Why would you need an emergency radio you might be wondering, but there are a good many reasons why it might be wise to take the precaution of purchasing one. For example, you might live in an area which is subject to hurricanes or earth quakes, in which case an emergency radio would prove invaluable to you. You might also like to go camping or have adventures in the wilderness, again, having an emergency radio would be a wise choice of equipment to take with you in case of any problems.
So what makes a radio suitable for emergencies? Well these types of radios have been designed in a way which makes them more rugged, they will have better casings and can stand up to drops and knocks where a normal radio might break. These types of radios also can be powered without an available power socket. Some have hand cranks so you can power them manually by turning the handle. Other will be solar powered so you can charge them in the day time.
Often, emergency radios will have other features that you can use simply you are out camping such as phone chargers or blue tooth connections.
So how do you know which are the best options for purchase? Well, that’s where our extensive guide will come in handy for you. We have spent over 2 weeks putting together what we think is the ultimate buyer’s guide. We have reviewed all the products on the market, looked at different specifications, compared customer reviews and really got hands-on with the radios.
Take a look below where we review our picks for the top 10 emergency radios along with all the pros and cons for each one. Scroll to the bottom for an indepth buyer’s guide and FAQ section to help you make the right choice.
- 1 Top Picks
- 2 Kaito KA500 6-way Powered
- 3 The American Red Cross FRX3 Hand Crank NOAA AM / FM Weather Alert Radio
- 4 RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio
- 5 RunningSnail Emergency Radio 1000mAh
- 6 Esky Portable Emergency Weather Radio
- 7 FosPower Emergency Solar Hand Crank Portable Radio
- 8 Wayl Emergency Weather Radio
- 9 Kaito KA500 Voyager Radio
- 10 Kaito Voyager Pro KA600
- 11 Kaito KA700 Bluetooth Radio
- 12 Conclusion
If you are in a hurry, you need to look at these 4 radios to get you started. They have all been rated highly and offer a ton of value to all who choose to use them. Here are the top emergency radios currently available on the market today.
- Kaito KA500 6-way Powered: This radio is the complete package. It is not too expensive and features everything that someone might need when they are in trouble. Having multiple charging options also helps a lot.
- The American Red Cross FRX3 Hand Crank NOAA AM / FM Weather Alert Radio: Endorsed by the American Red Cross, this radio does have a ton of experience when it comes to remote work and will definitely be one to get you to safety.
- RunningSnail Emergency Radio 1000mAh: If you simply need something lightweight and small to give you weather notification, this radio is all that. It is also one of the most affordable options on the market.
- Kaito Voyager Pro KA600: For those tough trips in harsh conditions, you might need a military quality radio and the KA600 provides you all those military features. This one of the best radios if you need to have things like thermometers and calendars.
Kaito KA500 6-way Powered
The Kaito KA500 6-way Powered Radio is the first to make it onto our list. Kaito has a proven brand for reliability, with the radios being constructed from durable materials that will allow them to withstand some of the worst disasters that nature might throw at you. This has helped numerous people that find themselves in bad situations.
What makes it special is that the radio can be powered up in 6 different ways. The built-in NiMH battery can be powered with a wall outlet or it can be charged with a USB port on your mobile device. Additionally, the solar panels allow solar charging, while the generator is hand cranked to ensure it is powered up. You can also power this bad bow with 3 AA batteries if you need something quick or have them laying around.
The radio will give you coverage of AM and FM stations, but it has 7 preprogrammed NOAA weather stations that will ensure you are in the loop of weather conditions around your area. Aside from all this, the radio includes a flashlight and a 5-LED reading lamp, but if you are stranded, you can use the built-in beacon for sending an SOS signal up in the air.
If you only have limited experience with radios, the analog tuner might not be the best option to tune the radio. It does take some getting used to. The solar charger does work but also charges the device really slowly. This might not be ideal if you live in an area that only has limited solar power. We recommend the crank for the best charge.
Fortunately, it is an affordable option and the price should be something that will make you smile when you buy it. It is versatile and the durable ABS materials have also been tested to be water-resistant. It is best used for outdoor activities, but can definitely help you when you are lost or need someone to help you out of a snag.
