Last Updated on September 2, 2020
Looking for the best emergency radio? With all the potential scenarios where you could be without power it is important for you to have a means of accessing important messages, news, and weather updates to protect your family and home.
In this article I have reviewed the best options on the market today and will reveal the top radios to have in case of a crisis.
Check out the quick list below for price and customer reviews for my best emergency radio picks, or read on for the full review:
- Kaito KA500 Five-Way Powered AM/FM/SW/NOAA Emergency Radio
- RunningSnail AM/FM/NOAA Solar Crank Emergency Radio
- iRonsnow Solar Emergency NOAA Weather Radio
- Emergency Weather Solar Powered Portable Hand Crank NOAA Radio
- iRonsnow IS-388 Real NOAA Alert Weather Radio
While most people will never have to rely on an emergency radio, you really can’t be too prepared for a grid-down situation. It’s imperative that you can get information during an emergency and get updates, but finding the best emergency radio can be daunting. My guide will help you choose the right weather radio for you.
It can begin to feel overwhelming when you start looking at all the options available for a new emergency radio.
They come in all shapes and sizes and with a lot of different features.
Rather than buying the first one that you see or spend hours going through all the specs, you need to know what you’re looking for to choose the best radio for your needs.
I find that first you need to make sure that you stick to the basics with a radio that will allow you to hear emergency alerts and warnings.
Unless you are planning to communicate with others, a more basic model will work.
It’s important to make sure that the radio you choose supports multiple different power sources.
Even if you pack a lot of batteries in your emergency kit, these can be used up quickly in an extended situation without power. I have had many week long power outages over the years.
Ideally you’ll want to make sure that you can power your radio via a hand crank or other charger.
Finally you will get to consider the optional features that will make using your radio enjoyable and ensure that it is as useful as possible. I find that a rugged exterior that will prevent your radio from being damaged if you drop it is important, but there are other features to consider, as well.
Benefits of Owning an Emergency Radio
There are a number of reasons why you need an emergency radio and advantages that you’ll receive when you choose the right one for your needs.
When you have an emergency radio, you will be able to not only hear weather alerts, but you can get this information without tying up cell phone lines.
This means that emergency responders will be able to better reach and assist victims.
Including you and your family.
Some emergency radios also double as a flashlight, which means that you will have an alternative light source in an emergency. The flashlight on my emergency radios have been indispensable many times over the years.
While you won’t always lose power in an emergency, this is common, and something that you will want to be prepared for.
When you choose an emergency radio that doubles as a flashlight, you won’t have to worry about stocking your home with as many additional flashlights.
Having the latest local disaster updates and weather forecasts even when your phone and TV are down can be the difference between survival and being a statistic.
Features to Look for in Your Emergency Radio
If you are really worried about losing power and not being able to operate your emergency radio, then you will want to consider a radio that has a solar cell as a power source.
These do tend to be more expensive, but as long as you can access some sunlight during the day, you won’t have to worry about your batteries dying when you need them the most.
It’s also a good idea to pay close attention to the durability of your new radio.
While more and more disaster preparation radios are made from rugged materials that are resistant to breaking when they are dropped, it’s a good idea to consider a radio that is resistant to splashes, even if it can’t be fully submerged.
This means that you won’t have to worry about your radio being ruined when you are running through the rain with it. (I’ve found myself in this exact situation)
Some radios offer features such as humidity and temperature readings so that you can monitor the local weather conditions.
These features, in addition to a clock and calendar, will make it easy for you to track the time, days, and weather when you are faced with a grid-down situation.
Finally, pay close attention to the size and weight of the radio that you want to buy.
I know that it’s easy to get caught up in the different features that you can choose from, but if you buy a radio that is too bulky or difficult to carry, then you are likely to leave it behind in an emergency.
I also like straight forward and logical controls. In an emergency we will have enough on our mind. And figuring out how to tune in a different radio band shouldn’t be one of those concerns.
