The invention of the radio revolutionized communication and news broadcasting in the 18th century.
It allowed quick message delivery unlike the previously predominant methods where a messenger had to carry letters on horseback or a bird was sent with a written note between the two parties.
Since then, radios (short for radio receivers) have evolved and now find application in various areas such as entertainment, emergency aid, military, and aviation.
Emergencies can happen at any time and having the right ready-to-go emergency kit is key to finding help in time and ultimately surviving, say a natural disaster or the long-preached ‘apocalypse’.
With so many brands that claim to be the best in the market, deciding on the right emergency radio to buy can be a daunting task. So how do you choose one that will stand the test of time and be reliable when you need it the most?
Best Emergency Radios for 2021 – Quick Look
(Click on the name of any radio to read its in-depth review)
|5 Ways||2000 mAh|
|4 Ways||2000 mAh|
|RunningSnail MD-088s||3 Ways||1000 mAh|
|Esky Radio||3 Ways||1000 mAh|
|Fospower Radio||3 Ways||2000 mAh|
|Sangean MMR-88||2 Ways||850 mAh|
|Midland Radio||3 Ways||N/A|
|Midland ER310||3 Ways||2600 mAh|
|American Red Cross FR1||1-Way||2000 mAh|
|Greadio Radio||3 Ways||2000 mAh|
1. The Kaito KA500 Voyager
Top on our list is the Kaito KA500 Voyager and for good reason at that.
When it comes to beating all odds and superb reliability, this titan stands at the apex. Backed with several power options to relevant weather forecasts, it will get you out of virtually every emergency fix.
While it comes at a relatively higher cost than others in its category, most buyers attest to its real value for money.
Our In-Depth Review:
The Kaito KA500 Voyager is a multi-purpose, portable radio receiver that is highly reliable in emergencies. It features a hand-powered crank generator, an AC/DC adapter charging port, and a universal DC 5V USB input charging port that can be used to charge the in-built rechargeable NiMH battery.
It also comes with a unique, patented 180-degree adjustable mini solar panel that can power the unit alone and a 3 AA battery compartment for extra power. The AC/DC adapter and AA batteries are to be bought separately.
If you are willing to spend a little extra for quality, then the Kaito KA500 Voyager is a very good choice. Customers, especially those in hurricane-prone areas recommend this device and are quite impressed with the hand crank generator. It’s low rotation speed and high gear-ratio means you can generate power with minimal effort from your hands.
Another amazing feature that sells this device out is its impressive reception over AM/FM, shortwave and NOAA weather channels. The weather channels are easily accessible and numbered. The shortwave feature means you can easily pick up distress calls or even get to eavesdrop on radio conversations without been caught 🙂
The main powerhouse of the Kaito KA500 Voyager is its rechargeable and replaceable 3.6V/600 mAh NiMH batteries that will give you plenty of battery time of up to 21 hours with low radio volume and an impressive 1500 charge-discharge cycles. When used with the flashlight alone, the batteries can last up to 100 hours.
It also sports a universal DC 5V USB output port you can use to charge mobile devices like phones, cameras, tablets, GPS beacons among others. That way you can ensure these devices stay on and maximize your chances for aid to reach you in case of an emergency.
Still more impressive is a hypersensitive 14.5’’ antennae backed up by state of the art semiconductor circuit technology that will pick up the slightest of signals. Tuning has never been more convenient as the Kaito KA500 features a reception-level led indicator to help you accurately pinpoint the right position of the dial.
The emergency radio falls from a height or into the water; No problem. All this goodness is wrapped up in an impact and water-resistant plastic casing to ensure its durability, reliability, and suitability for both indoor and outdoor activities.
- It features 7 fully certified NOAA weather channels labeled 1-7 for quick tuning.
- It features an emergency alert mode that when on will automatically tune to the pre-programmed weather channels in case of an emergency broadcast.
- Quick charging and long discharging time of the built-in batteries.
- High signal receptivity.
- Slow charging of mobile devices with the USB output port.
- Poor shortwave signal reception from long distances.
The Kaito KA500 Voyager has a significantly higher price tag than other radios in its category but boasts of a ton of amazing features that make it a good buy. Staying prepared for emergencies is the least you can do to increase the chances of survival for you and your loved ones and this product embodies this ideal perfectly.
2. RunningSnail Radio
The Running Snail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio comes second in our list and stands out as the best among other radios made by RunningSnail.
When it comes to affordability and impressive power amongst other amazing features, this product tops the scoreboard.
The intricate combination of features is specially designed to help you adapt to whatever emergency situation you may find yourself in.
Our In-Depth Review:
The RunningSnail radio comes with a bunch of amazing features that make it a reliable emergency gadget. It features an impressive 2000 mAh Li-ion battery that can be charged with a standard DC USB input port, a hand-powered crank generator, and an adjustable solar panel. It also features a 3 AA battery compartment for backup power.
In cases of power outages, this device can be a lifesaver. It features a universal 5V DC USB output port that can be used to charge your mobile devices and thanks to its powerful Li-ion battery you will have plenty of charging time. If the built-in battery is dead, the solar panel can take over. If there is still no sun rays reaching you, an extra pack of AA batteries on hand will serve as a backup.
In the extreme case of none of these, the crank generator will come in handy. It is easy to turn and features a high gear ratio to minimize effort from your hands.
Finding your way has never been easier with a bright 1W LED flashlight that will give you light in dark places in case of power outages. What’s more with the lights? This device comes with a featured table lamp to help you read in poor lighting.
