Although there are now so many different types of entertainment we can enjoy in our cars, sometimes the old way is best, and many people still prefer to just listen to the radio. However, to do so, you will need a good antenna to pick up the signal.
There are many options to choose from, and picking the right one can be a pain. So, for anyone who is having a hard time deciding which one to go for, here are our top picks for best AM-FM antenna to help you find the perfect one for you.
The Best AM/FM Antenna on the Market of 2021
1. Herdio Waterproof Marine Radio Antenna Our Top Pick
If you are looking for an inexpensive yet functional external antenna for your boat, mobile home or car, this model could be a great option. Although it is at the affordable end of the price range, it still does a great job of picking up radio, giving you a strong signal.
This antenna is waterproof and corrosion-resistant – it is designed to be used in marine environments and will stand up well to the elements. This means if you “only” need it for a land vehicle, it is likely to last a long time.
One feature we like is the 180° swivel capability. This gives you extra flexibility and allows you to move it around to pick up the best signal. With a range of up to 10 miles, you should easily be able to pick up radio, even when in more remote locations.
For something at this price point, there is very little we can find to complain about. Of course, this is not a high-end antenna, so the quality is perhaps not the highest – although it is a rugged and resistant that does the job it was made for, so we have no problems with this.
Overall, a solid option if you need a durable antenna for any kind of vehicle. It’s easy to install and convenient to use, and if you don’t need anything too fancy, this is an antenna that could be worth checking out.
2. Car Radio Antenna, Kennso
This is a car radio antenna from Kennso for internal installation. It is easy to assemble and fit – you simply attach it to your windscreen and plug the other end of the wire into your car’s cigarette lighter for power.
We like the small size of this unit that makes it easy to conceal – when installed, it is discrete and will hardly be noticeable. It comes complete with a 5m (16.5ft) wire, also giving you an extra level of convenience when it comes to installation.
The antenna features a built-in amplifier to help boost the radio signal it receives, giving you an even clearer reception.
In terms of the antenna’s construction, it is made from high-quality ABS plastic that is rugged and durable – at the same time, it is non-toxic, so you won’t have to worry about this item having any negative effects on your health.
On the downside, even with the signal-boosting amplifier, you might occasionally find that it doesn’t quite pick up enough signal to give you perfect reception. However, most of the time this won’t be a problem and the signal will be strong enough to pick up radio clearly.
We like this unit for its small size, its ease of installation and its very reasonable price. If these are qualities, you value, this antenna could be the solution you are looking for.
3. Linkstyle 16.9 Inch Car FM AM Radio Antenna
This is a very inexpensive replacement antenna that is designed to be fitted to the top of a car’s roof. It is made of durable rubber, ensuring it will last a long time, and it is also highly flexible, so it won’t break if someone leans on it or if it catches on a low overhead barrier.
We like the way that it’s simple to install, and it includes a long 53.5” cable to make fitting it to your car even easier. When you install it, you can also swivel it to adjust the angle, giving you increased versatility over how you install it. The height of the antenna once in place is 16.9”.
Above all, it does the job it is intended to do – it is supposed to be a simple antenna that you can fit to your car if your old one is broken. It isn’t designed for high levels of performance, but if you just need a regular antenna that will allow you to pick up radio, this one works well.
Having said that, you need to understand that this is an antenna from the lowest end of the price range – so if you have unreasonable expectations or need a high-performance antenna, you are likely to be disappointed.
However, if you are just looking for a basic antenna that will allow you to listen to the radio in your car as you drive – and you are looking to spend the minimum amount of money on it – this is an option that could fit the bill.
4. Jensen JAN139 Top/Side-Mount Rubber Mast Antenna
Designed for use on boats but equally well suited for attaching to road vehicles, this antenna from Jensen is a practical solution that will allow you to pick up AM and FM radio with a good, strong reception.
In terms of size, it stands 6” tall. It is made of tough rubber that will stand up to the tough conditions aboard a marine vessel as well as on a car or motorcycle. It comes with a 39” cable, allowing plenty of flexibility over installation, and it can be swiveled up to a maximum of 45°.
The pack also includes a rubber gasket that keeps it watertight, making it ideal for use on a boat but also perfect for external installation on a car.
Perhaps what we like most about this antenna is that it is clearly a heavy-duty item that is made to last – however, it sells at a very reasonable price point, meaning it’s also great value for money.
