When a natural disaster such as a storm, earthquake or tornado strikes, the chances of losing power or cellphone reception are high. This only means one thing- you’ll be completely out of touch with the rest of the world with no way of getting any helpful information regarding the situation. This can be frustrating and frightening at the same time. However, when faced with such impending dangers, having the best emergency radio by your side can be a lifesaver.
Unlike a standard radio, an emergency radio is designed with various emergency features like channels that pick up emergency broadcasts and immediately send alerts to warn you of severe weather conditions.
With long-lasting batteries, multiple charging options and access to dedicated weather channels like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Associations (NOAA) as well as SOS alarms, emergency radios ensure you’re never without power or access to the kind of crucial information you need, and that you get help when things get rough.
Emergency radios also pick up basic AM/FM stations, charge your smartphone and other devices, and some are even water-resistant.
What is the Best Emergency Radio to Buy?
There are countless emergency radio options to choose from. However, since they are not all created the same, here are some important features to consider:
- Be battery-powered and also offer multiple charging possibilities such as hand crank
- Include NOAA weather access
- Provide access to alerts
- Include an SOS strobe for emergency assistance
That said, let’s have a look at 5 of the best survival radios that are a must-have in an emergency kit:
Best Emergency Radios (Our Top 5 Recommendations)
Starting off at number 1 is the Kaito KA500-5-Way Powered Emergency Radio.
With a built-in rechargeable battery with up to 6 ways to recharge it, you’ll never have to worry about running out of power when disaster strikes.
The battery can be charged either via a hand crank generator, a 5V AC/DC input with a wall power adapter (which is sold separately), solar panel, 5V USB input, 3AA batteries, a rechargeable battery pack, and via a replaceable built-in NiMH.
The battery is impressively long lasting with most users reporting up to 10 hours from a 2 hours charging time. The hand crank will offer you up to 60 minutes from just 5 minutes of cranking, which is pretty impressive.
The solar charging panel works well too, but it doesn’t provide as much power as other charging methods.
The unit also lets you charge your Smartphone so you’re never out of touch with your friends and family.
The speakers have a fairly good sound quality plus the included is a headphone jack that lets you listen in without disturbing anyone.
The KA500 has a pretty good signal reception thanks to its 14.5” telescoping antenna. It provides a good coverage of both AM and FM stations, two shortwave bands as well as up to 7-pre-programmed NOAA weather channels for real-time emergency updates and alerts as well as entertainment. It also includes a Public Emergency Alert System.
It even includes an LED SOS beacon light so you can signal for assistance as well as an LED reading lamp and flashlight to keep you going when the lights go off.
Its water resistant thanks to its rubberized body plus its sturdy construction makes it great for outdoor use.
Multiple recharging options
Phone charging capability
Great signal reception
Great emergency features
LED flashlight and beacon light
With the FosPower Emergency Crank Portable Radio, you get full access to the NOAA emergency weather broadcasts with up to 7 pre-programmed channels, AM/FM bands, shortwave bands, and an SOS alarm that is ready to go off when things get out of hand.
With up to 3 power sources to keep the radio on all the time and a powerful 2000mAH power bank for a power boost when you need it most, you’re never without power or vital information you need to push through emergency situations.
Both the solar panel and hand crank are perfectly capable of producing enough power to power your device. The backup AAA batteries will keep you radio powered when other charging methods prove to be ineffective.
The unit also lets you charge your phone and devices like GPS unit, MP3 player, and digital camera. It also features a 1W flashlight that keeps you out of the dark after a power outage as a well as a 4 LED reading light.
With a rugged shell and an IPX3 water-resistant body, the FosPower will survive even the toughest environments.
For your peace of mind, the unit is backed by a Limited Life Warranty.
· Includes multiple power sources and a power bank to keep your radio on
· Long-lasting battery power
· USB phone charger
· Emergency flashlight and reading light
· Powerful signal reception
· SOS distress alarm for emergency situations
· NOAA emergency weather broadcast access
· Clear and concise reception sound
· Backed by a limited lifetime warranty
· Sturdy construction
With the sturdy Puiuisoul Portable Emergency Weather Radio, you get a ton of emergency features like NOAA weather broadcasts and an SOS alarm that is ready to go off when in dire need of assistance.
This survival radio does more than just warning you about the raging hurricanes or storms. It also lets you access AM/FM for entertainment and updates on the current and upcoming weather conditions.
And thanks to its sturdy antenna the radio has a remarkably good reception. All weather updates will be transmitted in a crystal-clear sound.
Upgraded for 2021, this unit now boasts of a 4000mAH replaceable Lithium Ion battery. This means longer hours of operation. Some users have praised its long battery life- having offered them up to 20 hours when just using the radio.
The battery can be charged in three ways- via solar, hand crank, and via a Micro USB phone cable. The radio also lets you keep your devices like phones fully charged.
The SOS produces a loud siren which is great for calling for immediate assistance as well as flashing high beam lights with a long illumination distance.
It’s IPX3 water resistant, sturdy, and also features a 3-mode long distance illumination flashlight as well as a motion sensor reading lamp to avoid waking up your family when getting up at night.
· Reliable emergency features
· Long-lasting battery life
· Powerful lighting functions
· Multiple power sources
· Water resistant
· Allows for phone charging
· Loud siren and powerful beam lights for emergency assistance
· Sturdy design
· Small and compact
· Backed by a 1-year Replacement Warranty
· Comes with a 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
If you’re looking for something cheap yet fully functional with all the required features, the RunningSnail Emergency Weather Radio is just what you need.
