Not having your phone on your person means that you limit your lines of communication. When you’re out in the wilderness, you need some way to stay in contact with the world. It’s beneficial to have some form of information with you wherever you go.

If there’s bad weather moving in your climbing trail or hunting area, you’re going to need to prepare for the environmental change that comes with it. Having a survival radio on hand helps you stay ahead of the weather, avoiding a nasty surprise in the middle of your trip.

The last thing you need is to be far away from basecamp when the storm arrives. It could take hours to get back, and you might encounter some life-threatening challenges along the way. In this post, we’ll look at the best survival radios to keep you in touch with the world when you’re away with nature.

Our Top Picks

There are dozens of models to choose from when selecting your first survival radio. We realize having so much choice on hand can make it challenging to settle on a final model. We decided to help you out and condense all the best survival radio models into one review.

Out of our selection, we chose the following three models as the best-in-class, working in three categories. There’s a survival radio to suit your needs and your budget in these top picks.

Best Pick: Zurio Emergency Radio

Emergency Radio with NOAA Weather Alert - Hand Crank & Solar Powered Hurricane Radio – AM FM Weather Survival Radio with Battery Backup, Flashlight, Phone Charger, SOS Alarm, & Bonus Survival Whistle
  • 🌩️ AN EMERGENCY KIT ESSENTIAL, WITH NOAA WEATHER RADIO CHANNELS – This little weather radio with battery backup is an ABSOLUTE MUST-HAVE for any good emergency preparedness kit. In addition to the NOAA stations with 24/7 weather forecasts, our radio also includes all other local AM / FM frequencies. The long antenna boosts reception for crystal clear sound quality, and volume is adjustable.
  • ⚡ 5 POWER SOURCES - No matter what emergency situation you find yourself in, you’ll never run out of electricity! Our multi-powered emergency radio has a HAND CRANK and its very own integrated SOLAR PANELS, or you can power it with AAA BATTERIES (not included), or by simply plugging it into a WALL OUTLET or even a CAR CIGARETTE LIGHTER POWER ADAPTER. On top of all that, there's an internal rechargeable lithium ion battery that keeps it running for hours after charging.
  • 🔋 LONGER LASTING BATTERY THAN ANY OTHER COMPETITOR - Most other emergency radios have an internal rechargeable battery capacity between 600-800 mAh. Some of the higher-end solar radios even have 2000 mAh. But ours? It’s a WHOPPING 4000 mAh, which means it will LAST A LOT LONGER, which is exactly what you need in an emergency situation.
  • 🔦 CELL PHONE CHARGER, FLASHLIGHT, & LOUD EMERGENCY SIREN – Whether you’re out camping, or stuck at home during a power outage or in a severe hurricane or tornado emergency situation, you’ll be able to maintain communication and keep your family safe thanks to all the extra thought that went into the design of this emergency weather radio and its features. You can charge your phone directly from the power created by this device, and it also includes a handy flashlight and emergency SOS siren.
  • 👍 1-YEAR NO-RISK 100% MONEY BACK GUARANTEE, & WORLD CLASS CUSTOMER SERVICE – Purchase with confidence! Our rechargeable battery radio portable am fm emergency essential is absolutely solid, works right out of the box, is easy to use, and is meant to last. But if you’re not happy with it for any reason at all, just contact us and we’ll quickly make it right, or refund your money. That’s a promise!

We selected the Zurio survival radio as the best overall model in this review. This unit comes with a flashlight, SOS alarm, AM/FM/WB Radio, phone charger, aux music input, and works with 4-power sources. If you’re looking for a compact, high-quality radio, this is your best choice. You get a durable rubberized casing for drop-protection and weather resistance and 24/7 weather forecasting cross America thanks to its NOAA station signals.

