Best Emergency Radios Reviewed & Rated for Quality
There’s an old saying about trouble: it’s encapsulated in the 5P rule. What is the 5P rule you ask? It goes like this: Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. The idea is if you want to be able to handle whatever the world throws at you, take the time to prepare for whatever the world might throw at you. This goes for work, relationships, and especially the weather. As the world warms up more extreme weather is just going to be part of the equation. More wind, rain, hurricanes, blizzards, floods and tornadoes., And as long as our power grid is strung up on poles near trees, that means more power outages. When that happens prior preparation means having an emergency radio. Here are some of our favorites.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 10 hrs of research
6 different charging options
7 NOAA stations already pre-programmed
Water and impact-resistant
10 Best Emergency Radios
1. Kaito KA500 5-Way Powered
6 different charging options
7 NOAA stations already pre-programmed
Water and impact-resistant
May not get the best reception
If overall durability and functionality are what you are after, then the Kaito KA500 Emergency Radio is the perfect choice for you. Equipped with 5 different power options, this product offers maximum weather alert coverage with 7 NOAA channels that are pre-programmed along with real-time weather and a public alert system. If that isn’t enough to catch your attention, then the fact that this product is also water-resistant and built to be impact-resistant, so you know that it was built to last!
6 Charging Options
One of the really neat aspects of this product is that it offers 6 different ways for you to charge it. You can hand crank it, charge it by using solar power, use (3) AA batteries, a 5 volt USB cable, or use a wall adapter. It also has the option of using the built-in battery pack that is rechargeable. With this many options, you will never have to worry about this radio failing you when you need it the most.
Built to Last
Not only does this radio offer an abundance of reassurance when it comes to being reliable during emergency situations, but it was also built to be durable. It is made from an extra strong thermoplastic polymer that won’t shatter or crack when dropped and is also water-resistant. This means that no matter what type of weather or emergency you are experiencing, you can rely on this product to help you through it!
Cost and Value
In comparison to other emergency radios on this list, this one falls into the more expensive category. Keep in mind that you are getting a high-quality product that not only offers real-time weather updates on NOAA channels, but it also has a telescoping antenna that can extend up to 14.5” to help with reception, has 6 different charging options, LED lighting, is water-resistant and is made to withstand impact, you are getting an incredible product that will prove to be worth every penny spent.
2. iRonsnow Solar NOAA Weather
NOAA AM/FM weather radio
3 charging options
May not charge all smartphones
May be smaller than expected
If you are looking for an emergency radio that is extremely lightweight but still offers a whole array of functions, then the iRonsnow Solar Emergency Radio is the one for you. Coming in a compact, lightweight size and offering 3 different options to charge, you won’t have to worry about being in the dark during an emergency ever again with this product!
When looking for a product that is needed during emergencies, having multiple functions in one unit makes life that much easier. This product helps reduce some of that stress that comes along with any type of weather emergency by not only functioning as a radio, but as a flashlight and cell phone charger as well, which means you can stay on top of the latest breaking news, keep your cell phone battery fully charged and shine a little bit of light during a dark and scary time.
3 Charging Options
Another cool feature that this product offers is the 3 different charging options. It comes with a 1000mAh battery that can be charged by using the USB port, by hand cranking it, or by solar power. This means that no matter what kind of situation you are in, you can rest easy because this emergency radio will have your back at all times!
Cost and Value
If you are looking for an emergency radio that works hard to keep you safe and won’t break the bank, then this is the one for you. In comparison to other emergency radios on this list, this one falls into the less expensive category. Given the fact that you are getting a multifunctioning radio that offers 3 different charging options, a 1000mAh battery, and is compact and easy to carry, you are getting an amazing product that won’t empty your wallet!
3. Vondior Emergency Radio
Easy to Use
Extended Battery Life
Needs a supply of batteries
Not particularly weather-resistant
We like this radio for its simplicity. Sure, it needs batteries and if those batteries die then you are out of luck if you don’t have extras, but that doesn’t take away from this radio’s value. It’s small, easy to carry, gets great reception, and will let you stay in touch when the power goes out.
