Best Emergency Radios _PC Mallory Paige
Testing emergency radios in Colorado; (photo/Mallory Paige)

The Best Emergency Radios of 2022

When a difficult circumstance hits, your emergency radio should be up to the task. Whether you’re out of service range or out of power, these emergency radios will provide the necessary resources to keep you safe. 

These days, we use our smartphones, computers, and TVs to keep us aware of what’s going on around us. But if a storm knocks out the power grid, our everyday tech isn’t enough.

From the cellar to the storm shelter to the mountains, we carefully tested and researched an array of products, narrowing down the best emergency radios of 2022 for a wide range of needs.

One of the most critical features of a trustworthy emergency radio is the ability to keep it running no matter what. Whether dealing with a blizzard, tornado, or any unforeseen event, you may need to be able to keep it charged for days on end.

We rounded up a variety of radios that run on batteries, solar energy, and hand cranks to help you find the best emergency radio for every situation.

Scroll through to see all of our recommended buys, or jump to the category you’re looking for:

Be sure to check out our buyer’s guide at the end of this article for advice on how to choose the best emergency radio, our FAQs for additional concerns, and our comparison chart for a quick look at each model’s features and price.

The Best Emergency Radios of 2022

Best Overall: Midland ER210 Emergency Company Crank Weather AM/FM Radio

Midland ER210

The lightweight, ergonomic ER210’s ($50) 2,000mAh battery offers 25 hours of continuous use. And when that runs out, it can be recharged via a hand crank or direct sunlight with its solar panel. The wealth of features and usability puts this one at the top of our list. 

This radio receives the standard AM/FM signals as well as National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) channels. And it has a handy auto-scan that will find the best weather channel signal for your location. You can also set it to alert you to severe weather risks in your area. The large backlit LCD display can show the radio station, time, and weather channels.

We especially like the attention to small details, like the SOS emergency flashlight. The 130-lumen LED light has an SOS strobe to call for help in emergency situations. Also, the loop on the end makes it easy to fix onto a backpack and lets the solar panel soak up the sun during a hike.

Even if the ER210 doesn’t contain a dog whistle for that extra level of shrill emergency sound, it has enough features to keep you engaged and learning. With several power options and additional features that can help in an emergency, we think the ER210 is the best emergency radio available today.

  • Weight: 15 oz.
  • Power source: Rechargeable battery pack, solar, hand crank
  • Radio receiver: Digital
  • Size: 7.5 in. x 5.25in. x 2 in.
  • SOS beacon
  • Weather alerts
  • No dog whistle like its bigger brother, the ER310

Check Price at REICheck Price at Bass Pro

Runner-Up: C. Crane CC Solar Observer

C Crane CC Solar Observer

At under half a pound, the CC Solar Observer survival radio ($50) is a top pick for hiking and travel, making it one of the best emergency radios we tested. 

Being one of the lightest on our list doesn’t mean it’s a lightweight when it comes to power, though. Eight hours in the sun powers the battery for 4-6 hours. And 90 seconds of cranking will get you up to 30 minutes of listening time.

However, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever need to use those options, as this radio will run for a whopping 60 hours on three AA batteries. This means a 12-pack of batteries will keep it going for 10 days straight in an emergency situation. The radio tunes into AM/FM radio and weather bands via a backlit analog tuner. A USB adapter will charge external devices. And the LED flashlight lights the way.

With no automatic alert function built into the lightweight travel companion, you may need to keep this tuned — thankfully it has the power to do so — when concerned about incoming weather or hazards. At just over 6 ounces, there’s no excuse not to take the CC Solar Observer with you when adventuring.

  • Weight: 6.5 oz.
  • Power source: AA batteries, rechargeable battery pack, solar, hand crank
  • Radio receiver: Analog
  • Size: 7.25 in. x 5.5 in. x 2 in.
  • Lightweight
  • Reliable
  • Clear reception
  • No automatic alert function

Check Price at REICheck Price at Amazon

Best Budget: RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio

RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA

It would be hard to find an emergency radio that provides more bang for your buck. This Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio provides a wide range of emergency features for $30 MSRP.

