by product:
J P

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On April 14, 2019
Last modified:June 7, 2019

Summary:

See our expert picks for the best weather radio. We've categorized our weather radio reviews into emergency, solar, hand crank, NOAA weather radios & more. These radios will ensure you can weather almost any storm!

Best Weather Radio Reviews:  See Our Picks For 2019

Best Weather Radio

Whether you’re here looking for help to find the best weather radio or just to read our weather radio reviews to confirm your hunch on a specific model, we’re glad you found us and are happy to help.  Weather radios play an important role in the home during severe weather.  They can also be a life-saving device while camping, hiking, boating, and during other outdoor activities where you might lack communication or the ability to get alerts when the weather takes a turn for the worse.

As a quick overview of our Best Weather Radio Guide, we’ll first name our top picks in each category and provide detailed reviews of each weather radio picked.  Since they are used in many different settings, there are a variety of types including desktop radios, emergency weather radios, portable weather radios, and even solar-powered and hand crank weather radios.

After the list and our weather radio reviews below, you’ll find our comprehensive buyers guide.  This guide covers features and other things that you should consider when making a buying decision, including where to buy a weather radio and reasons why you would even want to invest in one.  If you’re unfamiliar with weather radios all together, you might want to skip down to the buyers guide first and start there.  If you’re already familiar with weather radios and have a good idea what you’re looking for, by all means, here’s our list.

Best Weather Radio

Kaito KA500 Weather Radio Review

Kaito KA500

Weather Radio Review:

In our opinion, the Kaito Voyager KA500 is the best weather radio for many reasons.  First, it’s flexible for many uses with its ability to be powered by 5 different sources:  battery (3x AA), hand crank, solar panel, USB, or an AC adapter (not included).  In keeping with flexibility, it offers AM, FM, NOAA weather stations, and is a 2-band shortwave radio (SW1 and SW2).  In addition, it includes a phone charger, flash light, beacon light, and reading lamp.  Not to mention, it comes in several different color options.  One of the main reasons it was chosen as the best weather radio is its reputation with existing users.  It’s a proven model that has been reviewed thousands of times with online retailers and most give it very high marks.  Also, because it’s impact and water-resistant, it’s pretty rugged and should last.  The one drawback we noticed with the Kaito KA500 Voyager radio is that it does not have the S.A.M.E. technology (see our buyers guide below for more details on S.A.M.E.).  If this is something you really wanted, please take a look at the next weather radio on the list, the Midland WR300.

Radio Channels:  AM/FM/NOAA/SW1/SW2

Power sources:  Battery (3x AA), hand crank, solar panel, USB, or AC adapter (not included)

NOAA All Hazard or Public Alert Certified Logo:  Yes

S.A.M.E. Technology:  No


Best NOAA Weather Radio

Midland WR300 - Best NOAA Weather Radio Review

Midland WR300

NOAA Weather Radio Review:

The Midland WR300 weather radio is a desktop model that’s been around for a while.  It’s still one of the most popular weather radios around.  Some of its features include a large, backlit LCD display, an alarm clock, and a user-selectable warning system.  The warnings consist of a 90 DB siren alarm, a voice alert, or a visual LED flasher.  This is great for larger homes when you might not be right next to the radio when the alert comes across.  One of our favorite features on this Midland weather radio is the event expiration indicator that displays the expiration time of the alert posted.  It’s less portable than the Kaito KA500, but it does incorporate the S.A.M.E. technology for local alerts and still gets AM/FM and the NOAA frequencies.  This, along with the siren, are why we chose it as our best NOAA weather radio.

