Best Emergency Radios

Review & Comparison, Last Update October 30, 2018
An emergency radio is something that everyone needs to have in their emergency kit. We hope you'll never have to use one but we urge you to get yourself a radio like that or replace your old device with a new one. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Bands
Power Source
Extras
Dimensions
Warranty
 
PROS

The 7 pre-programmed NOAA weather channels will give you hours of entertainment, breaking news all around the globe, and a 24/7 real-time weather forecast with PEAS (Public Emergency Alert System). You can extend the telescopic antenna up to 14.5" to get higher sensitivity reception that is being assisted by the device's high-end semiconductor circuitry.

CONS

The device is a bit heavy, so it won't be as convenient on a hiking trip. 

OUR VERDICT

The Kaito KA500YL may very well be described as the best emergency radio because it isn't just a radio but a powerhouse full of useful features. Among other things, the model won't just provide you access to AM, FM, and WB frequencies but also to a couple of ShortWave bands.

detailed parameters
Bands

-AM: 520 Khz - 1710 Khz

-FM: 88 Mhz - 108 Mhz

-SW1: 3.2 Mhz - 8.0 MHz

-SW2: 9.00 Mhz - 22.0 Mhz

-WB: 1- 7 Channel (162.400, 162.425, 162.450, 162.475, 162.500, 162.525, and 162.550 MHz)

Power Source

3 x AA battery, Hand-crank dynamo generator, Solar panel, NiMH rechargeable battery, 5V mini-USB port, Jack for wall adapter/charger (not included)

Extras

Telescopic antenna, USB output port for charging mobile devices, 5-LED reading lamp, LED flashlight and a red LED S.O.S. beacon light, impact-resistant and water-resistant housing

Dimensions

8" x 2" x 5.5"

2 lbs

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The device comes equipped with a red LED S.O.S. beacon light. You can use it to ask somebody for help in an emergency situation or to warn a person about any upcoming problem from a distance. A 5-LED reading lamp will allow you to read in the dark or to improve the lighting in a room. The 2000 mAh rechargeable battery will last for up to 12 hours.  

CONS

Given the size of the speaker, it could certainly be louder. 

OUR VERDICT

The RunningSnail MD-090 will prove to be a particularly good pick for those individuals who cannot imagine spending a long weekend or a vacation lying somewhere on a beach and would rather go camping, hiking, or simply explore just about any seemingly interesting location that the surrounding area has to offer.

detailed parameters
Bands

-AM: 520 Khz - 1710 Khz

-FM: 87 Mhz - 108 Mhz

-WB: 162.400 Mhz - 162.550 Mhz

Power Source

3 x AAA battery, Hand-crank dynamo generator, Solar panel, Li-Ion rechargeable battery (2000 mAh), 5V mini-USB port

Extras

Telescopic antenna, USB output port for charging mobile devices, 5-LED reading lamp, LED flashlight and a red LED S.O.S. beacon light, impact-resistant and water-resistant housing

Dimensions

7.4" x 2.9" x 3.7"

0.68 lbs

Warranty

1 year

PROS

You'll get a USB output port that you can use to bring your smartphone's dead battery back to life. The model features an impact- and water-resistant housing, and we cannot stress enough how important a rugged frame is for an emergency device that could potentially end up in the harshest environments.

CONS

Some people find the tuning knob a bit difficult to operate (hard to choose the right option). 

OUR VERDICT

There's a lot to like about this portable emergency radio. Despite the fact that this is one of the most affordable radios on the market, the model comes equipped with a decent number of extra features, a solid construction, and, most importantly, 5 different power source options.

detailed parameters
Bands

-AM: 520 Khz - 1710 Khz

-FM: 87 Mhz - 108 Mhz

-WB: 162.400 Mhz - 162.550 Mhz

Power Source

3 x AAA battery, Hand-crank dynamo generator, Solar panel, Li-Ion rechargeable battery (1000 mah), 5V mini-USB port

Extras

Telescopic antenna, USB output port for charging mobile devices, LED flashlight, impact-resistant and water-resistant housing

Dimensions

5" x 2.4" x 1.8"

0.49 lbs

Warranty

1 year

PROS

With 2.52" x 4.19" x 1.18" in overall dimensions and 0.23 lbs of weight, the model is really compact. The removable belt clip will prove to be useful for people of different professions. The Auto Seek Station feature skips the stations with a bad reception and only searches through ones that have a good reception. 

