Best Shortwave Radio Reviews 2018

Shortwave radios are simple devices designed for communication. Even though they’re simple devices, choosing the best shortwave radio can be quite hard. After carefully considering the features and details of a shortwave radio in our research, we have selected five of the best shortwave radios from the best brands around for this review. Please note that these brands have more shortwave radios than the ones we have showcased here.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Type
Size
Band
Power source
Frequency
Our Top Choice
Tecsun Digital Dual Conversion Shortwave Radio
Tecsun is a dedicated provider of radio communication gadgetry for consumers. Its high standard shortwave radios are affordable and provide maximum entertainment.
This radio comes with a full line-up of accessories - a battery, pinned charger, external antenna and leather carrying pouch.
It doesn’t have a variable control button to adjust sensitivity to the station strength. Instead, it features a 3 position switch for three fixed reception ranges.
Portable
7.6 × 1.3 × 4.5”; 1.1 pounds
Single band
18650 Li-ion rechargeable battery
AM/FM
Best Value
Kaito 5-Way Weather Alert Shortwave Radio
Kaito is a distributor of specialized shortwave radios with catchy designs. The radios are multi-functional, known to have as many features as possible in one product.
This radio comes with lots of great features - a powerful flashlight, a bright emergency beacon light and a reading lamp.
On the downside, this radio is devoid of battery indicator and as such there’s no gauge to know when the battery has been drained.
Portable
11.1 × 5.8 × 3.3”; 1.6 pounds
Continuous band
Solar power, 3 AA batteries
AM/FM/SW/NOAA
Eton Grundig Satellit 750 Shortwave Radio
Since 1986, Eton has been manufacturing top-quality consumer electronics with practical usage and leverages on nature’s energy as a power source.
Solid protective casing. Access to several band frequencies. Auxiliary input. Auto and direct key-in tuning.
A bit expensive, but worth every cent.
Tabletop
5.8 x 14.7 x 7.2; 0.01lbs
Wide band
DC
AM/FM/SW/SSB/LW
C Crane Skywave Travel Shortwave Radio
C Crane is known to produce and deliver gadgets that improve the lives of its customers. It provides a selection of functional shortwave radios with excellent features.
The C Crane Skywave Travel Shortwave Radio is a portable radio with a toggle button for time and frequency. It has a variable volume control, lighted LCD and headphone jack.
This shortwave radio, however, doesn’t come with a USB cord or adaptor for charging.
Small lightweight portable
4.8 × 1.1 × 3”; 0.02 pound
Aviation band
AA batteries, optional AC adapter
AM/FM
TIVDIO V-115 Portable AM FM Radio with Shortwave Radio Transistor
Tividio specializes in the manufacture of top-performance and functional portable radios that are fitted with modern technology to give you a holistic audio experience.
Accepts memory card. Can record. Great battery capacity. Good audio quality. Intuitive controls. Compact size.
SW reception is not as great as the FM.
Portable
4.7 x 3.1 x 0.9; 0.35lbs
Single band
Rechargeable Lithium battery
AM/FM

(Updated )
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How Do I Choose the Best Shortwave Radio?

A shortwave radio receives radio transmissions on some frequencies, specifically between 1.7 to 30 megahertz. These frequencies span across a lot of countries of the world, making it an effective tool for communication that’s not limited to particular locations; it suffices to say that shortwave radios have made international broadcasting possible. Operating a shortwave radio isn’t hard as they don’t require special skills, and operating it over time gives you more experience in tuning and adjusting for reception.

