You may not think of this right off, but you may want to think about getting the best battery operated radio. There may be a power outage, or perhaps you like to get news reports while you’re out camping or hiking. It’s even great to use on your lawn, while you sip beer or lemonade while lazily listening to music or the ball game.
Best Battery Operated Radio Reviews
You have plenty of options when it comes to picking a good battery powered portable radio, and the sheer number of possible choices can be overwhelming. Make it easier for yourself by choosing from our top 10 recommendations.
1. Panasonic RF-2400D AM / FM Radio
This absolutely looks like an old-fashioned AM/FM radio, except for the large speaker in front. It also features a ferrite antenna that’s almost universally seen in AM radios these days.
The speaker measures 4 inches wide to provide a nice sound. The station tuner knob offers precise station setting, which you can see on the station panel. There’s an earphone jack as well, if you don’t want to bother people nearby.
But even when you’re alone out in the woods, this gets very nice reception especially for AM radio. Even the FM stations 50 miles away gives you great-sounding music, and that’s with the antenna down.
This uses 4 AA batteries, and you’d have to buy them yourself. It’s not a big deal, since you very rarely (if ever) get free batteries. Bring it along with you, as it has a solid handle on top for easy carrying. It measures 3.2 by 9.2 by 4.8 inches, and only weighs about a pound. You can use this at home as well, if you have an AC adapter.
- Great sound from large speaker
- Gets stations from far away
- Easy to carry
- Retro looks
- No trouble to set to your favorite station
2. SEMIER AM/FM Portable Radio Operated by Dry Battery
The overall look is decidedly modern, even if the features are actually retro. It’s a box with a handle on top, along with a telescoping antenna. On the left side of the front you have a large speaker, with the station panel on top. There’s a switch for AM/FM, and two large knobs for picking the station and adjusting the volume. There’s an earphone jack as well.
It offers a nice sound good enough to fill a room, and that’s because it’s not really all that small. It measures 8.6 by 5 by 4.6 inches and weighs about 1.4 pounds. With the handle on top, it’s easy enough to bring to your porch or to your campsite.
With this around, you’ll enjoy the clear quality of music and talk shows. It’s really that good. Just buy the 2 D batteries it needs and you’re good to go.
- Offers terrific sound for AM and FM radio
- Nice mix of traditional and modern aesthetics
- You can use a headset for this
- Batteries can last for a very long while
- Easy to carry
3. Sangean TB-100 (Toughbox) AM / FM / AUX Battery Powered Radio
This Toughbox really does look tough. It’s almost military in its aesthetics, with the olive-green body and black colors for the touch buttons, station select and volume dials on top, and the antenna. It even has a roll-cage on the sides and bottom, and it’s black too. That roll cage makes this resistant to shock even when you drop it. The toughness extends to rain-resistance as well, and it is also resistant to dust.
This is powered by 4 C batteries, and you’re better off getting the rechargeable batteries. That’s because when you plug this in with its 9-foot AC power cord, you’re also recharging your batteries at the same time. When it’s time for you to use the batteries, you can roll the electrical cord on the back of the radio.
This comes with a large 5.25-inch full-range speaker, and the signals are cleaned up by the Digital PLL Tuner. You have 7 buttons up front, with the on/off button, the AM/FM button, and the 5 buttons for the presets. You have 5 presets each for AM and FM. The backlit LCD identifies your station and how much battery power you have left.
- Resistant to rain and dust
- The roll cage makes it shock-resistant too
- Built-in battery charger
- Has 9-foot AC cord that can be looped at the back of the radio
- Large speaker (also water-resistant)
- 5 presets each for AM and FM radio
- Backlit LCD
4. C Crane CC Skywave AM, FM, Shortwave Radio
From a bit afar it looks like a rather small pocket-size radio. It is small at less than 5 inches wide and 3 inches high, and it only weighs 5.4 ounces. That’s small enough to only require 2 AA batteries, which can run continuously for about 60 to 70 hours.
It may be small, but it certainly is far from terrible. Aside from the AM/FM capacity, it gives you the NOAA weather radio with alert so that you’re always notified of any weather issues when you’re out camping or biking. It also offers Worldwide Shortwave coverage and you can even listen to air traffic controllers.
This gives you terrific signal interference, and AM reception is decidedly clear. The sound it offers is actually quite nice, considering the size. It also has a stereo headphone jack.
This has an auto scan feature and up to 400 memory presets, with a direct entry keypad to get your favorite station quickly. The lit LCD screen shows you the station you’re on, though it can also show you the time along with the battery meter and signal meter. You have a rotary dial for the volume, a knob for picking the station, and a lick switch to prevent accidental changes.
