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The 5 Best Weather Radios to Have on Hand in Case of Emergencies

Thousands of shoppers have given them their seal of approval.
By Rebecca Carhart
April 01, 2021
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

If you live in an area that's prone to natural disasters like hurricanes, wildfires, tornados, and earthquakes, you likely already have an emergency survival kit at the ready. Items like bottled water, extra food, flashlights, and first aid supplies should all be included along with other essentials, like a high-quality emergency weather radio. 

These handy gadgets can quite literally save your life. Unlike electric radios, the handheld devices are powered by batteries, solar power, or hand cranking, so you can continue to get weather updates even if your power goes out due to weather. The radios provide up-to-date information from a network of radio stations run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that get their information directly from the National Weather Service. According to the NWS, "the broadcasts include warnings, watches, forecasts, current weather observations, and other hazard information, 24 hours a day," so you can get a heads up on what is coming your way if you need to seek emergency shelter. 

These are the best weather radios to shop: 

Even if you don't live in a location where bad weather strikes often, it's not a bad idea to invest in one of these gadgets — you can never be too prepared. Some options come equipped with extra safety features like flashlights and SOS alarms, while others even have built-in USB ports, so you can keep your devices charged and let your loved ones know you are safe.  

To help you stay prepared, we scoured through thousands of customer reviews, and rounded up five top-rated weather radios that shoppers say are worthy of a spot in your emergency kit. Whether you are looking for a basic weather radio, a high-tech version that can be charged multiple ways, or even a super-compact one that will fit in your pocket, there's something for just about anyone on this list. Keep reading to learn about them all and buy one for yourself.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Overall: Midland NOAA Emergency Weather Radio

More than 6,500 Amazon shoppers have given this classic weather radio by Midland their seal of approval. The lightweight device gives updates from seven NOAA channels, and it provides SAME (Specific Area Message Encoding) alerts when specific counties are in danger. In addition to a 90-decibel siren and voice notifications, the radio also has a flashing LED warning system to alert you. It runs on three AA batteries and even has an alarm clock feature, so you won’t oversleep if the power goes out. “If you live in the Tornado Alley or anywhere I suggest you don’t hesitate to purchase one of these,” wrote one shopper. “We just experienced an F4 tornado in our area (no fatalities) and my radio kept us alert. I can’t imagine not having one for over night when we are sleeping...this radio is a true life saver!”   

To buy: amazon.com, $30 (originally $40)

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best with Multiple Charging Options: FosPower Emergency Weather Radio

This FosPower weather radio can be powered four different ways, so you never have to worry about it dying on you in an emergency. You can run the radio on three AAA batteries or a charged 2000mAh Powerbank. Additionally, you can charge it via solar power or hand crank it yourself. The gadget gives emergency news broadcasts from NOAA, and you can also listen to AM/FM stations on it. Even better, it has a built-in flashlight, SOS alarm, and a USB port. “After being without electricity during subzero temperatures in Texas, we relied on this to give us light, access to radio, and as an extra battery charger,” wrote one reviewer. “This was very quick to charge phones, stayed on for upwards of 15+ hours without any concern, and we dropped it several times without fear of breaking it. This was a panic buy several months ago, but is now a staple in our emergency kits.”

To buy: amazon.com, $26 (originally $30)

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best for Flash Light: RunningSnail Emergency Crank Weather Radio

Thousands of Amazon shoppers love this RunningSnail weather radio because of its lightweight, durable design and the fact that it can be charged multiple ways. But their favorite part seems to be the gadget’s built-in flashlight. There are three brightness levels to choose from, in addition to a reading lamp and a motion sensor that will light up when you move past it, so you can easily see where you are going if you get up in the middle of the night. “This compact emergency radio has everything you need,” said one customer. “Easy set up, charges effortlessly, and very convenient to charge via solar, USB, or hand crank. We had serious storms this year and found ourselves without power for days on end. Now I’m relieved I’ll have a way to listen to news, charge phones, and find my way around with very strong lighting!”

To buy: amazon.com, $36 (originally $50)

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Compact Option: Vondior NOAA Weather Radio

If you’re looking for a basic weather radio that’s small enough to fit in your pocket, check out this Vondior option. The ultra-compact radio is the size of a credit card and weighs less than half a pound. It has a long-range antenna, headphone port, and you can switch between NOAA and AM/FM stations. “I was impressed by the sound,” said one shopper. “When I first turned it on, it was on a weather station. Clear and concise weather information. I tried the other channels, and they are very clear, the sound is great. Would not expect this from such a small radio. Will be easy to carry along in case of an emergency.”

To buy: amazon.com, $28

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Affordable Option: RunningSnail Emergency Self-Powered Weather Radio

At less than $20 apiece, Amazon shoppers call this RunningSnail weather radio the best bang for your buck. The radio can be charged three different ways, and it has a built-in USB port and flashlight. The lightweight device weighs less than one pound, and it’s available in three bright colors. “I believe in prepping for the unexpected,” said one customer. “A self powered radio and flashlight can be a great tool, and this quality is the best. Radio is easy to tune and use and sound is clear and crisp, the flashlight button is easy to press with no stiffness or issues. Flashlight works well past 30 feet and illuminates very well. The crank protrudes at an angle that makes it breezy to turn and not expend energy or straining of the hand. Battery lasts a good amount of time and is very simple to use.”

To buy: amazon.com, $18 (originally $25)

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