Some people like to live alone (or camp in a remote place), where even the nearest town is far away. But that might mean not being able to get any news through your smartphone.
You won’t hear news about changes in the weather, or if there’s a zombie apocalypse. However, you can get the best radio for long distance AM reception and make sure you get the news even if you can’t get a smartphone signal or you don’t have cable Internet or TV.
Best Radio For Long Distance AM Reception Reviews
Let’s not waste time—your best bet is to pick one among these top 10 options:
1. Sony SRF-M37W Walkman Digital Tuning Weather/FM/AM Stereo Radio
This is easy enough to carry around, since it comes with a free belt clip. It’s compact too, measuring just 3.4 inches at its widest point. The weight is also negligible at 4.8 ounces. You don’t even need to bring a lot of extra batteries, as this only uses one battery. It’ll last for more than 2 whole days before you need to replace it.
Bring this with you on your hiking trip, and you can get access to your local weather forecast anytime just by touching the Direct Weather button. Here you have 5 buttons for any station you pick (FM or AM), while you can use 1-button tuning to pick from memory presets for 20 stations (5 AM, 10 FM, and 5 weather band).
This also comes with a free set of headphones, and the sound is terrific. Try this at home and connect a set of small basic speakers, and it sounds like a much more expensive radio.
At a campsite, you should get fine reception for both AM and FM radio. The built-in DX switch optimizes the reception nicely.
- Uses a single battery, which lasts for 54 hours
- 20 station presets including 5 for AM radio
- 5 buttons for quick switching to favorite stations
- Free headphones
- Compact and comes with belt clip
- Great sound
2. Sangean PR-D18BK AM/FM/Portable Digital Radio with Protective Bumper
At first glance this looks like a regular electronic alarm clock. Well, it does offer that function, with a buzzer to jolt you right out of sleep or with a more humane waking system that gets progressively louder. There’s a snooze function too.
This is actually a radio, though. It offers 5 AM and 5 FM presets, along with the auto seek functions and adjustable tuning. The LCD screen gives you your station frequency, so you know at a glance exactly which station you’re listening to.
With this, you can listen to the radio as you sleep. Set the sleep timer at 15 up to 20 hours, so it can shut off automatically when you fall asleep. The sound is great for music and for talk shows.
It’s quite portable too, with its 6.5 x 1.4 x 4.2-inch measurements and 12.8-ounce weight. While at home you can use it with an AC adapter, while camping you need 4 AA batteries. You do have to buy the AC adapter and batteries on your own.
- Great sound comparable with much more expensive radios (even those that cost 4 times more)
- Batteries can last 2 months
- Easy to carry in your backpack
- You won’t find it hard to learn all the radio and alarm functions
- Looks nice on your bedside table
3. C. Crane CC Pocket AM FM and NOAA Weather Radio
You’ll need to buy 2 AA batteries for this, but at least they last for 25 hours straight. What’s more, your purchase does include free earbuds.
Take this with you while camping and you’ll certainly find it useful. It’s easy enough to carry, as it comes with a belt clip too. It’s compact at 4.25 by 2.5 by 1 inch, and it only weighs 4 ounces. The on/off and volume controls, along with the headphone jack, are on top of the unit so you don’t have to take the radio off the belt when you need to use those features.
You can listen to AM radio with this, with presets for your favorite stations. It can pick up even weaker AM stations easily enough. You’re also able to disable the display screen to improve the reception. This also lets you listen to the NOAA Weather Radio with Alert in case you’re camping and worried about the weather.
- You get regular news reports with no trouble when you’re hiking or camping
- You’ll find this easy to carry
- You don’t need to take the radio off your belt to connect the headphone or adjust the volume
- The AM reception is terrific
- You won’t have to worry about accidental button pushes, as those are prevented by a side lock switch
4. Sony ICF-F10 Two 2 Band FM/AM Portable Battery Transistor Radio
Some is well known for its wide range of excellent audio electronics, so it’s not surprising the brand makes an appearance on this list. This looks decidedly retro, but then that seems apt enough if you plan on using it to listen to AM radio.
The retro design includes a panel display for the FM and AM radio frequencies, along with adjustable knobs for the volume and for selecting the radio station. The telescopic antenna swivels, so you can easily adjust it for the best reception.
The sound is great compared to other radios of this size. That’s due to the relatively huge speaker that takes up more than half the front side (it measures 3.75 inches). This is 8 inches wide, 5.25 inches high, and 2.4 inches deep, and it weighs a single pound.
Bring this along with you when you’re outdoors, as it comes with a nice carry strap. You’ll have to buy the 2 DD batteries for it, but then they’re good enough for 200 hours of use.
