No one can control the weather or stop natural disasters, the best you can do is prepare for them and put safety measures in place. When taking precautions most people tend to focus more on having a first aid kit, a multi-purpose tool, or emergency food leaving out one important aspect, means of getting updates on the situation.
When unexpected disasters occur, you don’t to be kept in the dark. You’ll need constant updates on the status of a storm, fire, or gruesome weather conditions. The best way to get this is by having an emergency radio in place before the storm hits.
An emergency radio will help you stay connected to what is happening around you even if the power is out or the Internet is down. This can be your lifeline for receiving life-saving information in emergency situations.
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Top 10 Best Emergency Radio in 2020
Finding a good emergency radio can get really difficult especially for someone who’s not really good with such and worst still, there are lots of options to choose from.
A valuable aspect of an emergency radio is how it works. At the most basic level, it should be able to provide effective means of receiving AM and FM broadcasts even when the power is out.
If you don’t have a clue on how to go about your search for an emergency radio, you can start by going through the top 10 recommendations for you.
1. Kaito KA500 5-Way Powered Emergency Radio – Best Overall
The Kaito KA500 5-way powered solar and hand-crank emergency radio is perfect for all types of emergencies and natural disasters situations.
The Kaito KA500 is outfitted with quality, AC-type brushless generator and solar panel that is able to power the device and also charge the internal batteries. In emergency situations, you can never have too many power sources.
This device comes with 5 different ways you can power it. It has the solar panel option, hand crank, AA batteries, a USB jack, and an AC adapter.
This radio is sure to deliver you updates when you need them as it can receive AM, FM, shortwave, and NOAA broadcasts. It is equipped with a telescopic antenna for high-sensitivity reception needs. This radio already has 7 weather channels pre-programmed into it. It includes a flashlight and can also double as a power bank to charge your cellphones.
- AM/FM/Shortwave/NOAA coverage
- LED flashlight and Power bank
- Multiple charging options
- The plastic crank arm isn’t very sturdy
- Radio reception decreases during phone charge
2. Sangean MMR-88 Emergency Radio – Runner Up
The Sangean MMR-88 is one of the best emergency radios you can get at a very affordable price.
Filled with a lot of amazing emergency features, it is designed to make getting important broadcasted information during bad weather or natural disaster easier. This radio comes with a built-in clock and a headphone jack and can be powered by a hand crank, solar panel or USB jack.
The MMR-88 is a digital AM/FM and NOAA weather radio with a Public Alert certification.
The MMR-88 features 19 pre-set channels. The device includes a versatile LED flashlight that has settings of high, low and blinking, as well as SOS Morse code functionality for situations that you really serious. It has an emergency buzzer button, which is another good way to call for help when you are in trouble.
- Water-resistant casing
- Hand-crank works seamlessly
- 4 functions LED flashlight
- The battery it comes with isn’t very good
- No backup battery option
3. RunningSnail MD-90 Emergency Radio – Budget Pick
The RunningSnail MD-090 hand-crank radio is one of the best-value emergency radio you can buy.
It features an all-around functionality that makes it an ideal radio during extreme weather conditions. This emergency radio has a very durable case and hand crank, plus an IPX3 water-resistance rating, which means it is not shy of spraying water and light rainfall.
This analog radio has a retractable antenna and a 1-watt LED flashlight, the MD-090 is an AM/FM and NOAA weather radio.
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The RunningSnail MD-090 offers multiple charging options; micro USB charging, hand crank, solar charging and you can use AAA batteries as a backup. This device can also charge up portable devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Although the analog tuning knob makes it a little difficult to find some of the FM and AM stations its efficient hand crank, good battery life, and affordability land it a spot on our list.
- Zoomable LED flashlight
- Charge mobile devices
- Solar panels to require lots of direct sunlight
- Not so good speaker
The American Red Cross Radio is a portable and useful option for solid radio reception in an emergency.
The Eton American Red Cross FRX3+ offers superb audio quality, unlike other emergency radios which have static-filled audio quality, it has clean and loud audio, ensuring you get all the crucial information broadcast.
This radio capable of receiving AM, FM, and NOAA weather alerts. This radio offers multiple power options, including rechargeable batteries, a hand crank, solar power, and AAA batteries and also comes with a 2600 mAh rechargeable battery, which can be used to charge other mobile devices.
Like most other emergency portable radios, the FRX3+ has a bright LED flashlight and a blinking red light for sending out emergency signals. This radio is endorsed by the Red Cross Association of America.
- Multiple charging options
- Glow in the dark indicator
- Powerful LED flashlight and emergency beacon
- Need much cranking to get usable charge
- Solar needs a lot of sunlight to fully charge
If you are looking for an emergency radio which offers you multiple power options and great features but you have a small budget, this is the radio for you.
The iRonsnow IS-088 comes with all the great features of highly-priced radios but at an affordable price. This emergency radio allows you to listen to AM and FM radio and also receive NOAA weather alerts.
It has multiple charging options, these include a micro USB, solar options, as well as a hand crank. The iRonsnow IS-088 comes with 3 LED flashlight to help find your way in the dark.
This radio has a 1000mAh battery that can last you for a while if it is fully charged up. You can also charge your phone so you can make calls in an emergency. This is a great device in bad weather conditions, if you are in range, you can expect to get good broadcast reception.
- Lightweight and compact
- Multiple options for charging
- Great reception
- Cell phone charger
- Not very good battery life
- No AA battery support or headphone jack
This is an emergency radio that can function for long hours after its battery is fully charged. The Midland ER310 is highly recommended for bad weather and natural disaster situation. This radio allows you to listen to AM/FM radio and also NOAA digital radio broadcast. This radio has multiple charging options that include a mini-USB, solar panel, and a hand crank.