The radio tunes in to all of the NOAA weather stations and AM/FM radio. Plus, it can be set to alert you to severe weather, hurricanes, and tornadoes in your area.

When the weather does hit, an SOS alarm with a flashing red light lets others know that you need help. The LED flashlight brightens up dark areas, and the USB port lets you charge smartphones and other small devices.

We love the table lamp feature, which functions as an LED reading light and lights up dark rooms efficiently when the power goes out. This can provide a lot of comfort during an emergency.

If the 2,000mAh battery of this radio runs out, it can be replaced with three AAA batteries, powered up via a solar panel (albeit slowly), or manually charged with the crank arm. You may want those batteries handy because that solar panel isn’t as powerful as we’d appreciate. 

The low price on this option provides a great entry into the emergency radio world with a mixed focus on both weather and creature comforts. 

  • Weight: 11 oz.
  • Power source: AAA batteries, rechargeable battery pack, solar, hand crank
  • Radio receiver: Analog
  • Size: 6.2 in. x 2.1 in.  x 2.9 in.
  • SOS signaling
  • Weather alerts
  • Table lamp
  • Slow solar panel charging

Check Price at Amazon

Most Durable: Kaito Ka500 Voyager Emergency Radio

Kaito Ka500 Voyager Emergency Radio

Weighing in at 1.4 pounds, Kaito’s Voyager radio ($50) is a behemoth when it comes to features, but it can stand up to almost any beating you give it. The radio sports a range of band reception that includes AM, FM, shortwave, and NOAA weather stations, with all seven NOAA channels pre-programmed for easy switching.

The 14.5-inch telescoping antenna increases reception. And the LED signal strength indicator lets you dial in your tuning. It also offers an “Alert” mode, which automatically turns the radio on when it receives emergency weather alerts from NOAA weather stations.

The AC/DC and USB chargers are useful for day-to-day use, but the Voyager really shines when the power goes out. The Voyager runs on three AA batteries or the 600mAh rechargeable battery pack. If you run out of batteries, the Kaito Voyager can run on solar power. And in overcast conditions, you can use the hand crank to charge up the battery pack.

Don’t expect a powerful battery for charging other devices, though. You may want to rely on a small portable for that task. 

This radio literally shines as well, with its included reading lamp, flashlight, and red blinking emergency light. It also sports a USB port, so you can charge up your smartphone and small devices as well. If durability is your top concern, this might be the best emergency radio for you.

  • Weight: 1.4 lbs.
  • Power source: AA batteries, rechargeable battery pack, solar, hand crank
  • Radio receiver: Analog
  • Size: 8.82 in. x 5.79 in. x 2.83 in.
  • Multiple power sources
  • Water- and impact-resistant
  • Small battery — testers reported that smartphones charged to about 75%

Check Price at AmazonCheck Price at Walmart

Most Versatile: Midland ER310

Midland ER310

Midland’s ER310 emergency radio ($60) sports a variety of charging options — rechargeable and disposable batteries, solar power, and hand cranks — when wall charging isn’t an option. This variety gives the battery plenty of versatility, even if the whopping 2,600mAh battery will last for up to 32 hours before you need to use secondary charging options.

When it goes down, the efficient hand crank sports a 10:1 listening-to-cranking ratio. This means you’ll get an hour of listening after 10 minutes of crank time.

It lets you listen to AM/FM radio and all seven NOAA weather channels, with an automatic scan feature that finds the strongest weather channel to get emergency information for your location. It also has a handy alert feature that sounds an alarm to indicate severe weather risks in your area.

The onboard LED flashlight helps you find your way when the lights go out, and the USB output will charge small electronic devices, including smartphones.

Our favorite features on the ER310 are designed to help rescuers track you down. The SOS strobe beacon and the ultrasonic dog whistle make it easier for search-and-rescue teams to hone in on your location.

With all this focus on emergency — it is an emergency radio, after all — don’t expect to find creature comforts such as a reading light. And the lack of waterproofing should be noted. 

Features like this should be standard with emergency tech, and if you ever get stuck somewhere, you’ll be glad you have it.

