We rely on our smartphones for virtually everything, from ordering food to ordering a cab, checking into flights and setting early morning alarms. But when disaster strikes, smartphones aren’t a reliable tool. If electricity is out, you may not have a way to charge your phone. If cell towers are down, signals will no longer be able to reach your phone. For these reasons and many more, adding a NOAA weather radio to your emergency kit is just as important as water, food, and medical supplies.
NOAA weather radios are radios with channels that have access to the National Weather Service, the most accurate and reliable place to get information on weather. In cases of emergencies, including flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes and more, NOAA radio stations are the best place to get information on what to do and where to go.
The Weather.gov site lists a number of features to look for when buying a NOAA weather radio, including the ability to operate on batteries, have an AC adapter, and access to seven NOAA radio stations. All three of our top picks for best weather radio include these features and many more. Check out our favorites below.
1. Midland NOAA Emergency Weather Alert Radio
Never be surprised by bad weather again with the Midland Radio, which comes with a NOAA Weather Alert that will sound anytime there is an emergency or severe weather forecast for your immediate area. The radio will automatically scan through seven weather (WX) band channels for warnings of weather or civil emergencies. Users can also program the radio to receive weather information for 25 neighboring counties. The Midland can be plugged into an outlet or run on batteries during emergencies.
Pros: The Midland is not only a excellent weather radio, but it’s also a great everyday clock. The Midland features a large LED display with options for English, Spanish or French. It has an alarm clock function and a snooze function.
Cons: The Midland doesn’t have access to AM/FM stations.
2. KELLO Emergency Solar Hand Crank Portable Radio
Power your small devices with a radio that is the same size as your smartphone using the KELLO Emergency Solar Hand Crank Portable Radio. Measuring the same length as the average smartphone and weighting only 13 oz, the KELLO contains a 2,200mAh power bank, which can power a phone, tablet, GPS, digital camera or laptop. The KELLO comes with three power options to ensure it’s always fully charged, including a built-in battery, a solar panel and a hand crank. The KELLO is made with impact-resistant ABS material, making it an excellent option for use at home or on camping trips. The KELLO also comes with a built-in flashlight.
Pros: The KELLO is officially certified by NOAA and has seven emergency NOAA weather stations pre-programmed, which will alert users of inclement weather and emergencies (the KELLO has an Alert setting that can be turned on). Unlike the Midland, the KELLO also has access to AM/FM stations.
Cons: The KELLO has a much smaller LED display than the Midland and does not have a clock function.
3. RegeMoudal Emergency Solar Hand Crank Radio
Lightweight and small, the RegeMoudal Emergency Solar Hand Crank Radio is perfect for those looking for a handheld weather radio to take with them on hiking or camping trips, or to keep in the glove box of their car. Access AM/FM stations as well as NOAA weather stations, charge small devices through the RegeMoudal’s USB port, access the 6 LED reading light or 1W flashlight and let others know of your location using the SOS alarm with the flashing red light.
Pros: Like the KELLO, the RegeMoudal also has a power bank. Slightly smaller, the 2,000mAh power bank can provide 12 hours of continuous light from the radio’s built-in flashlight or 4-6 hours of radio time.
Cons: The RegeMoudal can be powered four ways, including a micro USB cable, a hand crank, through its solar panel, or with 3 AAA batteries, but the batteries must be purchased separately.