Are you looking for the best survival radio to take with you on your next off-grid adventure? Or maybe you want to be fully prepared in case of a natural disaster, especially if you live in a state prone to severe weather conditions.
Although technology has advanced phenomenally in the last few years, the fact is that cell phones just can’t compete with a radio when it comes to survival situations. In an emergency, you need an unparalleled signal to contact your loved ones, and features such as weather updates so you don’t get caught up in bad weather.
Unfortunately, cell service can be unpredictable and your phone is not a reliable source of communication in a panic-stricken scenario. A survival radio is your best bet in that case, but how do you know which one to buy? If it’s your first time purchasing one, it can be a bit intimidating.
Don’t worry, we’ve done the hard work for you. We’ve got fifteen fantastic radios for you to look at. If you’re a complete newbie when it comes to radios, we’ve got a great buyers guide section to help you. There’s also an FAQ section to answer any questions, so sit back, and keep reading to find out more!
The Best Survival Radios of 2020
1. C. Crane CC Solar Observer
Kicking off our list of the best survival radios is the C. Crane Solar Observer. With this radio, you won’t have to worry about missing any information in an emergency. Featuring AM/FM and NOAA channels for constant weather updates for your area.
This is a great emergency survival radio that also features a built-in LED flashlight to help find your way in the dark. The crystal clear audio is perfect for listening to sports results, radio shows, and important news updates.
Easy to use, you can tune the radio just by using its simple needle and dial. To get the most out of your radio, it’s recommended to use it briefly every six months. This is especially necessary if it’s only going to be used in emergencies and it’ll spend most of the time in storage. It simply keeps the rechargeable batteries in good condition and able to be charged when you do need it.
This awesome device has four reliable power sources. You can use the crank handle or use the AC adapter to recharge the battery pack. Your other options are popping it in direct sunlight and leaving the solar panel open or you can power it by using three AA batteries.
- Covered with a 12-month warranty
- A subtle design that’s easy to transport
- Four power source options
- Doesn’t come with batteries
2. Zurio Emergency Radio
This weather alert radio would be a great asset to your survival kit. Its battery backup makes it an essential piece of equipment if you find yourself in an emergency. Not only does it have NOAA channels for constant weather forecasts, but it also has AM/FM stations. The generous antenna means you get crystal clear audio quality and you can enjoy the fully adjustable volume.
Boasting five different power source options, no matter what situation you end up in, you can be safe in the knowledge that this little radio won’t let you down. This model features a hand crank and solar panels for an effective power source.
Other options include AAA batteries or by plugging it into a wall socket or even the cigarette lighter adapter in your car. In addition to that, it has a rechargeable battery pack that prolongs its charge for hours after.
When you’re in an emergency, you need a radio that will last, this one has an impressive 4000mAh battery capacity, meaning it’s one less thing to worry about during survival situations. With its 12 month guarantee, you can buy this radio with peace of mind.
- Cell phone charger for extra convenience
- Flashlight and emergency siren to signal for help
- Large rechargeable battery capacity
- More premium models available
3. Aiworth Emergency Radio
When you find yourself in a disaster situation, you need a radio that will keep up with you. This upgraded emergency radio is powerful and reliable with a large LCD screen and a super bright flashlight. This model even features a bottle opener for those evening drinks!
Its emergency alarm means if you get into trouble you can easily signal for help and the built-in speaker means you get excellent sound quality. Featuring NOAA weather alerts, you’ll have seven channels so you can be prepared for any severe weather, which is imperative in a survival situation!
You won’t have to worry about running out of power either, this radio offers four power sources. Use the hand crank to charge it, use AAA batteries to power it, or expose the solar panel to direct sunlight and you’ll have an efficient charge. If you’re at home you can simply plug it into the USB charger port for a full charge.
The retractable antenna ensures you get a great signal and it even has a 3.5mm headphone jack so you can listen to your favorite songs wherever you are.
- Emergency alarm function
- Useful extras such as a bottle opener and flashlight
- Four power source options
- No other color options
4. Midland ER310
As a survival prepper, portable emergency radios can be a lifesaver. A radio that offers extras such as a flashlight and multiple power source options is even better. That’s exactly what the Midland ER310 offers and much more!
