While most people listen to the radio only in their car on the way to work, we can surely say that this media is not completely forgotten and outdated. There are still some good radio stations out there, and people who enjoy listening to them.
Nothing can beat that feeling when you hear your favorite tune on the radio and just hate it when you have to leave the car before it ends. Luckily, there still are portable radio headsets for enthusiasts and radio lovers out there.
Top Picks for 2023
1. Sony SRF-H11 S2 Sports AM / FM Radio Walkman with Rear Reflector Headphones
The Sony brand is famous for its audio devices, and these headphones are no exception. The SRF-H series is being manufactured for decades now, which only indicates its popularity and quality.
The SRF-H11 S2 Sports headset comes with an AM/FM stereo analog tuner and a flexible antenna allowing you to catch all the radio frequencies you want with no trouble. These headphones feature a local/distant switch that enhances radio reception and widens the range of radio stations available to you.
The sound quality you get with this model is amazing because it can play bass tones well with a Mega Bass sound feature (not every headset has this quality).
The headset comes with an ergonomic design making them light and comfortable, suitable for use for long periods at a time. They run on only 1 AAA battery and weigh about 4 ounces. If you happen to catch bad weather be assured your headphones will survive because they are waterproof and durable.
If there is anything we can hold against this headset, it’s the price – they require a bit more expensive than other models out there, but with Sony, you cannot go wrong.
2. 3M WorkTunes Wired Connect Hearing Protector with AM/FM Tuner – Editor’s Pick
Another well-known brand is the 3M brand and here we have noise reduction headphones with an AM/FM tuner that are very affordable and feature satisfying performances. These headphones are a protective piece of equipment that also allows you to listen to your favorite workstation.
They come with an NNR (Noise Reduction Rating) of 24dB so it is safe to say they WILL protect your ears from any unwanted noise. Coming with an audio assist technology, you can easily scan radio frequencies and program up to 50 radio stations that you can enjoy.
Switching between stations is simple using the dial on one cup that also comes with a volume/power dial and two buttons that let you shift between AM and FM, and adjust bass response using the MODE button. The antenna is located on the top of the cup.
The other cup is reserved just for two AA batteries that allow you to listen to the radio for about 50 hours straight. If the battery runs out, you can simply connect the headset to some other device via a standard 3.5 mm jack.
3. Elvex – WELCOM660 Earmuff
Elvex – WELCOM660 Earmuff headset stands out from the others in a bit different design. They come in an unusual burgundy color but the ergonomic design makes them extremely comfortable. The headband can be adjusted and they feature a tight but pleasant grip.
While these headphones don’t include preset options, they might surprise you with a very sensitive AM/FM tuner and great radio reception. The two AA batteries that this headset requires provide up to 150 hours of playtime, and if you prefer, you can connect them to your phone using an AUX cable. The difference in sound quality with the wired mode is in better vocal clarity and bass performance, but the volume is limited at 82 dB.
Since this is a protective piece of gear, they come with noise reduction. The NNR is only 22 dB but that can be more than enough for some work environments.
As for the controls, this is where the simplistic design stands out. All the controls are located on the right cup and they include a power/volume dial, the AM/FM switch, and the largest dial that is meant for tuning to your favorite radio station.
4. PIXNOR Foldable Wireless Headphone Portable FM Stereo Headset Radio
Coming with a very low price, this headset offers very impressive performances for that amount of money. The sound quality it provides is amazing and it comes with a digital built-in radio and large speakers that offer extremely clear sound.
This headset features a DSP (digital signal processing) chip that gives a better sensitivity with no frequency interference. It comes with a built-in antenna that can receive FM frequencies with a range of 50-108MHZ. You can store 8 radio stations, which is more than enough for the given price of this item.
This model comes with a standard button setup that allows you to customize volume, change the mode, automatically search radio stations and memorize them. The LCD screen is positioned above the buttons so you can see the radio frequency you are currently listening to.
When it comes to the design, you will find that these headphones are very comfortable with a flexible headband that allows you to wear them with no trouble. The ear cups are also comfy and provide enough ambient noise isolation, so you can listen to your favorite tune without being distracted by the outside noise.
5. Howard Leight by Honeywell
Honeywell offers a safe piece of equipment that also allows you to listen to your favorite radio show while working or simply resting on your porch. Another option is to connect this headset to your phone or mp3 player with a 3.5mm AUX jack and use it without batteries.
This model comes with a digital AM/FM tuner that offers a clear stereo radio signal and allows you to memorize 10 radio stations so you don’t always have to search for your favorite one. The batteries provide 140 hours of listening time.
Since this is a protective headset, you can expect a certain NRR level and in this case, it is 25dB – pretty standard and enough to protect your ears from outside noise. They come in bright green color that allows great visibility if you happen to use them on a construction site.
