Although the vast majority of the days we experience in our lives are quite uneventful, it’s always important to stay informed on all the weather conditions in your area in case you find yourself in an emergency situation. In this article, we take a look at the best weather radio that you can find in 2019 so you can stay updated and safe.
If you live in the Midwest, for instance, you’ve seen that it’s possible to wake up to beautiful, clear blue skies, with no cloud in sight, only to be fleeing a tornado just hours later.
Keeping apprised of changing weather conditions that could prove hazardous is a great way to stay ready for any situation that might arise. A weather radio is the best means of ensuring that no matter where you are, you stay a step ahead of whatever mother nature might decide to throw at you that day.
Best Weather Radio Reviews:
1. Running Snail Emergency Radio
This one-handed device offers a lot of the different emergency preparedness kit necessities. It’s an AM/FM, NOAA emergency radio, and it comes with an SOS alarm which helps you keep tabs on the developing conditions as well as important alerts and announcements.
If you can, you should pack your phone’s emergency solar charger (which comes included) in your kit. In addition to all these amazing features, this radio also comes with some incredible light sources. The solar-powered, battery-operated, and hand-cranked radio also operates as a flashlight and reading lamp.
With so many different means of recharging it, this means that you won’t have any trouble when it comes to keeping your radio on in the event of an emergency where power is not available, or if you run out of batteries.
If you’re searching for the best weather alert radio, this is undoubtedly one of the most popular products you’ll find on the market right now. Thanks to its long list of impressive features, this weather radio is one that is a must-have for anyone who is serious about being prepared and staying safe.
- Versatile use radio includes flashlight and reading lamp
- Hand crank and solar charging for convenience
- Can provide up to 12 hours of light
- Comes with SOS alarm that flashes red
- Includes a charger for your smartphone
2. Kaito Emergency Radio
This weather radio is ideal for emergencies or disasters thanks to its high-quality brushless generator. It has a solar panel that works to power the radio all on its own, and it also charges the radio’s built-in batteries.
The solar panel tilts as the sun’s position changes in order to make the most of the sun’s rays. This is a great feature that will allow users to get the most reliable use out of this radio in case of an emergency.
In addition to that, this device includes a 5-LED reading lamp that will brightly illuminate any dark or poorly lit areas. It also has another, super bright LED located on the side of the radio to act as a flashlight. This light turns red and flashes, which means that you can use it as an emergency signal if necessary.
Yet another amazing feature which makes this a great emergency radio, according to weather radio reviews is that the radio can charge a variety of many different small electronic devices using a simple USB jack, such as the one you use for your smartphone or iPad. In fact, this radio comes with six phone tips allowing you to charge a wide variety of model phones just by cranking it or using solar power.
- Bright 5-LED reading lamp and flashlight
- Can charge different phone models
- Multiple methods of recharging batteries
- Red blinking light for an emergency signal
- Includes 7 standard radio bands for every station
3. Running Snail (Upgraded Version)
This hand crank, self-powered radio from Running Snail brand makes it to the top three on our list for a very good reason – well, several good reasons, actually. First, this NOAA radio offers AM/FM and is a significant improvement to its predecessor in terms of quality and craftsmanship.
Not only that, but the manufacturers have somehow found a way to not only enhance their product, but they also managed to offer it at an extremely competitive price!
The new design of this emergency radio boasts a 1000mAh power bank which allows you to charge your cellphone through a micro USB directly. This means that you don’t need to mess with adapters anymore. If that’s not enough to convince you that this is the best NOAA weather radio, consider the flashlight that comes built into this compact-sized gadget.
With a powerful, long-lasting, 1W LED, you’ll no longer have to stumble around in the dark no matter what’s going on. This radio has three different ways of recharging, including solar charging, micro USB charging, and hand crank which winds up the internal battery. With all these options, there’s no way you’ll find yourself stranded if the power goes.
- Upgraded design with improved features
- Comes with a 1000 mAh power bank
- AM/FM NOAA emergency radio with flashlight
- Multiple recharging methods for added convenience
- 12-month worry-free warranty from the manufacturer
4. Kozo Emergency Radio
This is the ultimate AM/FM emergency radio for those seeking a high-quality, durable, and affordable model. It’s very compact and lightweight, which makes it the ideal hand-held radio for emergency use. Although it’s such a little unit, it comes packed full of awesome features.
