Top 10 Best Emergency Radios in 2018

Have you ever been stuck in your house for a week with no electricity or internet while there was a hurricane outside and you did not know whether it was safe enough to go outside? We sincerely hope you have not. But it is a situation that any of us might face and it might even be worse. So how do we prepare for it so that we and the ones we care about can get through it more efficiently and safely? A large part of the answer lies in what we are going to discuss in this article: emergency radios. Emergency radios can be quite different from the more commonly used home radios and it is important to know what they can do, what types are available and how to choose the best emergency radio for your emergency preparedness kit.

The primary function of emergency radio is to provide you with the most up to date information about weather conditions through AM, FM and National Oceanic and Atmospheric ( NOAA) channels, as well as having multiple powering methods so that you don’t run out of charge even when there is no power supply. Most of these radios come in a rugged design, durable enough to withstand the harsh environments and rough usage it might have to undergo and comes with powering methods that are independent of the home electricity supply, such as hand cranking or solar panels. These radios are more than just radios in the sense that they pack a handful of very useful features that will help you cope with difficult emergency situations, for example, most of them have a built-in flashlight, reading light, SOS alarm and a USB port through which you can charge your mobile devices.

Apart from being used in a natural or civil crisis, these radios are a great thing to have on your road trip, camping, hiking and any other outdoor activities to keep you entertained and updated on news and weather reports.

​Now that you know that an emergency radio is an indispensable item in your survival kit, go ahead to the next section where you will get to know about ten best emergency radios that you can find on the market and how to choose the one that is the best fit for you.

Our Best Pick

Kaito KA500 5-way Powered Emergency AM/FM/SW NOAA Weather Alert Radio

​This radio from Kaito has been featured in many emergency preparedness blogs and videos and once you know about it, you will understand why. The reason this radio made it to our best pick is that, apart from being a reliable radio, it offers many handy features that the other radios don’t offer.

Our Budget Pick

iRonsnow IS-088+ [1000mAh] Solar Hand Crank Radio AM/FM/NOAA/WB Weather Emergency Radio

​This is a great radio with useful features packed into a small body that is highly portable. With solar panel, flashlight, easy radio controls and much more, it is a reliable emergency radio within your budget range.

1. Kaito KA500 5-way Powered Emergency AM/FM/SW NOAA Weather Alert Radio

The best thing about this radio is that it has a built-in generator that can be used to charge other devices through a USB port. What if there is a sudden emergency situation and the power supply is cut off and you see your phone is dying? That is one of the worst nightmares one can ever have. This is where this device comes to the rescue. You can hand-crank this radio and use the USB port to connect your phone to this radio and your phone will get charged.Another great thing about this radio is the multiple ways in which this can be charged.

As mentioned earlier, a power supply is one of the biggest issues to deal with during an emergency situation, given the extent to which our everyday lives are dependent on electricity. First of all, it has a built-in Ni-MH battery that can be charged using AC power supply. At the back of the device, there is a compartment for installing AA batteries which can also be used to charge the radio. If you are in a condition where you don't have batteries or AC supply, you can use the solar panel to charge it using sunlight.

What is unique about the solar panel is that it can be tilted 180 degrees to maximize the amount of sunlight reaching the solar panel. What if there is no sunlight? You can still run and charge it using the dynamo hand crank to mechanically charge it. Additionally, using its USB port, you can charge it easily by connecting it to a laptop.Staying well informed during an emergency situation can save your life. You can easily use this radio to listen to AM, FM and NOAA channels and stay updated.

To make it easy and fast for you, this radio has seven pre-programmed weather channels, so all you have to do is to turn the switch and listen to the one you like, without having to worry about difficulties of tuning in to the right stations. The antenna attached to the radio can be extended for maximum reception.Light is a crucial aspect of survival in when disaster strikes. It has three different kinds of light. At the back of the solar panel is an LED light panel that can be used to light up your surroundings in darkness. The other two light is a flashlight and a red SOS signal light that blinks repeatedly to call for help or to call for attention.It also offers you an earphone jack and a handle for allowing good portability. The handle is made of nylon so it is comfortable to hold.