The headset comes with comfortable ear-cup padding that will fit nicely on your ears and won’t cause any pain even after hours of wearing it. The headband frame is made of steel so it is safe to say this is a sturdy and long-lasting item.
On the left cup, you can find the battery compartment, and the right cup is reserved for standard radio headset buttons and a small LCD screen that shows the frequency. You can also see the antenna, audio input, and a volume dial on the same cup.
PowerLocus Bluetooth headphones come with a flawless 5.0 Bluetooth connection within a range of 30 ft. This headset also works well with an SD card and comes with an FM tuner (but unfortunately, no AM tuner). If you do not have a large head, this model will be good enough for you with a good clamping force and a comfortable grip.
This is a very light headset that will feel good on your ears. Featuring many colors, these headphones are probably the most modern-looking item on our list. They are made from plastic, so you can’t expect amazing durability, but they won’t disappoint either because the plastic is not very fragile.
Control buttons are located on the right cup and they include the mode button, two volume buttons, and a play/pause/call button.
The sound quality is consistent with the price. For that amount of money, you get a pretty decent sound with emphasis on the bass. As for the tuner, you get a very good FM reception, although there is no option to save presets and you will have to search for your favorite radio station every time.
These headphones can play up to 15 hours of audio and are rechargeable. You can also use them in a wired mode so you don’t have to stop listening to your music if they run low. They come with a 24-month warranty.
7. Walker’s AM/FM Radio Muff with Digital Display
If you find comfort an important factor in a headset, this model can suit you best. It comes with a wide headband that makes these headphones extremely comfortable and distributes the weight evenly.
Since this is a protective piece of gear, you can expect some level of noise reduction, and in this case, the NRR is 25dB, so you can use them pretty much anywhere and be sure your hearing is protected.
This headset comes with a built-in antenna that allows great radio signal reception. It can memorize 8 different radio stations, all the while providing you with decent sound quality.
If you don’t want to listen to radio stations that are already saved, you can always use the auto-search function, or you can connect the headphones to some other device using an MP3 input jack. You can check what frequency is playing in the digital display on the right cup. Other controls include standard buttons like volume control.
This headset runs on 2 AA batteries that are included in the box.
Sound Quality and Reception
Sound quality depends on the build quality. If you want a better sound, you should look for a headset with good parts, but one thing to keep in mind is that portable radio headsets cannot produce an extremely high-quality sound, since they are usually made from cheaper parts and not intended for serious use. Typically, these devices tend to have less bass response and more mid and high frequencies.
Sound quality greatly depends on the internal parts of the headset, but keep in mind that your location is very important as well. For you to hear the sound clearly, you must be someplace with good AM and FM coverage. Sometimes you find yourself in a place with a lot of mixed radio signals that interfere with the one you want to listen to, so you don’t get a very clear sound. One thing is for sure – external antennas have better performance than internal ones.
Quality and Comfort
Portable radio headsets are made to be used in certain conditions, more specifically when you are out of the house. For that reason, they should be made of durable material that can withstand some level of roughness. After all, you are paying for it and you do not want them to break easily, so keep in mind the build quality.
When it comes to comfort, a lot of things need to be considered. Obviously, you don’t want your headset to be too tight and uncomfortable, but since most of these models are made to reduce noise, they tend to be a bit tight. Since none of us have the same head size and shape, you should really try the headset on before you decide to buy it and see how it fits.
Another thing that can contribute to comfort is the number of controls the headset has. This doesn’t affect the feeling on your head directly but can make it easier for you to control the volume or tuning and make your listening experience much more comfortable.
You should know that some headsets do not come with any inputs, but most of them feature a standard 3.5mm audio input. There are models that come with a micro SD slot and some even connect to Bluetooth. Obviously, the more options you have, the better.
Some headsets are designed to cover your ears completely and reduce external noise for a better listening experience. The ones with a better noise reduction rating attenuate ambient noise and are generally better for enjoying your music, but not everyone can stand that tight grip. Again, be sure to try the headset on to know if it suits you.
Why does FM radio need headphones?
FM radio needs headphones to act as an antenna that gets the radio waves on your phone. If you already have a strong signal, use the extUSB to 3.5mm jack adaptor.
Can you listen to the radio with wireless headphones?
Listening to radio with wireless headphones is possible, but you will need to buy a Bluetooth transmitter that needs to be plugged into the radio’s headphone jack so that it can transmit the signal.
Are radio frequencies headphones safe?
If you are in an environment with a noise level that is less than 110 decibels, then yes, protective radio headphones can help. If the headset reduces ambient noise to less than 85 decibels (dB), they are considered safe, meaning they have an NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) of at least 15 decibels, but most come with an NRR of 25 dB.
While smartphone apps are more popular than the old radio headsets, we are sure there still are some people that enjoy listening to the radio in an old-fashion way. Just for them, we hope this article helped. The only thing we can be sure of is that there will always be collectors who will nurture this slowly neglected art.
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