Another amazing paired feature on this device is the SOS alarm and flashing emergency red light. This pair serves as a beacon to reach out for aid. The flashing light has high visual permeability and thus will help far-off rescue teams locate you even in the cloudy or foggy air. The SOS alarm is ideal for rescue teams to locate survivors buried under debris or in their basements by tracing the loud sound.
The powerhouse of the RunningSnail NOAA Weather Radio is a powerful rechargeable and replaceable 2000 mAh Li-ion battery pack that will give you plenty on-time of up to 12 hours with the lights and up to 6 hours with radios depending on the volume of the speakers.
Many customers like this product as it combines superb portability, impressive power, impressive reception for its size, and is more affordable than many other similar products in its category. For people living in disaster-prone areas, it is a must-have emergency item that will keep their devices juiced up and ready for aid.
- Lightweight and is highly portable weighing in at 10.9 ounces.
- Renewable energy source feature (solar).
- Rescue and quick-aid support.
- Quick device charging.
- Significantly lesser radio time than some other brands.
- Slow solar charging.
- Susceptibility to plastic body deformation when left in the sun for extended periods.
- It needs frequent warm-runs and checks when stored for a long time.
The RunningSnail NOAA Weather Radio comes with a number of amazing features that make it one of the best on the market. If you are looking for a handy emergency radio that is affordable and reliable, then this product is a great choice for you.
3. RunningSnail MD-088s
Third on our list it the RunningSnail Emergency Self Powered Weather Radio.
It is the latest upgrade in the series and boasts of an outstanding mix of simplicity and functionality.
It artistically combines a unique set of features that will get you out every emergency fix. A peek at some of its amazing features will make you see why this little buddy might just be the thing for you.
Our In-Depth Review:
The RunningSnail Emergency Self Powered Weather Radio is a highly portable yet powerful emergency radio that comes with a number of amazing features that are especially suited to people living in disaster-prone areas. As an improvement to previous versions, it comes in a new sleek design and is more portable than ever. Weighing in at 7.8 ounces you don’t have to work out because you want to carry your radio.
At the heart of this emergency, radio is its rechargeable and replaceable Li-ion battery that is charged by a main universal charging port. When it comes to backup power, this bad boy is well loaded. It features a hand-powered crank generator and a solar panel that will ensure the main Li-ion battery is charged even during power outages.
The RunningSnail Emergency Self Powered Weather Radio really drives home the point that small does not always mean deficient. As an extra feature, it boasts of a 1000 mAh power bank especially designed for charging your mobile gadgets in emergencies. It also eliminates the need for a USB adapter as was in the previous versions and comes with a bonus micro universal USB input cord.
What’s an emergency radio without reception? This gadget features a mini, collapsible antenna backed with an advanced semiconductor circuit that gives it high reception for AM/FM and NOAA weather channels. Stay in tune with updates on the weather and at alert for possible storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes in your area.
Power outages are quite frequent in disaster-prone areas and at night can suddenly throw you into darkness. This gadget doubles as a radio and as a torchlight. It features a powerful 1W LED flashlight that will give you light in the dark and help you find your way to safety if you don’t have a lamp around.
It is bright enough for outdoor use and will be a valuable emergency companion if you need to evacuate or move quickly.
All these goodies are packaged in an impact-resistant plastic casing that will give the delicate components in case it falls. The solar panel is fixed into the plastic body and is protected by a transparent plastic screen. This reduces the chances of it getting damaged from over-tilting or impact.
- It is affordable.
- It has high signal sensitivity over AM/FM and NOAA weather channels.
- It is lightweight at 7.8 ounces and very portable.
- It can be charged with any standard USB output port.
- Charging with the hand crank requires quite some effort and the device is not stable.
- Is not very reliable if stored for a long time without frequent test-runs.
The RunningSnail Emergency Hand Crank Self Powered AM/FM NOAA Solar Weather Radio is perfect for customers who want a reliable product that can fit into their pockets. Small and fairly priced, you can get one for you and a loved one without having to break the bank.
4. Esky Radio
The Esky Portable Emergency Weather Radio comes as an upgrade to its predecessor.
Uniquely designed for portability and reliability, this product boasts of features that place it well in the ranks of emergency radios for people living in areas vulnerable to extreme weather conditions and for general indoor and outdoor use.
Don’t be caught by surprise and be a step ahead of whatever bad weather condition might be heading your way.
Our In-Depth Review:
At the heart of the Esky Portable, Emergency Weather Radio is a powerful 1000 mAh Polymer Li-ion battery that can be charged using its universal USB input port, a built-in solar panel, and a hand-powered crank generator.
Whether you are stuck in a sunny plain or are completely in the dark, these backup power sources will tilt the odds in your favor and keep the main battery on to give you enough time to call for aid. An impressive radio time of up to 8 hours and flashlight time of up to 10 hours will definitely last you through the night on a full charge.
In a power outage situation, electronic gadgets like phones and GPS devices running out of charge can be dangerous, especially in a natural disaster. Not being able to reach out can put emotional and mental stress on loved ones and can delay personal rescue.
The Esky Portable Emergency Weather Radio comes with a universal USB output port for your electronic gadgets. While the 1000 mAh battery capacity will not necessarily fill up say two or three phones on a single battery charge, it will give you enough time to make that call to loved ones and assure them everything is alright, or reach out to help and rescue as to your precise location.
Being in the dark can be disorienting as well as dangerous especially on young children or the elderly. Should a disaster occur, you want to have all the light you can to safely navigate passages and quickly. This product is equipped with a super bright 140-lumen, 3-LED bulb flashlight that will guide the way to safety. It is also a great feature for outdoor activities like camping and hiking.
Don’t let sunset interrupt as you’re reading your favorite novel in your camping tent.