​All in all, this radio is a great device to have with you on trips or camping, but at the same time, it is a must-have for your survival kit to keep you well prepared for any kind of natural or civil disasters.

PROS

  • ​Multiple ways to power it
  • ​Can be used to charge other electronic devices
  • ​Three different lights
  • ​Nylon handle for carrying it
  • You can listen to the radio using earphones

CONS

  • ​Some users might not need the extra features and prefer a smaller size

2. ​iRonsnow IS-088+ [1000mAh] Solar Hand Crank Radio AM/FM/NOAA/WB Weather Emergency Radio

​This is an upgraded version of an iRonsnow radio that features a higher battery capacity and a stronger flashlight power compared to its older version. This version has 1000 mAh battery capacity and a 1W/50 Lumen flashlight.

The big advantage of this radio is its portability. It is small, light and can be carried around with a wrist lanyard and is perfect for emergency situations where you have to grab your essentials and act fast. The LED flashlight is interesting in the sense that it has a small central radius with stronger illumination and a wider rim of dimmer illumination. 

This feature makes it great for situations like walking in the forest at night, which requires a wide radius of light to light up your path and the surroundings.It can be used to listen to AM, FM and weather channels so that you can gather all the information you need or simply for entertainment purposes.

​You can power this radio using its micro USB port or by using the solar panel or by cranking its handle. It comes in five different colors that you can choose from.

PROS

  • ​Compact and portable
  • ​Upgraded battery capacity and flashlight power
  • ​NOAA weather channels, AM and FM
  • ​Powered by micro USB, hand crank or solar panel

CONS

  • ​The solar panel is small so it might take a long time to charge it using this power source

3. ​Eton FRX5-BT Emergency Weather Radio

​When you think of adventures in isolated areas or a survival kit for disaster management, you think of products that are rugged, durable and reliable. One such device is this emergency radio from Eton with a portable, compact design that is resistant to fall and splash and can perform many tasks with high efficiency. Besides, it boasts a 2000 mAh rechargeable lithium battery that can be charged by hand-cranking or through its highly efficient solar panel.

​This radio is a great travel companion. You can listen to any AM, FM or weather channels using this radio and unlike many other emergency radios, this one has a digital display in green LED lights and also offers an alarm clock that will wake you up at your desired time. If you want to listen to your own playlist or a podcast, this radio gives you the freedom to do so; just use its Bluetooth feature to stream music from your phone or iPod. Due to its water resistance and jacks that are covered in rubber, you can use it even in rough environments like a storm where there are chances of it being wet.

You won’t have to carry an extra external battery for your phone since this radio has a USB port through which you can connect your phone or other devices and charge them. You could also turn on the ‘Alert’ function and it will automatically notify you of weather alerts in the nearby area. Although it seems like a bonus feature, it could be life-saving in cases of emergency. To help you light your way in the dark, it has a flashlight and also a red SOS light to help you call for help. As the saying goes, a friend in need is a friend indeed, and you could not have found a better friend than this radio when you are traveling to a high-risk area or you find yourself in a disastrous situation.

PROS

  • ​Compact, tough design with resistance to splash and fall
  • ​Flashlight and SOS light
  • ​The Digital display makes it easy to read
  • ​Handy features like the alarm clock and automatic weather alert function
  • ​High portability
  • Can be powered by solar power or hand-cranking
  • Allows you to listen to the radio or stream music from phone through bluetooth

CONS

  • ​The labels on the buttons are small and configurations take a little time to get used to

4. ​Best NOAA Weather Radio For Emergency By Kozo

One issue with emergency radios is that often times they come in big, bulky bodies and once you buy it as an emergency preparedness tool, it gets tucked in a small corner of your basement and gets covered in dust, never being used. However, with this lightweight, compact radio, the story could go very differently. The radio has an amazingly small dimension of only 5.1x 1.6 x2.4 inches, which is similar to many of today's smartphones and it will easily fit even in your purse or handbag.

Although the plastic its body is made of is light, it also is durable so you don’t have to worry about it being fragile. It comes with a hand strap that you can use to make sure you don’t drop the radio. 

Now you can probably see why we say that you are more likely to be using it than putting it away in the basement.