It’s an incredibly lightweight emergency weather radio, which is perfect when you find yourself in a disaster situation. The main purpose of this radio is to provide you with weather alerts using NOAA weather channels. It has three radio channels; FM, AM, and NWR. It’s super easy to use and to listen to the nearest channel you simply tune it as you would with any other radio.
You can turn the emergency activations on or off. When they’re turned on, you’ll receive alerts when it detects a broadcast. The antenna provides great sound and it can be folded back when not in use.
Very compact, the radio is easy to carry thanks to the handle and it also offers multiple charging options. Make good use of the solar panel by using it to sustainably charge the lithium-ion battery. You can also use the hand crank, this is especially useful if you find yourself in the middle of nowhere with no other power sources.
Another option is to use the rechargeable 2600mAh battery. This will give you a whopping 32 hours of use, or you can use AA batteries as a backup source.
- Solar panel for sustainable charging
- LED flashlight for increased visibility
- Dog whistle to alert search and rescue teams
- Only limited availability
5. RunningSnail Solar Crank Radio
This aesthetically pleasing radio offers more than just good looks. What’s most impressive about it, is its large-capacity battery. Holding 2000 mAh, it’s guaranteed to keep up with you! You’ll get 12 hours of light and around 6 hours of radio usage out of this model, not only that, but the generous battery capacity is great for charging your cell phone.
If you do find yourself out of power, this weather alert radio has you covered. You have multiple charging options; be sustainable, and use the solar panel – this is a perfect choice if you are in the middle of nowhere. Simply place it in direct sunlight and let the charging begin!
If you’re lacking in sunlight, then you can utilize the hand crank for a steady charge. Another great feature of this radio is the LED flashlight. You probably wouldn’t expect much from a flashlight on an emergency radio, but this one offers an impressive 1 watt LED light.
The SOS siren ensures that you can call for help if you get lost or injured, and the flashing red light will make you even more visible to search and rescue teams.
- Useful hand crank and solar panel for easy charging
- Power flashlight
- SOS alarm
- Great price
- Color may not be everyone’s taste
6. Kaito KA500
Most of the survival radios on this list so far offer around three to four power options. But this Kaito KA500 radio goes further, offering six options! This radio will make your preparedness situation a lot smoother and easier. Constructed from tough, strong ABS materials, this radio is impact and water-resistant and is perfect for all outdoor pursuits as well as indoor use.
The retractable antenna can be extended for excellent signal quality and the speakers provide clear sound for those all-important weather updates. Features both AM and FM channels as well as seven NOAA channels for emergency weather updates and breaking news.
With its six different power options and the seven weather channels, you can be safe in the knowledge that you’ll never run out of power or updates, keeping you safer in a survival scenario. This weather radio also operates as a cell phone charger for extra convenience.
Other useful extras include a reading lamp, LED flashlight, and a red LED safety light, to alert others that you’re in trouble. It’s also easy to tune so you can listen to one of the weather channels, and you can turn on NOAA alerts to receive immediate information about upcoming severe weather
- High-performance radio with six power source options
- Solar panel and LED flashlight
- Available in five colors
- Affordably priced
- Stock is limited
7. Mesqool Survival Radio
When you find yourself in a survival situation you need to pack light. You must be able to move quickly and hauling a heavy bag with you is both inconvenient and potentially dangerous. This survival radio is super compact, lightweight, and easy to transport; an awesome addition to your survival kit.
To make your life even easier, there’s also an adjustable shoulder strap for easy carrying. One thing that a survival radio needs to be is tough. The elements won’t be kind to it and it should be able to withstand knocks and bumps. The Mesqool radio is manufactured from tough plastic and it also has strong bumpers for even more sturdiness.
The functionality is impressive as well. You can enjoy seven pre-programmed NOAA weather stations and AM/FM channels. Switch between channels easily by turning the dial to ensure you get updated weather forecasts quickly and easily.
