The Best Weather Radios to Have in Case of Emergencies

The Midland ER310 is user-friendly and offers the best all-around features.

In This Article

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Best Weather Radios

Amazon

A weather radio is one of the key items every household should have in its emergency kit. Particularly in the event of a long power outage, our smartphones will only go so far during a blackout when cell towers are down because of extreme weather situations. Weather radios provide peace of mind, serving as a backup when we can’t get important information via cell service or the internet. NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radios will inform you right away of dangerous storms or civil emergencies, no matter where you are.

Weather radios are also important for those spending time outdoors, as they allow you to stay informed when venturing off the grid. Whether you’re camping and need a backup light, live in a hurricane-, fire-, or tornado-prone region, or end up in a situation with a broken-down car, being prepared with a weather radio can help to make all the difference in your safety. Our top recommendation, the Midland ER310, is a durable radio packed with features and a plethora of charging options that make it a solid choice for a variety of users. With so many different features available, it can be tricky to narrow down your search for a weather radio based on your needs, so we researched and rounded up this collection of solid options.

These are the best weather radios to shop in 2022:

Best Overall: Midland Emergency Crank Weather AM/FM Radio

4.8
Radio

Midland

Why We Love It: It’s reliable with a solid rechargeable battery.

What to Consider: The flashlight can’t be used as a lantern due to the design.

The Midland ER310 will have your back in an emergency situation. We love this weather radio for its sheer versatility and abundant features, including AM/FM radio. With multiple powering and charging options, the ER310 is built to get the job done. Whether you need to be prepared for hurricane or tornado season, live in a fire or flood risk area, or need a rescue beacon, this radio offers some security in the event of emergency situations. 

Easy setup and a long-lasting battery with phone-charging abilities make the Midland ER310 a top choice for an emergency weather radio. With a life of up to 32 hours, the ER310’s lithium rechargeable battery can be charged three ways — via USB, hand crank, or solar power — making it easy as pie to be radio-ready for a power outage. As a backup, it can also operate on AA batteries. The flashlight feature provides a bright beam of light to help illuminate your space or lead the way if you’re on the move, and it can act as a beacon with a Morse code option as well. We also love Midland’s added ultrasonic “dog-whistle” feature, which can help emergency crews locate you if needed.

Power source: Lithium rechargeable, solar, hand crank | Weight: 1 pound | Dimensions: 3.4 x 8 x 2.4 inches | Alert programming capabilities: NOAA, AM/FM

Best Hand Crank: Kaito KA500 Emergency Radio

Why We Love It: This radio can be powered five ways.

What to Consider: It’s not the most user-friendly radio and requires a bit of a learning curve.

We love the multiple power sources for the Kaito five-way weather alert radio, with hand-crank being one of the options. When you’re stuck without power for an extended length of time, hand-crank capabilities are crucial to power your information source. Additionally, the 180-degree solar panel makes it easier to absorb those rays for charging, and backup AA batteries can be employed too. Three LED light settings make this radio versatile as well, whether you need it as a flashlight, reading light/lantern, or flashing red alert light. AM/FM and NOAA are available straight out of the box, but if you’d like to receive shortwave channels, an additional antenna may need to be purchased. If the radio is set to “alert” mode, you’ll get notified automatically in case of a storm or emergent situation, even if your radio is turned off.

Power source: Lithium rechargeable, solar, hand crank | Weight: 1.5 pounds | Dimensions: 8 x 5 x 2.6 inches | Alert programming capabilities: NOAA, AM/FM, and 2 shortwave

Best With a USB Port: Jall Emergency Solar Hand Crank Weather Radio

Jall Emergency Solar Hand Crank Weather Radio

Amazon

Why We Love It: The powerful three-mode flashlight comes in handy.

What to Consider: The battery life isn’t as long as other models

We like the micro-USB charging option included with the Jall Emergency Weather Radio, which makes it easy to charge devices and plug the radio into a variety of power sources. No need to keep a supply of batteries on hand since there are multiple ways to charge up this radio, such as through the built-in solar panel and using the hand crank. The radio’s compact design is ideal for taking it along on trips as part of your emergency kit. The SOS button can alert potential rescue crews with a loud siren, and thanks to a top-mounted LED reading lamp as well as a bright three-mode main flashlight, being stuck in the dark isn’t a big worry when you’re prepared with the Jall Emergency Weather Radio. Additionally, the radio’s IPX3 rating means that a little rain or water won’t damage the device, though it shouldn’t be submerged.

Power source: Lithium rechargeable, solar, hand crank | Weight: 1.1 pounds | Dimensions: 7.68 x 3.74 x 2.83 inches | Alert programming capabilities: NOAA, AM/FM

Best With a Flashlight: DaringSnail Emergency Hand Crank Radio with LED Flashlight

radio

RunningSnail

Why We Love It: It’s lightweight and portable.

What to Consider: Using the radio and flashlight feature at the same time drains the battery quickly.

The DaringSnail Emergency Hand Crank Radio is a solid choice for a weather radio, not just for its updated stations but also for the effective LED flashlight with long-lasting power. The rechargeable battery can be powered in three different ways: solar, USB, and hand crank, which can keep the flashlight going for 18 minutes for every minute of cranking. This will maximize your visibility in dark situations, particularly when using the strongest light mode, which can cast a beam up to 32 feet. The built-in power bank can charge your phone or other smart devices with the included USB cord, keeping you connected when you need it the most. 

Power source: Lithium rechargeable, solar, hand crank | Weight: 0.49 pounds | Dimensions: 5 x 1.8 x 2.4 inches | Alert programming capabilities: NOAA, AM/FM

C Crane CC Solar Observer AM/FM/Weather Radio

C Crane CC Solar Observer AM/FM/Weather Radio

Amazon

Why We Love It: You get access to more stations with the internal AM antenna and telescoping FM antenna.