For one, this radio offers surprisingly high performance when considering its size. The speaker is crystal clear and loud, which makes it great for use outdoors. In fact, the volume can be adjusted so loud that even a large group of people will be able to hear the station during even thunderstorms.
This radio also has an AUX port, to allow you to connect headphones or a speaker. This means that you can stay connected any and everywhere. If you love being outdoors, this is the perfect little radio for your needs. It’s certainly the best emergency radio you’ll find with all these features at this price.
This radio’s manufacturer has total faith in their product, and they stand behind it with a 100% money-back guarantee! For those who need the peace of mind of knowing they are receiving a high-quality product or they get a refund, buying this weather radio is a no-brainer.
- Small and portable size makes it ideal for campers and hikers
- The radio comes with a strong LED flashlight
- Charges cellphones and other USB devices
- High-quality and high-performance construction
- Powerful reception thanks to extra long antenna
5. Midland Emergency Radio
This is a deluxe NOAA emergency radio that comes with a lot of different features. As you well know, early warning will prove to be your best protection in the case of a serious weather threat in your area. This radio is equipped to help you stay prepared and updated thanks to its ease of use. You’ll be able to program it to your local area quickly and easily thanks to the handy manufacturer’s instructions that come included.
Also, this radio broadcasts over 80 emergency alerts and includes an alert override to automatically switch over when it’s time to warn you of an impending threat in your own area. This means that no matter which station you’re tuned into when the alert comes, you won’t miss it. You no longer have to live in fear of tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes sneaking up on you.
With this radio, safety is made simple. In addition to AM/FM channels, it also functions as an alarm clock, which means that you can use it on a daily basis. The built-in clock comes with a convenient snooze button. Wake up each morning to local weather so you stay in the know about any important happening in your own area.
For anyone searching for the best emergency weather radio, this is definitely one that you should consider. It offers the best of both worlds in one convenient package.
- NOAA weather scan and over 80 alerts
- Offers easy and automatic SAME programming
- Uses alkaline batteries for emergency power backup
- In-built alarm clock with snooze button for everyday use
- Automatically switches from AM/FM to important hazard alerts
6. American Red Cross Radio
This emergency radio from the American Red Cross is designed to help you be prepared for any kind of weather emergency that might take place in your area. If you were to find yourself in the middle of such a disaster like earthquakes or floods, this is the radio you want to have by your side.
In addition to being durable and tough, this emergency radio will assist you to stay in the know so you can chart a course away from the danger. Simple preparedness is what makes the life or death difference for a lot of families, and if you want to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you, this little gadget with AM/FM features is a smart option.
It receives all 7 weather bands from NOAA and the Environment Canada Weather. If you’re in the market for the best portable weather radio, this could very well be what you’re searching for. It has multiple means of recharging the battery, including hand cranking which comes in handy when you need to power up your radio without power or solar means.
The radio also has a very bright LED light that you can use as a reading light or flashlight. In addition to that, it has a red, flashing light that can be used as an emergency signal if necessary.
- Automatically broadcasts alerts
- Includes a bright LED flashlight
- In-built emergency signaling light
- Multiple methods of powering the device
- Superior audio quality
7. Midland Emergency Radio
This is the second radio on our list from Midland, a well-established brand that produces high-quality weather radios. If you’re serious about emergency preparedness, then this is a radio that you should have in your survival kit.
It comes with a wealth of amazing features. For instance, it has a simple crank feature which means that you’ll be able to keep your radio powered up no matter what the situation is like in your area. It also has various other power options including solar, batteries, and USB. This versatile radio also has an LED lamp that is bright enough to illuminate dark or dimly lit areas.
It also comes with a high-frequency dog whistle as well as the ability to charge your mobile devices using the USB charging port. As you can see, this radio is anything but just a radio. Although a lot of its features may be deemed unnecessary in everyday use, such as the dog whistle, if ever you were to find yourself in a situation where your rescue depended on it, that feature would really matter then, wouldn’t it?
The bottom line is that if you want a radio that has a lot of different and useful features that will make all the difference if you’re ever in a weather emergency, then this is the best AM/FM weather radio that you can get.
- NOAA alerts anytime from anywhere
- Multiple sustainable means of charging the radio
- Can charge devices via USB port
- In-built flashlight and emergency signal light
- Comes with an ultrasonic dog whistle
8. Emergency Weather Reception Transistor
If you’re someone who is tired of technology that gets more and more complicated by the day, then this is a great radio for you to consider. It’s the ideal tool for those who love hiking and camping thanks to its compact and lightweight nature.