The flashlight could prove to be an invaluable feature, especially if you get lost in the dark! The 3 watt light will give off powerful brightness so you can find your way. The pop up solar panel also acts as an awesome reading lamp, perfect for overnight camping or bedtime stories for the kids at home.
- Five charging options
- Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
- Emergency siren
- 12-month warranty
- Cell phone charge
- Only two color options
8. iRonsnow IS-088+
This updated radio has loads of great features, making it a great asset to your survival kit. The iRonsnow IS-088+ has AM, FM, and NOAA weather alerts. This is invaluable in a disaster situation, if you’re in the wilderness you need to be prepared for any severe weather so that you don’t get caught in a storm.
If you find yourself battling with poor lighting conditions, or you get lost in the dark, this radio will light up your way with its super powerful flashlight. The best emergency radios have multiple charging options, and this one certainly does. For manual charging, you can use the hand crank or if you want to incorporate solar energy, you can make use of the solar panel. Or you can use the USB adapter for an emergency charge.
Ultra-portable, this survival radio weighs just 0.5lbs. It’s compact and easy to carry. Not only that, but it’s also smart in appearance and is available in seven different colors. Its functionality combined with its smart appearance makes it probably one of the best emergency radios on the market.
- Available in multiple color options
- Lightweight and portable
- Handy flashlight
- Multiple weather alert channels
- As it’s an emergency radio, it won’t operate as well as a premium model radio
9. American Red Cross Radio
Be prepared for anything with this survival radio manufactured by Eton. This is a super versatile and tough radio that you can rely on to keep you safe in survival situations. Its clever alarm system will prove to be extremely useful. As long as you keep the radio charged, you’ll automatically receive emergency weather or news updates wherever you are.
The built-in rechargeable battery makes it easy to keep the radio charged. If you have access to power, you can simply plug it into a wall socket. If that isn’t possible, you can use the solar panel for a sustainable charge or manually by using the hand crank on the back.
For extra convenience, there’s a flashlight and an LCD screen that tells you how much battery you have left. Whether you’re at home or out in the great outdoors, this survival radio is sure to become a staple in your kit.
For over 30 years Eton has been designing and manufacturing innovative products to keep people aware and prepared for anything. Believing that nature’s energy can be used to create powerful emergency products, they’re committed to creating revolutionary technology that will help you to become the ultimate survivalist.
- Reliable and clever alarm system
- Weather updates as they happen
- Solar panel for solar power charging
- Flashlight and LCD screen
- Innovative and original design
- Slightly bigger than other models
10. FosPower Crank Radio
This radio is built to be super versatile, use it both indoors and outdoors. If you find yourself in need of emergency help, this is the radio you need to have with you. You’ll have access to NOAA weather stations, which keeps you updated on potential severe weather, such as storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes. Thanks to its clever solar panel and hand crank you get three charging options, so you’ll never be without power.
The radio is made from tough, thick plastic which is resistant to general wear and knocks. The octagonal shape also helps to reduce damage if you drop it. The unique shape means that it’s less likely to sustain damage.
It also boasts an IPX3 waterproof rating, so light rain and puddle splashes will be no problem for this radio. Well thought out and designed, this survival radio has all of the features that you’d need to survive a disaster situation. Usual functions such as a flashlight, hand crank, and NOAA channels are included.
- Emergency siren
- Three charging options
- Hand crank and solar panel
- IPX3 rating
- Rugged and tough outer
- Although it’s water-resistant, it isn’t submergible
11. Dodocool Radio
Next on our list of the best survival radio is this one from Dodocool. With it, you get full access to FM, AM channels super easily. If you want to connect to any NOAA channels, a switch of the dial gains you access instantly.
The retractable antenna picks up those signals effortlessly thanks to its tall height. This combined with good quality speakers means you get great sound, meaning you’ll never miss an important weather update. Despite all of the fantastic features it’s packed with, this radio is completely portable and super compact.
The 2000 mAh power supply means you can constantly keep your cell phone or tablet charged up ready for emergencies. As well as that, the radio can be charged using the crank handle, solar panel, rechargeable battery, or AAA batteries. You’ll never have to worry about running out of power!