CONS

Doesn't include a flashlight. 

OUR VERDICT

We would recommend the Sangean DT-400W to the kind of people who would like to acquire a radio first and foremost and the fact that it can serve as an emergency radio is just a cherry on top. But if you're looking strictly for the most reliable emergency device, you might want to look somewhere else.

detailed parameters
Bands

-AM: 520 Khz- 1710 Khz

-FM: 87.5 Mhz - 108 Mhz

-WB: 1- 7 Channel (162.400, 162.425, 162.450, 162.475, 162.500, 162.525, and 162.550 MHz)

Power Source

2 x AA battery

Extras

LCD-screen with backlight, Auto Seek Station feature, My Favorite Station feature, built-in clock, removable belt clip, DBB (Dynamic Bass Boost) feature, auto shut-off feature, jack for headphones (serves as an external antenna)

Dimensions

2.52" x 4.19" x 1.18"

0.23 lbs

Warranty

1 year

PROS

You can get yourself up to 15 minutes of radio and flashlight if you use the hand-crank dynamo generator for no more than a minute. The 3-LED flashlight doesn't just last for a really long time but is also really bright, so you'll be able to light up a pretty sizable area.

CONS

The solar panel isn't quite as effective as it could be. 

OUR VERDICT

The American Red Cross FRX2 includes just about everything you would want out of an emergency radio. You can take it with you to a mountain or bring the model on your upcoming backpacking trip. Rock climbing, caving, hunting, you name, the device is suitable for any type of outdoor activity.

detailed parameters
Bands

-AM: 520 Khz- 1710 Khz

-FM: 87.5 Mhz - 108 Mhz

-WB: 1- 7 Channel (162.400, 162.425, 162.450, 162.475, 162.500, 162.525, and 162.550 MHz)

Power Source

Hand-crank dynamo generator, Solar panel, NIMH rechargeable battery, 5V mini-USB port

Extras

Telescopic antenna, USB output port for charging mobile devices, LED flashlight, jack for headphones

Dimensions

5.4" x 2.4" x 2.4"

0.56 lbs

Warranty

1 year

Kaito KA500YL

More Than Just a Radio

The Kaito KA500YL is as much of an emergency radio as it is a powerhouse of useful features. But before we talk about those, we thought it would be best to mention your power source options. Since a number of features are all well and good but they can drain the battery and you wouldn't want to wind up in an emergency situation without any way to actually use your emergency device. In addition to the ability to power this model with 3 AA batteries, you'll have at your disposal a 5V USB input, 5V AC/DC input with a wall power adapter, a hand-crank generator, built-in NiMH rechargeable battery, and a surprisingly powerful solar panel.

Now, as for those features, we could certainly talk about the 7 pre-programmed NOAA weather channels that will allow you to get your hands on hours of entertainment, sports, talk shows, breaking news all around the globe, and, most importantly, a 24/7 real-time weather forecast with PEAS (Public Emergency Alert System).

The emergency radio also comes equipped with a telescopic antenna that you can extend up to 14.5" in order to get higher sensitivity reception that is being assisted by the device's high-end semiconductor circuitry. There's also an LED signal strength indicator, a nice little feature you can use to achieve pinpoint tuning accuracy. Finally, the built-in speaker will provide you with a loud and crisp sound. The LED flashlight and a red LED S.O.S. beacon light will prove to be useful in some scenarios and a blessing in no disguise in others.

