Senior Editor and Researcher
Are you a Canadian STEM learner trying to get hands-on experience in radio electronics? If so, you may feel overwhelmed by all the available radio kits.
Elenco is the top radio kit manufacturer in Canada. Specifically, its WEmake FM Radio Soldering Kit is the best because it gives you in-depth knowledge about the functionality of FM receivers, and it comes with all the equipment you need to start your project immediately.
In this article, I’ll list nine of my top radio kit picks based on their strengths and weaknesses.
WEmake is one of the nine brands under Elenco, and it’s specifically tailored for those who want to delve deep into radio electronics.
This kit is my top pick because it offers enough of a challenge to help you learn but not so much that you’ll get discouraged. It comes with everything you need to start assembling your FM receiver as soon as you get hold of it.
- Includes a soldering iron kit: All radio kits require a soldering iron to assemble the parts. Luckily, this radio kit includes a 25W soldering iron, so you don’t have to purchase one separately.
- Great for learning: The kit assembles into a monophonic FM receiver with two IC chips, meaning you’ll have to use every ounce of knowledge on radio electronics to successfully build this one. If you don’t have that knowledge, you’ll undoubtedly be forced to acquire it one way or another.
- Relatively expensive: Many radio kit options are in the $20 to $40 range, and this one goes slightly above that.
- Not beginner-friendly: While beginners can certainly learn from this radio kit, it might be a bit advanced for some. Also, the board may be too small for people who’ve never done soldering work before.
The WEMake FM Radio Soldering Kit is our top pick for the best radio kits in Canada. You can buy it from Amazon here.
The Tecsun 2P3 AM radio receiver kit is my top pick for best utility because once you’re done assembling all the parts together, you end up with an actual working radio receiver.
That’s because, unlike other radio kits, this comes with a radio casing where you can place the main board.
Also, Tecsun is one of the most well-known and respected radio brands in the world, so expect the quality from this one to be above par.
- Includes a radio casing: Most radio kits don’t have a radio casing in the box, so they’re only meant for learners and not DIYers. On the other hand, Tecsun’s radio kit comes with a case, so you can use it as a functioning radio once assembled.
- No opportunity to learn about FM radios: This radio kit is designed to be assembled as an AM receiver, meaning you can’t use it to learn about FM radios.
- Doesn’t include a soldering iron: Since a soldering iron is essential to the assembly of this kit, you’ll have to buy it separately as this kit doesn’t have one.
This high-quality product is surely one of Tecsun’s best. You can learn more about it by accessing its Amazon page.
Best Value For Money: Elenco Two IC AM Kit & Elenco Auto Scan FM Radio Kit
Two radio kits tie for the best value category, in my opinion. They are:
Aside from Tecsun, Elenco is another decent radio kit brand. The Elenco Two IC AM kit is perfect for STEM learners who want to strengthen their grasp on AM radios and their functionality.
It offers the best value for the money because it has high-quality components, well-written instructions, and a lot of opportunities to learn about AM radio assembly.
- Well-spaced circuit board: This radio kit has a large circuit board that’s 33 x 22.9 x 1.9 cm (12.99 x 8.66 x 0.74 in). This makes the board spacious enough to use a soldering iron quickly and safely.
- Comes with clear instructions: Elenco’s precise and comprehensive manual ensures that even rookies can learn to assemble a radio at their own level and pace.
- No batteries included: The radio kit requires a 9-volt battery to function. You must get it separately since it’s not included in the kit.
Elenco’s Auto Scan FM radio kit assembles into a fully functioning FM signal receiver.
It includes an auto-scan switch, which allows the radio to automatically search for and lock on to detectable FM channels, making this radio kit slightly more high-end than its counterparts.
Given that you can get it for under $50, and it comes with an impressive array of features, ranking it for best value was a no-brainer.
- High quality: Elenco is one of the top radio kit manufacturers, so it’s no surprise that its components are always high-quality in terms of material and design.
- Auto-scan feature: The auto-scan feature sets it apart from other radio kits, which must be manually adjusted to find channels.
