We have a lot of gadgets that keep us constantly connected to the world around us. These gadgets, however, cannot help us if they run out of power. For such cases, you will benefit from an emergency radio that will be able to provide you with regular updates during emergencies and disasters. Selecting the best emergency radio may seem like a difficult task, given the sheer number of functions that these radios have today. We hope this guide will make things a bit easier for you.
Types of Emergency Radios
Weather Alert Radio
These are the most basic type of radios. These radios work like smoke detectors – they alert you when you are about to face a weather or non-weather related emergency by producing a loud sound or flashing lights. These radios, however, require a stable power source to function properly, so they are not suitable for places where you are going to experience frequent power outages. You should consider buying a weather alert radio with a hand crank for uninterrupted usage.
Weather radios are upgraded versions of weather alert radios. They include pre-programmed radio stations that can access NOAA emergency alerts. Using a weather radio, you will be able to keep yourself updated with the latest information on weather-related disasters, evacuations, floods, and other public emergencies. You will get frequent reports on changes in the weather and can keep yourself equipped and prepared accordingly.
AM/FM Emergency Radios
Using these radios, you will be able to access the local FM and AM radio channels. Some radios are also capable of receiving short sideband or SSB radio channels. These radios will also have weather and NOAA access. You get multiple charging options with this radio such as solar, hand crank, AA batteries, and USB charging.
Things To Consider While Buying the Best Emergency Radio
Radio Reception and NOAA Alerts
The primary function of emergency radios is to keep you informed about the world and your locality. Therefore, you should go for emergency radios that have a strong reception capability. Your radio should be able to catch AM, FM, and NOAA weather stations. Almost every emergency radio has this feature, but you should go for ones that have more range and reception capacity. Some emergency radios include a telescoping antenna which helps them pick up radio waves more efficiently.
Charging and Power Source
In most cases, you will not have access to an external power source when there is an emergency or during power outages. Your radio’s power sources will help to prevent the radio from dying when the battery runs out of power. The best way to get a full charge is to replace the battery. Many emergency radios allow you to do that, while others have non-removable batteries. You can stock up on multiple batteries and easily get several days of power by replacing them when they expire.
Solar panels are quite useful, but won’t work if you do not have access to direct sunlight. It is also quite slow. You won’t be able to use this feature if you are stuck with cloudy or rainy weather. A hand crank comes in handy for such cases.
Hand cranks require some manual effort to produce energy, but you won’t have to be dependent on external sources to generate power. All hand cranks are not made to be equally effective, so look at the specifications to find out the rate at which the hand crank can generate power to run a emergency radio.
The battery life of emergency radios is important since without power these devices are practically useless. Granted, most emergency radios come with a power source such as a solar panel or a hand crank. Yet they also have their shortcomings. Higher-end emergency radios have batteries with a capacity of 2000 to 2600 mAh. With these, you can get a full day’s worth of usage without requiring a recharge. Emergency radios with smaller capacity batteries such as 850 to 1000 mAh are good for short trips and rare emergencies.
Emergency features in the radios can come as a blessing when you need them. You should look for emergency radios that let you set an alert when NOAA issues reports related to unfavorable weather conditions. The flashlight in your emergency radios can also come in handy if you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a power outrage.
You should also look for emergency radios with functions that will make it easier for other people to find you in case you get lost in the woods or trapped somewhere. Many emergency radios come with flashlights and LED lights with a blinking SOS signal mode. Additionally, you can also go for emergency radios that have a buzzer, alarm, or an ultrasonic dog whistle.
Emergency radios may come with certain additional features such as emergency buzzers, LED flashlights, SOS signaling, USB charging, table lamps, and much more. Most emergency radios come with a USB output for charging your portable devices. You should look for emergency radios with a large battery if you want to use them regularly as a power bank.
Waterproof and Durability
Emergencies can get you and your radio in a lot of mess. You may end up dropping your radio or getting it wet in case of rain. You should therefore look for emergency radios that have been designed using durable materials and include bumpers or rubber layers for better impact-resistance.
You should also consider the IPX rating of the emergency radios. The IPX rating determines the waterproofing capability of emergency radios. The rating may vary between breaking down after being exposed to water (IPX0) to withstanding the force of powerful water jets (IPX9K). Emergency radios mostly have ratings of IPX3 or IPX4, which means they are capable of surviving water splashes or light rain.