If you want to be able to take your radio with you in the case of evacuation, then you need to choose a lighter option.
Radios that are too heavy can become a nuisance and will likely be left behind.
How to Best Utilize Your New Emergency Radio
The best way to use your radio to help you during an emergency is to have easy access to it so that you can listen to weather reports and find out when there are problems in your area.
If you have a bug out bag or survival kit for your family, then it’s a good idea to store your radio with this equipment and emergency supplies.
This ensures that you can find out any necessary information when faced with a disaster without scrambling to find your disaster gear.
Best Emergency Radios
I can’t overemphasize the importance of having a quality emergency radio on hand at all times. You never know when disaster may strike and a great radio will ensure that you and your family will receive all potentially life saving messages. Emergency radios come in battery power, solar power, and hand crank models which will allow you to stay on top of any emergency even if the power goes out. I have reviewed the top models on today’s market for performance, durability, and quality of construction.
Kaito Five Way AM FM SW NOAA Weather Alert Radio
This is one hell of a great all around emergency radio. With seven preprogrammed national weather channels and the ability to enjoy real time weather alerts, this National Weather Service certified radio is powerful and durable. It includes an LED flashlight, red LED for SOS calls, a reading lamp, and a mobile phone charger. With six different ways to charge your radio, you won’t have to worry about whether or not you are able to get the information that you need in an emergency situation. Solar power, hand crank, and battery power. This is a winner.
Running Snail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Emergency Radio
I really like the power bank and solar charger on this one. In a disaster situation, you need to make sure that you are alerted to major problems, and this radio offers connection to the NOAA station for instant updates. Thanks to the loud SOS alert, you will be notified of problems in your area. Use the radio as a flashlight, alert light, or as a table lamp so that you will have all of the illumination that you need.
iRonsnow Crank and Solar NOAA Weather Emergency Radio
High quality and one of those most portable emergency radios out there. Unlike other radios that can be difficult to tell when you are fully tuned into a station, this radio has a green light that will let you know when you are receiving the best sound quality. The included flashlight is very strong and easily illuminates the room, and since the radio itself weighs less than eight ounces, you can easily pack it with you and take it on the go in an emergency.
Emergency Portable Solar Hand Crank Weather Radio
This is a great option if you want to be able to easily charge your radio via solar, battery, hand crank, or micro USB in case of an emergency. Once the battery is fully charged, you can enjoy up to 40 hours of light from your LED solar flashlight, LED reading light, and SOS alarm and even charge your cell phone. Play FM and AM stations, as well as music through a TF card or MP3 USB memory stick. Great battery life, I really like this one.
Real NOAA Alert Weather Radio with Alarm
One of the better options for reception, this radio is great for remote locations. If you are worried about missing information in an emergency, then you will love that you can get NOAA alerts directly to your radio when you buy this emergency radio. This is a much faster way to be notified of a problem than waiting to hear it on the radio. Additionally, the flashlight and reading lamp are powerful and will offer you plenty of illumination.
It’s important, when choosing the best emergency radio that you find one that will offer you the power that you need so that when you are faced with an emergency you can still connected and informed about conditions in your area. That’s why I love the Kaito KA500 Radio. Because you have a number of different ways to charge the battery and because you can enjoy seven preprogrammed NOAA weather channels, you can easily stay connected and know what is going on in your area. Additionally, the LED flashlight and reading lap will keep you safe, comfortable, and cozy when you lose power.
I trust each of our picks and at the end of the day that’s what we need. A dependable, functional radio ready when a disaster hits. Let me know which radio you chose in the comments below.
Fred is the Ready Zeal owner and editor. He has been passionately pursuing all things emergency preparation since working alongside his grandfather as a boy growing up in the Midwest. When not working on the family homestead he can be found brewing coffee and reading a good book or backpacking in the wilderness. Contact Fred at firstname.lastname@example.org