Hi guys! Restoring and repairing vintage audio equipment have been my passion for years. You probably read about it here. Now I feel quite strongly that radio kits, doesn’t matter the type, are one of the best and the easiest ways to get the understanding of electronics circuitry, and gain experience in a field. And don’t forget that you are not only going to have fun assembling the kit, but you will have a reliable and unique radio station.
Almost each radio kit requires lots of soldering. Of course, we all have our own methods, approaches and ways of building the projects. I would like to share one of mine: I prefer to start with easy and light components (capacitors and resistors, for instance), then I proceed with bigger and larger components and solder semiconductors at the last moment. And mind, that there’s no need to apply too much heat to any of the components as they are extremely fragile and can be damaged pretty easily.
Searching for the proper radio kit can be a daunting task, but there’s a chance to avoid all the hassle! I’m going to help you not to get lost in the universe of radio kits. Here is the review of my 7 Best Radio Kits to Buy Online. I do hope that it will help you to find a good product. Let’s get started with the list!
7 Best Radio Kits To Buy Online in 2021 Review
|Elenco FM Radio Kit FM88K|
|VOGURTIME AM/FM Radio Kit|
Great for STEM
|Elenco AM/FM Radio Kit|
|Elenco WEmake FM Radio Kit|
|AIMELIAE AM/FM Radio Kit|
|Elenco AM Radio Kit|
Best for enthusiasts
|Tecsun 2P3 AM Radio Receiver Kit|
1. Elenco FM Radio Kit – Best Beginners’ radio kitElenco you can be assured that you are getting high-quality product with variety of electronic components.
This kit if for those who want to understand the basics of working with printed circuits board, improve his soldering skills and, as an end result, assemble your own monophonic FM receiver. The radio is designed to receive signals in the frequency range from 88 to 108 MHz. To search for FM stations the radio uses electronic auto-scan with two button switches: one is to scan, the other one is to reset to the start of the tuning position.
The kit comes with SMT IC is already pre-soldered, and it is suitable for beginners: it’s a perfect way to learn about basics of electronics, identification of components and basic soldering skills.
Note: It could be a great gift for a beginner: absolutely perfect introduction to soldering
- Clear and easy to follow assemble instructions
- Worth the price
- Properly labeled PCB and components
- Large enough soldering pads
- Variety of component to practice
- Some of the users complain about the poor quality of antenna.
- There were some complaints about the low quality of PCB. The users were not able to make a good contact due to delamination at a few spots
2. AM/FM Radio Kit Soldering Project Kit – Easy to Build Radio Kit
Note: If you are a brand new to soldering, make sure you have a complete assembly instruction from the manufacturer (not just one-page instruction coming with the kit): manual with pictures and instruction on step-by-step soldering. And you also need to have your own tools (soldering iron, wire cutters, and a small screw driver too).
- Easy to solder
- Good sound quality
- Beginners’ friendly kit
- High quality fiberglass PCB board
- Good sound quality
- Well organized and packed
- Easy to find a station while tuning
- There were some complains about the instruction: the English language was not always clear, moreover, some of the customers called it Chinglish
- Some of the users had difficulties fitting the batteries in the battery holder.
3. Elenco AM/FM Radio Kit – Great STEM Project for intermediate users
I would highly recommend this kit! If you are interested in electronics and would like to improve your knowledge, say YES to this project! You are going to learn how to use lots of tools and equipment: frequency generator, testing tools, oscilloscope and more. And you can start from any section you like. For instance, you can assembly FM section and go to AM after.
Note: Assembling requires good soldering technique, and a 60-watt soldering iron would be appropriate for all soldering. A copper circuitry on the PC board is rather delicate and could be damaged easily. Be careful not to break a soldered connection.
And one more: Don’t throw away the cards coming with all resistors and small capacitors as all reference numbers and their values are stated there! Make sure you keep them!
- Well-made learning kit
- High quality unique PCB design
- Detailed manual with troubleshooting tips, tests, and all necessary information
- Radio mounting stand included
- You might find tin/lead solder (included in the kit) totally useless as it requires too much heat to solder. Probably it would be better if you use 60/40 Tin/Lead solder.
4. Elenco WEmake FM Radio kit – DIY Soldering Kit with Tools
The kit is designed for those who has at least some experience in soldering and building similar projects. It might be challenging for a beginner to make a proper soldering of some components.
I would highly recommend it! Could be a nice gift!
- Good quality tools
- Easy to follow instructions, detailed lessons on electronics included
- Good learning project for intermediate users
- Easy to build
- Worth the money
- You might need a higher wattage soldering iron to accomplish the project.
- Some users recommend to include a solder tip cleaner (sponge) in kit too.