If not the most important feature is its radio receiver system. The Esky Portable Emergency Weather Radio comes with a mini, highly sensitive, retractable antennae backed with semiconductor circuitry to enable high reception of AM/FM and NOAA weather channels.
The last thing you want is a storm catching you by surprise. This little buddy will keep you in the know with the latest weather updates and keep you and your family at alert and ready to immediately move to safety.
The Esky Portable Emergency Weather Radio was designed with extreme weather conditions in mind. All its amazing features are embedded in an impact and water-resistant plastic casing to enhance the durability and consequentially the life of this bad boy.
- Lightweight, compact and very portable.
- Super bright lighting.
- Long-lasting battery power.
- Very affordable.
- Slow electronic gadget charging.
The Esky Portable Emergency Weather Radio is a uniquely designed, compact emergency radio. For customers looking for a mix of affordability, portability, and reliability, this product is definitely a good buy.
5. FosPower Radio
The FosPower Emergency Weather Radio comes with a wealth of amazing features that sell it out as one of the best on the market.
When it comes to power, rescue support, unique design, and customer security, this product is well placed on the scoreboard.
It speaks real value for money and will keep you safe and connected to the rest of the world, in whatever emergency situation may arise.
Our In-Depth Review:
The FosPower Emergency Weather Radio is a multipurpose emergency radio that combines many functions in a compact, portable unit. The main powerhouse of this titan is a powerful 2000 mAh Li-ion battery that will give you long hours of radio and light time. For backup power, this unit features a hand-powered crank generator, a 180-degree adjustable solar panel, and a compartment for 3 AA batteries.
For people living in high-risk areas for natural disasters, power outages are commonplace. Been able to stay alert with current weather information is important to survival. So whether it’s day or night, this radio gives you not one, not two, but three more lifelines and tilts the odds in your favor.
Backed with its powerful 2000 mAh battery, this radio will bring your electronic gadgets to life and give you enough time to make that call to a loved one or rescue station. If you don’t want to put a strain on the main battery, the featured hand-powered crank generator and solar panel are powerful enough to charge your devices.
It comes with a retractable antenna as an extension of an advanced circuit for AM/FM and NOAA weather channel reception. You want to be alert and informed with current updates on the weather. You will get real-time broadcasts on impending storms, hurricanes or tornadoes and won’t be caught by surprise.
Been in the dark with the howl of fast-blowing winds can be disorienting and scary. The FosPower Emergency Weather Radio also comes with a bright 1W flashlight with zoom and a 4-LED reading lamp that will give you the needed visibility to make your way to safety. The reading lamp is an asset for general home use and outdoor activities like camping and hiking.
This radio also comes with a loud SOS alarm and red light that serve as a beacon for emergency aid and rescue teams. This feature is great for rescue teams to locate you in areas with poor visibility.
All these amazing features are wrapped and protected in an impact and IPX3 water-resistant lightweight plastic casing. Designed to beat all odds the weather may bring, the FosPower Emergency Weather Radio is a true masterpiece.
- Long-lasting main battery power.
- Is resistant to rain and water.
- Sturdy hand-powered crank generator handle.
- Features search and rescue support.
- The reading lamp comes on automatically with the solar panel in the sun.
- No NOAA alert mode.
The FosPower Emergency Weather Radio combines affordability and impressive functionality. From a powerful battery to 3-way backup power, bright lighting to an SOS alarm, and weather channel reception this product is a good buy for customers who want real value for money. Stay alert, stay prepared and stay safe.
6. Sangean MMR-88
The Sangean MMR-88 Emergency Radio sports a number of features that emphasize customer convenience and safety.
When it comes to staying at alert while going about your daily activity, this radio reserves a top spot for itself.
Simple and ruggedly designed, this product is one of many radios that allow for precise radio reception, and minimize your effort as much as possible.
We take a look at its features and why it may be the emergency radio for you.
Our In-Depth Review:
The Sangean MMR-88 Emergency Radio is powered by the main rechargeable and replaceable Li-ion battery. A 2-way backup power option consisting of a hand-powered crank generator and a solar panel, and a universal USB main charging port keep the main battery charged and ready to go. This well-designed combination of power options ensures the radio is always on and you stay connected.
The main USB charging port serves to quickly power the battery if you have an extra power bank. So if there is a power outage, the sun can continue charging the unit. And if it’s dark, the hand crank generator can come in as a last resort.
The Sangean MMR-88 Emergency Radio comes with a digital display, soft buttons, and an auto-tuning option that makes tuning and control as easy and accurate as possible. The digital display features a battery level indicator and clock. The available buttons allow you to set precise signal frequencies at accuracies unattainable in normal analog controls.
Don’t bother about missing emergency weather broadcasts while listening to other entertainment stations. The Sangean MMR-88 features a weather alert indicator that will light up to let you know an emergency broadcast is going on.
Power outages at night can leave you disoriented as everywhere suddenly becomes dark, and its effects can be pronounced in the case of a natural disaster. This product comes with a super bright flashlight and an illumination lamp for focused and diffuse light respectively, to give you the needed visibility to find your way to safety.
Rescue operations usually cover very large areas and pinpointing survivors is challenging as dust, smoke and rain create poor vision. The Sangean MMR-88 features a loud emergency buzzer, a blinking flashlight option and SOS morse code, all targeted towards rescue support. So in the case of a natural disaster, rescue operators can track the sound, light, and signals to locate you.
Other amazing features on this product are its universal USB output charging port to keep electronic devices like phones and GPS units charged, and earphone jack that allows you to personalize your radio experience.
- It allows for precise channel setting and auto-tuning.
- Allows for personalized radio experience.
- Features search and rescue support.
