Best emergency radio consumer reports

Last Updated: 20.11.19

 

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.

 

 

Comparison table

 

The Good
The Bad
Verdict
Price

 

 

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 Amazon.com 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 Amazon.com for ($16.99)

 

 

 

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 Amazon.com for ($47.15)

 

 

 

Slive-4U Emergency

1.1 Slive-4U (Green)

Main advantage

If you’re looking for an emergency weather radio endowed with an extra efficient hand-crank power generator, you’ve found one. Though hand-cranking is not the most efficient recharging method, and it can also fatigue your hands after 2 or 3 minutes, the manufacturers of the Slive-4U have managed to make this radio’s crank more efficient than many others out there. Due to their efforts, you can obtain 15 to 20 minutes of radio functioning with only 1 minute cranking.  With a fast and steady rhythm, you can get even more. In terms of phone battery, 5 minutes of cranking will give you enough power to sustain a 10 minutes phone conversation.

 

Main disadvantage

Though fitted with a 2 level power flashlight, many customers have expressed their disappointment regarding the beam of light produced by this device, even when the flashlight is used at its maximum power. However, the light is strong enough to give you an idea of your surroundings.

Click to see the price on Amazon!

 

 

Main features explained

 

 

Reliable energy source

As it is equipped with an efficient and reliable hand-crank power generator, but can also be recharged using a computer or solar energy, this product will definitely not fail you in drastic situations. Furthermore, the product has a long-lasting internal battery and runs on 3 AAA backup batteries that will allow you to hear the weather alerts for days. Also, they come  inside the delivery package, which is a great bonus because usually, even if a radio runs on backup batteries, you need to buy them yourself. The internal battery is removable and can be charged using a battery pack, if you have one. To choose which of the two types available (backup and internal) you’d like your radio to function, you must set the mode using the control at the back of the radio.

When you are at home, you can keep the radio plugged in so you can always get the latest weather updates. In addition, you can use it to charge your phone thanks to the included USB port.

1.2 Slive-4U (Green)

 

Solidly built and portable

This device looks a bit like old radios, only it has substantially reduced dimensions. Actually, it’s no bigger than your smartphone and weighs no more than 243 grams. As such, you can carry it in a pocket and you won’t feel its weight even after walking long distances. Though the radio has a plastic case, it is a high-quality plastic that won’t break at powerful shocks. The hand-crank is built with the same solid plastic and, for more protection, it can be tucked away when you are not using it.

 

Efficient alert provider

Though all emergency radios are able to pass on the alerts coming from NOAA, some of them are more capable than others. The Slive-4U radio will not only transmits the alert, but also includes a siren alert to make sure the entire house hears it. Additionally, the radio features an emergency bright light that will automatically turn on in case of weather emergencies.

 

Click to see the price on Amazon!

 

 

 

C.Crane CC2TE

 

Main advantage

This device can deliver life-saving information in case of a natural disaster, particularly if you’re in an area that has been affected by a power outage. Under these circumstances, you’ll be happy to have a product that does not need electrical power to run properly, and that can keep you in touch.

It uses a 2-meter ham band to perform this task, and it can indeed make a difference when you need it the most. You’ll be able to receive important news such as government issued alerts concerning the weather forecast for your particular region, so you know what preparations to make.

 

Main disadvantage

There have been complaints from a few users saying that this device accidentally picks up other signals from their homes, which can be disturbing and considerably affect the sound. For example, a wifi signal or a working computer might change the output.

However, in case of a natural disaster that will result in a power outage, this won’t be a problem anymore, because other devices will not be working. If you only plan on using this product for emergency situations, there shouldn’t be an issue. Also, we need to mention that the AM reception is the most affected one.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($169.99)

 

 

Main features explained

 

Power source

One of the most important aspects when it comes to ham radios is that they need to not depend on electrical power sources because that would defeat their entire purpose. Batteries power this model with long life expectancy that will make sure you stay informed in case of a natural disaster.

Reception

One of the most relevant details about this product is the fact that it offers a crisp sound, that will allow you to get clearly stated information in case of an emergency. You won’t have to spend time being unsure, and you’ll be able to get to action right away.

