best emergency radio

Best Emergency Radio For 2020 – Reviews, Comparison And Advice

Premium Choice

Kaito-KA500-5-way-Powered-Solar-Power

Kaito KA500

Our Choice

Midland---ER310,-Emergency-Crank-Weather-AM-FM-Radio

Midland ER310

Budget Choice

American-Red-Cross-Emergency-NOAA-Weather-Radio-with-USB-Smartphone-Charger

The American Red Cross FRX3+

Emergency radios are meant for the worst of situations when you must leave home, and all grids are down. Therefore, if you’re lucky, you might never need to use an emergency radio. However, considering all environmental, social and political issues going on in the world right now, you can never be too prepared. And if having an emergency radio means you will be able to communicate with people, in a situation where it seems impossible, why not be well equipped.

It’s especially important if you live in an area, where extreme weather conditions are not something that is unheard of. We’d advise you to not trust the latest technology, especially considering the fact there is nothing more powerful than Nature.

emergency kit

 If you have ever lost power whilst in the wilderness, you will know the frustrating feeling of not having information from the outside world. And if a disaster strikes you would need as much information about the circumstances, as you can get. That’s why emergency radios were created and why we think every household should have at least one emergency radio.

Unlike the usual radios, emergency radios were created to receive information from VHF (very high frequency) stations across the land. Not only can you know everything about the weather, but you can also pick up emergency broadcasts and have access to the usual AM/FM stations.

Therefore, if you’re planning a camping trip or you’re making your own bug out bag, you should consider grabbing one of those gadgets too! In our guide we will talk about the ways of choosing an emergency radio, our top 10 list of emergency radios to choose from and answer the most common questions surrounding emergency radios.

How To Choose An Emergency Radio

There are various factors that need to be considered when choosing an emergency radio, especially when you think about the weather conditions a radio needs to survive. What most people think of when they hear the word ‘radio’ is sound, and in our opinion, sound is very important, but not for disaster scenarios.

Yes, you will need to hear what is being said, however from a large distance and crisp sound is not the first feature to look for. Here’s a list of things you need to look for in an emergency radio.

  1. NOAA (National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration) – NOAA Weather Radio Hazards is a must-see logo in the world of emergency radio. They are a nationwide network of radio stations which broadcast weather information, continuously. The information comes from the nearest National Weather Service office and cannot get more accurate. They also receive information from Homeland Security and regional Emergency Operation Centers. If your radio has this, it will give you the most important information of the surrounding areas. NOAA covers all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico, Canada, US Pacific Territories and the US Virgin Islands.
  2. NOAA EAS (Emergency Alert System) – Receiving weather alerts is vital especially if you live in an area known for tornados and floods. These are alerts you don’t look for but all emergency radios with EAS implemented turn into an alarm, automatically and start warning its owners of upcoming storms, national emergencies or regional warnings. This feature is a great one, however it is more necessary for people who live in areas more prone to natural disasters. Even though we cannot predict it all, if you want to be extra safe this is a great feature to search for in an emergency radio.
  3. IPAWS (Integrated Public Alert and Warning System) – IPAWS is a system maintained by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It broadcasts alerts such as missing people, imminent threats or presidential announcements.
  4. SAME (Specific Area Message Encoding) – This feature is included in radios that have NOAA feature. It allows you to block alerts from other parts of the nation and only receive alerts concerning your county, and nearby ones.
  5. Charging Options – The ability to charge an emergency radio is crucial whilst in the wilderness, as if the radio stops, so does your contact with the outside world. The best bet when it comes to emergency radios and charging is:
  6. Solar Charging – If the radio has a solar panel it will easily draw power from the rays of the sun, promising for easy charge.
  7. Hand Cranks – They are advisable, as solar panels aren’t reliable during storms and hand cranks are reliable most of the time.
  8. Battery/ Car Charge/ Electrical Charging – Three choices that are not highly reliable because it’s great to be able to charge your radio in the car or in the plug, however is that possible in an emergency? Furthermore, batteries only last so long, and unless you stock your bag with at least a few sets, the radio will soon be useless.
  9. Additional Radio Features – Some emergency radios come with additional features such as:
  10. Flashlight – You will most probably have a regular flashlight, however an extra one is never too much.
  11. Cell Phone Charger – As strange as it sounds, some emergency radios come with this feature and you never know when you might need it. They don’t come with a cable, just the port.
  12. Speaker Options – Some radios can have a headphone port in the situation where you don’t want someone to hear what is being said (like children.)
  13. Language Options – There is the possibility of listening to broadcasts in languages other than English, in case English isn’t your first option.
  14. Waterproof Case – You would want to protect your radio from storms and water in general.
  15. Digital Clock – Some radios come with a clock and if you don’t have one on your hand and can’t tell the time by the position of the sun, it would be useful. 
  16. Shortwave Feature – Some radios have the ability to receive shortwave broadcasts. They don’t broadcast emergency information and alerts; however, you can listen to broadcasts from across the globe.
  17. Strong Impact Resistance – Your emergency radio cannot be made from cheap plastic, as it will break on day one. It should be able to withstand the toughest of conditions, so keep that in mind.
radio transmission

