Best Shortwave Radio Reviews 2017

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 these top 5 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.
Power source
Our Top Choice
SONY Portable Speaker Shortwave Radio
SONY is known for offering quality products and services to consumers. Its assortment of shortwave radios deliver delightful experiences to the home user and working professional.
It has an in-built speaker that produces incredible quality sound. The radio has great reception and its simple design makes it easy to use.
No batteries or external power supplies are provided.
7.5 × 1.2 × 4.8”; 1.4 pounds
Single band
DC, battery, optional AC adapter
Best Value
C Crane Skywave Travel Shortwave Radio
C Crane is known to produce and deliver gadgets that improve the life 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 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
Sangean AM/FM/LW/SW World Band Receiver
Sangean manufactures and sells a variety of consumer appliances. Its shortwave radios are high quality and superior performance gadgets, suitable for use in households and offices.
This radio’s in-built highly receptive ferrite bar antenna makes it the outstanding mediumwave performance piece that it is.
It doesn’t have a great shortwave reception and an external wire antenna is needed to enhance this.
1 × 8 × 5”; 1 pound
Wide band
AA batteries, AC-AC adapter
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 for users.
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.
7.6 × 1.3 × 4.5”; 1.1 pounds
Single band
18650 Li-ion rechargeable battery
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 battery has been drained.
11.1 × 5.8 × 3.3”; 1.6 pounds
Continuous band
Solar power, 3 AA batteries

(Updated )
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Watch Our Shortwave Radio Review

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 much 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 radios:
    These are designed for emergency and survival kits. They offer special features like 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 of some 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, 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
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 more 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 short wave radio can be purchased within the wide range of $19 and $500. 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.
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
Construction and Design
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 with durable metals are strong enough to withstand wear and tear. When making a purchase, pay attention to weight and dimension. 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.

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
The frequency coverage of a particular radio is an important feature because it determines the amount 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. 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 analogue 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 fine-tune your radio to the exact station you want. An analogue display, on the other hand, involves a lot of guess work to get the right frequency.

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.

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’s available on a portable shortwave radio is just “wide” and “narrow” while the desktop radio has more options, often up to five.

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.

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 a choice of a shortwave radio. 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 SONY Portable Speaker Shortwave Radio is a multi-band shortwave radio that scans up to 100 frequencies. It features an in-built timer, a carrying case, and dual clock functions. If you want a 12-band radio, then check out SONY’s 12 Bands Receiver Radio.
SONY Portable Speaker Shortwave AM/FM World Band Receiver Radio – Available in 2 Sizes

SONY Shortwave Radio ICFSW7600G – Digital Display

SONY is a popular brand, known for entertainment and technological creativity. It’s a Tokyo-based company that has its headquarters in the US. It’s a forefront provider of audio-visual electronics for consumers and professionals. SONY offers content, products and services that deliver delightful experiences wherever its products are used. Its selection of shortwave radios is one of the best in the market and ultimately achieves the company’s passion to inspire and thrill its clients.

The SONY Portable Speaker Shortwave Radio is a 1.4-pound shortwave radio with 7.5 x 1.2 x 4.8 inches dimensions. It’s a portable microprocessor-guided, wide coverage compact receiver, featuring a convenient liquid crystal display LCD that provides digital frequency of each selected station. It’s a priceless item to have if one’s to keep up with world news and music. Some other features of this radio include:
  • It’s a multiband world band receiver with a frequency range of 87.6-108 Mega Hertz for FM and 150-29,999 kilo Hertz for LW/MW/SW.
  • It can be powered by AC- alternating current power or four AA batteries - which aren’t included. The batteries can last up to 47 hours.
  • It features a frequency-synthesized tuner and receives AM, FM, shortwaves and longwaves
  • It can be tuned in four different ways- manual tuning, direct tuning, preset or scan.
  • It provides concise reception over a wide frequency range and 10-key tuning which enables one to get distant stations clearly
  • Up to 100 stations can be preset and stored in the memory of this radio while the in-built hold button prevents the erroneous changes to pre-selected stations.
  • It has a remarkable built in memory and scans up to 100 frequencies.
  • Its SSB- Single Side Band reception makes for fine tuning and multi-modal reception with reduced interference, thereby resulting in better sound.
  • It comes with a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack for private listening and optimal sound clarity in noisy areas as well as a telescoping antenna for FM and SW and ferrite-bar antenna for AM and LW.
  • This radio can reduce beat frequency interference and intrusion from fading AM reception by its synchronous detection circuitry.
  • Its dual world time feature allows the display of the current time at different places in the world, as well as the user’s local time.
This radio also has a carrying case that makes carrying simple.
Best Value
The C Crane Skywave Travel Shortwave Radio is a portable air band 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

