05 Best Shortwave radio under $500 [reviews and buying guide]

We know that it might be hard to find a shortwave radio which is not expensive, will fit into your budget, and has awesome features, and that is why we have decided to help you find the best shortwave radio under $500 that you can purchase today.

We will be showing you a total of five of the best shortwave radios with a budget, and, at the end of this article, you will be able to read a full guide on how to choose generally the perfect shortwave radio for you, what to seek for, and what are its advantages.

Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will be educated and informed enough to make your own decision and get yourself a brand new shortwave radio that is affordable and has amazing quality!

Our Top Pick

Click on the below product link for photos and the latest price.

  1. Best Overall: Eton Elite, the classic Single side band radio NELITE750
  2. Editor’s Choice: Sony ICF-SW7600GR World Band Radio Receiver with SSB Reception
  3. Best for portable: Sangean ATS-909X2 Ultimate FM radio 
  4. Perfect for the Japanese language: Sony TV XDR-5TV radio
  5. Great SSB Air Band: Tecsun S-2000 shortwave PLL synthesized radio

Comparison Chart of Best Shortwave Radio under $500 at a glance 2022:

IMAGE NAME KEY FEATURES PRICE

Eton Elite (NELITE750)

1. Eton Elite (NELITE750), the classic Single sideband (SSB) radio
  • This radio has an AM antenna
  • This radio is able to receive many different radio band frequencies
  • It has a very large memory
  • You can connect this device to some other external speakers
  • This radio contains a dual alarm clock function as well as the buzzer
  • When purchased, you will receive a user manual alongside of it
Price on Amazon

Sony ICF-SW7600GR AM/FM Shortwave World Band Radio Receiver

2. Sony ICF-SW7600GR AM/FM Shortwave World Band Radio Receiver with SSB Reception
  • This radio has PLL synthesized tuning
  • This radio is able to scan up to 100 frequencies
  • It also supports longwave signals beside the shortwave ones
  • It contains a 3.5mm headphone jack
  • There is a single sideband function built into it
  • This model is able to catch many different radio bands and frequencies
  • The manual tuning is available too
  • It has up to 100 radio station preset memory
  • It also contains a dual standby function
Price on Amazon

Sangean ATS-909X2 Ultimate FM radio

3. Sangean ATS-909X2 Ultimate FM radio: Best portable FM/SW/MW/LW/Air Multi-Band Radio
  • This is a small portable radio
  • It has the ability to memorize more than a thousand radio stations
  • It can catch different radio bands
  • It has the ability to catch aircraft bands between 118-137mhz frequency
  • Its display contains a real-time clock and a whole human wake system
  • The batteries on this one can last for a while
  • The battery charger comes with the unit inside of the box
Price on Amazon

Sony TV XDR-5TV radio

4. Sony TV XDR-5TV radio: Perfect for the Japanese language
  • This is a very lightweight radio
  • It is portable
  • It contains an AC and a DC adaptor attachment
  • This model supports the Japanese language
  • This radio has a very powerful battery
  • It is able to hold for hours of active listening before needing to be charged again
Price on Amazon

Tecsun S-2000 shortwave PLL synthesized radio

5. Tecsun S-2000 shortwave PLL synthesized radio: Great SSB Air Band
  • This model can catch FM, AM, SW, LW, and SSB signals
  • A 360-degree antenna comes with this model
  • This radio can save up to 100 radio stations
  • It works on wide ranges of frequencies
  • This radio can even catch aircraft bands as well as shortwave and single bands
  • You are able to tune it manually or automatically
  • This model features a dual alarm clock function
Price on Amazon

How to choose the best shortwave radio under $500

If you are looking for a way to choose the best radio that fits your budget, there are a few things that you should determine and have in mind before you even leave your house to go shopping. Let’s see what those things are.

  • Obviously, you have to determine your budget

Here we have presented you with radios that are under $500. You can, of course, determine your own budget and look for shortwave radios accordingly. If you are trying not to spend much money on a device like this one, try to set the lowest budget possible. But, remember to be realistic as you might not be able to find a good quality shortwave radio if your budget is too low. If that might be the case with you, it is for the best if you wait a while until you have more money. Purchasing a bad-quality radio is worse than spending a few extra bucks on a good-quality one.

  • A portable or a tabletop radio?

You should also determine the type of shortwave radios that you want to purchase after you have managed to determine your budget. If you want to buy a tabletop shortwave radio, you should know that they usually cost more money than portable ones. But, if you need a portable device that you can carry with you, we recommend you to go with portable shortwave radio models.