Long Battery Life
Even though this doesn’t have a hand crank the two AA batteries that drive this little radio will last you for days. The powerful antenna also guarantees great reception so don’t worry too much about running out of juice.
Whatever you’re looking for when it comes to listening to the airwaves you’re going to be able to get it with this powerful little radio. From the NOAA WB band to AM or FM, whatever you’re looking for you’ll be able to find.
Vondior sends a three-year warranty along with this radio just in case something goes wrong with it. There’s also customer service available 24/7 if you need some help.
4. Sangean MMR-88
Rechargeable in three different ways
Can charge USB compatible devices
Hazardous weather alerts
The battery isn’t as long-lasting as others available
If you are looking for a radio that offers not only AM and FM radio but the option of charging your smartphone too, this is the one for you. The Sangean MMR-88 is a Public Alert Certified Radio that was designed to keep you are your family safe. Featuring severe weather alert warnings, while allowing you to listen to your favorite radio station this radio comes prepared to guide you through any storm or other weather condition.
One of the best features this emergency radio offers is its capacity to be charged in three different ways. It's built-in high power 850mAh Lithium-ion battery can be charged by using the hand crank, a USB, or the solar panel that comes with it. In the case of an emergency where you are left without power, this radio will simply need sunlight in order to work and/or recharge.
Not only can this radio keep you informed but it can also charge your USB compatible devices. This is an excellent feature to have as it gives you the reassurance of knowing you can charge at least one cell phone and have that for any emergency calls you may need to make.
Cost and Value
When compared to other radios on this list, this one falls in the mid-range. It's not expensive but it's not as affordable as others. It offers numerous essential features while still being reasonably priced a win-win for all.
5. FosPower Solar Hand Crank
3 different power sources
Can charge a phone or small tablet
Flashlight and reading light included
Wide frequency range
Sometimes the Radio doesn’t work
We’re hesitant to call this little baby a radio because it does so much and comes in such a nice little package. Do you need to charge your phone, no problem; do you need some extra light? No problem. This little radio will give you everything you need. The Hand crank also means that it’ll never run out of juice as long as you’re able to turn the crank.
The crank powers a 2000mAh power bank that’s plenty strong enough to power a phone or a small tablet. This means that once you crank the power into this the radio will hold onto a charge for some time.
3 power sources
There’s the hand crank, there’s the solar panel and AAA batteries. What this means for you is that this little radio will never run out of power. Whatever the problem, whatever the situation this radio will last as long as you need, it. And if the sun is out you won’t even need to use the hand crank. We just love this little radio.
2 different light sources
The LED lights built into this radio not only does this provide an energy-efficient reading light but it also has a powerful flashlight built into the front end in case you need to venture out in the dark or just want some light around the house when the power goes out.
6. RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA
AM/FM radio channels
Emergency alert system
4 ways to charge
Reception may be weaker in some areas
Light may not be that bright
Staying informed with up-to-date weather information during an emergency can mean the difference between demise and survival. Equipped with NOAA channels, emergency alerts, and 4 different ways to charge the 2000mAh battery, this radio offers all of the necessities during an emergency, so you won’t have to worry about being left in the dark as to what is going on around you.
This product comes equipped with a 2000mAh battery, which has a lot more power than most radios. This means that the battery output is stronger and will last longer. If you are just running the light, then you can get up to 12 full hours off of one full charge of the battery. If you are running the radio, then you can get up to 6 hours of battery life off of a full charge.
4 Ways to Charge
This unit also comes with 4 different ways to charge the device. You can either hand crank it, use solar power to charge it, use the USB cable, or charge it by using AAA batteries. This product also has the capability of charging your smart devices, such as cell phones, so you won’t have to worry about not being able to stay in touch with the outside world.
Cost and Value
When you compare this product to other emergency radios on this list, this one falls into the average price range. Considering that you are getting a high-powered product that offers NOAA channels, AM/FM stations, alerts that inform you of an emergency, an LED flashlight, and a 2000mAh battery that has a strong, lasting output, you are getting an amazing product for a price that you can’t say no to!
