10 Best Emergency Radios in 2020
We are not strangers to natural disasters. Over the last couple of decades, we have seen the number of natural disasters steadily increasing. Unfortunately, experts have said this trend is likely to continue. We had the Haiti earthquake in 2010, Queensland Floods in 2010, Greece fires in 2018 or the Amazon fire in 2019.
Everything from hurricanes to earthquakes to severe drought. So it makes total sense to prepare yourself for the unknown and to have a survival kit ready to go if disaster strikes. Having the proper equipment and a plan could be the difference between life or death.
Now we have put a great deal of trust into technology over the years and the average person isn’t used to going five minutes without their phone. But if a major disaster happens, the chances of the phone networks going down or the electricity cutting off are very high.
How will you get vital information with no phone or access to the internet? Good old fashioned radio! Radio has been around for more than 100 years and while our technology has improved the fundamental physics hasn’t changed.
If the world gets turned upside down by a major disaster, there is only one thing we can trust to get reliable information and that is radio.
Here Are the Best Emergency Radios in 2020
1. Running Snail MD-090 Weather Radio
Our Review: When taking this radio out the box, I instantly knew it was going to be good. It was pretty durable and made with some strong materials. The build quality was really nice and the radio is aesthetically pleasing too.
This model has a lot of features crammed into it and it’s still surprisingly small. It’s small enough to fit in your front pocket although that would be fairly uncomfortable.
First and foremost, as a radio, I really like this model. The volume and sound quality are very good considering it is so small. You will normally find radios of this size have poor sound quality, but not this one!
The antenna fits completely inside the body of the radio but can be pulled out to improve the reception. I have tested this and have found it picks up most signals with the antenna still tucked away inside the radio.
The reception for this radio was really good, plus there is an indicator light that lets you see when you’ve got a solid signal.
On the front, you’ll find a decent-sized LED light. It is about 15-20 lumens which isn’t much but it will do. It is good enough to light up a hallway or a room but don’t expect this to go much further than that. I’m pretty happy with the light as it’s a nice backup.
The hand crank for charging the internal battery is actually really nice. It’s pretty sturdy and well concealed. I also found it fairly comfortable to use. Just make sure you’re holding the body of the radio well so that you don’t strain your wrist.
Look, you’re hopefully never going to have to use the hand crank but its an added bonus in case you ever do. To fully charge this radio via hand cranking you will need about an hour of cranking.
The Running Snail MD-090 also has an SOS siren that is fairly loud and bloody annoying lol. It is loud and strong and exactly what you need in a survival situation. You really do not want to be yelling help for hours upon hours.
It can receive 7 NOAA weather channel, so you will be able to get up to date weather information for your area that way.
What I don’t like:
The solar panel does work but it’s not the best. This is a problem with most emergency radios to be honest. So don’t count on the solar panels to charge the internal battery. If anything all its good for is counteracting the natural battery drain.
It is not water proof.
This radio cannot be set for notification of tornado only.
- 2000 mAh power bank that can supply power to devices like iPhones or tablets.
- It can be powered by AAA batteries, solar power, and a small hand crank generator.
- Very affordable
- LED Flashlight keeps you from getting lost in the dark.
- Small reading light
- Great lightweight and compact design
- NOAA weather bands allow you to make the right decisions for you and your families safety.
- Receives AM, FM
- Takes 4.5 hours to charge when connected to an outlet, 7 hours to charge with the hand crank.
- 1 minute of cranking yields 5-10 minutes of radio at medium power.
Considerations Choosing Emergency Radios (Buying Guide)
This section is for any readers who want to learn more about how we rated and chose the radios for this list. If you want to take our word for it, just choose a radio from the list above.
Who Needs Emergency Radios?
If you live in a climate that is prone to natural disasters you should consider getting one. Philippines, China, Japan and Bangladesh are all affected by natural disasters more than anywhere else on earth.
But the USA sadly gets its fair share too. Texas and California has had 250+ natural disasters since 1953. Oklahoma has had 167, Washington has had 132 and Florida has had 122!
So if you live in an area that is prone to them, you should seriously consider buying an emergency radio. Afterall they are fairly cheap too and could save your life.
A weather radio is for anybody who wants some extra safety in case disaster strikes. It is for the proactive people of society who take responsibility for themselves and their family’s health and wellbeing into consideration on a day to day basis.
A weather radio will give you vital information during an emergency event like a wildfire, tornado or earthquake.
So What Are Weather Radios?
A weather radio is just like any other radio but has been designed for survival. It doesn’t require a plug at all as you the electricity will likely cut out in an emergency. Instead, it can be hand-cranked to give it charge.
Another feature it has that is essential is the ability to tune into a NOAA weather band.
If you’re reading this in your house, if you look about can you see at least one smoke detector? Its a very important item in the house, right? The information it provides could be the difference between life or death. A weather radio works just the same, they will alert you when danger is on the horizon.
Most radios have multiple battery sources. These could be mini solar panels, batteries or like we said above powered by hand-cranking it.
When I say hand-cranked, please don’t think this is a 5-10 minute job. No, to fully charge a radio by hand cranking will be a full days job. These features are helpful and should be looked at as a supplement because if that’s the only option you have in an emergency, you’ll do what’s required to survive.
You should be asking yourself, how will you be using this weather radio? Is it for the car or the house? Maybe it’s for hiking. The answer to this question will help you determine the best radio for you.
Do You Need a Weather Radio?
The answer is pretty much yes for everybody.
Far too many people die in the United States because they were sleeping when a tornado came. They never received any results because they were in bed. This happens too often.
Now the amount of people who came on the news after a tornado and claimed there were no warnings is ridiculous. There are always warnings the problem is most people did not have any way of receiving them.
If your town goes under a tornado warning, the National Weather Service will broadcast the alert. Your weather radio will sound a LOUD alarm when this comes through and you will be notified. This gives you precious time to react.
Plus look there cheap, some are only $20. What junk did you buy for $20 recently? Surely yours and your family’s lives are worth $20?
Lets look at Katrina. Hurricane Katrina, a tropical cyclone struck the USA in 2005. It caused 1200 deaths and 125 billion in damage. People were stranded for a very long time during the event. They had no access to electricity and couldn’t get information from the emergency services. They had no way of getting help and didn’t know what to do. Their cell phones were useless because they ran out of charge quickly.
Most weather radios have a USB port now so that you can charge things like your phone. They also normally have a light as well.
Frequently Asked Weather Radio Questions
What is the NOAA Weather Band?
The NOAA Weather band is nationwide network of radio stations that broadcast continuous weather information updates taken directly from the National Weather Service. These broadcasts give out vital warnings, forecasts and weather observations 24 hours a day!
NOAA stands for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The National Weather Service is where every news station gets its official data from too! So you’re getting the exact same information as your local meteorologist is getting.
How Do I Receive a NOAA Broadcast?
To receive a NOAA broadcast you need to have a radio that can pick up the weather frequency band.