Best Emergency Radio: Get the Best Radio For Your Survival

Best Emergency Radio: Get the Best Radio For Your Survival

The best life scenario anyone can picture is a life where an emergency or disaster never happens. It may not happen in your lifetime, but this does not mean that you should not be prepared for the worst. With more and more disasters, natural or otherwise, happening all over the world, it’s best to prepare yourself for if the time actually comes.

This is when packing an emergency kit, whether short or long term, comes in handy. And in any of these kits, there’s one item you shouldn’t miss—the emergency radio. But with all the choices for emergency radios out there, how do you know the best emergency radio for you?

Radios don’t have to be complicated and most of the time they are not. All radios have the same basic features. However, with the advancement of technology and the needs of the people, more and more radios have added more useful features that prove quite useful in an emergency situation.

Aside from the very basic tuner, other radios have added flashlights, solar panels, hand cranks, and chargeable built-in batteries that can power other devices, and so much more. But in choosing the best emergency radio, there’s one thing you should always remember.

Don’t just pick the first one you see on the shelf. Study and compare their features before you make a final decision.

How to choose the best emergency radio

Emergency radios come in varying shapes and sizes, and sometimes you might buy one before even looking at the features, simply based on how good it looks. But when it comes the best emergency radio, all you really need are the basics.

NOAA/AM/FM

During an emergency, you’ll hardly really need an FM radio, although you might consider it just to pick up your mood. However, you most likely will not get any FM signal during an emergency so this is where an AM radio comes in handy.

You need news and updates on the emergency in order to know what’s going on around you, even if you can’t see it. A radio that can receive NOAA alerts, which are sent via AM radio, is a great radio to have as it provides you with weather updates.

Public Alert or NOAA NWR All Hazards

Make sure to choose a radio that bears the Public Alert logo or the NOAA NWR All Hazards logo. Radios without these logos will hardly be useful in times of an emergency, aside from tuning in to your AM stations. You’ll get added news and alerts with radios that bear these logos.

Specific alert message encoding

Also known as SAME, is a good feature to have in an emergency radio. It allows you to receive emergency warnings from your city, county, or region.

Multiple power sources

You can’t rely on plugging your radio into an outlet when disaster strikes because you will either be out of the house or there might not be any power for quite some time. Multiple power sources can vary from solar panel charging, hand cranking, USB charging, or batteries.

What to look for in the best emergency radio

Before knowing what to look for in the best emergency radio, it’s best to know your own needs and what you’re going to use the radio for. Only then will you be able to look for the best emergency radio to serve you.

Portability

How are you going to use your radio? Are you always going to carry it around with your or is it going to be stationary on a desk? If you’re going to be transporting your radio, the weight and size will matter; you don’t want a radio that’s too heavy or too big to carry.

You want your hands free as much as possible. Most portable radios will have extra features so that you’ll end up freeing your bag of extra weight. Radios with flashlights, paracord bracelets, and a power bank, can significantly free up space in your gear.

User friendly

No amount of features on a radio will be helpful for you if it’s too complicated to use. Make sure the radio you’ll be settling for is easy for you to use, or at least learn to use it beforehand.

Prioritize

This will help reduce your choices to the best emergency radio for you. There will be plenty of radios with extra features and multiple bands, but if you have no use for these extra bands and no use for extra features, then what’s the point of getting them?

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Product

Price

Rating

  RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio for Emergency  $$  4.4/5
  Epica Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM/FM/NOAA Digital Radio  $  4.4/5
  Kaito KA500 5-Way Powered Radio  $$$  4.3/5
   Esky Solar Hand Crank Self Powered Emergency Radio with LED Flashlight and 1000mAh Power Bank  $  4.4/5
  Horizons Tec HT-747 Emergency NOAA Weather Radio  $$$  4.5/5
   VITE RD332T Dynamo Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM/FM Radio  $$  4.5/5
   Eton American Red Cross, Multi-Powered Weather Alert Radio $$  4.2/5
   iRonsnow IS-088 Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio  $  4.3/5
   ELECLOVER Portable Dynamo Emergency Solar Crank AM/FM/NOAA(WB) Weather Radio  $  4.4/5
   OUTERDO Dynamo Emergency Solar Hand Crank Self Powered AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio  $  4.8/5

We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 emergency radios on the market, along with their features, pros and cons, for you to see how they stack up against each other.

RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio for Emergency

Small and compact, yet packs everything you’ll need to survive in an emergency situation, the RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio Emergency allows you to listen to news and entertainment, but most importantly allows you to receive weather updates from NOAA.