The Midland ER310 comes with a replaceable 2600 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery, but if you have nowhere to plug in and no access to sunlight, 6 AA batteries can also be used to power the device and you can continue to operate the radio.
This radio has a bright LED flashlight that produces 130 lumens. When in trouble the Midland ER310 can be used as an SOS beacon which spells out your distress signal in Morse code. This radio includes other amazing features such as an ultrasonic dog whistle, telescopic antenna, a large backlit LCD display, a digital clock, and a headphone jack.
- Alternative charging options available
- Use alternate batteries
- Ultrasonic dog whistle
- NOAA weather alerts
- The charging port has some design flaws
Epica is an affordable emergency radio that is lightweight, compact, and easy to tune whenever you need it.
This digital tuner on this radio removes the need to fumble around with an analog tuner to find a reliable signal.
This radio has a backlight and digital liquid crystal display; this makes it be easily tuned in dark conditions.
This Epica can tune in to both AM and FM and can receive NOAA alerts, ensuring you never miss out on important updates.
This device has 3-way charging options, a hand crank, solar panel, and a direct plug into a power socket. To help you find your way in the dark this radio has a 3-LED flashlight to guide you, in addition, it can also act as a mobile phone charger.
- 3-way charging
- AM/FM/NOAA reception
- Very affordable
- Solar panel may scratch easily
The Eton Scorpion II is one of the most durable hand-crank radio for tough environments.
The Scorpion II has excellent reception, only being slightly outperformed by a few of the top crank radios.
It’s compact, rubber exterior has an IPX4 water-resistance rating, which means it can endure heavy rainfall also it has an aluminum carabiner handle that you can use to securely attach it to the outside of your backpack.
The Eton Scorpion II is an AM/FM and NOAA weather radio with simple and easy-to-press buttons at the top, flanking the small display. This device offers multiple recharge options, including the hand crank and the solar panel.
This radio carries a bright flashlight and comes with an 800 mAh rechargeable battery, which allows it to function as a power bank for your mobile devices. The Eton Scorpion II has a 3.5mm audio input, so you can plugin and play music from your phone or music player.
- Water resistant
- Good hand crank
- Durable design
- Great reception quality
- No siren or SAME alerts
The YOBY hand-crank is yet another emergency radio on our list that features an innovative design.
This radio is not reliant upon an external charging device as it has multiple charging options. This portable emergency radio is chargeable through the USB port, a solar panel and can also be hand-crank.
The hand-crank can fully charge the radio in minutes and it will work for hours. Find yourself in the dark, no worries as this radio doubles as an LED flashlight and also has the capability of charging a cellphone so you can call for help.
The YOBY radio gets excellent reception and is capable of receiving a range of signals: AM, FM, and NOAA weather alerts.
- Multiple charging methods
- USB input
- Receives AM, FM, and NOAA weather alerts
- Not as lightweight as some of its competitors
The Kaito Voyager Pro KA600 is one of the best hand crank radio if you are specialized in environmental information.
It is an emergency crank radio that comes loaded with most of the basic radio features. Using this radio, you are able to receive AM, FM, LW, SW and NOAA radio frequencies. A Humidity meter and digital thermometer are additional features that make this radio a good purchase.
If you are having a very poor radio reception and can’t get NOAA or SAME broadcasts, the temperature and barometric pressure alert you about incoming storms.
This radio comes in handy during a power outage, as it has lights to help you see in the dark. Having multiple charging options this emergency radio charges with AC adapter, USB port, adjustable solar panel and of course a hand crank. Although this radio has a fast charge the battery life is very poor.
- Temperature and humidity information
- Quality FM reception
- Adjustable solar panel
- Multiple charging options
- Very expensive
- Poor battery life
- Not water-resistant
- No siren, Morse code and compass
Buying Guide: List of Features to Look for in Emergency Radios
The main purpose of an emergency radio is to bring you vital situation updates when you need them, even if the power or internet is down. Shopping for the best emergency radios can be very time-consuming considering there are lots of options on the market. But you shouldn’t just buy a radio just because it’s called an emergency radio.
Below are some important features besides price, that you should look out for when buying an emergency radio.
What good is an emergency radio if it’s out of power. You would want an AC adaptor for your radio, but it should also be able to draw power from other sources. Other power options to look for include batteries, solar panels, and hand-crank.
Hand-crank is an important feature for an emergency radio as they come in handy when power is out. They rely on human power to charge and function. Radios with solar-panel charging options are a great choice as they can be charged by the sun.
The downside to this is if the situation was a raging storm or you are stuck somewhere with no access to direct sunlight. Keep in mind that the more options a radio has for charging, the better, these two are great charging options for your emergency radio.
When fully charged how long your emergency radio can serve you is to be considered. Running out of batteries when you are stuck in an emergency situation is a terrible thing to happen. When you are relying on an emergency radio to update you on the critical situations, battery life matters a lot. This is why it is important to go for emergency radios with longer battery life even if your emergency radio comes with multiple charging options.
Range and Tuning Operation
In emergency situations what you need is a radio that is easy to operate. A radio with a simple On/Off switch, multiple charging methods, possibly an antenna, and has an easy-to-turn dial for tuning is basically all you need.
The size and weight should be dependent on the intended use of the radio. If the radio is intended for road trips and outdoor activities a small and lightweight radio would be a good option. If it’s for keeps in your home for emergency situations a larger radio with a few extra features is a good choice.
Design, Size and Weight
Although the battery life of an emergency radio is important if your radio can’t tune in to receive a decent signal, that will enable you to hear the broadcasted information, it is of no good use. You will want to look for radios that offer long-range transmission-reception and multiple tuning options. Ensure the radio is able to receive AM radio because all National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) alerts are sent via AM radio. Local FM stations are likely to stop broadcast in severe emergency situations.
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