- Impact-resistant durable casing.
- The main battery usually doesn’t last long and an extra one or two on hand will greatly help.
- Poor charging of devices when running on the main battery.
The Sangean MMR-88 is a great multipurpose emergency radio that is especially suited to people living in high-risk natural disaster areas. As the first digital radio in our list, it comes at a significantly higher price tag but many agree it’s worth it.
7. Midland – XT511
The Midland XT511 is a powerful multipurpose emergency radio that comes with a wealth of features that emphasize convenience, quick communication and versatility.
It sports a unique and revolutionary design that paves the way for the next generation of portable, emergency 2-way radios.
As an upgrade to its previous version, it is ideal for both indoor and outdoor use.
Our In-Depth Review:
The Midland XT511 emergency radio features a unique design and takes radio functionality to the next level. A rechargeable 6.0V NiMH battery is the main power source for this device. An AC adapter included in the package serves as the main charging option and bring the battery to full charge quickly.
When the odds are against you and say there is a power outage, this unit comes to the rescue. A 3-way backup power option; a hand-powered crank generator, universal USB input port and 4 AA battery compartment with the batteries included, give you different alternatives to keeping the radio on and staying connected to broadcasts and loved ones.
It also features a bright flashlight that can give the needed visibility to find your way to safety in an emergency. So whether you are stranded in the day or at night, this radio will be a worthy companion.
At the heart of this emergency radio is a powerful semiconductor signal processing circuit that supports AM/FM and 10 NOAA weather channel reception with a powerful receiver/transmitter antenna labeled with a maximum range of up to 40 miles. Keep yourself and family out of harm’s way by staying in touch with weather updates on the available 10 channels, and stay at alert for possible storms and hurricanes that may occur.
This radio takes emergency alerts to the next level with an automatic scan feature to get the strongest broadcast signal and ensure you hear updates on the weather and possible evacuation arrangements as clearly and as soon as possible.
The Midland XT511 also comes with a 121 privacy code feature that allows you privacy when communicating with another person and minimizes the risk of eavesdropping. Control is achieved using soft buttons and a digital display for accuracy and precision. The digital display features a battery level indicator, a clock, and a frequency indicator.
Bothered that you might miss out on emergency weather updates? Don’t worry. This radio comes with an emergency alarm too loud to miss that will automatically come on when emergency broadcasts are ongoing and can also serve as a rescue beacon. It doubles as an alarm clock and comes with a snooze button when the sleep has fallen off your eyes… or when you’re just too lazy to get out of bed and want to sleep more.
A special feature is its unique handle design that makes carrying it as easy as possible. The Midland XT511 comes with a plastic casing that makes a compact, water-resistant unit. An extra featured USB charging port helps keep your electronic gadgets like phones and GPS units on, ultimately keeping connected to the rest of the world even in a power outage situation.
- 2-way radio function.
- Water-resistant plastic casing.
- Features NOAA alert and weather scan mode.
- It is portable and easy to carry around.
- Relatively shorter radio time on a full battery charge.
- No solar panel feature.
The Midland XT511 is a multifunctional, versatile radio specially tailored for people who live in disaster-prone areas and want good value for money. If you want a 2-way radio that sports a classy, digital look and are willing to spend extra, then this emergency radio is a good buy.
8. Midland – ER310
The Midland ER310 is a multipurpose all-in-one emergency radio that embodies a compact yet powerful device and is a good fit for customers with an eye for impressive portability and functionality.
Impressive power options with revolutionary features many radios don’t have, sell this product as a good buy.
Let’s have a look at some of the features that earn this device a top spot in the ranks of emergency radios.
Our In-Depth Review:
The Midland ER310 Emergency Weather Radio is a multipurpose device that combines several powerful features in a compact, rugged structure. The main powerhouse of this device is a powerful 2600 mAh Li-ion battery that will give you plenty of radio time of up to 32 hours and an AC adapter that serves as the main charging option for the battery.
Backing up the main power systems are three renewable power sources; a solar panel, a hand-powered crank generator, and 6 AA battery compartment. This intricate combination of power options will get you out of every fix possible by ensuring the main battery stays charged and can also be used to power the radio separately.
Power outages during extreme weather conditions can suddenly throw you into darkness and the poor visibility can cause injury. Another amazing feature on this emergency radio is the super bright 130-lumen flashlight that will give you the necessary visibility to safely navigate passages and reduce the risk of injury.
Keeping electronic devices like mobile phones, cameras and GPS units on is important to stay in touch with loved ones, capturing spectacular scenes, and reaching out for help. The Midland ER310 features a universal USB output charging port that will give you more than enough time on your devices to make calls, show up on a rescue radar, and perform other tasks.
At the heart of this radio is an advanced semiconductor signal processing circuit that uses a retractable antenna to receive AM/FM and NOAA weather channel signals. Stay at alert and in tune with the latest weather updates and prevent storms, hurricanes or tornadoes from catching you by surprise. It also features an alert mode that will trigger an alarm and prevent you from missing emergency broadcasts that are being made.
The special antenna design allows it to retract and be safely kept in the body of the radio, rather than on the outside as in most other brands.
The Midland ER310 really drives home the point of rescue support and comes with an ultrasonic dog whistle that will help rescue operatives and their canine companions trace their way to you even if you are buried or out of sight in an emergency situation.
A digital display and control buttons allow you to tune to various stations with precision and fine adjustments. An extra auto-tune feature automatically locks on to the best signal and gives you weather information as clearly as possible. The Emergency Radio comes in a rugged impact-resistant plastic casing for added protection and durability.
- Features rescue support.
- Long-lasting main battery.
- Emergency weather alert.