Features

  • AM/FM/NOAA Weather Alert
  • 1W LED flashlight and table lamp
  • Multiple charging with solar panel, hand crank, AAA batteries, and USB cable
  • 2000 mAh power bank capacity on full charge
  • SOS alarm with flashing red light feature
  • Small, lightweight, and portable
  • Bright, green color
  • Retractable antenna

Pros

The color of the radio may be too bright for some, but having brightly colored items increases your chance of rescue. The RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio for Emergency, though small, carries a lot of extra features that will come in handy in an emergency situation.

This radio can receive AM/FM/NOAA weather alerts to help update you of the progress of the situation and of the weather. When you find yourself in the dark with no other sources of light, the radio also functions as a flashlight and table lamp with low-power consumption at 1W.

You’ll also find the SOS alarm with flashing red light useful when you want to be rescued in an emergency. The retractable antenna also comes in handy when you want to get better reception especially when you’re located in distant places.

There are multiple ways you can charge the RunningSnail emergency radio, including AAA batteries, solar charging, USB cable, and hand cranking. A fully charged battery can give 12 hours of light, or 4 to 6 hours of radio use.

Lastly, the RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio for Emergency is quite portable. With its light weight and small size, it can easily fit in a large pocket or in the palm of your hand. Carrying this radio will be very easy and will not add to the weight of your emergency kit.

Cons

As complete as the RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio for Emergency is, it lacks a digital display. Instead, it features an analog display, which might be frustrating for some as tuning in to specific frequencies will require guessing as opposed to the specific read out on a digital display.

The radio also does not have a shortwave signal receiver. There are other models in the same size that offer shortwave radio signals as well as a digital display. However, if you have no use for these, then the RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio will be a good choice.

Bottom line

If you prefer a digital display and still like the brand, RunningSnail features a portable emergency radio with a digital display. It still features AM/FM/NOAA weather reception, a 1W LED flashlight, and the handy 2000 mAh power bank. You can still rely on the same multiple charging features from the analog model, including hand cranking, solar charging, AAA dry battery, and a rechargeable lithium battery.

Epica Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM/FM/NOAA Digital Radio

It’s red, it’s small, and looks like it should belong in your emergency bag. The Epica Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM/FM/NOAA Digital Radio definitely belongs to your emergency kit and for all the good reasons. It has everything you need to stay up to date, even during an emergency. It’s also small, so carrying it around with you will not be a problem at all.

Features

  • 3-band radio featuring AM/FM/NOAA VHF weather frequencies
  • 3-LED flashlight
  • Power bank that can serve as a mobile phone charger
  • Multiple ways to charge: cranking, solar, and plug in
  • Backlit digital tuner
  • Compact and tough build
  • Carabiner clip on one end

Pros

Although the design and look of the Epica Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM/FM/NOAA Digital Radio is not unique, it still comes in handy in an emergency situation. It’s a 3-band radio that can receive AM/FM and NOAA VHF weather frequencies. News and weather updates will be extremely important in an emergency or disaster.

It’s also powered in multiple ways; if electricity is out, you can opt to charge the radio using the solar panel or the hand crank. When fully charged, you can even use the radio as a power bank to charge your mobile phone and stay in touch with loved ones and helpful government agencies that can aid in your rescue.

It’ll be hard to avoid the dark during an emergency situation when power will most probably be out, so it’s a good thing that the Epica Emergency Radio features a bright 3-LED flashlight. Navigating through the radio can even be done in the dark thanks to the radio’s backlit digital display.

Digital displays are much more opted for than analog displays because they can tell you the exact frequency you’ve locked onto, as opposed to that of an analog display. The display is quite small and unlike the bigger digital displays but it’s still helpful.

Yes, the Epica emergency radio is small and portable but you don’t have to worry about it breaking easily when you need it the most. It’s built for emergency situations so it’s built to be compact and tough. It won’t die out on you too soon, as long as you use it properly.

Cons

The Epica Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM/FM/NOAA Digital Radio does not have the option for battery power. As with any rechargeable battery, its efficiency goes down with long-term use. It would have been better if the radio could be powered using replaceable batteries as well.

If you’re looking for a radio with shortwave radio signals, this won’t be the one you’re looking for. Shortwave radio signals will allow you to hear news from hundreds to thousands of miles away. But then again, if you don’t need to use it, then the Epica Emergency Radio will do a good job already.