Premium Pick: American Red Cross Emergency Radio

Eton, American Red Cross FRX3+ Emergency NOAA Weather Radio
  • Emergency Radio: Be prepared for any emergencies and disasters with this rechargeable weather alert radio with solar panel and hand turbine power generator; No emergency kit is complete without it
  • Stay Alert: The “Alert” function automatically broadcasts any emergency weather alerts for your area; Keep it charged via solar panel, hand crank or a built-in rechargeable battery
  • Multifunction Digital Device: This AM/FM/NOAA weather band digital radio with display and alarm clock can also charge a smartphone via USB port; Also features an LED flashlight and red flashing beacon
  • Keep Connected: From weather alert radios and backup battery packs to solar-powered sound systems, we'll keep you connected and in the know at home, in the office, on the road or in the great outdoors
  • Eton's Commitment to Preparedness: We're committed to helping you be prepared for everyday fun and unexpected emergency, whether you’re out on a 10-day backpacking trip or barbecuing in the backyard

If you’re a survivalist and looking for the best equipment you can find, this model from the American Red Cross is a great choice for your survival radio. This model comes with an emergency AM/FM/WB radio, featuring a hand crank and solar panels for always-on power supply. This model s comes with access to the NOAA weather reports and battery backup options offering charging to your mobile device.

Budget Pick: RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio

RunningSnail Emergency Weather Radio, AM/FM/NOAA Hand Crank Solar Radio with SOS Alarm, Battery Operated, LED Flashlight & Reading Lamping, 2000mAh Power Bank for Emergency Phone Charge
  • 【A MUST-HAVE FOR THE EMERGENCY】This emergency weather radio not only dependably receive up to the newest emergency weather forecasts from NOAA and AM/FM stations to be well prepared advanced; Also, A 2000mAh large capacity battery can provide emergency power to any small tablet or phone, the brighter LED Flashlight and reading lamp could light up your darkness. The SOS Alarm, external antenna, comfortable hand crank, tap switch fit all your needs in emergency.
  • 【2000mAh EMERGENCY POWER BANK KEEP YOU ONLINE】RunningSnail's emergency radio comes with a 2000mAh power bank, which works with most USB-powered devices. Enough emergency power for all-important calls to your family, the emergency services, or for contacting assistance in emergency situations. You will never lose contact with the outside world.
  • 【4 WAYS TO POWER KEEP YOU NEVER POWER OFF】The emergency crank radio with a 2000mAh built-in battery doesn't only charge via USB Cable, you also could power the emergency radio by hand crank and solar panel to ensure that you can use the solar crank radio normally. AAA batteries, which are found in every household and easy to get, ensure you have power when not able to regenerate power. Never run out of electricity!
  • 【2 LIGHT SOURCES AND SOS ALARM 】The emergency radio also could provide a 4 LED reading lamp and 1W LED flashlight. Whether walking at night or without power at home, we can provide you with the timeliest help, keep you and your loved ones out of the dark in an emergency situation. Also, the SOS function will allow you to make a loud siren sound and a flashing light, draw others' attention as soon as possible to out of emergency.
  • 【NO RISK FOR YOUR PURCHASE】 Your voice drives us to be the best. We back our emergency weather radio with an 18-months Warranty! If you are not satisfied with this NOAA weather radio, we will provide the solution for you immediately as you contact us. And our customer service is here for you 24/7 for anything you need!

Survivalists looking for the most affordable option in this review will get plenty of value from the RunningSnail solar crank model. This unit features solar-powered and hand-crank operation, with a durable, high-viz casing that’s drop-resistant and water-resistant.

You get a flashlight/reading lamp, as well as AM/FM/NOAA radio and a 2,000-mAh charger for your devices. The SOS alarm keeps you safe on your trip, and you get 12-hours of light time on the lamp or 5-hours of radio playback on a single charge.

Survival Radio Reviews

Now that you have an idea of the best models in this review, stick around, and we’ll unpack them in further detail. We’ll also look at a few other models that qualify for the best survival bracelet.

Make sure you check out our buyer’s guide section after the reviews. We’ll walk you through all the features to look for in the best survival bracelet.

Zurio Emergency Radio

If you’re looking for the best overall survival radio, this Zurio model is the best choice. You get a compact device, with everything you need to handle hiking in the mountains or hunting on public land. This model features all seven of the NOAA bands with full AM/FM functionality.

The armored housing is somewhat drop-resistant, and you get a waterproof design that’s splash resistant for wet weather conditions. This model comes with four power options, including an onboard 2,000-mAh battery.

The Zurio has Micro-USB and USB DC compatibility to charge to your devices on the go. This model comes with an LED flashlight and concerts to a reading lamp for around the campsite and inside your tent.

This model charges via hand-crank or through solar panels built into the device. You get a full charge on a cloudy day and over 10-hours of radio playback from a single charge.