Radio Channels:  AM/FM/NOAA

Power sources:  Battery or AC adapter

NOAA All Hazard or Public Alert Certified Logo:  Yes, both

S.A.M.E. Technology:  Yes


Best NOAA Weather Radio (On a Budget)

Midland WR120EZ - best noaa weather radio (budget)

Midland WR120EZ

NOAA Weather Radio Reviews: 

The Midland WR120EZ is the best NOAA weather radio for someone that’s budget-conscience.  It’s a smaller unit and typically used in the home.  For its size and price, it really contains tons of features!  It gets AM/FM and every NOAA weather channel.  It’s also paired with an alarm clock, and warnings that include a siren, voice alerts, or flashing LEDs.  It’s both NOAA All Hazard and Public Alert Certified.  The downsides to this Midland weather radio vs. our top choice is its lack of portability, a lamp, the additional power sources, and the ruggedness.

Radio Channels:  AM/FM/NOAA

Power sources:  Battery or AC adapter

NOAA All Hazard or Public Alert Certified Logo:  Yes, both

S.A.M.E. Technology:  Yes


Best Solar Weather Radio

Solar Weather Radio Review

RunningSnail Solar Crank Radio

Solar Weather Radio Review: 

The RunningSnail has an ironic and fun name, but it gets down to serious business.  This small solar weather radio picks up broadcasts over AM/FM and NOAA, and it also includes a flashlight, reading lamp, and an SOS flashing light.  With the 2000 mAh battery, the solar panel can soak up the sun to fill it with many hours of radio time or to charge your cell phone.  In addition to solar power, the RunningSnail Weather Radio can also be powered by hand crank, batteries, or through USB cable.  The drawbacks of the RunningSnail are its lack of S.A.M.E. technology and it doesn’t appear to be certified via NOAA or Public Alert since we couldn’t find the logos printed on the radio.

Radio Channels:  AM/FM/NOAA

Power sources:  Solar, hand crank, USB, battery

NOAA All Hazard or Public Alert Certified Logo:  No

S.A.M.E. Technology:  No


Best Portable Weather Radio

Portable Weather Radio Reviews

Sangean MMR-88

Portable Weather Radio Review: 

The Sangean MMR-88 was chosen as our best portable weather radio because not only is it small, compact, and rugged but it’s a proven model with lots of good current user feedback.  It includes an LED flashlight that can be set to blink SOS Morse Code.  This weather radio also has a backlit LCD display and a digital AM/FM/WX tuner.  Outputs include a stereo headphone jack and the capability of charging USB compatible devices.   The rechargeable battery is 850 mAh lithium ion and can be charged via hand crank, solar, or USB.

Radio Channels:  AM/FM/NOAA

Power sources:  Solar, hand crank, USB

NOAA All Hazard or Public Alert Certified Logo:  Yes, Public Alert

S.A.M.E. Technology:  No


Best Emergency Weather Radio

Midland ER310 Emergency Weather Radio Review

Midland ER310

Emergency Weather Radio Reviews: 

If you find yourself in an emergency situation, you’ll be happy to have the Midland ER310 with you.  As the best emergency weather radio, the ER310 includes things like an extremely bright, 130 lumen, Cree LED flashlight, an audible siren, an SOS beacon (Morse Code), and an ultrasonic dog whistle for search and rescue.  It’s also rugged and has a HUGE 2600 mAh rechargeable lithium ion battery that you can also use to charge your cell phone.  Lastly, other common features like a large LCD display, digital clock, and an earphone jack are also included.

Radio Channels:  AM/FM/NOAA

Power sources:  Solar, hand crank, battery

NOAA All Hazard or Public Alert Certified Logo:  Yes, NOAA All Hazard

S.A.M.E. Technology:  No


Best Emergency Weather Radio (On a Budget)

Midland ER210 Emergency Weather Radio Reviews

Midland ER210

Emergency Weather Radio Reviews: 

The Midland ER210 is the best emergency weather radio if you’re buying on a budget.  It’s similar to the ER310 listed above, but has a less rugged design and fewer features.  While you still get the same flashlight, the battery is considerably smaller, which means less radio time or charge for your cell phone.  However, it’s common for the ER210 to be approximately $20 cheaper than the ER310 model.

