If you are lucky, you will never need to rely on an emergency radio, but nonetheless, they are a critical part of any survival or emergency kit. A survival radio helps increase your odds of surviving a natural disaster. It will keep you remain in contact and get connected, serving as a type of trusted adviser and safety net.
Moreover, if you invest wisely and choose a proficient emergency or survival radio, you will be able to do much more, like use its flashlight function or charge your other devices. When you are planning to buy a survival radio, it is necessary to make sure that you pick the best one to help you survive whenever you go off on your outdoor adventures.
2. ETON ARCFRX3+WXR
1. SANGEAN MMR-88
3. IRONSNOW IS-088+
1. Battery Type: Rechargeable Lithium Battery
1. Battery Type: Rechargeable Lithium Battery
2. Charging options: Handcrank and USB
3. Features: 7 NOA Weather Stations, LED Flashlight, Emergency Buzzer
1. Battery Type: Rechargeable Lithium Battery
2. Charging options: Handcrank, solar, USB
3. Features: 7 NOA Weather Stations, LED Flashlight, recharges devices
HOW TO CHOOSE A STELLAR EMERGENCY SURVIVAL RADIO
Survival radios come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, so you need to take a very close look at them before you select one. There are a few things you should consider before buying the best emergency radio, including:
Different Ways to Power It: You should look for the best emergency radio that has several ways to recharge. You will find that the majority of radios on the market have four ways to recharge. A rechargeable battery can be charged with a USB adapter, solar charger, computer, alternating current (AC) power source and solar hand crank, while others just require a pair of AAA batteries.
If you have to choose between AAA and AA batteries, you should always press the button for AA ones as they will usually have a longer battery life. A survival radio that accepts power from an external power source, such as an AC adapter or a power bank could be preferable. You may also consider lithium-ion battery, which will prove to be the most reliable under challenging conditions.
Wide Band Range: The best emergency radio should have the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which sends alerts through a.m. channels. Make sure that you check the NOAA in your state and territory. The NOAA weather band will help in keeping you in the loop of the latest conditions. The NOAA weather alert radio you choose should also offer Specific Alert Messaging Encoding (SAME), which allows you to specify specific locations for emergency warnings.
Compact and Light: The NOAA emergency radio you choose should be lightweight and compact – after all, you are going to have to carry it everywhere you go. You should also be able to store it conveniently in your backpack or survival kit. Lugging a heavy NOAA weather alert radio around while you are hiking, trekking, etc. will be cumbersome. So, make sure that you pick a good survival radio that is both compact and light.
Durable: There are loads of emergency radio models available on the market today, and they come in all types of quality. You should make sure that you choose a high-quality survival radio that will last you at least a couple of years. If you are going to spend money on a radio, you might as well choose a stellar one that is sure to be durable and tough enough for all types of conditions and terrains.
Reasonably Priced: While quality is an important criterion, it does not mean that you need to buy the most expensive weather alert radio. It does not necessarily mean that the highest priced emergency radios are of appropriate quality or that they will last longer than others. Stay within your budget and choose the best emergency radio that is reasonably priced – you are sure to find many outstanding emergency radios that do not cost a lot.
THE TOP 10 EMERGENCY RADIOS
1. SANGEAN MMR-88
This is one of the salient AM/FM/Weather Alert radios with a lot of superb features that will come in handy when you are out on your wilderness trips. This Public Alert Certified Weather Alert Radio can be powered with a solar hand crank or power bank. It comes with a siren, flashlight, and smartphone charger. The Sangean MMR-88 comes with 19 preset bands (mixed AM/FM) and a bright backlit LCD display.
With its built-in Morse code flashlight and smartphone charger, it is a nifty gadget to have in the wilderness. The Sangean MMR-88 is a rugged, user-friendly, and versatile survival radio – a definite must-have in Mother Nature’s living room.
The Sangean MMR-88 is definitely one of the best emergency radios out there. It is tough and rugged, so it can withstand almost any condition. It charges very quickly, which is standout in emergency or survival situations.
The battery is not amazing, certainly nothing to write home about, so you might want to get them replaced with better ones, so you can be sure that you have a reliable radio with you on your trips, whether you are out camping, hiking, trekking, fishing, hunting, etc. The Sangean MMR-88 is sturdy and functional and a must-have for any survival or camping kit, as well as for the house. This is a product the great Jack Bauer from 24 would be impressed with.