  • Weight: 1 lb.
  • Power source: AA batteries, rechargeable battery pack, solar, hand crank
  • Radio receiver: Digital
  • Size: 8 in. x 2.4 in. x 3.4 in.
  • Multiple features to help SAR find users
  • No reading lamp
  • Not waterproof

Check Price at Amazon

Best Compact: FosPower Emergency Solar Hand Crank Portable Radio

FosPower Emergency Solar Hand Crank Portable Radio

Considering that it’s about the size of a smartphone, the amount of features that FosPower has packed into this radio ($30) is impressive. The 2,000mAh battery provides a full charge to smartphones, and a four-LED reading light and zoomable flashlight keep the dark at bay.

When the battery dies, the radio charges via a hand crank, solar power, or AAA batteries. It tunes in to the standard AM/FM radio and NOAA stations, and it provides emergency alerts when severe weather is approaching. The ergonomic shape makes it easy to grip when turning the crank or using it as a flashlight.

Even with the emergency alerts, don’t expect any emergency beacon capabilities. 

We loved the FosPower for its water resistance as well. Its IPX3 rating makes it resistant to rain, making it ideal for storms and flooding emergencies (as long as you don’t submerge it).

  • Weight: 11 oz.
  • Power source: AAA batteries, rechargeable battery pack, solar, hand crank
  • Radio receiver: Analog
  • Size: 6.2 in. x 2.9 in. x 2.1 in. 
  • Water-resistant
  • Multiple lighting options
  • No emergency beacons

Check Price at Amazon

Best of the Rest

C. Crane Skywave Pocket Radio

C Crane Skywave Pocket Radio

With 70 hours of runtime on batteries, 400 memory presets, and ultralight weight, there are plenty of reasons to love the Skywave Pocket Radio ($90). But its ability to tune in to the aviation band makes this radio really stand out.

The aviation band lets you listen to nearby aviation personnel: commercial and general aviation pilots, ground crew, and air traffic controllers as they perform their high-pressure duties. In addition to the aviation band setting, the Skywave tunes in to AM/FM stations, shortwave radio stations, and weather alerts.

A lighted digital LCD display and presets let you dial in your preferred stations quickly and accurately, and the auto-scan feature finds the clearest stations for you.

Besides access to the weather bands, the Skywave doesn’t offer many emergency features (no flashlight or beacon lights), but it does offer weather alerts and excellent NOAA weather radio reception. With no alternative power sources, you’ll need to have access to batteries. 

With its compact size, insane battery life, and aviation band accessibility, it’s a great all-around emergency radio.

  • Weight: 5.5 oz.
  • Power source: Battery
  • Radio receiver: Digital
  • Size: 4.75 in. x 1.1 in. x 3 in.
  • Aviation band
  • Long battery life
  • Low weight
  • Lack of emergency features
  • No alternative power sources

Check Price at AmazonCheck Price at Amazon

Eton American Red Cross FRX3+ Emergency NOAA Weather Radio

American Red Cross Emergency NOAA Weather Radio

Designed in collaboration with the American Red Cross, Eton’s FRX3+ survival radio ($41) comes in handy in and out of emergencies, as the 2,600mAh battery is also useful on camping trips.

It’s bolstered by hand-turbine and solar charging for multi-day use and provides 1.5 charges to a smartphone. Also, the loudspeaker provides clear sound whether you’re listening to music or weather alerts.

The radio receives AM/FM stations with digital tuning as well as all seven NOAA weather bands. And the alert function will let you know if severe weather is heading your way. Also, an LED flashlight is useful if your headlamp goes out, and the red flashing LED beacon makes you visible to search-and-rescue teams.

The Eton FRX3+ is larger than most of the radios we’ve seen, which does mean the solar panel charges slower than other models, but the rugged build and carrying handle make it one of our favorites. And the glow-in-the-dark indicator is a head-slappingly simple feature, but it’s a lifesaver when you’re groping around in the dark looking for your radio.