7. American Red Cross Emergency NOAA Weather Radio
4 different power sources
Wide Frequency Range
Phone Charger Plug
This tough little radio is designed to stand up to the worst the weather can throw at you as well as keep you tuned in to what’s coming next. In addition, the solar battery and hand crank will keep this baby powered when the batteries run out and also give you enough juice to charge a phone or small tablet. We also just like the way it looks. Not only that but it automatically broadcasts NOAA alerts and let you tune into AM and FM stations as well.
Lighweight and Portable
At first glance, this looks like a clunky boxy radio but it actually doesn’t take up much room at all. It’s a smaller version of a hand-cranked radio than a lot of others that we’ve looked at but it packs the same punch.
A number of power sources
Solar power? Check! Hand Crank? Yes! Rechargeable battery? Of course, it also takes AAA batteries if all else fails. So don’t worry about ever running out of juice when you’re using this baby.
Wide Frequency Range
Not only does this radio pick up a wide frequency of AM/FM stations but it also picks up the NOAA alert stations and this radio is set up to automatically deliver emergency NOAA alerts.
8. Safe-T-Proof Solar Hand Crank
Emergency alert system
Option to charge other devices
2 ways to charge
Might be smaller than expected
May not hold charge that long
If you are looking for a product that does it all, then this is the one for you. This product offers an AM/FM radio, can be charged by solar power or by a hand crank, has an alert system for emergencies, a built-in flashlight, and offers a phone charger so you can keep your devices fully charged at all times!
This device offers a whole array of features that will prove to be useful in an emergency. It offers an alarm system that alerts you when there is an emergency, a bright flashlight so you can see when the power goes out, and a port where you can charge your other devices during a power outage!
2 Ways to Charge
Another important feature is that you can either charge this device by using solar power or by using a hand crank. This means that no matter where you are or the type of emergent situation you are in, you will always have a way to stay up-to-date with what is going on around you.
Cost and Value
In comparison to other emergency radios on this list, this one falls into the average price range. This is great news for you because you are getting a compact, durable product that offers an alert system for weather emergencies, a bright flashlight, the option to charge other smart devices, and 2 different ways to keep this unit charged, so you are getting an amazing deal that you can walk away from.
9. Eton FRX5-BT
Bluetooth music option
Charges smartphones or tablets
Bright flashlight with dimming ability
Solar panel charging
The sound could be better
Created with efficiency and versatility in mind this Eton FRX5-BT radio comes in handy in multiple different scenarios, including storms, emergency hazardous weather, or just a regular camping trip. Featuring splash-proof technology, a bright LED flashlight incorporated with a red emergency beacon, S.A.M.E. and NOAA weather alerts, solar-powered charging option, and many more additional bits that make this radio one of our favorites on this list.
While most emergency radios can only be used for AM, and FM stations this one offers a Bluetooth option as well. Not only will you be able to listen to the news, the weather alerts, and music that is playing on your favorite AM or FM station but you have the ability to connect to your personal music, and podcast library at any given time.
Smart Phone and Tablet Charging
Thanks to its solar-power feature this radio will charge your smartphone and tablet when needed. As long as the radio is charged you will always have a place to charge your much-needed devices. This is perfect for emergencies or long extended camping trips.
Cost and Value
Coming at a higher price point, this radio is very well worth it. Even though you are paying a higher price you are getting your money’s worth with all the features that come along with the radio.
10. Bear Motion BMXLN-288DS
Siren for an alert system
2 different ways to charge
Equipped with charging tips for other devices
Might be smaller in size than expecting
The battery life is not very long
If you are looking for a product that offers the ultimate peace of mind and functionality, then this is the radio for you. This product offers 2 different ways to charge, AM/FM radio stations, offers an LED flashlight, and a way to charge most of the smartphones and devices out there. With this product, you won’t have to worry about being stuck in the dark.
2 Different Ways to Charge
This device has two different charging options available. You can either use solar power to charge it or use the hand crank. With these options, you won’t have to deal with the battery dying when you need it the most.