  • Multi-functional device
  • Powerful flashlight
  • Four charging options
  • Powers your cellphone or mobile device on the road
  • Hand-crank and solar-powered technology
  • Aux input for music connection
  • SOS alarm for rescue support
  • NOAA channels for weather reporting
  • Only available in one color

View Details

American Red Cross Emergency Radio

The American Red Cross is an American tradition in rescue. This model from ARC wins our award for the best premium survival radio in this review.

Purpose-built for the slopes, this model is the ideal choice for climbers and mountaineers. Its compact and lightweight design means it takes up minimal space in your pack and won’t weigh you down on your hike or climb.

You get a special alert function that overrides what the radio is doing when there’s an emergency broadcast, that’s handy, keeping you informed of weather developments in your area as they happen. The solar panels and hand-crank ensure you get power to the device, regardless of the weather conditions.

This model facilitates all seven NOAA bands, allowing you to stay informed of emergencies in your region. The rugged housing features a telescopic antenna, and you get an LED flashlight built into the casing.

  • Solar and hand-crank charging
  • Alert function for emergency broadcasts
  • AM/FM/NOAA bands available
  • Suitable for survivalists and mountaineers
  • LED flashlight included
  • Only one color available

View Details

RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio

This model is the ideal choice for survivalists on a budget. You get plenty of value form this radio, featuring an onboard 2,000-mAh battery and four charging methods. There are solar panels and hand-crank for traditional charging, and you also have the option of using AAA batteries to power the device.

This model features an LED flashlight with SOS signaling. If there’s an emergency, you can activate the emergency alarm to attract attention from rescue teams. This model features full AM/FM functionality, with access to all seven NOAA bands.

The button’s streamlined design is sleek and attractive, and you get your choice of four colors when picking out your ideal model.

  • Bright flashlight and reading lamp
  • AM/FM/NOAA emergency radio bands
  • SOS alarm for easy detection in emergencies
  • USB powered operation
  • Solar and hand-crank charging
  • 2,000-mAh onboard battery
  • Affordable
  • 4-colors available
  • The casing feels somewhat flimsy

View Details

Midland Emergency Weather Radio

This device features four power sources, including the hand-crank and solar panels. You get fast-charging of your devices from the Micro USB and USB DC connections on the housing. It also features a telescopic antenna.

This model features an LED flashlight that doubles as a table lamp, and you get an SOS alarm with flashing SOS light. This Midland model gets all seven of the NOAA emergency broadcast channels for a safe trip.

  • Multi-functional device
  • Flashlight and reading lamp
  • Battery-level indicator
  • Ultrasonic dog whistle
  • USB-charging
  • Headphone jack
  • LCD with large-button control panel
  • Rugged housing
  • Only one color available

View Details

Kaito 5-way Solar Radio

This survival radio features access to all seven NOAA emergency broadcast channels. You get a 6-way powered device, with hand-crank and solar panels for fast charging.

The USB DC and Micro USB connections charge your devices fast, and the red LED light flashes a distress code in an emergency.

This Kaito model comes in five colors, but we think the design is a bit ugly. The dials and knobs also get in the way and snag on stuff in your daypack.

  • Micro-USB charging
  • Available in five colors
  • Solar and hand-crank charging
  • Micro-USB and USB DC output
  • Rugged housing
  • Flashlight and reading lamp
  • Compact design
  • AM/FM/NOAA emergency band
  • Design not to everyones tastes

View Details

Sangean Emergency Radio

This model is the ideal choice for the survivalist. This radio comes with a rugged, rubberized housing for drop protection and shock resistance. You get access to all seven of the NOAA bands and 19-preset stations.

This model features a hand-crank and solar power system, with Micro USB charging and USB DC ports to charge your devices. The LED flashlight is a nice touch and includes a distress signal program.

  • Rugged, drop-proof housing
  • Solar and hand-crank charging
  • Flashlight and reading lamp
  • AM/FM/NOAA bands
  • Receives all seven NOAA bandwidths
  • Built-in clock and large LCD
  • Only in yellow

View Details

FosPower Emergency Solar Radio

This model features a sleek housing design, with an LED flashlight and reading lamp built into the housing. We’re not crazy about the dial knobs, but they provide accurate band tracking to find the seven NOAA weather channels.

You get a 4-way power supply, including hand-crank and solar panels to charge the device. The housing also provides Micro USB and USB DC connections, and you get a limited lifetime warranty on the device.

