Best emergency radios

(Image credit: Amazon)

An emergency or weather radio is a device you’ll only regret not having when disaster strikes and you need it most. Of course, by then, it could be too late. These radios are designed to receive official government alerts of extreme weather like hurricanes, storms and tornados. Broadcast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) using high-frequency channels, these crucial weather alerts could save you and your family’s life.

A good radio for emergencies will receive all NOAA channels and weather warnings for specific locations. You won’t be able to rely on your normal power supply during a disaster so most emergency radios will have backup methods of charging including solar panels, hand cranks and batteries as well as via an AC adapter. Other features to look out for include flashlight and power bank functions. A good weather radio needs to be durable too and withstand drops, shocks and water. All these devices meet the criteria we’d expect and could be invaluable in an emergency.

Best overall

(Image credit: Amazon)

FosPower Emergency Solar Hand Crank Portable Radio

Water-resistant and full of features

FosPower’s radio will resist the weather as well as tell you all about it thanks to IPX3 waterproofing. The NOAA-receiving radio comes with a zoomable LED flashlight, a reading light, an SOS alarm and a 2000mAH power bank for recharging phones. It’s powered by solar panel, hand crank or three AAA batteries.

Best for warnings

(Image credit: Amazon)

Midland NOAA Emergency Weather Alert Radio

An emergency warning system on your desk

Midland’s desktop emergency radio offers thunderstorm, tornado and flood warnings and all seven NOAA channels with SAME localized programming. You can control which type of alerts you receive and get warnings from the flashing LED, voice alert and 90 dB siren. In the event of a blackout, there’s the option to use three AA batteries as a backup.

Best for emergency power

(Image credit: Amazon)

Kaito KA500RED 5-Way Powered Emergency AM/FM/SW Weather Alert Radio

Powered 5-ways to meet any emergency

This radio from Kaito takes no chances with its power supply. You can use an AC/DC adapter, the built-in rechargeable battery, a USB power source, hand crank or the flip-up 180-degree solar panel which will power the radio even when no battery is installed. In Alert mode, the radio will automatically activate when it receives NOAA alerts. It picks up the seven weather channels as well as AM, FM and shortwave.

Most versatile

(Image credit: Amazon)

2020 Newest Emergency Crank Radio

Emergency light and radio

You can’t help but be well prepared for an emergency with this weather radio. As well as receiving the seven NOAA channels, it has a three-mode flashlight and reading lamp, phone charger and SOS alarm. They are powered by USB charger, solar panel, hand crank or replaceable li-ion battery.

Best value

(Image credit: Amazon)

NOAA Weather Radio

Small radio for big emergencies

A handheld portable radio could be just what you need in an emergency situation. Powered by two AA batteries, it will pick up all the weather alerts in your area with crystal-clear reception thanks to the 6-inch retractable antenna and a newly upgraded DSP chip. It receives almost any frequency, AM, FM and WB with great clarity even through the small speaker.

Bottom line

You can trust Advnture Our expert reviewers spend days testing and comparing gear so you know how it will perform out in the real world. Find out more about how we test and compare products.

An extreme weather event can be frightening and dangerous. To ensure you and your family are safe, it’s important to get up-to-date accurate information from the NOAA, making a good emergency radio an essential item. All these radios will help you stay informed but the one we think would be best for most people is the FosPower Emergency Solar Hand Crank Portable Radio. It’s rugged and water-resistant and having a power bank and flashlight built-in could be very welcome in any emergency and really increase the usefulness of this model beyond the vital function of receiving NOAA broadcasts.

For an even more portable radio to slip into your emergency kit, the NOAA Weather Radio is a great option. It only does one thing – receive radio including the NOAA channels – but it does it very well with outstanding reception and clarity.

Advnture team

Launched in July 2020, Advnture is the ideal destination for anyone who loves the great outdoors. Whether you're into epic hikes through the wilderness, camping trips with the family, climbing with your friends, or looking for a trail running personal best, our team of experts will point you in the right direction, with top buying advice and in-depth guides to help you get the most of your time in the backcountry.