The best emergency radios are designed to help someone out of a difficult situation. Usually, they’re most useful when traveling overseas or in adverse conditions. However, they can be essential items on a regular day at home when the unexpected happens.
As a piece of equipment, to help survive in the most treacherous conditions, an emergency radio is vital. From hurricanes to tornados, and even flooding, they’re there to assist in the worst situation. And, usually, there’s much to consider when investing in one. Which is why we’ve compiled a list of top picks.
The Best Emergency Radio Reviews 2020
1. Kaito KA500 Solar Power Emergency Weather Radio
- 6-way powered portable emergency radio with hand crank generator, solar panel, compartment for 3 AA batteries (not included), 5V USB input, 5V AC/DC input with a wall power adapter (sold separately), built-in NiMH replaceable and rechargeable battery pack
- Comprehensive coverage of AM, FM, 2-band shortwave and 7 pre-programmed NOAA weather channels for entertainment, sports, talk-shows, breaking news around the world, and 24/7 real-time weather forecast (USA and Canada ONLY) with PEAS (Public Emergency Alert System)
- Works as an emergency mobile battery charger with built-in standard DC 5V USB output port for charging mobile devices, such as smart phones, GPS units, MP3 players, digital cameras, and etc. Other features include a 5-LED reading lamp, LED flashlight and a red LED S.O.S. beacon light
This emergency radio unit is very much the all-in-one powered product. It features a solar panel, dynamo crank, a built-in Ni-MH rechargeable battery and takes AA batteries. It also has a USB output, micro-USB charging port and 5V AC/DC input.
There’s no doubt this is packed with features. One of the best features is the power source, and particularly the inclusion of a rechargeable battery. Obviously, if you use it more, the battery power will drain. In general, this unit held its battery power very well. Particularly after AC charging and topping up with the crank.
The other positive feature is the 5 LEDs that can be turned on, which really do light up an area. Potentially, they could light up a whole room with ease. There is also a reading light and a red blinking light for an emergency. All of which are very powerful, and could work very well for outdoors.
A further strong feature is the battery indicator, which lights up if your supply is getting too low. If it does go red, it is very easy to use the crank to get the power back. It also has a good weather alert system and it seems to pick up local radio stations with ease.
One small problem is that the antenna doesn’t swivel. You can only extend it upwards.
There is also a warning about overcharging the unit. You cannot leave it charging indefinitely, and will need to constrain it to just 6 hours.
Overall, this is a solid, highly purposeful unit that’s designed to give you all the power you could need. It could be a very good option to take outdoors, maybe camping in riskier conditions. The features are excellent, and both lights and radio work well.
- Excellent power source that holds onto it well
- LED torch, lights and emergency light perform well
- Battery indicator very useful
- Good weather alert system
- Picks up radio signals well
- Careful management of charging the unit
- Antenna is less adaptable than others
2. Esky Solar Emergency Radio With Hand Crank
- 3 charges in one means Esky is always ready when you need it, with USB docks, solar panel and hand crank
- Phone gone flat Esky’s USB ports give your phone charge the boost it needs when juice is running low
- Flashlight provides you worth 140 Lumens of super bright light, so you won’t ever get caught in the dark
This Esky radio is also very compact and lightweight and has a 3-in1 functionality. It uses solar energy and a hand crank to power an FM/AM/NOAA radio and an LED flashlight. It also has a set of USB docks.
This is a very affordable emergency radio. What we loved most is that it’s small and very light, so can easily fit in your pocket. We also liked that it has a lanyard attached, which could be very helpful when traveling. On top of this, it’s designed to be tough and withstand a few knocks so if it does have a fall it shouldn’t be a problem. It could be very suitable for camping or hiking.
As a radio, it’s great. It is so easy to dial into the stations and they come through very clearly. Also, its really loud! The sound quality is very good for a small unit designed for traveling. At loud volumes it doesn’t seem to have any distortion at all. The LED light is also very good quality, very usable.
