How To Choose An Emergency Radio

With any luck, you won’t have to use an emergency radio ever, but just in case, it should be an essential part of any disaster preparedness or emergency kit. Unfortunately, not all emergency radios were born equal, and you want to make sure that you choose a reliable one that will work in the face of disaster. 

The primary purpose of an emergency radio should be to keep you informed and connected on the changing situation during a disaster. However, the best radios should be able to do much more than that. The model that you end up buying should keep your devices charged, be a source of light, and even provide you with some entertainment while you rough it out or wait for assistance. 

Tips For Choosing A Reliable Emergency Radio

As you start your search, you might have noticed that emergency radios come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. If you aren’t paying close attention, you might think that you can grab any radio off the shelf and be 100% prepared for an emergency. Before hurricane season strikes, here are a few tips you should consider before committing to an emergency radio. 

Keep It Basic

Most people will need a radio that can deliver NOAA alerts or other warnings to them, so make sure your radio comes equipped with those functions. Having an AM/FM receiver is important. AM radio is where you can receive NOAA alerts, and it will often have a longer range than FM. FM radios can also be useful because you might be able to tune into local stations, as long as the weather isn’t too severe. 

Supports Multiple Power Sources

Choose a radio that can be powered in different ways because the radio is useless if it can’t stay charged for more than a day in an emergency. AA or AAA batteries are one good option, but if the battery dies, there will be no way to replenish your power source. Some radios come with a hand crank or solar panel to help keep your device charged. If you still have access to power, the emergency radio will often come with a battery with a charging cable so you can keep your radio running that way. 


Depending on the emergency, you might have to keep moving or stay in an emergency shelter. Whatever the reasons are, a big, bulky radio isn’t practical or realistic and will likely be left behind. Therefore, when selecting your emergency radio, make sure it is lightweight and small enough to fit comfortably in your bag without taking up too much room. 

Extra features

While having a basic emergency radio might be perfect for you, you might want to consider choosing a radio that has additional functionalities. Some radios come with a flashlight, which can be particularly useful if your power goes out. Many radios come combined with an LED flashlight that gives you a beam of light that helps you to navigate your surroundings. 

Another benefit that many emergency radios offer is the ability to power other devices. Some radios can charge cell phones, iPads, Kindles, and more. Having access to your cell phone or other forms of entertainment might make the situation a little easier to handle. 

Our Picks For The Best Emergency Radios

NOAA Radio

This weather radio weighs less than a pound and is incredibly durable. It can tune into NOAA weather stations through the AM/FM transmission, so you can be certain that you are always kept up to date on any emergency situation. It is also very easy to use and can be charged five different ways, including a solar panel, AAA batteries, power bank, hand crank, and micro USB. Every minute of cranking supports 20 minutes of light or 10-15 minutes of broadcasting.

Mini Solar Weather Radio

This extremely tiny weather radio might not look like much, but it still is handy to have around during a disaster. Regardless of whether you need a radio for disaster preparedness or include it as part of your camping gear, this is a good option. It comes with a torch, power bank, has SOS functionality, and AM/FM transmission so you can stay up to date on the latest news. It can also be charged in five different ways, making it the perfect choice for you during a natural disaster.