Now that we have talked about how to choose an emergency radio and how to choose it, we will share with you our list of top 10 emergency radios on the market today. Hopefully, one of those radios will turn out to be your new favorite toy.

What Is The Best Emergency Radio On The Market Right Now?

1. Kaito KA500

Kaito-KA500-5-way-Powered-Solar-Power
  1. Impact and Water Resistant
  2. Loudspeaker with Crisp Sound
  3. 6 Ways of Charging
  4. Wide Coverage

Kaito is a solar powered radio which can be use in the daily life or in an emergency situation. It’s the premium tool to rely on in case disaster strikes. It has everything you need and more with a cellphone charger, a reading lamp, an SOS red beacon light and a flashlight included in one product. It’s made of strong, waterproof and impact-resistant material; therefore, you can rely on it for a long time. Its approximate dimensions are 8.82 x 5.83 x 2.83 inches and it weighs 1.4 pounds.

The Kaito emergency radio can be powered in six different ways.

  • 3 AA Batteries (which are not included in the pack)
  • Hand-crank Dynamo Generator
  • Solar Panel
  • NiMH Rechargeable Battery Pack
  • 5V Mini USB
  • AC/DC Wall Adapter/Charger (not included)

Furthermore, the Kaito KA500 includes the following features:

  1. Alert Mode – You can set your Kaito KA500 to Alert Mode, which will be activated automatically as soon as it receives signal from the NOAA.
  2. Wide Coverage – It has a wide range of reception including AM/FM, shortwave and seven pre-programmed NOAA weather channels. The seven channels are numbered 1 to 7 and can be accessed by turning the knob. The wide coverage is thanks to the telescopic antenna which extends to 14.5 inches.

Pros

  1. Impact and Water Resistant
  2. Loudspeaker with Crisp Sound
  3. 6 Ways of Charging
  4. Wide Coverage Because of Antenna
  5. Multi-Functional

Cons

  1. Weak Crank Powering – takes time.
  2. Sun Takes Time To Charge Radio.

2. Midland ER310

Midland---ER310,-Emergency-Crank-Weather-AM-FM-Radio
  1. Loads of Emergency Features
  2. Multiple Power Sources
  3. Charging Option
  4. Great Reception Quality

The Midland ER310 is a great everyday use crank radio and with all its additional features it makes it a fantastic choice for emergency radio. Let’s take a look at the features of Midland ER310 and see what makes it such a great choice.

  1. Multiple Power Sources – The Midland ER310 can be powered through its solar panel, hand crank or the rechargeable long-life 2600 mAh battery.
  2. Emergency Flashlight – The flashlight flashes morse code in an emergency or the bright CREE LED light can be used to signal for help. You can adjust the brightness to preserve the radio’s battery life.
  3. NOAA Weather Scan & ALERT – 7 Available NOAA weather band channels which are automatically scanned, and the strongest channel is locked in. It will alert you for any severe weather updates. If there is a high risk, NOAA will alert you through the alarm.
  4. FM/AM Radio – FM and AM radio is also available and can be controlled through the tuner.
  5. External Device Charger – Charge phones or other electronic devices with the included USB Cable.
  6. Ultrasonic Dog Whistle – Not only can you call your dog; you can also use the whistle to alert rescue teams when lost or stranded.

