This guide is intended to help you to better understand what an under cabinet radio is and what features are currently available. We will also review the TOP 5 under cabinet radios to help you have a hassle-free shopping experience. Let's go ahead and get started.
- What is an under cabinet radio and how it works?
- Thing to look for when shopping
- TOP 5 Best Under Cabinet Radios
Under cabinet radios have been in existence for a while now. They typically mount underneath the bottom of cabinets or cupboards in the kitchen. This saves space on the countertop for food preparation and other kitchen appliances.
The early models of under cabinet radios were simply AM/FM tuners with a clock. Some even featured an alarm clock. Today's offerings are much more advanced than that.
When shopping for a new under cabinet radio, be mindful of today’s newest innovations. As we have become more dependent on mobile devices and docking stations, manufacturers have adapted to stay relevant. Style preferences have also varied since the first models, so be sure to consider these factors while shopping:
Design: Look at the style, the color, and even the ergonomics. Pay attention to aesthetics and functionality. Will it fit in the space allotted? Does its styling complement or clash with the cabinets and other appliances?
USB and Bluetooth connectivity: Since we have become more dependent on mobile devices, they have become portable music players. They are used to hold playlists and access music streaming and subscription services. Why not take advantage of those features to listen to your music preferences while working in the kitchen?
Plays CDs and tunes to AM and FM frequencies: Though the newest models take advantage of the latest technologies, a few legacy technologies remain to bridge the gap. We have yet to see a model with an 8-track player, but we have seen radios that will tune to AM and FM frequencies. This is an important feature to stay tuned to local news and information, such as storm updates and any pertinent closings. The CD player is always nice to have because many consumers still listen to CDs, and they will still be around for the foreseeable future.
Mounting options: Since the primary selling feature of an under cabinet radio is that it saves countertop space by mounting under a cabinet, manufacturers typically provide the mounting hardware. Certainly, you could find a shelf under the countertop to place your radio, though mounting at eye level is most often expected.
Maximum decibel range: Working in the kitchen does not mean sacrificing sound quality. Today's models of under cabinet radios offer a decibel range more than sufficient enough to be heard over appliances like the mixer and the blender. Their audio circuitry is also robust enough to provide high quality clarity of sound.
Speaker grill: The location of the speaker grill makes a difference because it helps determine how and where the radio can be mounted. While looking at this design factor, make sure that the speaker grill is either of plastic or metal construction to aid easier cleanup in the event of a splash or spill.
Ease of use and technical knowledge: Though some consumers may be more vocal about it than others, ease of use is a make-or-break criteria when shopping for nearly any appliance. The technical knowledge provided by the user's manual should also provide clear instructions for how to mount, install, and use all the features of your under cabinet radio.
Now that we have reviewed some of the important criteria, let's examine the TOP 5 popular models of under cabinet radio. Many great options still exist beyond these, though we have found these to be the most common models currently purchased by consumers.
Sony ICFCDK50 - under cabinet radio with cd player / fm/am
Sony's offering features robust sound quality with it's bass reflex sound system. A built-in audio cable will allow you to connect just about any of your digital music players. The CD player accepts both the albums from the record labels and burned CD-R/RWs. The digital FM/AM tuner features 15 presets, and there is also a one-touch cooking timer. To keep from misplacing it, the remote control features a magnet for attaching to the refrigerator. This model is also stylish to complement a wide range of kitchen appliances and decor.
Sony ICFCDK50: Check the current price
Sylvania SKCR2713 - under cabinet radio with bluetooth
This model features an FM radio, a CD player, and Bluetooth speakers. However, if you want to listen to AM stations, you will need to select another model because that feature is not available with this radio. This model does feature an AC adaptor with battery back-up, which is good when considering that many AM stations in local markets simulcast on FM frequencies. That means you can still listen to information about weather emergencies and in the event of a power outage.
Sylvania SKCR2713: Check the current price
GPX KC232S - under-cabinet cd player with am/fm radio tuner and mp3 playback
Today's consumers seek more options when listening to music, and this model offers an AM/FM radio, a CD player, and a docking station for your MP3 player or other music streaming device. Please note that it your device should not be any larger than a typical smartphone. Though it is about four pounds in weight, that should be little to not concern for mounting under most cabinets.
