If you’re looking for the best weather radio, then you are aware of the fact that life is unpredictable and that unexpected scenarios happen more often than we’d like to admit. Maybe you were made aware of the danger by a friend that’s completely dedicated to the survivalist trend or maybe you are that friend. Regardless of how you think about disasters, this type of device is truly useful and can save lives!
Still, it can be confusing to choose the best emergency radio when every brand shoves their product(s) in your face and expects you to buy it. So, if you’re tired of sleek-looking devices with a ton of features you’re sure you’ll never use (even if the zombies take over the world), check our reviews.
But first, a quick guide to help you find your way in the jungle of products out there.
How To Choose The Best Emergency Weather Radio
Does it Receive NOAA Broadcasts?
Of course, the first feature any weather radio must have is NOAA broadcasting (with or without an Alarm function). A good radio for emergencies needs to receive all the 7 channels from NOAA and should be able to receive alerts and warnings for specific locations.
Some advanced devices are connected with other warning facilities, but NOAA is mandatory. Also, it helps if the speaker can deliver a clear message – so it’s easy to understand what is happening.
Charging Sources & Battery Power
As you will see from the reviews below, most weather radios have three ways to be charged: via a hand crank, using a solar panel, and via an AC adapter. Some also have a battery backup (usually AAA alkaline batteries) and/or a power bank that lets users recharge their phones, GPS, and other mobile devices.
So, a weather radio with a good backup battery can replace a solar power bank in your backpack.
Most weather radios have at least one flashlight functionality so users can light their way or tents. However, the ones that are a bit more advanced also feature flashlights with adjustable levels of intensity and red LED beacons that can be used to signal for help.
Lastly, another must-have feature is a durable & rugged exterior that protects the mechanism from water damage, shocks, or scratches. After all, what good is a weather radio that breaks before you even get it out of the bag?
9 Best Weather Radios
RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA
The Best Emergency Radio for When Things Get Rough
Whether you want to be prepared for extreme weather conditions or you’re just looking for the perfect companion while camping, the RunningSnail Emergency Radio is one of the best devices you can have.
In a small and durable design, you have communication equipment, light sources, and a reliable battery for your other devices. And speaking of design, this radio is orange (easy to identify in an emergency situation) and has several ways of charging – there is a mini solar panel, a hand cranking system, and three AAA batteries (not included in the purchase). In addition, it can be used to charge USB devices (such as smartphones or gaming consoles) which comes in handy in any situation.
It catches AM/FM radio, NOAA weather alert radio, and broadcast emergency weather alerts (such as hurricanes, tornadoes and severe storms) for a specific area. It is also fitted with a table lamp, a 1W LED flashlight and an SOS alarm with flashing red light which can be used when you need to ask for help.
Lastly, the radio has a 2000mAh rechargeable battery that provides up to 12 hours of light or 4-6 hours of radio time.
- Compact & colorful design so it’s easy to find
- Light source for reading, emergency warning, and more
- AM/FM radio, NOAA weather alert & other emergencies
- 2000mAh battery
- Multiple ways of charging
- The hand crank is a bit small
- The tapered knobs are difficult to grab & use
FosPower Emergency Portable Radio
The Best NOAA Weather Radio with a Rugged Design
The last thing one would want in an emergency is to be cut out from the outside world! Luckily, the FOSPower is a true weather radio, due to its IPX3 water-resistance rating and rugged shell that can withstand being dropped or banged against solid surfaces. It’s also connected to emergency news broadcasts from NOAA and AM/FM stations.
In addition, the radio has a 2000mAh power bank that comes in handy to charge other devices (like a smartphone or a travel router). It also sports 2 light sources – a reading light and a flashlight (1W) so you’ll have light even when you go camping far away from the civilized world.
And, to make sure nothing puts it down, the radio has 3 power sources – a crank lever for manual charging, a solar panel for solar charging, and AAA batteries for any other time.