Again, the Kaito KA500YL may very well be described as the best emergency radio because it isn't just a radio but a powerhouse full of useful features. Among other things, the model won't just provide you access to AM, FM, and WB frequencies but also to a couple of ShortWave bands.

Review of Kaito KA500YL Emergency AM/FM/SW/NOAA Weather Alert Radio, 5-way Powered Solar Power, Dynamo Crank, Flashlight, Reading Lamp and Cellphone Charger

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

RunningSnail MD-090

Follow the Running Snail

The model from the amusingly named company RunningSnail won't cost you more than your average emergency radio. Despite that, "average" is the last word we would use to describe this device. Of course, just like any emergency radio, it will allow you to receive AM/FM and NOAA weather alert radio. You'll also be able to tune in broadcast emergency weather alerts for your particular area like hurricanes, tornadoes, and serious storms.

But, in addition to the usual stuff, the model also comes equipped with a red LED S.O.S. beacon light. You can use that flashing red light to ask somebody for help in an emergency situation or to warn a person about any upcoming problem from a distance.

Quite a lot of manufacturers forget or simply refuse to add an LED flashlight and we can't say that we agree with this train of thought. Fortunately, the people behind this emergency radio aren't one of them, so you'll be able to use a flashlight to light up a dark space or to keep a room bright if a storm happens to cut off the power. To help in the latter scenario, the aforementioned folk behind this model have also incorporated a 5-LED reading lamp, a nice little tool that will allow you to read in the dark or to further improve the lighting in a room. Other than that, the device offers 5 different power source options and, with 0.68 lbs in weight, it is surprisingly light considering the number of features it supports.

All in all, the RunningSnail MD-090 will prove to be a particularly good pick for those individuals who cannot imagine spending a long weekend or a vacation lying somewhere on a beach and would rather go camping, hiking, or simply explore just about any seemingly interesting location that the surrounding area has to offer.

Review of RunningSnail MD-090 Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio For Emergency with AM/FM, Flashlight, Reading Lamp And 2000mAh Power Bank

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Esky ES-CR01

A Master of All Trades

It is often difficult to find that perfect middle ground between functionality and simplicity. An emergency radio has to be simple and reliable but you can never know which of the countless possible features could prove to be useful in an emergency situation. Which is why Esky ES-CR01 is such a popular choice among all kinds of different customers. First of all, the model is surprisingly cheap. For less than 20 bucks, you'll get yourself a device you could rely on in an emergency scenario but also a device that will provide you with quite a few additional features.

For starters, you'll get a USB output port that you can use to bring your smartphone's dead battery back to life. And it is hard to overestimate a feature like that since a modern cell phone isn't just a source of entertainment but an often imperative and indispensable device that could literally be the difference between life and death.

Speaking of underrated features, this portable emergency radio also comes equipped with an LED flashlight and we don't need to tell you how crucial of a role it may get to play in a number of different scenarios.

Now, moving on from the extra features, we would certainly be remiss not to mention that you can power this device with 3 AAA batteries, a hand-crank generator, a small but often reliable solar panel, a Li-Ion rechargeable battery with a 1000 mAh capacity, and a 5V mini-USB port. And last but not least, the model in question features an impact- and water-resistant housing, and we cannot stress enough how important a rugged frame is for an emergency device that could potentially end up in the harshest environments.

In conclusion, there's a lot to like about this portable emergency radio. Despite the fact that this is one of the most affordable radios on the market, the model comes equipped with a decent number of extra features, a solid construction, and, most importantly, 5 different power source options.

Review of Esky ES-CR01 Portable Emergency Radios Hand Crank Self Powered AM/FM/NOAA Solar Weather Alert Radio with 3 LED Flashlight 1000mAh Power Bank

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Sangean DT-400W

The Good and the Bad

The Sangean DT-400W is one of the better models for people who need an emergency radio but also like to listen to the radio in general. It isn't the most versatile option out there but it does make up for the shortcomings in the versatility department with a heavy focus on the radio features.