- Weather alerts are available to you at any time
- You can listen to air control tower chatter
- It’s definitely portable
- Your purchase comes with earbuds and a carry case
- You have 400 memory presets to use for favorite stations
5. Tecsun R-9012 AM/FM/SW 12 Bands Shortwave Radio
This is a cute little radio, measuring about 5 by 3 inches and only an inch deep. It only weighs 7.1 ounces. You only need 2 AA batteries for this, but you can also use a DC 3V adapter. Do be careful when buying a new adapter just for this radio, though. It has to be negative inside and positive external.
It’s small, and surprisingly inexpensive. Yet it offers very clear AM and FM reception, and it draws in shortwave stations as well. That means you can even use this if you’re about the broadcasts from other parts of the world.
Tuning to your favorite station is easy with this too. You have an easy-to-use tuning knob, along with a tuning indicator light so you don’t pass over the station you’re actually looking for. The sound is great as well.
- Very portable and fits in your pocket
- AM, FM, and shortwave stations all come in loud and clear
- Easy to get your station dialed in
- Solid build
- May just be the best battery powered radio for its price range
6. Prunus J-01 Battery Operated Portable Radio
This is an old-fashioned radio that’s markedly different from most modern gadgets these days. With this, you can listen to music or to AM radio talk shows and news reports and save the battery on your smartphone. This is a battery powered AM FM radio that offers shortwave too.
This is actually powered by 2200mAh battery which can give you 20 straight hours of use. once the battery power gets low enough, the power icon on the LED display will flash. You can then use a USB cable to power it back up.
The radio comes with a terrific DSP chip along with a retractable copper antenna for excellent reception. The antenna rotates 360 degrees, so you can fiddle with it to find the best reception.
The sound is also courtesy of the 3W magnetic speaker, which even gives the deep bass that other radios can’t offer with their .5W speakers. There’s a headphone jack as well.
- It’s about the size of a smartphone at 6.7 inches wide, 3.5 inches high, and 1.5 inches deep
- Offers AM and FM radio plus shortwave
- Terrific reception
- You even get good bass from the speaker
- Built-in rechargeable battery
- Supports Micro-SD/TF card so you can use it as an MP3 player
7. C. Crane CCRadio – EP PRO AM FM Battery Operated
This uses the special Twin Coil Ferrite AM Antenna that gives you fantastic AM radio reception. You’ll find it difficult to get better AM reception with this small radio. The FM reception is terrific as well. At the side of the radio between the volume and station knob, you even have a small knob for AM fine tuning.
The sound is also decidedly superior. In fact, you have an FM stereo option on the AM/FM switch. You even have knobs that let you adjust both treble and bass, with the sound coming from the large 5-inch speaker.
Your purchase comes with a 6V AC adapter, though you need to buy the 4 D batteries. These batteries can last for 300 hours straight if you turn off the display light and play music at moderate volume.
- Comes with AC adapter
- Batteries can last for 300 hours of continuous play
- Fantastic reception, with a special antenna and a fine tuning knob
- Lit analog station display
- Large 5-inch speaker
- Jacks for external antenna, ⅛-inch stereo headphone, and ⅛-inch stereo AUX
8. PR-137 AM/FM 2 Band Portable Radio Operated by Dry Battery
This isn’t a pocket radio, but it’s still easy enough to carry. It’s only 8 inches wide and 5 inches high, with a depth of less than 4 inches. With the handle on top, it’s not difficult to lug around especially when it weighs just 2 pounds. It may not be optimal for walking around, but you can use it on your porch or in your garage, instead of wasting your smartphone battery. You can bring it along to a campsite as well.
Besides, this can provide better reception for both AM and FM radio than any smartphone. The layout is also simple enough, with a switch for either AM or FM, a knob for the volume, and an analog display panel to identify the radio frequency. The tuning knob is on the side, same as the headphone jack.
You need 4 C batteries for this, and you’re good to go for outdoor use. But if you’re near a power outlet, you can just plug in the built-in electrical cord. The sound is great, coming from the 3-inch speaker.
- Tough enough to survive multiple drops to the floor
- You can plug it in or use batteries
- Easy to use
- Picks up AM stations other radios can’t get
- Great for use right outside the home
9. VEILOND AM FM Portable Dry Battery Operated Radio Player
It’s amazing how an inexpensive radio like this can offer lots of perks. This uses 2 D batteries, but if you’re using this beside a power outlet then you can just plug in the built-in electrical cord.
This lets you listen to AM and FM radio, and shortwave too. The large speaker occupies most of the front side, though at the right part of the front you have the analog station display. The handle is on top along with the retractable antenna. On the side, you have the thread knobs for volume and station adjustment. It also has a headphone jack, though you only get mono instead of stereo.
