Radio Buying Guide
Types of Radios
Radio with Docking Station
Radio Buying Tips:
• Consider battery or solar-powered radios for outdoor recreation and travel
• Remember to purchase batteries with your portable radios
• Satellite or Bluetooth radios are ideal for use in the car
• Consider a clock radio with battery backup so your alarm will always be audible
• Select a radio with speakers that match your volume requirements and room size
• A radio with audio inputs can play music from other sources
AM/FM Tuner +
Every radio lets you tune into your favourite AM and FM radio stations. Digital tuners are common and easy to adjust with buttons and a digital visual display. Less common but still available, even on high-end models, are analog knob tuners you rotate by hand and adjust by ear. Vintage radios are usually equipped with analog tuners for the sake of authenticity.
Many radios have alarm and timer features, meaning you can wake up on time to your favourite broadcast or a loud buzzer or beeper. More advanced models have a gentle wake-up feature in which the sound volume escalates gradually. The snooze alarm feature buys you that extra five minutes of precious sack time (but don’t forget to turn it off on the weekend).
A powerful set of speakers will ensure great sound quality even in noisy conditions. This is important when you’re hosting a loud party or just moving around the house. With the right cables, you can hook up a smaller radio to larger, separate speakers to increase sound range and volume. Some radios have a main speaker built into the cabinet with an optional exterior speaker you can connect by cable or Bluetooth. Wood cabinet construction generally assures more resonant sound and deeper bass tones.
Power Options +
AC power cords are standard on radios designed for stationary home use on a nightstand or countertop. Consider a model with battery backup so your radio and alarm continue to work in the event of a power failure. Your best options are battery or solar power in a portable radio for use outdoors or when travelling. A manual hand crank allows you to generate your own power for about 20 minutes at a time. Consider buying a voltage converter kit if you plan to take your radio overseas so you can adapt it to different wall outlets.
Pre-setting your favourite stations makes for quick and easy tuning (and relocating your favourite after someone else has changed the dial). It also makes for easier operation while driving or station-surfing. Programming instructions should be included with your radio for pre-setting up to 10 frequencies.
Docking Stations +
Many radios feature a docking station, allowing you to recharge your phone or media player while playing your favourite music. Docking station models also provide a more powerful set of speakers than your handheld device — just what you want once you’ve crafted your perfect party playlist.
Car Audio +
It’s easy to add a specialized radio (such as satellite) to your car, giving you access to extra stations that can make your commute more enjoyable. Basic car audio systems include an AM/FM tuner, CD player and MP3 inputs.
Digital Radio +
Digital radio offers thousands of stations, easy selection, and higher signal quality, making it the ultimate in variety. It also features artist and song titles, letting you track down every great song you hear.
Hand Cranks +
A good emergency or weather radio should feature a manual hand crank. That way you can listen to important broadcasts even in the worst conditions. It also means you’ll always have a handy flashlight or smartphone charger. Most emergency radios will play for about 20-30 minutes on a full charge and can be re-cranked repeatedly.
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Radio Maintenance Tips:
• Monitor battery strength and replace before completely drained
• Remove batteries before storing your radio for long periods
• Clean frequently to keep dust and debris out of ports and speakers
• Save power by unplugging your radio when idle
• Protect your radio from moisture and spills, and use with caution in wet weather