A small snag with this one is that it may take a little while to charge up. And, the power seems to fade away it doesn’t get used. This is easily overcome when you want to start it up again. And, it’s very easy and quick to get power into the thing using the hand crank.
We also had some difficulties with the USB cord but this was easily resolved.
In general, this is a neat and tiny little radio that could be just the ticket for traveling. It’s lightweight enough to fit into your backpack or bag with no problems. The radio performs well and power charges easily with the crank, USB port or solar panel to support.
- Very compact and lightweight
- Excellent value
- Sturdy and durable
- Good radio sound
- LED flashlight works well
- May lose its charge if left unused
- USB cord a little tricky to use
3. Sosanping Emergency Solar Hand Crank Radio
- [HOUSEHOLD RADIO] Emergency solar hand crank radio AM/FM & NOAA emergency broadcast weather alert radio with 6 LEDs reading lamp and headphone jack Keep staying aware of weather conditions in advance 6 LEDs Reading lamp design for reading or working in night
- [OUTDOOR BODYGUARD] This portable NOAA weather radio with flashlight for lighting road in dark
- [2000 mAh POWER BANK] Solar emergency weather radio built in 2000mAh power bank USB cable for charging to phone or any small tablet Support 12 hours of light or 4-6 hours of radio time
This is a hand-crank solar radio that features a NOAA weather system and reading lamp. For use at home, it features an AM/FM radio and USB port. For outdoors, it has a powerful flashlight, solar panel and emergency weather radio.
Cute and small, this is a lightweight radio. Because it’s small, it could be really convenient for traveling. It also has a crank which could be very useful when no power is available. Another feature we liked was how you could charge your mobile with the USB cable. So, using the crank for just a few minutes to do this could be extremely helpful when outdoors.
As a radio it works very well. Specifically, when using listening to the National Weather Channel it sounds very clear. Also, the FM stations are received quite well.
Probably the best thing about the radio is its multi-functionality and multi-power sources. Having the crank, USB port and the solar panel to charge means you’re unlikely to be without power. In fact, it’s probably a very good power source on its own.
If we had a complaint, it would be that the volume knob is small and sometimes difficult to turn. This may only be a problem for some people though.
Also, none of the NOAA weather alert stations have been preset. So, it may take some time to try to find the weather stations and preset them manually.
Overall, this is a small and lightweight radio that could be easily portable. It has three different power functions – crank, solar and USB. What’s great is that the USB can also charge other things, like a phone. And, as a radio it works well to easily tune into FM/AM bands.
- Small, lightweight and easy to transport
- Powered by crank and solar, with USB port
- Good radio on AM/FM
- Very good multi-functionality
- Excellent as a power supply
- Knobs are a little small and hard to turn
- No preset weather stations
4. Raynic Solar Hand Crank Emergency Radio
- 5-WAY POWER SOURCES - The weather radios with multiple power backup options are the best choice.5 power sources including a hand crank, solar panel, built-in Li-ion rechargeable battery, AAA batteries (not included) and AC power to make it easier to keep the radio running during a prolonged situation where AC power is off and batteries have been used up.
- MULTI-USE & DURABLE- The crank radios with 2000 mAh power bank is enough to charge your cell phone or USB devices for a brief call or a text message during the emergency. This weather radio with 3W integrated flashlights and 2.5W reading lamp are handy during emergency power cuts to see any signal in the dark. can be a lifesaver during dangerous disasters like tornadoes and hurricanes. It makes sense to choose a multi-use, durable and easy to use weather radio in this situation.
- NOAA ALERT RADIO - This NOAA weather alert radio are specially designed for emergency need. But it requires being powered on and manually tuned into a local weather station to receive alerts. It has standard analog tuning of AM/FM/SW/7 preset NOAA weather channels. It is a particular device designed to receive emergency warnings for various life-threatening weather events such as cyclones, hurricanes, tsunamis, and other weather disasters.
