Whether it is for weather updates or the latest local news, most people would rely on their smartphones. In this digital age, it is easy to stay updated on the go with help of the Internet. Nonetheless, some still prefer the traditional approach, resorting to the use of the best AM radio for long-range reception.
A sleek and lightweight AM radio is a dependable companion, especially when you are camping. Even without a mobile signal, you will have a reliable information source.
While the options are countless, they are not all the same. To help you narrow down your choices, below are some of the crucial considerations:
- Functions: Make the most of every dollar you are spending by choosing a multifunctional AM radio. If you love listening to music, it should also have FM functionality. NOAA weather bands are also must-haves for your safety. A clock, timer, and alarm are other good functions to have.
- Antenna: One of the most important parts of a radio is an antenna. Go for one with a telescoping design, so you can adjust its length to increase the capability to gather a stronger reception.
- Ease of Use: Find a radio with a user-friendly interface, so it isn’t frustrating to operate. It is good to have a memory function, so you can save your favorite stations. Having a screen also helps, so you can monitor the stations. It is also a must to have strategically positioned buttons, as well as an easy-to-use dial.
If you are looking for the best long-range AM radio, read on! This buying guide lists some of the top products in the market, as well as the features that make them incredible.
Table of Contents
- List of 10 Top-rated AM Radio for Long Range Reception Reviews
- 1. PowerBear PB-PR-01 Portable Radio
- 2. Tecsun PL880 AM/FM Radio
- 3. GREADIO GR-T26 Portable Shortwave Radio
- 4. C-Crane RAD CCRADIO CEPRO AM/FM Radio
- 5. Sangean PR-D18BK AM/FM Radio
- 6. VONDIOR NOAA Weather Radio
- 7. Sony ICFP26 AM/FM Radio
- 8. Sangean LB-100 AM/FM Radio
- 9. C. Crane CCRadio AM/FM Radio
- 10. ROCAM CR1015-Black AM/FM Radio
- What to Look for When Buying AM Radios for Long-range Reception
- Why is AM Reception Worse at Night?
- How Far Can You Pick Up AM Radio?
- How Can I Improve AM Radio Reception?
List of 10 Top-rated AM Radio for Long Range Reception Reviews
1. PowerBear PB-PR-01 Portable Radio
Go anywhere and stay updated with this long-range AM/FM radio. It is an affordable product that does not compromise performance.
One thing that I love about this radio is its portability. It weighs only 95 grams. Meanwhile, the height is 4.6 inches and the width is 2.7 inches. This pocket-sized radio will easily fit in your pocket. Not to mention, it is easy to hold and control with your hand. It also has a strap.
Speaking of controlling the radio, it comes with a convenient tuning dial on the side. Slide it left or right to choose the desired station. There is a front display that will let you monitor the channel you are listening to. It also has a strategically positioned switch to change from AM to FM or vice versa.
The powerful built-in speaker is another incredible feature of the radio. It generates clear and crisp audio for the best listening experience. For those who prefer private listening, there is also a headphone port.
Another good thing about this product is the long-range antenna, which makes it dependable in different situations. It is telescoping, so you can adjust its length depending on what a specific situation requires. With the antenna, I can access 530 to 1600 kHz on AM and 88 to 108 mHz on FM.
The radio uses two AA batteries as the source of power, which you have to purchase separately. I love how efficient it is. On average, the batteries can last more than 800 hours.Heads-up: If there is one drawback, it would be that it feels quite flimsy. This can compromise the durability of the radio.
- Lightweight and compact for portability
- Easily accessible dial for AM and FM tuning
- Has a powerful speaker provides crisp audio
- Extend the signal and reach through the telescoping antenna
- Has more than 800 hours battery life
- The durability can be an issue
2. Tecsun PL880 AM/FM Radio
With a world band receiver and a comprehensive range, this is one of the most reliable options to consider.
Looking at its features, one that stands out is the 18650 lithium-ion rechargeable battery, which is more efficient than its disposable counterparts. It can withstand many hours of continuous use, making it a dependable outdoor companion.
Another highlight of this radio is its audio output, which is one of the best I have seen. With a 450mW Class AB power amplifier, it enhances the listening experience. It has treble and bass controls, so I can customize the output when necessary. It has many user-adjustable parameters for adjusting the audio as well.
As a multifunctional radio, it has many other uses beyond AM and FM tuning. It has a built-in alarm, which you can set at a minimum of 24 hours. Plus, there is a sleep timer that is programmable for up to 120 minutes.
For the best audio, it comes with a 40mm speaker, which has an impedance of 4 ohms and power of 3 watts. Meanwhile, it has a 3.5mm jack for private listening.