Unlike CB radios, shortwave radios don’t require licensing. Shortwave radios come in several different kinds, and seeing as your choice is dependent on what you intend to do with it, it’s pertinent that you consider the various types.
  • Tabletop Shortwave Radios: This type is ideal in a home setting because of its large nature. Tabletop shortwave radios are generally bigger, more advanced, and more expensive. Compared to the other types, they offer the best frequency coverage, audio quality, and selectivity options. They have more features than the others. As expected, they’re more expensive and advanced.
  • Portable Shortwave Radio: These allow for mobility. This portability might be at the expense of power; nevertheless, they offer fine sound quality and great frequency coverage. Some portable shortwave radios are either rechargeable or can be run on batteries. They’re renowned as the most versatile of all shortwave radios. They’re also affordable and cost less than the tabletop shortwave radios.
  • Specialty Shortwave Radios: These are designed for emergency and survival kits. They offer special features such as programmable timers, battery strength meters, FM stereo, jacks for headphones, signal strength meters, and automatic station switch.
Shortwave accessories can increase the performance you get out of your radio. While some shortwave radios will come with some of these accessories, you may need to purchase the ones you prefer. The antenna is one of the most popular accessories; the ones that come with the radios are not usually strong. Getting an antenna kit with insulators, a lead-in wire, a long antenna wire, and a window-feed-through strip is another option. This antenna kit can connect to more distant and weaker stations. Other accessories include headphones for focusing on transmissions without noise interference, especially for weaker stations and external speakers for a larger audience.

Like we said earlier, there are lots of great shortwave radios out there and to further widen your options, we decided to give an honorable mention to the LCJ Portable FM AM Shortwave Multiband Radio which has a port for micro TF card, portable USB, and an auxiliary port for expansion. It also sports a 1000mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery and is available in 5 colors. Sangean is another brand that manufactures high-performance and functional radios and incorporates the latest in technology into its products to keep them up-to-date. You can check them out too to see what more they have to offer.
Price
It’s most likely that the price of a product is the greatest influence on your decision to buy or not. It’s common knowledge, though, that quality products are costlier than others, and this can also be said of shortwave radios. The greater the complexity, size, and features of a shortwave radio, the more the price is affected. Instead of focusing on the price, you may want to dwell more on the shortwave radio with the features you need.

A shortwave radio can be purchased within the wide range of $60 (for a decent basic model) to $350 or more a multifunctional one with lots of features, with the average price range of about $150 for a good quality model. In our research, we did come across cheap shortwave radios, but we didn’t consider them because it’s our philosophy to give you information on products that’ll give you satisfaction and value for your money, and not break as soon as you start using them.
Features
Shortwave radios come with various features, prices, and sizes. The idea is to choose one that’ll serve the purpose you purchased it for. We’ve listed some general features of shortwave radios. You can study and compare them with what you have in mind in order to make the best choice.

Here are some of the features you may want to pay attention to:
  • Frequency coverage
  • Digital or analog frequency display
  • Modes
  • Selectivity options
  • Antenna connections
  • Tuning methods
  • Construction
  • Synchronous detector
Below are insights into these features so you can know how they affect the efficacy of the product. Hence, help you decide which is best for your needs.
Construction and Design
Looking at the construction and design of a shortwave radio is vital in determining if it’s the right one for you. We suggest that you look at its construction materials and whether it allows for antenna connections, so we’ve gone into more detail on each factor below.

Construction and Materials

The build of your radio is important, especially if you’re buying a radio for emergency use. You may want a radio that’s compact and lightweight so it won’t be difficult for you to carry around during emergencies. Shortwave radios that are made of durable metals are strong enough to withstand wear and tear. Further, when making a purchase, pay attention to weight and dimensions. Tabletop shortwave radios aren’t ideal for emergencies because they’re made with materials that are heavy and, just like the name suggests, are designed to sit on a table.

Antenna Connections

Even with the built-in antenna, some shortwave radios allow for external antennas. An external antenna provides stronger receptions and a wider range than the built-in antennas. Note that most portable shortwave radios don’t have any provision for external antennas. It’s advisable that you choose a shortwave radio with a jack for the installation of an external antenna.
Performance and Ease of Use
To ensure that you get a shortwave radio that you love, we’ve gone ahead and outlined some of the performance and ease of use factors you should keep an eye on. Keep reading to find out more about each.