What to Consider: The USB phone charger isn’t a built-in piece, making it easy to misplace unless it’s taped to the radio.

Although many newer weather radios offer AM/FM in addition to NOAA, we love the C Crane Solar Observer’s high-quality AM/FM reception due to the updated internal core radio chip. As a bonus, it also reaches up to seven weather band channels. Stations are audio designed to come in clear, making this a top choice for those interested in using it as a regular radio as well as for natural disasters, SOS, or hazard alerts. This radio can run on an AC adapter or AA batteries as great backup options; however, neither is included and they require additional purchase. The unique battery system actually gains longevity the more it’s charged and used. The small, lightweight design makes this ideal for toting around in the car or on a backpacking trip for music, a light source, and security in the event of an emergency.

Power source: Lithium rechargeable, solar, hand crank | Weight: 0.4 pounds | Dimensions: 7.25 x 5.5 x 2 inches | Alert programming capabilities: NOAA, AM/FM, WB

Best Waterproof: Libovgogo Emergency Radio Outdoor Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

Libovgogo Emergency Radio Outdoor Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

Amazon

Why We Love It: The auto-scan feature finds the best AM/FM channel signal for your particular location.

What to Consider: The waterproof rating means it can resist a sustained, low-pressure water jet spray but cannot be submerged.

We love the rough-and-tumble design of the Libovgogo Emergency Radio with its IPX5 waterproof rating, shockproof construction, and dirt/dust resistance. Built to withstand the elements, this weather radio is an ideal companion for outdoor exploits. Perhaps the most exciting bonus feature to this model is the Bluetooth capabilities, so you can stream music from your phone without having to bring along another speaker. Battery life lasts up to 10 hours from a full charge, and a USB-C connector will keep your phone powered up as well. Safety features include an SOS strobe beacon and ultrasonic dog whistle to aid in finding your location faster, as well as a 3W flashlight with a beam distance of more than 65 feet. If there’s an emergency weather alert, the OS alarm will go off automatically, keeping you in the loop when it matters most.

Power source: Lithium rechargeable battery, USB, solar, hand crank | Weight: 0.57 pounds | Dimensions: 5.31 x 2.52 x 1.69 inches | Alert programming capabilities: AM/FM, WB, NOAA, Bluetooth

Tips For Buying a Weather Radio

Look for a radio with multiple power sources

In an emergency situation, the last thing you want to be dealing with is a dead battery. The weather radio is a tool to alert you and keep you informed, as well as provide light and an SOS beacon if needed. It’s crucial to purchase a radio that doesn’t rely on just one power source; the more, the better. Most models will offer a rechargeable battery that can be charged by solar power, hand cranking, and even by USB. It’s also a good idea to choose a weather radio that can also take regular batteries and have some on you just in case or to purchase an extra rechargeable battery as a backup.

Understand your automatic alert needs 

Depending on your main use and location, you might need a weather radio that provides automatic alerts even when the radio is turned off. These weather alert models are key for people who reside in places that are vulnerable to natural disasters or weather events such as floods, wildfires, tornados, hurricanes, tsunamis, etc. It’s important that the alert function is audible enough to wake you up. When searching for the right model for you, keep an eye out for product details that include SAME (Specific Area Message Encoding). This feature can be tailored to the particular county where you live so that the alerts are zeroed in on your specific needs. If you’d like the option to tune into weather stations near where you’ll be without a forced alert, you may want to opt for purchasing a weather band radio, which usually has up to seven channels you can dial into.

Consider products with additional emergency features 

Many weather radios come with helpful added features such as flashlights, reading lanterns, Bluetooth, and SOS signal capabilities. Depending on how you plan to use yours, it might be wise to purchase a radio that includes some of these. For instance, if you plan to bring it camping or use it during a power outage, it’d be ideal to have a weather radio with a bright LED flashlight built-in or a top lantern feature as an additional mode to use for reading or cooking. For those traveling in potentially dangerous weather or venturing into the backcountry, consider a radio with an SOS beacon that flashes or emits an ultrasonic dog whistle to help track your location in case you need to be rescued. Some even have a built-in motion sensor, so you don’t have to fumble to turn it on in the dark.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is the NOAA?

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a federal agency that understands, predicts, and interprets changes in the climate, weather, and ocean and shares the information. In relation to weather radios, NOAA has a nationwide network of radio stations that broadcast rolling weather information in conjunction with the closest National Weather Service office. This is called the NWR or Weather Radio All Hazards and operates to get information to people 24/7. Warnings that include natural disasters, environmental hazards, and public safety alerts are all part of the mission of the NOAA. Weather radios can be tuned into one of their seven frequencies that broadcast public service information.

  • How do I program my weather radio?

    When setting up your weather radio, one of the first things you’ll want to do is program your SAME code to receive the right alerts for your county. With most models, you can select if you’d like weather alerts for one county or multiple counties (this would be for those who live on or close to a county border, have family in another county, or work/travel within another county.) The National Weather Service site is a helpful tool in determining the correct code for your county in order to program your weather radio effectively. It’s listed by state and then by county, where you’ll see the SAME code, call sign, radio frequency, and status (“normal” or “out of service”).

  • Can I listen to the weather radio on my iPhone?

    Yes! This requires that you download the NOAA weather radio app and have an iPhone with an operating system of iOS 7.0 or newer.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

An outdoor and travel enthusiast, Lauren Breedlove scoured the internet, researching and selecting the best weather radios for various emergency situations to curate this list.

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