Variety of Charging Tips
This product also comes equipped with 3 different sizes of charging tips that fit most devices. This means that you can keep devices, such as your cell phone, charged so you can stay in contact with your family during times of an emergency.
Cost and Value
When compared to other emergency radios on this list, this one falls into the less expensive category, which is good news for you. Considering that you are getting a durable, high-quality product that offers AM/FM stations, comes equipped with an LED flashlight, has a siren for an alert system, can be charged 2 different ways, and comes with the option of charging your other devices, you are getting a great product for a price that you can’t walk away from.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
One of the most important aspects to keep in mind when you are looking for an emergency radio is how it is charged. You probably don’t want a product that can only be charged by using electricity because, in the event of a weather emergency, you could end up losing power. It is important to make sure that the product you choose has other charging options available so you can remain informed during an emergency situation and be in a better position to keep you and your family safe. There are a few different charging options that you will come across during your shopping experience such as, solar-powered, hand crank, and battery operated.
Solar-powered radios are equipped with solar panels that allow the radio to charge. This is one of the best options because it requires little to no effort on your end, so you don’t have to worry about remembering to charge the device.
Hand crank radios use a crank that you wind in order to get power to the device. This is another great option to use because you can control how fast the device is being charged. Most radios come with some type of battery in them, whether they are bigger batteries or smaller ones. These batteries are usually replaceable and can be recharged by either of the methods discussed above or can be plugged in to charge, provided that there is electricity.
It is also important to determine whether or not you want a radio that is portable. Not all radios are made to be portable. Some are made as stationary units that either sit on a table or a countertop and don’t offer a way to keep it charged once the unit is unplugged from the wall. If you want a product that you are able to take with you if you end up having to leave your house in the event of an emergency, then making sure that you are purchasing a portable unit is really important.
It is also important to pay attention to the weight and size of the portable unit. You are not going to want to lug around a big, heavy radio everywhere you go if you are forced to evacuate. Most portable units are on the smaller size for that reason, but they still vary a great deal on size weight. Some are designed to be handheld while others are made small enough to place in your pocket.
A lot of emergency radios come equipped with different features that can help ease the stress during an emergency. One important feature that a product can come with is a flashlight. This can help you see during power outages and can also help draw the attention of rescue workers if you happen to be stranded. Not all flashlights are created equal, so pay attention to the number of watts that it uses. It is also important to know how much battery life you will have when you use the flashlight.
Another feature that a lot of these products are coming out with these days is the ability to charge your other devices, such as cell phones. This feature is great because it allows you to remain in contact with your friends, family, and loved ones during an emergent situation. Not all radios have device chargers that fit every smartphone or cell phone, so make sure that you pick one that best suits your needs.
It is important to remember that purchasing an emergency radio is more than just purchasing a new radio. It is an investment that is designed to help you and your family navigate and remain safe during the chaotic times of an emergency. The cost of the product can vary a lot depending on the different functions and features that the device offers, along with its size.
The more features the product offers, the more money you will most likely have to pay. For example, a product that offers 5 different ways to charge may cost more than one that only offers 2 ways to charge. A product that has the ability to charge other devices might cost more than one that doesn’t. In other words, the more bells and whistles, the more likely you will be paying a few extra dollars. Whatever the cost is, it is important to remember that the safety of you and your family come first, and you really can’t put a price on that!
Most of the radios we review here are going to be able to stand up to the elements just in case you find yourself outside, as opposed to surrounded by four walls. For us this is imperative as we recommend emergency radios for the home and for the car, and if you're heading out into the wilderness, for your backpack as well. And let's be real here, you're not going to be using your emergency radio on a sunny day in May, you're going to need it when things go South, and sometimes things go South in a big way so you want to be able to rely on your radio to work in every environment so we took that into account as we were making our list.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Our best piece of advice: please don't go overboard on the features. Sure it's great to have an emergency radio that also has a flashlight, a strobe, a fire starter, an emergency beacon, a cigarette lighter and goodness knows what else. But those things take energy and the one thing you want more than anything in an emergency radio is battery life.