- Receives AM, FM and shortwave
- Has built-in power cord, but you can use 2 D batteries for backup
- Large speaker and frequency display
- Sound is loud enough even for camping
- Very portable, weighing 1.4 pounds and measuring 7.3 by 5 by 3 inches
10. Givoust Portable Battery-Operated AM/FM Radio
This is definitely a pocket-size radio, measuring 4.7 by 3.5 by 1.3 inches. Some smartphones are even larger. Half the front is reserved for the speaker, with another half for the unusual round analog station display. It weighs about a quarter of a pound.
You just need 2 AA batteries and you’re good to go for the next 24 hours. The retractable antenna extends long, and the sound quality is great for music, talk radio, and news reports. The lit dial helps when using this at night, and it’s actually rather easy to use.
- Compact and lightweight
- Easy to use
- Pulls in lots of radio stations
- Clear sound
- Can run the whole day on just 2 AA batteries
Best Battery Operated Radio Buying Guide
It’s always a good idea to read the manufacturer’s specs and listed features to get an idea of what you can expect from a radio. But you should also read battery operated radio reviews, which offer a rather more objective view. These reviews can tell you about how a radio really works, how it may fail to work, and how well the customer support responds.
In addition, you’d do well to focus on the following factors when reading these reviews to help you make the right choice:
How many batteries will you need to buy? Typically, these radios don’t come with free batteries unless they’re the type that uses a rechargeable Li-ion battery. It’s great if you can get by using one or two cheap AA batteries.
You also should take note how long you can expect the radio to work before you need to replace the batteries. It’s also easier for you if the radio has a battery power indicator, so you can anticipate when you need to replace the batteries.
Of course, it also helps if you can power the radio with an AC adapter especially if you’re going to use it at home. Typically, you have to buy this adapter too.
Take note of the radio’s size and weight. It’s better if it’s smaller and not too heavy. Check if it is easy to carry around, and find out if you it comes with a belt clip or a carry strap. Some of these radios are a bit bigger, but they should at least have a comfortable handle.
In general, you’ll want to get FM stations for the music and AM stations for news and talk radio shows. For camping, weather reports will also be useful. The antenna should be telescoping and should get clear AM and FM signals.
How good is the speaker? You don’t really need stereo speakers built in the radio, though it’s nice if it has a headphone jack that offers stereo sound. You don’t really expect booming bass with these types of radios, but it’s a plus if it doesn’t sound too tinny.
Ease of Use
The bad news about having lots of features is that the radio can be too complicated to use. Still, it’s nice if you can have 1-touch buttons for your favorite stations along with controls that you can easily adjust for volume and radio frequency. Backlit LCD’s are great, especially at night when you’re camping.
Some radios double as a clock, with the time displayed on the LCD screen. It may have a sleep timer that shuts down after a certain number of minutes so you can use it to lull you to sleep. It’s also nice if it can also function as an alarm clock, especially with a humane buzzer that gets gradually louder.
Can the radio survive the delivery process, or will it arrive at your home with damaged components? How long will it work without anything breaking down?
Advantages of a Battery Powered Radio
Here are some reasons why you’d want to get one for yourself:
- If there’s a power outage, a battery-powered portable radio gives you news reports and music too.
- It’s handy for camping and hiking trips.
- You can bring one along on long biking trips.
- These radios are typically small and lightweight, so they’re easier to carry around.
- You can listen to music or a ball game at home lounging on your patio when there’s no convenient power outlet nearby.
- It’s a great radio for your office.
How long do AA batteries last?
It depends on the radio and how you use it. The better radios can last for at least 48 hours straight, especially when the radio doesn’t have too many power-hungry features (like LCD screens always on). If you’re using the radio for an hour or two each day, then the batteries can last for weeks.
Why get a radio instead of just using the smartphone?
It’s because the radio doesn’t use as much power as a smartphone. You can use the radio for listening to music and news reports. You can reserve the smartphone for tasks the radio can’t do, such as making emergency calls or surfing the internet.
Why is an alarm tone crucial with the NOAA Weather Radio feature?
This alarm tone feature found in the battery operated emergency radio lets you turn on your radio while it remains silent waiting for important weather news reports. If there’s an emergency weather broadcast, the special tone will activate your radio or interrupt your AM/FM listening.
Which areas does the NOAA Weather Radio network cover?
The NOAA Weather Radio network has 750 transmitters for virtually the entirety of the US. This coverage includes Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and US Pacific territories.
Does the NOAA Weather Radio network also operate in Canada?
Canada has a Weather Radio network too, and it operates on the same frequencies used by the US Weather Radio network.
How come FM radio stations sound better than AM radio stations?
That’s because FM channels are generally in stereo, and FM radios aren’t as vulnerable to interference. AM radio stations only work in mono, though AM radios can listen to AM stations from farther away.
Who says you need to use your smartphone for everything? Get the best battery operated radio instead and you can listen to music or news reports without wasting your smartphone battery. Take this with you on the porch or on a camping site, and enjoy.