5. AIMELIAE AM/FM Radio Kit – Challenging Kit for intermediate/advanced level
A detailed assembly instruction is included; however, it’s good if you understand electronic schemes the manufacturer advises to search either in YouTube or Google for more information in case this instruction is either not enough or not clear enough.
- Challenging kit for intermediate and advanced builders
- Radio case included
- Poorly designed tuning indicator (sometimes it’s hard to turn the knob)
- Instruction in the Chinese language only
6. Elenco AM Radio Kit – Good project and training course build your own radio kit for adults
The kit comes with 7 transistors and 2 diodes, and radio mounting stand is part of the kit too. It features two audio amplifier circuits, an earphone jack (earpiece included). It also comes with solder, but I prefer to use 60/40 one.
I would recommend it for those who have some experience in soldering and electronics. Though soldering surface is big enough, I don’t consider this kit to be beginners’ kit. It might be a great DIY training kit to understand inner workings of a traditional receiver.
- Students’ style training course included
- Clear to read PCB
- Easy to follow, well written assembly instructions
- Solder included
- Radio mounting stand included
- The stand is a bit smaller and the board doesn’t fit snuggly in the stand slot
7. Tecsun 2P3 AM Radio Receiver Kit – Best DIY kits for enthusiasts
Very detailed and easy to read step-by-step instructions make it possible even for beginners to assemble a perfect small AM radio. The kit will teach you the basics of the whole process. I highly recommend the kit as all the components are of a perfect quality and all the parts fit together very well. All in all, this is a great project. You won’t regret buying it!
- Detailed guide included (both diagram and instructions)
- Excellent print quality of the instructions with color photos of each component
- Good quality of the board and all the components
- Tuner a ceramic filter and tuned IF transformers
- Worth the money
- Completed with the radio case
- Good sound quality for a simple AM radio
- Volume control
- Solid design
- A headphone jack for stereo headphones
- Some of the customers complained about the instructions: they were not step-by-step.
Best Radio Kits to Buy Online: Buyers’ Guide
1. Configuration of a Kit
If you are going to buy your first kit, and you don’t have any tools yet, it might be better to buy the whole set, including a soldering iron with stand, wire cutters, safely glasses, cleaning sponge, and lead-free solder.
In case you are an experience hobbyist, I bet you have already had a good stuff (basic tools) to work with. Just check the configuration of a kit you plan to get and avoid those with a soldering iron and other soldering accessories you might never use.
2. Difficulty level
All the radio kits are divided according to the level of difficulty: beginners, intermediate and advanced. The only thing you need to do is to check the level stated by the manufacturer and buy the kit being in line with your level of expertise.
Well, don’t get me wrong. Of course, if you, being an experienced hobbyist, come across a very simple radio kit (for beginners, for instance) and you like it very much, it doesn’t mean that you should not buy it. Just do it! However, if you are a newbie in the soldering and radio electronics and you see a great kit for advanced users, just think before buying it. Maybe you are going to keep it for a while and do it later. Or maybe you can get a hand from an experienced friend and do it together. It’s up to you, just make sure you know what you are buying.
3. Quality of the compartments
If you plan to have an item you are going to use later, try to find a kit made by a reliable manufacturer. You can either read the reviews or ask your friends/hobbyists in various forums about their favorite brands.
Radio Kits to Build: FAQ
I don’t have a soldering iron yet. Can I buy a complete set with a soldering iron and other tools?
Yes, you can. However, majority of the kits come without the soldering iron. Check the configuration before buying. Note that compete sets are more expensive than those without tools.
I want to assemble my own FM radio, but I’ve never even been close to soldering yet. What shall I start with?
The best way to do is to start with the simplest soldering kit and have some practice with the soldering. Once you feel that you have enough skills to do the project, go for the radio kit. As most of the radio kits require soldering of the components, you won’t be able to avoid it.
How many components are there in the standard kit for beginners?
From 12 to 24.
My kid is 7 years old, and he is showing a great interest in soldering. Are radio kits a good option to start with?
Of course, radio kits are doable, and you can start with them, moreover, your kid would get a practical idea what is it all about: his own hand-made AM-FM radio. However, having said that, the any radio project should be accomplished under your supervision. I would recommend 8-9-10 years to start with, but everything depends on the skills and abilities of your kid. Let him watch and help you at the start and you will see how it goes, if and when he is ready to do a radio project without any supervision.
Do all radio kits come with earpiece?
No, they are not. Check the configuration before buying.
Take your time, evaluate your level of expertise and choose a right radio kit to build. Don’t start with the most complicated ones: I don’t want you to get frustrated and throw everything in the bin after couple of bad attempts to assemble it. Be reasonable and think about enjoying what you are doing. I do hope this review was helpful. Make a right choice and have fun!
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