Whether you are heading out on a camping trip, looking to enjoy a day at the beach, or you simply want to enjoy some music while fishing on your local pier, you’ll need an outdoor radio to add a soundtrack to your adventures.
But you must be selective when choosing an outdoor radio, as they vary wildly in terms of quality, performance, portability, waterproofness , and price.
We’ll try to help you select the best outdoor radio for your needs below, as we recommend six of the best options available. Additionally, we’ll try to explain some of the things to look for when picking your new outdoor radio and detail some of the best brands on the market.
The 6 Best Portable Outdoor Radios of 2019: Outdoor Empire Reviews
Below, you’ll find our picks for the six best outdoor radios available. Any of these units should help you add some music to your outdoor activities while being portable and waterproof, which is always a great way to make things even more fun than you hoped.
Just note that we’ve broken these six radios down into three categories. The first two are the best all-around outdoor radios, the third and fourth listed radios provide the best value for your dollar, and the fifth and sixth models are a few of the most affordable radios on the market.
- Sangean LB-100 Compact AM/FM Ultra Rugged Radio
- ION Audio Tailgater Express
- Sangean PR-D5BK AM/FM Portable Radio
- iFox Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker with FM Radio
- UZOPI 5W Wireless Outdoor Speakers with FM Radio
- Mix Hero Bluetooth Shower Speaker Waterproof Shower Radios
|Product|| || ||
|Memory presets||12 (6 AM, 6 FM)||10 (5 FM, 5 AM)||FM only|
|Speakers||1 x 5" full-range||Dual 2.5" special stereo||52 mm high-performance driver|
|Batteries||4 C batteries||6 C batteries||1 Lithium ion battery|
|Weight||6 lbs 9.8 oz||2 lbs||9.3 oz|
|Cost||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
1. Sangean LB-100 Compact AM/FM Ultra Rugged Radio
The Sangean LB-100 Radio is a rough-and-tumble radio that is ready to tag along no matter where your adventures take you. Rain-, dust-, and shock-resistant, this super-durable radio is ideal for those who want an outdoor radio that’s also built to last.
- Features a roll-cage design to protect the unit if dropped
- Rain- and dust-resistant
- Features dynamic loudness, digital PLL, and an FM and AM tuner
- Rubber feet help provide a stable base and dampen vibration
- Most buyers were very pleased, and several praised the radio’s volume
- Very durable radio that is ideal for traveling
- Most owners raved about the radio’s bass response
- Included Bluetooth capability makes it very convenient to use
- A few users complained that the radio only features five preset options
- While the bass response drew lots of praise, several owners complained about mid- and high-frequency volume
- Several owners complained that it didn’t pick up FM stations well
- Despite working well outdoors, it doesn’t appear to get good reception indoors
Perfect for: The Sangean LB-100 is the perfect choice for people who want a travel-ready radio that is built like a tank. It is one of the only models around with a roll-cage, yet it is still light enough to take with you anywhere. It also comes with a ton of built-in features, which help to make this one of the best options available.
2. ION Audio Tailgater Express
The ION Audio Tailgater Express is a compact and portable radio that comes with an array of useful features. In addition to being feature-packed and easy to carry around, the ION Audio Tailgater Express is also durable and well built, as it is designed to be splash-proof, making it perfect for the pool or beach.
- Comes with a robust 4-inch woofer and wide-dispersion tweeter
- IPX4 waterproof rating (splash-proof)
- Bright, easy-to-see LED display
- Built-in rechargeable battery provides up to 30 hours of listening enjoyment
- 20 watts of power gives the radio plenty of volume
- 100-foot Bluetooth range makes it easy to use the radio with your smartphone or tablet
- Weighs only 5.8 pounds, making it easy to take anywhere
- Most buyers found the sound quality was very good
- A few owners had trouble tuning in stations
- Several customers who tried the radio reported that the battery life was not as long as was advertised
- The fact that the antenna is also the power cord hampers its reception
- A few owners expressed disappointment with the unit’s durability
Perfect for: The ION Audio Tailgater is a great-sounding radio, making it the ideal choice for outdoor events, tailgating, and similar situations. It isn’t a perfect choice for the beach or your next camping trip, but it provides great sound, plenty of volume, and great flexibility for most other scenarios.
It also provides a great combination of portability and sound quality.
3. Sangean PR-D5BK AM/FM Portable Radio
The Sangean PR-D58K Radio is a very high-quality travel radio and comes with a lot of the same features you’d expect to find in a radio costing twice as much.
The Sangean Radio is a great choice for any situation that requires music, as it features an AC cord to make it easy to use at home, and it also works with six C batteries whenever you want to take it with you when leaving the house.
