After seven days of fiddling with knobs, adjusting antennas, and listening to endless AM and FM broadcasts using six top-rated radios, we find out the best tabletop radio for 2020.
At a time when audio equipment is geared towards the future, you might think that the humble tabletop radio is extinct. Not even close. It’s just evolved, and gotten a lot smarter over time. Radios now bear little resemblance to the dinky little clock radios from the past twenty years.
As a bonus, they’re not all that expensive – not compared to other examples of audio equipment, which can cost thousands of dollars. Even the most expensive tabletop radio will cost you well under a grand.
Why should you buy tabletop radios?
Most of the people do not understand the distinction between the tabletop radios on the other radios. We will today highlight some of the reasons why you should opt for the tabletop radios that are portable and small in size as compared to others. These reasons include:
- Can be easily tuned
- Great audio quality
- Highly durable
Owing to all of these reasons, you should opt for the tabletop radios as compared to any other.
10 Best Tabletop Radios of 2021:
|Sangean WR-15||11.9 x 8.6 x 7 in||4.3 pounds|
|Panasonic RF-2400D||3.23 x 9.21 x 4.8 in||1 pounds|
|PRUNUS M-160BT||5.1 x 2.7 x 3.5 in||15.2 ounces|
|COMO AUDIO SOLO||5.19 x 9.44 x 4.72 in||4.2 pounds|
|Grace Digital Mondo+||10.75 x 5.25 x 6 in||3 pounds|
If the WR-11 is sold out in your prefered finish, or if its horizontal design just doesn’t work with your feng shui, we think the Sangean WR-15 is the best alternative. It features all of the same electronics of the WR-11, all of the same controls and connectivity, the same speaker, and the same tuner (with a larger tuning knob and a semicircular dial) in a slightly smaller and vertically oriented cabinet.
The Crosley Solo isn’t as well-built as our top pick, and its high frequencies tend to be a bit hissy, but it looks like no other tabletop radio we know of, and it has a handful of features that set it apart. First and foremost is the upward-firing speaker, which may be of interest if your radio tends to sit well below ear level (or if you regularly use a standing desk). There’s also the built-in telescoping antenna to boost reception.
What we love most about the Solo, though, is its design—especially the art deco styling of its tuning dial, which evokes the front grill of a ‘51 Studebaker. We think most people would be better served by the Sangean, which sells for twenty dollars more, but if you’re looking to save every penny you can, the Crosley Solo isn’t a bad buy at all.
The Panasonic RF-2400D is one of the simplest tabletop radios on our list. It focuses purely on AM/FM functionality, and it does it well. This radio features a large, 4-inch speaker alongside the AM/FM station tuner. One of the other key features of this table radio is the Ferrite antenna that ensures a clear connection and good sound.
You can tune the radio with the large tuning knob on the side of the radio, as well as control the volume. You also get a 3.5 mm audio jack to plug in headphones for private listening. This simple design leaves out all of the bells and whistles in favor of reliability and user friendliness. The Panasonic is also a radio with good reception indoors and outdoors, making it super versatile.
You can power the Panasonic RF-2400D with either 4 AA batteries or with the included AC power cable that plugs into the wall. We were pleased with the overall battery life when using AAs. The AM/FM table top radio will easily last an entire camping trip, plus more, which is one of the reasons it’s the best portable radio for camping.
Overall radio performance is excellent, especially when it comes to AM signal, due mostly to the ferrite antenna. There were some occasions when the FM signal was weaker than we expected, but this didn’t happen often and didn’t create a negative experience during regular use.
The PRUNUS brand isn’t quite as well-known in the radio landscape as options like Sangean, but it’s still definitely worth a look. This compelling radio, known as the M-160BT is a classical vintage radio offering Bluetooth connectivity and FM/AM performance for a low price.
Designed to provide fantastic reception and a unique aesthetic for any household, the PRUNUS M-160BT is brimming with charm.
We’re particularly fond of the red version, which could look fantastic in a retro style kitchen. The device comes with a copper retractable antenna to improve your connection, and the whole experience is very easy to use.
You can also play music from Bluetooth, and aux-in cable, or even a flash drive.
Como is a grassroots company that has a loyal following that make anything but regular radios.
It was made possible by those who have contributed to the Kickstarter campaign and funded the first production run with pre-orders and donations.
As one of the users, I am truly grateful for such strong support, as this table-top radio is simply awesome.
Almost all mid-level table top radios come with some sort of streaming. Como Audio Solo is no different, it is amongst the best radio with Bluetooth enabled features.
As you can probably tell, the design and usability have been given a priority to make one of the best looking table-top radios you can buy.
The device comes with a beautiful real wood veneer finish. The color display screen is clear, bright, and comes with a few handy features. When in use, the screen will show you the album artwork or station logo that you are listening to, and you can also adjust the backlight to control the brightness of the screen.
The Grace Mondo Smart radio is a wireless speaker and it’s easy to set up and it is quite flexible. It has so many buttons that you can easily navigate your way around the operations. Although there are some people that feel the buttons are too many, they help you work your way around the radio.
Its boxed shape is balanced by its gentle angles. The design is not that spectacular but it is will sit perfectly on your bedside table or on the kitchen counter. It has a lovely visual display with album art and has channel information.
On the rare end, it has a simple panel of ports, twin RCA, and USB connections, but it is the front side that you will mainly be using.
If you are looking for a Sirius player, then you should consider this option. Although it only plays SiriusXM, and it will definitely pick up all the stations. It has a nice sound quality with an inbuilt equalizer.
This is not the radio for you if you are looking to get FM station or AM news. It is a speaker that has a vision only for the future and does not look the way of legacy radio signals. It is mainly in favor of a digital perspective. Therefore it does not have a CD player.