  • Weight: 15 oz.
  • Power source: AAA batteries, rechargeable battery pack, solar, hand crank
  • Radio receiver: Digital
  • Size: 6.9 in. x 5.8 in. x 2.6 in.
  • Clear speaker, good sound
  • Glow-in-the-dark locator
  • Solar panel charges slower than other models
  • Larger form-factor

Check Price at AmazonCheck Price at Bass Pro

Sangean MMR-88 AM/FM Weather+Alert Emergency Radio

Sangean MMR-88

One look at the MMR-88 ($49), and you can see that it’s built to take a beating. The black rubber bumpers on the sides protect from drops and bumps, and the IPX3 rating makes it water-resistant, which is handy during the occasional downpour. This Public Alert-certified radio sports a digital AM/FM tuner, receives all seven NOAA stations, and has 19 preset stations.

While not as powerful as some of the other radios on the list, the 850mAh lithium-ion battery can be recharged via solar or hand-crank power (one minute of cranking gives you 5 minutes of listening time). And the auto-off feature turns the radio off after 90 minutes of play to help stretch its battery life.

Besides the radio’s durability, we also like the emergency features. The triple LED light has four available patterns — low, high, blinking, and SOS — while the loudspeaker and emergency buzzer reveal your location to search parties.

The only drawback we’ve found other than the small battery life is that it doesn’t take standard disposable batteries. But you can swap out the rechargeable battery for other lithium-ion batteries, so you can still double or triple the radio’s life before you need to start cranking away.

Enjoy the durability of the MMR-88 while experiencing some of the key features that help make this part radio, part emergency beacon. 

  • Weight: 11 oz.
  • Power source: Rechargeable battery pack, solar, hand crank
  • Radio receiver: Digital
  • Size: 5.98 in. x 2.71 in. x 3.3 in.
  • SOS signaling
  • Emergency buzzer
  • Small battery
  • Doesn’t use disposable batteries

Check Price at AmazonCheck Price at Walmart

Emergency Radio Comparison Chart

Emergency Radio Price Weight Power Source Radio Receiver Size
Midland ER210 Emergency Company Crank Weather AM/FM Radio $50 15 oz. Rechargeable battery pack, solar, hand crank Digital 7.5 in. x 5.25in. x 2 in.
C. Crane CC Solar Observer $50 1.5 lbs. AA batteries, rechargeable battery pack, solar, hand crank Analog 7.25 in. x 5.5 in. x 2 in.
RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio $30 11 oz. AAA batteries, rechargeable battery pack, solar, hand crank Analog 6.2 in. x 2.1in.  x 2.9 in.
Kaito Ka500 Voyager Emergency Radio $50 1.4 lbs. AA batteries, rechargeable battery pack, solar, hand crank Analog 8.82 in. x 5.79 in. x 2.83 in.
Midland ER310 $60 1 lb. AA batteries, rechargeable battery pack, solar, hand crank Digital 8 in. x 2.4 in. x 3.4 in.
FosPower Emergency Solar Hand Crank Portable Radio $30 11 oz. AAA batteries, rechargeable battery pack, solar, hand crank Analog 6.2 in. x 2.9 in. x 2.1 in.
C. Crane Skywave Pocket Radio $90 5.5 oz. Battery Digital 4.75 in. x 1.1 in. x 3 in.
Eton American Red Cross FRX3+ Emergency NOAA Weather Radio $41 15 oz. AAA batteries, rechargeable battery pack, solar, hand crank Digital 6.9 in. x 5.8 in. x 2.6 in.
Sangean MMR-88 AM/FM Weather+Alert Emergency Radio $49 11 oz. Rechargeable battery pack, solar, hand crank Digital 5.98 in. x 2.71 in. x 3.3 in.

Why You Should Trust Us

At GearJunkie, we take every aspect of the gear seriously, from the specs on an emergency radio to just how well it works in real-life situations. Testing roughly a dozen emergency radios required getting outside the range of urban or suburban life to see how well that solar charge really worked (or just how tough it was to use that crank charger). 

Dealing with outdoor gear on a constant basis, we know that an emergency radio needs to have essential features, but it also needs to work when called upon. We went to the internet for a deep dive into the research and narrowed down the best for head-to-head testing.

This real-life, hands-on testing involved various testers in differing situations that forced the radios to perform (that glow-in-the-dark function may not be the most necessary item, but it sure was handy in the middle of the night). 