It is also worth mentioning that the radio comes with the company’s latest firmware, which improves its overall performance. This helps address common problems of the unit and unleash its full functionality.Heads-up: Nonetheless, if you are after user-friendly long-range AM/FM radios, this might not be the right option for you. The control panel has too many buttons. The clutter makes it confusing to set the different functions.
- Has a long-lasting lithium-ion battery
- High-quality audio output with treble and bass adjustments
- Comes with the latest firmware for optimal performance
- Multifunctional with a built-in alarm and sleep timer
- Can be confusing because of too many buttons
3. GREADIO GR-T26 Portable Shortwave Radio
If you are on a budget, this radio for long-distance AM reception is an option I highly recommend. It is economical with decent quality.
One of the first things that you will notice in this long-distance radio is the large LCD, which is easily visible. I can see the station I am listening to at a glance. I can also set the time, so I can use it as a clock.
To deliver the best possible performance, the radio comes with a built-in two-watt speaker. For crisp sounds, use the high tune mode and vice versa if you prefer deep sounds. If you want to listen in private, the radio has a 3.5mm headphone jack too.
Another compelling reason to choose this radio is its dual power supply. I can use it whether I am at the office, at home, at a campsite, or anywhere else. I can plug it to AC power when there is electricity. Otherwise, I can use 4D cell batteries.
For portability, it has a convenient carrying handle. The handle is easy and comfortable to grip, so I can carry it around without the weight being a burden.Heads-up: However, one of the shortcomings of this radio is the clock function, which may not always display the right time. I have personally experienced it to be erratic, being off by a couple of minutes.
- Large and easily visible digital display
- Has a dual power supply
- Premium speaker for superior audio clarity
- Comes with a carrying handle for portability
- The clock function can be erratic
4. C-Crane RAD CCRADIO CEPRO AM/FM Radio
A high-performing radio with superior sensitivity, it is another dependable option that lets you access stations far from your current location.
It has a plethora of top-notch features, including a five-inch speaker. It is large, especially considering the size of the radio. Complemented with a high-fidelity amplifier, I am happy with the listening experience that it offers. Additionally, it has bass and treble adjustments for more precise voice adjustment.
To make the audio better, it has an exclusive twin ferrite coil antenna. It has a telescoping design, so I can adjust the length accordingly. This makes it easier for the radio to absorb reception for clear playback. Otherwise, all I can hear is static.
The simplicity of this radio is another benefit worth highlighting. It has a clean interface with controls in strategic positions. I also like how the knobs are lit, so I can easily see them even when it is dark.
It has a dual power supply, so I can use it anywhere I want. When there is electricity, it can run through the included 6V AC adapter. Meanwhile, when I am camping or in any other place without power, I can use 4D batteries. In the case of the latter, the radio has a runtime of up to 300 hours.Heads-up: One thing that I do not like in this radio is the lack of a digital display. It has no large screen that shows the station and time, among other functions. Instead, it has a line bar that indicates the frequencies.
- Has a large speaker that produces clear audio
- Comes with a telescoping antenna for clear reception
- Simple interface makes it user-friendly
- Runs on AC adapter or battery
- No digital display
5. Sangean PR-D18BK AM/FM Radio
Whether you are camping or traveling, this radio is a great companion. It is compact and lightweight, so it is easy to bring wherever you are going.
One thing that I love about this product is that it has ten station presets. The latter means that I can save five AM and five FM stations. I can store my favorite frequencies, eliminating the need for manual tuning every time I am using the radio.
The easily visible LCD is another asset of this long-distance AM radio. It is also backlit, so I can read the display even when it is dark. The screen shows not just the station, but also the time. Plus, I can set my alarm and choose whether I want a conventional buzzer or radio playback.
Aside from the clock and alarm, another great function is the snooze button. This will give me a few more minutes of sleep, while being sure that the alarm is still on. I can also program the sleep timer from 15 to 120 minutes.
Equipped with a protective bumper, the durability of the radio is commendable. It protects the edges of the radio from scratches while also effectively absorbing impact. This way, the internal components are not easily damaged when you drop the radio.Heads-up: A word of warning about its battery – it drains quickly. Rather than using disposable AA batteries, I recommend rechargeable ones so you can save money in the long run.
- Stores ten radio stations to eliminate manual programming
- Easily visible backlit display
- Choose from conventional buzzer or radio playback for the alarm
- Comes with a snooze button and sleep timer
- Has a protective bumper to absorb shock
- Drains batteries quickly
6. VONDIOR NOAA Weather Radio
If you are looking for an affordable AM/FM radio for remote areas, this is another option that should be on your radar.
Even if it is affordable, it has a long list of incredible features. For instance, it has emergency alerts. This means that I am updated on the latest weather disturbances, such as hurricanes and tornadoes. I will know if there is a disaster that is about to happen, so I can prepare accordingly. This can be a lifesaver, especially in areas without cellular reception.