- Durable ABS construction
- 6 methods to charge the device
- Includes an SOS beacon
- Multiple lighting features
- Reasonably priced
- The solar charger is not the best
- The analog dials take some time to figure out
The American Red Cross FRX3 Hand Crank NOAA AM / FM Weather Alert Radio
Nothing can ensure your safety more than the American Red Cross. The American Red Cross FRX3 Hand Crank NOAA AM / FM Weather Alert Radio is one of the very best when it comes to your overall safety and it features durable construction that keeps it going in the weather and makes it easy for you to carry around.
The radio stands out with the glow in the dark feature and this will allow you to operate it even when all the power has gone out. It gives you clear access to 7 NOAA weather stations for up to the minute reports on the weather. The hand cranking method is really effective here and works great for keeping the radio on.
While the device can easily charge all of your mobile devices, it comes with a great light source. This can be used as a flashlight, or you can use the red light as an emergency beacon. The auxiliary input also means you can play music from your own devices and use the powerful speakers that will give you a loud alarm noise in times of trouble.
Unfortunately, it does take a lot of cranking to actually have enough power to use the radio and we recommend using one of the other methods to power this radio. Since it can work efficiently with AAA batteries, it will definitely be a wise decision to have a couple of them on hand for your radio as backup power.
Since this product does have the American Red Cross name, you can be sure that people have had some lofty expectations, but this radio has definitely lived up to most of them. It might be a little more expensive than some of the others, but we would recommend it. It can serve as the perfect emergency radio to have in your home.
- Reliable brand
- Extremely durable
- Includes an aux connection
- 7 NOAA weather stations
- Emergency light beacon
- Really expensive
RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio
If you are packing light, the RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio should certainly be at the top of your list. It is a versatile radio that has been packed with features such as the FM/AM transmissions. However, the NOAA weather signals will; keep your family safe when disaster strikes or you need some help.
Once again, you can charge this radio using various methods and one of them includes the hand crank method. It also makes use of solar power and 3 AA batteries. The USB charging method is probably the fastest and once the unit has been fully charged, it will give you 4-6 hours of radio time. If you only use the lights, it will run for around 12-hours.
As you would expect from an emergency device, this one comes packed with an SOS alarm and a red emergency light that can be activated in times of need. The lighting features will give you a 1W flashlight to light your ways and a table lamp. As we have mentioned, the table lamp can be used for up to 12-hours on a single charge.
With the dials being really small and sensitive, it can actually be hard to tune the radio in areas where multiple radio frequencies are available. However, it does work efficiently once you have your radio station and gives you quick weather updates. You only need to keep in mind that the weather station needs to be on for this to work.
The device itself is really small and efficient. It is easy to use and comes at a really affordable price tag for outdoor lovers. Once you have it figured out, this radio can most certainly be something that will save your life. We recommend it for the price and all the safety features. It is worth noting that the radio can also double down as a power bank.
- Small and lightweight
- NOAA weather station compatible
- Includes a 1W flashlight
- SOS light and alarm included
- Really affordable
- The dials are quite small and sensitive
RunningSnail Emergency Radio 1000mAhThe RunningSnail Emergency Radio 1000mAh is much similar to the previous one, but only a little smaller and this is what makes it so attractive. It also comes preprogrammed with FM and AM connectivity, while allowing you to be connected with the NOAA weather updates. This will alert you from any potential hazards.
It is slightly smaller than the previous radio and also features 3 different ways of charging the device. The unit can once again be used as a 1000 mAh power bank to charge all your mobile devices when needed. The crank method works well, but we have seen the USB charging method to give you the fastest possible charge.
The 1-watt LED flashlight is an excellent addition when you find yourself in the dark and you need some way of seeing. The loud SOS alarm also makes its return with the beacon that can make a massive light at night. It features a much more durable antenna, but this one is also quite sensitive to touch and might take some time to find the right station.
While it is really small and portable, the 1000 mAh battery is not ideal for some of your longer trips and it cannot hold a massive charge like some of the others. You might need to leave it in the sun or work with the crank more often than you think. However, it does make up for this by giving you the opportunity to add your own AA batteries.
Since it is one of the smaller devices, it is also one of the cheapest options on the list. This device is packed full of great features and will certainly ensure your safety for the most part. The 1-year limited warranty has been included to give users some additional peace of mind. We would recommend this radio for some of the shorter trips.
- Small and compact
- Sensitive antenna with NOAA preprogrammed stations
- Works as a power bank
- Really affordable
- Includes a 1-year warranty
- The battery is only 1000 mAh
Esky Portable Emergency Weather Radio
Esky is slowly becoming a more and more famous brand for outdoor equipment and the Esky Portable Emergency Weather Radio shows that they definitely know what they are doing. It also includes 3 different charging methods to ensure that you are never left without power and the self-crank method is probably the best for outdoors.