  • Built-in flashlight and reading lamp
  • Solar and hand-crank charging
  • 4-way power supply
  • USB charging
  • AM/FM/NOAA bands
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Solar charging could be better

View Details

Mesqool 5-Way Solar Weather Radio

This model comes with seven preconfigured NOAA stations. The radio has full AM/FM capability and decent speakers for a pleasant listening experience around the campsite. You get 5-power sources, including a hand-crank and solar panels for fast-charging.

This Mesquool survival radio features a Micro USB and USB DC charging port for your devices, and you get a full accessory kit included with your purchase.

  • Access to all 7-NOAA bands
  • Built-in flashlight and reading lamp
  • Available in two colors
  • 2,000-mAh onboard battery
  • Micro USB and USB DC functionality
  • SOS flashing beacon
  • One-year warranty
  • Design could be improved

View Details

ROCAM Weather Radio

This ROCAM model has a similar design to the Mesquool unit. You get a 5-way power supply for the device, including a 2,000-mAh battery.

There are hand-crank and solar panels for powering the device during the day, and a Micro-USB port for charging the device at night. You get a built-in flashlight with an SOS distress signal and a splash-proof design that’s water-resistant.

  • Similar design to the Mesqool
  • 5-way powered device
  • Micro USB and USB DC ports
  • Built-in flashlight and reading lamp with integrated SOS signal
  • SOS alarm
  • Compact, waterproof design
  • Only available in one color

View Details

Dodocool Weather Radio

We wrap up this review with the Dodocool survival radio. This model features a built-in flashlight with a battery indicator, rugged housing, and telescopic antenna. You get AM/FM capability, with access to all seven NOAA channels.

The onboard 2,000-mAh battery gets a charge from the hand-crank, solar panels, or the Micro USB port. There’s a USB DC port on the housing to help you charge your smartphone.

  • AM/FM/NOAA bands
  • SOS alarm and lighting
  • Reading lamp
  • 2,000-mAh onboard battery
  • Waterproof rating
  • 5-charging methods
  • Micro USB and USB DC charging
  • Solar and hand-crank charging
  • Affordable
  • Only comes in one color