Frequency Coverage

The frequency coverage of a particular radio is an important feature because it determines the number of frequencies the radio can pick up. Shortwave radios are generally designed to receive frequencies between 1.7MHz to 30MHz but some models don’t pick up this entire range. Also, there are models that pick up frequencies less than 1.7MHz, even down to 0.54MHz.

Digital or Analog Frequency Display

The frequency display feature allows you to read the frequencies you’re on. There are basically two types of frequency displays: the digital display and the analog display. The digital display happens to be the way to go because you can accurately read your frequencies. It gives you detailed information and allows you to fine-tune your radio to the exact station you want. An analog display, on the other hand, involves a lot of guesswork to get the right frequency.

Modes

A shortwave radio with several modes allows you to tune into more broadcasts. Usually, most models can tune into AM mode stations, but there are models that can tune into SSB and other additional modes. A shortwave radio with SSB, AM, and other modes increases your listening alternatives.

Selectivity Options

Using the narrow selectivity bandwidth reduces the amount of interference you get from other stations. Different radios have different numbers of selectivity bandwidths. The selectivity options that are available on a portable shortwave radio are just “wide” and “narrow,” while the desktop radio has more options, often up to five.

Tuning Methods

The available tuning methods for shortwave radios are the knob or the button. The knobs are generally easier to use when tuning because they turn easily, but that’s not to say that some folks won’t prefer the button. It’s up to you to determine what you want.

Synchronous Detector

The synchronous detector allows the shortwave radio to more effectively lock onto signals. This feature helps get rid of fading and noise while providing clear broadcasts. Note that this feature will most likely add to the price of the radio that has it, but it’ll be worth every dime.

What is the Best Shortwave Radio?

We’ve done our best in this guide to show you the important things to consider before making the choice of which shortwave radio to go for. We believe you’re now well-equipped with the relevant knowledge to make an informed purchase. That said, let’s look closely at the features and prices of these shortwave radios we’ve chosen for you.
Our Top Choice
The Tecsun Digital Dual Conversion Shortwave Radio has long and shortwave coverage. It’s powered by a high energy lithium battery, has a strong backlight and a polyester film speaker. If you want a different radio, complete with MP3 player, then look up Tecsun’s Shortwave Radio with Dual Speakers.
Tecsun Digital Dual Conversion Silver Shortwave Radio

Tecsun Shortwave Radio PL880


Features
Tecsun is a family-owned and managed company established in Australia. The company is reputed to be a dedicated radio communications provider and manufacturer of radios for many other brands. It provides high standard, affordable radios and quality service to radio listeners. Tecsun makes available to its clients a large selection of radio models and ensures that they have a fundamental knowledge of how they operate. The company also provides guidance on issues such as radiosensitivity and reception.

The Tecsun Digital Dual Conversion Shortwave Radio is a 1.1-pound radio with dimensions of 7.6 x 1.3 x 4.5 inches that provide full range- AM/FM, long and shortwave coverage. It’s one of the newest and most powerful radios in the brand’s range. The Tecsun Digital Dual Conversion Shortwave Radio is a product of long research and includes many desirable radio features in one package. It’s a superior quality radio with digital signal processing for reception of weak transmissions. Its frequency range is 64-108 MegaHertz for FM, 1008-29999 Kilo Hertz for shortwave. It features a PLL- Phase-locked loop synthesized dual conversion receiver with high selectivity and sensitivity. This is a single sideband receiver with 10 Hertz tuning and 4 and 5 selectable AM and SSB bandwidth filters. Its SSB mode receiver sensitivity is less than 1 ultraviolet.