One minor negative is that if you install it upright on a car or motorcycle, it tends to bend when driving at high speeds. However, this is only a small gripe and shouldn’t be a dealbreaker.
Otherwise, there’s a lot to like about this antenna. It is small and compact, provides a clear reception and won’t burn a hole in your pocket when you buy it. Another recommended pick.
5. Bingfu Universal Car Stereo AM FM Antenna
This is a dipole car stereo antenna from Bingfu that is ideal for replacing a broken factory antenna. It features a 10ft cable as well as a Motorola DIN plug and is extremely easy to install. It is compatible with a wide range of car stereo units as well as marine receivers.
One of the things we like most is how inconspicuous it is once installed. It features a hidden adhesive mount that attaches to the windscreen, allowing you to fix it in a position where you will hardly see it once you have it fitted in place.
The other big advantage of this antenna is the price. It is another option from the very lowest end of the price range, but despite being so inexpensive, it still does the job it was designed for with no fuss.
In terms of the technical specs, it picks up FM radio on frequencies 80MHz-108MHz and AM radio on 520KHZ-1710KHz.
Perhaps the only downside is that, as a low-cost, unpowered antenna, this is not an option that will improve reception a huge deal when compared to a factory antenna. However, it all you need is a general-purpose replacement and not a high-end option, this could work well.
All in all, a solid pick. If you want a very reasonably-priced internal antenna that is easy to install and will allow you to pick up a radio signal as you drive, this is another option that should be on your list of possibilities.
6. Bingfu Universal Car Stereo Antenna
If you like the sound of the antenna from Bingfu we just looked at, but you prefer an external model to an internally-mounted version, this unit from the same company might be a better option.
This unit includes many of the features that make the internal model such a good pick. It is a universal antenna that can be connected to just about any kind of in-car stereo system as well as radios on boats etc.
The frequency range is the same, picking up FM radio on frequencies 80MHz-108MHz and AM radio on 520KHZ-1710KHz. It stands 12” high when mounted and includes a 10ft cable to facilitate installing it in your vehicle.
Installation is made particularly easy by the fact that it has a magnetic base. This allows you to fit it to your car in a temporary way – great if you don’t want to make more permanent modifications to your vehicle.
However, having said that, some people might find the magnet is not strong enough and that the antenna moves while you are driving. In that case, you might prefer to DIY a more permanent way of holding the antenna in place.
In sum, this is an antenna that will appeal to the same kind of person as the previous Bingfu antenna we looked at but who wants an external antenna rather than an internal model. It’s affordable but effective and is an option that could be worth investigating further.
7. Magnadyne RV71 Recreational Car AM/FM antenna
For RV owners looking for a radio antenna for their motor home, this mast-style AM/FM receiver could the perfect solution. It is compact and rugged, making it the ideal option for fitting to any recreational vehicle.
With its 72” cable, it allows for plenty of versatility when it comes to installation. Since RVs are larger than regular road cars, you might find you need some more wire to play around with – so the longer cable provided is essential.
Another feature we appreciate is the adjustable ball-mounted base. This allows you to adjust the position and angle quickly and easily so you can easily find the position that allows you to capture the best signal without having to unscrew it.
This is an inexpensive antenna, and as such, it’s hard to find fault with it since it does exactly what it is supposed to do. However, bear in mind that you get what you pay for – so you shouldn’t expect more than just a solid, basic, functional antenna.
However, if that’s what you want and you don’t need anything more, then this is an option that is unlikely to disappoint. Another solid pick if you don’t require anything fancy.
8. AntennaMastsRus AM-FM Antenna Kit
This is a heavy-duty antenna that is designed primarily for marine use but that could also work equally well on a road vehicle. It stands 13” tall and comes with a long 55” cable that makes installing it simple.
We like the way the antenna is made of durable rubber that is flexible enough to bend but still stiff enough to stand up to strong winds. It also features a swivel base that allows you to adjust the angle through 180°, so you can easily find the best position.
Another advantage is that is extremely shallow, requiring only 1” to install it. It features a standard Motorola connector, making it compatible with all stereos sold in the US.
The reception is good, too, and will allow you to pick up a radio signal without any problems.
As with some of the other options we’ve looked at, this is a relatively inexpensive antenna, and if taken as such, it performs as well as you could hope. However, if you are looking for something with higher performance levels, you will have to be ready to pay a bit more money.
