Whether you are in an area that has been badly hit by a storm, or merely traveling through the woods or climbing mountains with poor reception areas, an emergency weather radio can come in handy to keep you up to date with dangerous weather conditions, natural disasters, as well as any other important news.
The best thing about these little portable radios is that some can be self-powered, either by a hand-crank generator or even solar powered. This means no matter your situation or location; you will still be able to get some signal wherever you are.
With so many weather radios out there, it can be complicated to know which one is best for you. To help you discover the most suitable weather radio for you, we have performed a little research to identify five of the best weather radio products on the current market, to give you a little bit of inspiration.
Last updated on 2020-02-27
Best Weather Radio Reviews
In this section, we will look in more detail at these five best weather radios available on the market.
RunningSnail Self Powered Weather Radio
This weather radio is completely self-powered, meaning it doesn’t require any batteries to function. It can be a perfect option for taking on your travels and will keep you covered in non- reception areas.
This weather radio received AM/FM/7 NOAA Weather channel to keep you up to date with the latest weather, for example if any floods, tornado, or storms are around the corner.
What I Like
The best feature about this weather radio is that it can be charged in three different ways, including micro USB charging, solar charging and manually through a hand crank which winds up the internal battery. This means you don’t need to rely on batteries to get power.
The weather radio also includes a power bank which allows you to charge other electronics, such as your mobile phone.
What I Don’t Like
Although it is powered three different ways, if there is no sun, and you are low on energy, a battery-powered option might be more helpful in certain situations.
- Micro USB cable
- Compact flashlight
- No battery-powered option
- Battery doesn’t hold charge as long once charged
Esky Portable Emergency Weather Radio
The portable emergency radio by Esky is another fantastic product to have in an emergency. This portable radio features a rugged, durable design which allows it to survive even the harshest of weather conditions.
Esky’s portable weather radio has been designed with extreme weather in mind. It also has a USB charger for your electronics as well as a 140-lumen flashlight to guide you through any darkness and maximize visibility at the same time.
What I Like
The best feature of this portable weather radio is its powerful 1,000 mAh battery which can be charged via a USB cable, manual hand crank or a solar panel. This makes it a great product to use in all locations, and it will keep you safe wherever you are. Thanks to its small size, this portable weather radio can also be attached to a belt through its sturdy clip, allowing for an even easier access.
What I Don’t Like
Although this is a pretty good portable weather radio, it does not feature a water-resistant design. This means although it is pretty durable, if it were to be exposed in pouring rain, it might not work afterwards. Sometimes it is also hard to get a station due to a large amount of static, which is not good, especially when in need of weather news fast.
- Three charging methods
- USB port
- Quite a lot of static to the channels
- Not water resistant
Kaito KA500 Solar Powered Weather Radio
The weather radio by Kaito is another great portable radio that is perfect for receiving important weather alerts in remote areas. This a NOAA-certified emergency radio which offers a wide range of broadcast coverage.
If you are looking for a weather radio, you will want one that us certified by the National Weather Service, like this one has been. This means it covers both AM and FM, plus an extra seven national weather channels that provide alerts in real time. You can be sure that this mini radio will be helpful during an emergency situation, as you have a wide coverage of channels already.
What I Like
The best thing about this weather radio is the fact it is certified by the National Weather Service. As well as this, it features a wide range of useful extras, including an LED flashlight to help you out in dark conditions, as well as an SOS beacon light for an emergency situation. It also features a phone charger and a USB charging port for any other electronics you may have.
What I Don’t Like
This weather radio comes with a hand crank to recharge its battery, however, the power doesn’t tend to last as long when using this method of charging. As well as this, the solar power charges the battery at a slow rate.
- Certified product
- 7 pre-programmed weather channels
- Slow battery charge
- SOS light doesn’t flash
Eton Scorpion Portable Weather Radio
If you are looking for a durable weather radio, then the Scorpion is your choice. The fourth weather radio we are reviewing is the Scorpion Portable Weather Radio by Eton. This is a pretty good weather radio with some nice features.