Pros

  1. Loads of Emergency and Preparedness Features
  2. Multiple Power Sources
  3. Charging Option
  4. Great Reception Quality

Cons

  1. Hand Crank Can Be Inefficient
  2. The Radio Is Not Waterproof

3. The American Red Cross FRX3+

American-Red-Cross-Emergency-NOAA-Weather-Radio-with-USB-Smartphone-Charger
  1. Headphone Jack for Individual Listening
  2. 1 Lithium Ion Battery Included
  3. Fantastic Crisp Sound Speaker
  4. Multiple Powering Options

The Eton FRX3+ is a digital AM/FM radio and a weather alert radio. It’s a great choice if you are on a budget but wish to buy a quality product. The FRX3+ has dimensions of 5.8 x 6.9 x 2.6 inches and it weigh 0.93 pounds. It comes with a large economic hand crank which allows for power boost whenever needed. Here are the features of the Eton FRX3+:

  1. Power Sources – It can be charger by its solar panel, hand turbine power generator or with the 2600 mAh battery. If you want, you can use AAA batteries as well.
  2. Radio Coverage & Reception – The emergency radio features AM/FM broadcast reception and NOAA’s seven weather band stations. There is also an antenna for the AM reception and another one for the FM reception.
  3. ALERT – Alert System which will notify you whenever there are serious weather warnings in your area.
  4. Speaker – The speaker ensures clear and crisp sound; therefore, you wouldn’t miss out on important news.
  5. Additional Functions – There is a USB smartphone charge option, as well as a long-lasting flashlight and an alarm clock. Last but not least is the red flashing beacon for attracting attention.
  6. Strong Make – Made from higher quality plastic, Eton FRX3+ can survive through a majority of incidents.

Pros

  1. Headphone Jack for Individual Listening
  2. 1 Lithium Ion Battery Included
  3. Fantastic Speaker with Clean and Crisp Sound
  4. Multiple Powering Options

Cons

  1. Not Waterproof
  2. Battery Life Can Be Questionable
  3. Uncomfortable Grip

4. Epica Digital Emergency Radio

Epica-Digital-Emergency-Solar-Hand-Crank-AM-FM-NOAA-Radio
  1. Lightweight and Easy To Carry
  2. Multi-Functional
  3. Digital Display and Tuner
  4. Waterproof & Built To Last

This small and lightweight emergency radio is a great choice for those who don’t want to spend too much on an emergency radio. It comes with everything you need to get regular updates on the news, the weather or to keep your area lit up and charge your mobile phone. Here are the features of the Epica Hand Crank:

  1. 3 Ways To Charge – You can charge it by its hand crank, the solar panel or if you plug it in.
  2. High-Quality Digital Tuner – Tune to the station you need without using analog, simply use the digital tuner to pick up AM/FM band and NOAA’s Weather Frequencies.
  3. 3-LED Flashlight – Never be left in the dark with Epica’s bright flashlight.
  4. Charge Your Phone – You can charge your phone with Epica, if you have a cable of course!
  5. Portable & Easy To Carry – Put your fingers through the handle or use the carabiner to attach it to your pants, you can carry Epica with ease.

Pros

  1. Red Color Makes It Stand Out
  2. Lightweight and Easy To Carry
  3. Multi-Functional
  4. Digital Display and Tuner
  5. Waterproof & Built To Last

Cons

  1. There is no Battery Option with Epica
  2. 2 Minutes of Hand Crank Only Give You 20 Minutes Battery Life

5. The Running Snail MD-090

RunningSnail-Solar-Crank-NOAA-Weather-Radio-for-Emergency-with-AM-FM
  1. Waterproof
  2. Compact
  3. Iphone Charger Included
  4. Multi-Functional

The Running Snail MD-090 is a great alternative, that is also not too expensive. For under 40 dollars you get a multi-functional emergency radio to include in your bug out bag. Its build is good enough to survive almost any challenge Nature throws at you. It’s waterproof and long-lasting. Don’t be fooled by the snail, it’s quicker than you might think. The features of RunningSnail are the following:

  1. Quality Coverage & Reception – AM/FM and NOAA Weather Alert Radio which you can control through its analog tuner and know all about nearby emergencies or national ones.
  2. Multiple Ways To Charge – You can use the hand crank, the solar charging panel, a micro USB cable or 3 AAA batteries. It also has the option to charge your phone as well.
  3. Turn On The Lights – With the table lamp or the 1W LED Flashlight, never sit in the dark.
  4. Ask For Help – The SOS Alarm with flashing red light allows you to be noticed in anR emergency. 
  5. Carry With Ease – The RunningSnail’s dimensions are 6.2 x 2.1 x 2.9 inches and it weighs only 10.2 ounces, which makes it incredibly easy to put in your pocket.