The audio is as good as it can get in case of a portable radio, and the AM FM reception offered by C. Crane is top gear. This model is actually the enhanced version, which means the audio closely resembles the real-life human voice.

An exciting technology that this model uses is the noticeable boost you get in weak AM signals because of the twin-coil ferrite AM antenna. This way the sound becomes a lot more clear.

 

Versatility

Aside from its primary function, there are lots of other features included in this item, which can make it very appealing to customers. For example, you can also find a clock, an alarm, a sleep timer, a headphone jack and a display light to make sure you can apparently read the text even in the dark.

You’ll be pleased to find out that once the electricity has gone out, you’ll be able to use this item for a wide range of applications, so it can replace other gadgets or devices that you may have around the house and that could run out of battery a lot faster.

 

Buy from Amazon.com for ($169.99)

 

 

 

Safe-T-Proof Solar

 

1.1 Safe-T-Proof Solar

Main advantage

Though emergency weather radios vary in price and quality, cheaper products sometimes come with slight inconveniences concerning the operation mode or functionality, but this product is an exception. We believe that the greatest advantage this product offers is its small price compared to the quality of the materials and functions included. These are generally a staple of high end models which tend to cost a whole lot more. Thankfully, thanks to this model, anyone can benefit from a well made and affordable emergency radio.

 

Main disadvantage

If there’s one inconvenience associated with this device is that it doesn’t support backup batteries. However, the fitted internal battery has quite a long running life and, when it runs low, you can use some of the alternative means of powering the device.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($27.75)

 

 

Main features explained

 

 

Compact and easy-to-use design

When you first see this radio, you don’t immediately realize it’s a radio, as it looks more like a huge lantern with a strong and reliable grip. However, it is a radio and an efficient one. It is built with strong plastic and with dependable menu controls that will make it easy for you to tune in to your chosen radio station. On one side, it is fitted with a metallic antenna and on the other side with a solid and easy-to-use crank. Due to its simple controls and design, you won’t have any difficulties operating this device, not even in situations when you are under stress.

1.2 Safe-T-Proof Solar

Efficient alert features

Equipped with basic survival functions, this handy item should have a place in any person’s household.  This radio won’t just transmit NOAA weather alerts but also features a loud siren alert and a safety light.

 

Life-saving features

In addition to keeping you alerted, this quality radio also comes with a couple of features that may prove life-saving in critical moments. The radio can be manually recharged using the crank, but it is also fitted with a sizeable solar panel for its dimensions that will recharge your radio’s battery on a sunny day. If your cell phone’s battery is running low, you can trustfully connect your phone to the USB port and wait it for it to recharge. One of the great features of this radio is its powerful flashlight that can produce a powerful light. Thus, if you are dealing with a power outage, you won’t have to poke about with a faint light to find needed items.

 

Efficient when camping

Due to its sturdy and ergonomic design, this item is a favorite among campers and hikers. A plus is that it comes with the powerful and ergonomically designed lantern, that you can easily use to light your way. In addition, the device’s antenna does a  great job at intercepting and stabilizing radio signals even in remote places. As it has a strong build, this item can be simply put in your backpack with no worries of it breaking down and malfunctioning.

 

Buy from Amazon.com for ($27.75)

 

 

 

We have more then radios. Check below other useful products:

 

Kaito KA404W

 

Main advantage

When it comes to premium devices available for domestic use, this is one model that is way ahead of the competition. And the feature that has been lauded the most, has to be the bright LED flashlight. It can illuminate a large field of view, and you can even choose the intensity level, by turning on one or all the five LEDs at once, depending on your needs.

 

Main disadvantage

This is a complete product, that barely has any downsides when it comes to its overall quality. But there was someone who pointed out that the battery doesn’t last for a very long time when used frequently and often, a thing which can be solved by using all the recharging options.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($18.99)

 

 

Main features explained

 

 

Light up your nights

This innovative item can be used by anyone and in almost any situation. It has a slender body, and it weighs next to nothing. But the greatest thing about it has to be the flashlight, which is pretty intense when compared to other models out there.
Furthermore, since the light sources are the 5,000 MCD rated LEDs, it means it won’t drain your battery in a matter of seconds. If you crank the device for at least one minute, you can get it to last for about ten minutes while using the maximum intensity.