Thanks to a rechargeable 800 mAh lithium battery, you can be guaranteed a long charge, which will keep you going for a while. Unlike many portable weather radios, the Scorpion also features a battery charge indicator which shows you how much power you have left, giving you a good idea of when you next need to charge. There are also two other charge options, through a manual hand crank and a solar panel.
What I Like
This weather radio features a pretty durable design with a rugged exterior skin and aluminum carabiner; it can survive in any extreme outdoor situation and help you out during an emergency. Thanks to a water-resistant design, it can also survive a few splashes here and there, and can easily be taken out on the water. It receives AM/FM and NOAA weather, and to keep you up to date with the weather, and with a digital tuner and display, allows for clear reception.
What I Don’t Like
Although this weather radio has all the necessities you would need in an emergency, it doesn’t have a regular radio. As well as this, the lithium battery’s longevity is slightly questionable, as it hasn’t lasted too long into ownership, ceasing to charge after only one month’s use for some customers.
- Rechargeable battery
- Battery charge indicator
- Three ways to charge
Battery longevity is questionable
C.Crane CC Pocket Weather Radio
The fifth and final weather radio featured on our list is the pocket weather radio by C. Crane. This radio also has a sleep timer and a clock, making it perfect for multiple uses.
The CC Pocket weather radio is very easy to use and has an excellent performance. It doubles as a sleep timer with an alarm and also includes a clock, which will keep you in the know should you forget your watch or cellphone.
What I Like
For its size, this pocket weather radio features excellent selectivity while providing maximum sensitivity to weak signals. It has clear, precise and rich audio with around 75 hours of play. A cool feature this radio also has that many others don’t, is when pressing keys 1 and 5 together, it disables the display screen which allows you to reduce noise and improve overall AM radio reception, and the reception is pretty good for its small pocket size.
It also comes with a great headset, a clear built-in speaker and removable belt clip.
What I Don’t Like
This pocket weather radio is slightly on the smaller side, and it is slightly less durable than some of the other options mentioned. The device only runs on two AA batteries, meaning if you run out of batteries in a remote location, there is no other way to recharge the device; some of the others provide more than one way to recharge, i.e. through solar power and manual hand crank. It also seems to perform better with radio stations than with weather ones, which makes it less of a good option to use solely for weather radio.
- Great reception
- Sleep timer and clock included
- Only battery powered
- Poor weather station reception
Some key features are important to consider when looking into purchasing a new weather radio.
When it comes to buying a weather radio, you will notice there are more than one type available on the market. We will look at a few of them below to give you a better idea.
Desktop weather alert radio
If you want a radio for home, office or school use, a weather alert radio which can easily sit on a desk is your best bet. These are designed to be stationary and plug into electrical outlets to generate power. Desktop weather radios can remain silent until an official alert is issued, which means they will only play when the national weather service issues a warning message or weather alert.
Portable weather radio
If instead you require a weather radio for when you are out on the go, a portable weather radio is what you will need. These are great for staying informed wherever you are, and provide a great amount of versatility as they can be taken almost anywhere.
Whether you are hiking, camping, trekking or even out on the water, a portable weather radio can easily be taken with you, as it doesn’t need to be plugged into a socket to work. These types usually feature replaceable batteries, USB port, manual hand cranks or solar-powered options to recharge them.
Handheld weather radio
Unlike desktop and portable radios, handheld radios are much smaller in size, and can be placed in your pocket when out and about. These are a lightweight alternative and are good to be tried as a first-time weather radio.
The portability of the weather radio is also important. If you are traveling outdoors, you will want a weather radio which offers a good amount of portability. This means the more lightweight it is, the better as it can easily be transported and stored with ease. On the other hand, if they are too heavy, they won’t be as easy to transport.
Some weather radios may be pocket sized, meaning they can easily be clipped onto a belt or left in a pocket. This also makes for easy portability.
Radio reception is a very important feature in a weather radio. You will want a radio with reception to receive more than one weather channel and it must be clear, with the least amount of static as possible. If the radio reception is poor, you won’t be able to receive a good signal from any stations, and they will almost be impossible to hear.
