portable radio Guide

A portable radio is a radio conveniently sized for easy transport from place to place. Typically small to medium-sized with a strap, handle or carrying case, portable radios allow you to listen to radio broadcasts from any location with an available signal and enough signal strength. These radios frequently use batteries as a power source and some feature power cords for plugging into an electrical supply.

>> What kind of portable radio do you need?

Consider your specific reason for wanting to buy a portable radio. Do you need portable broadcasts in your home in the event that traditionally powered radio is temporarily unavailable, or in your yard as you work or relax outside? A portable radio with an alarm is helpful whenever you need to set a time reminder. If you enjoy walking, running or another outdoor sport, the best portable radio for you might be a pocket radio, a media player with headphones or an armband radio. iPods and MP3 players also make good choices for on-the-go activities.
Portable radios for your vehicle include CB radios and satellite radios. A citizens band radio, also known as a CB radio, is designed for short-distance business or personal communication. Satellite radio is broadcast nationwide across a much bigger geographical area than typical terrestrial (land-based) radios.

>> Consider home radios

The best portable radio for home use depends on where you plan to use it and what kind of broadcasts you want to receive. You can buy a portable radio to listen to local radio stations, to play specific types of music, to listen to weather forecasts or even as an alarm clock. Awareness of your options will help you choose the best portable radio for you.

Type Features Handheld terrestrial radio Offers local radio station broadcasts. Choice of FM or AM/FM radios. Sometimes offers another built-in media player such as CD or cassette. Alarm clock radio Offers local radio plus a clock and alarm feature. Shower radio Offers local radio plus a moisture-proof outer shell. Children's radio Durable portable radio offering strong, safe outer shell and a protected antenna. Weather radio Offers local and national weather broadcasts. Wi-Fi radio Picks up radio signals from around the world through Internet connection. Plays MP3 files. Satellite radio Offers high-quality sound in radio broadcasts, clear long-distance reception and largely commercial-free radio stations featuring specific musical genres. MP3 player Stores and plays digital audio files. iPod Stores and plays digital media files such as music and videos; sometimes offers Internet access. >> Consider on-the-go radios

When you buy a portable radio, consider the environment in which the radio will most often be used. If you're often engaged in outdoor or movement-related activities, purchase a durable portable radio designed to handle various weather or workout conditions.

Personal-sized radios/media players and portable digital radios such as MP3 players and iPods are designed to travel. Their compact portable radio designs allow you to carry them in a pocket or clip them to your clothing as you walk or hike. Personal-sized radios provide headphones or ear buds for a private listening experience. Some offer local radio only, and some include another media player for cassettes or CDs.

If you enjoy jogging, running and climbing activities, the best portable radio for you will handle a lot of movement and inclement weather. Armband radios are portable radios you fasten around your upper arm, usually with Velcro. Their outer weather-resistant shell provides protection from jostling and moisture. Top-rated portable radios maintain sound quality and consistency in a wide variety of conditions.

Durable portable radios include weatherproof radios in different sizes from the armband style to small handheld radios or even boom boxes with handles. Each allows you access to radio buttons and tuners that are otherwise protected by a weatherproof shell or case. You can also buy a portable radio carrying case with a weather-resistant design.

Boom boxes are portable radios with a larger design and powerful speakers. You'll find cassette players with radios and CD players with radios in boom box form.

>> Consider radios for the car

If you need to buy a portable radio for your vehicle that goes beyond the typical terrestrial built-in radio, a CB radio is one choice. A CB radio operates on a selection of forty channels within the 27MHz band and is used most often by long-haul truckers. With a CB, you can communicate with other CB users within a short distance.

Satellite radios are among the top-rated portable radios for sound quality and variety of programming. Available by subscription, satellite radio allows you to listen to many more radio stations and access more programming options than terrestrial radios. Satellite is the best portable radio for sustaining a single radio signal over a long distance.

>> Consider the design of the radio
Your search for cool portable radios should also take into consideration your style preferences. Portable radios might come in a modern look or gravitate toward vintage and antique designs. Buy a portable radio in an understated color such as black or gray, or go for color. The market boasts a wide variety of colorful looks, some solid and some printed with patterns, characters or cartoons. Decide which type of radio you need, and then choose the best portable radio that fits your individual aesthetic taste within that category.

>> Consider power options

Your new portable radio will require a power source, so it makes sense to think about necessary power supplies as you prepare to make your purchase. Some radios, such as armband radios and personal-sized media players, operate solely on batteries. Make sure you know which type of batteries you'll need to have on hand. Disposable batteries provide power for a pre-determined amount of time. Rechargeable batteries can be reused and usually require a battery recharging device. Other radios operate on batteries but have a power cord as a backup or an alternate method of operation. If you choose to use portable radios in your vehicle, a car adapter that typically plugs into the car's cigarette lighter might be necessary.

An AC to DC power converter changes an alternating current to a direct current for operating small devices. If you need to acquire an AC to DC converter when you buy a portable radio, make sure it's specifically rated to handle the power conversion to avoid damage to your radio. Cars usually have built-in AC power inverters to transfer some of the car's power supply and convert it from AC to DC power. When looking for the best portable radio for your needs, the type of power supply the radio requires could be a deciding factor.

After taking into consideration your choices of power options, design preferences, types of radios and how and where you plan to use your portable radio, you'll be ready to select the perfect portable radio for you.

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