This is also a 6-way power source. It offers a hand crank, solar panel, built-in Li-ion rechargeable battery, AAA batteries, USB port and AC power. It also has a 3W flashlight, 2.5W reading lamp and NOAA-alert radio.
For a versatile machine that has so many features, this is a surprisingly small and compact unit. It’s also very affordable for what has been included.
As a radio, it performs very well. This may be because of the analog tuner. It can bring in FM stations with no problems at all and seemed to work well on AM, SW and WB too. Also, sound quality is very good. As a piece of equipment, it is well built, solid and sturdy.
One of the most positive features we found is the lithium battery, which lasts a long time after charge. You have the option of the USB charger too, and even the hand crank kept the power running well. This is a real plus.
Another feature we liked was the emergency alarm, which is very loud! The flashlight is also great and performed very well.
The tuning knob may have some problems. It seemed a little stiff and sometimes hard to turn.
Some people may find a few radio bands don’t perform as well as others. This may depend on where you live or how you plan to use it though.
Overall, this is a small, compact and sturdy unit that’s packed with features and is great value. The radio function performs very well and it brings in stations with no problems. It has a great battery life and very good emergency alarm and lights.
- Compact and very sturdy
- Good value for a surprising number of features
- Radio performs well, especially on FM
- Very good battery performance and multi-channels
- Loud emergency alarm
- Turning knobs may be a little sticky
- Some radio bands may have more trouble than others
5. Eton Emergency Radios
- EMERGENCY RADIO: Be prepared for any emergencies & disasters with this rechargeable weather alert radio with solar panel & hand turbine power generator. No emergency kit is complete without it.
- STAY ALERT: The “Alert” function automatically broadcasts any emergency weather alerts for your area. Keep it charged via solar panel, hand crank or a built-in rechargeable battery
- MULTIFUNCTION DIGITAL DEVICE: This AM/FM/NOAA weather band digital radio with display & alarm clock can also charge a smartphone via USB port. Also features an LED flashlight & red flashing beacon.
This unique-looking American Red Cross emergency radio from the Eton is a multi-functional digital device. This means it includes FM/AM and NOAA digital radios, with a digital display and alarm clock. It’s powered with a hand crank, solar panel and USB port and picks up weather alerts.
First off, the battery life with this is excellent. It’s probably one of the fastest at charging. And, with both USB and mini USB ports, it can easily charge up the great digital features. Speaking of which, the digital radio is fantastic – it picks up stations well. It also delivers excellent sounds at high quality. Another plus is that the display is backlit, which makes it easier to see when dark.
As a piece of equipment, it’s really easy to use. The functionalities fit well together, especially for its size. It’s small, neat and tidy and also very nice to handle. It also seems durable and built well for outdoor use. The crank handle felt very smooth and easy to turn too.
Eton emergency radio could be easier to get radio weather alerts. It has weather stations, but would help to also receive alerts without so much battery power.
Also, this one lacks an AC adaptor or the ability to insert batteries. This won’t be a problem for some people. However, connecting directly to an electricity source or having additional battery supplies may be preferred.
For a general overview, this is a neat and tidy, durable outdoor radio with functionalities that sit well together. The battery performance is very good, and charges quickly from a USB port. The Eton emergency radio gives a great sound and is easy to see. It’s a nice unit that’s easy to use.
- Very good battery life from USB port charge
- Well-performing digital radio
- Backlit digital display
- Easy to use with smooth use of crank handle
- Durable and built well for outdoors
- Difficult to get radio alerts
- No AC adaptor or ability to replace batteries
6. Alice Dreams Emergency Solar Hand Crank Portable Radio
- "FM / AM radio reception" radio can be tuned to FM / AM radio (FM: 76 ~ 108MHz), disaster prevention radio light can be solar / hand-crank / single AAA battery charge, mobile battery can also be smartphone charge. Useful for daily use, crime prevention, disaster prevention, earthquake countermeasures, power outages, etc.
