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7 Best Shortwave Radios for Emergencies Reviewed in 2020 (US & UK)

By Tom,
31st May 2018 | Updated: 30th April 2020

7 Best Shortwave Radios for Emergencies Reviewed in 2020 (US & UK)

Last updated on 31st May 2018 by Tom

Quick Comparison

After 2 weeks worth of thorough testing, we’ve narrowed down shortwave radios to our 8 top picks. Considering value for money, performance features such as sound quality, sensitivity to frequency and ease of use, we have found the Tivdio V-115 SW MP3 Player with Voice Recorder is the ultimate shortwave radio and top of our list.

It ticks many of our boxes in terms of quality and performance, but the true reason why the Tivdio has the edge over its closest competitor, the XHDATA D-808 Radio, is the value for the money that it offers.

  1. 1
    100%
    100%

    TECSUN S-2000 HAM Amateur Radio Review

    Compared to the other shortwave radios, the TECSUN S-2000 HAM Amateur Radio is bigger in size, which is why it is a clear loser in the portability category. It is designed similarly to regular radios that the older generation might be familiar with.

     

    In terms of its memory, this radio has the capacity to store 1000 radio channels. One other feature of this shortwave radio is the 24-hour clock, which can also be used with the dual alarm system. There is a sleep timer function that allows you to set a specific time for your radio to shutdown automatically. This will allow you to fall asleep while listening to the radio without worrying about the energy that will be continually used up by a running radio.

    The Good
    • Sturdy construction
    • Multiple tuning options
    • Loud sound that is easy to adjust
    The Bad
    • Bulky - not very portable
    • Heavy
    • Expensive
    Check price on amazon

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    However, this will not increase the prices you pay for products.

  2. 2
    98%
    98%

    Tivdio V-115 SW MP3 Player with Voice Recorder

    Hands down, the Tivdio V-115 is our favorite shortwave radio. It fits right into a pocket, which makes it easy to carry around at all times. The edge this shortwave radio has over other options is that it allows for 100 stations to be preset that you can change automatically or manually. You can even switch automatically between the FM station for music browsing and the AM radio stations. Our sole complaint is that the buttons can be a bit flimsy, which places a question mark over its durability, although the sound produced by this radio is perfectly crisp, clear, and balanced.

     

    The Good
    • Speakers produce loud and clear sounds
    • High sensitivity to frequency
    • Several cool additional features
    • Great value for money
    The Bad
    • Power button can be flimsy
    Check price on amazon

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    However, this will not increase the prices you pay for products.

  3. 3
    98%
    98%

    XHDATA D-808 Radio

    Compared to the Tivdio V-115 SW MP3 Player with Voice Recorder, the XHDATA D-808 was a more expensive brand, which is why the Tivdio seems to be a better choice than this model. The FM radio on the Tivdio shortwave radio is also better than the XHDATA.

     

    This model is first and foremost an SW radio and the sound quality on this shortwave radio is extremely commendable due to the clarity of the sound produced. The sensitivity on this shortwave radio is also excellent. Changing the stations is easy since it is available in several different ways, which allows it to be functional and flexible. Moreover, the LCD display is able to show the time, current temperature, and signal strength.

    The Good
    • With alarm clock and sleeper timer function
    • High memory
    The Bad
    • Poor FM radio reception
    • Expensive compared to other options
    Check price on amazon

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    However, this will not increase the prices you pay for products.

  4. 4
    98%
    98%

    Degen DE13 Review

    The Degen DE13 is more than just a pretty radio, it is also packed with great features. For its price, it is able to provide great value for the money.

     

    This tri-band radio is highly sensitive and it supports the charging of your gadgets. The LED display has an illumination light that can be an alternative to your night light. It can even be an alarm clock since it lights up and it can produce a siren sound that will allow you to wake up during your desired time.

     

    The hand crank charging on this shortwave radio is not just effective, but the handles are also rather sturdy. However, the XHD Degen DE13 has an instruction manual that is a little on the complicated side – crack that, however, and this is a great choice product.

    The Good
    • Several charging methods
    • Frequency is highly sensitive
    The Bad
    • Instruction Manual is hard to understand
    Check price on amazon

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    However, this will not increase the prices you pay for products.

  5. 5
    95%
    95%

    Sangean ATS-909X Portable Stereo Review

    At the top of our list for the priciest shortwave radio is the Sangean ATS-909X. It has a great overall quality, but it isn’t our favourite shortwave radio. Firstly, it isn’t as sensitive to shortwave frequencies, which is why it’s harder to find stations and listen to hams on this radio. The AM radio is also poor quality, but the audio on the FM radio is sufficiently better than the two other broadcast bands. However, the Sangean ATS-909X produces crisper sound compared to the other shortwave radios on our list. Moreover, it is also built in such a durable manner, the buttons were not flimsy and the structure of the radio is extremely solid.

    The Good
    • Crisp sound quality
    • Durable
    The Bad
    • Extremely Expensive
    • Poor sensitivity for shortwave frequency
    Check price on amazon

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    However, this will not increase the prices you pay for products.

  6. 6
    92%
    92%

    Tivdio V-111 Portable Radio with Alarm Clock

    For its affordability, we give the Tivdio V-111 Portable Radio with Digital Alarm Clock and Sleep Timer full marks. Surprisingly, it’s able to produce clear and clean sounds for its price. While it isn’t as crisp as pricier models, it produced great sounds for its price. You can store 20 stations for every band, which equals to 60 stations overall.