If there’s any chance that you might be stuck with no electricity wherever your outdoor adventures take you, then this is the radio you need to have on hand as it is designed for just such a situation. With this emergency transistor, you’ll be able to tune in and end the isolation using just a couple of ordinary AA batteries found in every household.
Additionally, you will be able to use this AM/FM radio as a way of ‘disconnecting’ so to speak, as it possesses significantly less advanced technology than any of the other options on our list. This is one way of taking it back to the basics, particularly if you have an aversion to ever-evolving, hard-to-figure-out technology.
So, contrary to belonging in the stone age, this device is becoming ever more popular in weather alert weather reviews as the perfect outdoor companion for those who want to be prepared without having to deal with a ton of features.
- Operates on just two AA batteries
- Easy-to-use gadget for nostalgic users
- Clear and crisp sound quality
- Long-lasting use
- Timeless gift idea
9. Solar and Crank Emergency Radio
From earthquakes and hurricanes to tornadoes and volcanos, power outages can happen at any time and you need to always be prepared. This radio is an all in one solution for a lot of your survival needs from a phone charger to a flashlight, and much, much more – all in one handy palm-sized device.
When it comes to outdoor survival, the manufacturer of this radio certainly knows their business. This AM/FM radio not only alerts you when danger is headed your way, but it also helps you to stay safe and steer clear of danger thanks to its many useful features, such as the crank functionality which allows you to power your radio up even when there is no electricity or sun to be found.
It comes with four different ways to charge, which means that no matter what the situation is out there, you’ll always be able to tune in and get updates about the weather conditions in your area. The good news is that this radio is a lot more than just a means to get emergency weather alerts, it’s also ideal for those who love the outdoors.
Simply crank up the speakers and enjoy some beautiful sound at the park, beach, or while traveling or camping. This is definitely the best home weather radio that you can get if you plan on using it on a frequent basis.
- 4 convenient ways to charge
- Includes a bright flashlight
- Automatic NOAA weather alerts
- Can charge cellphones during outages
- Comes with a bonus compass bracelet
10. C. Crane Weather Radio
This pocket AM/FM radio is one that makes a great addition to any survival kit. It’s extremely easy to use and comes with an impressive range of features and excellent performance, overall. The C.Crane radio has five different ways to use the memory buttons, and you can stand it upright for convenience.
It gives the clear and loud audio through the speaker, which means you won’t have any trouble hearing any announcements made over the radio even if there’s a loud thunderstorm going on outside. The sides of this unit are rubber-coated to not only provide you with a firm grip but also to protect the device from getting damaged in the event of a fall.
The speaker/stereo/mono switch lets you listen to your radio using the built-in speaker while, at the same time, using earphones as the antenna for FM and NOAA weather channels. With this radio, you get clear, precise and appealing audio which surprises a lot of users, given the compact size of the radio.
This radio certainly deserves a spot on our list and is the best weather radio that packs the most features into a small, portable unit.
- Simple, easy to use design
- Premium earbuds come included
- Includes backlight, sleep timer, alarm, and clock
- Gives 75 hours of play on just two AA batteries
- 5W built-in speaker for a louder sound
Buying Guide: Things To Know When Select Weather Radio
A weather radio is something that you don’t want to scrimp on. This is because your life might depend on being able to get clear reports on the weather if you find yourself in a situation where hurricanes, tornadoes, or tsunamis, etc. are bearing down on you. A high-quality radio might be the only way you will be able to navigate your way to safety and avoid dangerous weather hazards.
With that in mind, here are some of the features that you need to consider before making your choice of the best weather radio available on the market today.
Specific Area Messaging and Coding (SAME)
This is a technology that allows you to only get weather warnings that are issued for the specific location that you are in. It will ignore warnings that are aimed at other areas. This feature is important because it helps to reduce the number of false alarms you receive, and you also don’t need to worry about having to listen closely for area-specific details of any broadcast.
Multiple Ways of Charging The Radio
Depending on what type of emergency you’re caught up in, the power might go and you won’t have a means of charging your radio. With some emergencies, there’s a chance that after power disappears, you won’t get it back for days, even weeks.
How long will the battery in your radio last? In addition to that, how will you be able to charge it up without power? This is why it’s a great idea to not only get a model that has long-lasting batteries, but also one that has multiple ways of charging it up, such as hand-crank, solar power, and so on.
