If you are lucky enough, you will never have to depend on an emergency radio for survival. However, as a prepper, it is better to be safe than sorry.
The best emergency radio for preppers is the ones that give you multiple power source options and reliable radio frequencies no matter the situation. It's mainly to help you stay updated with alerts and warnings, to keep you and your loved ones safe.
Preppers also want to include as many qualities as possible, which makes it an essential pick to keep as a part of your survival bug-out bag for emergencies. Communication is one of the top priorities during an emergency event or a fight for survival.
If you're considering the best survival radios to utilize for your emergency kit; here are some of our top-rated reviews based on durability, efficiency, price, and overall usefulness in a dire situation.
Top Emergency Radios in 2021
Midland - ER310 Emergency Radio
FosPower Emergency Radio
RunningSnail Emergency Radio
VMEI Q9 Weather Radio
Kaito Voyager Pro KA600
1. Kaito KA500
The Kaito KA500 survival radio is a 6-way powered portable radio that does more than you would expect in an emergency. It's equipped with a hand crank generator and solar panel. So even when the radio runs out of battery, there is more than one way to charge up your radio.
There is also a compartment for 3 AA batteries, a USB port, and an input for a wall power adapter, and a built-in NiMH replaceable and rechargeable battery, which is ideal, no matter where you are in the world. If all else fails, you can never go wrong with the hand crank feature.
This Kaito prepper radio has many options for staying powered on. We firmly believe this one of the most important factors for the best survival radio. The whole point of being prepared for survival is finding a way to do your best with what you have. Without relying on the ease and help of technology.
The 2-band shortwave makes it easy for you to receive updates from up to 7 pre-programmed NOAA weather channels; around-the-clock news, real-time weather forecasts (the USA and Canada) with Public Emergency Alert System (PEAS).
This emergency radio is capable of surviving all types of disasters and terrible conditions. It's built from strong shatter-resistant and waterproof ABS material that will probably last longer than anything else in your survival kit, making it perfect for preppers.
2. Sangean MMR-88
This Sangean MMR-88 emergency radio is a must-have for any type of disaster. The digital AM/FM tuner has up to 19 pre-set stations.
As well as NOAA weather channels that will keep you updated. Sometimes preppers want to listen to more than just weather channels to help the time pass; this is the radio for you.
The Sangean MMR-88 is a well-built survival radio powered by a hand-crank, solar panels, or a micro USB. The rechargeable battery makes it easy to use all the functions this radio has to offer. This includes a weather alert, LED flashlight, and SOS Morse code.
An impressive feature is the alarm clock, which has the option of shutting off after 90 minutes. This can help tremendously if you are trying to save power.
3. Midland - ER310 Emergency Radio
The Midland ER310 is a well-made versatile emergency radio that can easily be used and stored due to its compact size. It's equipped with a hand crank and solar-powered panel.
It also has an impressive 2600 mAh rechargeable battery; especially for its sleek shape and vast functions. But it also takes 6 AA batteries as a backup, which is not an issue with the hand crank feature.
This survival radio also has an SOS flashlight beacon that flashes Morse code with the bright Cree LED to capture a rescuer's attention in a life or death situation.
Another helpful feature is the ultrasonic dog whistle that rescue dogs can hear during an emergency. Dogs have superior hearing compared to humans, making this super effective survival radio when you need help during a crisis, which is perfect for preppers.
4. American Red Cross Eton ARCFRX3+WXR
The Eton ARCFRX3+WXR is a durable well-built survival radio. This FRX3+WXR is slightly bigger than the other models.
Unlike the previous models, it has a 2600 mAh internal battery and solar panel in case of a power outage. There's an "alert" feature that keeps you up to date with any weather alerts around your area.
A hard-to-miss feature is the hand crank built in the center of this radio that gives you several charging options.
This version is well priced for all the functions and overall quality. The front face of the Eton is multi-functional and digital. There are an alarm clock and a USB port for phone charging.
This survival radio will help you keep connected with your surroundings when all other news stations fail.
5. FosPower Emergency Radio
The FosPower survival radio is equipped with a 2000mAh power bank that can charge your other devices and capable of providing power to any small tablet or phone. But what happens when the emergency radio runs out of power?
Have no fear, there are 3 power sources if you need to recharge the radio. The hand crank and solar-powered panels can be used to power this survival radio until it is efficient enough to use. And what if that's not quick enough? AAA batteries can also be used when you are not able to regenerate power.
This hand crank radio also comes with two light sources; a 4 LED reading light and a 1W flashlight that will illuminate a dark room in an instant. This radio is highly dependable in terms of emergency weather forecasting as well as news broadcasts from NOAA and AM/FM stations.
6. RunningSnail Emergency Radio
The RunningSnail is a must-have for emergency disasters. It is equipped with AM/FM and NOAA weather alert broadcasts for your area. The radio is not enough, especially during a disaster when no other electronics are working.
Another feature is the two lights; a table map and a 1W LED flashlight to illuminate the dark spaces if the light ever gets knocked out.
The RunningSnail also includes a rechargeable battery that provides a 2000mAh rechargeable battery with a hand crank for self-charge. It comes with a solar power feature as well as micro USB cables. It does accept 3 AAA batteries, but not included.
It is very compact, making it easy to bring along with you just in case. For an emergency radio this size, it can easily be included in your preps, works very well in all types of conditions.
7. VMEI Q9 Weather Radio
The VMEI Q9 emergency radio is very versatile and can be used in almost any situation. One of the most powerful features of this radio is its super bright LED flashlight on the side of the face. It looks like an industrial flashlight when you hold it by the handles, which can brighten up the whole room instantly.