- Earphone jack for privacy.
- Radio and flashlight can be used at the same time.
- High capacity battery inadvertently takes time to charge with the solar and crank generator.
- Plastic casing not waterproof.
The Midland ER310 is a multipurpose emergency radio that combines functionality with compactness. It has a significantly high price tag on it but customers attest to its real value for money. If you are in need of a long-lasting radio with advanced rescue support and weather alerts, then this product is just for you!
9. American Red Cross FR1
The American Red Cross FR1 is a multipurpose emergency radio that combines functionality and portability into a compact, rugged unit.
Simple and artistically designed, it is a little device that embodies the ideals of the American Red Cross; aid and rescue.
Equipped with impressive power options amongst other support features, it is suited to people living in disaster-prone areas. Let’s have a look at what this product has to offer and why you should add it to your cart.
Our In-Depth Review:
Powering the American Red Cross FR1 is a powerful 2000 mAh rechargeable Lithium battery that will give you up to 24 hours of radio time and at least 12 hours of light time even after the radio can no longer be powered. A universal DC USB input port serves as the main charging option for the built-in battery.
Backing the main battery is a hand-powered crank generator that gives you another option to charge the battery and stay connected. The generator features a high gear ratio, meaning you generate as much power as possible with minimal effort from your hands.
The most important feature of the American Red Cross FR1 is its radio receiver. At its heart is an advanced signal processing semiconductor circuit that supports AM/FM and NOAA weather channel reception with a highly sensitive retractable antenna.
Whether for daily or emergency use, this radio brings the relevant channels to you and will help you stay ahead and prepared for potential storms, hurricanes or tornadoes that may be heading your way.
The radio also features a special alert mode that will automatically tune the radio to NOAA channels when an emergency broadcast is ongoing. That way, you don’t have to be worried about missing important weather updates.
It can also as a distress beacon for rescue operatives to spot from far away. Locating your radio in the dark when a sudden power outage occurs is made easy with the glow-in-the-dark indicator featured.
This radio comes with a digital display and control buttons that allow for precise tuning and fine adjustments at accuracies normally unattainable with analog controls. The display features a battery level indicator, a clock, and the station being broadcast.
Apart from your radio, electronic devices like mobile phones and GPS units help you stay connected with loved ones and drastically increase the chances of survival. The Red Cross FR1 comes with a universal USB output port for charging electronic devices.
Backed with the powerful battery and hand crank generator, this powerful device will give you more than enough time to make that call to loved ones and assure them everything is okay, or reach out for help.
All its amazing features are enclosed in a compact, rugged plastic casing to yield a durable, impact-resistant unit. It also comes with an earphone jack that allows for a personalized experience.
- It is affordable.
- It is very portable.
- Long-lasting battery power.
- Emergency weather alert support.
- No solar or AA battery compartment.
- It does not come with an on/off switch.
- While the crank generator is easy to turn, it is slow in charging the main battery.
The American Red Cross FR1 is a compact emergency radio that comes with a host of features specially designed for people living in disaster-prone areas. If you are looking for a portable and simple unit that really tips the scales in affordability and power, then this device is just for you.
10. Greadio Radio
The Greadio Emergency Weather Radio comes last but is definitely not the least! Equipped with spectacular features that make it stand out, this radio is a compact unit that emphasizes reliable power and portability.
Whether for indoor or outdoor activities, this beast is equipped with capabilities to ensure you have a fun time. It is a must-have for people who want to stay ahead and prepared for when emergency situations may arise.
Let’s have a look at some of its features and what sells it out as one of the best emergency radios on the market.
Our In-Depth Review:
The Greadio Emergency Weather Radio is a many-in-one emergency device that combines superb power, versatility, and adaptability into a compact unit. It comes with the right features that will get you out of any fix in terms of emergency power needs.
At its very core is a powerful rechargeable 2000 mAh Li-ion battery that will give you plenty of on-time to listen to your favorite stations and emergency broadcasts. A universal USB input charging port is the main way to charge the battery, and you get a free micro USB cord for this.
Backing up this main power pair is a 3-way power option; a hand-powered crank generator, an adjustable orientation solar panel, and a 3 AA battery compartment. Is your radio running out of power? No problem. The solar panel will come to the rescue.
Cloudy skies or darkness? Still no problem. A couple of AA batteries on hand will give you several hours of extra power. The hand-powered crank generator serves as a last resort, ensuring uninterrupted power with minimum effort from your hands, thanks to a high gear ratio.
Another amazing feature on this device is an SOS alarm that helps rescue personnel locate you if you are lost in areas of poor visibility. No need to strain your voice or do the shouting. This loud alarm will pierce the fog and carry your calls for help.
It’s bad enough if a storm hits your area but can feel worse if you are left completely in the dark in the case of a power outage. The Greadio comes with a bright flashlight with zoom that allows you to adjust the light’s focus, and a reading lamp conveniently placed under the solar panel. Quickly need to move out? This pair will give you the needed visibility to quickly find your way to safety.
The reading lamp is also the perfect light source for outdoor activities like camping.
Keeping your electronic devices like phones, GPS beacons, and cameras on is important to survival in emergency situations. This radio comes with a universal USB output charging port that will provide the needed power for your devices to keep working and create a much higher chance for help to find you. Backed with the powerful Li-ion battery, hand-powered crank generator, and solar panel, the odds will always be in your favor!
- Long-lasting battery power.
- Multiple backup power options.
- Emergency NOAA weather alert and rescue support.
- Is portable and versatile for different activities.
- No reading lamp controls; automatically comes on with rotation of the solar panel.
- Requires regular maintenance.
