The 6 Best Emergency Radios of 2020

Stay informed in the midst of a crisis

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The Rundown
"A great combination of all the basics."
"Just 60 seconds of hand cranking provides more than 45 minutes of radio and 30 minutes of flashlight power."
"Capable of being charged via hand cranking, solar panel, micro USB cable, standard wall outlet or batteries."
"The ideal rugged choice."
"Helps you stay up to date at all times and is capable of receiving all seven NOAA weather channels."
Best for Hiking:
FosPower FosPower at Amazon
"The FosPower Emergency Radio is the perfect hiking companion."

When disaster strikes, having one of the best emergency radios on hand can be a literal lifesaver. Besides just being battery-operated radios, these pieces of kit are self-contained pieces of survival gear, featuring everything from LED flashlights to solar-powered USB ports to keep other devices charged in a time of crisis.

While you hopefully will never actually need one of our best emergency radios, you'll want to invest in something with a sizeable battery, and ideally, an easy way to recharge it. Either a hand crank or solar cell, or even better, both. While most emergency radios like the Midland ER210 at Amazon include presets to NOAA weather bands and LED flashlights, you'll probably also want to pick a model with some USB ports to keep all your devices topped off like the Sangean MMR-88 at Amazon.

If you're looking for more ways to supplement one of the best emergency radios, make to read our collection of the best emergency alert apps, as well as our guide on how to use Apple SOS. After all, you can never be too prepared.

Best Overall: Sangean MMR-88 Emergency Radio

With a built-in phone charger and LED flashlight, the Sangean MMR-88 radio is a great combination of all the basics. Measuring 2.71 x 5.98 x 3.3 inches and weighing only .86 pounds, the MMR-88 can be powered via hand crank, solar panel or USB jack. It has a rugged and durable frame, as well as an AM/FM public alert certification for severe weather warnings with 19 preset channels for quickly finding the most important stations. The adjustable LED flashlight includes variable settings of high, low and blinking, as well as SOS Morse code functionality for situations that turn really dire. Rounding out the feature set is a built-in speaker, built-in clock, stereo headphone output and a 90-minute shut off feature for preserving battery life.

Best Hand Crank: Midland ER210 Emergency Radio

Already one of the best emergency radios around, the inclusion of hand crank charging on the Midland ER210 makes it a must-own purchase for any emergency; it can also be powered by the sun (and can operate for 25 hours on a single charge).

It has AM/FM and NOAA band radio support, plus a 130 lumen LED flashlight for nighttime conditions. The included 2000mAh rechargeable lithium battery allows ER210 users to charge portable devices via USB output.

If an emergency does happen, the ER210 is prepared with an SOS flashlight beacon flashing Morse code to quickly discover your location. And just 60 seconds of hand cranking provides more than 45 minutes of radio and 30 minutes of flashlight power.

Best Multifunction: Kaito KA500 Emergency Radio

The durable, water-resistant Kaito KA500 is capable of being charged via hand cranking, solar panel, micro USB cable, standard wall outlet or batteries. The KA500 also has AM/FM radio with an LED signal indicator for pinpoint channel-tuning, two-band shortwave for access to the public emergency alert system, as well as all seven NOAA channels. The telescoping antenna reaches 14.5 inches in height for extra sensitivity for radio broadcasts.

Fortunately, the KA500 feature list doesn't end there. It also adds a 5V DC USB output port for charging mobile devices, cameras and GPS units, and has a five-LED reading lamp, LED flashlight and red LED SOS beacon light.

Best Durable: Eton Scorpion II Emergency Radio

The Eton Scorpion II portable emergency weather radio is the ideal rugged choice. With a fully charged battery, the Eton brings over 12 hours of radio time, while the inclusion of a solar panel, hand crank, DC jack, and micro USB make for easy methods when you need to recharge. With 15 minutes of hand crank charging on the Eton, you can completely charge up a mobile device, but the 800mAh battery adds a secondary option for charging up portable devices.

All the standard radio channel options are available, including AM/FM and NOAA weather bands for staying informed. The Eton also adds an IPX4 water-resistant rating to deal with heavy rain and splashes of water or any accidental drops. The built-in LED flashlight offers 20 feet of visibility, while a bottle opener takes the place of more emergency-based features like a Morse code beacon or siren (because sometimes, you just need to crack a cold one).

Best Solar: RunningSnail Emergency Radio (Upgraded)

The RunningSnail emergency radio helps you stay up to date at all times and is capable of receiving all seven NOAA weather channels. The included LED "table lamp" turns right on to help illuminate a small room in the event of a power outage. Featuring IPX3 waterproofing, the MD-090 can take on rain or snow without skipping a beat.

The RunningSnail can be charged via hand crank, micro USB cable, three AAA batteries or solar power. Additionally, the 2000mAh rechargeable battery can provide up to 12 hours of light or four to six hours of radio time (it can also charge up portable devices such as smartphones and tablets).

Best for Hiking: FosPower Emergency Radio

If you're planning on hitting the trail, but still want to be within arms reach of civilization, the FosPower Emergency Radio is the perfect hiking companion. Besides being remarkably lightweight at just about 15 ounces, this portable radio also brings a ton of emergency features to rely on should the need arise.

The FosPower Emergency Radio has access to NOAA emergency weather broadcasts, as well as the typical AM/FM bands. The 2000 MaH battery can be charged via a hand crank, integrated solar cell, or even a trio of AAA batteries if one of these other methods somehow fails. While the capacity may be well below what you'd see in your typical off-the-shelf, power bank, the variety of charging methods ensures you're never without power for long.

More than just a battery, the FosPower Emergency Radio also includes an SOS distress signal, LED flashlight, and a USB port to keep other devices topped off in case of emergency making this radio the perfect companion for an emergency indoors or out.

Final Verdict

For an emergency radio with tons of features that doesn't skip out on essentials its tough to go wrong with the Sangean MMR-88. Our top pick for emergency radios comes with a variety of LED flashlight modes, a lengthy battery life that can be charged in a variety of ways, and weighs less than 1 pound. If that particular model is unavailable for whatever reason, the Midland ER210 is a solid alternative.