You can’t stop natural disasters and control the weather, but you can prepare for the worst and give yourself the best chance at survival in case things get dire. Along with a first aid kit, a multi-purpose tool, and emergency food, an emergency radio is one of the items that can make your situation more favorable both during extreme weather conditions and after a natural disaster.
We’re here to help you shop for the best emergency radios, as the task can be time-consuming considering the dozens of options on the market. When shopping for emergency radios, there are important things you need to consider, including the extra features, size, ease of use, and charging options. The most important thing to check is if the radio can actually receive alerts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Arranged from the most affordable down to the most expensive, the products included in this guide are the best emergency radios currently available on the market. All of which can receive AM, FM, and NOAA alerts and come with a host of extra features.
One look at the design of the Epica Emergency Radio will immediately tell you it has a hand crank charge option. Just one minute of hand-cranking will give the unit 20 minutes of power. In addition to that, it can also charge through a solar panel and a direct plug-in to a power socket. The Epica Emergency Radio has a 3-LED flashlight on one end and serves as a mobile phone charger, making it an all-around emergency radio you can use for more than just weather alerts.
The ES-CR03 has multiple power options, ensuring you’ll never be out of power during emergencies. In addition to its hand crank option, it can also charge via a solar panel and use AAA batteries, the latter of which is not possible in the Epica Emergency Radio. The ES-CR03 has a 2000 mAh rechargeable battery, which translates to 8 hours of radio functionality or 10 hours of light on a single charge.
You can also use the unit as a power bank for your smartphones and other USB-based gadgets. Unlike its predecessor, the ES-CR03 includes a micro USB charging cable, so no need to buy one separately. The best part is that you get all those mentioned features and conveniences for just $26.
In addition to the rechargeable battery, the MD-090 can also use AAA batteries, which are not included in the box, and can be charged via the built-in solar panel or the hand crank. Using the straightforward switch at the base of the unit, you can easily switch between the AAA batteries and the rechargeable battery. And with the rechargeable battery, the MD-090 also doubles as a power bank for your smartphones and other portable electronics. Considering its features, the MD-090 is practically an analog version of the Esky ES-CR03, but with a more rugged design.
An AM/FM and NOAA weather radio, the tough Scorpion II is a digital radio with simple and easy-to-press buttons at the top, flanking the small display. It carries a bright flashlight and offers multiple recharge options, including the hand crank and the solar panel. If ruggedness and durability are at the top of your priority list, go for the Scorpion II.
A rugged radio with a water-resistant exterior, the MMR-88 comes with a built-in clock and a headphone jack and has three power options. In addition to the option to charge its 850 mAh rechargeable battery via USB, the MMR-88 can also be powered via the solar panel and with its built-in hand crank. The unit includes a versatile LED flashlight that has a couple options for bringing attention to your location: one is a blinking option and the other is the option to send out an SOS Morse code. The MMR-88 also has an emergency buzzer button, which is another way to grab the attention of nearby people in case of distress.
An analog AM/FM and NOAA weather radio, the KA500 is a rugged and versatile radio that you can rely on during extreme weather conditions as well as during camping trips. It includes a bright flashlight (which is a common feature among emergency radios) and doubles as a power bank for your mobile phones. On a related note, Kaito includes multiple adapters in the package, which you can use to charge a select few non-Apple mobile phones, such as models from Motorola, Nokia, and Samsung.
The FRX3+ is a digital emergency radio capable of receiving AM, FM, and NOAA weather alerts. It packs an impressive 2600 mAh rechargeable battery, which you can also use to power up dead mobile phones and other USB electronics. In addition, the FRX3+ has an easy-to-use hand crank and a solar panel, both of which can power up the radio all the way from a complete shutdown.
Like most other emergency portable radios, the FRX3+ includes a bright LED flashlight, which lasts longer due to the 2600 mAh internal battery. The unit also includes a blinking red light for sending out emergency signals, especially in a zero-light scenario. Overall, the FRX3+ is a reliable all-around emergency radio with a loud and clear audio and multiple power options.
The ER310 comes with a flashlight that sends out an SOS Morse code and has an ultrasonic dog whistle option. The former is useful during zero-light conditions while the latter can be a difference-maker in extremely dire situations in which you’re trapped under debris or other physical barriers with no way of sending out light signals to nearby rescue teams.
Regarding power sources, the ER310 offers multiple options. Along with the solar panel and hand crank options, the 2600 mAh battery can be recharged via a USB connection. Using the solar panel, you can get up to 45 minutes of normal use after just one hour of exposure from optimal sunlight. In addition to the internal battery, the ER310 can run on six AA batteries. The ER310 also functions as a power bank for mobile phones and other USB external devices, which adds to its overall adaptability.
Despite its small frame, the CC Pocket includes a fair number of features. It’s got a headphone jack, a clock, a sleep timer, and a removable belt clip and stores five presets, accessible through the buttons below the display. The CC Pocket also has the option to turn off the backlit display, which is done by pressing the 1 and 5 buttons at the same time.
On the flip side, the CC Pocket is very limited when it comes to power options. Its only source of power is a couple of AA batteries, which are not even included in the package. But the good news is that the CC Pocket runs for a long time, topping out at 75 hours with earphones and 25 hours with the built-in speakers.
The FRX5-BT has a splashproof exterior, with an IP rating IPX4, and can survive a drop from 3.3 feet, although the results may vary depending on how the unit is dropped. It can receive AM and FM as well as NOAA and Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) alerts. A digital emergency radio, the FRX5-BT comes with a flashlight, along with a red emergency light.
When it comes to power options and extra features, the FRX5-BT is nearly identical to the FRX3+. It can charge other devices, thanks to its 2000 mAh rechargeable battery, and includes a hand crank and a solar panel. Its biggest feature is the Bluetooth connectivity, which allows it to connect to compatible devices for music streaming. If you fancy the FRX3+ but want more features and extra durability, check out the FRX5-BT.