To enhance the listening experience, particular attention needs to be paid to the audio output of this radio’s receiver. Its speaker is driven by a top class power amplifier with about 450-megawatt power output. This speaker ensures that the low frequencies are audible and the highs are clear and crisp, making it one of the best sounding radios of all time. Some inherent specifications also enable users to customize their receiver preferences. It’s powered by one 18650 long-life Li-ion battery, with pinned charger included. It features a 24-hour clock and wake-up timer with a 0-120 minutes range. This radio comes with other extra accessories like stereo earphones, instruction manual, and protective leather carrying pouch. It’s available in a dark grey color.

Tecsun offers a selection of other shortwave radios:
  • Tecsun PL-660 Portable Shortwave Single Side Band Radio: This is a dual conversion world band reception radio with antenna jack, inbuilt charging system, earphone, wire antenna and pouch
  • li>Tecsun RD9700DX 12-Band Dual Conversion Shortwave Radio: Worldband receiver with backlit frequency display, adaptor, and shortwave antenna
  • Tecsun R9710 Portable Pocket-size Analog Dual Conversion Radio: A lightweight, compact pocket radio with telescopic antenna built-in speaker and amplifier that delivers loud sound for increased enjoyment
  • Tecsun PL-600 Shortwave Radio: This is a world band receiver radio with orange back-lit liquid crystal display, with time, battery level and reception strength indicators
  • Tecsun R-9012 12-Band Shortwave Radio Receiver: This radio a low-noise, manually tuned gadget, that comes with a carrying strap, built-in speaker and earphone jack
  • Tecsun DR-920C Digital World Band Radio: This radio possesses an integrated circuit and thin film speaker for better selectivity and sound. It also features ringer alarm clock and unique shutdown timer.
  • Tecsun R-911 Multi-Band Radio Receiver: An 11-band low power consumption radio with indicator lights and thin film speaker
  • Tecsun Q3 Stereo Pocket Size Recorder: This is an FM stereo shortwave radio with high tone quality MP3 player
Best Value
The Kaito 5-Way Weather Alert Shortwave Radio is made of light, impact-resistant plastic. It sports a high-sensitivity telescopic antenna and can be powered in six different ways. If you want a smaller radio, check out Kaito’s Tecsun PL-360 Digital Shortwave Radio with full AM/FM tuning.
Kaito 5-Way Powered Emergency Weather Alert Radio – Available in Five Colors

Kaito Shortwave Radio KA500BLK – Yellow


Features
Kaito is a specialized distributor of functional electronic gadgets. It creates its own features and exclusive designs. It was the first manufacturer to integrate solar panels into two radios, in 1998 and 2000. The company is the one that’s put the most features possible into one radio, clearly making its mark as a giant in the electronics world. Kaito has a sterling reputation as a supplier of shortwave radios to governments and large organizations.

The Kaito 5-Way Weather Alert Shortwave Radio can be powered in six different ways: an external 5-volt direct current/alternating current with a DC/AC supply socket, 3 rechargeable AA batteries, in-built rechargeable and replaceable battery, solar panel, hand crank generator or 5-volt USB input. Weighing 1.8 pounds, it has dimensions of 8.3 x 2.3 x 5.3 inches and is made of impact-resistant ABS plastic that’s well suited for use in the home as well as outdoors. It has a frequency range of 3.20- 8.00 and 9.00- 22.00 MegaHertz for SW1 and SW2 respectively. This radio’s internal generator recharges the battery and powers the bright LED reading lamp, emergency beacon light, and flashlight. The crank can also be used to power a cell phone, iPhones and MP3 players.

This radio features a USB port for charging other electronic gadgets. The Kaito 5-Way Weather Alert Shortwave Radio receives a wide range of stations like AM, FM, and shortwave broadcasting. The unique, adjustable 180 degrees solar panel traps the sun’s rays and stores up energy for powering the radio and its batteries. A telescopic antenna that extends up to 14.5 inches is fitted for increased sensitivity using an advanced semiconductor circuitry mechanism. The radio is fitted with a dynamic wide speaker for great sound quality. The Kaito 5-Way Weather Alert Shortwave Radio is the perfect appliance to have for emergency situations.