This small and compact survival kit radio keeps you updated with the latest weather news as it offers access to all the NOAA weather broadcast channels and also lets you tune into AM/FM band stations. Plus the SOS alarm allows you to send a distress signal when things get bad.
The unit comes with a 1W LED flashlight that produces a bright light so you can still move around and do things in the dark case of a power outage.
The radio is powered by a Lithium Ion battery which when fully charged can run the unit for many hours. When you’re off grid or suffering through a prolonged power outage, you can still keep the radio operational by recharging it via solar, Micro USB charging, or by manual hand crank.
The RUNNINGSNAIL Emergency Radio has been upgraded to include a 100Mah power bank for charging your phone directly via a Micro USB cable.
Lightweight yet sturdy and portable, this emergency radio is also a perfect hiking, backpacking, or camping companion.
· Multiple recharging ways
· Powerful 1W LED lighting
· Great sound quality
· Compact size- won’t weigh you down or take up much space
· Powerful reception for reliable weather updates
· Phone charging
· Lightweight yet sturdy and durable
· Quite affordable compared to most models
· Backed by a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty for your peace of mind
The Midland WR300 Deluxe Weather Alert Radio is the kind of emergency radio you need by your side during severe weather conditions such as snowstorms, tornados, hurricanes, floods, and others.
The radio provides you with instant access to weather information via the NOAA weather scan that automatically scans through 7 pre-programmed weather band channels with floods, tornadoes, thunderstorm, and other danger warnings.
It automatically alerts you of severe weather conditions (over 60 emergency alerts) via the NOAA Weather Alerts. The unit will sound a loud and clear alarm to alert you of any impending danger.
The Midland WR300 is equipped with the Specific Area Message Encoding technology (S.A.M.E) consisting of up to 25 programmable locations. The S.A.M.E technology automatically locks on your county’s NOAA weather radio signal so you don’t need to go through the hassle of configuring the channels.
The WR300 also lets you easily program the unit to receive weather updates from up to 25 counties and even set alerts for specific counties under a threat.
The unit also features a multilingual display that displays severe weather alerts in English, French, and Spanish.
It comes with a sturdy antenna for a powerful reception and features a battery compartment so you can use battery backup in case you end up losing power. It uses 3AAA batteries which allow for continuous operation especially if you’re just using it for weather updates.
Although the Midland WR300 provides all the necessary weather updates, it offers access to AM/FM band stations. It’s strictly a weather radio.
Another drawback is its lack of phone charging port and also doesn’t offer multiple power sources like hand crank and solar charging.
· Instant weather updates and alerts
· Alerts display in multiple languages
· Crystal clear screen display
· Powerful and reliable reception
· Over 60 emergency alerts
· Up to 25 programmable locations
· Long-lasting battery life
· Lightweight and portable
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Emergency Radios
1. What Kind of Radio is Used for Emergencies?
An emergency weather radio is the most suitable type of radio for emergencies. This is a radio that gives you access to current weather information and alerts of any impending danger in your area.
The best emergency radio must be battery-powered with multiple recharging options, including NOAA weather access and alerts, SOS distress signal, and AM/FM band stations (some do not have this feature).
2. Why Would I Need an Emergency Radio?
An emergency radio is mostly used for emergency weather situations such as hurricanes, snowstorms, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, and others.
However, these multipurpose devices can be used by campers, hikers, and backpackers who want to stay informed of any severe weather in their surroundings.
They are also suitable for countless emergency situations such as fires.
If you live in a natural disaster-prone area, you’ll definitely need an emergency radio. Likewise, if you regularly go off-grid, an emergency radio will also come in handy as it also lets you seek for help when you encounter any danger.
3. What is a Crank Radio?
A crank radio is a radio that features an internal generator that can be used to power the electronic device. Most emergency radios come with a hand crank that lets you recharge your phone when AC power is unavailable.
4. How Does a Hand Crank Radio Work?
A hand crank radio is a radio that uses an internal generator to produce power. It’s a hassle-free method for powering your emergency radio during a power outage or when other recharging options are unavailable.
5. How Long Does a Hand Crank Radio Last?
Usually, cranking the radio for about 5 minutes will probably power your radio for a few minutes. Some emergency radio brands provide more power. As far as the durability is concerned, it entirely depends on factors such as brand and maintenance. Well maintained hand crank radios can operate for many years. Likewise, a crank radio from a reputable brand is likely to last longer.
6. What is the Best NOAA Radio?
A good NOAA radio is one that provides you with instant access to information about severe weather situations in your area and also sends out alerts so you can stay prepared.
Most NOAA radios feature up to 7 pre-programmable NOAA weather channels for real time weather updates and alerts.
The radios are able to operate continuously thanks to their long-lasting batteries which can be easily recharged via multiple power sources.
The Bottom Line
With natural disasters always lurking, it’s important that you’re always alert and fully prepared for your safety and that of your family.
These 5 best emergency radios will help you do just that. By providing you with real-time weather updates and alerts of severe weather situations, you’ll be better prepared to counter any oncoming dangers.
Thomas is the resident tech expert and brains behind 24k World Tec. For a hobby, he loves amateur photography and flying his drone to capture some amazing sights. As an owner of both a Mac and PC, Thomas tries to keep up to date with tech news and give his readers information on the best products available.