Emergency Radios – Updated Reviews

Emergency Radio review

Where’s the radio?

The recent earthquake in Napa, California happened at 3:20 a.m. The electricity immediately went out, so no TV, no radio, no news! And for most people, no light. If you have seen any pictures of the insides of their homes, with furniture tipped over and everything strewn around, you can imagine how terrifying and how dangerous the situation was.

So it’s back to the basics. Having a good battery-operated or crank emergency radio HANDY will provide news and light to help you navigate the disaster. You can get a very serviceable radio for under $50, and more elaborate ones for less than $100. You probably want more than one radio.

I went back to our radio reviews to be sure that our recommendations still hold.

The best emergency radio of the bunch: Ambient Weather

The least expensive of the radios we tested is still the best, overall.  It’s the Ambient Weather Adventurer.  Sturdy, compact, lightweight. Charge it by cranking or with solar, and when fully charged it can power your phone. Use it to get NOAA weather alerts and local news.

As you know we use Amazon to deliver our recommendations, so I went further into the Ambient Weather site as well as the Amazon site to see what else I could find.

There are a couple of newer, more powerful models.

Add a siren: The original model 111 that we own has been upgraded to the model 112 with the addition of an emergency siren, a flashing red light (there’s already a really good   regular LED flashlight), and some internal improvements for charging. You have the option of getting a whole “connections” package to hook up to your various electronic devices.

Add AAA batteries:  The 333 models add AAA batteries to the mix, giving you a sixth way to charge the radio. (It already comes with a Lithium-ion battery, has solar, connects to AC — the wall — and DC — car battery — can charge from your computer, and, of course, cranks.) In direct sunlight the 333 will charge itself and play continuously, which means it’s pretty strong. (No solar charging at 3:20 a.m., of course.)

Add Shortwave:  All these radios have Digital AM/FM and NOAA Weather Alert channels; the 335 models add shortwave. According to the description, the 335 can charge your cell phone, MP3, MP4, Kindle, iPod, iPad, and iPhone. And your computer. The package comes with various adapter cords including, of course, an AC adapter.

From our experience with shortwave radios, if this is important to you, you may want to spend time looking at some of the other radios on our list that specialize in shortwave.  Professional shortwave (with fine tuning ability, for example) adds cost and you really want to be sure you have top-rated equipment if this is what you need.

We’ve added more to the reviews of the other radios in our list, too.

We have added new remarks to all our Radio Reviews, and upgraded to newer models.  Before you buy, take a look at all the comments here.

But do buy. Having an emergency radio that works is essential. And knowing you can get to it in the dark at 3:20 a.m. makes sense, too.

Your Emergency Plan Guide team


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One Response

  1. Russ Flanigan