Other shortwave radios are available from Kaito:
  • Kaito: Pocket-size 9-Band AM/FM Shortwave Radio: This is a silver-colored palm-size radio with local extreme distance selection sensitivity
  • Kaito 350GY Voyager Trek Solar Weather Radio: This is 5-LED emergency radio that can be charged in different ways- by AC/DC adaptor, solar panel, or batteries.
  • Kaito KA370 Voyager Solar/ Crank Weather Radio: It is a five-way powered pre-programmed weather radio with inbuilt replaceable and rechargeable batteries
  • Kaito KA1103 World Band Radio: This is a dual conversion radio with built-in battery charger, alarm clock and sleep timer
  • Kaito WRX-911 AM/FM Shortwave Radio: A highly selective and sensitive pocket-size radio, featuring a telescopic antenna and inbuilt speaker
  • Kaito Voyager KA600 Digital Solar Dynamo Weather Emergency Radio: This AM/FM radio can be tuned in four different ways and comes with an adjustable solar panel, reading lamp and jack for external audio devices
  • Kaito Analog AM/FM/SW World Receiver: A noiseless circuit radio, complete with pouch, wrist strap and earphones
If you need a shortwave radio that lets you attach additional devices and which can access many frequency bands, the Eton Grundig Satellit 750 is a great choice. If you’d prefer a compact-sized radio, then go for the Eton Mini Compact AM\/FM\/Shortwave Radio which has a digital tuner and display.
Eton Grundig Satellit 750 Ultimate Shortwave Radio – Available in 5 Styles

Eton Shortwave Radio NGSAT750B


Features
Founded in 1986, Eton, formerly known as Lextronix, leverages on innovative technologies to manufacture functional consumer electronics. Some of its products include backup battery packs, solar-powered sound systems, weather alert radios, etc. It aims at creating practical designs and its products use efficient energy sources. Eton plays its environmental responsibility role by harnessing nature’s energy to power its numerous products.

The Eton Grundig Satellit 750 features a classic design packed full of modern technology. It features a 360o rotating antenna that enables you to receive AM, FM, SW, LW, SSB, and aircraft frequencies. With this radio, you have access to information from around the world as you can listen to the news, sports, entertainment, etc., from anywhere. The following are some more features of this shortwave radio:
  • Auto, manual, or direct key-in of frequencies and also has station memory tuning
  • Can store up to 1000 stations, 100 for each band and 500 customizable
  • Auxiliary input for additional devices
  • Earphone jack so you can plug-in and block out noise
  • Dual alarm clock
  • Metal handles with padding on both sides for easy carriage
You can purchase this product in any one of five styles—take a look and make your pick!
The C Crane Skywave Travel Shortwave Radio is a portable airband radio, with a frequency and time toggle button. It has a variable volume control, lighted LCD and headphone jack. If you want a table top, internet radio then C Crane’s Co CWF CC WiFi Internet Radio is ideal. Check it out.
C Crane Skywave Travel Shortwave Weather and Airband Radio

C Crane Shortwave Radio SKWV


Features
C Crane is located in Fortuna California and takes special care in treating and taking care of its clients the way they love. The company has a mission to develop and deliver gadgets that improve the life of the user. It makes available an assortment of quality-tested shortwave radios and audio products. C Crane is all about proper handling of feedback gotten from its products. This has helped it to build a strong and lasting brand presence in its many years of business.