- Power Your Phone: 2000 mAh power bank can be used to charge a cell phone or other USB devices; therefore, you will be able to make quick emergency call even in the most desperate situation;
- Never Power Off: The built-in rechargeable Li-ion battery radio can be charged with Micro USB cable, 3 AAA batteries (not included), hand cranking and the solar panel, supplies 10-12 hours of radio time, or up to 15 hours of flashlight time when fully charged;
This is a compact FM/AM radio powered by solar, hand-crank or AAA battery charge. There is also a USB port for mobile phone charging. It’s designed for outdoor use and includes a lanyard for carrying.
This is a well-designed little radio with plenty of features. It comes with a green colored casing, which feels almost like camouflage. Because it’s so small it can easily be taken anywhere at all. It could easily fit in the pocket or a backpack.
The functions of this unit are very easy to use. Switching between AM and FM radio is really simple, for example.
There are also two very strong features that we liked. The first is the radio. For such a compact item, the radio on this offers a very high quality, crisp and clear sound that is surprisingly good.
Secondly, the flashlight torch that’s built-in is very bright and powerful.
This could be a handy emergency radio to have to hand in any hurricane season. It could also be nice to take camping, with the light feature being so good.
Something that wasn’t so good was the protective flap that sits over the charging port. At times it didn’t close properly. It also seemed a little flimsy.
Also, it may not be the most sturdy or durable material to take to more extreme weather situations.
Overall, this is a nicely designed emergency radio with all the power sources you’ll need. It’s small and compact, so easily transportable. It has a good sounding radio and flashlight that could be just perfect for camping trips. It’s also easy to use.
- Nicely designed
- Compact and easily transportable
- Easy to use
- Radio quality is good
- Powerful flashlight
- Plastic material not as durable as others
- Protective pieces over ports may be easily damaged
7. Givoust Emergency Noaa Weather Crank Radio
- 【Ready for Emergency 】This weather alert radio is a versatile unit ,which broadcast the lastest weather and hazard information for your area in time , such as earthquake, hurricanes, winter storms and other natural disasters,ensuring that best preparation for it in advance.Using FM, AM and NOAA weather forecast station, you can also get the latest weather broadcasting even in non-stormy weather.
- 【No Electricty?Don't Worry!】Putting in the dilemma of blackout?Staring at a dead phone battery in the storm?Don't worry.A 4000mAH power bank charge your phone in an emergency or disaster. During a power cut, the fully emergency weather radio provides up to 18-20 hours of flashlight time or 18-20 hours of radio play（depending on the sound volume)or 30-35 hours of AUX music play,let you out of the dark and don't feel bored.
- 【3 Ways to Keep Power】 Solar powered radio is not just direct charging by USB cable，but also supporting hand-crank powered , solar powered and battery charged.When the electricity saved by emergency radio is used up, don't worry. You can also chargeweather alert radio by Cranking or Solar Charging to ensure that emergency weather radio has electricity to accompany you through the blackout period.
This is a ‘ready for emergency’ radio that’s very versatile. It will broadcast the latest weather and hazard information and has a 4000mAH power bank. It claims to provide 18-20 hours of radio play, has an LCD display screen and comes with a flashlight.
Immediately, you’ll notice the unique shape of this radio. It also has a carry-handle and moveable antenna. It seems to have been very well designed, both in terms of aesthetics but also functionality. It seems very durable and could withstand tougher conditions.
A stand-out feature is the digital tuner and display panel. It gets a very accurate tuning into local stations including weather channels.
The flashlight is also very strong and powerful. In SOS mode, it can blink brightly in morse code. Also, the emergency siren is extremely loud. All these things suggest it could be very effective in adverse outdoor conditions.
Although you do get a USB port and crank handle to charge it up, it also has the option to install batteries. This helps to give plenty of options to keep the radio working.
In general, the battery performance with these was not the best. The power seemed to run out far quicker than other models.