- 200 mm Ferrite AM antenna bar provides excellent AM reception
- The alarm has three modes: Radio, Buzzer and HWS (Humane Wake System)
- The easy-to-read LCD display is bright and visible from a considerable distance
- Comes with twin 2.5-inch speakers that can be used in stereo or mono mode
- Most owners found that it sounded as good as other radios that cost twice as much
- Buyers liked the ability to get the radio in either black or white
- Unlike some other outdoor radios, the Sangean PR-D58K comes with 10 memory presets
- Provides a great combination of portability, performance, and price
- Some users found it inconvenient that you have to push a button to see the time displayed
- Many users wished it had a rechargeable battery rather than requiring disposable cells
- Some buyers were unimpressed with the LCD display
- A few owners found the sound muffled, but most praised the sound quality
Perfect for: The Sangean PR-D58K is an ideal travel radio for people who want a model that performs very well yet won’t break the bank. It comes with almost all of the features you’d expect from a high-end portable radio.
It produces excellent sound quality, and it is easy to take with you during outdoor adventures. It probably isn’t the most durable choice around, but it still provides excellent value for the price.
4. iFox Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker with FM Radio
The iFox Waterproof Radio is a very impressive outdoor radio and comes with far more features than you’d expect from such an affordably priced model.
Waterproof, rugged, and ready to pair with your Bluetooth-enabled device, this radio is perfect for people on the go, and it’s backed by the manufacturer’s 12-month, money-back guarantee, so you can shop with confidence.
- IPX6 waterproof rating and designed to survive a three-story fall
- Powerful 6-watt speaker provides plenty of volume for most circumstances
- Powerful 1500-mAH lithium-ion battery provides up to 6 hours of music
- Backed by the manufacturer’s 12-month guarantee
- Buyers loved the chance to select from four different colors (black, grey, green, and red)
- Most users found that it provided great volume for its size
- Very portable and easy to take with you wherever you go
- Most customers who bought it confirmed that it is exceptionally waterproof
- Some users didn’t like the lack of a tuning knob (you must use the scanning button to find stations)
- A few owners considered it more of a speaker than a true radio, despite having FM functionality
- FM scanner button appears to operate too quickly for some users
- Not the loudest outdoor radio around
Perfect for: The iFox Waterproof Radio is affordable enough that we could include it in our “most affordable” category, but it is such a well-built product that its value is its biggest selling point.
This radio not only produces excellent sound quality, but it is also very durable and exceptionally waterproof (it can even be submerged safely). You get all of this—plus a variety of useful features—for an incredibly low price point.
5. UZOPI 5W Wireless Outdoor Speakers with FM Radio
The UZOPI 5E Outdoor Radio is a great-looking travel radio that comes in a travel-ready package. The UZOPI sounds great, provides plenty of volume, and comes with a variety of useful features—and it does all this for a very low price point.
Additionally, because it’s backed by a 100% money-backed guarantee, you can buy it with confidence.
- Works with an optional bike mount (sold separately)
- Designed for use in the shower, but also works anywhere you want to hear music
- Comes with an included carabiner, making it easy to clip to your backpack or belt
- Includes built-in microphone to work with your smartphone
- The vast majority of customers who purchased the UZOPI raved about its sound quality
- Bluetooth connectivity was very popular with most buyers
- Several users reported that the battery lasted longer than advertised
- All of the controls are easy to access via the side of the unit
- Bass response is not ideal, but that’s to be expected from such a small speaker
- A few owners complained that the suction cup didn’t work very well
- The FM reception may not be as effective as that of some other radios
- This radio may not be loud enough for all situations
Perfect for: The UZOPI Wireless FM Radio is a perfect choice for people seeking a supremely portable FM radio that’s perfect for hiking, biking, canoeing, and most other quiet outdoor activities.
It is incredibly affordable, so it provides great value for your money, and the included carabiner makes it easy to clip on and carry with you.
6. Mix Hero Bluetooth Shower Speaker Waterproof Shower Radios
The Mix Hero Bluetooth Waterproof Radio is a compact, lightweight, and waterproof radio that works anywhere you can think of, from the shower to the beach to your next campsite. But this radio isn’t just a great travel radio—it is also one of the most affordable options around, making it great for cash-strapped buyers.
- Features a rechargeable 2200-mAh lithium-ion battery that provides 8 to 10 hours of listening enjoyment
- In addition to being an FM radio, this unit is also Bluetooth enabled and works with your smartphone
- Comes with a 52 mm high-performance driver and a built-in bass
- Backed by the manufacturer’s 100% money-backed guarantee
- The green exterior looks great and makes the radio easy to spot (and hard to lose in the forest)
- Users enjoyed the ability to manually scroll between FM stations
- Owners loved the Bluetooth connectivity and ability to make calls through the radio
- Very light-weight and easy to transport
- A few buyers complained that the battery life wasn’t displayed prominently
- There were a few complaints about the radio’s durability
- A few owners complained about the radio’s “tinny” sound and lack of volume
- Several owners complained about the unit’s ability to dial in FM stations clearly
Perfect for: The Mix Hero Waterproof Radio is a great option for people who want a functional yet affordable radio to play tunes while they’re enjoying the great outdoors.
The combination of the radio’s stylish outer case, loud volume, and low price make it a great choice for impromptu adventures, and its rechargeable battery will also help you save money in the long run.
What Are the Benefits of an Outdoor Radio Over a Regular Radio?
Some people may be inclined to use a regular radio for their outdoor adventures, but this is typically a mistake. Regular radios are usually designed exclusively for indoor use, and they won’t last very long if used on the trail or at the beach.