9 Best Emergency Radios in 2021
The Kaito KA500 Voyager is a portable NOAA weather radio designed for everyday use and emergencies. It comes with multiple power options like an AC/DC adapter, built-in rechargeable batteries, USB power source, hand-cranking, and a 180-degree flip-up solar panel. You will never have to worry about running out of power using this radio. The versatile setup of this radio makes it a perfect companion for camping, traveling, and other such activities.
The emergency radio is made of high-quality ABS material that is water-resistant and impact-resistant. It is ideal for indoor usage at your office and home, and also for outdoor activities such as boating or fishing.
The Kaito KA500 provides you 6 ways to power your device. It includes a hand crank generator, a solar panel, compartments for attaching 3 AA batteries, a 5V USB input, a 5V AC/DC input, and an in-built NiMH battery pack that is rechargeable and replaceable.
Using this radio, you will be able to get comprehensive coverage in FM, AM, two-band shortwave, and seven pre-programmed NOAA weather channels. The channels will give you access to categories such as sports, entertainment, talk-shows, current news from across the world, as well as a real-time weather forecast that runs 24/7. A channel for the Public Emergency Alert System has also been implemented.
The weather channels are numbered from 1 to 7 and can easily be tuned into by twisting the radio knob. You can set the radio to “alert” mode so that it is automatically activated upon receiving alert signals from the NOAA weather stations. A 3.5mm headset jack socket has been included for using headphones and earphones with your radio.
The weather radio can be used as an emergency mobile battery charger. You can use the in-built DC 5V USB output port for recharging your cell-phone and other portable devices such as your music player, digital camera, GPS unit, or tablet. The emergency weather radio also includes useful functions like a LED flashlight, a 5-LED reading lamp, and a red LED S.O.S beacon light.
The telescopic antenna of this emergency weather radio can be expanded up to 14.5” for improved reception sensitivity. It utilizes an advanced semiconductor circuit design that helps bring a wide range of broadcast channels to your radio. An LED signal strength indicator has been provided for accurate tuning. The in-built speakers on the radio offer clear and loud sound.
- Made of high-quality impact-resistant and water-resistant ABS material.
- 6 different power options.
- You can access FM, AM, shortwave, and NOAA weather channels.
- Crank power is not strong enough to last long.
- Issues with customer service have been reported.
Keep yourself prepared for all emergencies using the FosPower Solar Hand Crank Emergency Weather Radio. The radio has multiple tools for non-emergency purposes too. It comes with a powerful 1W LED flashlight, a 2000mAh power bank, an SOS alarm, LED lights for reading, access to radio broadcasts, and three power options. The radio is perfect for camping, trekking, fishing, hiking, and backpacking.
The FosPower emergency radio includes a 2000mAh power bank which can be used to recharge your phone or tablet in case of an emergency. It works with USB supported devices.
The package comes with the following items: the FosPower solar hand crank radio, one carabiner, and one user manual.
The radio runs on three different power sources which keep the radio running no matter where you are. If you are not near an electric source, you can use the solar panel or the hand crank to generate enough power to operate the lights, the radio, and the SOS alarm. You can also use AAA batteries to power the radio.
The emergency radio has two light sources. It has a 4 LED reading light and a 1W flashlight that can come in handy if you find yourself in the dark.
The radio can be used to access the NOAA emergency weather broadcasts. You can get live updates and keep yourself informed on whether the climatic conditions will be safe enough. The radio can also receive broadcasts from AM/FM stations.
- Includes a 2000mAh power that can keep your devices from dying in case of emergencies.
- Comes with a 4 LED reading light and a 1W flashlight.
- Can receive AM, FM, and NOAA emergency weather broadcasts.
- Has to be kept on at all times to receive alerts.
- Tuning issues have been reported.
The Eton Red Cross Emergency NOAA weather radio keeps you prepared for disasters and emergencies with its host of handy features. This emergency radio will become an indispensable part of your emergency kit.
The radio comes with three power options – built-in rechargeable batteries, a hand crank, and a solar panel.
You can charge your portable devices such as a phone or tablet using the USB port on this emergency radio. For this purpose, a 2600mAh battery has been included in the radio. An LED flashlight has been provided that will come in handy in the dark. You can use the red flashing beacon to make it easier for others to find you in case of emergencies.
The radio is capable of receiving multiple radio broadcasts. You can access AM/FM radio bands including NOAA weather updates. The radio comes with a display that shows the time or the frequency you are on. You can also set an alarm clock on the radio.