Always be prepared

This machine not only packs a powerful flashlight, but also a radio which has all the important bands such as AM/FM/NOAA. This means you can tune into your favorite stations wherever you are, even in your basement. This is particularly great in case of a hurricane or a scary earthquake.
You want a great reception because that is the primary reason you buy a weather radio – you’ll have a guarantee that your back is covered at all times. And once you catch the right frequency, the output will be constant, without any white noise, and without the signal getting weaker when you move around the house.

 

No power? No worries

If you’re worried that this device can’t survive a blackout or a trip where there’s no outlet, then you are wrong. Because this piece of technology doesn’t rely on a power grid to run properly. On the contrary, the gadget comes with a lithium battery, that can be recharged as many times as you want, without weakening, via cranking.
Moreover, because it is so compact, and because it takes advantage of the best technologies available today, the item is designed to run on as little power as possible, so you can have a backup whenever you’re in need of one. It also comes with a Micro-USB cable, which you can use to charge your smartphone or tablet with.

 

Buy from Amazon.com for ($18.99)

 

 

 

Survival Prep Warehouse 2-Person

 

Main advantage

This cost-efficient model is ideal if you are scouring the market looking for a two-person kit that can supply its buyers with the necessary items in case of unforeseen disasters. The model was designed to help you get through the first 72 hours of such an event, and it contains up to 25 useful items.

 

Main disadvantage

At the time that we have carried out our research on the product, it had received many positive reviews. However, a prior buyer of the unit has said that the model that he had received contained a broken radio. Still, this issue has not been signaled by any other purchaser. Therefore, you should not worry about having to deal with the same problem.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($98.95)

 

 

Main features explained

 

 

Usability and durability

According to specialized reviews, a quality kit should be easy to use and quite durable. From this point of view, the model designed and sold by Survival Prep Warehouse is a good investment. What is more, the model has been constructed after the manufacturer has worked closely with experts in the industry.

The backpack contains food and water, a radio, a flashlight (batteries included), two military-grade Cyalume light sticks, a fire starter as well as items that can help you construct a shelter and keep warm.

As a plus, a quick look at the reviews makes it clear that this unit is quite durable and likely to last you an extended period.

Sturdy backpack

Another aspect that you should also pay attention to is the sturdiness of the backpack. Because there is a great chance that you will have to carry the backpack in case of emergency situations, it is crucial that the product that you have decided to invest in comes provided with a reliable one.

Sturdiness-wise, the previous buyers of this particular product have said that the item is very dependable. Moreover, it has been pointed out that this device has more than one pocket. Consequently, you will be able to use them to organize the contents of the kit. This way, you will be better prepared in case of emergency evacuations.

 

First aid and hygiene products  

Last but not least, this model is well liked because it features a standard aid kit that contains all the necessary items that you might need to care for uncomplicated medical emergencies. However, keep in mind that this kit includes basic products such as band-aids. Still, if you want to be extra safe, go ahead and supplement it with additional products that you consider vital.

Furthermore, the kit also features hygiene and sanitation products (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, wet wipes) that are a must on a day to day basis. These products can be of great help, especially if you find yourself in need of leaving your home.

The model has received many positive feedback comments, and it is regarded as a trustworthy product. Because of this, many happy buyers recommend it to other interested customers.

 

Buy from Amazon.com for ($98.95)

 

 

 

Survival Prep Warehouse Deluxe

 

Main advantage:

This product stands out because of its compactness. In fact, this model is small enough to be stored in one’s car, home or workplace. Besides, the unit comes provided with a handful of useful items such as first aid, safety items, and a gas shut off system. Moreover, the model can be used in case of earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, floods and other natural disasters.

