When you are out in the great outdoors, a sudden change in the weather can be the difference between a routine camping outing and an emergency situation. The best way to be prepared for when the weather takes a turn for the worse is to know that it’s coming beforehand. That’s why an emergency radio can literally be a life-saver.
Emergency radios provide prompt weather updates thanks to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association) as well as AM/FM radio signals. Many have additional emergency preparedness features such as flashlights, SOS signals and the ability to charge mobile devices.
Whether you are going for a one-nighter or extended camping trip, an emergency radio is a good thing to have in your pack or emergency preparedness kit.
Here are our recommendations for the best emergency radios available:
1. Midland ER310 Emergency Radio
The lengthy 32 hours of battery life keeps you in the know about incoming weather when you are out in the wild. And if you are out for long stretches, it can be recharged with a hand crank or placing it in the sun. The latter part is especially useful since you can clip it to your backpack as you’re hiking and let the sun do the charging for you. It grabs AM/FM radio as well as NOAA weather channels to keep you informed. But when things get really hairy out in the wild, a 130 Lumen flashlight with an SOS strobe as well as an ultrasonic dog whistle may just save your behind in an emergency situation.
Pros: There are many emergency features like an ultrasonic dog whistle and SOS flashlight.
Cons: The solar panel is small and may need to be positioned correctly to get direct sunlight.
2. RunningSnail Emergency Radio
There are a lot of features packed into this emergency radio. For instance, the LED flashlight has three different lighting modes that can be used to flag someone down in an emergency situation or to softly light an area when the power goes out in your home. There’s also a sound alarm to increase the chances of you getting help in an emergency. The 4000mAH battery is powerful enough to not only keep the radio operating for hours on end but to also charge external devices via the USB port. And when the battery runs out of juice, you can hand crank or harness the sun’s energy to power the emergency radio.
Pros: There are many features in this affordable emergency radio.
Cons: Charing via the solar panel can be time-consuming.
3. C. Crane CC Solar Observer
Weighing only half a pound lends itself nicely to adventurers who attempt to keep their pack weight down all while being prepared for anything. Speaking of being prepared, three AA batteries provide 60 hours of running time. But if you forget to put fresh batteries in before your trip, you can get four to six hours of power from the sun as well as 30 minutes of power after cranking the emergency radio for 90 seconds. It can also charge your mobile devices thanks to a USB port and has an LED flashlight when the sun dips for the evening.
Pros: It’s one of the most lightweight emergency radios available.
Cons: Even though the battery life is stellar, having to carry extra batteries is not ideal.
4. FosPower Emergency Solar Hand Crank Portable Radio
The handheld size of this emergency radio makes it easy to not only hold up to your ear when you want to listen intently during a weather update but also to keep a solid grip as you crank the radio for additional power. But you don’t always have to crank the radio to keep it going, as it does have solar charging capabilities as well as battery power. Speaking of battery power, it can charge mobile devices via USB when your electronics need a refuel. This handy little radio is also water-resistant making it ideal for more rugged adventures.
Pros: The size of the device is ideal for those with limited capacity.
Cons: There’s no flashlight or siren you can use in case of an emergency.
5. Kaito KA500 Emergency Radio
PROMPT WEATHER ALERTS
There are two things that make this an exceptional emergency radio for weather scanning — all seven NOAA weather stations are preprogrammed and in alert mode, the radio will automatically turn on when weather alert transmissions are received from the NOAA. If that wasn’t reliable enough for you, the radio itself is impact and water-resistant and has multiple ways to keep it operating including battery packs, hand cracking and solar power.
Pros: Weather alerts along with a durable build make this a reliable choice.
Cons: It is a little heavier than other radios.
6. Aiworth Emergency Solar Hand-Crank Radio
There’s a good reason why this sports 4.8 stars and over 1,400 ratings on Amazon. For starters, seven NOAA weather stations, as well as AM/FM radio, are available, keeping you informed when you are out in the wilderness. And if you need a little assistance, an SOS alarm and flashlight can be a game-changer in an emergency situation. But when things are calm back at camp and you want to crack a cold one, it even has a bottle opener to help assist you with your tasty beverage.
Pros: There are a lot of safety and entertainment features.
Cons: It doesn’t come with batteries and the power bank for charging external devices is on the small side.
7. Sangean MMR-88 Emergency Radio
The black rubber bumpers on each end as well as the IPX3 water-resistant rating help this emergency radio take a beating and live to tell the tale. Its durability, along with having all seven NOAA stations and AM/FM radio, helps keep you informed when you are out on an adventure. And after the sun goes down, a LED light with three different settings (high, low and strobe) can keep you safe at night.
Pros: It is designed to endure punishment.
Cons: The battery life is short compared to other emergency radios.
8. Eton Ultimate Camping Radio
BEST FOR ENTERTAINMENT
Normally, you wouldn’t think of an emergency radio as much of a source for entertainment, but with Bluetooth and a speaker, you can use this radio to stream tunes when you are camping or out and about on a hike. There’s also an aux port to connect your devices and a reading light when you are winding down at night. As for emergency features (ultimately what’s important), it picks up AM/FM signals as well as NOAA weather alerts and has a flashlight.
Pros: It can double as a portable Bluetooth speaker.
Cons: The light isn’t as bright as others.