Last Updated: June 29, 2020

Best Emergency Radio in 2020

Emergency radios are an essential bit of kit that can help you to prepare for the unexpected. If you live in a zone that’s prone to hurricanes or earthquakes, getting a heads up on what’s coming can provide you with valuable time that can make all the difference to your evacuation plans. Or perhaps you spend a lot of time out at sea. You don’t want to get caught in a storm while you’re out there, and a crucial weather update might make the difference between you getting back to shore safely or not – or you might even cancel your day trip in the first place. Similarly, if you’re out hiking at the weekend, it’s better to know if torrential rain is heading your way so that you can set up camp before it hits, or bail back to the car if it’s very serious.

Our Top Picks

Choosing the right radio is crucial to your safety, and you want something reliable that won’t let you down. There’s a whole suite of radios out there, and some are definitely better than others. We’ve put together a list of our best emergency radios so that you can be sure you’re investing in the right bit of equipment. Hopefully, you’ll never end up in an emergency situation, but if you do, you’re going to want to have one of these by your side.

Top Product Overview

Sangean MMR-88 AM/FM/Weather+Alert Emergency Radio. Solar/Hand Crank/USB/Flashlight, Siren, Smartphone Charger
  • Power bank
  • Adjustable LED flashlight
SEE ON AMAZON →
Kaito KA500 5-way Powered Solar Power,Dynamo Crank, Wind Up Emergency AM/FM/SW/NOAA Weather Alert Radio with Flashlight,Reading Lamp and Cellphone Charger, Yellow
Best Allrounder
  • Six power sources
  • Power bank
SEE ON AMAZON →
Midland - ER310, Emergency Crank Weather AM/FM Radio - Multiple Power Sources, SOS Emergency Flashlight, Ultrasonic Dog Whistle, NOAA Weather Scan + Alert (Red/Black)
  • Powerbank
  • Dog whistle
SEE ON AMAZON →
American Red Cross Emergency NOAA Weather Radio with USB Smartphone Charger, LED Flashlight & Red Beacon
  • Automatic alerts
  • Powerful LED flashlight
SEE ON AMAZON →
[Upgraded Version] RunningSnail Emergency Weather AM/FM NOAA Solar Powered Wind up Radio with SOS, 2000mAh Power Bank for Cell Phone and LED Flashlight (Red)
  • Affordable
  • Compact
SEE ON AMAZON →
C. Crane CC Pocket AM FM and NOAA Weather Radio with Clock and Sleep Timer
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Portable with removable belt clip
SEE ON AMAZON →
FosPower Emergency Solar Hand Crank Portable Radio, NOAA Weather Radio for Household and Outdoor Emergency with AM/FM, LED Flashlight, Reading Lamp, 2000mAh Power Bank USB Charger and SOS Alarm
  • Affordable
  • Limited lifetime warranty
SEE ON AMAZON →
[Upgraded Version]Emergency Radio, Esky 3W LED Flashlight Hand Crank Radio, Self Powered AM/FM NOAA Weather Radio, Portable Solar Radio 1000mAh Power Bank USB Charger for iPhone/Smart Phone (Red)
  • Bright flashlight
  • Very lightweight
SEE ON AMAZON →
Emergency Weather Radio 4000mAh - Portable, Solar Powered, Hand Crank, AM FM NOAA Weather Stations, USB Cell Phone Charger, SOS Alarm, LED Flashlight & Reading Light Radio - Buzz4000
  • Large battery size
  • Efficient hand crank
SEE ON AMAZON →

Top Products


Top Pick

Sangean MMR-88

Sangean MMR-88 AM/FM/Weather+Alert Emergency Radio. Solar/Hand Crank/USB/Flashlight, Siren, Smartphone Charger

Introducing the first emergency radio on our top list, the Sangean MMR-88. This sturdy little radio is not only built like a tank, but it’s also surprisingly lightweight and compact, and it even comes with a carabiner so you can clip it somewhere handy.

It also comes with some nice extra features, and we especially like that it comes with a 4 LED reading lamp as well as a 1W LED flashlight. The flashlight itself is multipurpose – set it to high, low, blinking, and even SOS morse code if you need to! There’s an emergency buzzer too, in case you end up in a situation where you need to attract attention.

Having enough battery to see you through an emergency situation is essential, which is why we love the 90-minute auto-off feature that saves you power. And even if you do run out of juice, you can use the hand-crank or solar panel to recharge, so you’ll never get caught off guard. And this goes for your phone and other gadgets too, as this radio doubles up as a power bank.