View Details

Other Best Selling Options

SaleBestseller No. 1
FosPower 2000mAh NOAA Emergency Weather Radio (Model A1) Portable Power Bank with Solar Charging, Hand Crank & Battery Operated, SOS Alarm, AM/FM & LED Flashlight for Outdoor Emergency
  • [2000MAH POWER BANK WILL KEEP DEVICES POWERED] FosPower's emergency radio incorporates a 2000mAh power bank capable of providing emergency power to any small tablet or phone.
  • [3 POWER SOURCES POWER WHEN YOU NEED IT] Use the emergency weather radio's 3 power sources when you need a boost of power or need to recharge the radio. The radio's crank lever and solar panel are both capable of regenerating enough power to keep the radio, lights, and SOS alarm ready to go when you need it most. AAA Batteries ensure you have power when not able to regenerate power.
  • [2 LIGHT SOURCES ALWAYS POWERED] The emergency crank radio can also provide light. The 4 LED reading light and 1W flashlight provides enough output to keep you and your loved ones out of the dark in an emergency situation.
  • [NOAA EMERGENCY WEATHER BROADCAST ACCESS] The radio will dependably receive up to the second emergency weather forecasts and emergency news broadcasts from NOAA and AM/FM stations.
  • [LIMITED LIFETIME WARRANTY] Includes a Limited Lifetime Warranty. Please visit FosPower's website for more information.
SaleBestseller No. 2
【2021 Newest】RunningSnail Emergency Crank Radio,4000mAh-Solar Hand Crank Portable AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio with 1W Flashlight&Motion Sensor Reading Lamp,Cell Phone Charger, SOS for Home and Emergency
  • ★【2021 Newest Design MD-090P】Based on MD-090 emergency flashlight radio and customer's feedback, we've optimized and upgraded a lot of features. A biggest 4000mAh replaceable li-ion battery can charge more than one smartphone, the most powerful lighting functions include super-bright 3 mode flashlight and motion sensor reading lamp. Also, external antenna, electricity label, comfortable hand crank, tap switch fit all your needs. The MD-090P is the best value for emergency radio in this market.
  • ★【The Most Powerful Life Saver Radio】Nature is unpredictable, but you can be prepared and ready in the face of her fury. The emergency crank radio with weather band and phone charge professionally get weather broadcasts the latest weather and all hazard information for your areas like hurricanes, tornadoes and so on from 7 NOAA stations at a crystal-clear sound. Earns a critical time for you to get full preparation advance, keeping you and your family safe with this emergency weather radio.
  • ★【4 CHARGING MODES】Compared with 2000mah or 1000mah emergency radio on the market, the solar radio has upgraded to 4000mAh replaceable 18650 Li-ion battery, found in every household and easy to buy in the local market or amazon store. Also, Micro USB charge, Solar charge, Hand-crank could also supply the flashlight radio last for days after the storm had passed until the power back on. No matter what emergency situation you find yourself in, this hand crank light never run out of electricity!
  • ★【Super-Bright 3 Mode Flashlight And Motion Sensor Reading Lamp】 If you are an outdoor enthusiast or need to walk in places without lights, the flashlight radio with 3 modes flashlight is a great alternative, which farthest lighting range exceeds10m, farther than the most other solar emergency radio. Also, a reading lamp with a Motion sensor will greatly help you get up in the mid-night to avoid waking your family. Add to cart, you will never regret that you purchase this crank flashlight radio!
  • ★【We Care About You and The ones Your loved】 In the past years, Our emergency radio has helped more than 10,000,000 USA Civilians to live through the hurricane, tornadoes and snowstorm season, like "Dorian", "Harvey, "Irma", etc. Your voice drives us to be the best. We back our emergency weather radio with 18-months Warranty! If you are not satisfied with this NOAA weather radio, we can refund you immediately as you contact us. And our customer service is here for you 24/7 for anything you need!
SaleBestseller No. 3
Weather Radio Raynic 5000mAh Solar Hand Crank Emergency Radio 5 Ways Powered AM/FM/SW/NOAA Weather Alert Portable Radio with Flashlight, Reading Lamp, Cellphone Charger and SOS Alarm (Yellow)
  • 5-WAY POWER SOURCES - The weather radios with multiple power backup options are the best choice.5 power sources including a hand crank, solar panel, built-in Li-ion rechargeable battery(Before use, PLEASE REMEMBER to REMOVE the Plastic Tab in the Battery Compartment), 3 pieces of AAA batteries (not included) and AC power to make it easier to keep the radio running during a prolonged situation where AC power is off and batteries have been used up.
  • MULTI-USE & DURABLE- The upgraded crank radios with a 5000mAh li-ion battery is enough to charge your cell phone or USB devices for a brief call or a text message during an emergency. And plus a 3.5mm headphone jack, allows you to enjoy radio shows without disturbing others. This weather radio with 3W integrated flashlights and 2.5W reading lamp are handy during emergency power cuts to see any signal in the dark. can be a lifesaver during dangerous disasters like tornadoes and hurricanes.