Radio Channels:  AM/FM/NOAA

Power sources:  Solar, hand crank, battery

NOAA All Hazard or Public Alert Certified Logo:  Yes, NOAA All Hazard

S.A.M.E. Technology:  No 


Best Weather Alert Radio

Sangean CL-100 Review

Sangean CL-100

Weather Alert Radio Review: 

The Sangean CL-100 was chosen as our best weather alert radio, not only because it’s NOAA All Hazard and Public Alert certified, but it also picks up broadcasts from AM/FM/NOAA, and includes the S.A.M.E. (Specific Area Message Encoding) technology that allows the user to get real-time alerts specific to their geographical location.  It is another home weather radio that’s made to sit on a table top.  In addition, it includes an LCD with a dimmer, an alarm clock, five station presets, and is RBDS compatible.

Radio Channels:  AM/FM/NOAA

Power sources:  AC adapter or battery

NOAA All Hazard or Public Alert Certified Logo:  Yes, Both

S.A.M.E. Technology:  Yes


Best Shower Radio with Weather Alerts

Sangean H201 Review

Sangean H201

Shower Weather Radio Review:

Yes, the Sangean H201 is primarily used as a shower radio, and is therefore waterproof and floats.  It has a large LCD display, an alarm, and a flashlight (just in case J).  Click the link below to see, but it’s almost surprising how many very good reviews there are on this weather radio.  Like others on this list, it picks up broadcasts on AM/FM and also each NOAA weather radio frequency.  There is also a Bluetooth version.  Unfortunately, it does not appear to be NOAA All Hazard or Public Alert certified and also does not incorporate S.A.M.E.

Radio Channels:  AM/FM/NOAA

Power sources:  Battery (can purchase AC adapter separately)

NOAA All Hazard or Public Alert Certified Logo:  No

S.A.M.E. Technology:  No


Best Portable Weather Radio

epica emergency solar hand crank

Epica Emergency Portable Weather Radio

Portable Weather Radio Reviews: 

The Epica portable AM/FM weather radio is compact and built to last.  It has received over a thousand positive reviews at online retailers and it’s not hard to see why.  It’s extremely affordable, yet has AM/FM and the all NOAA weather radio stations, an LED flashlight, a phone charger, and a digital LCD tuner with backlight.  In addition, it can be powered 3 different ways!

Radio Channels:  AM/FM/NOAA

Power sources:  Solar, hand crank, and plug-in

NOAA All Hazard or Public Alert Certified Logo:  No

S.A.M.E. Technology:  No


Weather Radio Best Buy

ironsnow radio

iRonsnow Radio

Weather Radio Review: 

The IS-088 is a very basic, analog unit that is so affordable for what you get that we’ve labelled it as our “weather radio best buy.”  It’s not fancy, but it’s simple and contains the basic features you need in a hand crank weather radio.  Some of these features include a powerful 3 LED flashlight, a mobile phone charger (300 mAh battery), and an analog AM/FM/NOAA tuner.  Again, there are thousands of positive customer reviews with online retailers for this weather radio.  One thing to note is that it only issues NOAA alerts when it’s turned on and tuned into that band.  NOTE:  There is an updated version of this weather radio that typically costs a few bucks more.  It’s called the IS-088U+ and it has a 1000 mAh battery for longer life or more phone charge time.

Radio Channels:  AM/FM/NOAA

Power sources:  Solar, hand crank, and micro-usb

NOAA All Hazard or Public Alert Certified Logo:  No

S.A.M.E. Technology:  No


Best Crank Weather Radio

Best Crank Weather Radio

American Red Cross FRX3+ by Eton

Hand Crank Weather Radio Reviews: 

The FRX3+ by Eton is branded with the American Red Cross logo and is also sometimes called the ARCFRX3+WXR (they’re the same weather radio, so don’t be confused).  I like the design of this crank weather radio.  Some of the cool features include the huge 2600 mAH rechargeable lithium ion battery that can charger your cell phone and the blinking red LED beacon.  It offers emergency weather alerts and has AM/FM and each NOAA weather radio frequency.  We chose this as the best crank weather radio because of the battery size and the fact that it provides up to 8.7x longer playback time than lesser crank weather radios.  It can charge smartphones 1.5x with its 2600 mAh battery!