Size and portability are not the only great things about this radio. As much as it is suitable for use in camping or on a journey, it is a great choice for emergency cases. Its high-performance speaker delivers a clear, loud sound so you can listen to the radio in a group or in a place with loud outside noise. It also offers an AUX input and USB port so that you can connect speakers or earphones for better listening. You can choose from AM, FM, SW, WX for radio frequencies and also tune in easily by looking at the big frequency indicator. The radio is also equipped with a fifteen inches long extendable antenna that will come I handy if you are traveling into a region where it is difficult to receive radio signals, for example in a mountainous or in an extremely cold area with very few radio stations.

This radio can be charged in four different ways. You can run it on three AAA batteries, charge it using the solar panel that is built on the top of the radio, or use turn the handle on this radio to manually charge it. You will be amazed to know the efficiency of the hand crank of this radio. Just crank the handle for a minute, which is approximately 130 turns of the handle, and you are rewarded with fifteen minutes of radio or thirty minutes of light. When all other power sources fail, you can connect our phone or other mobile devices using the USB port to this radio and use the hand crank to charge your devices.

In dark wilderness or in a major power outage, this radio’s strong flashlight will improve your chances of survival greatly. Besides the flashlight, it also has an SOS alarm, combined with a red flashing light.

PROS

  • ​Small and compact, very light so it is highly portable
  • ​Multiple charging methods
  • ​SOS alarm paired with red light and a strong flashlight
  • ​Highly efficient hand crank
  • ​USB port and AUX jack
  • High-performance speakers
  • Listen to any radio channel and tune in using frequency indicator
  • 15 inches long antenna for better reception

CONS

  • ​The battery capacity of the rechargeable lithium battery is 500 mAh which might be low for heavy-duty purposes

5. ​Esky Emergency Radios Hand Crank Self Powered Solar FM/AM/NOAA Weather Radio

​This emergency radio from Esky is another great choice for anyone looking for a simple, easy-to-use radio with additional features to back you up during any kind of natural hazards or be a great thing to have in your camping or outdoor activity kit.

The flashlight on this radio is 140 Lumen bright, which is enough to light up your way in any kind of power outages or in dark outdoor environments. The flashlight can be turned on using a big button at the top which is easy to locate and help you turn on the lights quickly in the dark. There is a display for radio frequencies and knobs for radio tuning and volume control.

It is a weather radio which means you can listen to weather channels, as well as AM and FM, which will keep you updated on any news and reports on weather information, alert you about any sort of natural disasters like heavy snow, dangerous thunderstorms, hurricanes, flood, etc. The radio has an antenna for better reception and a speaker through which you can listen to the radio in loud and clear sound.

The size and design of this radio is another thing we absolutely love about this radio. The design is compact, standard and you can slip this easily into your pocket or use its lanyard to go hands-free. It is also water resistant, in case you need to take it out on a rainy day and its high durability makes it a suitable candidate for being used in outdoor activities.

​The radio can be charged in three ways: by using the hand crank, through the solar panel or through the USB dock. Can you charge other devices using this radio? Yes! Just connect the device you want to charge through its USB or micro USB port and the radio will charge your device.

PROS

  • ​Bright flashlight with a switch that is easy to locate
  • ​Small, compact design. It can easily fit in your pocket
  • ​USB and micro USB ports to charge other devices
  • ​Multiple charging methods
  • ​Listen to NOAA channels, AM and FM radio
  • ​Battery capacity is 1000 mAh and when fully charged, it is enough to let you listen to the radio for seven hours or provide you with light throughout the night

CONS

  • ​You have to manually tune in to the radio channel you want to listen to
  • No AUX input or earphone jack

6. ​Kaito Voyager Pro KA600

For many of us, who live in cities where the communication systems are well threaded, with radio stations all over the place, direct contact with other people is easy and natural catastrophes are rare, a simple emergency radio might be sufficient for emergency preparedness. But what if you live in a remote area, where civilization is far away and scarce? What if you are a military personnel who is always on the move, frequently facing high-risk situations, having to rely solely on your wits and the tools you have? What if you live in a coastal area or a desert or in snowy mountains where natural disasters are common? 

If you belong to the latter categories of people and you are looking for an emergency radio that is rugged, suitable for heavy-duty purposes and offers well-rounded features to highly equip you for survival, this is a radio that you should absolutely look into.