  • NOAA ALERT RADIO - This NOAA weather alert radio are specially designed for emergency need. But it requires being powered on and manually tuned into a local weather station to receive alerts. It has standard analog tuning of AM/FM/SW/7 preset NOAA weather channels. It is a particular device designed to receive emergency warnings for various life-threatening weather events such as cyclones, hurricanes, tsunamis, and other weather disasters.
  • PORTABLE RADIO & COMPASS - This pocket-sized portable emergency radio is surprisingly small and light. Its dimension is 7.5*3.5*4.7inch and weight 1.2LB, and it comes with SOS alarm function and a necessary compass.For hiking or trekking purpose this type of radio is a smart choice. Carrying around a large unit is quite difficult when you have to move around during emergencies.
  • HOME & OUTDOOR NECESSARY - This waterproof IPX3 emergency radio with a backup power source is reliable and necessary for home use and outdoor travel, so you’ll be ready in case of any emergency events. Packing included: 1*Raynic Emergency Weather Radio with Built-in Li-ion Battery,1*Handy Braid belt,1*Carabiner,1*Compass,1*Micro USB Charger,and 1*User Manual.
SaleBestseller No. 4
Midland - ER310, Emergency Crank Weather AM/FM Radio - Multiple Power Sources, SOS Emergency Flashlight, Ultrasonic Dog Whistle, & NOAA Weather Scan + Alert (Red/Black)
  • MULTIPLE POWER SOURCES - The ER310 features 3 sustainable power sources to recharge your radio: Solar Panel, Hand Crank, & Rechargeable 2600 mAh Battery. SOLAR PANEL - Simply recharge the internal lithium ion battery with direct sunlight. HAND CRANK - Recharge the radio during a power outage or anytime away from a power source. RECHARGEABLE 2600 mAh BATTERY - The rechargeable & replaceable long life battery provides up to 32 hours of radio operation. The ER310 can also be powered by 6 “AA” Batteries (Not Included) as a backup power solution.
  • EMERGENCY FLASHLIGHT - The SOS FLASHLIGHT BEACON flashes Morse code in an emergency scenario and the Bright CREE LED (130 Lumens) can be used to signal for help. Select the Low brightness setting to conserve battery life or the High brightness setting for maximum illumination.
  • NOAA WEATHER SCAN + ALERT - NOAA Weather Scan will automatically scan through 7 available weather (WX) band channels and locks onto the strongest weather channel to alert you of severe weather updates. NOAA Weather Alert will sound an alarm indicating that there is a risk of severe weather in your area. AM/FM radio is also available.
  • CHARGE EXTERNAL DEVICES - Quickly charge your portable devices (cell phones, tablets, etc.) using the USB charging cable (included).
  • ULTRASONIC DOG WHISTLE - Use the dog whistle to assist search and rescue teams in locating individuals during an emergency situation.
SaleBestseller No. 5
RunningSnail Emergency Hand Crank Radio with LED Flashlight for Emergency, AM/FM NOAA Portable Weather Radio with 2000mAh Power Bank Phone Charger, USB Charged & Solar Power for Camping, Emergency
  • 【HOME & OUTDOOR NECESSARY】As reported, we used to experience several times natural disasters per year like hurricanes"Harvey", Wildfire, and so on. RunningSnail emergency weather Radio will keep your family safe through it all. This Weather Radio can timely report emergency weather alerts in your areas to be well prepared; A 2000mAh Built-in Li-ion battery to charge most of the device until power back; A LED flashlight with rugged cover design could light up your darkness.
  • 【2000mAh PHONE CHARGER】When we are trapped in an emergency,RunningSnail's emergency radio with a 2000mAh emergency power bank may be our life-saving tool. The emergency portable radio works with most USB powered devices, which could provide enough emergency power for important calls to your family, the emergency services, or for contacting assistance in emergency situations.
  • 【3-WAY POWER SOURCES】The solar crank radios with multiple power backup options are the best choice in the emergency package. 3 Power Source including Hand Crank, Solar Panel, Built-in Li-ion Rechargeable Battery, to make it easier to keep the emergency radio running during a prolonged situation where power is off and batteries have been used up. Never Power outage!
  • 【PORTABLE RADIO WITH FLASHLIGHT】This pocket-sized portable emergency radio's dimension is 5*1.8*2.4inch and weight 0.5 LB, which is surprisingly small and light. Also, it comes with 1W LED Flashlight, which will cut through the blackness and maximize visibility. Carrying around a large unit is quite difficult when you have to move around during emergencies, this emergency radio is a smart choice.
  • 【CUSTOMER TECHNICAL SUPPORT】Your voice drives us to be the best. We back our emergency weather radio with an 18-months Warranty! If you are not satisfied with this NOAA weather radio, we will provide the solution for you immediately as you contact us. And our customer service is here for you 24/7 for anything you need! NO RISK FOR YOUR PURCHASE!