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 Mega Hertz) 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
The Sangean AM/FM/LW/SW World Band Receiver is a portable radio with 406 preset stations. It has a large screen and bright backlight. It’s a single side band, fine tuning radio. If you prefer a table top radio, check out Sangean’s Bluetooth Digital Receiver, which comes with USB ports and AM/FM tuning.
Sangean AM/FM/LW/SW World Band Receiver - Available in Black or White

Sangean Shortwave Radio ATS-909X BK - Black

Sangean is a privately owned company that manufactures and sells a wide variety of consumer appliances. The company has its origin in Santa Fe Springs, where it was established in 1974. The company has since then expanded to become a producer of high quality and standard performance shortwave radios worldwide. A combination of superior product quality and excellent customer relations has made Sangean one of the most respected brands in the area of consumer electronics.

The Sangean AM/FM/LW/SW World Band Receiver is a portable, 1 pound, 1 x 8 x 5 inches shortwave radio with a large liquid crystal display - an LCD screen and bright light emitting diode LED backlight. This radio has an auto scan system with 406 preset stations. It can be tuned in five ways - direct frequency tuning, manual tuning, rotary tuning, memory recall and auto scan. This radio automatically searches for the station with strongest signal within the shortwave station zones. It’s rigged with a 3-alarm system or an HWS - Human Wake System dinger.

This Sangean model is a Single Side Band radio with in-built time for 42 cities and a device for editing the names of two cities of choice. Using a button, the names of stations can be edited, in just 8 characters on the screen. The same button makes it possible to recall favorite or frequently visited stations. It features a squelch function that adjusts the receiving threshold and eliminates weak signal transmissions. This radio is a dual conversion type, with step-on fine tuning for short, medium and longwaves - SW, MW, LW. The Sangean AM/FM/LW/SW World Band Receiver shows three tone control modes - music, normal and news and comes with an individual headphone amplifier and battery strength indicator.

These are other shortwave radios, stocked by Sangean:
  • Sangean 12-Band Compact World Receiver: This is a portable and compact radio with 10-frequency ranges and liquid crystal display
  • Sangean WR-11 AM/FM Table-Top Radio: This is a soft-tuning shortwave radio with a wooden cabinet casing
  • Sangean WR-2 Digital Table Top Radio: It is a 7-watt amplifier gadget with RDS- radio data system support
  • Sangean Ultra-Rugged Digital Tuning Rechargeable Radio: A rain-resistant rechargeable shortwave radio with port for compact disc player, MP3 and iPhone
  • Sangean Digital Rechargeable Portable Radio: This radio has 10 preset stations on its memory; is rechargeable and has a battery indicator
  • Sangean PR-D7 Digital Rechargeable Portable Radio: A rechargeable radio with HWS- Human Wake System alarm and 10 preset stations
  • Sangean ATS-405 FM-Stereo/ AM/ SW World Band Receiver: Professional multi-band receiver radio with carrying pouch included
The Tecsun Digital Dual Conversion Shortwave Radio has long and shortwave coverage. It’s powered by a high energy lithium battery, has 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

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 radio sensitivity 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 Mega Hertz 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 side band receiver with 10 Hertz tuning and 4 and 5 selectable AM and SSB bandwidth filters. Its SSB mode receiver sensitivity is less than 1 ultra violet.

To enhance 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 high 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, in-built 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
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

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 Mega Hertz 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 semi-conductor 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 in-built 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 in-built 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

Get the Best Shortwave Radio of 2017!

Having read through our review, we believe you now have the necessary information you need for choosing the best shortwave radio, whether for survival/emergency 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
SONY Portable Speaker Shortwave Radio
Best Value
C Crane Skywave Travel Shortwave Radio
Sangean AM/FM/LW/SW World Band Receiver
Tecsun Digital Dual Conversion Shortwave Radio
Kaito 5-Way Weather Alert Shortwave Radio