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Expert Shopper Electronics

Best emergency radio

Which emergency radio is best?

The radio may be falling out of favor as a platform and source of entertainment, but it is still an advantageous communication method. Emergency radio broadcasts are helpful and informative. Having an emergency radio available in a survival situation can make it easier to seek aid and stay informed.

If you need a rugged, durable emergency radio, the top choice is the Esky Emergency Radio. Its ability to keep functioning in extreme weather conditions makes it a valuable survival resource.

What to know before you buy an emergency radio

Where will you use it?

You may be looking at an emergency radio that you can use in a serious survival incident, but you could also need a radio to take on camping trips. Depending on the circumstances you expect to encounter, you may need different features in an emergency radio. 

Should it be easily portable?

If you are going to carry the emergency radio with you camping or traveling anywhere, weight is a significant concern. Some highly durable and sturdy emergency radio products are not as easy to transport as others. If you plan on hiking and carrying your gear on foot, every little bit of weight can make a difference. If you need something portable, opt for fewer extra features that you do not need and get only the bare essentials included in your radio.

Will you use it often?

You could save an emergency radio for solely emergencies, but if you like listening to it anyway, it would be nice to have one that you can use every day. If you plan to use the radio recreationally or often for any reason, make sure that you keep it charged and ready in the event of an emergency. 

What to look for in a quality emergency radio


The best emergency radios have more than one method of powering the device. In an emergency, it may be challenging to get any particular power source, which is why you need multiple options. Hand cranks and solar panels allow emergency radios to obtain electrical power without help from other power sources. Extra batteries and power banks can also be useful. Also, consider the value of an emergency radio taking electrical charge from other devices, like phones, laptops and more.

Additional features

Some emergency radios have extra features like built-in flashlights or a power bank that you can use for charging mobile devices in an emergency. It is also useful for emergency radios to have the ability to play audio other than radio signals. You can use some options as speakers for mobile devices, and some have alarm functions so that users can send out SOS signals.


The durability of an emergency radio might be the most crucial feature of the device. If an emergency radio breaks, it could spell disaster for someone in need. The best emergency radios will hold up to normal wear and tear, falls and drops, heavy impacts and severe weather conditions. Whether your emergency radio survives a serious situation with you can mean life or death, so if you find a fragile device, it is not worth any money you might save to get something that will be useless in a real emergency.

How much you can expect to spend on an emergency radio

Anyone in need of an emergency radio can find a variety of models for $20-$50, depending on the features. Particularly advanced radios with communication systems may cost more, but a decent emergency radio for survival situations is not very expensive.

Emergency radio FAQ

Should an emergency radio have many functions?

A. The benefit of numerous uses and additional features is that your emergency radio can be like an electrical multitool. Having a radio, light source, power bank and speaker all rolled into one device is useful. The downside is that every function of your emergency radio uses the same limited power source. There is nothing wrong with radios having lots of additional functionality, but users cannot be careless. In an emergency, it is essential to ration out electricity carefully and not use it unnecessarily.

Is it safe to use an emergency radio to power other devices?

A. Yes, using emergency radios as a power bank can be helpful. Refer to the manual of your emergency radio if it can power other devices. An essential rule of thumb is that you should not charge the emergency radio with a hand crank or other methods while using it to charge something else because this could cause damage to electronics. If you need to charge your mobile device, for example, charge your emergency radio’s power bank with the hand crank before you plug in the mobile device and transfer the battery power.

What’s the best emergency radio to buy?

Top emergency radio

Esky Emergency Radio

What you need to know: This affordable and adaptable radio is a good tool for anyone who needs an emergency device and is unsure of what to expect.

What you’ll love: It is weather-resistant and durable enough to continue performing in extreme winds, snow and other heavy weather. You can charge it via USB cable, solar panel or the built-in hand crank. It doubles as a flashlight with bright LEDs. It is compact and easily portable.

What you should consider: Users may only be able to access a limited number of AM and FM stations clearly. Users must be careful not to damage the antenna.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top emergency radio for the money

RunningSnail Emergency Radio

What you need to know: This affordable radio performs well and includes many additional features for people who want more than just an emergency radio.

What you’ll love: The device serves as a radio, table lamp, flashlight and power bank. The rechargeable battery can provide up to 12 hours of light or six hours of continuous radio use. It comes with a built-in SOS alarm with a flashing light feature to notify and warn people in the surrounding area. You can power the power bank with USB charging, solar power, AAA batteries or the hand crank.

What you should consider: The knob may snap off the radio if users are not careful. Some users have reported that the radio cannot reliably hold a charge over a longer period, so you can't charge it and forget about it until an emergency.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

iRonsnow Emergency Radio

What you need to know: This emergency radio is useful for emergencies, camping and outdoor adventures.

What you’ll love: The radio has a handle and a reading lamp to provide lighting. It has access to AM and FM stations along with emergency NOAA Weather alerts. The device can serve as a speaker for MP3 audio. The siren and alarm system are loud and allows users to set alarms that automatically notify about natural disasters and other emergencies nearby. You can charge up the power bank via USB cables, solar charging, hand crank or AA batteries.

What you should consider: The reception can get a little fuzzy or experience static depending on the location. Users have to be careful not to damage the tuning knob.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Elliott Rivette writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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