Tivoli Audio Model one is elegant in every way. It is a simple and classy tabletop radio with a great tuner. Also It has both AM and FM modes. It is sturdy but small enough to fit on a nightstand or a dresser.
This tabletop radio is a furniture grade product and has a handmade cabinet. It gives a classy look and it also provides as an inert housing for acoustics. It has a single speaker but it does its job perfectly. At normal sound levels, the sound is clear and rich.
There is a single dial for tuning both AM and FM stations. It features an amber tuning LED in addition to a power indicator LED.
It has an FM antenna wire. An external AM antenna jack is also present. The radio comes with a 3.5 mm aux input where you can plug in your earphones/headphones. The radio is a Bluetooth-enabled and allows wireless streaming of your favorite playlist from any compatible BT device.
Now this looks particularly old-fashioned. This will look great in an old Victorian house, with its handmade real-wood exterior. With its arch design, the speaker is at the top half of the front, while you have the analog station dial and the tuning and volume dials.
Yet the innards of this tabletop radio come with 21st century technology. That’s because it comes with Bluetooth. You can then connect your tablet or smartphone to this, and then you can get better quality sound compared to your shrill smartphone speaker.
This cathedral-design portable table radio does look great, especially in cozy homes with an older, rustic vibe. Yet it doesn’t look out of place in a modern home either. It also sounds great, and those who like a strong bass won’t be disappointed. It’s a far cry from smartphone speakers, that’s for sure.
Tabletop radios might not be the most versatile listening tools, particularly if you’re looking for a device you can use on the move. Manufacturers can often pack more features into a larger device, including USB connections, and CD players.
The Bose Wave is one of the best products on the market for those in search of a combination of tabletop style and excellent high-fidelity CD player performance.
This device comes with a number of advanced features you wouldn’t typically get from other products, such as high-level Bluetooth, and an alarm clock function for your beside table.
The biggest downside with this item, is that you have to pay for the extra functionality. It’s probably a good thing that this device wasn’t designed for portability – because you wouldn’t want to take it out of your home.
You’re going to get one of the top devices in terms of sound quality and performance here. All you need to do is find the extra money to pay for it. It’s also worth noting that there are a few things missing from the Bose, like NFC connections, or smart speaker assistants, for instance.
9. Crosley Solo
While most of our testers preferred the more executive styling of the Sangean radios, a few were also drawn to the more retro look of the Crosley Solo. Despite the fact that it features the same plastic and wooden construction as most other tabletop radios, the Solo’s silver finish and art deco accents contribute to a look that would be more at home on the counter of a soda shop than your average office desk. It also stands out due to its upward-firing speaker, which may be of interest if your tabletop radio lives on the kitchen or bathroom counter, or if you tend to stand while you work.
The built-in telescoping antenna does take away from its old-timey looks to a degree, and we noticed a tendency for the Solo to sound a little hissy with all but the strongest FM signals. But we loved the accuracy of its tuning dial; like the Sangean, a little light lets you know when you’ve locked onto a station at full strength. And we appreciated its separate input selection for devices connected to the aux audio input. With a shelf price that averages less than $60, it’s also just a great bargain.
The Grace Digital Mondo Elite Classic offers everything you could possibly want in a radio. Whether you listen to an Internet station, or an AM or FM broadcast, you’ll be up and running in seconds. The Mondo Elite Classic delivers excellent sound quality, too, thanks to a well-made 25-watt amplifier. It’s not the loudest radio around, but for sheer quality and versatility, nothing can beat it. It even includes a Qi wireless charging pad, meaning you can drop your phone on top to charge. That’s something not even more expensive radios, like the Bose Wave Music System IV, below, can boast. We love the design, too. The old Mondo Elite was an industrial hunk of plastic, but this has real warmth and flair, with a wonderful wood finish.
We do wish that Grace Digital had fixed the controls – there are still far too many of them, they are still a little confusing to use, and they still feel wonky when pushed. And there’s no AM/FM functionality. It’s possible to listen to stations on those wavelengths if they have an Internet broadcast, but less technologically forward stations may get left behind. That’s especially a problem if you’re an AM fan. Regardless, the Mondo Elite Classic gets almost everything right.
What To Consider When Buying A Tabletop Radio?
We frequently test and review tabletop radios so we can identify the suitable models from the less suitable ones. So for choosing the best tabletop radio, we have identified some tips to consider when choosing your tabletop radios. Points to consider when choosing your tabletop radios:
- Sound Quality: Sound quality is undoubtedly one of the most important when picking your tabletop radio. There are table tops radios with excellent quality sound with equalizer and moderate quality sound. If you are the one that enjoys your music everywhere in your home at the top sound with bass, treble, and so on. You probably should go for the expensive models. Although there is a couple of moderately low cost radio that can give you this kind of feature.
- Reception: A good model should be able to pick up weak signals with clear reception. It won’t be nice for you to discover your new tabletop gives an uneven distorted reception.
- Bluetooth, AUX Input And Headphone Port: These features are a must have for you to enjoy a wireless stream of music from your Smartphone, tablet, or computer. Tabletop Bluetooth radio absolutely opens up your listening options. The auxiliary input allows you to plug your MP3 and other music devices.
- Preset And Alarm Function: When picking your tabletop radio, you should consider going for models that have presets in order to store your favorite station and access them easily. Another feature to consider is the alarm function. Most, but not all tabletop radios come with an alarm function.
When you’re on the lookout for tabletop radios, instead of getting confused between different options, it is a good idea to just go through our list of top 10 best tabletop radios. We have compared hundreds of different tabletop radio options(Get more here) before curating these top 10. You will surely be able to find the best tabletop radios from this list.