     

    Even though it’s an affordable radio, it still comes with several tuning options and features. There are roughly four tuning options and you can even set your favorite station for easier access.

    The Good
    • Affordable
    • Reliable alarm system
    • Great FM stations
    The Bad
    • Sound quality could be improved
    • Several interferences on AM station
    Check price on amazon

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    However, this will not increase the prices you pay for products.

  7. 7
    80%
    80%

    TECSUN Pl-360 Radio Review

    At first glance, the Tecsun PI-360 Radio is slimmer than most shortwave radios, but it is a bit longer so it slips out a pocket at times. Due to its size, you can operate this radio with the use of just one hand.

     

    However, the AM radio on this shortwave radio is practically useless, especially when you use the manual tuning method.

     

    On the other hand, the shortwave frequency on this radio is highly sensitive, which makes it ideal for those that wish to listen to radio Hams.

    The Good
    • Portable
    • High sensitivity for shortwave frequencies
    The Bad
    • Inconsistent reliability
    • AM stations is not great
    Check price on amazon

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    However, this will not increase the prices you pay for products.

Side-by-side

TECSUN S-2000 HAM Amateur Radio Review

  • Sturdy construction
  • Multiple tuning options
  • Loud sound that is easy to adjust
Check price  on amazon

Tivdio V-115 SW MP3 Player with Voice Recorder

  • Speakers produce loud and clear sounds
  • High sensitivity to frequency
  • Several cool additional features
  • Great value for money
Check price  on amazon

XHDATA D-808 Radio

  • With alarm clock and sleeper timer function
  • High memory
Check price  on amazon

Degen DE13 Review

  • Several charging methods
  • Frequency is highly sensitive
Check price  on amazon

Tivdio V-111 Portable Radio with Alarm Clock

  • Affordable
  • Reliable alarm system
  • Great FM stations
Check price  on amazon

TECSUN Pl-360 Radio Review

  • Portable
  • High sensitivity for shortwave frequencies
Check price  on amazon

Frequently asked questions

What is a Shortwave Radio?

As the name suggests, a shortwave radio uses shortwave radio frequencies. Shortwave radios reach a wide range of audience since it includes all high-frequency bands. Shortwave radio is used for long-distance communication and for emergency situations. There are even times that the signal of shortwave radios can reach the entire continent.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using Shortwave Radios?

Shortwave radios have several benefits. Firstly, they can rather cheap, with some going for as little as £10. Moreover, they employ a simple and uncomplicated technology, which means that the interface is easy to operate.

Some shortwave radios are solar powered, which makes them energy efficient.

However, shortwave radios do not undergo censorship, which means that it is not ideal for younger children to listen to. You may even end up listening to stations that you do not understand since they are broadcasted in a foreign language.

What should I look for when choosing a Shortwave Radio?

Some of the things to consider when purchasing a shortwave radio are your budget, the frequency range, and the size of the radio. A lot of shortwave radios will cost less than £30, but you can make a splurge and opt for models that cost more.

 

It is also important that your shortwave radio has a wider frequency range.

 

Another important thing to consider when picking a shortwave radio is to consider the size that you want. If you wish to take the shortwave radio to places, you must pick a smaller model.

What’s the approximate price range for a good quality Shortwave Radios?

On an average, shortwave radios would cost £25 to £60. A great shortwave radio does not normally cost a lot and that is one of its advantages.

What are shortwave radio frequencies?

Shortwave radio frequencies are a rate of oscillation that ranges from 1 to 100 MHz. In terms of frequency allocation organization, International Telecommunication Union arranges it through the World Radio communication Conference.

What is a shortwave radio receiver?

A shortwave radio receiver is able to receive one or more shortwave bands. These bands must range between 1.3 to 30 MHz, which allows it to receive signals to broadcast FM radios, Longwave, and Mediumwave. There are also different receiver types like communication receivers and superheterodyne receivers.

What is an emergency radio?

Emergency radios come in handy during disasters. Emergency radios come with a Public Alert and NOAA NWR All Hazards Logo. In emergency situations, there might not be electricity, which is why emergency radios can be battery operated or solar powered. It may be equipped with a hand crank charger to ensure that your radio can operate without electricity.

What’s the best FM radio? Why is it the best?

The XHD Degen DE13 Radio is more than just a great looking radio, but it is also a reliable one. Compared to other plainly designed shortwave radios, this model carries a unique design. As an FM radio, it certainly had a cutting edge since it boasts great signal and plays music really clearly.

 

What’s the best clock radio? Why is it the best?

Tivdio V-111 Portable Radio with Digital Alarm Clock and Sleep Timer is a great clock radio, along with being a great shortwave radio. It is a 24-hour clock and you can set the alarm for the radio to turn on. There is also a timer, which allows the radio to turn off automatically after 90 minutes.

What’s the best portable radio? Why is it the best?

In terms of size and reliability, the XHD Solar Radio is certainly an upgrade from the DEGEN 13 DE13. It is perfect for those that would want to take their radio everywhere. It is great to bring outdoors as it only weighs 9 ounces.

What’s the best hand crank radio? Why is it the best?

For emergency cases, the XHD Solar Radio is extremely reliable since the hand crank charging method does not need batteries and an electrical power source. Moreover, it comes with a lighting emergency alert to help signal rescue teams if you are facing any disaster.

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