Capturing the mix of data from real-world testing allowed us to crown winners and the best of the rest, all designed to help you pick out the best emergency for your needs. 

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Emergency Radio

Reception & Ability to Receive NOAA alerts

The most basic function of an emergency radio is to keep you informed. It’s vital that your radio can pick up AM/FM radio stations and NOAA weather stations. Most emergency radios do this, but make sure to find one that provides solid reception. Look for a radio with a telescoping antenna to better pick up radio waves.

C. Crane Emergency Radio
The large weather tuning dial of the C. Crane CC Solar Observer makes tuning into NOAA broadcasts a breeze; (photo/Nick Belcaster)

Charging Methods

In an emergency, there’s no guarantee the power will stay on (it’ll likely go out). So, make sure your radio has multiple charging options. The easiest and fastest way to get a full recharge is to replace the battery.

We like radios that have the option to use disposable batteries. You can easily stock up and get several days of power without much financial investment.

Solar charging is useful, but it can be slow and only works if the sun is out. During severe weather, this can be a problem. That’s why another charging method — like a hand crank — is essential.

All hand cranks aren’t created equal, so take note of how much power you can get per crank. When turning, the crank of the C. Crane CC Solar Observer was noticeably firmer than the cranks of other radios, indicating a larger generator inside. Look for a radio that will give you a good ratio of cranking to listening time, like 10 minutes of listening per 1 minute of cranking.

Hand Cranking emergency radio
The hand crank of the C. Crane CC Solar Observer radio provides a high-quality charge. 90 seconds of cranking provides 30 minutes of listening time; (photo/Nick Belcaster)

Battery Life

With all of that said, the longer the battery lasts, the less likely it is that you’ll have to crank away to keep it going. Batteries on the bigger end for emergency radios tend to be around 2,000-2,600 mAh, which should give you a full day of use before you need to recharge.

Smaller and lighter radios will have 850-1,000 mAh, which will provide enough for shorter emergencies or camping trips when used sparingly.

ER210 Emergency Radio
A radio with a rechargeable battery, like the 18650 cell used in the Midland ER210, can be replenished on the go through solar or hand cranking; (photo/Nick Belcaster)

Extra Features

Features on emergency radios range widely from emergency buzzers and SOS signaling to table lamps, LED flashlights, and USB charging. Most radios have a USB output to charge your small electronic devices. A larger battery (for example, 2,000 mAh) will give you half to a full charge. If your phone is a priority, opt for a larger battery.

Emergency features are paramount with these radios, so keep an eye out for a radio that you can set to alert you when NOAA issues severe weather alerts. If you find yourself in an emergency, a good flashlight comes standard with most radios.

Also, look for features that will help people find you if you’re trapped in your house by a flood or lost in the woods. A blinking red LED light or flashlights with blinking or SOS signal functions are a great option, as is an audible alarm, buzzer, or ultrasonic dog whistle, which can help search teams zero in on your location.

C. Crane Emergency Radio Light
Not a blinder by any means, but enough light to get you around when the power cuts out; (photo/Nick Belcaster)

Durability & Waterproofness

Emergency situations are usually messy, so you’ll likely end up dropping your radio or getting it wet in inclement weather. Look for a radio that’s built with sturdy materials, or has impact-resistant rubber skin or bumpers, such as our chosen Most Durable radio, the Kaito Ka500 Voyager Emergency Radio

Also, get to know the IPX rating system, which rates how waterproof a device is. It ranges from breaking down after any water exposure (IPX0) to being able to withstand powerful water jets (IPX9K).

The majority of radios that we’ve found were in the range of IPX3 (able to withstand light rain) and IPX4 (able to withstand splashes from any direction).

Weather Band Radio vs. Weather Alert Radio

To get the most active, up-to-date weather information, you need to use a weather alert radio. A weather alert radio will automatically receive an emergency message and give you an alert, whether you have the radio on or not. For a weather band radio, you must have the radio on and tuned to the local weather station to receive any alerts. 

Midland ER210 in glovebox
The National Weather Service broadcasts on six different channels daily and provides up-to-date weather details for your area; (photo/Nick Belcaster)

How Do NOAA Weather Alerts Work? 