Pros

  1. Waterproof
  2. Compact
  3. Micro Usb For Iphone Charging Included
  4. Multi-Functional
  5. Tough & Reliable

Cons

  1. Solar Panel Requires Long Time To Charge

6. KAITO KA700 Voyager XL NOAA

Kaito-KA700-Bluetooth-Emergency-Hand-Crank-Dynamo-&-Solar-Powered-AM-FM-Weather-NOAA-Band-Radio-with-Recorder-and-MP3-Player
  1. Easy To Tune
  2. Bluetooth Connection
  3. Emergency Light and Alarm
  4. Used By US Military

The KA700 is built for everyday use, as well as emergency preparedness and is a fantastic Kaito upgrade full of features. The KA700 offers:

  • Different Charging Methods – rechargeable lion battery (through the micro-USB cable), dynamo hand crank generator and a solar panel.
  • Phone Charger – Charge your phone through the installed USB slot.
  • Light – With the 5-LED lamp you can read in the dark or light your way.
  • SOS Signal – Call for help with the LED flashlight or the red LED SOS beacon light.
  • All In One Music Machine – Radio (AM/FM/NOAA Weather), MP3 Player with SD Card, Bluetooth Speaker, Radio and Voice Recorder, Alarm Clock, Calendar, Text Browser.

Pros

  1. Durable
  2. Easy To Tune
  3. Bluetooth Connection
  4. Emergency Light and Alarm
  5. Used By US Military

Cons

  1. Heavy at 1.7 Pounds
  2. More Expensive Than Most

7. Vondior Pocket Radio

 Vonidor NOAA-Weather-Radio
  1. Durable Battery
  2. Fantastic Quality for Low Price
  3. Old School Design
  4. NOAA Supported

With the Vondior pocket radio you can get notified whenever there is high alert in the nearby area. It’s a NOAA Weather Radio which is compact and easily carried in pockets. With size of only 4.9 x 3.12 x 1.28 inches and weight of 6.24 ounces it’s the perfect choice for people looking for something small and handy. Vondior Includes the following features:

  • Long Lasting – With just two AA batteries, your Vondior radio can last weeks!
  • Simple and Easy – Tune your radio to AM/FM or NOAA Weather station easily.
  • Great Reception – Even though it’s old school, Vondior offers great reception even in remote areas.

Pros

  1. Durable Battery
  2. Fantastic Quality for Low Price
  3. Old School Design
  4. NOAA Supported

Cons

  1. Works With Batteries Only
  2. Has Only One Function – Radio
  3. Not Waterproof

8. Sangean U3

Sangean-U3-AM-FM-Ultra-Rugged-and-Water-Resistant-Digital-Tuning-Radio
  1. Durable & Water Resistant
  2. AM/FM Station Reception
  3. Alarm Functions
  4. Digital Tuner

The Sangean U3 is an AM/FM Ultra Rugged and Water-Resistant radio which has a digital tuner for station search. Furthermore, it comes with a PLL synthesized tuner and the following features:

  • 10 Memory Presets
  • Backlit LCD Display
  • LED Band Indicator
  • Excellent Sound Performance
  • Stereo Headphone and Aux-in jacks
  • Auto Scan
  • 2 Alarm Functions

The U3 is exceptionally rugged and capable of withstanding a variety of accidents. Therefore, if you are looking for something sturdier, U3 might be the emergency radio for you. With dimensions of 9.75 x 9.75 x 14.5 inches and weight of 9.57 pounds, it’s not only large, but it’s heavy as well. It can be powered by 6D batteries or charged through electricity.