- (+) Comes with quite a few handy features
- (+) Public Alert Certified
- (+) Includes a loud emergency buzzer
- (-) Battery needs to be improved
- (-) Buttons might be a bit confusing for some users
2. ETON ARCFRX3+WXR
The Eton ARCFRX3+WXR is an all-hazard radio that features a glow-in-the-dark locator and receives AM/FM as well as all 7 NOAA/Environment Canada weather band radio broadcast. As one of the best emergency radios, it comes with an Alert function that broadcasts alerts from emergency weather stations.
You can use a power bank or the solar hand crank to recharge on the go. It also has a LED flashlight and USB smartphone charger. The Eton ARCFRX3+WXR comes with a retractable telescoping antenna that you can neatly tuck away when the radio is not in use. Packed with useful features, this is among the more functional emergency radio options. This is a superb survival radio to have when you are out in the great wide open.
The Eton ARCFRX3+WXR is an excellent survival radio to have when you are out on your adventures. It is packed with some salient features that work really well. However, the sound quality is not very good, so this is a small minus. The retractable telescoping antenna can be tucked away nicely when it is not in use.
The Eton ARCFRX3+WXR is a highly functional and sturdy survival radio. It is well designed and built, so you can be sure that this is a durable product. If you are looking for a quality survival radio that has some nice, functional features, then you should definitely consider the Eton ARCFRX3+WXR.
- (+) All features work great
- (+) Compact and lightweight
- (+) Durable and reliable
- (-) Batteries not covered by warranty
- (-) Sound quality could be better
3. IRONSNOW IS-088+
The iRonsnow IS-088+ is an AM/FM/NOAA/WB radio that can be recharged with the micro-USB, hand crank, or solar power. It comes packed with a load of nifty features, making it one of the top choices when it comes to survival radios. It features a 1-watt flashlight power and 1000mAh power bank for charging your devices, such as LED lamp or emergency flashlight.
The iRonsnow IS-088+ survival radio is compact, lightweight, and easy to carry – all fantastic things for carrying on your outdoor trips. The sound quality is decent and loud. The iRonsnow IS-088+ is definitely one of the must-have survival radios available today.
The iRonsnow IS-088+ survival AM and FM radio is an excellent product that works pretty much the way it has been advertised. Small and light, this is a neat little survival gadget to have when you are out on your outdoor trips. It works terrific – but you may find the radio a tuner a little tough to work at first. Also, the charging port is the old USB charger style, so some users may have a problem with that.
But other than this, the iRonsnow IS-088+ is excellent for survival or emergency situations as it is pretty easy to use and works really well. In fact, this survival radio is quite powerful for its size – it is a superlative buy, especially at its price which is awesome in a market with high energy prices and high food costs because of new policies.
- (+) Well built
- (+) Clear reception
- (+) Bright flashlight
- (-) Old USB-style charging port
- (-) Radio tuner is a little hard to work
4. KAITO KA500
The Kaito KA500 is a 6-way powered emergency radio that comes with a hand crank generator and solar panel for charging. It also has a compartment for 3 AA batteries. It has comprehensive coverage of AM, FM, 7 pre-programmed NOAA channels and 2-band shortwave channels for 24/7 real-time S and Canada weather forecast, entertainment, talk shows, sports, breaking international news with Public Emergency Alert System (PEAS).
The Kaito KA500 survival radio also works as an emergency mobile battery charger and includes a built-in standard DC 5V USB charter output port for charging smartphones, MP3 players, GPS units, digital cameras, etc. This radio also features a LED light, 5 LED reading lamp and a red LED S.O.S. beacon. Although light and compact, the built-in standard DC 5V USB output port for charging is a sturdy radio that is ideal for all types of conditions.
The Kaito KA500 is a compact, light weight radio that works surprisingly well. It is well built and rugged, so you can take it on your outdoor adventures no matter what the conditions are like. This is an excellent all-in-one device that is sure to get you through emergencies and survival situations. Some users have found the AM / FM radio reception a tad weak, but it does not seem to be a problem with many.
You need an adapter to keep the radio charged, so this is one little thing you need to keep in mind. However, the Kaito KA500 is an awesome little survival radio you will like having on your trips.