  • Are there any extra features?

If a radio that you are about to purchase has an antenna, that’s awesome. But, you should know that that radio will cost more than one that does not have an antenna. Of course, on the other side, radios that come with built-in antennas tend to have better reception and a wider range of frequencies than those without them. So, you should also consider this when you are purchasing your next shortwave radio.

The detailed product reviews of the Best Shortwave radio under $500:

1. Eton Elite (NELITE750), the classic Single sideband (SSB) radio

When we tested the price was $399.99

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So, the first model that we will be presenting you with today is the Eton Elite classic shortwave radio. This model is the second most expensive from our today’s list, but, it still fits the group of best Eton shortwave radios under five hundred dollars.

Okay, so, let’s start with the basics. This radio is able to receive AM, FM, LW, SW, SSB as well as aircraft and VHF radio band frequencies. It does not matter where you place this radio, it will always be able to catch signals and keep them strong at all costs. Since it is very strong and sensitive, this radio also comes with a built-in 360 degrees AM antenna that makes the reception of Am signals even better. Even the weakest signals can be caught with this radio!

On top of everything, when this radio finds the radio stations that you have been seeking for, it will be able to store them easily since it has an unbelievable memory. Namely, its storage is so huge that it can store up to 1000 channels. You will be able to easily tune into them and listen whenever.

With this radio by your side, you will never be late to work again since it has a built-in dual alarm clock function as well as a buzzer. Besides that, you will also be informed of all of the latest news that is happening around the world. And basically, you could travel the world within the comfort of your home if you have this radio since all of the world’s popular shortwave radio stations will be available to you.

2. Sony ICF-SW7600GR AM/FM Shortwave World Band Radio Receiver with SSB Reception

When we tested the price was $229.99

5194AAQRV9L. AC
Click here for more photo
 
So, this next model has everything that you might seek in shortwave radio. Basically, this is a model that is able to catch many of the popular radio station frequencies as well as bands. To be more precise, it can catch AM and FM frequencies, as well as LW, MW, and SW radio bands.

The good thing about this model is that it can be tuned manually but it also supports PLL synthesized tuning. In other words, you could just turn on the PLL synthesized tuning and let the radio itself do the job of finding all of the best shortwave radio stations. We must add that it also contains an SSB (single sideband) reception with 1khz step tuning. This means that this SSB feature allows fine-tuning and optimum multi-mode reception.

The memory of this radio is also good since it can store up to 100 radio station presets when it finds them. As we have previously mentioned, this model can automatically scan for radio stations due to the professional microprocessor that controls those kinds of actions.

And, if you would like to have a session of private listening, you can do that with this radio. It has a 3.5mm standard headphone jack, and you can even connect your smartphone headphones to it. Lastly, what this radio also has is a 10-key direct access tuning keypad which basically looks like a regular calculator.

 3. Sangean ATS-909X2 Ultimate FM radio: Best portable FM/SW/MW/LW/Air Multi-Band Radio

When we tested the price was $263.09

Click here for more photo
 
And the last model that we have prepared for you today is the well-known Sangean ATS-909X2. This is yet another model that costs around 270 dollars which is still very affordable when compared to the quality of this radio.

Namely, this radio has the ability to memorize 1674 radio station presets and is able to catch radio stations from basically all around the world. It supports 42 time zones and can be tuned directly, automatically, or manually you have the power to choose your preferred way of tuning it.

On the other note, the display of this radio contains three-alarm timers, a human wake system, a buzzer, an adjustable sleep and snooze timer, and tone controls. It’s a good thing we mention that this display is actually equipped with LED backlighting which makes it easily seen in the dark.

It also important for us to mention that this is a rather small, lightweight, and portable model of shortwave radios, it could easily be carried around on trips and similar activities. Since it has pretty strong batteries that could last a while before needing another charge, you would not have to worry about that at all. Besides, the battery charger which is built into it only has to be connected to the power source and will power up your radio’s batteries in no time.

Related: best portable shortwave radios

4. Sony TV XDR-5TV radio: Perfect for the Japanese language

When we tested the price was $295.68

71Zw5IM09EL. AC SL1200
Click here for more photo
 
This model now is basically perfect for you if you are fond of shortwave radios that could easily be carried around and do not require much of your attention. As you can see, this is a very small portable, and lightweight shortwave radio that only weighs around 870g.