In short, this is another solid antenna that works well. It’s easy to install and is rugged enough to last a long time. If that sounds like what you need, this model could be worth considering.
9. Metra 44-US07R Top Or Side Mount Rubber Antenna
If you are looking for a top- or side-mount car antenna for AM or FM radio reception, this one could be worth a look.
It’s easy to install and is suitable for almost any kind of vehicle. It comes with a 54” cable to facilitate the installation process, and once in place, stands at 14” in height.
We like the way that it is so flexible – it will bend rather than break if it gets caught on anything or if somebody leans on it, etc.
Of course, one of the most important considerations when choosing an antenna for your vehicle is how well it picks up radio signals, and with this one, you should have few complaints.
The other big plus is the price since it is a very affordable option for something of this quality. At the lower end of the price range, this is among the best-value antennas we’ve seen.
One slight concern we have is that the base is made of plastic, and we’re not sure how durable this part will prove to be. However, even if it ends up breaking after a year or two, since this is such an inexpensive option, it won’t be the end of the world if you have to buy a new one.
Other than this, there’s not much to dislike about this antenna. It does the job it was made for, has an unobtrusive look and is very reasonably priced. Another solid pick if you’re in the market for a reliable car antenna.
10. Dual Electronics MAW Flexible Long Range Marine Antenna
This is a soft antenna specifically designed for marine applications – although with a little creativity, it could equally be used for other applications too.
Built of resistant materials, it is designed to stand up to the kind of rough conditions you expect to encounter at sea. It is corrosion-resistant and weather-resistant, meaning it should last a long time.
The antenna is 40” in length, allowing it to provide a very high-quality signal – and it has a range of up to around 10 miles. It is also extremely easy to install. The antenna features a universal plug, so it is compatible with almost every kind of radio system.
On the downside, if you are looking for a regular antenna for a road vehicle, either external or internal, this is probably not the right option – although this is hardly a fair criticism since that’s not what it’s supposed to be.
However, if you are looking for a soft antenna for marine or other uses and getting great value for money is important to you, then this could be an obvious choice.
If you are looking for an AM/FM antenna, there are a few things you should consider when choosing. Let’s have a look at some of the most important points now.
Internal or external
One of the first things to think about when choosing an antenna for your car is if you want an internal one or an external one.
Internal antennas are normally attached to the windscreen or in another unobtrusive location, making them almost invisible.
External ones, on the other hand, are fixed either to the roof or the side of your car. They often take a little more work to install and may be quite prominent.
Ease of installation
When choosing an antenna, you should pay attention to how easy it is to install – and to how much work needs to be done.
For example, with some external antennas, you might need to drill a hole in the side of your car. With internal antennas, very often, all you need to do is plug it in and run the wire to the antenna itself without making any permanent modifications to your vehicle.
Choosing an antenna that will last is an important consideration, especially if you are installing an antenna to the outside of a car.
You should make sure that it is built of a good, rugged material and that it is resistant to weather and corrosion.
Also, pay attention to any parts that are uncovered and exposed to the elements. If you have metal parts that are not properly protected, you may find that they quickly deteriorate if they get wet, etc.
Of course, one of the most important aspects is how well an antenna picks up radio signals. It’s no use having a rugged and easy-to-install antenna if it doesn’t give you a good reception.
This means that whichever antenna you choose, you should always be sure that it is capable of performing to the level you require.
Similar to the quality of the reception is an antenna’s range. It depends where you live, but if you are likely to be driving in more remote areas – or you are looking for an antenna for marine use – you need one with good range.
Anything with a range of around 10 miles can be considered very respectable in this regard.
Some antennas are powered to boost the signal of any radio signal they pick up. This could be important if you need to pick up radio in areas where the signal is weak or if you plan to travel to more remote areas. This might also be recommended for radios on boats.
If you think this is important to you, a powered antenna could be a wise pick.
Many options to choose from
As you can see, there are many antennas to choose from in a range of styles and at price points to suit just about any budget. Whether you want an internal or external model for a car, a motorcycle or even a boat, there are plenty of options available.
If you are on the lookout for an antenna for AM and FM radio but you are having a hard time deciding which is the best option to go for, any of the units we have featured in this review would be a great place to start your search.