The rugged design of the radio will keep you listening to the weather notifications in some of the most daunting conditions. The unit has been tested to be water resistant and features a stylish design. Compared to some of the others, the tuning dial is much easier to navigate when you are looking for different FM and AM stations.
A common trend with these radios is the fact that they all have some sort of flashlight added. The Esky Portable Emergency Weather Radio includes a 140-lumen flashlight to light your way. According to the manufacturer, it is also versatile and will allow you to charge your mobile devices with ease if they run out of battery life.
The unit is really functional, but we have the same problem as with the previous unit. This radio can only hold a charge of around 1000mAh. This might not last you very long when you are on longer trips. It also takes a lot of time to actually charge any of your mobile devices if they do run out of battery life. We recommend an additional power bank.
Fortunately, the price should make up for it and this is also a really affordable option for those who love to go outdoors. It can be kept in your home and you can only use it when there is trouble in paradise. The design of the unit makes it something you can always carry along with you and it can also be fitted into your pockets.
- Small and portable design
- Easy to use
- Includes a 140-lumen flashlight
- Works as a power bank
- Really affordable
- Does not have an SOS alarm or beacon
FosPower Emergency Solar Hand Crank Portable Radio
The FosPower Emergency Solar Hand Crank Portable Radio is another one of our favorites on the market today. It is designed with a 2000mAh battery capacity and this will be more than enough to charge a few of your electronic devices at least to halfway. It should be enough to get your device ready for an emergency call.
As with many of the radios, this one is designed with durability in mind. It features a rugged outer cover and can resist some of the toughest storms. It easily connects to AM and FM frequencies, but the NOAA weather stations will surely help you the most when it comes to being prepared for the worse with the weather conditions.
While it includes 3 different methods that allow you to power it up, the 2 light sources will certainly make a difference. It features a good LED flashlight and a reading light. Should you be caught in a snag, the SOS alarm is really loud and will certainly attract anyone nearby. If no one responds, it might annoy them enough to have a look.
The radio itself is rather efficient and while it might not be best to use solar power, the other methods should work fine. We did notice a glitch that when you tilt up the solar panels, the LED lights tend to go on. This defeats the purpose of using the solar panels for charging the device during the day and we recommend the hand crank.
As for the price, it is smack in the middle when it comes to a good price and value for your money. The price is reasonable for all; these features and this why we would definitely recommend it. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty that should give you peace of mind. We do recommend it as a top emergency radio to have around the home.
- Includes 3 charging methods
- 2 lighting sources
- Decent 2000mAh battery capacity
- The alarm is really loud
- Has a few solar charging issues
Wayl Emergency Weather Radio
Not all emergency radios are small and some of them have been designed for longer trips. The Wayl Emergency Weather Radio is one of these larger radios and it features a massive 4000mAh battery that will keep you powered up for quite some time. However, you should know that a battery of this size also takes a little longer to charge.
Much like the other radios it comes with full FM and AM coverage and you can tap into around 7 NOAA weather stations if you want an update on the weather conditions. With such a massive battery, the radio will give you up to 12-hours of playtime and the ability to fully charge your mobile device if that is the case needed.
Unlike the other radios, this one features a dual speaker set up that should be much louder than some of the others. It also includes a port for your MP3 device, allowing you to play some of your favorite tunes. The LAD flashlight works really efficient, but the loud SOS alarm is what will be saving your life in bad situations.
At 1.2-pounds and with such a large setup, it might be a little harder to find decent storage for this unit. However, the functionality does make it an excellent option for all your camping or backpacking needs. The only real complaint is the size, as the tuning is also really easy to do and the large dials allow you to find intricate frequencies with ease.
It is a little more expensive than some of the other radios we have seen on the list so far. However, these features definitely stand out. We would recommend it to anyone going on longer camping or backpacking trips. The additional 1-year limited warranty should give you some peace of mind when you are out and about.
- Dual speaker setup
- Allows you to plug in MP3 devices
- Includes a headphone jack
- Loud SOS alarm
- 1-year limited warranty
- A little pricey
- Weighs 1.2-pounds
Kaito KA500 Voyager Radio
We have already mentioned Kaito as one of the leading brands and the fact that they are widely regarded for their durable radios. Kaito KA500 is another one of the elite radios that will help you out of trouble. It also comes with 5 methods that can be used for you to power up the radio when needed.