- (+) Excellent quality and build
- (+) Comes with a 24-inch USB cable
- (+) Solid and durable
- (-) Weak AM/FM reception
- (-) Needs an adapter to keep it charged
5. SANGEAN PR-D9W
The Sangean PR-D9W is another one among the best emergency radios that both looks and works well. It is an AM/FM Weather Alert rechargeable portable radio that comes with an automatic alert that warns you of any hazardous conditions. It has a flashing red LED light with emergency siren. The Sangean PR-D9W features 19 memory preset stations with digital weather alert.
It also has a large LCD screen that makes it easy to read, with settings to adjust the backlight illumination. This nifty survival radio also features a dual alarm, battery selector, built-in headphone stereo amplifier, auto scan and much more. It is available at a fair price and is one of the best choices for survival radios on the market.
If you are in the market for a neat radio loaded with some awesome features, then the Sangean PR-D9W is the one for you. Some may be miffed about the radio not having a handle, but it is not a major problem. It is not the perfect radio, but it does work extremely well in all types of conditions.
The sound is wonderful and the size and weight of the radio makes it ideal for any survival kit, backpack, etc. The Sangean PR-D9W picks up stations easily and is one of the most versatile emergency weather radios today.
- (+) Packed with functional features
- (+) Compact, light and solid
- (+) Affordable
- (-) Does not come with a handle
- (-) Headphones right channel output hisses unless volume is increased
6. MIDLAND ER310
The Midland ER310 is an AM/FM NOAA emergency radio with a hand crank solar and a solar panel. It features a bright 130-lumen Cree LED flashlight and USB output for charging your various portable devices as well as an S.O.S. flashlight beacon for flashing Morse code. The Midland ER310 also comes with an ultrasonic dog whistle that is ideal for assisting search and rescue teams.
It has a battery backup option with 6 AA batteries and a large, bright backlit LCD screen with a digital clock. With its headphone jack, you can plug in your headphones and listen to the weather stations without disturbing anyone in your camp. The Midland ER310 is a well-designed multi weather bands radio that is built for extreme conditions as well as daily use.
The Midland ER310 is a well-made radio that is remarkable for any outdoor trip and for everyday use. It has fantastic reception and sound quality and is extremely easy to use – The shape and size of the radio are great for carrying in your backpack or survival kit.
It works great and is built to last for quite a while. It comes with a number of great features, and all at an affordable price. Powering the radio is easy as you get several different ways to power it, including solar power items. This is a superb buy, especially at this price.
- (+) Includes excellent functional features
- (+) Reliable and durable
- (+) Reliable and steady reception
- (-) A tad heavy for some users
- (-) Requires station memory
7. C. CRANE CC POCKET
The C. Crane CC Pocket is a compact AM/FM and NOAA weather emergency radio that fits right in your pocket. This radio has impressive selectivity and sensitivity for its size and 5 one-touch memory presets. You can listen to the radio with the built-in speaker or with the included earbuds. It features backlight, clock and alarm, sleep timer and a removable belt clip. The C. Crane CC Pocket is extremely easy to use and gives you superb overall performance.
The rubber-coated sides are designed to give you a firm grip and protect it in case you drop it. This survival radio comes with advanced hidden features, e.g. when listening to an AM station or weather stations, pressing #1 and #5 keys at the same time will disable the display screen. All in all, the C. Crane CC Pocket is a top pick if you are looking for a quality radio at a judicious price.
Looking for a pocket-sized survival radio for your outdoor excursions? Then the C. Crane CC Pocket is a sterling option. Compact and lightweight, it packs in quite a few awesome features that come in handy when you are in Mother Nature’s backyard.
This radio is easy to program and you never have to worry when you drop it as it has rubber-coated sides – it would have been great if the entire unit had this coating. The battery cover falls off a tad easily, so you need to be careful. But overall, the C. Crane CC Pocket is a superb radio for outdoor enthusiasts.
- (+) Excellent features
- (+) Fits in the pocket
- (+) Great design and functionality
- (-) Battery cover falls off easily
- (-) AM reception could be better
8. MIDLAND ER200
The Midland ER200 Emergency AM FM Digital NOAA Weather Radio is another one of the top choices when it comes to survival radios available today. It comes with a 130-lumen, bright Cree LED Flashlight and USB Charger Output. You can easily adjust the flashlight’s brightness with the high and low buttons.