- Durable build with IPX3 water-resistance
- 2 light sources
- SOS alarm
- Several ways of charging
- A 2000mAh power bank
- The hand crank requires a lot of elbow grease
- No headphone jacks
- The sound on the radio is rather tiny
The Best Weather Alert Radio in an SHTF Scenario
If you’re looking for a compact, yellow emergency companion, the Kaito KA500 weather radio may be your best choice.
It is a 6-way powered portable (it is small and also has a built-in textile handle) radio, with a hand crank generator and integrated solar panel. It also has room for 3 AA batteries, a 5V USB input, and a 5V AC/DC input with a wall power adapter. Lastly, there is a built-in NiMH replaceable and rechargeable battery pack and a standard DC 5V USB output port that lets you charge various mobile devices (smartphones, GPS, etc).
In terms of communication, the radio covers AM, FM, 2-band shortwave and 7 pre-programmed NOAA weather channels (entertainment, sports, talk-shows, and breaking news around the world). Users in the USA and Canada also get 24/7 real-time weather forecast with PEAS (Public Emergency Alert System).
Other features include a telescopic antenna for high-sensitivity reception, a built-in speaker, a 5-LED reading lamp, an LED flashlight and a red LED S.O.S. beacon light. Overall, this tiny device won’t let you down in an SHTF situation!
- Made from shock-resistant & water-resistant ABS material
- Built-in solar panel
- Several charging methods including manual crank
- Extensive NOAA and AM/FM reception
- Several light sources
- Solar charging is rather slow
A Nice, Compact & Easy to Use Weather Radio
The MMR-88 is a durable digital AM/FM Public Alert Certified Radio that features 3 charging modes (hand crank, USB, and solar power). As such, it can replace a solar charger in your Bug Out Bag and you don’t need to carry extra batteries, in case of emergency.
The digital AM/FM tuner can receive 19 random preset stations and all 7 NOAA weather channels and reports. This means you can use it for both entertainment and receiving alerts that are specific to your area.
In addition, the radio features a rechargeable 850mAh Lithium-ion battery (that can be replaced) connected to a USB port for charging mobile devices. There are also several light sources, such as an illumination lamp, weather alert LED indicators, and an LED flashlight that can be adjusted according to your needs. Lastly, there’s also an emergency buzzer that will let you know of any troubles even if you’re not using the radio.
- Compact & durable
- Several charging methods
- An 850mAh power bank
- Several light sources
- Works with AM/FM bands and all NOAA’s weather channels
- The default rechargeable battery is low-quality
- USB charging is slow
Midland – ER310
A Compact & Rugged Design with Lots of Features
Boasting multiple power sources, an emergency light, and a powerful 2600mAh rechargeable battery, the Midland ER310 can easily be the best hand crank emergency radio. The features that set it aside from other similar devices are the solid handle, the large crank, and the compact size. Still, it packs a series of features that can make a dire situation less scary and a camping trip more comfortable.
First, it can scan through all 7 available NOAA Weather band channels and identify the strongest channel. Also, there is an AM/FM radio tuner, so the device can be used for keeping up with world news and entertainment.
The ER310 has a solar panel and a hand crank, like most other weather radios, but the fixed handle is the feature that makes it so versatile and easy to use. You can hold the handle with one hand and use the crank with the other while walking around the campsite to check out for possible threats. When it’s sunny, you can hand the radio in a tree or on a pole, to make sure the angle is perfect for fast charging.
Lastly, the rechargeable 2600 mAh battery is perfect for charging external devices or keeping the radio going for about 32h. There’s also the option of using 6 AA batteries, as a backup power solution.
Overall, due to the SOS flashlight beacon with Morse code, the Bright CREE LED (130 Lumens), and the ultrasonic dog whistle, the ER310 is truly a radio that can make you feel safer in a bad weather situation.