- No casing included: Since the kit has no radio casing, you can’t take the assembled kit around and use it as a regular radio. Its utility is limited to learning.
This is the best pick if you want the most budget-friendly option for an AM/FM radio kit that becomes fully functional upon assembly.
But if you value quality, you should pass on this one. Even if it’s a third of the price of the average radio kit, the overall quality of this product and its components is sub-par.
- Super cheap: In contrast with the Elenco radio kits mentioned above, you can get this one for under $20. That’s as low a price as possible, considering the cost of other radio kits.
- Teaches you about both AM and FM radios: Since the components assemble into a workable AM/FM radio, you can learn about both types of bands.
- The instructions are in Chinese: This product’s instruction manual is written in Chinese. Unless you’re willing to spend extra money (and time) learning a language consisting of over 20,000 characters that don’t look anything like the Roman alphabet, you’ll have a lot of trouble assembling the radio.
Elenco’s Superheterodyne is one of the best options if you’re experienced in radio electronics and want to take your learning to the next level.
The manual has several projects for both AM and FM broadcasting. Additionally, the circuit board has an IC and transistor functionality option, making it more technical and challenging to work with than the others listed so far — but hey, that’s what makes it fun.
- Teaches you about AM and FM broadcasting: This radio kit has a guidebook divided into two parts, each dedicated to AM and FM broadcasting.
- Project-based learning: The guidebook contains nine DIY projects to complete and familiarize yourself with radio electronics.
- Pricey: This radio kit is almost twice as high as average.
This dual radio supports AM and FM broadcasting, so it’s excellent for STEM learners looking for practical knowledge of both.
- Fiberglass circuit board: The fiberglass circuit board makes soldering much easier because it dissipates heat faster and hardens quickly.
- Spacious circuit board: Vogurtime’s circuit board is a decent size (12 x 8 x 5.5 cm or 4.72 x 3.14 x 2.16 in), so it’s much easier to sell on than a smaller board.
- No radio casing: You can’t assemble it as a functioning radio because it doesn’t come with a casing.
You can have it shipped directly to your doorstep through Amazon!
Regarding style, nothing compares to the Fhdpeebu AM radio kit. The product is assembled into a fully functioning radio with a transparent encasing that displays its internal components.
This transparency is the radio kit’s main selling point. It is a perfect addition to a STEM student’s room or workstation.
The integrated digital display also gives this one a nice, modern touch. It sets it apart from other kits that overly prioritize function over form.
- Memory function: When switched off and turned back on, the radio will default to the previous channel it was tuned to.
- Transparent design: The transparent casing of the kit gives it a modern touch, making it a nice decorative piece.
- Sensitive assembly: I don’t recommend this for beginners, as the small board size and the addition of a digital display make this kit slightly trickier to assemble than most. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to damage its components.
You can grab it off Amazon and have it shipped today!
Haynes’ retro radio kit assembles into a fully functioning radio with a distinct retro theme. The brand’s attention to aesthetics makes it a great gift for a STEM student into vintage items.
- Unique retro theme: The main selling point of this radio is the retro theme that makes it stand out from more utilitarian kits (which is pretty much every other radio kit).
- Assembles as a functioning radio: The kit can be used as a regular radio once assembled with an outer casing and built-in loudspeakers.
- Low value for money: This is more of a vanity purchase, as the price is over $50 — which is a lot considering that this product’s overall features aren’t that impressive.
- Unclear instructions: The product is challenging for beginners to assemble because the instructions manual is tough to follow.
Looking for a fun gift? Buy the Haynes Retro Radio Kit! You can check out its Amazon page through this link.
Radio kits are excellent tools for STEM learners trying to gain hands-on experience with radio electronics.
My overall pick is the WeMake FM radio soldering kit, but you can get other decent brands that suit your specific needs better — whether you want something relatively affordable or something that’ll make heads turn.
For my other hobbyists interested in something other than radio kits, we’ve got an answer to all your burning questions!
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