The ‘Alert’ feature is the most noteworthy function of this radio. It can automatically broadcast all the emergency weather alerts to your radio for your area. You will be notified immediately if there is an impending storm or hurricane in your area.
This emergency radio will be your perfect companion for your a long camping or backpacking trip. Even if you are far away from the mainland, you can remain connected through the constant weather and news updates. You can also use the radio at your home or while having a barbecue in your yard.
- Has an ‘Alert’ feature that automatically broadcasts the emergency updates to your radio.
- Access to AM/FM and NOAA frequencies.
- Includes a 2600mAh battery which can be used as a power bank for your devices.
- Poor quality battery cover.
- The hand crank is not very efficient.
The Midland ER310 keeps you on your feet during emergencies by providing direct updates from the National Weather Service. It also utilizes a host of emergency features such as the ultrasonic dog whistle, the SOS beacon, and rechargeable power services.
The E310 emergency radio makes use of three power sources for recharging itself – it includes a hand crank, a solar panel, and a rechargeable 2600mAh battery. The solar panel can be used to charge the lithium-ion battery installed inside by exposing it to direct sunlight. If you do not have access to sunlight, you can use the hand crank to keep your radio from dying. The rechargeable battery in this radio provides long-lasting battery life of up to 32 hours. The radio also has a facility to attach 6 AA batteries as backup power.
The in-built rechargeable battery can be used to quickly recharge your portable devices such as cell phones and tablets. These devices support USB cables to charge. This will come in handy if your devices run out of battery and you are not near a power source.
An emergency flashlight has been included in this radio. You can use the SOS flashlight beacon to alert others or send a message through morse code in case of emergencies. It also includes a bright CREE LED that has 130 lumens of brightness. You can switch between a high and low brightness setting if you want to conserve power.
The radio has an NOAA weather scan feature that will automatically scan all the seven weather channels and play the channel with the strongest signal. You will be able to keep yourself updated on the changes in the weather by the minute. In the case of severe weather conditions, the NOAA weather will sound an alarm to immediately notify you to take appropriate measures. You can also access regular FM/AM channels using this radio.
A special feature in this radio is the ultrasonic dog whistle. You can use the whistle to assist rescue teams while locating individuals in case of emergencies.
- Includes an SOS flashlight beacon for emergencies.
- Can access NOAA weather channels and FM/AM channels.
- An ultrasonic dog whistle has been included in this radio.
- Solar charging is weak.
- The old design requires an update.
This emergency radio from Puiuisoul has an IPX3 waterproof design and a list of emergency utilities that will keep you prepared and safe. Its powerful light is ideal for camping, trekking, and hiking. It comes with a reading lamp which is activated by motion sensors. You can access all the important weather and news updates through the radio. This emergency radio is the perfect travel companion.
The emergency radio can be used to access AM and FM radio channels. You can also access the NOAA weather channels to get regular updates on the weather conditions. The emergency radio offers great sound quality so that the information is properly delivered to you. You will be immediately notified if there is an impending storm, tornado, or hurricane.
The emergency radio utilizes a 18650 lithium-ion battery. It has a massive capacity of 4000 mAh and provides quality performance over long periods. You can make use of the USB charging feature to recharge the emergency radio. You can easily do that by connecting the micro USB cable to the USB input port on the right side of the radio and charge the lithium battery provided inside. The four power indicators will light up to show that the device is charging.
You can use the reading lamp to read in the dark or under low-light. You can turn on the reading light by moving the switch to the light position and rotating the solar panel. The reading lamp can also be activated through motion. When the switch is in the auto position, the reading light will turn on if there is a moving person within 3 meters.
The emergency radio has an in-built flashlight with three modes. The light can go as far as 10m. The SOS alarm can be activated through the button located in the upper right corner. It will produce a loud siren and a flashing beam of lights to alert others to your location in case of an emergency.
The solar panel can be used to generate power by exposing it to direct sunlight for some time. The red power indicator will turn on when the radio begins to receive enough sunlight for charging. It can come in handy when you are away from an electric power source.
You can charge the emergency radio by rotating the handle present at the bottom of the device and activating the generator. The red power indicator will show that your radio is being charged. You can turn the handle clockwise or counterclockwise. Spinning the handle for a minute will give you enough charge to use the radio for 6 minutes or the high beam SOS for 30 minutes.
- Includes a reading lamp that can be activated using motion sensors.
- Can be powered using a hand crank, solar and rechargeable batteries.
- Features an IPX3 waterproof design.