Pros

  1. Durable & Water Resistant
  2. AM/FM Station Reception
  3. Alarm Functions
  4. Digital Tuner

Cons

  1. Heavy & Large
  2. No NOAA Weather Reception
  3. Expensive
  4. No Solar Charger or Hand Crank

9. Lynex NOAA

Lynex-NOAA-Weather-Hand-Crank-Emergency-AM-FM-Radio-Solar-Charge-with-Survival-Flashligh
  1. Small and Compact
  2. Multi-Functional
  3. Brightly Colored
  4. Cheaper Than Most

This orange/red emergency radio is a great choice, especially if you’re worried of power outages and lack of communication to the outside world. This NOAA weather radio is a compact choice with dimensions of 6.65 x 3.62 x 2.52 inches and weight – 13.2 ounces. Here are the features of the Lynex Weather Emergency Radio:

  • 3 Ways to Charge – Hand Crank, Solar Charging or Micro USB Charge, never stay without battery!
  • Weather Radio – It can receive NOAA weather forecasts or simple AM/FM stations.
  • Lasting Light – With a compact sized flashlight you will never stay in the dark!
  • Call for Help – The SOS Alarm is loud enough for you to call for help in an emergency!
  • Charge Your Phone – Connect your cable to the USB port and charge your phone freely!

Pros

  1. Small and Compact
  2. Multi-Functional
  3. Brightly Colored
  4. Cheaper Than Most
  5. Durable

Cons

  1. The Hand Crank Takes Time To Charge
  2. Needs Batteries

10. YEZRO Solar

Yazro Solar-Crank-Emergency-Radio
  1. Survival Design
  2. Multiple Ways to Charge
  3. Lightweight and Portable
  4. Emergency Essentials

Despite the many good reviews that YEZRO has, there are some issues that came with its purchase. Let’s see its features first:

  1. Emergency Essentials – AM/FM/NOAA broadcast access.
  2. Multiple Charging Methods – You can use Micro USB, AAA Battery, Solar Panel or Hand Crank to charge it.
  3. Multi-Functional – Flashlight, Micro SD card and MP3 Player.
  4. Camouflage Design – The Radio is military green.

Pros

  1. Nice Design
  2. Multiple Ways to Charge
  3. Lightweight and Portable

Cons

  1. The biggest issue that can be experienced with YEZRO is the loss of signal. At many points in time, the YEZRO emergency radio does not connect to any broadcast.
  2. Not waterproof or extremely durable

Now that we have spoken about our favorites and our not so favorite products, we can head onto the most common question section. We try to consider the questions that we have heard, had and answered when it comes to emergency radio. We want you to be as informed as possible prior to your next purchase.

FAQs

What Is An Emergency Radio?

An emergency radio is a device which allows you to stay up to date during emergency situations. Most emergency radios are multi-functional with a flashlight, two-way radio & can be charged by a solar panel.

When Will I Need To Use An Emergency Radio?

Emergency Weather Radios usually come in handy whenever there is a natural disaster taking place such as tornado, flood, hurricane, blizzard, etc. Whether you will use the radio in the city, or you will be out in the wilderness, it will be extremely useful for you to have one. You can also use the radio if you’re going camping and wish to stay informed.

emergency radio frequency

Where Can I Buy An Emergency Radio?

Emergency Radios are available in electronic stores, hardware stores or from most online retailers like Amazon. The only advantage of buying a radio in a physical store is that you might get to hold it in your hand prior to buying it. This shouldn’t be a huge issue with online purchases, as you could always return it if you aren’t satisfied.

What Is A Crank Radio?

A crank radio is generated by a hand crank which is attached to the radio.

Do I Need A Two-Way Radio?

You need a two-way radio only if you wish to communicate to someone on the other end of the line. If not, buying a two-way radio isn’t a necessity.

What Should I Do If My Radio Loses Reception?

If you’re inside a building try to open a window and then try again. If you are outside, you should go higher in order to get better reception.

prep radio

What Is NOAA?

As previously said, NOAA is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration through which you can receive the most accurate weather predictions. It has 7 channels, which usually turn on automatically once there is some serious threat.

Final Words

Despite the fact that none of us wishes to be part of a natural disaster, we can’t predict what life has in store for us. That is why it’s better to prepare earlier rather than later, as it will give you peace of mind if the situation occurs. An emergency radio is meant to keep you informed if there is no other way to receive information. As we know and believe knowledge is power; therefore, the more informed you are in a natural disaster, the higher chance you have of staying alive.

That’s why we created this list of top 10 emergency radios in 2020, for your ease, comfort and for you to make an informed decision when buying an emergency radio. We hope that this article has given you all the information you need to make a hassle-free decision and buy a quality, useful product.

Happy Prepping!