In case of a power outage or traveling into areas with no electricity, how the radio is powered is a huge factor that affects how well you thrive in difficult conditions. So let us first look into how the radio can be powered. The easiest option is to run it using three AA batteries, and if you are in an area where there is electricity, you can charge it using AC power supply. If you find yourself in a situation where there is neither a power supply nor batteries, you can use the solar panel to charge it. What we like about the solar panel is that, unlike many other emergency radios, the solar panel on this product is at a convenient location and can be turned 180 degrees for maximizing the amount of solar energy reaching the panel. When there is no sunlight or if you cannot wait long enough for solar charging, you can use the hand crank to power it. A useful feature of this radio is power indicator that shows a red light if the battery is low and a green light to show that it has enough battery life. This could save you from accidentally forgetting to charge it and running out of power when you need it in emergency situations.

As a radio, it is very efficient in the sense that it gives you incredible flexibility in how you want to tune into your radio stations. If you are a seasoned radio user and you want to do it manually, you can use the knob on it but if you are new to the radio scene and you want a quicker, easier way, you can use the number buttons on it to do direct digit entry. It has a memory capacity for 335 radio channels that you can preset for immediate access to your favorite channels. For the frequencies, you can choose from AM, FM, SW and weather channels. An antenna is also provided for improving radio signal reception. If you turn on the weather alert function, you can receive automatic notifications on weather conditions that will keep you well informed and buy you extra time to prepare for extreme weather conditions.

Apart from its main functions, it packs other treats like an alarm clock with dual alarm settings which means you can set two different alarm times and a snooze function, a digital calendar, humidity meter and a thermometer which will help you adapt to your surrounding conditions.

Although the radio is a little bigger than some other radios of this category, it is reasonable given all the handy features that this radio offers to its users and moreover, to make it easy for you to carry and to give you a good grip, there is a holding strap covered in rubber.

If you are stuck in a difficult situation at night or if you want to use it in a lowlight outdoor activity, you can turn on the LED reading light or the flashlight which are installed in the radio.

​With two digital displays and all these features, this radio is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an emergency radio that gives full coverage for your needs related to emergency preparedness and outdoor activities.​

PROS

  • ​Can be powered by multiple methods
  • ​The Solar panel can be turned to maximize sunlight hitting the panel
  • ​Versatile ways for radio tuning
  • ​LED reading light and flashlight
  • ​Extra features like alarm clock, calendar, humidity meter and thermometer
  • Holding strap for increased portability
  • Backlit digital display

CONS

  • ​Some users might want a simpler radio with fewer controls and functions

7. ​Epica Digital Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM/FM/NOAA Radio

Have you grown exhausted and frustrated from having to turn the crank handle to power your emergency radio only to see it last for a short while? Have you grown impatient from waiting in the sun so that the solar panel on the radio charges the radio and you can finally put it to use? These are common situations involved with many emergency radios in the market, they do have solar panels and hand cranks and that’s great, but the problem is that they can also be inefficient. This is where this radio from Epica comes to the rescue. This radio highly focuses on the efficiency of the hand crank and the solar panel

With this radio, only two minutes of cranking will give you twenty minutes of radio or lights. It also offers other charging methods like through an AC or a DC adaptor and through USB. 

It’s compact and lightweight body is perfect for quickly slipping into your pocket in an emergency situation where you need to act fast. The tough carabiner clip gives you added flexibility in portability as it can be attached to your belt loop or to your bag strap. The body is water resistant and highly durable, suitable for being used in harsh weather conditions.

 The radio allows you to listen to AM, FM and NOAA VHF frequencies and if you are tired of analog tuning, you can use its digital tuner which is very convenient. It can also be used in lowlight conditions, thanks to its backlit liquid crystal display. If you want to light up your surroundings, you can use its strong LED flashlight and do so easily.