- Radio reception quality issues.
The emergency radio has a large LCD display that displays details related to time, radio frequency, and battery. It is perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, camping, and so on. The emergency weather alerts will keep you prepared for tornadoes, storms, and hurricanes in your area. You can use the SOS alarm to contact others for help in case of an emergency. You will get up to 10 hours of use on a full charge.
The emergency radio can be used with four power sources – solar power, micro-USB, hand crank, and AAA batteries. To use solar power, you need to expose the radio to direct sunlight or natural light for up to 25 hours for a complete charge. The USB charging option will give you the fastest charge in 5 hours when connected to a power source. You can rotate the hand crank at 130 to 150 RMP for a minute to get 15-20 minutes of radio and 30 minutes of light use. It will take 8 hours to reach full charge using the hand crank.
The emergency radio is capable of receiving AM, FM, and NOAA frequencies throughout the day 24/7. It will keep you informed about the current news updates, the local weather, and any emergency or hazard related details.
You can set the emergency radio to “Alert” mode by turning the tuning band to “AL”. In this mode, the radio will display an alert message on the screen on receiving information related to bad weather or an approaching danger or disaster. An alarm will be sounded so that you can promptly prepare yourself.
The emergency radio packs a 4000mAh rechargeable battery which can also be used as a power bank. You can recharge your USB supported cell phones and tablets using a Micro-USB cable in case of an emergency. You can connect your phone to the radio and play any music of your choice using the aux cable port.
The emergency radio has a powerful 1W LED flashlight that will help you navigate the dark roads and provide support in case of a power failure.
- Alert mode helps you receive instant updates related to bad weather and disasters.
- The 4000mAh rechargeable battery can be used as an emergency power bank.
- You get up to 10 hours of usage on a full charge.
- Problems with solar power.
The Sangear MMR-88 has a strong, reinforced, and shock-resistant design. If you run out of power sources, you can use the hand crank and solar panel to get it back up and running. The triple LED light and SOS settings come in handy if you find yourself in the dark. You can revive your portable devices by using the rechargeable battery in the radio as a power bank.
The design of this emergency radio is durable and sturdy. The four corners of the radio have been reinforced using rubber to offer resistance against bumps and drops. It also has a waterproof rating of IPX3. The emergency radio will easily withstand a lot of rough use.
You will be able to access all seven NOAA weather radio frequencies using this emergency radio. AM/FM radio frequencies are also available on this radio. The emergency radio comes installed with 19 stations preset so that you can quickly tune into the radio station of your choice.
The emergency radio includes an in-built speaker and a headphone jack. The 38mm speaker unit can produce a loud and balanced sound with the correct proportions of treble and bass. You will be able to enjoy all genres of music on this radio. You can attach a pair of headphones using the 3.5mm headphone port to this radio.
If you combine the hand crank and solar panel power sources, you will be able to make the emergency radio last as long as you want. By rotating the hand crank for a minute, you will be able to produce enough power for five minutes of radio playtime. The emergency radio can be recharged using a 5V micro-USB port.
The emergency radio comes with triple LED lights that have four lighting patterns – low, high, blinking, and SOS. Depending on your preferences and situation, you can use one of these lighting patterns. You can use the low setting if you want to conserve battery power.
You can use the emergency radio as a last-resort power backup. It is capable of delivering a power of 5V/0.3A through the USB-A port. You can use it to add extra bars to the battery of your mobile devices and make some critical phone calls. The loudspeaker unit and the emergency buzzer keeps you well prepared for emergencies.
- Comes with three power sources – USB, hand-crank, and solar panel.
- Includes a built-in 38mm speaker and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
- Comes preinstalled with 19 stations presets.
- Difficult to find battery replacement.
- Flashlight power can be better.
The Mesqool radio comes with seven pre-configured NOAA stations that can be accessed 24/7. You can also access FM, AM, and Shortwave radio channels with this device. The modes can be changed by turning the radio knob while the stations can be accessed by turning the dial-up and down. The weather channels will provide you with weather updates by the second and keep you informed of impending storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. You can get better reception by extending the radio antenna when required.
The radio includes a powerful 2500 mAh battery which can be charged using four sources. It has a solar panel that can produce power when put in direct sunlight. The battery can be recharged using a USB power input. You can use the hand crank to manually generate power and recharge the radio. The device also works with AAA batteries that have to be installed in it.