The S.O.S. flashlight beacon flashes Morse code which is helpful in emergency situations. You can charge the battery through the hand crank, solar panel, or the mini USB wall outlet cable. The Midland ER200 is a striking and awesome survival radio to have when you are in outdoor emergencies or camping, hunting, hiking, and so on or even in severe weather conditions.
When it comes to survival radios to carry on rugged outdoor trips, the Midland ER200 is one of the best ones on the market. It comes with a number of salient features in a compact and lightweight package that is easy to carry and store. The radio is extremely easy to use. The flashlight is bright and useful when you are in the dark wilderness.
Listening to music can be slightly irritating as the low watt output and small speakers produce a “tinny” sound. However, the Midland ER200 is a sturdy survival radio that you can conveniently carry in your pocket on your outdoor trips with all the features you need to help you survive.
- (+) Built for extreme weather conditions
- (+) Excellent features for emergency situations
- (+) Solid and durable
- (-) Low watt output and small speakers
- (-) Slow solar recharging
9. RUNNINGSNAIL SOLAR CRANK NOAA WEATHER RADIO
The RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio is an emergency radio that can receive all seven NOAA channels to help keep you abreast of the latest weather developments at any point in time. This survival radio is replete with additional features to handle all kinds of crises, including emergency weather broadcasts, hand crank self-charge, IPX3 water resistant, and an SOS alarm with a flashing light.
The 2000mAh battery can use a hand crank, micro-USB, solar power, or three AAA batteries as charging options. The battery on the RunningSnail Solar Crank Weather Radio is sufficient for 4-6 hours of radio or up to 12 hours of light, besides charging USB port devices, like your smartphones.
The RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio is a survival radio that is necessary for emergencies. The LED table lamp and 1W LED flashlight is handy in survival situations, especially in a storm-induced power outage when you need weather alerts. The IPX3 waterproofing can deal with snow or rain with ease, while the 7 NOAA channels can broadcast weather alerts for storms or hurricanes. The unit has a bright reading light good enough to light up a small room and comes with a hook so that you can suspend it inside a tent.
The RunningSnail Solar Crank Weather Radio is highly recommended as a portable solution for backpacking purposes. It makes an emergency noise to aid search and rescue if you find yourself lost during a hiking or camping trip. Though priced a little higher than some other radios, satisfied customers feel it is worth spending a few dollars more for.
- (+) Receives all 7 NOAA weather channels
- (+) SOS alarm with red flashing light
- (+) LED table lamp and zoomable flashlight
- (+) IPX3 waterproofing
- (-) The solar panel takes time to charge
- (-) Build quality not up to scratch
- (-) AAA batteries have a short lifespan
10. MIDLAND – WR120B
It would not be an exaggeration to state that the Midland – WR120B has everything you might be looking for in a radio. Early warning is the best safeguard against inclement weather and this desktop weather radio alerts you to more than 60 hazards over the audible siren. The Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) compatibility requires little programming on your end and lets you choose the counties you need the weather alerts for.
Many users find the EOM detection feature of this Public Alert Certified radio very useful. Other features include a 90 dB siren, flashing LED light warning system, and multiple warning systems including voice, tone, and display alerts. The unit uses 3 AA alkaline battery pack for power back-up and has an inbuilt clock with alarm and snooze functions.
The Midland – WR120B does everything you would expect a radio unit to do and does them quite well. And all this at an unbelievable price! With the SAME programming, you can select a single county or up to 25 multiple counties.
Although the Midland – WR120B is not a portable unit, the batteries can provide many days of monitoring which nicely takes care of a prolonged power outage in bad weather. The only little flaw we found in this unit is that the radio starts beeping if there are no NOAA weekly test weather alerts for two weeks. You might then have to unplug the unit, take out the batteries, and re-program the radio. Overall, this is a great little desk radio.
- (+) Good battery back-up
- (+) SAME programming
- (+) Multiple alerts
- (-) Poor reception and static
- (-) Programming instructions are not clear
TIPS FOR USING AN EMERGENCY RADIO
An emergency radio is a small purchase that goes a long way in ensuring protection for you and your loved ones in case of an emergency. Hopefully, you will never be in a situation where you need to use an emergency radio, but it never hurts to anticipate contingencies and prepare accordingly. Given below are a few tips on the proper handling and usage of emergency radio units that will help ensure that your radio is ready in any emergency:
• Use an airtight case to store your emergency radio and make sure the case is waterproof too. If your emergency radio needs batteries, be sure to store a sufficient supply.