Radio Channels:  AM/FM/NOAA 

Power sources:  Solar, hand crank, and usb

NOAA All Hazard or Public Alert Certified Logo:  No

S.A.M.E. Technology:  No


Best Crank Radio (On a Budget)

FR1 Emergency Weather Radio

American Red Cross FR1 by Eton

Emergency Weather Radio Reviews: 

The Eton FR1, an American Red Cross Emergency Weather Radio, is portable and has only basic functions.  What we like about the Eton FR1 is that it contains a 2000 mAh rechargeable lithium ion battery.  This battery size is usually only found in the larger, more expensive weather radios.  Other than the large battery, there is a super bright LED flashlight, a USB charger for smartphones and a digital tuner and backlit display for AM/FM/NOAA weather band.  Because of its size and capabilities, the Eton FR1 is a must-have in any emergency kit.

Radio Channels:  AM/FM/NOAA

Power sources:  USB and crank

NOAA All Hazard or Public Alert Certified Logo:  No

S.A.M.E. Technology:  No


Best Handheld Weather Radio

Cobra NOAA Emergnecy Weather Radio

Cobra MRHH350FLT Floating VHF Weather Radio

Handheld Weather Radio Reviews: 

The best handheld weather radio, the Cobra MRHH350FLT, is unlike most of the others on this list.  This model is typically used as a marine weather radio on boats, which is why it floats and has an orange core so it can be seen in the water!  It may be small, but the MRHH350 features 6 watts of power for long range communications, NOAA weather channels, and alarms for weather emergencies.  Another cool features is the noise-cancelling microphone and tri-watch mode.  Tri-watch mode means you can save the three most important channels to a single button.  One will always be channel 16, and the other two are your choice.  Per the owner’s manual, it carries a 3-year warranty.

Radio Channels:  VHF/NOAA

Power sources:  battery with 120v and 12v charger

NOAA All Hazard or Public Alert Certified Logo:  No

S.A.M.E. Technology:  No


Weather Radio Buyers Guide

We’ve all been there.  A storm is brewing and you’re not prepared.  All of a sudden, the power goes out and you can’t turn the TV on to see what’s going on.  You’re not sure how bad the storm is or how long it’s going to last.  Is there a tornado warning?  Hail coming?  Who knows?  This is a situation where a weather radio would come in handy at home.  And, the best weather radio is one that can receive weather alerts from the NOAA weather radio frequency and has multiple power sources.  In addition, you should pay attention to the certification logos and check for S.A.M.E. technology if that matters to you.  More on that shortly.

The best way to get through an emergency situation safely is to plan for it.  Having a plan ensures you know what to do and are prepared for anything.  This means planning for shelter, extra food and water, things for when the power goes out, and communication options.  During a natural disaster or severe weather, information can be the key to safety, however it is common for loss of power.  In these cases, your cell phone will only last until the battery is drained.  Having a weather alert radio can help you receive the information you need, along with any emergency alerts.

Radio Channels (NOAA Weather Radio and Others)

NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has an “All Hazards” network of radio stations broadcasting data from your local National Weather Station 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  The best weather radios will notify you via the “weather band”, frequency range 162.400 MHz to 162.550 MHz, when alerts for severe weather events are taking place nearby.  These NOAA broadcasts are cycled every few minutes and include warnings and watches for severe weather and just every day forecasts.  In addition, they also provide safety information for the public for things like AMBER alerts.  Note, the NOAA “weather band” cannot be found on the AM or FM dial.  These are separate frequencies that require special receivers like those in the weather radio reviews posted above.  For this reason, the most essential thing you need to look for in a weather radio is that it covers the NOAA weather radio stations.  All of the weather radios on our list above do!