- Compact design with fixed handle
- Powerful backup battery
- Several charging methods
- Easy to use and versatile in emergencies
- It is not waterproof
- The flashlight is really bright even on low setting
American Red Cross Weather Radio
The Best Emergency Weather Radio for Backpacks
While it’s a little big to hold in one hand, the revolutionary design of this emergency radio makes it easy to use and reach the controls. So, if you have room for a slightly larger square frame in your backpack, this is the one to carry!
It has a solar panel and a hand crank for recharging, and a 2600mAh battery that can be used to charge sensitive devices such as smartphones, GPS, and more. It’s also equipped with an LED flashlight and one red LED flashing beacon.
In terms of connectivity, the radio receives all 7 NOAA channels and AM/FM bands due to the easy-to-adjust digital tuner. Also, if the “Alert” function is ON, the radio will broadcast emergency weather alerts in your area such as hurricanes and severe storms.
- A solid build
- The crank is easy to use
- Receives all 7 NOAA channels
- It has a 2600mAh power bank for charging smaller devices
- Alert function
- It’s too big to hold in one hand
- The battery is a semi-proprietary design that’s difficult to find
- The surface is smooth and not rugged
iRonsnow Solar Weather Radio
A Mandatory Item in Your Survival Equipment
Whether you’re preparing for the zombie apocalypse or you’re just putting together your hiking backpack, this little emergency radio with a bright flashlight at one end and a solar panel and a hand crank at the other should be in your survival kit.
The iRonsnow weather radio fits nicely in one hand but has all the right features to keep you out of trouble. The flashlight is bright (it has 3 LEDs), it has a 1000mAh backup battery and it receives AM/FM and NOAA channels.
- Compact design but durable build
- Easy to charge via solar or crank
- The 1000mAh power bank is durable
- Bright flashlight
- It receives regular radio and NOAA alerts
- It’s difficult to find in the dark
- It’s not very effective as a phone charger
Midland – WR120B/WR120EZ
Perfectly Tuned for Wide Coverage of Warning Messages
The WR120 series of weather radios from Midland come with advanced settings for Early Warning. The radio receives 7 NOAA channels with flood, tornado, thunderstorm, and other warnings (there are over 60 emergency alerts) based on your location. The radio has an Alert override system that automatically switches on when there’s an emergency broadcast.
In addition, this radio uses S.A.M.E digital technology that allows users to select the counties for which they want to receive alerts. And the warning system can be set to deliver messages via voice, display, or specific tones.
Lastly, it has a built-in 90dB siren, flashing LED warning system and a built-in clock with alarm and snooze functions. The radio also uses three AA alkaline batteries as a backup in case of a power outage situation.
- Solid build
- Lots of features focused on warning against disasters
- Telescopic antenna
- Tricolored alert level indicator
- Perfect for use in the house or office
- Not very portable
- It only has AC charging and batteries for backup
- The interface is not very intuitive
C. Crane CC Pocket Radio
The Best Portable Weather Radio
Fitted with a belt clip, headphone jack, and a backlight, this tiny weather radio can be carried on you at all times. It’s also quite sensitive to receiving AM/FM channels and NOAA weather band broadcasts (in spite of its size).
The display is large enough to showcase the current feature (Sleep timer, Clock and Alarm) and the controls are easy to reach, use, and understand. There’s also a built-in speaker, which is quite loud considering the size of the entire device!
This tiny weather radio runs on AA batteries, so it’s best to stock up on them, just in case the zombie apocalypse starts.
- Compact and small for easy portability
- Easy-to-reach controls
- Jack for headphones & built-in speaker
- There’s a speaker/headphones switch
- Several important functions
- Belt clip & rubberized surface
- Presets are lost during battery change
- It uses a string wire FM antenna to catch more stations
We can all agree that a weather radio that receives severe weather alerts and keeps us up to date with the latest developments is extremely useful. So, make sure to read our reviews and select the one that works best for your situation!