Audio Alert and Flashing Light
The best weather radios are those that give you an audible and or visual alert when a report is being broadcast. This could be in the form of a tone or flashing lights, and so on. A lot of units on the market right now come equipped with both of these capabilities.
Make sure that you pick a model that has a large clear LCD display that is backlit. This will allow you to be able to read whatever is going on quickly and easily.
Since this is an emergency radio, this is a vitally important function because an alert will be no good to you if you don’t hear it. This means that the radio you pick should be able to alert you even if it switched off when you’re in bed at night.
Ability to Play Different AM/FM Stations
This isn’t something that anyone really considers as important when choosing an emergency radio, but it’s nice to know that even if you won’t be using it to listen to your favorite stations now, in case of anything happening, it is possible to do so.
Being able to tune into different AM/FM stations is an additional feature that will also come in handy for helping you keep your radio in use and in view, otherwise, there’s a very good risk that it will end up disappearing into a drawer where it won’t be of use to anybody.
Ability to Use the Radio As a Flashlight
As with the factor listed above, this is yet another important function of a weather radio that will definitely come in handy in case of an emergency. On its own, a weather radio is a very powerful tool for alerting you to possibly dangerous situations, but if you can also use it as a flashlight in case power disappears, then that makes it even more useful.
Portability And Weatherproofing
Obviously, these are very important factors to consider in case you have to take your radio somewhere else in an emergency. Choose a device that is small, compact, and lightweight so that it won’t hinder you if you need to travel anywhere with it.
Just make sure that you keep a set of spare batteries nearby in case of just such a situation. Also, make sure that the radio you choose is waterproof, or at the very least it should be water resistant. This is particularly important if you intend to take your radio boating, camping, hiking, etc.
Although in and of itself, this is not a feature, all weather radios have to have an NOAA All Hazards or Public Alert logos. This lets you know that it has been quality approved so you can have the peace of mind of knowing that your radio will serve you well for a long time to come.
How to Program a Weather Radio
Depending on which brand or model that you purchase, you will have to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to program your weather radio. However, this is a relatively simple process that hardly anyone will have any trouble with.
For a standard weather radio, all you need to do is insert 3 AA batteries inside the radio and then turn it on. The time will appear as 1200 AM, and that’s how you know your radio is ready to program.
For it to function properly, you not only need to find the right radio frequency or weather channel, but you also need the correct specific alert message encoding program on the radio. This applies to any type of weather radio that is NOAA-approved and has ‘SAME’ code capability.
To program the time, simply push ‘menu’ and the time will be displayed. Push the select button and you will see 1200AM with the ‘12’ flashing. Use the up and down arrow keys on the radio to change the hour. This is a 12-hour clock so you need to move the hour to either p.m. or a.m.
Keep using the arrow keys until you’ve achieved the desired time. Once you have the correct hour, press the right arrow key to start moving the minute side. When you have the correct time, press the select button.
To program the SAME code:
Use the down arrow button to change the words on the screen until you see the ‘same set’. Press select. If programming a single code, find ‘single’ and press select. However, if you want multiple codes, you can use the up or down arrow keys and select ‘multiple’ instead.
You can now use the arrow buttons to input your codes and once you’re done, you can press the select key twice in order to exit the menu. For those entering multiple codes, repeat the process for your next code, and the next, until all your codes have been entered. Only hit menu twice when you’re done with all your codes.
Different Types of Weather Radios
There are many different types of weather radios available for you to choose from. However, they are not all made equal. Some function better than others and it’s important to know which one is the best for your needs.
In order to be able to choose correctly, you need to understand the difference between the two types of weather radios: desktop and emergency, as well as who they are most suited for. Let’s take a look at each one in a bit more detail:
These are designed to be portable and they primarily run on internal power. They are typically designed to be shockproof, dustproof, weatherproof, and so on. This means their construction is robust and built to last.
They come with a rechargeable battery which means that you don’t have to recharge them using AC power. Some of the best models available can be charged using solar power or hand-crank. This makes them ideal for adverse weather scenarios, outdoor adventures, or those times we power goes out for long periods of time.
A lot of emergency radios come with extra built-in functions such as flashlights and reading lights. Some even offer the capability to quickly boost your phone so you can make an emergency call. As you can see, these are features that would absolutely come in handy in case of an emergency.
Desktop Weather Radios
As the name suggests, desktop weather radios are designed to sit on your desk. They need to stay plugged in the AC outlets as their source of power. These types of radios are great for broadcasting weather alerts in your area, and most often double as bedside alarm clocks.