Therefore, you want to find a weather radio that performs well and guarantees a good amount of reception coverage wherever you are. Sometimes it is recommended to purchase an external antenna to increase the reception of NOAA weather broadcasts.
The National Weather Service broadcasts weather information such as current conditions and extreme weather alerts 24 hours a day and there are around 900 NOAA weather station transmitters which cover 95% of the US. However, there may be some locations that are hilly, slightly rural and that will not guarantee a good quality reception.
For this reason, an extended antenna might help you get a better reception if you already have a weather radio with poor radio reception.
The power source refers to how the weather radio generates its power. The majority of weather radios come with batteries, and rechargeable batteries which can keep it running. Others will feature an internal battery which can only be charged when plugged into a power outlet before use. Some radios will be able to be charged using solar energy from the sun and others can be charged manually via a hand-crank.
The best weather radio we recommend is one with more than one power source, as if you are on the road and run out of batteries, for example, or suffer a power outage, you can still power it by using one of the other methods. Weather radios with a hand-cranked power option are recommended in such cases.
Durability is also an important factor to consider in a weather radio. If you will be using your weather radio outdoors on your travels, you really want to purchase one that is guaranteed to survive any situation. Will you be taking your weather radio in a location near water? Or even using it while on a boat? Then you will probably be better looking for a weather radio with good water resistance. Weather radios with strong, rubber protection will also be good in case they are accidentally dropped or hit during transportation.
Best Weather Radio FAQ
Now we take a look at some of the most popular frequently asked questions in regards to weather radios – to give you a better idea when it comes to purchasing your own.
How to Program a Weather Radio
It’s important to program your radio correctly as if programmed incorrectly it will not alert properly, and potentially leave you in the dark when a storm is nearby. There are two things to program on your weather radio, including:
The Weather Channel
To program the Weather Channel for your area, press the menu and hit the down arrow until set channel is displayed. Press ‘select’ and hit the down arrow until you hear the broadcast of your local station. To save the station, simply press ‘select’ a second time.
To set up the SAME function, first either call the national weather service, or visit their website or midlandusa.com to determine your counties of interest and write down the corresponding six digit codes. Then press the ‘menu’ button on your radio and hit the down arrow until set location is displayed and press ‘select.’ With the down arrows, scroll through single, multiple or any, depending on how many broadcasts you want to pick up.
All that is left to do is enter in the digits from the code, and save them by pressing ‘menu’ each time.
How to Set Midland Weather Radio
Setting up a midland weather radio is pretty simple. To begin, simply plug the AC adapter into any standard outlet and attach to the radio’s back DC jack. Be sure to place three AA batteries into the compartment underneath the radio to provide power in case of an emergency. Then extend the antenna and turn the radio on and your setup process complete. The next step will be to program the radio following the same instructions mentioned above.
What is NOAA Weather Radio?
In the US, the network where all the emergency alerts are broadcast is known as the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration. This is why weather radios are often called NOAA weather radios, as it proves they are capable of receiving this network.
What is a Weather Radio?
Unlike a normal radio which mainly plays music, weather radios are a special kind of radio which have been designed to receive emergency alerts for dangerous weather events, natural disasters as well as breaking news such as terrorist threats and any other major news. The alerts are broadcast by the governments over a high frequency radio network. These radios are also known as ‘emergency radios’ as they can be used when traveling in remote locations and help people to keep informed wherever they may be.
From all of the best weather radio options we have covered, we believe each one will guarantee a good amount of coverage no matter where you are located.
If you are shopping on a budget however, you might be more interested in finding the most reasonably priced option. There are a few options on our list which are suited to those shopping on a budget. The most reasonably priced radio is the emergency weather radio by Esky, while the second inexpensive option is the solar weather radio by RunningSnail.
On the other end of the scale, the most expensive weather radio is the CC Pocket Weather Radio by C. Crane. This is a high-quality weather radio with exceptionally good reception, and good for the price.
We hope this article on weather radios has been helpful in sharing some possible options to look out for, as well as what to look for when buying. Hopefully you will have one of these portable radios with you next time you are on the road.