What is the cheapest radio?

I assume people who read this blog have so many things in common, one of them is a love for gadgets, especially radios and SDRs. To others, a radio is a radio, but not to us. We invest so much money and time to obtain and play and experiment with different tools and compare them. I have had so many SDRs and some traditional radios (not as much as Thomas, though) and I really get the best that I can afford for my needs.

But one day walking in a local electronics shop in Berlin/Germany, a small radio caught my eye, not because it was any special or different than other pocket-sized radios, but because of its price tag. It was the first time I had seen a single digit price for a radio!

I bought it without hesitation, for 9,99€ and later I realized it’s even cheaper in Austria: 6€ !

I’m talking about “ok. ORF 110”, an AM/FM radio running on two AAA batteries and using analog knobs and no display. Nothing special can be found on this little device; It has power on/off button, AM/FM band switch, volume knob, analog frequency knob, earphone socket and an internal telescopic antenna with a maximum 18cm length. And it does even come with 2 years of warranty.

The first thing that I did was compare it with my beloved portable radio: the Sony ICF-SW100, and I must say that I’m amazed. This little radio is on-par with Sony on FM; Unfortunately I can’t receive any AM signals from my apartment, so there wasn’t much that I could test there. But overall I’m really satisfied with the reception and audio quality. This can be a good companion for anyone who wants to have a cheap backup radio.

Here’s the link to the product: https://de.ok-online.com/de/radios/radios/orf-110.html

I wonder if you know of anything even cheaper? I would love to see and try what would be the cheapest (I haven’t searched the Chinese websites though. I was looking for something that I can buy here in Europe without spending on shipping or customs).

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5 thoughts on “What is the cheapest radio?

  1. Neil Goldstein

    This is something I thought about a few times, and made it a practice of looking for and keeping the cheapest conventional pocket AM/FM radio I could find in my eBay watch list. This is currently the one:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Portable-AM-FM-Radio-Mini-Telescopic-Antenna-Radio-World-Receiver-Radio-Speaker/312778492462?epid=2276259090&hash=item48d30d0a2e:g:KbgAAOSwv2xdcIRy

    Some other interesting finds though: For those of you DIYers:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/DIY-Kit-HX3208-FM-Frequency-Modulation-Micro-SMD-Radio-Kit-1-8V-3-5V/253310441781

    And SW included pocket radio: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Mini-Full-Band-Stereo-FM-MW-SW-LW-Radio-World-Band-Receiver-Sound-Alarm/362728901127?hash=item547453ca07:g:k1YAAOSwypZbyFuF

    Reply
  2. Mike S

    Prolific YouTube poster “todderbert” has a channel called “Radio Waves” in which he reviews radios old and new. A periodic feature looks at the cheapest portables on the market, and includes teardowns, bandscans, and side-by-side comparisons at times. If you’re looking for a very inexpensive set it’s worthwhile to look at his channel. He has also posted text-mode summaries on the Amazon product listings for some of those sets, too.

    Reply
  3. 13dka

    You can find tiny FM radios in bargain bins for 1-2€ in several surplus etc. stores and I remember that I used to buy cheap little AM radios made in Hongkong for 9,95DM in my childhood, which was like $2 back then. I do appreciate a bargain radio but I don’t think it’s a good thing to buy highly redundant, very likely very bad or at best mediocre super-cheap plastic radios just to see how bad they really are. All the bad plastic radios I bought and disassembled as a kid have likely been swimming in some ocean and causing trouble for the past 45 years already, don’t we produce and consume enough plastic junk already?

    Reply
  4. Harald

    No problem to find cheaper ones here in Germany:

    Auvisio TAR-202 for FM and AM: 6,95 Euro

    not cheaper but including shortwave:

    Auvisio World Receiver for FM, AM, 7 SW Bands: 9,95 Euro

    I am sure there are even cheaper offers 🙂

    Reply

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