Of course, I think most of us know what the AM/FM radio dials are.  They are what is typically found on every non-weather radio sold in stores.  Weather radios that have AM/FM and NOAA stations are sometimes called “AM FM Weather Radios”.  Another frequency found above in our list includes shortwave radio (SW1 and SW2), which is often used to transmit voice and music to listeners over long distances.  These are also used by some hobbyists for two-way communication.  Lastly, you saw that the Cobra handheld weather radio above used the marine VHF radio frequency.  These “channels” as they are called are used as the international calling and distress channel, mainly on marine weather radios.

Best Weather Radio Power Sources

As you saw in the list above, weather radios come in many shapes, sizes, feature sets, and even price ranges.  One of the most important factors when trying to find the best weather radio is to make sure there are multiple power sources.  Often weather radios are used during poor weather conditions or during emergencies.  Whether at home or in the great outdoors, having multiple power sources on your weather radio is important. 

best weather radio power sources

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples.  First, let’s discuss a home weather radio.  Most plug directly into the wall with an AC power adapter.  This is great for convenience, but what happens when the power goes out?  Well, you hope you chose one with a backup power source, in this case, it’s typically battery-power.  Our next example could happen when you’re camping in the woods and severe weather is approaching.  You’ve been listening to the ball game all afternoon on your radio and now the batteries and your phone are dead.  There’s nowhere to charge it.  Again, having a backup power source will save the day.  Most portable units offer one or both of a hand crank and solar panel for power generation.  The most common power sources in the best weather radios are batteries, plug-in adapters, solar panels, and hand cranks that generate power.

NOAA All Hazard and Public Alert Certified

NOAA neither manufactures nor recommends brands or types weather radios, but they do applaud looking for either, or both, the NOAA All Hazards and Public Alert logos.  We’ve made sure to specifically notate on each of our best weather radio recommendations above if it contains one or both of these logos.  WXObservation has not independently verified that the logos were obtained legitimately by each manufacturer, just that they are present on the radio.  If you have concerns with this, you should contact the manufacturer directly.

A NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards pertains to radios that are capable of receiving weather and emergency warnings from the NWS and the Department of Homeland Security.  According to the National Weather Service, devices that carry the NOAA All Hazards logo have been evaluated by the NWS for user friendliness and performance capabilities. More specifically, the device must meet certain requirements set forth in CTA-2009-B.  This analysis is done through independent testing or certification facilities.

Similarly, radios that include the Public Alert logo have all met certain technical standards put forth by the Consumer Technology Association.  Some examples of these standards include a tone alarm and battery backup, among other things.  Specifically, a weather band receiver can only be classified as a Public Alert receiver if it complies with all sections of CTA-2009-B.  The Public Alert logo is a registered trade mark of the Consumer Electronics Association.

S.A.M.E. Technology

S.A.M.E. Technology, or Specific Alert Message Encoding, is a fancy way of saying that a specific area of particular interest can be targeted for watches and warnings.  For instance, you might be able to set up your S.A.M.E. weather radio to alert you for your county, and those adjacent to it.  This helps ensure you don’t hear false alarms over and over that are actually being broadcast for areas not hyper local to you.  On some S.A.M.E.-enabled weather radios, you can even do “event blocking” to block certain areas or events that don’t pertain to you.

Other Common Features On Weather Radios

The best weather radios come with all kinds of features.  You’ll find most everything you find on regular AM/FM radios like digital tuners, back-lit LCD displays, and even alarm clocks.  Since weather radios are often used to alert the user, they can also include alarms, buzzers, or sirens.  Likewise, weather radios are often carried just in case of an emergency.  For this reason, we find things like cell phone chargers, SOS blinking lights that use Morse code, and audible alarms used for emergency communication efforts.  A cell phone charger, especially on a hand crank or solar-powered weather radio, helps increase the likelihood that you’ll have communication if stranded, lost, or become injured somewhere.

Battery Life

Another thing to consider when buying a weather radio is the battery life.  Obviously, this is less important in a home weather radio, but can be critical in portable/emergency weather radios.  In most tabletop models, you’re using AC power most of the time and only use batteries for backup power and they can be changed when needed.