Other useful features include an SOS siren and a flashlight with three modes. The brightest mode is perfect for hiking in the dark if you get lost and the dullest mode is perfect for reading stories when it’s the children’s bedtime.
- Small and easy to transport
- Siren to call for help in the event of an accident
- Flashlight with three modes
- Impressive power supply for phone or tablet charging
- FM, AM, and NOAA access
- White colorway may get dirty easily
12. Esky Emergency Radio
If you’re looking for a survival radio that you can easily fit into your bag without weighing yourself down, this is the one for you. A no-frills, no-nonsense device that combines useful features with a conveniently portable size.
Don’t worry about running out of power with this radio either. With its three ways of charging, it will always be ready to go! You can charge the 1000 mAh battery using a USB cable, the hand crank, or the ingenious solar panel. It may feel tedious, but the hand crank method of charging is very energy efficient. For every minute of hand cranking, you get twenty minutes of power.
The tough and durable design is weather-resistant and can withstand what the harsh elements will throw at it. If you’re dealing with a disaster situation you may have to evacuate to an area you don’t know and this makes it easy for you to get lost. If you find yourself lost in the dark or poor conditions, the powerful flashlight has your back!
- Portable and lightweight
- NOAA radio stations for weather updates
- Powerful flashlight to help you find your way
- No carry handle
13. Kaito Voyager
When you first take a look at this survival radio, it doesn’t look like a regular survival radio. While unconventional in appearance, it still has all the great features you’d expect from the best emergency radios. Suitable for a wide range of uses, including outdoor pursuits, indoor use, and disaster and emergencies.
Expect full coverage of AM, FM, and NOAA channels for important weather and news updates. The twin stereo speakers give amazing quality sound not only for radio use but for listening to your favorite tunes. The antenna is extendable up to 14” for a super strong signal, and it’s easy to tune with four methods including manually operating the dials or keypad.
Manufactured from strong ABS materials with an LCD screen that features a clock with an alarm and a calendar. Also acts as a charger for your smartphone or tablet, so you’re prepared for any emergency!
- Tough and durable
- Stereo speakers provide fantastic sound
- LCD screen
- Ideal for a range of activities
- Not a conventional shape
14. Eton Scorpion II
This futuristic-looking survival radio has great features as well as a super cool aesthetic. Ruggedly built, super portable, and versatile, it’s a must for your bug out bag. If you encounter an emergency that takes you into the wilderness, you need an emergency radio that will keep up with you.
The Eton Scorpion II is compact, easily portable, and sturdy. With its aluminum carabiner and tough outer, this is a survival radio engineered to withstand harsh conditions. This essential weather radio has a handy LED flashlight and a USB phone charger, so your devices can always be charged.
The excellent quality AM/FM channels give you important news updates, as well as entertainment. You can also benefit from the NOAA weather band that receives essential weather forecasts and other emergency alerts – incredibly important for campers and survivalists.
The rechargeable lithium battery can easily be charged and it can also be charged using solar power or the hand crank.
- Smart appearance and rugged outer
- Lightweight and portable
- Access to NOAA weather bands and AM/FM channels
- May not be beginner-friendly
15. Eton Hand Turbine
Last on our list of the best survival radio, is a third model from Eton. This radio is rechargeable and features all the usual functions you would expect from a good emergency radio, from AM and FM channels to an LED flashlight. A function that makes it super unique is the glow in the dark locator so you can easily spot it at nighttime or during a power cut.
The included USB cable can be used to charge it and it also features a headphone jack so you listen to your favorite music. If you need power immediately, simply use the hand crank for one minute and you’ll get 15-20 minutes of use, perfect for when you need emergency updates.
Eton is committed to creating innovative products that will keep you informed, safe, and prepared for any situation.
- Well designed and manufactured to a high standard
- Glow in the dark outer
- Multiple power sources
- Perfect survival radio for emergencies
- Sells out quickly
Buyers’ Guide: Considerations for Buying Survival Radios
When you look at different survival radios, you may notice that the majority of them can be powered in different ways. Confused? Don’t be, it’s super easy to understand! The most used method of powering a survival radio is to use batteries.