It tunes in to all seven NOAA channels as well as AM and FM, and it has 19 preset stations so you don’t have to waste time tuning, and you’ll get alerts when bad weather is heading your way.

Our only complaint with this radio is the battery size – the 850mAh Lithium-ion rechargeable battery is a little on the small size – but other than that, this radio is an absolute winner.

Pros

  • Power bank
  • Adjustable LED flashlight
  • LED reading lamp
  • Auto shut-off
  • Three power sources
  • Lots of presets
  • Emergency buzzer

Cons

  • Only 850mAh battery

Product Information

  • Weight: 0.86 lbs
  • Dimensions: 2.71 x 5.98 x 3.3 inches
  • Power sources: electric rechargeable, hand crank, or solar
  • Receives: AM/FM and NOAA broadcasts
  • Water resistance: IPX3
SEE ON AMAZON

Best Allrounder

Kaito KA500

Kaito KA500 5-way Powered Solar Power,Dynamo Crank, Wind Up Emergency AM/FM/SW/NOAA Weather Alert Radio with Flashlight,Reading Lamp and Cellphone Charger, Yellow

Here is one of our absolute favorites, the Kaito KA500. The reason we love this radio so much is that you can charge it in six, yes that’s right six, different ways.

If you’re at home, you can use a USB cable or wall adaptor and, when you’re on-the-go, you can make use of the rechargeable battery, a hand crank, solar panel, or AA batteries. And you can use these to charge your phone too, which can be super handy. This really does give you that peace of mind that you’ll be able to get a signal if an emergency arises.

On top of that, this radio has coverage of AM/FM stations and the NOAA weather channels are already plugged in. And if you set the radio to ‘alert mode’, you’ll get 24/7 weather updates. Oh, and don’t worry if you go off-grid, you’ll still have a signal thanks to the telescopic antenna that extends to an impressive 14.5 inches.

As well as a reading lamp and flashlight, you can also use this radio to generate a red SOS beacon to signal to rescuers in the dark. It also comes in a lovely range of colors. Our only complaints are that this radio isn’t fully waterproof and the solar panel is a little on the small side, so it’ll take a while to get a good charge. However, with all the other power sources, slow solar probably isn’t that big a deal.

Pros

  • Six power sources
  • Power bank
  • Telescopic antenna
  • LED flashlight, reading light, and beacon
  • Weather alerts

Cons

  • Slow solar charging

Product Information

  • Weight: 1.4 lbs
  • Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 2.8 inches
  • Power sources: battery, hand crank, solar, rechargeable battery pack, USB electric, AC/DC adaptor
  • Receives: AM/FM and NOAA broadcasts
  • Water resistance: IPX3
SEE ON AMAZON

Midland ER310

Midland - ER310, Emergency Crank Weather AM/FM Radio - Multiple Power Sources, SOS Emergency Flashlight, Ultrasonic Dog Whistle, NOAA Weather Scan + Alert (Red/Black)

Midland are a big name in the world of radio communications, and it’s therefore not surprising that one of their products, the Midland ER310, made it into our list of the best emergency radios around.

This is an eco-friendly radio thanks to its three methods of sustainable charging – hand crank, solar, and electric rechargeable – and it can also be powered by AA batteries as a back-up. The battery life is awesome too, with a single charge lasting up to 32 hours. You’ll also know when you’re running low thanks to the battery level indicator.

The emergency flashlight is pretty nifty and can be used to signal morse code. You can also set it to high (130 lumens) if you want to attract attention, but if you’re worried about charge you can select a low power mode. Another more creative way you can attract attention is to make use of the in-built ultrasonic dog whistle, a feature that we love and rarely see elsewhere.

Like the other models we’ve looked at, this radio taps into AM/DM and all NOAA channels. It also has an alarm to signal when extreme weather is heading your way.

Unfortunately, the grip on the crank can get a little uncomfortable, so perhaps leave this charging option until last. Our major complaint is that this radio isn’t claimed to have any water resistance, so it’s probably best to keep it indoors or in a dry bag. Overall though, this is a well thought out radio that we’d trust to get us safely through some unsettling situations.