However, on most portable or emergency weather radios, there is an internal rechargeable battery pack that fuels the electronic components of the radio.  This battery pack is what is charged by being plugged in or through a solar panel or a hand crank.  The capacity of this battery pack is related to the longevity of the radio or how much your cell phone can be charged.  We recommend trying to find capacities of 2000 mAh or larger when using this type of weather radio.  Bigger is better in this case!

Size/Weight/Shape

What will you be using this weather radio for?  This will determine what size, weight, and shape you’ll be looking for.  This is why we categorized our best weather radios list above.  Our recommendation would be to have a tabletop weather radio for your home, a higher-end portable or emergency weather radio to use when in the outdoor (camping, hiking, boating, etc), and also a small, inexpensive hand crank weather radio for your emergency kit in your car.  Who knows, for the $20-$30 you spend on it, it may save your life someday if your car broke down in the snow.

Durability

Along the same lines as the last point, your use case will determine how important weather radio durability is to you.  Home weather radios often don’t need to be weather resistant.  Likewise, a cheap hand crank weather radio thrown in your trunk for emergencies won’t get used often.  However, on the other hand, if you go camping several times a year, you’re going to want something that is durable and weather-resistant since it’s going to get some heavy use.

Affordability

Most buying decisions we make every day at least take into consideration the price of the product.  That doesn’t change with weather radios of course.  One thing to keep in mind is that the NOAA weather radio channels are free to use and there is no subscription or anything.  Once you buy the radio, use is free of charge.  For this reason, and those listed above, I think spending a few extra bucks to buy a good weather radio is a good decision.  They’re all relatively inexpensive to begin with if you think of how critical it could be to your family someday.  Nearly all the best weather radios, including those on the reviewed above, fall between $20 and $100.

With this being said, an emergency device like a weather radio is not a good place to try and save a few bucks.  When you need it most, it’ll be important that it works and is reliable.  Our recommendation is to look at the product reviews of current users before making a purchase.  Although you probably won’t have the exact same experience as all of the reviewers, you can usually see trends and tendencies with a particular product to better understand if it’s reliable.  This is a perfect way to get real feedback from real users of the actual weather radio you’re considering.  Where possible, we tried to select radios for our list that have a proven track record and an adequate number of reviews from real customers that are happy with its performance.

Warranty

This may or may not come into play for you.  Most weather radios carry the standard 1 year warranty.  The best weather radio models may have an even longer warranty like 2 or 3 years.  As long as you buy from a reputable company and take care of your weather radio, they should last longer than this.  The exception might be some of the very low cost options that are available from China these days.  There are some weather radios with longer warranties that give me confidence they manufacturer will stand behind their product.

Why Buy a Weather Radio?

Hopefully you’ve figured this out already, but the reasons are simple.  Knowledge is power!  Weather radios alert you to critical, local information in real-time.  They often work when nothing else does.  If your house loses power, most of the time you also lose television and internet.  When you’re camping, you might not have phone service, but the radio should still work.  Besides all the reasons why you need one, the fact that they are so relatively inexpensive for their number of uses, you should just have one because they’re cheap peace of mind!

As we mentioned at the outset of our weather radio reviews, having communication during disasters and other emergency situations is important.  For the relatively small amount of money it takes to buy a good weather radio, we think you will be happy you invested in one.  In addition, if you spend the extra few bucks to get something reliable you should be able to use it for many years to come.

Where to Buy a Weather Radio

You might be asking yourself, where can I buy a weather radio?  Our recommendation is to look at Amazon.  Amazon appears to have the best selection of weather radios in all of the categories outlined above.  It’s also common that they have the lowest prices of anywhere we can find.  In fact, all of the links to our recommendations on the list of best weather radios above direct you to the corresponding Amazon product page.  When buying something, we recommend looking through the customers’ weather radio reviews to get a feel for how happy they are with the product.  This can give you some great insight on the product and also peace of mind that you are making the correct decision and getting the best weather radio.  Amazon also offers free 2-day shipping to their Prime Members.

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