There was also a problem tuning into AM stations where it picked up a lot of static noise. That’s often the case with most radios though. It may not be a problem for everyone.
In short, this is a very well-designed, unique looking emergency radio. It has a strong digital radio that performs well when tuned to FM stations. The flashlight and emergency features are quite strong, making this a potentially good option for using outdoors.
- Well designed and unique looking
- Digital tuner works well, particularly on FM
- Strong flashlight and emergency features
- Extra option to include batteries
- Sometimes noisy
- Battery charging for 12 hours without usage means probably infrequent use
How To Choose A Emergency Radio: A Buyer’s Guide
These days, it is much harder to predict how weather patterns will form. Could there be pleasant, calming atmospheres on day, and then mother nature unleashing her anger the next? The reality is, we can really never be sure.
So, when planning an outdoor expedition, you want to make sure you will be as far from danger as possible. Or, maybe you live in an area that’s at higher risk of hurricanes? If so, you’ll want to make sure you can be alerted to the dangers. You want to be able to prepare for the worst, while also having power to fall back on.
Of course, it’s important to accept that you can’t just fall back on your cellphone to help you. This is why the constant power abilities of emergency radios are a good idea for all.
And with so many to choose from, it may feel overwhelming to decide which could be the best emergency radio. You’ll want to make sure you have a reliable power source but also a strong enough radio to alert you to dangers.
Perhaps you also want some emergency features or alarms? Do you need something solid, durable and weatherproof? Or, maybe just having something small enough to fit in your backpack is enough?
To help you, we have compiled some key criteria you need to look out for.
Design and Build
Emergency radios are often designed with specific uses in mind. For example, smaller ones will often deliver everything you need but be light enough to carry.
Sturdiness and durability may be key factors in your decision making. If you want to take something on rough terrain, perhaps you’ll need something rugged and resistant.
You’ll also want to think about the color of the radio. If you plan to use it at night, you may want a brighter color to stay visible.
Size and Weight
Smaller-sized radios can often still deliver high quality experiences. What they also offer is the opportunity for easy and convenient transportation.
If they’re lightweight, it could also help to save space in your bag for backpacking trips. Heavier ones may offer more and be useful to keep in the car or at home.
Ease of operation
With many varying ways to put power into your radio, you’ll want to consider how easy it is to operate. Hand-cranks are very common with emergency radios, and can help restore power in emergency situations.
However, if you’ll want to use your radio at home, plugging into an electricity source may be better long-term.
Quality of radio
Some radios are digital, but others still use an analog operation. There are pros and cons to both. Bear in mind how important it is to receive high quality sound. Primarily, these radios are designed for tuning into weather stations or emergency channels. Of course, you can still enjoy tuning into music or chat, but consider how important this is to you.
As we explained, a hand-crank is a great emergency feature but may not give you the power you desire, longer-term. Check how long-lasting the power supply is, as you may feel you need more for longer trips. Also, consider if you need a USB port or battery supply as well. USB ports offer the additional benefit of being able to provide your cellphone with battery power.
Additionally, solar panels can top up supply, which could be useful in sunnier conditions.
If you plan to use your radio for trips or camping, you may want to check if they include NOAA weather alerts. These are channels that will be interrupted with the latest weather developments.
If you’re traveling in small groups, you may also want to include safety features. Emergency, SOS sirens and flashlights can help you become more visible. This could be critical to your safety if the worst were to happen and you become stranded.
Some radios also come with a compass, alarm clock or reading lamp. So, consider how useful these features could be to your needs.
And the winner is…
Based on all the features we’ve highlighted you need to look out for, we’ve chosen a winner.
The Kaito KA500 Solar Emergency Radio comes out on top of our list. It’s bright colorful, compact, lightweight and very durable. These are all aspects that make it great for backpacking. However, it has a solar charge, hand crank and USB port which is essential.The radio performs well and it has a flashlight. If we also factor in portability and value, this little radio has it all. It could be perfect for all and any needs.