The NOAA Weather Radio is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from National Weather Service offices across the country. These broadcasts can include basic forecasts and current weather observations, but also warnings, watches, and hazard information. The broadcasts operate 24 hours per day. 

When an alert is needed, NOAA can send a tone at a level of 1050 Hz that sets off an alarm on weather radio receivers designed with a tone alert feature. This enables the listener to find out about the impending hazard immediately. 

What Is the EAS System? 

The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a national public warning system that requires radio and TV broadcasters, cable TV, wireless cable systems, and satellite and wireline operators to provide the public information in the case of an emergency. 

EAS messages will interrupt regular programming. FEMA, in partnership with the Federal Communications Commission and NOAA, is responsible for implementing, maintaining, and operating the EAS at the federal level.  

Emergency Preparedness Tips

In addition to having the right supplies, it’s important that they’re stored in an easily accessible location. Make sure you know how to use your radio before it’s ever needed. Also, keep an extra set of batteries on hand.

It’s a good idea to have a tote box or duffel bag ready with all needed emergency supplies. This includes a first aid kit, flashlight, bottled water, a water filter, and shelf-stable food.


What Is a Crank Radio?

A crank radio uses an internal generator to create power. The external crank arm charges an internal battery by moving metal coils around a magnet, creating a current. This is especially useful for emergency radios because other charging options depend on sources outside of yourself.

Most radios have replaceable batteries and solar chargers. But a wall outlet is useless when the power goes out. Solar chargers only work when the sun is shining and there’s no cloud cover. And eventually, you’ll run out of batteries. Having a hand crank means that the life of a radio is indefinite as long as you have functional hands.

What Kind of Radio Is Used for Emergencies?

The federal government recommends including a battery-powered or hand-crank radio with NOAA weather access and alerts in your emergency kit.

Radios designed for emergencies are specifically tuned to find not only AM and FM radio, but they’re also able to access NOAA weather channels. They’re made to be powered independently of wall outlets in case the power grid goes out.

At the very least, go with a radio that will alert you to NOAA weather alerts and doesn’t require a plug to function. Perks, such as integrated flashlights or USB charging ports for your phone, are useful but not necessarily essential for emergency radios.

When Would I Need an Emergency Radio?

An emergency radio is most often used in emergency weather situations, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and severe storms. But they’re useful in any emergency situation, from fires to chemical spills.

If you live in or are visiting an area during a time in which storms are frequent, an emergency radio that can tune in to NOAA weather stations can provide a warning and help you prepare for a storm before it arrives. If you’re bunkered down during a storm, access to NOAA alerts can let you know when it’s safe to go outside or whether you need to evacuate your home.

Because they don’t need an external power source like an outlet, emergency radios still work when a storm knocks out a power grid. This also makes it useful for long-range outdoor activities like backpacking or bike touring.

Additional features like blinking light beacons or emergency buzzers are also useful in any situation in which you may need to indicate your location to search parties.

Best Emergency Radios

What Is the Best NOAA Radio?

The best NOAA radios are designed specifically to receive alerts from NOAA as soon as they’re sent out, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They’re able to run without the use of an outlet in case a storm knocks out the power grid and often make use of integrated hand cranks and solar chargers to power the battery.

Aside from access to NOAA alerts, the biggest key to a great NOAA radio is its battery life. A smartphone is useful, but its battery won’t last longer than a day. Hand-crank radios will keep you apprised of your situation indefinitely.

Just use the crank to power your radio and keep yourself informed. This way, you can save your phone’s battery (and in many cases, replenish it) for more important uses like calling for help.

Best Camping Lantern _ PC: Mallory Paige
The Best Camping Lanterns of 2022
Whether heading into the backcountry or lighting up the night car camping, we've found the best camping lanterns for every use and budget. Read more…

fenix PD35 flashlight turned on, resting on wood
The Best Flashlights of 2022
We tested the best flashlights for 2022 with options for every budget. Top picks include Fenix, Olight, and more! Read more…

Eddie Bauer BC Sandstone Stretch rain jacket
The Best Rain Jackets of 2022
Whether you're splashing about town or trekking through a monsoon, these are the best rain jackets of 2022. Read more…