This is yet another model that is able to receive both AM and FM radio frequencies and can memorize much different radio station presets. With that being said, you might also wonder what kind of battery it works on. Well, we can say that you do not have to worry at all about the battery life of this radio if you purchase it. Namely, since this is a small radio with a powerful speaker, it does not require much battery power and can easily work for hours.

For both AM and FM receptions, this radio will be able to hold up to about 45 hours of active broadcasted listening without having to be charged. On top of that, you can either charge it with an AC adapter or change its DC batteries. The important thing is that the AC adapter comes with the unit inside of the box.

5. Tecsun S-2000 shortwave PLL synthesized radio: Great SSB Air Band

When we tested the price was $419.00

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Click here for more photo
 

As well as the previous model that we have shown you, this one too is able to catch FM, AM, SW, LW, and SSB signals. This is one of those models that are quite heavy, it weighs around 3 kg. When it comes to its reception, it is quite extraordinary. Namely, this radio is able to catch lots of different frequencies and even the aircraft ones (118-137 MHz).

On top of that, a rotary 360 degrees antenna is attached to it which means that the antenna has lots of influence on the radio’s reception. Actually, because of that antenna, this model is able to catch even the weakest and the farther signals, even those from the other side of the world. With that being said, you could easily listen to the news, entertaining programs, music radio stations, and etc.

This is also one of those models that have a very convenient design but are not quite portable. Generally speaking, you could carry it around if you wanted to, but, this model is best for usage in one place. So, basically, we prefer to put it on our table or on a nightstand, but, you can bring it with you on road trips and camping if that’s what you would like.

Highlighted features:

    • This model can catch FM, AM, SW, LW, and SSB signals
    • A 360-degree antenna comes with this model
    • This radio can save up to 100 radio stations
    • It works on wide ranges of frequencies
    • This radio can even catch aircraft bands as well as shortwave and single bands
    • You are able to tune it manually or automatically
    • This model features a dual alarm clock function

What are some of the advantages of owning the best shortwave radios under $500?

What are the advantages of purchasing, and owning a shortwave radio, you may ask yourself? Well, the answer is pretty much simple, shortwave radios are generally awesome devices. There are many reasons why you should purchase one. And, if you are doubting yourself and your decision about whether or not you should invest some money into shortwave radios, we will try to persuade you into deciding. If you want to purchase one of these bad boys, let’s see what kind of advantages you will be getting.

  • You can bring them with you on travel and outdoor activities

Usually, people that like to have music playing in the background during their favorite activities such as gardening, as well as camping, or any kind of trip purchase these types of radios. So, if you find yourself in this group, you should definitely purchase one of these to keep you company. Music makes everything better, and it is only ordinary that we crave such devices besides us.

best shortwave radio under $500
Photo: amazon.com
  • They make a great hobby

Have you ever found yourself with literally nothing to do? Well, you might need a new hobby to try yourself in. And, shortwave radios make a great one actually. Yes, you would have to spend a little bit of money at first in order to purchase a good shortwave radio that has enough quality. But, as soon as you do, you will have all of the freedom to learn how to use them.

Many people eventually start to love shortwave radios and basically learn everything about them. So, this is generally a very educating and fun hobby! If you are interested, why not try it!

Final words

In the end, we can only say that we really love all of these models that we have presented you with today. Each and every one of them is special in its own way, and we are more than glad that we have got the chance to test them out and spend some time with them.

On the other note, our buyer’s guide consists of many helpful tips that could help anyone, and especially the people who are just starting to discover the shortwave radio universe. We hope that you will be able to find the perfect shortwave radio that is within your budget and that will be able to serve you for many new years to come.

Thank you for joining us today in our best shortwave radios under $500 article, and we hope to see you in the next one!

FAQs

Q-1. Do shortwave radios under $500 have worse quality than those above that price range?

Well, to be honest with you, that can and cannot be the case. It depends on which kind of model you are about to purchase, as well as who is the manufacturing brand that stands behind that model. Sometimes cheaper models actually have better quality than those expensive ones, so that is another thing that you should definitely have in mind.

Q-2. Is it better to purchase a tabletop or a portable shortwave radio?

This is generally totally up to you. You should be the one deciding which kind of radio model you prefer. If you, perhaps, need a radio that is lightweight, has strong batteries, and long battery life, you should maybe consider purchasing a portable shortwave radio because you can also easily bring it with you anywhere.

On the other hand, if you want a radio that you will only use at home where there is enough of power source for its batteries to work and be charged fully all the time, purchase a tabletop model.

Photo source: amazon.com

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