With this radio you will also be getting a bright 3W LED flashlight and a 6 LED reading lamp. The flashlight will help you navigate dark roads and woods while camping, hiking, or trekking. The reading light can be used inside your tent or your bedroom at night. The radio has a flashing SOS beacon that can help you to get the attention of your rescuers through a light signal or a morse code message.
You can also use the radio as a power bank for your mobile phone and other portable devices. You can do this by connecting your device to the radio using the USB charging cable. That battery boost can help you make a call to your friend or family.
- Can access FM, AM, shortwave, and NOAA weather channels.
- Includes a 2500 mAh rechargeable battery.
- Has a 3W LED flashlight and a 6 LED reading lamp.
- Tuning issues according to emergency radio reviews.
The Greadio emergency weather radio keeps you safe from unfavorable weather and disasters by providing 24/7 weather updates through the NOAA weather channels. It comes with a large 2000 mAh battery that can deliver 12 hours of radio and 15 hours of flashlight usage. It includes multiple charging features and an SOS alarm for emergencies.
The radio has a small and compact size which makes it ideal for carrying it with you while hiking, backpacking, or traveling. It comes with a sturdy clip that lets you attach the radio to your belt.
The radio comes with a powerful 1W flashlight and a reading light that you can use when you find yourself in the dark. You can also use it for lighting up your room or tent. The SOS alarm on this radio flashes a red light on activating. It will help you to alert your rescuers in case of an emergency.
You can access all the local FM and AM radio channels using this device. It also provides access to seven NOAA weather stations for 24/7 weather alerts. The radio will help you be prepared by letting you know the details about an impending tornado or hurricane in your area.
You can use the solar panel to refill the battery in the radio. For a full charge, the radio must be exposed to natural light or direct sunlight for up to 25 hours. When fully charged, the radio provides 10-12 hours of radio playback and 15 hours of flashlight. You can connect the radio to a power source like a USB charger to replenish the battery quickly in around 4 hours. Using the hand crank, the radio can deliver 15 minutes of broadcasting and 20 minutes of light by rotating the hand crank for a minute. Finally, the radio also has a compartment to install AAA batteries as additional power backup.
- Includes a 2000 mAh battery that can also be used as a power bank.
- SOS alarm and flashing red lights.
- Powerful flashlight and reading light.
- Problems with radio reception.
Emergency radios should be an essential part of your household and emergency kit. You may not need them very frequently, but they might make a huge difference in emergencies when your very life is at stake.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a crank radio?
A crank radio makes use of an internal generator to produce power. It comes with an external crank arm which charges the internal battery by continuously moving coils around a magnet. This feature is very useful because you won’t require external sources to power your radio.
Most radios come with solar panels and rechargeable and replaceable batteries. These are useless when you don’t have access to a power outlet or direct sunlight. Your radio will run out of power once your backpack batteries do. A hand crank is of immense benefit here because it will keep your radio alive as long as you have functional hands.
What kind of radio is used for emergencies?
According to federal government recommendations, you should include a hand-crank or battery-powered radio with AM, FM, and NOAA weather alerts to your emergency kit. These radios can access weather channels and provide you with live updates in case you are trapped in your homes with no electricity
You should at least have a radio that can access the NOAA weather channels and can function without a power socket. Additional features like USB charging and flashlights may be useful but are not necessary.
What is the best NOAA radio?
The NOAA radios are capable of receiving alerts from the NOAA as quickly as they are sent out throughout the day. They can run on their in-built batteries and should not require a power outlet to stay on. You can recharge them using solar panels and hand cranks in case you are not near an external power source.
The best NOAA radios have great battery life. They can easily last days on a single charge and even then you can replenish them through the solar panel or the hand crank. The in-built battery in the radios can also be used to revive the battery of your mobile and handheld devices.
When would I need an emergency radio?
An emergency radio is used mostly in case of emergency weather conditions like tornadoes, severe storms, and hurricanes. They are also useful for non-weather emergencies such as chemical spills and fires.
If you are living in an area that experiences frequent storms, you will find an emergency radio that can access NOAA weather stations to be useful. The radio will alert you when a storm is about to approach so that you can prepare yourself. Furthermore, you will be able to know whether it is safe to move out of your home or if there is a need to evacuate through the NOAA alerts.
Since an emergency radio does not require an external power source to stay on, you can use them even when the power grid around your house has been knocked out. This feature of the radio also makes it ideal for long-range activities such as biking or backpacking. An emergency radio also has features like buzzers and blinking light beacons that can be used to direct search parties to your location.