 

Main disadvantage:

Although the item has received plenty of positive reviews, some of its prior buyers have said that the model is somewhat expensive when compared to other similar products. However, this unit is valued by most of its users and the specialists.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($198.95)

 

 

Main features explained

 

 

Supplies that you will receive

This model comes fitted with plenty of items that you are prone to appreciate in exceptional circumstances. What is more, this backpack includes no less than 48 pouches of Datrex Water, 48 200-Calorie Food Bars (that have a five-year shelf-life) and 40 water purification tablets (that will allow you to purify up to 40 liters or 10.5 gallons of water). Besides, a radio that does not need batteries to work and two rechargeable flashlights are also provided.

Moreover, those that decide to invest in this item will also receive a 5 in 1, practical instrument (that includes a compass, a flint starter, a waterproof container, a signal mirror, and a whistle). Waterproof matches, a fire starter (that can be used to start hundreds of fires), four emergency ponchos, and sleeping bags are also included in the deal.

Furthermore, this highly versatile product also comes furnished with a pair of leather gloves, a knife, foot rope, four personal hygiene kits, four N95 masks, tissues, and a first aid kit. As a plus, this product contains an easy-to-use gas shut off wrench that has been designed by a firefighter. Additional items are also shipped to the user.

The backpack is highly organized

According to previous buyers of the product, this model has been designed to help you and your loved ones survive a catastrophic event that lasts between four and seven days. The kit is suitable for circumstances where one is left without water, internet, and electricity.

All the consumable goods (the food and the water) have a lifespan of five years. However, all the other items that are included in the deal are said to last you indefinitely.

 

Safety and warmth

Apart from incorporating items that can keep you nourished and hydrated, this backpack also features articles that you can use to stay warm through the cold nights. For example, this product comes provided with four body warmers (that last between 16 to 20 hours) and four practical blankets.

Furthermore, if you want to make yourself noticed to the rescuing team, you can always use the light sticks or the radio that is also provided.

In the end, this product is well liked by its previous buyers. Many of them warmly recommend the kit to other interested buyers out there.

 

Buy from Amazon.com for ($198.95)

 

 

 

Retevis RT1

 

Main advantage

The crisp sound that this model manages to offer to its users is perhaps one of the most relevant aspects that can be discussed. Even if you’re in a noisy environment, you’ll be able to hear clearly and at great distances, too.

This can be very helpful in case of an emergency because we know how shock and panic can affect the way information travels and by using such a device, you make sure that you get the news as accurately as possible and you protect your family and loved ones.

 

Main disadvantage

The many user reviews that we have read in order to complete our research on this model have stated that it does not have any significant drawbacks that could considerably affect its quality.

However, if we do need to pick an aspect to discuss, the thing that can be slightly inconvenient is maybe the packaging that it’s delivered in. It comes in a 5-pack, which means you can’t find only one device to buy separately, you’re forced to buy five of them and pay the full price.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($345.99)

 

 

Main features explained

 

Power source

This model runs on batteries, so it doesn’t require any electrical power, making it an excellent choice for situations when you do not have access to an outlet. This means it can be instrumental in emergencies such as hurricanes or violent storms.

The 3000mAh batteries support up to 260 hours of standby time, so you can rest assured knowing that you’ll be taken care of in case you suddenly need to receive vital information and you don’t have access to electricity.

Range

It has a range of up to 4 miles, depending on the particular terrain in your area and on the environmental factors such as weather conditions. In order to increase the range and make this device more efficient, the manufacturers added a conventional antenna and a high gain antenna as well.

This is what makes the radio support encrypt and secure calls, two features that you might consider useful. This two-way device also has a solid build, and it’s likely to hold up well and not be damaged over the course of time.

 

Design

The model is compact, and it delivers all the great features a good communication radio should have in the shape of a small device that you can fit on your kitchen counter without even bothering to make too much space for it.

One good thing about it is the fact that the controls are easy to interpret, so in case of an emergency even those who are not familiar with the particular instructions can intuitively use this product and get the useful information that their life might depend on.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that this item is so small that it can be handheld, so if you need to leave your home in a hurry in case of a power outage and you still need to keep an information source closeby, you can simply pick it up and be on your way, no additional preparations required.

 

Buy from Amazon.com for ($345.99)

 

 

 

 

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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