Desktop radios are also capable of running off batteries in case a backup source of power is necessary, but they are not designed to be very portable. Most of the models you’ll find nowadays have a display that highlights ‘warning, watch, advisory’, that is, the threat level offer particular alert.
They also highlight the type of emergency event which is active, whether it’s a hurricane, thunderstorm, tornado, flooding, and so on.
By now I’m hoping you have realized that you don’t need to be a ‘prepper’ or survivalists to own a weather radio. Every home needs to have some kind of emergency kit in the event that you experience severe weather conditions that could prove life-threatening. A weather radio is a vital tool to add to your arsenal so you stay prepared and informed.
Frequently Asked Questions About Weather Radio:
Q: Is It Better to Have a Desktop or Emergency Radio?
A: If you are an outdoor enthusiast, you might find that an emergency radio provides you with a lot more versatility and use. It’s a great option to consider since it can be used both indoors as well as outdoors during your camping or hiking trips.
It’s a good idea to have a desktop radio that you keep at home beside your bed to alert you when there are any threats coming your way. You should also have another emergency radio that stays packed away and ready to go as part of your survival supply kit. This will prove extremely handy if you’re ever in a situation where power goes out or if you have to leave in a hurry.
Q: Wha’s a Crank Radio?
A: A crank radio is simply a survival radio that produces power through the means of hand-held cranking, as with most hand-powered generators. To produce power, a magnet is wrapped in a conductive wire coil and when that coil is spun (cranked) around the magnet, it generates an electric current.
This electricity is then used for recharging the battery inside the weather radio. Essentially, this is the same way hydroelectric dams produce power, with some differences in both application and the magnitude or scale. This is also the same method of generating electricity that you’ll see in action in any modern windmill farm.
Q: Why Buy an Emergency Weather Radio?
A: A lot of people wonder why they can’t just use their smartphones, and why they must go through all the trouble of purchasing an emergency weather radio. The answer is simple. During natural disasters, most of society’s normal workings are disrupted.
This means that in addition to having a hard time finding clean water, heating oil, and so on, electrical power will often be lost, too. If you’re lucky it’ll only be gone for hours or maybe days. But sometimes, during some of the worst weather emergencies, some people go without electricity for weeks and even months.
And since your smartphone battery is definitely going to die before long, it’s a good idea to have an emergency weather radio to keep you informed at all times and guide you to safety. Not only that, but it will also provide lights to help navigate the darkness while providing enough power to help keep your mobile device running in case you need to make emergency calls.
Q: Where Is the Best Place to Buy an Emergency Radio?
A: Thankfully, weather radios are now widely available at extremely affordable prices. You’ll find them in any of the big box stores, electronics stores, home improvement centers, and hardware stores. Of course, a much better alternative is to order yours online from the many available retailers, particularly Amazon.
The reason for this is that you get to compare many different models and get the best price. Although, you don’t really have to do that as we have gone out and done all the work for you. Simply check out our review list of the 10 best weather radio models that are available for you to choose from.
Q: Do I Have Control over the Types of Alerts That I Receive?
A: Yes, you have a lot of control over the alerts that you get. You simply need to decide on the types of alerts that you need. Do you want only local alerts, or just NOAA alerts, or maybe some combination of the two?
You can also decide if you want to be able to pick the types of weather events that trigger alerts for you and silence those that you are not interested in. You have a lot of options when it comes to the types of alerts that you hear.
Q: Why Is SAME Technology so Beneficial?
A: As you noticed in our buying guide, it’s important to choose a weather radio with SAME (specific alert message encoding) functionality. The reason for this is that it gives you the ability to set up your radio so that you only receive alerts in your location, close to home.
Obviously, you wouldn’t want to have to listen to alerts that do not concern you about weather conditions taking place hundreds of miles away from you. Not only will this be extremely annoying for you, but it will also likely lead to you becoming ‘deaf’ to them. Subconsciously, you will stop listening which means you probably won’t be paying attention when a really important alert comes through.
Now that you know the importance of having a high-quality weather radio on hand to help you stay prepared for any eventuality, use our review and buying guide to help you choose the right one for your needs
In addition to having your radio ready to go, make sure that you keep other safety tips in mind, such as knowing where you can go to seek safe shelter as well as having a clear, solid disaster plan for you and your family. After all, what good is the best weather radio if you don’t know what to do after receiving emergency weather alerts?