PROS

  • ​Solar panel and Hand crank deliver power with high efficiency
  • ​Strong LED flashlight
  • ​Multiple ways of charging
  • ​USB port for charging other devices
  • Digital backlit display
  • Digital radio tuning
  • Lightweight and portable with carabiner clip

CONS

  • ​No compartment for batteries
  • Does not offer AUX input

8. ​Compass Culture Brand Solar + Hand Crank AM FM Radio

If you have a soft spot for geeky gadgets you will surely fall in love with this emergency radio. It comes with a paracord bracelet as a bonus accessory with the radio. This bracelet has a compass, a whistle, scraper and a magnesium flint fire starter, which makes it an absolute must-have if you are a hiking or a trekking enthusiast. 

Apart from the bonus paracord bracelet, there are many reasons for why this is a great radio that can accompany you on your roughest adventures, as well as being an essential part of your survival kit. You can charge this radio using a USB cable, by using three AAA batteries, by exposing its solar panel to sunlight, or by hand cranking. 

Once fully charged, it will provide you with fifteen hours of light or 6 hours of radio. The battery has a capacity of 2000 mAh which means you can easily charge your phone or other mobile devices simply through the USB port, which negates the need to carry an extra power bank.

While on your hiking trip or if you find yourself caught in an emergency situation, you can rely on this radio to provide you with the crucial information you need or simply stay entertained through different radio channels. It allows you to listen to AM, FM and NOAA weather channels and also offers an antenna for better reception of signals. Apart from the radio, you can use it to light up your surroundings in the dark using its Zoom adjustable flashlight, reading light or call for help when needed using its SOS alarm that has been paired with red blinking lights.

​You might think a radio with so many features will come in a bulky size and weigh you down but that is not the case with this radio. It only weighs around 300 grams and comes in a very compact design, with a wrist strap and a buckle that ensures easy attachment to your bag.​

PROS

  • ​Multiple ways of charging
  • ​2000 mAh battery capacity with USB port for charging other devices
  • ​Paracord bracelet with a whistle, fire starter, compass, and scraper comes as a bonus accessory 
  • ​Water resistant body allows you to use it in rainy environments
  • ​Light and compact. Also has a buckle and a wrist strap for a secure hold
  • ​SOS alarm paired with red flashing light
  • ​Bright flashlight and reading lights

CONS

  • ​Does not have AC adapter
  • Does not have AUX input

9. ​Greadio Emergency Weather Solar Crank AM/FM NOAA Radio

First of all, we love the fact that this radio has all the essential functions that are usually found in emergency radios. But what we love more about this product is the fact that many of the features in this radio are more upgraded than that of many other similar radios out in the market. For example, it has a flashlight, a reading light, and an SOS signaling light, but the interesting thing is that the flashlight has zoom adjustable function so it can be controlled to focus all the intensity on a small radius or make the light more diffused and spread out like a lamp. The switch for the flashlight is at the convenient place at the top of the radio so you can easily locate it in the dark and turn it on.

The radio can be charged by hand cranking, solar energy or AAA batteries. On many radios, the solar panel is fixed on one side of the radio, but the solar panel on this radio can be turned so that it gets the maximum amount of sunlight for faster charging. The radio also has a power indicator, which will notify you from beforehand if you need to recharge your battery.  

To keep you updated on weather conditions or to let you stream music from your favorite radio stations, you can use this radio to tune into AM, FM and NOAA weather channels. You can also use the antenna to improve reception, as well as look at the frequency indicator for better tuning.

​The radio comes in a compact design, made of durable and water-resistant plastic, with a wrist strap attached to a buckle which makes it a highly portable device. So go ahead and consider this product for your next road trip, camping, hiking or as a basic item for your emergency preparedness kit.​

PROS

  • ​Frequency indicator and antenna for radio tuning
  • ​Multiple ways of charging
  • ​USB port to charge other devices
  • ​LED flashlight with zoom adjustable function, a reading light, and an SOS light
  • ​SOS alarm
  • ​Battery life indicator
  • The solar panel can be turned to maximize solar energy absorption

CONS

  • There is no AC adapter
  • ​No AUX input

​10. iRonsnow Real NOAA Alert Weather Radio

Have you ever got stuck in a broken car at night, in the middle of nowhere wishing you had an access to the outside world through the radio? Or did the situation get worse when you noticed that your cell phone is dying and you have no power source to charge it? If you have not gotten into this kind of situation we are glad that you did not but this could happen to anybody and it's always a good idea to stay prepared from before. This is a radio that you can keep with you to help you cope better with a dire situation like this or to get through even more difficult conditions. This radio stands out in many ways from its counterparts that are available in the market.