For superior performance, the unit has a six-inch telescoping antenna. It easily bends and stays hidden, so the radio is sleek. When extended, the antenna helps the radio gather signals from far places, making it reliable.
More so, it has a digital signal processor chip. It measures, filters, and compresses signals, resulting in audio clarity. This way, I am confident of a great listening experience wherever I am. It also helps that it has an incredible speaker. If you do not want to disturb other people, you will appreciate that it has an earphone port.
For your peace of mind, the radio comes with a three-year warranty coverage against defects and craftsmanship problems. It demonstrates how confident the manufacturer is of its longevity. This is better than most of its competitors, which are covered only for a year.Heads-up: Nonetheless, it is frustrating that the radio shuts down for no reason. I have experienced this several times, as well as other users.
- A great pick for people on a budget
- Has NOAA alerts for the latest weather news
- The six-inch telescoping antenna improves coverage
- Comes with a digital signal processor for clearer audio
- Has a three-year warranty coverage
- Can shut down for no reason
7. Sony ICFP26 AM/FM Radio
Made by one of the most reliable brands in the market, this is another AM radio with long reception that should be on your radar.
Among others, one of the top features is the large speaker, which occupies almost the entire unit. This makes it powerful enough to deliver clear and crisp audio on the go. Meanwhile, if you want to listen in private, it comes with an earphone socket.
The portability of this radio is second to none. It is lightweight and compact. So, it easily fits in my pocket. Additionally, it comes with a strap that allows me to hang it on my wrist. The unit is small enough to fit in my palm, which also makes it easy to control even with one hand. With batteries on, it weighs only 6.70 ounces.
To ensure a long reception, the radio has a 17-inch telescoping antenna. It is easy to extend when I need it to gather more signals. Even in places far away, I am confident that I can tune in to AM and FM stations. The unit runs on two AA batteries, which you have to purchase separately. I like how there is a convenient status indicator, so I will know if it is running out of juice.Heads-up: Nonetheless, if there is one improvement that I would like to see in this product, it would be the addition of a digital display. This will make it easier to view the station, instead of having to rely on a traditional tuning indicator.
- Has a large speaker for crisp audio
- Lightweight, compact, and has a strap for portability
- Comes with a 17-inch antenna to extend signal coverage
- Convenient indicator when the battery is running low
- Does not have a digital display
8. Sangean LB-100 AM/FM Radio
From durability to portability, this radio is a winner. Bring it wherever you are heading, and you can stay updated on the latest or listen to music.
The ultra-rugged design of the radio makes it an incredible option. It has an industrial-grade construction, which makes it tough. The body is rain, dust, and shock-resistant. Plus, it has rubber shock blocks that prevent damage from accidental drops. Even after years of use, I am confident that the radio remains good.
Additionally, it has a high-powered and water-resistant 5.25-inch speaker. Even if it rains, no need to worry about damage. It delivers superior sound in different environments, even when it is noisy.
It has a plethora of convenient radio functions, which make it user-friendly. It saves six AM and six FM stations, so there is no need for manual programming every use. Additionally, it has large rotary controls, which makes tuning and adjusting the volume a breeze. I also appreciate the sensitive buttons for ease of operation.
Another great feature is the backlit LCD. This way, it is easy to view the digital display, whether it is day or night. The screen remains highly visible, so I can quickly see the station I am tuned to or the station at which I am listening.
The dual power supply is another good reason to choose this radio. When you are out, you can use 4C batteries. Meanwhile, when there is electricity, it has an AC plug. Plus, the radio has a built-in cable tie. This will make it easy to organize the 2.7-meter rubber wire.Heads-up: Nonetheless, the radio has volume issues. Turn it to the loudest setting and you will experience static, which makes the audio unclear.
- Tough construction makes it ideal for harsh environments
- High-powered speaker for clear audio
- Clear display with a backlight
- Comes with a dual power supply
- Prone to distortions when at a full volume
9. C. Crane CCRadio AM/FM Radio
A compact and advanced radio, this is a great companion for your outdoor expeditions. Even at home, it is an easy way to stay updated.
One thing that differentiates this model from the other options in this buying guide is its Bluetooth connectivity. I can use it wirelessly by linking it to my smartphone and accessing available AM or FM stations. I can also play music straight from a smart device.
Another innovative feature is the patented twin-coil ferrite antenna. This is responsible for the significant improvement in reception. Even if I am accessing a weak station, the antenna helps in doubling the audio quality. It minimizes the possibility of hearing static sounds. It is directional, so I can point it in the best area.
The radio is not just for entertainment. It is also a must-have for staying safe. It allows access to NOAA bands, so I am aware of the latest weather news. It sends immediate alerts when there is a hurricane, snowstorm, tornado, or similar occurrence. I can evacuate early when there is a need to do so.