Emergency Radio Buyer’s Guide

If you’re heading to the slopes or out onto public land, make sure you take along a survival radio. This equipment is handy around the campsite, providing you with a power source, light, and a communication device. Sure, you can’t call home on it, but there’s probably no reception where you’re going anyway.

If you’re out in the wild, you need some form of connection to the outside world. Climbing a mountain or cliff might seem like a good idea in the morning, but the weather can be unpredictable. The last thing you need is for a freak storm to come up, trapping you on the face.

A survival radio provides you with that connection to civilization. This radio connects to normal AM/FM radio bands, but it also specializes in reaching the seven VHF bands operated by the NOAA service. As a result, you get accurate data on the slopes or the mountain, wherever you are in the country.

Choosing the right survival radio to meet your needs is challenging, especially with so many models available. After reading through our reviews, you might still struggle with settling on your purchase decision.

In this section, we’ll look at the details of a survival radio. We’ll describe the device’s functionality and features, helping you understand what to look for in the best survival radio.

What are the Features to Look for in an Emergency Radio?

A survival radio offers you more functionality than a standard model. With a survival radio, you get extra bands for keeping up with weather reports and built-in functionality like flashlights.

A survival radio always needs to remain charged. You’ll need to have multiple ways to power the device if you want to operate it on your trip.

So, what are the components of the best survival radio? Let’s unpack everything you need to look for when assessing a potential device for your survival equipment.

What Kind of Power Source Does the Radio Use?

Survival radios come as a dual power-supply and charging bank. Most models come with up to five charging sources for outstanding utility when you’re out on the road or around the campsite.

Most survival radios come with a built-in lithium-ion battery pack. This power supply links to a solar charging panel or a hand-crank for manual charging. In most models, you’ll get a 2,000-mAh battery pack, and that’s good for ten or so hours of light and 8-hours of radio operation.

Using the hand-crank ensures that you always have the option of charging the device. However, if you don’t want to spend the effort winding the crank, there’s still the solar option. Solar-powered models are the best option for use anywhere in the US. These survival radios have a constant power supply from the sun’s UV rays, ensuring your battery is always full.

During the evening, you should get more than enough charge to last through the night. The days charging activity manages to keep the battery topped up, even while using the radio.

Look for models that come with integrated Micro USB and USB DC ports. These connections make it easy to charge your mobile devices using solar energy or turbine energy collected by the battery. Most models also come with options for AAA or AA batteries to provide power to the device.

Having multiple power sources on-hand makes it easy to keep a charge on your radio, ensuring you always have emergency communications.

Does it Access Weather Alerts?

If you’re out on public land on a hunt in the wintertime, and a storm pops up out of nowhere, you could do with a warning in advance. Being caught in bad weather is not only a downer on the mood of the hunt or hike, but it’s a significant risk to your well-being as well.

Bad weather like massive snowstorms can strand you on the slopes, with no immediate assistance. A survival radio helps you stay ahead of these situations, ensuring you and your team’s safety.

Survival radios connect to the seven NOAA weather alert channels. Presently, the NOAA weather service issues weather alerts from 1,032 stations across the United States. These NOAA stations cover roughly 95% of the entire US landmass, keeping people connected across the nation.

NOAA alerts you of any possible weather and social events that could threaten your safety in the area.

What Additional Features Do You Need?

Your survival radio is not only for intercepting emergency broadcasts. This unit functions as a power bank, an entertainment device, and a piece of emergency equipment. Look for the following additional features on the best survival radios.

  • Antennae – Your radio should feature a retractable antenna. The antenna extends to help you intercept radio transmissions with a clear signal. Most models feature telescopic antennae designed with aluminum or stainless steel for corrosion resistance. The antennae should have the multi-directional capability to help you isolate the radio signal.
  • Decent Speakers – Remember, it’s a radio, and the speakers make a big difference in your equipment’s sound quality. Look for models that feature a decent speaker output, with protection from the elements. You’re not looking for a boom-box with your survival radio. However, you do need a model with decent speakers to provide an enjoyable listening experience.
  • LCD – The radio must feature a bright, large LCD. The LCD should display your band frequency and other relative information. Look for backlit displays for easy viewing in low-light conditions.
  • Control Dials/Knobs – Check for models that have plenty of functionality and adjustable design. Some models come with dials and knobs for easy tuning, while others feature an electronic interface with buttons. We always recommend boing with buttons over knobs. You might not get an easy and accurate tuning process, but it makes the device casing more streamlined and won’t snag on your daypack or equipment.
  • Lighting – Most survival radios feature an integrated LED light source. The LED light can act as a flashlight, a reading lamp, and an SOS device, depending on the function you select. The SOS distress signal light is an important feature to have on your device.
  • SOS Functionality – The SOS distress signal light is an important feature to have on your device. If you’re lost at night or stuck in a location, activating your radio light’s SOS function will help attract rescue parties’ attention.
  • Headphone Jack – It’s not light out yet, and you want to get the weather report without waking everyone at the campsite. A headphone jack on your survival radio helps you keep the noise down while remaining informed of the day’s weather conditions.

What Do I Need in a Radio Housing?

The housing of your survival radio is an important part of the package. You need a rugged and durable housing to ensure you get optimal service life from the device. Look for these features on the radio housing when selecting your ideal model.