Pros

  • Powerbank
  • Dog whistle
  • Long battery life
  • Emergency flashlight and strove
  • Weather alarm
  • Battery level indicator

Cons

  • Hand crank grip not great
  • No water resistance

Product Information

  • Weight: 1 lb
  • Dimensions: 9.61 x 2.95 x 6.85 inches
  • Power sources: solar, hand crank, electric rechargeable, and batteries
  • Receives: AM/FM and NOAA broadcasts
SEE ON AMAZON

Eton American Red Cross

American Red Cross Emergency NOAA Weather Radio with USB Smartphone Charger, LED Flashlight & Red Beacon

Eton is another brand that has been producing radios for a while and has managed to build itself a solid reputation, and from what we’ve seen of the Eton American Red Cross, it’s easy to see why.

This radio receives all 7 NOAA/Environment Canada Weather bands as well as digital radio (AM/FM), and the alert functions make you aware of any emergency weather updates. It can also be used as a power bank, and has a pretty powerful flashlight and can emit a red flashing beacon.

Although it comes with a hand crank and solar panels as alternative power sources, the hand crank can be a little slow and the solar panels are actually located on it, so they might be prone to breaking and you won’t get a solar charge while cranking. They will still give you some juice in an emergency, but maybe consider taking some batteries along with you just in case.

Unfortunately, the internal battery is pretty small at 300mAh but, overall, this is a simple radio that covers all the basics. It’s solid and durable and you won’t have to buy yourself another radio any time soon.

Pros

  • Automatic alerts
  • Powerful LED flashlight
  • Powerbank

Cons

  • Hand crank slow
  • Solar panel located on crank
  • Small internal battery

Product Information

  • Weight: 0.93 lbs
  • Dimensions: 6.9 x 5.8 x 2.6 inches
  • Power sources: hand crank, solar, electric rechargeable
  • Receives: AM/FM and all 7 NOAA/Environment Canada Weather bands
SEE ON AMAZON

RunningSnail MD-088P

[Upgraded Version] RunningSnail Emergency Weather AM/FM NOAA Solar Powered Wind up Radio with SOS, 2000mAh Power Bank for Cell Phone and LED Flashlight (Red)

The RunningSnail MD-088P radio is a great bit of emergency equipment and features several upgrades from the previous models (which were already very good!).

Like all the radios we’ve looked at so far, this one doubles up as a powerbank, but it now has an even more powerful 2000mah Li-ion battery. Although that will give you plenty of charge, you can always top-up your battery levels using the hand crank or solar power. And you’ll know when this is necessary thanks to the battery level indicator.

We like that the panels have been conveniently placed on the top of the radio to maximize the amount of sunlight they can capture – an important factor for a radio this compact. Although we love that it comes with an SOS alarm, it has been known to get stuck from time to time, which isn’t very pleasant.

With a large flashlight for its small size, and the ability to pick up AM/FM and NOAA broadcasts, there isn’t much more you could ask for at such an affordable price. Oh, and it comes with a 1-year warranty too.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Battery level indicator
  • 1-year warranty

Cons

  • SOS alarm sometimes sticks

Product Information

  • Weight: 0.67 lbs
  • Dimensions: 5.8 x 2.4 x 3 inches
  • Power sources: hand crank, solar, electric rechargeable
  • Receives: AM/FM and NOAA broadcasts
  • Water resistance: IPX3
SEE ON AMAZON

Crane CC Pocket

C. Crane CC Pocket AM FM and NOAA Weather Radio with Clock and Sleep Timer

Introducing the most portable of our featured radios… the Crane CC Pocket. As the name suggests, this is a super-compact pocket-sized option that even comes with a removable clip belt so you can keep it close to hand. It won’t be a drag either, seeing as it weighs an incredibly light 0.25 lbs.

It picks up the usual AM/FM and NOAA channels, and is surprisingly sensitive for its size, although one drawback is a lack of an in-built antenna. We like that there are five presets too, so you can easily tune in to those all-important weather updates.

One thing we don’t like about this radio is that it relies on a single power source, AA batteries. Having said that, however, the battery life is excellent and they’ll keep you going for up to 75 hours. You can also disable the display to save yourself some power, and the sleep timer means you won’t waste juice while you’re snoozing. And you don’t have to worry about oversleeping either, thanks to the in-built alarm clock.

There’s no flashlight included in this, but if all you’re after is a simple and portable device for tuning in to those weather updates, then you can’t go wrong with this.

