The 6 Best Under Cabinet Radios

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This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in December of 2016. When washing dishes, cleaning the floor, or preparing an elaborate meal, you can make the time fly by more pleasurably by enjoying your favorite music or podcast in the kitchen via one of these under-cabinet radios. Whether you want to stream your music via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, connect by auxiliary port, play a CD, or simply listen to AM or FM stations, we have a model here to suit your needs. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. iLive Platinum

2. iLive IKBC

3. Jensen SMPS-628

Editor's Notes

December 04, 2020:

The iLive brand continues to be the premium brand for under cabinet radios without charging a premium price. This holds especially true for the iLive IKBC, the brand's recently upgraded model that includes a CD player. It's priced right on par with competitors.

Our newest addition, the iLive Platinum does have a higher price tag, but it's also the only under cabinet radio that can pair with Bluetooth devices and hook up to your home Wi-Fi, bringing even more music possibilities into the kitchen. It also works as an Alexa and can carry out voice commands, making this the best choice for users looking for all the latest technology.

We still include some simpler, but reliable choices for anyone who wants to listen to music while cooking but doesn't want to fuss with extra functions they won't use. All of our choices offer Bluetooth and radio, and some of them, like the Tyler TKS-1, offer handy features like LED lighting on the bottom.

May 10, 2019:

Unfortunately, when it comes to under cabinet radios, it is slim pickings in the market. For whatever reason, most major audio equipment manufacturers just don't offer one. Despite that, we have done a good job of identifying the best of the admittedly small bunch. If you want the utmost versatility, your best bet is the iLive iKBC384SMP3U, which offers more connection options that any other model we could find. If you don't need a CD player, AUX jack, or USB port, then you can save a little money and go with the iLive IKB318S, which is essentially the same item, just with less connectivity options. The Venturer KLV3915 is the ideal choice for anyone who wants to be able to watch TV while cooking, in addition to listening to music of course. It does come with a hefty price tag, however. The Jensen SMPS-628 and Sony ICFCDK50 probably have the best sound quality of the bunch, but the technology on the Sony ICFCDK50 is outdated. It doesn't offer Bleutooth, though it does have an auxiliary jack for connecting a smartphone or MP3 player. Those who don't want their under cabinet radio to stick out too much may want to opt for the thin RCA SPS3688B.

Special Honors

Whirlpool Coolvox While the Whirlpool Coolvox is not a radio, nor is it installed under your cabinets, this innovative sound system is designed for the top of your refrigerator to save you precious counter space. Although it's a bit out of reach, it pairs with Bluetooth devices and is controlled by your phone or tablet, plus it projects the sound throughout the whole room nicely.


5. Tyler TKS-1

6. Sylvania SKCR

Advantages Of Under Cabinet Radios

Not only that, but people who were made happier through music were also much more likely to recover from stress quickly and easily.

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.

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.

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.

Just over a century before the invention of the under cabinet radio, inventors had barely discovered radio waves and how to use them.

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.

Tina Morna Freitas
Last updated by Tina Morna Freitas

Tina Morna Freitas is a writer who lives in Chicago with her family and three cats. She has a B.A. in anthropology with a minor in English, and has built a freelance career over the years in writing and digital marketing. Her passions for cooking, decorating and home improvement contribute to her extensive knowledge of all things kitchen and home goods. In addition, her 20 years as a parent inform her expertise in the endless stream of toys and equipment that inevitably takes over the homes of most parents. She also enjoys gardening, making and sipping margaritas, and aspires to be a crazy cat lady once all the children are grown.

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