First of all, it allows you to listen to a wide range of radio frequencies. While most other radios allow only AM, FM and weather channels, this radio also allows tuning into SW1 and SW2 frequencies along with the common bands. You can also turn on the "Alert" function to be automatically updated with the latest weather news. The antenna attached to the radio will come in handy in regions where the reception is difficult, such as in mountains or other remote areas.

Besides keeping you well-informed through the radio, this radio makes an excellent companion to have during a road trip or camping due to its micro SD slot where you can insert your SD card packed with your favorite music or podcasts and listen to them for entertainment purposes. You can also use it to charge your mobile devices through a USB port.

With its multiple powering methods, you would not have to worry about your radio running out of battery life. It can be powered by a built-in solar panel, by hand cranking or by AA batteries. The battery capacity is 2300 mAh, which is a high capacity compared to many other radios in this category.

​This radio also provides a good amount of light in the darkness, thanks to its 11 LED reading light and 1 LED flashlight​.

PROS

  • ​Multiple charging methods
  • ​Reading light and flashlight
  • ​Has a Micro SD slot where you can insert your memory card and use the radio as an mp3 player
  • ​Wide radio coverage
  • ​Comes with a handle for carrying
  • ​2300 mAh battery capacity
  • ​NOAA weather alert function

CONS

  • ​Does not have AC adapter

Now that you have gotten familiar with the best emergency radios out there in the market, you have hopefully come across one or more products that caught your attention. But before you make your final decision, it is crucial to know and think about some of the important factors related to emergency radios that can help you in making the best choice according to your needs.

Things to consider when buying the best emergency radio

Powering Methods​

When we usually think of radios, what comes first to mind is features. What can the radio do? How user-friendly it is and so on but with emergency radios, it might be a bit different. Since emergency radios are more likely to be used in states of emergency or outdoors in a harsh environment, the first thing most users need to know is how the radio can be powered or charged. Power outages are common consequences of large-scale natural or civil disasters and in case of uses related to outdoor activities, it is difficult to find a good power source out in the wilderness. To overcome these problems, emergency radios usually have a solar panel attached to it and a hand crank that you can manually turn to use kinetic energy as a source of power to run your radio. They can also have AAA battery compartment as a backup power source and AC adapters. So look for the different powering methods that the radio offers before you decide to buy one and consider which powering methods are suitable for you.

Features related to radio

The first aspect of radio listening is probably the range of bands the radio allows you to listen to. Most weather radios will allow you to tune into AM, FM and NOAA channels. But some will also allow you to listen to SW1, SW2 bands, which might be a good feature if you want a broad range of radio frequencies to choose from.

Another factor related to radio is the “Alert” function. These radios are designed to be an essential part of your emergency preparedness kit and the earlier you are aware of an emergency situation, the better you will be able to prepare for it. Once you turn on this function, the radio will automatically alert you to any important weather news. But this features takes up quite a portion of your battery life and not all radios provide this feature.

Another very important feature to take into account is the ways you can tune into the radio channels. For beginners, it might be troublesome to manually tune into the desired channels and if you want to evade this process, you can go for a radio that has digital tuning or preset channels.

Another thing to consider is if the radio has AUX input for connecting earphones or speakers for you to listen to the radio with a high volume.

Portability

In an emergency situation or during an adventure away from home, it is always good to keep your baggage as light as possible so that you can act fast and with the highest efficiency. Consider the weight and design of the radio you are going to buy and think if it is something you will be comfortable carrying. These radios come with different kinds of carrying strategies like carabiner clip, wrist strap, shoulder straps or lanyards, etc. and you can choose the one that is suitable for you.

Conclusion

​Despite their names, emergency radios are a lot more than a device to have in your emergency preparedness kit and once you have one, you will see how versatile their uses can be. Now that you know about the top emergency radios from the market and also what to consider before buying one, you are just a step away from getting yourself the best emergency radio and stay ready to face any kind of urgent situation in the future.
Top 10 Best Emergency Radios in 2018
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