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Portable with removable belt clip
  • Great battery life and low power mode
  • Sleep timer and alarm
  • Memory feature

Cons

  • Only one power source
  • No extendable antenna
  • No flashlight

Product Information

  • Weight: 0.25 lbs
  • Dimensions: 2.5 x 1 x 4.25 inches
  • Power sources: AA batteries
  • Receives: AM/FM and NOAA broadcasts
SEE ON AMAZON

FOS Power

FosPower Emergency Solar Hand Crank Portable Radio, NOAA Weather Radio for Household and Outdoor Emergency with AM/FM, LED Flashlight, Reading Lamp, 2000mAh Power Bank USB Charger and SOS Alarm

The FOS Power emergency radio is certainly one of the more stylish radio options out there, but that’s not all we like about it.

The radio is powered not only by a rechargeable battery, but you can also use solar, the hand crank, and AA batteries if you’re in a pickle. All this power goes into not only the radio that picks up AM/FM and NOAA stations, but also into the light sources – a reading light and a flashlight.

It also doubles up as a 2000mAh power bank, so you’ll be able to use your phone in an emergency if you need it. One minor gripe is that you won’t get any alerts for incoming weather in your area, so make sure you keep your wits about you and tune in if you see any signs of conditions changing.

It also packs a super loud SOS alarm that’ll be sure to attract attention when you’re in need. Although it is water-resistant rather than waterproof, it can take more of a spray than lots of similar models thanks to proper seals on the openings and knobs.

This radio has all the essentials, looks good and, on top of that, it’s very reasonably priced and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Powerbank
  • Reading light and flashlight
  • SOS alarm
  • Extendable antenna
  • Good sealings

Cons

  • AM/FM only
  • Doesn't give alerts/warnings

Product Information

  • Weight: 0.68 lbs
  • Dimensions: 6.2 x 2. 9x 2.1 inches
  • Power sources: solar, hand crank, electric rechargeable, and disposable batteries
  • Receives: AM/FM and NOAA broadcasts
  • Water resistance: IPX3
SEE ON AMAZON

Best Budget

Esky Emergency Radio

[Upgraded Version]Emergency Radio, Esky 3W LED Flashlight Hand Crank Radio, Self Powered AM/FM NOAA Weather Radio, Portable Solar Radio 1000mAh Power Bank USB Charger for iPhone/Smart Phone (Red)

The Esky Emergency Radio is a great portable option for staying in touch with the weather.

Made of durable, water-resistant plastic, this radio can handle being knocked around a little bit, so you can chuck it in your bag without worrying too much. In case you run out of juice after charging it at home, it can also be charged via a solar panel and a hand crank.

The solar panels may not be the biggest, but that goes hand-in-hand with a radio this small, and we don’t think 10-12 hours for a full solar charge is too bad. Plus there’s the hand crank after all. Similarly, the knobs can be a little on the fiddly side, but again that’s almost inevitable on a super-compact model.
The flashlight on this is nice and bright, with 140 lumens of power behind it, and the radio doubles up as a power bank too.

Overall, we think this is a great little radio that will stand the test of time and, at this price, is an absolute steal.

Pros

  • Bright flashlight
  • Very lightweight
  • Very compact
  • Powerbank

Cons

  • Water-resistant only
  • Fiddly tuning knobs

Product Information

  • Weight: 0.49 lbs
  • Dimensions: 5 x 2.4 x 1.8 inches
  • Power sources: solar, hand crank, and electric rechargeable
  • Receives: AM/FM and NOAA broadcasts
  • Water resistance: advertised as water-resistant but without rating
SEE ON AMAZON

Wayl Emergency Weather Radio

Emergency Weather Radio 4000mAh - Portable, Solar Powered, Hand Crank, AM FM NOAA Weather Stations, USB Cell Phone Charger, SOS Alarm, LED Flashlight & Reading Light Radio - Buzz4000

Last, but by no means least, on our list is the Wayl Emergency Weather Radio. This radio is packed full of high-end features, such as a 4000 mAh rechargeable battery – much larger than most batteries in radios this price. It can also be powered with disposable batteries, solar power, or the hand crank. And the hand crank is one of the best we’ve seen, with one minute of cranking providing 30 minutes of light and up to 20 minutes of radio – perfect if you get caught off guard.

Not only does this radio receive AM/FM and NOAA channels, but you can also play your own music via mp3 or USB – neat huh? There’s an SOS alarm too, in case you need to attract attention.

The flashlight is pretty bright with 100 lumens of light behind it, and we love that you can angle the reading light so you won’t find yourself in an awkward position. As for the other radios mentioned, this one doubles up as a power bank so you can be sure to have your phone charged when you need it most.

One minor gripe is that you won’t get an alert if bad weather is coming your way, so be sure to keep an eye on the sky. Other than that, this is a quality piece of equipment with some well thought out features.