Bottom line

The same in design and look comes in the Horizons Tec HT-747. It features the same color, has a flashlight, a carabiner clip at one end, a digital display, and more.

It differs with the Epica in that it also offers a paracord or multipurpose bracelet that comes with a magnesium fire starter, compass, whistle, and when unbraided the bracelet can serve as a long rope. If you already have products like these in your emergency kit, then the Epica Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM/FM/NOAA Digital Radio is already a good radio for you.

Kaito KA500 5-Way Powered Radio

You’ve heard of-3 way powered radios, but Kaito takes it up a notch. The Kaito Ka500 5-Way Powered Radio is what its name implies—you can charge the radio 5 ways. Not only that, it even receives shortwave radio signals which is not common in most portable emergency radios.

Features

  • 5-way powered radio (dynamo cranking power, solar panel power, AA batteries, built-in rechargeable battery pack, USB port)
  • AM/FM/SW/NOAA Weather Alert
  • Flashlight
  • Reading light
  • Power bank
  • Bright, yellow color
  • Small and compact
  • Dedicated handle for easy carry

Pros

It’s not every day you get to see a small and portable radio that receives multiple bands including shortwave radio signals. The Kaito KA500 5-Way Powered Radio is a great investment for your emergency kit for many reasons, the first being it can actually receive shortwave signals.

Let’s face it, shortwave radio signals may not be important for most people, but when a radio has it as part of its features for a price much like any other radio in the market, then why not invest in it? Who knows, you might need it in the future.

The Kaito KA500 wins people over because of its multiple ways of charging. This is not a new feature, but 5 ways to charge? That’s amazing. You can choose to power your radio up using dynamo cranking power, or place it under direct sunlight with the help of its built in solar panels.

You can also pop in some AA batteries to power your radio, flashlight, and reading lamp, or you can opt to charge the rechargeable battery pack. You can even charge it via a USB port.

The Kaito KA500 comes in a variety of colors aside from black. The choices from there gets brighter and more colorful, so you can choose whatever fits your fancy. In emergency situations, the brighter the color, the better.

This emergency radio from Kaito is also pretty easy to use and navigate. It also features an analog display so you can more or less pinpoint the frequency you want to receive.

Aside from that, you can charge your phone using your radio, as long as it still has some juice left in it. When it’s dark and you have no other source of light, not even the moon, the radio’s built in flashlight and reading lamp will come in handy.

The dedicated handle for hand carry is also a pretty thoughtful addition to the radio.

Cons

As good as the Kaito KA500 5-Way Powered Radio already is, it bears an analog display. When you have to choose a radio with analog or digital display, it’s best to go with digital as it can give you the exact frequency you’ve locked into.

The larger the digital display, the more it is able to show you, like the time, temperature, and the like. Sadly, the Kaito KA500 opted for an analog display.

Bottom line

What the Kaito KA500 5-Way Powered Radio lacked, the Kaito Voyager Pro KA600 Digital Radio can offer you. It no longer features an analog display, but a digital display complete with a keypad. It also has up to 335 memory presets.

What’s more, the Kaito KA600 also features a calendar, alarm clock with dual settings, a sleep timer, humidity meter and a thermometer. Talk about being thorough! The Kaito Voyager Pro KA600 Digital Radio is definitely a step up from the KA500.

Esky Solar Hand Crank Self Powered Emergency Radio

A mini radio, power bank, flashlight, all in one? Yes, that’s what you get with the Esky Solar Hand Crank Self Powered Emergency Radio. It’s not the first of its kind but it does give you another option.

What you’ll like about the Esky Solar Hand Crank Self Powered Emergency Radio is that it’s all in one. You’ll be able to hear of updates on the emergency situation, have a flashlight to light your way, and be able to charge your phone all without necessarily having to plug in your radio to an electric socket.

Features

  • AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio
  • Flashlight
  • USB charger
  • Multiple charging options: solar panel, hand crank, DC charging via USB port
  • Bright, red color
  • Small and compact
  • Wristlet for easy carry

Pros

Small, portable emergency radios like the Esky are always advantageous for their size since they are small and light, and easy to carry around. What’s more, the Esky features a wristlet that you can put your hand through so you’ll still be hands-free while toting the radio with you.

It might be small but it is still able to give you news, entertainment, and weather updates through AM/FM/NOAA Weather channels. In an emergency situation, the AM and NOAA weather channels serve a really good purpose.

