Best emergency radio consumer reports

Last Updated: 18.08.19


Top rated emergency radios according to consumer reports – 2019 update


If you’re short on time and can’t afford to read all the reviews and excellent buying advice written by our team of researchers, this short paragraph should tell you everything you need to know about the best emergency radio by consumer reports. In determining the best products we have looked at product popularity, expert reviews, and last but not least, feedback coming straight from the users. Our conclusion is that the Kaito KA500 is the one you should consider because it is genuinely the perfect radio for disasters and emergencies. Able to receive a wide variety of broadcasting including 7 pre-programmed NOAA weather stations, AM, FM and shortwave, this model also features the NOAA Alert function so you can get emergency broadcasts during severe weather conditions in your location. This is a unit ready for anything, as it powers up its built-in rechargeable battery through any one of five ways. If the Kaito KA500 is unavailable, you can confidently choose the Esky ES-CR01 as it offers similar performance.


Top features of an emergency radio according to consumer reports

Having updated information during severe weather situations is critical. It could save lives. What are the aspects to look at in an emergency radio?


The best emergency radio consumer reports give high ratings to units that truly deliver NOAA alerts along with other warnings

Spending a ton of money on shortwave or two-way radio is unnecessary, if not downright wasteful. Frequently, all you really need whether during normal times or critical times are the basic bands and not much else. If you intend to be able to communicate with others through radio, you may opt for two-way and shortwave.

On the other hand, a standalone AM/FM receiver offers a cost-efficient connection to the outside world. NOAA alerts are delivered through AM radio. FM can be rendered unusable if a big disaster strikes so the AM band, which has longer range, is important.


Check out high-rated units that offer NOAA All Hazards and/or Public Alert in the best weather alert radio reviews

Those two standards may compete with one another, but they share one thing: they are geared with the evaluation and input of the National Weather Service and NOAA. Products carrying the Public Alert sticker are certified to meet specific technical standards. They can receive area-specific alerts.

Aside from that, they emit a tone prior to alert delivery and allow plugging in of external devices such as lights to serve as visual alerts for the hard of hearing, or vibration devices for the visually impaired. Make sure the unit you get has at least one of those two certifications.

Another thing worth looking for is Specific Alert Message Encoding (SAME) technology, which enables you to select the specific area for which emergency warnings are delivered by the radio.


Look for products in the best emergency radio reviews that offer versatility and flexibility

Battery-powered radios offer convenience especially if you really store replacement batteries in your emergency preparedness kit. That said, it can be more reassuring to own a weather alert radio that also runs on standard AC power, along with a hand-cranked turbine or another type of charging method such as via USB or solar panels.

Generally, emergency radios are engineered with a power-sipping internal generator, which means they don’t take a lot to operate. However, the more features there are, the greater the power draw. Just make sure the unit stays powered for the principal functionality it is built for: the delivery of weather alerts.

One feature that increases the unit’s versatility is an onboard battery pack for charging up portable devices such as a cell phone. Other models come with a flashlight, SOS signaling beacon, multiple programmable locations and stations and a tough exterior that withstands the elements. Many come with a headphone jack while others feature built-in speakers.


Our top choices


The market is now flush with plenty of brands and models of emergency radios. We hope the above buying guide and the best-selling products we have showcased in the next paragraphs can help you make an easy buying decision.



Kaito KA500BLK


Easily the perfect radio for disasters and emergencies, the Kaito KA500 receives a variety of broadcasts including FM, AM, shortwave and 7 pre-programmed NOAA weather stations. This means you are always updated on the latest news about severe weather disturbances in your area.

The revolutionary NOAA Alert function enables you to receive emergency broadcasts when severe weather situations occur in your locality.

The built-in rechargeable nickel-metal hydride battery pack powers up five ways: through dynamo hand crank; via USB cable to another device such as a computer; solar via the 180-degree tiltable solar panel; three double-A batteries for convenience; via a suitable AC adapter.

The power-sipping internal generator uses power-dumping capacity to charge your portable devices. You can plug in your cellphone, iPhone, Blackberry, iPod and MP3 device using the USB port.

Thus, you can charge the plugged-in device using the radio’s solar panel, dynamo crank or an AC adapter. The 5-LED adjustable reading lamp provides illumination for small tasks. The integrated LED flashlight offers brightness in the darkness. The SOS emergency light enables you to signal to rescuers or other people during emergencies.

The large tuning knobs and function buttons provide easy control and operations. Get superb sound quality from the dynamic wide-range speaker.

Buy from for ($49.99)




Esky ES-CR01


Helping you stay up-to-date with the most critical hazard and weather information, the Esky ES-CR01 pulls in the crucial NOAA weather stations along with standard AM and FM channels. You can stay tuned to your favorite radio stations even during emergencies.

This model is equipped with a super-bright 140-lumen/3-watt LED flashlight that provides illumination in times of darkness. You are not left in utter darkness even when the power is out. You can have some semblance of peace and normalcy to perform tasks or move about after dark.

This model uses power-dumping capacity to charge other USB-geared devices. This means you can charge your cell phone to make a quick phone call or send a short text message to people for assurance that you are safe.

This model powers up any one of three ways. You can expose the solar panel to direct sunlight for naturally-sourced energy. The hand crank can be used to wind up the internal generator. You can also charge the unit via Micro USB port to another device for another power-sipping alternative.

This radio keeps you connected and powered during power outages. It delivers weather information to guarantee your safety and preparedness during emergencies, along with access to AM and FM radio for news, music and more.

Buy from for ($19.99)




Sangean MMR-88


The Sangean MMR-88 is a Public Alert Certified Radio, giving you confidence that it can deliver as designed. This model charges by USB, dynamo hand crank and solar power, ensuring that it is sufficiently juiced up to provide the service expected of it.

It features a DSP Digital AM/FM/WX Tuner to provide broadcast information on critical events, along with entertainment sources even during severe weather or natural disturbances. The radio accommodates 19 pre-sets for mixed AM and FM so you can quickly and effortlessly access your favorite radio channels.

The integrated adjustable LED flashlight can be set to various levels including high, low, blinking and SOS Morse Code mode to suit the necessary application for it. The bright backlit display makes it easy to see the essential information on it even in bad lighting conditions.

With the stereo headphone output, you can listen to the radio in private so as not to disturb other people with you or avoid giving them a panic. The built-in speaker provides good sound quality. The built-in clock keeps you on track and not disoriented about the time.

The emergency buzzer helps get the attention of rescuers and can be useful for driving away troublemakers. The four-level battery indicator monitor enables you to know the level of power left for the radio to operate.

Buy from for ($47.13)




Click on the link below to read interesting things about weather radios:

How Does a Weather Radio Work?

Important weather radio features



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