GPX KC232S: Check the current price
iLive iKB333S - under cabinet radio fm bluetooth
This model's main selling feature is that it supports Bluetooth v3.0. This is very helpful for listening to audio from your mobile device without the need to make any connections. Its digital FM radio features 20 presets, a single alarm, and a digital clock with a backlit display. Like other models you can listen to audio through its built-in stereo speakers. Much like the Sylvania SKCR2713, this model does not feature an AM tuner either, so you will need to check which AM stations simulcast on FM in your local market. This is one of the more compact models available today.
iLive iKB333S: Check the current price
Venturer KLV3915 - under cabinet tv dvd radio combo
This model take advantage of the miniaturization of electronics by featuring a compact, drop-down TV screen and a slim DVD player. For those who want to watch the cooking shows, videos, or even the local news, this under cabinet radio also features those capabilities. The 15.4" under cabinet LCD TV/DVD combo does not feature AV or HDMI inputs, so you'll have to take that big bowl of popcorn into the den to watch your movie theater quality pictures. However, the redeeming quality is that the flip-up screen flips around for wide range of angles, and it flips up to save space and protect the screen. The DVD player is compatible with DVDs, CDs and JPGs. Though most TV stations have switched to digital, this model still features a digital/analog ATSC/NTSC TV tuner, so you should be able to pick up just about any station within range. The AM/FM radio features digital tuning and station presets to quickly tune to your favorite stations. Much like the Sony ICFCDK50, this model includes a magnetic remote control to keep you from misplacing it.
The under-cabinet mounting hardware also makes sure your installation process will keep it secure and in place. While it measures 16.8" x 5.8" x 14.5", its extra multimedia features make up for it being slightly larger than the other models we have reviewed.
Venturer KLV3915: Check the current price
We hope this guide has made you a better-informed shopper. However, even with the best of guides, there are still some questions.
These frequently asked questions about under cabinet radios are answered as follows:
An under cabinet radio typically installs under a cabinet or cupboard. They are most commonly installed in a kitchen to save countertop space.
Mounting hardware, such as brackets and fasteners, is usually included with the radio. Be sure to review the installation instructions to be sure that all mounting hardware has been included.
The removal of an under cabinet radio is pretty much the reverse of the installation. Review the product literature first for specific instructions.
Those who wish to take their under cabinet radios over the road for adventure should seriously consider the Sylvania SKCR2713. Though it lacks an AM tuner, it can pick up FM, even on battery power.
We're sorry to disappoint you, but cassette players have not been available for under cabinet radios for years now. However, there are many good options thee days with USB and Bluetooth connections so that you can still listen to your favorite tunes.
For safety and practicality reasons, we cannot recommend any specific model with an external antenna. A protruding antenna from a radio can be a safety hazard in the kitchen, especially in one with close quarters, like an RV. We do understand that the internal antenna can be an issue with some models because they sometimes end up fitting best where the reception is poor.
The Sony ICFCDK50 and the GPX KC232S are the models we like for their remote controls, though we also like the Venturer KLV3915. Both have plenty of range for in the kitchen. The big differences are that the Sony remote is the simplest to use and the button pad on the GPX remote will wipe clean with a damp rag. We mention Venturer's offering because practically every TV and DVD player includes a remote control these days, and its magnetic mount is also handy.
We recommend that you tune to your local radio stations for weather updates. The weather band frequencies are not in the FM range for consumer broadcast purposes.
Though we recommend any of these models for their reception, we must make one point clear to you. The reason many radio stations switched over to FM back in the 1970s was so that listeners could avoid the annoying static. Talk radio shows and some niche radio stations still use AM, which is susceptible to static near power lines, so make sure you're not mounting it anywhere near an AC source.
Most under cabinet radios feature an AM tuner, so any of these models we reviewed should suit your needs. Please review what we just mention in the previous FAQ regarding reception, because this is most critical for AM than FM.
The model we recommend is the Venturer KLV3915. Though it is not something we would use to binge watch movies, it still provides a good quality picture. So long as you're using it for watching how-to guides or the local news, you should be okay.
Compative chart of Under Cabinet Radios
So, let's recap by comparing these under cabinet radios with this simple comparison chart:
|Robust audio |
magnetic remote control
audio line-in kitchen timer
13.7" x 3.4" x 12.2"
|Economical choice |
14" x 4" x 12.5"
|AM/FM radio |
docking station for mobile
11.4" x 11.8" x 7.3"
|Bluetooth v3.0 support |
FM tuner with 20 presets
9.1" x 7.4" x 2.5"
|TV tuner |
DVD player that accepts CDs and JPGs
16.8" x 5.8" x 14.5"
That wraps up our run down of the top five under cabinet radios on the market in 2019. We’ve tried to choose only the best models that represent the niches most often needed by consumers. Hopefully, we’ll see new advancements in technologies in foreseable future, and if that would be the case, then see you back in 2020!