned to any station, the LCD screen displays its name and the time in the areas where it’s available.

The radio has a 3.5mm headphone jack on the side for listening privacy and a sliding tone control for easy customization.

It is available in black and silver colors and both look stylish. For powering, it requires the included AC adapter or 4 AA batteries. It is a complete shortwave radio package and has almost everything one could ask for.

Pros:

  • Compact & light-weight
  • Superior sound quality
  • 406-station memory
  • 3 alarms & 42 world city times
  • 2-way powered

Cons:

  • High price

1. Tecsun PL880 Portable Digital PLL Dual Conversion AM/FM, Longwave& Shortwave Radio with SSB (Single Side Band) Reception

Tecsun PL880 Portable Digital Radio comes with full range coverage – SW, LW, MW, FM and AM broadcasts with SSB.

Unlike most radios which are calibrated to nearest kHz, this PLL synthesized digital dual conversion receiver shows 100th on SSB.

For bandwidth filtering, it has 4 filtering options in AM and 5 in SSB. Moreover, it has a dynamic noise reducer and a synchronous detector to get rid of noise and to lock onto signals more effectively.

Thus, it has excellent sensitivity, selectivity and no frequency distortion.

Thanks to its 3-watt Mylar speaker and 450mW audio amplifier, the sound quality is also excellent. With the PL880, you can tune into almost all international broadcast bands.

You can directly enter a frequency by keypad or use the auto scanning system. Its auto sort function sorts memories by bands and frequencies, thus eliminating duplicates.

In this way, the radio can store up to 100-250 memories per page per band and there are total 25 pages. For time management, it has an alarm clock and also a 0-2 hours sleep timer.

Measuring 7.6” (W) x 4.5” (H) x 1.3” (D) and weighing 1.15 pounds, it is ultra-compact and easy to carry around.

Moreover, it has all the connections and controls one could wish for in a portable device. On its left side, there is an external antenna jack, a headphone jack, a line-out jack for recording and a 5 VDC USB input.

The PL880 can be powered by this USB port or even by a single 18650 Li-ion rechargeable lithium battery which lasts for about 15 days with heavy use and back-light on.

It is a user-friendly gadget from a reputed brand and going through its long list of features, we know why it’s so popular!

Pros:

  • Compact & light-weight
  • Best selectivity & sensitivity
  • Best sound quality
  • 250-station memory
  • 2-way powered

Cons:

  • High price

Editors Choice of Best Shortwave Radio

We analyzed all the popular options and found Tecsun PL880 Portable Digital Radio to be the best shortwave radio. When it comes to selectivity, sensitivity and sound quality, this one is incomparable.

It offers full frequency coverage and to avoid any distortion, it has 4 filtering options in AM, 5 filtering options in SSB, a dynamic noise reducer and a synchronous detector.

This in itself is more than what most shortwave radios are offering. Adding to this, it has a 3-watt Mylar speaker and 450mW audio amplifier, ensuring the best possible sound quality.

It is a very compact, light and useful radio with long battery life. You can use it in your room or take it along on your adventurous trips- this radio will not fail you! We rate it 9/10 and recommend it to our readers.

Which one do you think is the best shortwave radio? Like always, we would love to know your views. Leave your comments in the box below and help everyone make an informed choice.

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