The Greadio Emergency Weather is a handy, reliable device that everyone should have in their emergency kit. Fairly priced, it’s a good buy for anyone who wants a multi-functional device with impressive power, for both indoor and outdoor activities, while staying ahead of bad weather.
Emergency Radio – Buyer’s Guide
What is an emergency radio?
In times of crisis and disasters, one mustn’t lose communication with loved ones and the outside world in general. But, what happens if there is an accompanying power outage or destruction of cell signal towers by the forces of nature? It’s quite simple, our cell phones and mobile devices are rendered useless, and we are left unable to communicate with, and receive important updates from the relevant authorities.
It’s in times like this that an emergency radio comes through, like a hero in a shiny cape. An emergency radio is a device that is designed to receive and transmit audio signals, even in times of power outages or natural disasters that would otherwise after cell phone signals.
One thing that makes these radios especially useful in times of crisis is the fact that they do not work solely with electricity. The primary source of power for an electric radio is a lithium battery.
Also, a few emergency radio designs feature a hand crank, which is used to generate power when both batteries and electricity fail.
So, if you have an emergency kit placed somewhere without a radio in it, then you’re missing a vital piece. Who knows when disaster will strike?
It is for this very reason that I’ve put together this buying guide to help you shop for and make the right choice of an emergency radio to help you stay prepared and ahead of the situation.
Who needs an emergency radio?
We all need an emergency radio, as we never know when shit can hit the fan. In times of disaster, an emergency radio helps you stay on top of the situation and provides an alternative means of communication with loved ones and friends. This could easily be you and me in an instant, hence why I say we all need an emergency radio nearby at all times.
Government agencies use emergency radios to warn its citizens of impending danger, and they also come in handy during search and rescue locations to find victims who are still trapped, one way or the other. As you can see, the application of emergency radio cuts through all spheres of society – from the ordinary citizen to high-ranking government officials.
How does an emergency radio work?
Before delving into the functioning of an emergency radio, let’s have a look at some of the essential components comprising the radio. A typical emergency radio consists of the following parts:
- A transmitter – used to send out sound signals.
- A receiver – which is mostly an antenna used for picking up frequency waves. Some radio models combine both the transmitter and receiver into one chip known as the transceiver.
- Battery compartment.
- Hand crank – if it’s a hand-crank radio.
- Solar panel – added feature for charging.
- Dial buttons
- Circuit board
- Casing – this houses all the parts of an emergency radio.
- Transformers Amplifier
Each of these parts is designed to carry out specific tasks and work in tandem to ensure you don’t miss out on important updates.
An emergency radio works by picking up electromagnetic waves which are sent via a radio transmitter from the air. These electromagnetic waves are then converted into sounds that are suitable for human hearing.
The radio’s amplifier picks up on signals from a transmitter, and promptly transmits such to the mixer. This mixer then takes these signals and mixes them with internal signals produced by an emergency radio’s variable frequency oscillator, consequently producing a primary frequency. This frequency oscillator is what you might refer to as the tuning knob, and you create these signals by rolling it.
The signal produced as a result of the process mentioned above is subsequently amplified and then sent to the radio detector, which is responsible for converting radio waves to audio sounds.
Then, the audio amplifier ramps up the sounds, and subsequently pass them on to the speakers or earphones for our listening pleasure – or not.
Most emergency radios are designed to cover AM and local FM bands, as well as weather radio in countries that have one. To ensure this remains possible in critical situations, these radios are designed in a way that they can continue working during power outages or when one gets cut off from civilization.
Typical of emergency radios is the ability to receive critical alerts of impending disaster from the Emergency Alert System, even when the radio is turned off.
What do the labels on emergency radios mean?
When you go shopping for an emergency radio, you are likely to come across various label stickers on the device packaging. These labels indicate the emergency certifications of the radios and give you an idea of how they can be useful in times of crisis.
Some of the labels commonly found on emergency radios, and what they stand for include:
NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
NOAA-enabled radios are specially designed to receive alerts on impeding natural disasters from NOAA and the National Weather Service (NWS), and this is one of the most important labels you should look out for when buying an emergency radio.
Apart from the NWS and NOAA, these radios can also receive broadcasts from the Department of Homeland Service and authorized local Emergency Operation Centres.
NOAA radios typically give out warnings on incoming bad weather. Still, you are also able to receive alerts on a wide range of other disasters, including terrorist attacks, plane crashes, chemical accidents, among others.
The radio works on seven dedicated frequencies in both the United States and Canada, thereby making it the emergency device capable of giving out the most number of alerts.
SAME (Specific Area Messaging Encoding)
In dire situations, when one is in desperate need of updates from the relevant authorities, having to deal with unrelated news and alerts can be quite annoying and time-wasting. With SAME technology, you can block warnings for other areas and input unique codes on your radio to receive info about your location only.
SAME enabled radios work to make only the useful emergency channels available to the general public at all times.
IPAWS (Integrated Public Alert and Warning System)
The Federal Emergency Management Agency controls the IPAWS frequency. And radios working on this band enable users to receive updates on an impending disaster, missing person alerts (AMBER), and presidential decrees directly from FEMA. As a result of these warnings, users of IPAWS radios are given ample time to brace themselves for what lies ahead.
Because a government agency controls it, IPAWS brings the NOAA weather radio, EAS, National Warning System, and Wireless Emergency Alerts under one platform.
EAS (Emergency Alert System)
The EAS sticker on radio means it can receive broadcasts concerning national and local emergencies from radio stations. EAS radios are also able to receive AMBER alerts of child abduction cases, along with other domestic emergencies.