- The batteries last for a long while, so even an extra pair of DD batteries can set you up for hiking
- It’s easy enough to carry
- The retro design looks cool
- The sound is relatively terrific
- You can use the headphone jack or connect extra speakers to it
5. Sangean PR-D5BK AM/FM Portable Radio with Digital Tuning and RDS
Now this, in contrast to many portable pocket radios, looks very contemporary. The backlit LCD display displays the radio station frequency along with the battery power indicator. You have 10 memory presets for stations (5 AM, 5 FM).
This is a rather small radio, so it’s no trouble to bring it with you when you travel. It’s 10 inches wide and about 5 inches tall, with a depth of 2 inches. It comes with an AC adapter for home use, but you can go hiking with this using 6 C batteries.
The sound is excellent, with its 2 speakers and PLL Synthesized Tuning System. The 200mm ferrite antenna is also great for reception.
You can use this as your alarm clock too. It has a sleep timer, and it can wake you with its humane buzzer that progressively gets louder. It also can just turn on the radio to wake you up.
- Modern aesthetics
- Terrific sound
- Great reception
- Comes with an adapter
- Works as an alarm clock with humane buzzer
6. Sony ICF-S10MK2 Pocket AM/FM Radio, Silver
This is a tiny radio that you can easily hold in your hand, though it comes with a carry strap. It’s less than 5 inches tall and less than 3 inches wide with a depth just over an inch. It’s not heavy either at 10.4 ounces. The antenna also telescopes.
You do get to enjoy good sound quality with the speaker occupying more than half the front side. The front contains the panel display for the AM and FM frequencies. At the sides of the radio, you have the controls for the volume and station selection. There’s also a jack for an earphone.
This uses only 2 AA batteries, and they’re good enough for 45 hours for use when listening to AM radio. With FM radio, this is good for 40 hours. Try this for camping to get the news, or just use it as you sip beer on your patio as you listen to the ball game. It’s like time travel, as perhaps your granddaddy’s daddy may have done the same thing once.
- Simple to use with basic controls
- Cheap batteries can last for a long while
- Good sound
- Easy to carry around
- Antenna offers great reception
7. Vondior AM FM Battery Operated Portable Pocket Radio
This Vondior radio is the most affordable among the ones listed here, but its quality certainly isn’t cheap. The price is due to how easy and uncomplicated this gadget is. Just extend the antenna and pick your FM or AM station. Adjust the antenna for best reception (it swivels), and you’re good to go.
This only uses 2 AA batteries, and that’s good enough for several weeks even with daily use. take this with you when vacationing in a cabin in the woods. It’s tiny at less than 5 inches at its longest side, and it’s extremely lightweight at 3.2 ounces.
- You can even pocket this
- Very simple to use
- Long battery life
- Large built-in speaker for good sound
- Adjustable antenna
8. C Crane CC Skywave AM, FM, Shortwave, Weather and Airband Radio
This is a curious mix of old-fashioned design with modern features. It looks simple and even retro, but then you have a backlit LCD display direct entry keypad, a stereo headphone jack to complement the large speaker, and up to 400 memory presets.
The AM reception is terrific, but you’re not limited to AM/FM. You can listen to nearby traffic controllers with Aviation/Airband, get Worldwide Shortwave coverage from 2.3-26.1 MHz, and also receive the NOAA weather radio with alert.
The LCD display tells you the station frequency, or it can function as a 12/24-hour clock. There’s a signal meter and a battery meter, along with a lock switch to prevent accidental adjustments. This uses just 2 AA batteries, which you can run continuously for about 60 to 70 hours.
- You can get weather reports
- You can listen to aviation towers
- It’s compact at less than 5 inches high and 3 inches wide
- Batteries run for a long while
- It works as a clock
9. Sangean LB-100 Ultra Rugged Compact AM / FM Radio
Now this is the Sangean “Lunchbox Model” which looks very modern indeed. It comes with a handle on top along with a roll cage on the sides and bottom. With the rugged ABS plastic body, this should survive any accidental drops.
It’s meant for outdoor use too, as this is even resistant to dust and rain. It’s a bit heavy at more than 6 pounds 9 ounces, but then for a jobsite it works fine. It features a digital tuner for AM/FN. A large speaker, 5 easy-touch memory presets, and a digital PLL synthesized tuner for improved reception.
- Very rugged and meant for outdoor use
- Terrific reception
- Good sound quality with the 5-inch speaker
- The LCD tells you station and time
- Uses adapter or 4 C batteries
10. Retekess V115 Portable AM FM Radio
Here’s another affordable radio that’s in no way “cheap” when it comes to quality. It’s tiny at less than 5 inches wide and it can fit in your pocket. It also uses a 1000mAh rechargeable lithium battery. This is technically a portable AN FM radio, but it’s a lot more advanced. You may not find some of its features in any other radio in its price range.
This lets you play mp3 songs from a TF card, and you can record songs and talk show discussions as well. This also comes with a built-in microphone. The backlit LCD screen displays lots of info, including the station frequency, the sleep timer, and battery power.
