The Best Shortwave Radios of 2019: Overview and Review

Don’t be fooled by the name, the shortwave radio is without a doubt an amazing piece of equipment since it allows you to access broadcasts from around the world, tap into AM and FM radio stations even if you’re not in an urban area, and even communicate during a crisis.

This device has been in use for around 100 years and that’s because it’s relatively user-friendly and that’s not even its best feature. You will also be able to get in touch with individuals who share the same interest but use ham radios instead.

Whenever you’re purchasing these products, you should take the time to learn about them first by discovering the important features that should exist in a shortwave radio in addition to TWS reviews of the best items on the market today.


What is a Shortwave Radio?

Commonly known as a world band radio, the shortwave radio is perfect for emergency broadcasting and relaying. It gives you the opportunity to communicate internationally since it receives transmissions on frequencies that are between 1.6 and 30 MHz.


How to use the Shortwave Radio

There are various ways to benefit from the shortwave radio because the device is usually loaded with features. In other words, search for the radio that directly satisfies your needs; some people use it very frequently to listen to AM and/or FM broadcasts while others keep it for emergencies.


Different types of Shortwave Radios

Similar to Radio scanners, the shortwave radios can be either handheld or fixed, again it all goes back to what you truly need.

  • The desktop models are usually kept in a single location, such as a house or a car. Moreover, these types offer better audio quality and a wider range. If you ever heard the expression “all in one” then you should know it refers to stationary radios which can tap in to AM and FM broadcasts.
  • The portable models are naturally smaller and weigh less because you’ll be taking them with you on trips. They have additional power settings which can come in handy if you’re going out for an extended period of time.


Doomsday Preppers and Shortwave Radios

Throughout numerous episodes, the presenters of the hit TV show “Doomsday Preppers” have highlighted the importance of these radios. The main reason for that is the fact that you can use them as relays and communicate if (or when!) a crisis happens.


Important features in a Shortwave Radio

Just like any other device, there are essential features that give the shortwave radio the reputation it deserves.


Different modes

The most basic mode you will find in a shortwave radio is the AM mode but you could easily find models that offer other options such as SSB for example. The more modes you have the more boardcasts you could transmit.

Frequency coverage

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, most radios present frequencies ranging from 1.6 to 30 MHz. It’s important to note that you can purchase radios that offer a wider range of frequencies.

Tuning and ease of use

It’s really important to consider the interface of the shortwave radio you’re purchasing. New users usually like knobs which help in tuning the device since they offer a smooth process. Each individual has a specific preference and it’s always better to consider all your options before moving on to making a purchase.

Selectivity bandwidths

Speaking of tuning, radios having different options for selectivity bandwidths minimize the chances of interference and subsequently make communication much clearer. The base radios have more settings than the portable ones who usually contain a couple of options.

Synchronous detector

This is not necessary but it sure can be helpful. The way this functionality works is by giving you the opportunity to lock onto a specific signal. Naturally, the transmission will sound better but don’t forget that this comes at a price.

Digital and analog readouts

It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the digital display will give more details and more precise readings. Depending on your budget, you could go for the analog option since it’s cheaper.

Structure and Design

It goes without saying that the physical elements making up these radios should be strong, especially if you intend to use your device in the great outdoors. Most portable items are small and lightweight because if they weren’t, you might find a difficulty holding them for a long time.

Antenna length

The antenna length hugely affect the range of the transmission which is why, if your shortwave radio came with a short built-in antenna, you can easily replace it with a longer one. Be careful though, you can’t do this with all radios so check if this feature is available with the model you’re going for.


Two-Way Signal reviews the best Shortwave Radios

TWS always picks the best items in a specific category and gives you straightforward and technical reviews! Read on to learn about the best shortwave radios on the market today.


Eton Executive Satellite Shortwave Radio

Having an all-inclusive shortwave radio does not mean that you have to pay a large sum of money. The Eton Executive Satellite allows you to access almost any band you want regardless of your physical location and at the low price of around 100 USD. It also has a small structure which means that you don’t have to keep it at home, you can also take it with you no matter where you go.

Pros of the Eton Executive Satellite

  • Extended battery life: you can use this device for a long period of time without charging it thanks to 4 AA batteries.
  • Large variety of bands: you’ll find the usual AM and FM bands in addition to SSB, LW, SW, and VHF bands.
  • Clear display: only the important information are displayed when you’re using the radio.
  • Fair audio quality: of course there are radios with a better voice quality but this product gives you all you need in terms of audio.
  • Compact and lightweight: as previously mentioned, you can use it as a portable radio and not just at home.
  • Protective cover: it may not be that necessary but the leather cover protects the radio if you’re taking it with you on a trip.

Cons of the Eton Executive Satellite

Some users have reported that their shortwave radios had some hardware flaws when they were delivered. 


