The Best Emergency Weather Radio

The Best Emergency Weather Radio

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Our pick

Midland ER310

Midland ER310

Tough, dynamic, and portable

With great radio reception, NOAA early-warning notifications, and a hand crank that effectively revives it, the ER310 is a durable, compact radio that doubles as a flashlight and charging station.

Buying Options

$60 from Amazon
$70 from Lowe’s

The Midland ER310 is the best emergency weather radio because it offers better reception, a brighter flashlight, and more-effective charging options than the other models we tested, including the ability to charge from dead through solar power or hand-cranking. More important, it can receive NOAA extreme-weather alerts, providing notifications that are both loud and readily visible so you won’t miss any warnings. The ER310’s convenient size makes it comfortable to carry, so it’s easier to grab on the go in the case of an imminent storm. It was also one of the few radios we tested that lived up to their crank-generating claims: We found that just one minute of cranking produced 10 minutes of radio time or a few minutes of flashlight use. Plus, its durable body can stand up to rainy weather or a drop onto a hard surface.

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Runner-up

Midland ER210

Midland ER210

A sleek version with a smaller battery

Identical to our top pick in almost every way, the ER210 is about 33% smaller in size and in battery life. Fortunately, the crank charge works fast to get it up and running again.

Buying Options

$40 from Walmart
$40 from Best Buy

The Midland ER210 is essentially a smaller-scale version of our top pick—about two-thirds of the size, both physically and in terms of battery capacity and price. It has all the same perks of the ER310, including weather-band radio reception and blaring NOAA weather alerts, as well as a bright flashlight, a headphone jack, and multiple charging options. In fact, the hand generator on the ER210 will actually give this radio more power after a minute of cranking than that of the ER310 (although you’re working with a smaller battery to begin with). The ER210 doesn’t look as substantial as its larger cousin, but it proved to be just as durable in our splash and drop tests. If you want a sleeker alternative to our top pick, the Midland ER210 is a great option.

Budget pick

RunningSnail MD-090P

RunningSnail MD-090P

No alerts, but capable and affordable

Though it doesn’t have an LCD screen or NOAA alerts, the RunningSnail’s impressive radio reception, battery life, and multiple lighting options will still get you through a storm.

Buying Options

$36 from Amazon

If you are willing to give up automatic weather alerts, the RunningSnail MD-090P is a good, affordable emergency weather radio. It can’t beep or flash to let you know when bad weather is coming, but it still picks up NOAA weather-band radio signals with great reception once you turn it on and tune it in. The lack of alerts makes it a poor choice for tornado-prone and flash-flood-prone areas, but it’s an otherwise capable radio—especially if earthquakes are your main concern, because they can’t be forecast. Otherwise, the RunningSnail is sturdily built and offers excellent battery life with multiple charging options, including a reliable crank generator. The brightest of its three flashlight settings is actually a little brighter than that of either Midland model, and it also provides a handy reading lamp underneath the pivotable solar panel.

Upgrade pick

Eton Sidekick

Eton Sidekick

The best-sounding weather radio

This radio is packed with small luxuries such as Bluetooth, a reading light, and a solid speaker. It’s also the only portable weather radio we’ve found with SAME alerts.

Buying Options

$80 from Amazon

If you want a weather radio that you can also enjoy as an on-the-go entertainment center, we recommend the Eton Sidekick. It’s one of the few models we found with Bluetooth or an aux-in port, and it also has the best-sounding speaker of any weather radio we’ve ever tested. Plus, the back panel works as a 5-by-5-inch reading light, making it a great option for reading or finding kindling in the dark. In addition to receiving AM/FM, weather-band radio, and NOAA weather alerts, the Sidekick also picks up the hyper-local and customizable Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) alerts—it’s the only portable emergency weather radio we’ve found that does so. Like our other picks, it’s reliably resistant against tumbles and water, and it offers USB charging and a headphone jack, as well. However, the flashlight isn’t quite as bright as on our other picks, and the position of the handle means you might accidentally press a button and alter the radio or alert settings while you’re carrying it. But the rest of its upgrades more than make up for that.

Also great

Midland WR400

Midland WR400

The best stationary weather radio for your home

This radio alarm should fit onto any desktop, providing you with visual and audible NOAA alerts as well as customizable and hyper-local Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) alerts.

Buying Options

$70 from Walmart
$70 from Best Buy

If you live in an especially storm-prone area, or if you just want something that can sit in a dedicated spot at your home to warn you of inclement weather, we recommend the Midland WR400. In addition to the standard weather-band radio and AM/FM service, this easy-to-use desktop alarm clock radio works with Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME), an upgraded NOAA emergency signal that lets you custom-tailor alerts for specific conditions in your particular area. If you have hearing loss, or if you’re not at home when the alert sounds, the WR400 saves the specific messaging for you with three bright LED settings to differentiate between a storm Advisory, Watch, or Warning, so you can check the alerts at your convenience. The WR400 also comes with a headphone jack and a USB charging port, making it a great bedside companion. If you’re worried about losing electricity, it has a backup battery compartment, as well.

Hafta Ichi
Source: The NY Times
Keyword: The Best Emergency Weather Radio

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