- You can program specific stations to number keys
- Very tiny
- Good sound quality
- Comes with microphone
- You can play songs from or record to memory cards
Best AM Radio Reception Buying Guide
How exactly do you pick the long distance and best am radio reception for yourself? The trick is to read the product descriptions along with the reviews, and then focus on the following factors:
If you’re stuck in a remote area with no news available but AM radio stations, then you better be sure your AM radio can actually get signals from stations so far away. That’s the main point of this entire article, after all. If you have the range to connect with the farthest AM stations, then you can get to even more remote locations without worrying about being out of the news loop.
This factor is related to signal reception strength, since you’ll hear a clearer signal without hisses and static if your radio receiver can connect properly to these stations. You do want to check out the quality of the speakers as well. Good speakers can make sure you can understand everything being said over the radio.
In the old days, you have to turn a dial to get the station signal just right. A millimeter to the left or right of the station meter and you can end up with static. The problem is that this can be a rather fiddly task.
Now, you have modern AM radios with preset settings. All you have to do is press a button and you get your favorite signal. The more pre-programmed station options you have, the more convenient it is for you.
It also helps if you have an LCD display so you can tell which station you’re listening to at a glance. This also makes manual fine-tuning a lot easier.
Let’s face it, it’s very unlikely that you live in a place where you can’t get cable TV, internet, smartphone signal, and FM radio. So, for most homes, AM radios aren’t exactly mandatory.
But it’s a different matter when you’re hiking and camping out in the boondocks. It’s very possible that you can only get AM radio, and that means you will need to carry an AM radio with you. It’s best if that radio is small and lightweight, and perhaps designed to fit easily on your belt.
What if you drop your radio? That can always happen especially if you’re outdoors. Your radio should handle such instances with no trouble.
Simplicity of Operation
In other words, the best radio for am reception should be easy enough for you to use. You don’t really want an overly complicated gadget.
Versatility (Additional Functions)
Aside from AM radio, it would be nice if your radio can also pick up FM signals so you can use this at home or at places where FM stations are nearby. It’s also great if your radio can pick up the NOAA Weather Radio for continuous weather updates. Some of these radios can also work as clocks or as alarm clocks. That means you have a 2-in-1 gadget that you can use every day.
Battery-operated radio is perfect choice. How long does your radio work before you need to replace the batteries? Obviously, it’s better if this time frame is longer so you don’t have to run out of batteries quickly. It’s also better if your radio only needs a single battery to operate. That’s saves you money on batteries, plus you won’t have to bring too many with you while hiking.
Looks aren’t everything, and for an AM radio it’s almost irrelevant. Still, there’s always aesthetics to consider and it’s always better if your AM radio looks nice. It’s also great if you can pick the color you want.
Benefits of Best AM Reception Radio
The main benefit is that you can get news (or even music or talk show discussions) over the radio, when there aren’t any nearby FM stations. That means you’re always in the loop about what’s going on in the world. More importantly, you can get weather reports when you’re hiking down some faraway terrain.
The best am reception radios are also typically frugal when it comes to energy consumption. You only need a battery or two and that can last you for more than a day. It’s also easy enough to bring spare batteries with you, unlike with smartphones that use huge “portable” chargers.
How can you improve AM radio reception?
The easiest answer is to get an excellent AM radio in the first place. That means you won’t have any reception problems to begin with. If you’re stuck with an old radio, you just may want to switch to mono mode instead of stereo. Most AM stations that offer news tend to transmit in mono anyway.
You should also use even a simple wire for your antenna if your radio has an external AM antenna connection. Then rotate the radio to find the best signal.
Get your radio away from electronics that may be sources of interference. When you’re out camping, that means get the radio far away from the battery charger.
What portable radio has the best reception?
There are plenty of candidates for this honor. These include the Sony ICF-S10MK2 Pocket AM/FM Radio and the Sangean PR-D5BK AM/FM Portable Radio with Digital Tuning and RDS. You can also try the radios on our list with FM radio reception.
Are Sangean radios really good?
We have 3 Sangean radios on our list, so the short answer is yes.
Does the range of an AM radio extend farther when it’s nighttime?
This is true. That’s because AM waves bounce between the ionosphere and the earth. The conditions in the ionosphere change during night time, allowing for the AM waves to go as far as 1,000 miles in some cases.
What’s a digital AM radio?
A digital AM radio features a digital tuner that receives both digital and analog signals. It’s designed to eliminate noise from analog signals so that static is reduced.
It’s always a good idea to bring along best radio for long distance AM reception if you’re planning on hiking to a remote location where you may have trouble getting reception for your smartphone or keeping it charged. The AM radio needs only regular batteries, and you can tune in to an AM station for news regarding weather changes and other emergency alerts.