Whereas many of the top radios will give you AM and FM frequencies, Kaito has invested a lot of time and effort to ensure that users can also receive shortwave signals. It gives you access to the 7 NOAA weather stations but also includes an alert feature that will notify you when something major is going on around you.
As we have mentioned, it can be powered up in 5 different ways, but many of the solar panels we have seen so far failed to live up to their expectations. Fortunately, Kaito has designed this radio with a solar panel that can be turned 180-degrees. It also includes a beacon and massive alarm that will put up a huge racket when activated.
The durability on the outside seems to lack a little with the battery that has been placed in the unit easy to break out. You might need to have some sort of cover to ensure that this does not happen and the radio remains usable. We also like the crank and it does not need too much cranking to be charged enough for you to use it.
Kaito is an elite brand and this is why the radio is somewhat more expensive than some of the others. However, it does give you some great value for your money and the general consensus is that it is ideal for camping. We would also recommend it for backpacking due to the fact that the unit is small and portable.
- Small, portable, and compact
- Includes shortwave reception
- 7 NOAA weather stations
- Great solar panels
- A little expensive
Kaito Voyager Pro KA600
The Kaito Voyager Pro KA600 is much similar to the previous unit but is a little more advanced for your outdoor ventures. The radio simply looks more advanced and comes with FM/AM/ LZ, and shortwave reception. Additionally, this is backed up by the 7 NOAA weather stations that could alert you of any troubles ahead of time.
Since it comes with memory, your tuning is made much easier and you now have the ability to program a couple of your favorite radio stations before you even leave for the outdoors. A calendar and thermometer are built into the device, giving you even more details about the surrounding environment and what to do.
Once again, it features 5 different ways that you can use to charge the device and the cranking method is really easy to use on this one. It includes an auxiliary cable that allows you to play your own tunes from a different device and the humidity meter should notify you ahead of time if rain is on its way for better preparation.
All these features need to be stored somewhere and this does make it one of the heavier options that you could choose to buy. It does have a carry handle and should fit into your bags, but this might not be ideal for a simple hike or stroll. If you manage to find some room for it, it will make a huge difference to your experience.
As for the price, you can expect this to be one of the most expensive options on the market today and for good reason. We could not find any other radio that has all these elite features. Fortunately, it does come with a decent warranty and this could give you some peace of mind. We would highly recommend it for the advanced campers.
- Includes many elite features
- Really easy to operate
- Durable and rugged construction
- Multiple lighting features
- A little heavy
- Really expensive
Kaito KA700 Bluetooth Radio
Last but certainly not least, we once again have a Kato radio. The Kaito KA700 Bluetooth Radio is probably the most advanced option you will find on the market today. Much like the others, it features multiple frequencies that include FM and AM. However, we have mentioned the importance of the 7 NOAA stations for your weather updates.
As with the KA600, this radio includes a calendar and a thermometer that tells you the accurate temperature readings. The clock can help you when you lose track of the time, while the humidity meter should indicate where you are dealing with potential rain that might actually be incoming. All of these features will definitely keep you in the loop of what is going on.
If music is what you are looking for, you can connect your mobile device via the Bluetooth connection for more sound. However, the radio is designed for safety and not only features a loud alarm to notify those around you, but also a clear emergency beacon. With a 2000mAh battery, it can definitely charge most of your devices.
Once again, it has the same fatal flaw and with all of these features, the device is rather heavy and quite large. It is not something you will simply slip into your pocket if you are traveling around. However, it is one of the best options to get you out of troubled situations or to notify someone nearby that you might be in trouble.
Unfortunately, these features also command a massive price tag and this one of the most expensive radios on this list. We have included it for the design and the fact that it is actually trusted by the US military for their troops. If you need something that will last you a couple of days and keep you safe, try this great radio.
- Extremely rugged and durable
- Includes a Bluetooth connection
- Easy to tune
- Clear emergency light and alarm
- Used By the US Military
- Really expensive
We definitely stand by all of the options that we have covered. However, Kaito is one of the leading brands when it comes to the best radios and they have a proven reputation. Since these radios are the favorite for the US Army, you can be sure that the rugged designs will hold up well and give you some great value for your money.
We would like to thank you for reading this article and encourage you to share some of your thoughts. Let us know which of these emergency radios you have used if we might have missed any of your favorites.