Tecsun PL-660 Portable Shortwave Radio

Similar to the previous product, The PL-660 has a price tag of around 120$ but it’s fitted with all the recommended features. It’s not just about the bands but the built-in functionalities as well.

Pros of the Tecsun PL-660

  • Enhanced selectivity and sensitivity: with the dual conversion technology and AM synchronous detection.
  • Various tuning methods: a total of 4 modes that include the Auto Tuning Storage Function (ATS), keypad entry, scan, or simply by using the knob.
  • Full digital display: the LCD screen clearly reports information about the signal strength, frequency, clock, and much more.
  • Large memory: 2000 memories allowing you to easily pick your preferred stations.
  • Sleep timer: set the timer to anywhere between 1 and 120 minutes using the smart on/off switch.
  • Additional accessories: the offer includes a carrying pouch, stereo earphones, and a wire antenna.

Cons of the Tecsun PL-660

At such a low price, this shortwave radio is indeed a bargain. However, previous owners mentioned that they faced some problems with the AC adaptor. Don’t worry though, there’s a 1 year manufacturer warranty if you happen to encounter an issue.


Tecsun PL880 Portable Shortwave Radio

The best part about this radio is the speakers which can emit a relatively high volume compared to other models. More importantly, the strong AM and FM reception can be very beneficial and the PL880 is known for that. These 2 features can very helpful when you take the device with you on camping trips or adventures.

Pros of the Tecsun PL880

  • Powerful batteries: you can use this device for an extended period of time thanks to its lithium batteries.
  • Manual control: some people prefer using the knobs and dials which makes this radio a perfect choice.
  • Strong reception: even if the AM or FM signals are weak you can expect the PL880 to pick them up.
  • Backlight display: you can easily read what’s on the screen whether it’s day or night.
  • USB charging port: charge the radio by hooking it up to a computer.
  • Additional accessories: you can expect to find a manual, a carrying pouch, earphones, and much more.

Cons of the Tecsun PL880

When compared to different models, even from the same brand, this shortwave radio seems to have a relatively weak selectivity even though there’s a built-in sync detector.

Sangean ATS-909X Receiver

The products mentioned before are perfect for new users but the ATS-909X is sought after even by professionals because it has an enhanced performance in addition to a large number of accessories.

Pros of the Sangean ATS-909X

  • Various tuning methods: whichever tuning option you like, this radio has it; whether it’s manual, auto scan, tuning through memory recall or even through direct frequency, you’ll definitely find it here.
  • Powerful sensitivity: this functionality is really good when you think of how much you’re actually paying for this device.
  • Numerous presets: you have the ability to set 1 priority preset but there are more than 20 FM stations and around 350 shortwave stations.
  • Clear display: you can benefit from the backlit screen at night especially because it displays all the necessary information.
  • Additional features: you can use the built-in headphone jack with the included earbuds but that’s not all. There’s also an antenna, a pouch, and an adapter.

Cons of the Sangean ATS-909X

It’s been reported that some units haven’t lasted as much as you would expect. Some users even said that their radios broke down in less than a couple of years after purchase.

Sony ICF-SW7600GR Receiver

A reputable name in electronics and the ICF-SW7600GR is definitely a classic among shortwave radios. It’s been around for more than 25 years and it just keeps on improving.

Pros of the Sony ICF-SW7600GR

  • Robust design: the radio is made from metal which makes it really strong and it won’t crack from a simple fall or bump.
  • Great reception: you can pick up even the weakest of signals no matter where you are.
  • Portability: the structure may be made from metal but it’s relatively lightweight and compact which lets you take this radio with you on trips.
  • User-friendly system: it may contain advanced controls but it has a clear and simple interface making it a preferred choice for all radio fans.
  • Good battery life: this shortwave radio is more energy efficient than most models.

Cons of the Sony ICF-SW7600GR

Even though this radio is suitable for both experienced and new users, the price tag might be the reason why some individuals will deter from purchasing it. 

ICOM 7300 02 Shortwave Radio

Think about any feature you’d want to have in a shortwave radio. Done? It’s definitely found in the ICOM 7300. From manual knobs to full-color display; whatever you might need you will find it built into this amazing device.

Pros of the ICOM 7300 02

  • Various modes: you can find the usual AM and FM modes in addition to SSB, CW, and RTTY.
  • Numerous channels: this radio includes more than 100 channels.
  • Strong transmitter: no matter where you are rest assured that you can get in touch with other people thanks to the 100 Watt transmitter.
  • Wide range of frequencies: unlike the usual shortwave radios, you can use a much wider range of frequencies with this one.
  • Color display: the screen displays all the necessary information in bright and vivid colors.
  • Knobs and touchscreen: feel free to choose between the vintage knobs or the advanced touchscreen option.

Cons of the ICOM 7300 02

Honestly, there are no negative aspects to this radio but if you plan on buying this product, prepare yourself to pay more than 1000 USD. This is relatively expensive in the world of shortwave radios.



Notice: is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Leave a Comment