Speaking of handles, it has a glow-in-the-dark compass for you are stuck in the middle where and need to get back safely. There is an SOS alarm if you need to ask for help, not that you have to, but it's available.
This VMEI Q9 also has AM/FM and NOAA weather alerts to listen to broadcast emergency weather alerts in your area. All its other features, are more than enough to keep you safe till the disaster pasts.
The battery can be recharged through a hand crank, solar panel, or just batteries. As well as a charging port for your devices; meaning you do not have to worry about the problem of no power.
The best part is that these VMEI radios are backed by an 18-month warranty. Their customer service is extremely helpful and for any issues with the product, they will replace it for free.
8. Kaito Voyager Pro KA600
The Kaito Voyager Pro KA600 is an extremely durable and well-constructed survival radio in any emergency. There are so many functions and setting that it requires practice and muscle memory.
Once you become fluent and efficient with this radio, you can tackle almost anything coming your way in terms of being up to date with current events in a disaster.
This beast has AM/FM/LW short waves as well as a back-lit digital face that will show all of NOAA's hazard alerts, making it easy to read. There are four tuning options which consist of manual, digital entry, ATS, and memory tuning. It offers up to 335 memories; meaning you can save your favorite station and listening to them later on to kill some time. Most survival radios do not have this, but the backside is the weight and size of this beast.
Kaito Voyager Pro KA600's size also means that it is durable and can withstand impact. Another useful feature is the 180-degree adjustable solar panel, so you don't have to adjust the whole radio for when the sun moves. The flashlight is 5-LED, easily lightens up dark spaces in an instant.
You must assume that with all these functions; the rechargeable battery would easily die out. Nonetheless, there are 5 ways of recharging this beast; it has 3 6000mAh batteries.
Buying Guide For Survival Radios
Choosing the right survival radio is tough because they typically look and function the same way with small differences. However, you have to find one that best fits your needs during an emergency or natural disaster.
It's important to look at multiple features such as bright LED flashlights, charging options, and radio frequencies.
The best survival radio should be able to handle all types of environments and still work through the beating. These are some of the features we look at before rating these radios for survival purposes.
Frequency and Reception
Most survival radios will come with an AM/FM wave that will allow you to listen to different frequency waves. It's important to note that NOAA broadcast alerts have a range of approximately 40 miles from the transmitter, which is received on AM since they have a further range.
It's a good idea to test out your survival radio and make sure you can hear the broadcasting loud and clear before fully committing to using it during an emergency. You can try it out with the pre-programmed NOAA weather channels.
Multiple Power Source Options
These survival radios often come with rechargeable and replaceable batteries to give you the most out of your power source options. These options include:
- Alkaline batteries
- Wall/USB charging
- Solar power
- Hand Crank
This will give you a variety of ways to charge your survival radio when one option fails, backups on backups!
Be sure you look for a reliable battery with long-lasting battery life, so you won't have to worry about charging it frequently. The battery life of most emergency radios lasts approximately 20 hours of continuous usage.
Along with long-lasting battery life, there should ALWAYS be multiple power sources and charging options.
Size and Weight
First, determine the use and storage of these radios. During an emergency, you typically want to keep it compact and lightweight for traveling with other belongings. Great features to look for are durable handles for holding and strapping onto your gear to allow easy carrying.
The whole purpose of a survival radio is the ability to handle extreme climates and environments. We suggest finding a tough shell radio with buttons, rather than digital because it's more reliable and can handle a beating.
Sadly, not all radios on the market on water-resistant, which is a horrible idea if you need one during a flood.
Ease Of Use
There are emergency radios that use buttons and ones that use a combination of buttons or knobs with a digital screen. A digital screen is easier to use and see when there is limited lighting, but what if that breaks. Buttons are less likely to malfunction as opposed to knobs, but it all comes down to preference and what would fit your scenario the best.
For example, knobs might be easier to use, if you're wearing thick gloves. Buttons would be more accurate when you need the radio to work in an instant. This is great for emergency weather when time is not on your side.
Frequently Asked Questions About Survival Radios
An emergency radio and survival radio holds the same features and characteristics, they both have multiple power sources, frequency receptions, and features to help you during an emergency situation.
Choosing the an emergency radio for you will always vary depending on where you're going and potential situations you might face. It's important to find a way to charge your phone to call emergency services, a flashlight to see when the light is out, hand crank/solar charging power sources if you're stuck without electricity for days, NOAA broadcasting for staying up to date, and durability to withstand any type of survival situation.
The best hand crank radios, on average takes around 5.5 hours for a full charge. Break that down and it takes 1 minutes of cranking to provide you 15-20 minutes of radio power or 30 minutes of flashlight usage.
A hank crank radio works by using movement to generate a current that powers the battery. It's easily comparable to how watermills used to work in order to make electricity run.
As you can see, there are so many options to choose from for the best emergency radios on the market, it's difficult to decide on which one. It just depends on your adventure; you may want a handheld ham radio or a walkie-talkie. Nonetheless, the most essential survival radios are based on your scenario and one that would best fit your needs.
The Kaito KA500 stands out the most due to its overall quality. This survival radio is impact and water-resistant, thus making you well prepared no matter what emergency you need it in; it will last. This prepper radio is also compact enough for you to carry or throw in your to-go bag. Not only do they included the most important function a survival radio should have, but they perfected the quality.
The closest comparison would be the Sangean MMR-88 Vs Kaito KA500 due to the ease of use and the solar panel quality. If you prefer pressing buttons and having a panel that is less likely to break; I would go with the Sangean MMR-88.