On Air: The 7 Best Emergency Radios

Modern humans are acclimated to a world where electricity is a given. The last time there was a blackout, did you know what to do with yourself or did you just sit down and play an iOS game on your tablet until the lights returned? One of the hard truths is that the energy we rely upon is a very tenuous thing. Should the bombs drop, the virus break out, the aliens land, or someone just fall asleep at the switch, any crisis almost surely includes the loss of power. That’s why you need an emergency radio. So that even in darkness you will know what’s going on.

The ugly fact is that all our lovely digital gadgets that are so powerful when plugged into a standard 120 outlet aren’t worth a damn without infrastructure. When things go wrong, we’re better off falling back on older, simpler radio technology to receive instructions and information than we are with a splendid smartwatch which looks snappy and monitors our heartrate. Getting one of the 7 best emergency radios doesn’t make you a full doomsday prepper. It makes you a wise citizen of the world who knows that catastrophes happen.

Eton American Red Cross Microlink Self-Powered Weather Radio

Eton American Red Cross Microlink Self-Powered Weather Radio

Pro: Includes 3 LED lights
Con: No option for including a secondary battery power source

Pocket Protection: Presenting a small, simple option that is compact enough to be fitted into the smallest bug out bag or stuffed into a fully outfitted first aid kit, this emergency radio from Etón is certified by the Red Cross. It picks up all 7 of the NOAA weather alert channels as well as basic AM and FM bands. A solar panel allows for charging with 10 hours of sunbathing giving you about 3 hours worth of listening time. A hand crank allows you to power it by the sweat of your brow, giving you 15 minutes of low-volume listening for every 5 minutes you churn away. All controls and display are analog to reduce power draw. Etón also makes a shortwave emergency radio if that is what you require. [Purchase: $26]

BaoFeng Dual-Band Ham Two-Way

BaoFeng Dual-Band Ham Two-Way

Pro: HAM, MURS, and GMRS transmmitting available
Con: Difficult to program

Back Talk: Standard radio broadcasts are not always the best way to find out what is happening in the world. The BaoFent offers the internet of yesteryear in the palm of your hand. It is a two-way HAM radio that also will give you the FM broadcast band. You’ll be able to pick up chatter on switchable 136-174 / 400-480MHz or 25KHz/12.5KHz bands. For added survival help, a lone LED light sits at the top for finding your way around in the dark. You can transmit on many frequencies, including the Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS) which you can use without a license. Be careful using other bands as you could become a “bubble-pack pirate” going live without proper authorization. [Purchase: $28]

Epica Emergency Solar Hand Crank

Epica Emergency Solar Hand Crank

Pro: Excellent reception of weak frequencies
Con: Battery can drain when left to sit

Crank It Up: Cranks on emergency radios are common, but this piece from Epica seems to give you the most juice for your strain. One minute of hard cranking will give you nearly 20 minutes of radio time or 30 minutes from the flashlight. It has a mini USB plug on the side for both accepting a charge from a power source, or amping up your mobile hardware. A multitude of adapters comes with it that change the mini USB to a micro or whatever other options you need. The rubberized exterior is waterproof and gives you a solid grip when wet, so no need for a waterproof backpack to carry this on your riverboat adventures. Covers AM/FM and NOAA with a digital display and guess-free band tuning. [Purchase: $29]

Midland Public Alert Certified Radio

Midland Public Alert Certified Radio

Pro: Digital warning readout
Con: Does not receive AM/FM radio bands

Early Warning System: This takes a slightly different tact than most other emergency radios in that it doesn’t offer AM/FM frequency reception. Instead, it focuses on making you aware of natural disasters by tuning into NOAA and the SAME (Specific Area Message Encoding) network to distribute notices that are tailored to your area. If moving around to get clear of the apocalypse, you can program in 25 counties to be alerted only with alarms that pertain to your current location. Built into it is a full alarm clock should you need it. There’s no crank, so it requires either 3 AA batteries or a power source to function correctly. [Purchase: $35]

Ambient Weather WR-333 Alert Radio

Ambient Weather WR-333 Alert Radio

Pro: Receives NOAA, AM, and FM
Con: Requires add-ons for best functionality

Only What You Need: Rather than cramming the body with a load of options, Ambient Weather has opted to offer a range of optional accessories to flesh out the base unit. If you go with just the bare-bones system, you get a LIR123A 3.7V/600 mAh rechargeable lithium ion battery that can be backed up by 3 AAA batteries. It charges using a basic wall outlet, computer, the hand crank, or can be charged off a DC car charger, should you buy that accessory. An additional bag with portable solar panel can also be added to harness the sun’s rays and keep you tuned in and turned on. The USB charger works with cell phones, tablets, handheld GPS units, MP3 players, e-readers, and just about anything else, so you can have music to amuse you during the end of the world. [Purchase: $45]

American Red Cross FRX3

American Red Cross FRX3

Pro: Lightweight and packs down flat for easy storage
Con: Solar panel is small and takes time

Most for the Money: Serious survivalists know that the best way to deal with a crisis is to arm yourself in advance with the best tools around. Without mincing words, that’s the FRX3. You can get a few additional options if you spend a bit more money, but for tried-and-true technology that won’t fail when the end is nigh, you won’t regret getting this emergency radio. It uses four charging options: Side-mounted USB, back-mounted hand crank, a solar panel on the top, or through alkaline or rechargeable batteries. Has all the standard AM/FM/NOAA bands, and includes a fine-tuning knob for capturing the best reception. [Purchase: $67]

Hammacher Schlemmer Emergency Radio

Hammacher Schlemmer Emergency Radio

Pro: Comfortable, ergonomic hand crank
Con: Large battery requires more extensive charging

Cadillac: You’ll notice that this is a clone of the FRX3 with a weightier price tag. This takes all the best elements of that model and pumps them up to 11. You have the same charging options (crank, standard power, batteries, and solar) but the solar panels are much larger for quicker absorption and more power. The internal battery also runs a bit longer on a full charge for a little more juice on the go. This has the same triple-bulb LED flashlight, but also has a large ambient light bar on the top making this a dim floor lantern should you need a glow to light a larger space. It picks up AM, FM, and NOAA, but we found that the NOAA channels seem to come through clearer on this than any other, even when the telescoping antenna was down. USB plug, digital tuner, and a slick black look make this as attractive as it is functional. [Purchase: $100]

Get The Goods

HiCONSUMPTION'S DAILY NEWSLETTER

Sign up for HiConsumption The Goods

© HiConsumption | DMCA

Back To Top