Other Factors to Consider
Weather resistance is one thing, but we're going to make sure that any radio that finds it's way into your home is full-on water-resistant. That means that if it gets caught up in your first-floor flooding if you pick it up and wipe it off it's still going to work.
Of course, there will be caveats, pressure and taking a huge beating are eventually going to deep-six even the best emergency equipment. But since this is a watery planet and it's storm-driven water and wind that are wreaking the most havoc in our lives we're going to make sure that whatever we are recommending you put in your home is going to provide you a solid amount of water resistance.
We've been focusing on making sure that these radios will never fail you in bad weather we also want you to know that we're also keeping an eye on sound quality. Who wants to spend a good amount of scratch on the radio if it sounds like whatever you're listening to is coming out of a tin can. Not only that but when it's loud outside your emergency radio is going to have to compete with storm strength winds, and battering rains.
Also, let's be honest, this radio might well end up being your go-to outdoor tool for music or listening to the ball game so we are going to have to put some work into making sure the speaker system is going to give you some bass and treble and midrange when you need it.
If things go really and truly south then it's possible you might have to hit the road quickly and so we're looking at models that will easily stow in a backpack or can be thrown into the back seat of a car without any trouble. That means truly lightweight and compact and easily storable. When you're trying to get out of the path of trouble the last thing you need is anything weighing you down, so we're looking for radios that you can hold in the palm of your hand and carry along with any other life necessities that you might need.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Do all emergency radios offer NOAA channels and a Public Alert System?
No, not all devices offer that kind of services. There are products out there that only offer the AM/FM stations and some that offer NOAA channels with them. If you are looking for a product that offers NOAA channels and alerts you when there is an imminent danger, then it is important to read the specifications of the product, which you can find within the product details.
q: What does S.A.M.E mean and is it a good feature to have on a radio?
S.A.M.E. stands for Specific Area Message Encoding and it is a great feature to have, especially if you are in an area that has a tendency to be impacted by bad weather. Basically, this is a system that allows you to program your device to alert you of imminent danger in specific areas.
This means that you can program the device to not only alert you about issues in your area but the surrounding areas too, so you can be one step ahead of any situations that could arise. Even with today’s technology, the local alert sirens can only offer so much time to prepare, but a system like this can let you know about areas that are surrounding you so you have more time to react and prepare.
q: How many power sources should I be looking for in an emergency radio?
It is always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. Choosing a product that offers multiple ways to charge it is a great way to ensure that your device will always have a way to be charged and you won’t have to deal with being left in the dark. That doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to choose the one with the highest number of charging options, but buying one that is solar-powered or one that has a hand crank is your best option.
q: Do all emergency radios come with flashlights?
Great question! While we decided to make a large portion of our guide radios that do come with integrated flashlights, that is not always the case. Therefore, if you are looking for a radio that does offer a flashlight you might want to consider; a radio from our selection or reading up on the specs your desired radio has before purchasing.
q: Are larger radio’s better?
While size can be a defining factor when purchasing your emergency radio, it shouldn’t be the only factor you consider. Large radios tend to have a better sound due to the size of their speakers; however, they can be a huge inconvenience due to their size. Meanwhile, a small radio may have less of a clear sound, but they are easy to carry and maneuver.
q: If my radio does not contain solar-powered charging should I be worried?
Solar-powered charging is always a good idea, as you are not confined to a power outlet or a set of batteries; instead, you can use the sun as your main source of power, making them quite handy.
q: Are there any other kinds of alerts I can get on my emergency radio?
As a matter of fact, if you have a high-end radio you can program it much like your phone to get all kinds of alerts, not only weather alerts, but crime reports and even Amber alerts as they are made available by your local authorities. The only hindrance these days is, of course, battery life and how plugged in you want to be. If you go to ready.gov you'll find all kinds of different alerts that you can plug into that are being sent out by Federal, State and Local authorities so feel free to sign up and begin using any or all of them that are of interest to you.
- How to Choose a Reliable Emergency Radio, Website ,
- Stay Connected: How to Choose an Emergency Weather Radio, Website ,
- Tips for Choosing an Emergency Radio, Website ,
- Emergency Alerts, Website ,