PA (Public Alert)
The Public Alert certification of an emergency radio indicates that it is designed to meet specific industry standards. The Consumers Electronics Association builds public alert radios with inputs from the National Weather Service.
PA emergency radios incorporate SAME technology to receive specific alerts, give out sounds before an alert comes in, and can be connected to external devices such as vibrators for the visually deficient, and lights for those who have trouble hearing.
When choosing an emergency radio, you’d be best served to go for one that incorporates two or more of these brands, especially the NOAA and Public Alert labels. These two offer you all that you’ll need to scale through a period of crisis successfully.
Features to look out for before choosing an emergency radio to buy
You simply can’t afford to buy an emergency radio that will let you down in times of trouble, as this is a major recipe for disaster.
Therefore, when you are preparing for the rainy days and shopping for an emergency radio, there are some qualities and added features you need to look out for to ensure you choose a radio that’ll serve the intended purpose well. Some of these characteristics and added perks include:
Area of coverage
An emergency radio is only as good as the area in which it can communicate, and you should buy one with broader coverage. Generally, a model that can pick up the NOAA has a great range, you should, by all means, go for it.
If you’re buying an emergency radio for use in times of crisis, you might want to go for one with a dedicated AM/FM receiver. The AM feature means the radio can receive NOAA weather updates, while the FM receiver enables you to listen to the local news. During a natural disaster, you will most likely not be able to access local FM bands due to damages; hence, where the ability to get essential updates from long-distance AM stations comes in quite handy.
Also, if you’re planning to buy a radio to communicate with others, then you should consider going for either shortwave or two-way emergency radio models. But, before making the final purchase, you should contact the manufacturers for info on distances the radio can cover.
Simplicity and ease of use
An emergency radio should employ a minimalistic design and simple interface so that users find them easy to use when things get wild. Let’s face it, after buying an emergency radio, the majority of us will probably put it away and only bring it out when it’s time for the main action.
In that state of frenzy and panic, an emergency radio with sophisticated design will only increase the confusion of the user. And in that case, trust me, the story doesn’t end well nine times out of ten.
The radio should be designed in a way that users can know what to do simply by observing its interface. It’s a cold world out there and every second count. Therefore, before buying a radio, take the time to check it out and ensure it’s something you’ll be able to dig in seconds.
When choosing an emergency radio, it would be beneficial if you went for one that offers different charging methods. Most emergency radios work with batteries, but a good product has other means by which you can charge it. These alternative sources of power include solar panels, AC ports, and hand cranking.
The hand crank can be particularly useful when all else fails, and it will help keep your radio running in rainstorms when there’s no sun to shine, or if you forgot to bring replacement batteries along.
If you are going for a battery-powered radio, make sure to stock your survival kit with lots of replacement batteries so you can always stay in the loop.
An emergency radio should be lightweight and moderately sized, so you can comfortably carry it around. When buying an emergency radio, choose one that meets the criteria mentioned above – it’ll save you a lot of trouble, trust me.
A good emergency radio should be able to stay on for hours, even without charging, regardless of the power source. This will help you stay updated throughout periods of crisis, as well as enable you to maintain communication with rescue teams should you require one.
Some radio models offer up to twelve hours of battery life, and they should be right up there on your shopping list.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Classification
When choosing an emergency radio for your survival kit, make sure it can receive NOAA All-Hazards Weather alerts. Test the radio at the point of purchase to confirm that it picks up the NOAA band before buying.
Apart from the regular severe weather alerts, the NOAA station reports on a wide range of other natural and artificial disasters. These include oil spills, wildfires, terrorist attacks, earthquakes, train derailments, plane crashes, among others.
To stay in the loop, make sure the emergency radio you’re buying will be able to receive these updates.
Specific Alert Message Encoding (SAME)
It can get tiring having to contend with unrelated alerts, mainly when you are in dire need of info, but the SAME feature on a radio can help you avoid that. The SAME technology enables radios to receive emergency locations from locations indicated by the user. Consequently, you’ll only receive warnings related to the specific city, town, or region on your radio.
- An emergency radio should be built with durable parts that can last for long periods in unfavorable conditions. I’m sure none of us would love the hand crank to break, and fall of while we are tuning it. The material an emergency radio is made of is not that important, all that is needed is for such material to be strong enough to deliver outstanding performances in times of trouble.
- Also, if you experience a sudden power outage and can seem to find your torch or smartphone, and the first thing you can grab is your emergency radio, it would be quite helpful if it had an inbuilt flashlight. Hence, why you should consider buying a radio with this added feature.
- An emergency radio should also offer a certain degree of resistance to natural elements such as water, dust, and scorching sunlight. This makes it more suitable for use out in the open where the weather can change in an instant.
- Some emergency radios also give you the option of being able to listen to broadcasts in languages other than English.
- Other models try to conserve power by making it possible to listen to broadcasts with earphones only. This is not necessarily an excellent feature as the radio is rendered useless in the absence of a headset.
Not everyone requires a radio that can survive falls from three-story buildings, and if your main reason for buying one is to get home broadcasts in times of crisis, then you’d be fine with a smaller model. The emergency radio you go for is ultimately a matter of preference and needs.
Benefits of using an emergency radio
The usefulness of emergency radios in times of crisis and natural disasters cannot be overstated. They provide a quick and effective means of reaching out to the appropriate authorities should you be in dire need of help. Some of the other advantages of using emergency radios include:
They are useful for communication in times of emergency
This is more like stating the obvious, but two-way emergency radios make it possible to reach your family and friends in periods of crisis when all other means of communication are down.
Many emergency radios also feature shortwave capabilities, which enable you to listen to a news broadcast without a satellite or cable service.