On top of your usual functions, you'll get the so-called Auto Seek Station feature that skips the stations with a bad reception and only searches through ones that have a good reception. The My Favorite Station feature will allow you to add stations to a favorite list, so you'll be able to instantly tune in to those instead of searching through numerous stations. A built-in speaker that features the Dynamic Bass Boost technology will enhance the sound of this device and provide you with a nice opportunity to enjoy your favorite music stations with more of an oomph to them.

That said, we have some mixed feelings about this product if you judge it strictly as an emergency radio. On one hand, with 2.52" x 4.19" x 1.18" in overall dimensions and 0.23 lbs of weight, the model is really compact. Add to that the removable belt clip and it would seem that we're dealing with a great camping and hiking device.

But on the other hand, it doesn't include a flashlight (though the LCD screen features backlighting) and a couple of AA batteries is your only power source option. That means you're screwed if you get yourself in a bit of a pinch, the batteries are dead and you don't have a spare set in your emergency kit.

With that in mind, we would recommend the Sangean DT-400W to the kind of people who would like to acquire a radio first and foremost and the fact that it can serve as an emergency radio is just a cherry on top. But if you're looking strictly for the most reliable emergency device, you might want to look somewhere else.

Review of Sangean DT-400W AM/FM Digital Weather Alert Pocket Radio

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Eton ARCFRX2WXR

Outside is Where It's At

If you like going on all kinds of camping and hiking trips and you absolutely hate dealing with batteries, you might want to give this model from Eton a shot.

Of course, the fact that The American Red Cross FRX2 does not run on batteries isn't necessarily an advantage in and of itself. Sure, lots of people hate carrying around a spare set of batteries as you never know when the ones that are in the device are going to run out of steam. But you do have to power the radio someway. And the model in question has you covered on that front.

You can get yourself up to 15 minutes of radio and flashlight if you use the hand-crank dynamo generator for no more than a minute. The 3-LED flashlight that we've just mentioned doesn't just last for a really long time but is also really bright, so you'll be able to light up a pretty sizable area. You can also put the panel in the sun and let the solar panel do its job, though the latter isn't really quite as effective as one might hope for. On top of that, you have a DC power option with a 5V mini-USB port. And the last but not least, there's the NIMH rechargeable battery that most people tend to rely on most of the time.

Aside from that, the model comes equipped with a USB output port that you can use to charge up your phone and a 3.5 mm jack for a pair of headphones. So, to bring this thing to a logical conclusion, The American Red Cross FRX2 includes just about everything you would want out of an emergency radio. You can take it with you to a mountain or bring the model on your upcoming backpacking trip. Rock climbing, caving, hunting, you name, the device is suitable for any type of outdoor activity.

Review of Eton ARCFRX2WXR The American Red Cross FRX2 Emergency Weather Radio

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

What Is an Emergency Radio?

If you're fortunate enough, you will never have to rely on an emergency radio. But it is always better to be safe than sorry. Which is exactly why everyone should have a radio like that in their emergency kit. Now, when you go looking for one, the first thing we would recommend is sticking to the basics. First and foremost, you'll need a device that is capable of receiving NOAA alerts and other types of warning signals. Other than that, it is always a good idea to settle for a model that supports more than one power source. Of course, you should always have a spare set of batteries in your emergency kit, but there is a number of possible situations and potential scenarios where you could really find some use for an AC adapter or a hand-crank dynamo generator. There's a number of extra features and functions that could prove to be useful but we wouldn't suggest going overboard with those. The more features you have the more power you will end up wasting on them, and you'll never want to find yourself in a situation where your survival radio is out of batteries and any form of power and you really need to use it.

As you could infer from the name, an emergency radio is best suited for emergencies. So if you, say, need a radio for your car, you'd be better off with a CB radio or a satellite radio.

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Publish Date: 2018-08-30 15:18:24