I also like how user-friendly the radio is. One thing that makes that possible is the memory function. I can save five stations and access them easily by pressing a button in the control panel. There is a backlit screen, which lets me monitor the station and time.Heads-up: While I have not yet experienced it, I have read about some users who complained about the digital display. They noted that it quickly fades and malfunctions.
- Bluetooth connectivity allows wireless music playback
- Patented antenna improves audio quality
- Has NOAA weather band to help you stay safe
- Easy tuning with memory presets
- Digital display easily malfunctions
10. ROCAM CR1015-Black AM/FM Radio
Wrapping up our list of AM/FM radio with good reception indoors and outdoors is a compact and lightweight product that you can easily bring anywhere.
The portability of this radio is one of its best assets. It is small enough to fit in your bag, or even in your pocket. The best thing is that it has an integrated belt clip, which provides a convenient way of carrying it around.
Aside from its portability, one more thing that I love is its emergency weather alerts. It has NOAA bands, so I will receive the latest warnings, especially when there is a severe weather disturbance. This way, I can prepare accordingly and stay safe.
I appreciate that the radio comes with a lock switch. It works only when the button is down, which will prevent accidental operation. When it is inside my pocket or bag, it will not change stations or adjust volume whenever I move since it is locked.
It is also worth emphasizing that it is multifunctional, making it beneficial beyond being an AM radio. For instance, it has a clock and timer. I can also set an alarm. Plus, there is a sleep function, so it can automatically turn off.Heads-up: The radio runs on three AAA batteries. However, it has poor battery life. This can be frustrating when you are out for days and you need a radio that can keep up.
- Has a belt clip for portability
- Provides emergency alerts to keep you safe
- Comes with a lock switch to prevent accidental operation
- Save battery with the sleep function
- Poor battery life
What to Look for When Buying AM Radios for Long-range Reception
To make a well-informed decision, below are some of the most important considerations.
If you want the best bang for the buck, go for a multipurpose product. For instance, some can also be used as digital clocks and timers. Others will have access to FM stations for listening to music. It is also good to have NOAA bands, so you will know the latest weather.
The antenna is vital for AM radio reception. A telescoping design is essential as it lets you adjust the length to gather stronger signals. It should also be directional, so you can customize its position. Without an antenna, the radio will have limited capabilities.
Ease of Use
A user-friendly AM radio is ready to use out of the box. It should have buttons in strategic positions. It is also good to have a memory function, which will let you set your favorite AM stations. This way, there is no need for manual tuning every time that you are using the radio.
For the AM radio to be user-friendly, it needs a large and visible display. It should be backlit, so you can see it clearly whether it is day or night. Aside from the current station, the screen should show the time and battery status.
Especially if you are looking for a radio that you can take with you outdoors, a portable design is a must. Look for one with a lightweight and compact body so it can fit in your bag or pocket. It must be small enough to be comfortably held in your palm. Having a wrist strap or belt clip is also good.
For versatility, I recommend choosing an AM radio that comes with a dual power supply. This way, you can plug it at home using an AC adapter when there is electricity. Meanwhile, when you are camping, hiking, or somewhere electricity isn’t available, you can use batteries. Consider as well the type of battery, its runtime, and average charging speed.
Why is AM Reception Worse at Night?
In most places, AM radio stations are legally required to cut their wattage as the sun sets. Because of these, there are frequencies that you cannot access, and hence, all you would hear is static. Meanwhile, for those that are available, they are clear since there is minimal wavelength competition.
How Far Can You Pick Up AM Radio?
During daytime, it is common for AM stations to be picked up at a radius of up to 100 miles. This, however, will depend on several factors, such as the quality of the radio. At night, signals can travel hundreds of miles through reflection, which changes its reach.
How Can I Improve AM Radio Reception?
The best way to improve AM reception is to choose the right radio. One of the most important parts to check out is the antenna. Consider the material, construction, length, and adjustability, among other factors. It can do wonders in reaching more frequencies even in the most challenging environments.
Changing the position of the radio is another easy way to improve AM reception. If you are indoors, try going outdoors. It also helps to use it in a wide, open, and flat area. In cities or areas with buildings, trees, and other tall structures, signal disruptions can affect the reception quality.
The best AM radio for long-range reception may seem old school, but it is a must-have even in this modern time. Especially in locations without cellular signals, such as when hiking or camping in a rural area, such a radio comes in handy. It delivers the latest information when you need it the most, including weather updates.
Hi, I am Amaro Frank – the Wind Up Radio’s content editor and writer. Working with Adam is so much fun, as his stories and experiences enrich my knowledge about radio communications and radio accessories. My main tasks in Wind Up Radio are building content and generating great articles on different topics around radio accessories.