The 6 Best Under Cabinet Radios
6. Generic iLive IKBC384S
- great sound quality
- annoying installation process
- rather bulky option
|Brand||Generic iLive IKBC384S|
|Rating||4.4 / 5.0|
5. RCA SPS3688B
- high visibility red clock
- decent price point
- speakers rather weak
|Rating||4.4 / 5.0|
4. Sony ICFCDK50
- magnetic remote control included
- intuitive control features
- rather outdated technology
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
3. Jensen Bluetooth Wireless
- reliable digital radio tuner
- bright and clear lcd display
- cooking timer function
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
2. Sylvania SKCR2810BT
- bluetooth connectivity
- relatively low power consumption
- occasional pairing issues
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
1. iLive iKB333S
- mounts in mere minutes
- easy device pairing button
- good reviews from owners
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
Advantages Of Under Cabinet Radios
There are many distinct advantages to choosing an under cabinet radio. The first is most obviously space. Using an under cabinet radio frees up space on the kitchen counter, workbench, spa deck, or wherever else you would have put a traditional radio. This space saving feature also protects an under cabinet radio from accidents caused by knocking it over or getting something tangled in the cord. In the kitchen, mounting the radio safely above the counter also protects it from water damage.
An often overlooked bonus of under cabinet radios is their ability to use their surroundings to their advantage. The speakers of a standalone radio are designed to push sound forward. This means these speakers have to rely solely on their own amplification to produce a rich, full sound. Many under cabinet radios are designed to use the effects of sound reflection. By directing sound downwards or out to the sides, it bounces off the walls around and the countertop below the radio. This gives the music more resonance, making it sound richer and fuller, with no additional work from the radio itself.
Using an under cabinet radio to listen to music while doing daily activities has definite benefits. In a recent study, researchers found that music could evoke a positive mood in its listeners. Not only that, but people who were made happier through music were also much more likely to recover from stress quickly and easily. Researchers noted that inducing a positive mood with music can lead to a better stress response. Spending time listening to music from an under cabinet radio while doing laundry or relaxing in the tub may make a person better equipped to handle the stresses of the day.
Choosing The Best Under Cabinet Radio
Most under cabinet radios share many design similarities, though there are a few differences which may make your final decision easier. With technology moving as fast as it is, buying a recently released under cabinet radio model is the best way to make the purchase last. Newer features like USB and Bluetooth connectivity are important for some users, and there are many models which support these features. Users looking for more basic functionality may want an under cabinet radio that just plays their favorite CDs or cycles through the AM and FM frequencies. Another thing to consider is the mounting options for a particular model. People who rent their home or move frequently may want a unit they can mount and dismount with ease.
Technical expertise will also be an issue for some users. Some under cabinet radios require basic technical know-how, and even then can be challenging to assemble and set up before use. This increased challenge is often rewarded with more functionality, however. On the other hand, there are models that are more or less ready to use out of the box.
The maximum decibel range of under cabinet radios can also vary quite a bit. This may not be an issue in a quiet kitchen, but if you mean to use the radio in a garage while operating a chop saw, the strength of its speakers will be very important. Speakers should be loud enough to cut through the noise without clipping the sound. The speaker grill will also matter in many environments. Certain areas of the house, such as the garage, workshop, or outdoor patio, will create much more airborne dust than other areas. The grills of speakers in these areas can become clogged with pet dander, sawdust, or other particles, and may need to be cleaned more often to produce an unmuffled sound. Speaker grills with deep grooves may be more difficult to clean, leading some users to favor more models with accessible speaker grooves.
The Drama Behind The Birth Of Radio
Just over a century before the invention of the under cabinet radio, inventors had barely discovered radio waves and how to use them. An English scientist named James Clerk Maxwell developed the first theory to explain electromagnetism. He noticed that magnetic fields and electrical fields could interact, producing electromagnetic waves. Maxwell’s early work stated that after it is created, an electromagnetic wave will theoretically continue forever unless it is absorbed by matter. Soon after, in 1879, David Edward Hughes happened upon an unknown current while working on telephones. He noticed that this current could be heard and even manipulated, creating a series of sparks that would generate a signal that could be detected by a telephone receiver.
A German physicist by the name of Heinrich Hertz also took Maxwell’s theories and applied them to the creation and interception of radio waves. The unit of frequency for these waves is named the hertz in his honor. Hertz would go on to prove radio waves existed using a spark gap transmitter in 1888. These transmitters would become the standard for transmitting radio waves for the first few decades of radio history. The trouble was, this was extremely similar to David Edward Hughes’ work nearly eight years earlier. In fact, Hughes was later honored for discovering concepts that popular scientists like Hertz, Marconi, and Branly initially got credit for. Most notably, Hughes’ early radio receiver far surpassed the simplistic spark gap device that was studied by radio researchers. However, Hertz did conduct the most rigorous scientific experiments to validate Maxwell’s theory, and this credit was never taken from him.
Despite all his work in the field, it was not Hertz who brought radio transmitters to the masses. He saw no use in the transmitters, other than to prove the existence of radio waves. The famous inventor Nikola Tesla had a large hand in the development of the radio transmitter as it is known today. Tesla greatly expanded the capabilities of these wireless transmitter devices. He demonstrated the possibilities of wireless radio communication through his famous speech sent through radio waves from St. Louis to Philadelphia in 1893. After countless new improvements in radio telegraphy, it was Guglielmo Marconi who was granted the patent for the wireless telegraphy device in 1897. In 1901, Marconi sent a signal from England to Newfoundland, and long distance radio signals were born.