Pros

  • Large battery size
  • Efficient hand crank
  • Powerbank
  • Angled reading light and flashlight
  • SOS alarm
  • Music via USB or MP3

Cons

  • No weather alerts

Product Information

  • Weight: 1.2 lbs
  • Dimensions: 7.4 x 3.9 x 2.7 inches
  • Power sources: solar, hand crank, and electric rechargeable
  • Receives: AM/FM and NOAA broadcasts
  • Water resistance: IPX3
SEE ON AMAZON

What To Look For In An Emergency Radio

So there you have our best emergency radios, but what should you keep your eye on when you’re shopping around?

Channels and alerts

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) is a US-based weather station that provides round-the-clock updates. You really want your radio to tune in to this station and, ideally, alert you when there’s an update in your area. It’s also nice to receive AM/FM stations as these can also provide important updates and can be used for entertainment too.

Size and weight

You don’t want to get caught out without a radio in an emergency situation because you’re radio was so heavy you didn’t put it in your bag… think carefully about what size you’re willing to carry – there are some great portable options out there, although sometimes they compromise on other features (for instance, there will less space for solar paneling). On the other hand, if you’re radio will be sitting in an office or on a boat, then size and weight won’t be so important.

Extra features

There are a whole bunch of extra quirks out there, ranging from USB ports to angular reading lamps and even to dog whistles. Which of these appeals to you will depend on your exact needs, but it’s worth shopping around and finding a radio with some perks you’ll enjoy – just don’t get too distracted from the essentials.

Our Top Three…

Now you know what to look for, but in case you want to know which radios we’d go for, here are our top three.

Our top choice if you’re on a budget is the Esky Emergency Radio. It has everything you need – good channels, decent battery size, and multiple power sources – all at an affordable price. You also get a very bright flashlight included, and it’s super light and compact so you’ll barely even notice that you’re carrying it around.

[Upgraded Version]Emergency Radio, Esky 3W LED Flashlight Hand Crank Radio, Self Powered AM/FM NOAA Weather Radio, Portable Solar Radio 1000mAh Power Bank USB Charger for iPhone/Smart Phone (Red)
  • 【USB, Solar, and Manual Charging】: No electricity? No worries. Thanks to its 3 charging methods, the Rechargeable Radio is always ready to go! The powerful 1000mAh battery can be charged via a USB cable, the solar panel, or the hand crank.
  • 【Bring Electronics Back to Life】: A dead phone can be life threatening. Don't let your phone die when you need it most! Simply plug your phone or other small electronics into the USB port of this emergency kit for some extra juice.

Our top allrounder is the Kaito KA500 – how could it not be with so many power sources? That’s just one of the reasons we love it though, it also has great reception, doubles up as a power bank, and gives you actual alerts when there’s bad weather near you.

Kaito KA500 5-way Powered Solar Power,Dynamo Crank, Wind Up Emergency AM/FM/SW/NOAA Weather Alert Radio with Flashlight,Reading Lamp and Cellphone Charger, Yellow
  • 6-way powered portable emergency radio with hand crank generator, solar panel, compartment for 3 AA batteries (not included), 5V USB input, 5V AC/DC input with a wall power adapter (sold separately), built-in NiMH replaceable and rechargeable battery pack
  • Comprehensive coverage of AM, FM, 2-band shortwave and 7 pre-programmed NOAA weather channels for entertainment, sports, talk-shows, breaking news around the world, and 24/7 real-time weather forecast (USA and Canada ONLY) with PEAS (Public Emergency Alert System)

Our top pick of emergency radios is the Sangean MMR-88. With three power sources, an auto shut-off feature and a low flashlight setting, you won’t have to worry about running out of juice. The emergency buzzer is a great way to attract attention and, if that doesn’t work, you can always use the blinking light that can even signal morse code! With its handy carabiner, it couldn’t be easier to keep this radio close, and it’s certainly something we’d want by our side in an emergency.

Sale
Sangean MMR-88 AM/FM/Weather+Alert Emergency Radio. Solar/Hand Crank/USB/Flashlight, Siren, Smartphone Charger
  • Digital AM/ FM tuner with 19 random preset stations (AM/ FM Mixed) receives all 7 NOAA weather channel and reports
  • Powered by hand-crank Dynamo/ solar panel/ DC in (micro USB B Type) to rechargeable lithium battery USB a to Micro USB B cable and hand strap included