When using the radio for emergency purposes, make sure it has NOAA weather channel capabilities. When it’s used not for an emergency, you can enjoy the FM stations instead.

The flashlight on this small radio is enough to light your way or the place you’re staying if needed. You won’t need any other power source, except the one your radio is using.

You won’t need to feel pressured about using the light because it will drain your battery power, since charging your battery is easy in the first place. You can place it under direct sunlight and use the solar panels to charge your battery or use the hand crank, though the latter will require some exertion from you.

When you’re carrying your mobile phone around and you need it charged, the Esky Solar Hand Crank Self Powered Emergency Radio also doubles as a power bank and can charge your phone as well as other USB enabled devices.

Cons

The Esky Solar Hand Crank Self Powered Emergency Radio features an analog display. While this is not totally a disadvantage, having a digital display is also much preferred as it can give you specific readings of your frequency, rather than guessing from an analog display.

The radio, for as small as it is, doesn’t have a dedicated handle for easy carry. However, it is small enough to fit into a large pocket.

Bottom line

When you’re looking for a similar design but with a digital display, a good option is the 2016 Upgraded Eleclover Solar Crank AM/FM/NOAA (WB) EWS Alert Weather Radio. It features a digital display and has an additional EWS alert that’s useful in emergency situations.

It also doubles as a flashlight, charger, and even comes with a multi-purpose bracelet. You can choose from a variety of colors, ranging from black, fire truck red, yellow, and deep red.

Horizons Tec HT-747 Emergency NOAA Weather Radio

Out of the many emergency radios available on the market today, what can make a radio stand out? It’s all in the extra touches offered to consumers. Horizons Tec HT-747 Emergency NOAA Weather Radio is one perfect example of such a product.

It not only offers what you need in an emergency radio, but it also offers an additional bonus that will help in the same situation—a paracord survival bracelet.

Features

  • Multi-band tuner with AM/FM/NOAA
  • Bright 3-LED flashlight on one end
  • Attached carabiner clip on the other end
  • Emergency power source or power bank for mobile phones up to 1000 mAh
  • Multiple charging option including hand crank, solar panel, and USB connection
  • Paracord bracelet with compass, fire starter, whistle, and 11’ rope
  • Bright, red color
  • Small and compact
  • Digital display

Pros

The Horizons Tec HT-747 Emergency NOAA Weather Radio, despite the fact that it offers the same multiple band tuner as other radios, is made unique because it opted for a digital display where most portable radios would be designed with an analog display.

A digital display will be to your advantage as it can give you a detailed read out of your frequency as opposed to guessing from an analog reading. The digital display is also backlit which makes for easy reading, even in the dark.

The AM/FM/NOAA multi-band tuner is helpful so you can receive news as well as weather updates. In an emergency situation, this can spell the difference between surviving and not.

It can be charged 3 ways, so you don’t have to lose touch of the news and weather updates at any time. You can choose to hand crank it, place it under direct sunlight with the use of the solar panels, or charge it using the USB connection.

If you’re bringing mobile phones with you, and you’re getting a signal, you can charge it using the radio with its upgraded 1000 mAh charging capacity. With a charged phone, you’ll be able contact loved ones and let them know where you are and how you’re faring.

When in a dark place, your radio can also be a source of light thanks to a 3-LED flashlight that lights up brightly. The carabiner clip on the opposite end will help secure your radio to your belt or bag so that it won’t get lost.

Lastly, you also get a paracord survival bracelet with the radio. The bracelet contains a compass to keep you from getting lost, a fire starter to keep you warm or cook your food, a whistle so others can hear you without you losing your voice, and an 11’ rope when you unbraid the bracelet.

Cons

Although it can charge your mobile phone it has a limited charging capacity at 1000 mAh where other emergency radios can offer up to 2000 mAh charging power.

It also does not receive shortwave radio signals, which could be helpful in extreme situations. However, if you have no need of the shortwave signal and don’t mind the 1000 mAh power bank capacity, the Horizons HT-747 Emergency NOAA Weather Radio will be more than enough.

Bottom line

Another digital display portable emergency radio is the Ivation Solar & Hand Crank AM/FM/NOAA WB Digital Dynamo Radio. It also serves as an emergency phone charger complete with DC cable and 4 adapters including USB, micro USB, mini USB, and 8 Pin. It’s built for emergency situations as it is also rainproof and scratch resistant.

Its soft rubberized finishing keeps it from easily slipping out of your hands or off any surface. Lastly, it features a rotatable extendable antenna as well as a blue black digital display.