Also, some emergency radio models feature USB ports, which make it possible for you to charge your mobile devices when the power is out, and you urgently need to reach someone.
You can use 2-way emergency radios to track someone safely
Recent models of the two-way emergency radios come fitted with a GPS chip that transmits the location of the radio at any time. This info is typically given out in the form of coordinates, which are input on a map to determine where the carrier of the radio is at that time. As a result of this GPS feature, emergency radios can be used to efficiently track and find missing individuals, as well as to coordinate rescue operations.
They are useful for audio surveillance
Two-way emergency radios enable you to listen in on a person’s conversation, even when they are not in use, provided they are around such person. The radio picks up the individual’s voice and converts them into sound signals, which are subsequently transferred to your end.
Of course, it is entirely illegal to listen in on someone else’s convos without a court warrant, and I wouldn’t advise you to do such.
You don’t require electricity to use an emergency radio
Emergency radios don’t need to be charged, and this can come in quite handy in situations where there is an underlying power outage, and your mobile devices are down as a result. In that case, simply push batteries into the radio, and start communicating.
They come in handy when you’re going on a trip into a remote area
If you are planning an expenditure into a remote area where network signal strength is considerably weak, then your smartphones will be rendered useless. In that case, you need to pack in an emergency radio along with other survival items. The emergency radio makes it easy for team members to communicate among themselves, and it can also be used to locate an individual that’s in trouble.
If you’re going on the trip alone, and you happen to run into any bears or wolves, you can hide and communicate with the nearest station to send help.
FAQs related to emergency radios
How do you program a weather radio?
Programming a weather radio is easy and can be done in a couple of steps. All you’ll need to do this is the radio itself, a couple of batteries, and an AC power adaptor – in case. To program a weather radio: Power it by putting in the batteries. If you'd instead use electricity, plug it in using the AC adaptor. Wait for the radio to come on and display the times at 12:00 AM. This indicates that it's ready for programming. If you wish to change the time, push the menu button, and choose the TIME option. Edit the hour and minute by pressing the arrow-up and arrow-down keys on the radio till you get to the desired time. To change the radio SAME code, press the ‘Select’ button to open the radio menu. Once there, choose the ‘Single’ or ‘Multiple' options if you want to program just one SAME code or for a series of locations, respectively. To input, the SAME code for a particular region hit the 'Select’ button twice, and then use the arrow keys on the radio to adjust the numbers on the radio screen till you get the desired value. Hit Select again once done to confirm your value and exit the screen. For multiple SAME codes, follow the above step and enter unique SAME codes for each location.
What is a hand-crank radio?
A hand-crank radio is a small communication device that works with the winding action of a short handle at its side. They are similar to hand-powered generators and require neither batteries nor electricity to function.
How does a hand crank generator work?
A hand-crank radio is quite similar to a hand-powered generator in terms of operation. It produces power to work via a magnet and conductive wire. An electric current is created as a result of wrapping the wire around the magnet. Once the hand crank located at the side of the radio is twisted, it moves the wire around the magnet, subsequently generating an electric current. A regulator inside the radio helps ensure you don’t damage the circuit even if you roll the crank too fast, and produce too much power as a result.
How can I listen to the NOAA update?
To listen to NOAA updates, the first thing to do is purchase an NOAA enabled emergency radio.
Is there a weather radio app?
There are several weather radio apps available for your smartphone, and they are available on both the Android and IOS platforms. Note, however, that most of these apps are developed by third-party companies and are not official products of NOAA. However, they get updates directly from NOAA radio; hence, they are safe to use. To download a weather radio application, proceed to your phone’s app store and choose one that suits your needs.
How do I set up my NOAA Weather radio?
You don’t need to do anything special to access the NOAA station on the weather radio as it typically comes preset into the radio. What you can, however, do is, purchase an NOAA radio with SAME functionality so you can restrict the updates to your location. To enable the SAME function on your NOAA radio, punch the ‘select’ button, and choose ‘Single’ or ‘Multiple’ to input the SAME code for your location or a host of other places as the case may be.
How do I reset my weather radio?
Follow the steps below to return your weather radio to factory settings: The first thing to do is to disconnect your weather radio from the power outlet if it's plugged in. Afterward, check the display screen to ensure the clock is showing. This is to determine whether or not the batteries are in good condition. If the clock does not display, take out the batteries in the radio, and replace them. Remove one of the batteries from the radio to turn it off. Then, subsequently, replace the battery. As you putt the battery back into the radio, press down on the 'WEATHER/SNOOZE' button located in front of the radio. Make sure not to shift your hands from the button while replacing the battery. Once you successfully put the battery in, the weather radio will indicate that it has been reset. At this point, you can now take your hands off the snooze button. And that’s it, you have reset the weather radio, and can now re-program the radio using the steps listed above.
Is there an official NOAA App?
No, there is no official NOAA app available, but there are several third-party weather apps that help keep you updated with data collected directly from the NOAA.
What are the SAME codes?
These are unique digits input in special, SAME-enabled radios that enables them to restrict emergency alerts to the locations represented by those codes. Visit the NOAA official website for more information on the SAME code for your region.
How do I change the SAME code on my NOAA weather radio?
To change the SAME code on your NOAA radio, and stop receiving unnecessary breaking news, there are some steps you need to follow: Click on the ‘Select’ button on your radio to open the menu. If you which to receive SAME alerts for a sole location, select the ‘Single’ option. However, if you are interested in staying informed of developments in other regions as well, you should choose the ‘Multiple’ option. Using the arrow keys on your radio, tinker with the on-screen digits till you get the required SAME values. Afterward, click on the 'Select' button once more to confirm your input and exit the menu. It’s that simple.