However, most outdoor radios come with a few important features that make them well-suited for use outside your home. These include the following:
Anytime you take an electronic device outdoors, moisture is a concern. After all, it only takes a little bit of rain or splashing water to ruin even the best-built radios that are designed for indoor use.
Most outdoor radios will resist splashing water and high humidity levels, and the best outdoor radios can even be submerged (briefly) without ruining the components inside.
No matter how careful you intend to be with your new radio, it’ll certainly suffer some wear and tear while being used outdoors. Accordingly, most outdoor radio manufacturers enclose their radios in very durable housings. Some even include roll cages to provide further protection.
If you go to the trouble of buying an outdoor radio, you’ll want to make sure you select one that is easy to carry with you. Fortunately, most outdoor radios are lightweight, and they typically weigh less than 10 pounds or so.
In addition to being lightweight, most outdoor radios have carrying handles to make it easier to lug them around. Some of the best outdoor radios also include carabiners, clips, suction cups, and other types of mounting mechanisms that’ll attach to your belt, bag or bike.
How Do You Choose a High-Quality Outdoor Radio?
Now that you understand the value outdoor radios provide, it’s important to familiarize yourself with some of the things you want to look for when picking out a specific model. Some of the most important things to seek in an outdoor radio include the following:
Look for models with a warranty or guarantee.
Because outdoor radios are subjected to more wear and tear than their indoor-oriented counterparts, warranties and money-back guarantees offer additional value. Just be sure to review the warranty carefully before considering it a selling point—some warranties won’t cover radios that get wet, for example.
Select a radio with additional built-in features.
All outdoor radios come with a built-in radio tuner, but most of the best also have other features. This includes things like flashlights, microphones, auxiliary inputs, and USB charging ports. These features all increase the value of a radio, and they’ll make the radio more fun to use, too.
Whenever possible, select a radio with rechargeable batteries.
Some outdoor radios require an AC power source, but the best ones also work with battery power. However, it is usually wise to select a radio that utilizes rechargeable batteries, as disposable batteries will end up costing you quite a bit of money over the long run.
Consider the specific features you need.
Try to avoid the habit of spending more money than you must by picking a radio with features you don’t really need or want. There’s nothing wrong with picking a radio that comes with USB charging ports that you won’t use—unless you end up paying more money for the radio than you otherwise would.
Top Outdoor Radio Brands
It is often helpful to familiarize yourself with some of the leading outdoor radio brands when starting your search. This will help you narrow your focus and concentrate on the brands that are most likely to appeal to you.
We’ll discuss three of the leading outdoor radio brands below.
Sangean manufactures a wide variety of radios and other audio equipment, ranging from travel speakers to digital recorders to clock radios. Their products are often designed to be feature-rich, and although they’re not prohibitively expensive, they’re often priced at the high end of the category.
For example, we recommend two different Sangean outdoor radios above, and they both cost more than $60. This is approximately three times as much as some of the more affordable options we recommend.
A lot of Sangean products come with innovative or unusual features that aren’t commonly available. For example, one of the Sangean radios discussed above comes with a protective roll cage, and several of their radios come with features like the Humane Wake System (HWS) or Dynamic Loudness.
Most Sangean radios (as well as the rest of their product lineup) earn great reviews from users who purchase the products. Most people find their products work well and are worth a little more money than similar products made by other manufacturers.
iFox Creations primarily focuses on manufacturing high-quality, affordable travel speakers with built-in FM radios. Most of their products are water-resistant, and a few (including the iFox Creations radio we recommend above) can even be submerged without suffering any damage.
They only make a handful of products, which allows them to focus on and dominate their chosen niche. They’re not a particularly large company, so they fly under the radar a bit, but this will likely change in the future as more consumers become familiar with their products.
The iFox Creations radios don’t come with a ton of features, and they aren’t really designed to do many different things. Instead, the company focuses on making products that truly excel in their category. They’re typically priced at the low- to mid-level for the applicable category.
Most people who try iFox Creations radios and speakers find that they work very well and provide excellent value. Generally, their product line is well-rated by consumers, and most of their products are backed by an extended warranty.
ION Audio is an established electronics company that makes a wide variety of audio devices. This not only includes outdoor radios, such as the Tailgater Express recommended above, but also old school audio devices, such as turntables and cassette players.
However, a large portion of their focus is centered around Bluetooth speakers and radios—including waterproof options.
Their products are characterized by their quality and relatively high price points, and many of them include impressive features.
Their speakers are generally rated highly by people who purchase their products, and most of their portable devices feature impressive rechargeable batteries, which typically retain their charge for longer than competing products do.
Because of their dedication to making high-quality audio products, ION Audio radios and speakers are typically most popular among customers looking for products that produce very high-quality sound.
No matter how you like to enjoy the great outdoors, music will generally help you have more fun. With that in mind, consider picking up a high-quality outdoor radio for your next barbecue, camping trip, or tailgate party.
Just be sure to pick a model that suits your needs and has the types of features you want. Do that, and you’ll be enjoying tunes in the outdoors in no time.
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