• Before any camping or hiking trip, check your emergency radio thoroughly to make sure it is functioning correctly. The emergency radio along with a rechargeable battery pack could be a life-saver on an adventure trip.
• Be sure to read the instruction manual carefully to familiarize yourself with the programming and functions of your emergency radio. This will ensure you will be ready if an emergency occurs and will be able to save critical time in such a situation.
• Keep the emergency radio fully charged or keep an ample quantity of batteries if needed. You also have the option to go for a hand-cranked or solar-powered emergency radio, which may provide an additional benefit of charging cell phones during a power outage in bad weather.
An emergency weather radio is a small but useful investment to buy peace of mind against bad weather. These units can last for up to 10 years or more with little or no maintenance if you keep them clean and dry. For long lasting battery, you may also consider using lithium-ion battery for your unit and look for a model with an auto off feature. Also, look for additional features, such as a rechargeable battery pack, LED reading lamp, reading light, and telescoping antenna.
WHY YOU SHOULD OWN AN EMERGENCY RADIO
Ever experienced a prolonged power outage during a storm, or no cellphone reception when on a camping or hiking trip? Then you understand the frustration of being in the dark, both literally and figuratively. The inability to access any news or information when you need it the most during an emergency can not only be frustrating but also dangerous for you and your loved ones.
Enter the emergency radio. The design of these radio units aims at eliminating situations like the ones we discussed above. Emergency radios pick up emergency broadcasts and transmit alerts for storms, extreme weather, or human-made calamities. They deliver critical and updated information about emergencies that makes a crucial difference in a crisis and helps you keep safe.
NOAA emergency radios use Very High Frequency (VHF) band stations to issue disaster warnings and weather channel alerts. While you can enjoy the basic AM/FM transmissions on an emergency radio with a rechargeable battery pack, you also have the choice to listen to dedicated weather stations or set alerts for bad weather or disasters.
The Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) is a useful technology found in many emergency radios today. SAME allows the users to block alerts that are not relevant to their geographic area. When you activate SAME on your emergency radio, you will only receive notifications and emergency alerts for your county or those nearby.
In a time and age when we feel helpless and paralyzed without the internet or cell phones, emergency radios with their rechargeable battery pack can be true life-savers in situations when we are disconnected from the outside world.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What Is a Crank Radio?
A hand-crank emergency radio does not depend upon a power or battery source but runs on power extracted from cranking a handle manually. The idea of a hand crank radio may seem antiquated, but these devices are an essential part of an emergency kit, providing NOAA weather alerts, light, and sustainable power.
What Is the Best NOAA Radio?
Apart from the ability to receive NOAA notifications and alerts, a critical plus point for an emergency radio is the ability to operate in a power outage, without a traditional source of electrical power. Many of the best emergency radios today have solar power, AA or AAA batteries, or hand crank as the alternate source of power.
How Long Do Emergency Radios Last?
Emergency radio NOAA units can last for up to 10 years or more with little or no maintenance, if you keep them clean and dry, and keep them in a safe place. As a survivalist, use an airtight case to store your emergency radio, and make sure the case is waterproof too.
Why Can’t I Just Use My Smartphone?
Although we can get all the information we need over our smartphones, what happens if the cell towers are not functioning, the phone runs out of juice in the middle of nowhere, or the power grid shuts down due to bad weather? Disaster management still relies on older technology like radio, when communication systems and power grids break down.
How do I get free emergency radio?
According to a federal government advisory, every American household must have an emergency radio for weather and disaster alerts as an essential part of an emergency kit. Newsmax magazine has started an initiative under which you can avail of a free offer on a hand-crank emergency radio. All you need to pay is $4.95 as handling and shipping charges.
When it comes to survival radios to carry on your adventures in the wilderness or emergency situations, there is no shortage of some tremendous ones. However, picking the right one can be a little tricky. You need to make sure that the radio you choose has everything you need to survive out there in the great wide open.
The ones mentioned above will give you an idea of what you can pick from and help in making sure that you choose one that meets your needs. Research this a little (though we have done some heavy lifting for you here) and make sure that you have an awesome survival radio to take with you on your next adventure.