The C Crane Skywave Travel Shortwave Radio is an extremely light travel clock radio. It comes in a smooth plastic body casing and works with two AA alkaline batteries (not included). These batteries are made to run for about 60-70 hours. This is termed the ultimate travel radio, being easy to use with its simple layout, durable design and great reception. Some more of its features are listed below:
  • It is a multi-band radio with FM, AM, weather plus alert, shortwave (2.3-26.1 MegaHertz) and aviation band. It involves the direct entry of a frequency, auto-scanning and storing.
  • This shortwave radio comes with high-grade soft silicone earphones, a carry case, 12 and 24-hour format clock, an alarm and a headphone jack with foldable stand.
  • It features a lighted liquid crystal display LCD, selectable fine tuning on all bands except weather.
  • It shows a rotary volume knob and features 400 memory presets.
  • It depicts auto scan tuning up and down buttons, direct entry keypad and signal meter. A press of a knob is all that’s needed to adjust the tuning speed and frequency of this radio.
  • Its memory stores and can call up bandwidth, stereo, music or audio filters. This radio has a lock button that toggles frequency and time in just 10 seconds.
  • Its turning knob is solid and touch-responsive. It also features a ferrite-bar antenna for outstanding AM performance.
  • It’s charged by means of a common micro USB port.
The C Crane Skywave Travel Shortwave Radio is backed by a one-year limited warranty.

C Crane also has a collection of other shortwave radios such as:
  • C Crane Pocket Shortwave Pocket and Travel Radio: This is a small size AM/FM radio with incredible audio reception
  • C Crane CC Radio Plus Multiband Radio: This illuminated display radio, stores up to five channels on each signal band
  • C Crane Observer Wind Up Radio with built-n LED Flashlights: This is a solar wind-up emergency radio with great AM reception
  • C Crane Enhanced Weather and Ham Band Radio: A two-meter ham band radio, on which life-saving and government-issued alerts can be received
  • C Crane AM/FM Analogue Radio: This radio enables MP3 and other external audio sources via a cord. It features adjustable treble and bass knobs for best music settings
If you want a portable radio that accepts SD cards, has a rechargeable battery, records, and has superb audio output, look no further than the Tividio V-115 Portable Shortwave Radio. If you’re on a budget, you can check out the TIVDIO V-111 Portable Shortwave Travel Radio which has an automatic station search and 60 station presets.
TIVDIO V-115 Portable Shortwave Transistor Radio with Shortwave Radio Transistor MP3, Voice Digital Recorder Support Micro SD T-Flash Card, Sleep Timer and Bass Sound

TIVDIO Shortwave Radio 4331019190


Features
Tvidio is a manufacturer of portable consumer electronics, especially AM, FM, SW radios. It is well-known for its radios because of their designs and functionality. With a focus on improvement and delivery, you can rest assured Tvidio will continue to incorporate the latest in technology in all of its products.

The Tividio V-115 Portable Shortwave Radio is a world band digital radio with bass diaphragm. It allows you to tune for stations automatically or manually, and if you know the frequency you’re looking for, you can just key it in too. This compact radio lets you record as well, and not just that; you can choose from 3 recording qualities for a better output. Below are some more features of this portable shortwave radio:
  • FM frequency from 87-108MHz; SW frequency from 4.75-21.85MHz
  • Accepts micro SD card of up to 32GB so you can listen to all your favorite music
  • 1000mAh rechargeable lithium battery for long-lasting performance
  • 3 built-in languages: Chinese, English, and Spanish with English as default
  • Micro USB interface for charging and comes with a hand strip bracket for carriage
  • 3.5mm auxiliary input to connect external audio devices

Get the Best Shortwave Radio of 2018!

Having read through our review, we believe you now have the necessary information you need for choosing the best shortwave radio, whether for survival/emergencies or just for fun, and you’re well on your way to making a purchase. If it happens that you didn’t find the shortwave radio of your choice here, please do check out other ones from these brands.

Our Top Choice
Tecsun Digital Dual Conversion Shortwave Radio
Best Value
Kaito 5-Way Weather Alert Shortwave Radio
Eton Grundig Satellit 750 Shortwave Radio
C Crane Skywave Travel Shortwave Radio
TIVDIO V-115 Portable AM FM Radio with Shortwave Radio Transistor