  • Materials – What kind of materials are in the radio design? Most radios feature lightweight materials like plastic in the housing to reduce the weight of the device. As a result, most models come with various color options and molded designs.
  • Weather-Resistance and Waterproofing – Look for survival radios featuring a reinforced design of the housing. Rubberized corners help with shock-absorption when dropping the device unexpectedly. Check for a waterproof rating for weather-resistance.
  • Shock and Drop Resistance – As mentioned, an armored design can assist with protecting your device from accidental drops. Dropping your radio may damage the connections, and you don’t need that happening on your trip.
  • Clean Design – Look for models featuring a clean design that won’t snag in your pack or on your clothes. Dials and knobs are great for easy tuning, but they catch on clothing and other equipment. Choose a model featuring a clean casing design, with buttons band and volume adjustment.

Can I Use My Emergency Radio as a Normal Radio?

A survival radio is a must-have device for survivalists and outdoor enthusiasts. However, you don’t have to be on the slopes or the hiking trail to enjoy this device.

Your radio works like a normal radio, with a compact, portable, and lightweight design. Take your radio with you when you head out for the day. Think of your survival radio as an urban entertainment system with survival benefits.

Here are a few ideas where you can use your survival radio in everyday situations.

  • Commuting – When commuting around town, it’s handy to have your radio with you. Keep up-to-date with the news, and connect to your mobile device for easy charging when your battery gets low. A survival radio has plenty of functionality for your everyday commute, and plenty of people use it as EDC equipment.
  • Relaxing in the Park – If you’re heading to the park for a relaxing afternoon, take your survival radio. Fill the airwaves with sounds and talk radio as you sit under an oak tree’s shade and read a book. Your survival radio is a great choice for keeping tabs on the weather to look out for afternoon thunderstorms.
  • Take it to a Friend’s House – Your compact and lightweight survival radio allows you to take it with you wherever you go. Are you going over to a friend’s house for the afternoon? Take it with you as an entertainment device for the trip there and at your friend’s place. Your survival radio can help you plan a weekend hiking trip or let you know about important social events in your area.
  • Take it on a Cookout – If you’re heading to a friend’s house or the park for a cookout, take along your survival radio for entertainment. If it has decent speakers, you can turn up the volume and tune into all your favorite radio stations for an afternoons entertainment.
  • Take it to School – If you’re going to school, take your survival radio with you. Regardless of whether you’re going to high school or college, your survival radio makes an excellent travel companion.

Emergency Radio FAQs

Will the weather affect my radio reception?

Yes, and no. Depending on your radio’s quality and the time of the year, you could face reception problems. Heavy weather might cause some disturbances to the transmission, but it’s mostly a seasonal issue.

Will the seasons affect my radio reception?

These issues tend to occur in the summer. The high-pressure weather systems cause radio signals to travel further than in the wintertime, resulting in intermittent radio service effects.

Why am I getting a bad radio reception?

A lousy antennae connection is usually the primary cause of this issue. Check the antennae connections for signs of wear and corrosion.

What frequencies does NOAA operate on?

NOAA Weather Radio Stations send out broadcasts on seven different VHF channels. You can find it on the following public service bands.

162.400 MHz, 162.425 MHz, 162.450 MHz, 162.475 MHz, 162.500 MHz, 162.525 MHz, and 162.550 MHz.

Emergency Radios – The Verdict

By now, you should have a good idea of the best survival radio to suit your needs. However, we realize you might be having some trouble choosing. If you’re still on the fence with your purchase decision, why not rely on our top picks?

The Zurio Emergency Radio is a great choice and the best overall model in this review. With this emergency radio, you get a built-in flashlight, four power sources, and plenty of functionality. There’s an SOS signal for emergencies, a 4,000-mAh internal battery, and a large LCD.

Survivalists looking for the most reliable gear will prefer the American Red Cross Emergency Radio. This model features a rugged design and comes with NOAA channels for emergency communication. You get SOS signals, an alarm clock, and dual charging through solar or hand crank.

The RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio is the best budget deal in this review. This fully functional model has a bright flashlight and reading lamp, along with five different power options, including solar and hand crank. The SOS signal and NOAA forecasting will keep you up-to-date on all the latest weather alerts for your area.


A Patriot, Life-Long Survivalist & now full-time editor at Vinjatek

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