They’re an affordable and convenient option, providing you don’t forget to keep your battery stock replenished! Make sure you’ve always got a spare pair in your bug out bag with your emergency radio and you’ll be all set!
A second option is a rechargeable lithium battery. These are usually internal and non-removable so they can only be charged with a USB port or similar. If you’re at home or in an indoor setting with power then this isn’t an issue. However, if you’re outside then you may be limited in how much you can use this method.
Using solar power is another method. A lot of survival radios have pop-up solar panels. Although it’s a great idea and it’s a very efficient power source, it won’t work in the dark or in dull weather. If all else fails, you can use good old-fashioned manual labor and make use of the radio’s hand crank.
This will give you power wherever and whenever you need it. By turning the crank handle you create a current which then charges the battery!
When you’re in an emergency or disaster setting, needless to say, you need a survival radio that will be able to withstand fairly harsh treatment. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to evacuate, a tough radio will be a lifesaver.
Those weather forecasts and news updates are incredibly important and it’s crucial that your emergency radio can survive a few bumps and knocks along the way. A tough outer made from durable materials is essential. Some radios even feature reinforced outers for extra protection.
A radio that has water resistance is vital as well. You never know when an emergency or disaster could happen and what kind of weather conditions you’ll find yourself in. Flooding, or fleeing in the rain are just a few scenarios where you’ll need a radio with water resistance.
Choosing a water-resistant emergency radio will mean it can be of use in all weather conditions. Before you decide which one to buy, make sure it has solid sealing and the speakers have extra protection. An IP waterproof rating is even better. This radio from FosPower features an IPX3 waterproof rating!
As well as the usual components, the best survival radio offers extra features to help you stay even more prepared. Fitting multiple functions into one radio makes it all the more convenient, you won’t need to pack several pieces of equipment, keeping your bug out bag light and easy to carry.
Many radios on the market today offer more than one function. Usually, the emergency broadcasts are the focal feature, however, plenty of models have features such as a flashlight and an LCD screen. Flashlights can prove to be invaluable, if your regular torch dies on you you know you’ve got a backup – essential if you’re trying to find your way in the dark!
Many of them also have SOS sirens for if you get hopelessly lost or you’re in trouble. Another feature you’ll normally find on radios is a USB charger. This means you’ll be able to keep any other devices charged up and ready to go.
The best emergency radio will always have a hand crank. Although it may seem like a bit of a boring feature, it’s the one that will keep your device powered up whenever you need it! Thanks to the hand crank, you’ll be able to use any of the other cool features whenever you want to!.
Why can’t I just use my smartphone?
You might think that an actual survival situation will never happen. In reality, some areas can experience disasters and extreme weather on a regular basis. A good emergency radio will keep you informed of weather and news updates, which you’ll need in order to survive your ordeal. It can tell you where to go and which places to avoid – without it you’d be extremely vulnerable.
So why not just use your cellphone? Although they’re great for keeping in contact with other people, they only work with cell towers and Wi-Fi. You won’t have Wi-Fi out in the open and in severe weather, it’s a strong possibility that power lines will have been brought down. Your phone will be utterly useless. This is where survival radios save the day, they don’t need a cell tower to work and they can be powered up whenever you need it.
What is a crank radio?
It may seem old-fashioned, but the humble hand-crank radio has been revolutionized over the last few years. They are incredibly reliable, versatile and should be considered essential in your bug out bag. In fact, emergency authorities highly recommend you own one. Look for models that offer NOAA weather band access as these will provide essential weather information.
Simply put, hand-crank radios are more reliable than your cell phone or tablet. These kinds of devices only work with strong cell signals and these can be affected greatly in severe weather. Crank radios provide several methods of power meaning you can quickly recharge your it when you need it most. They are the best option for being prepared and in the know, keeping you safer.
What kind of radio is used in an emergency?
All of the radios on our list are brilliant choices for emergencies. Even though you may not use them on an everyday basis, an emergency radio is essential, and they should definitely be a part of your survival kit. They’ll keep you prepared and informed, which could be the difference between staying safe or not!
If you live in an area where extreme weather tends to hit, you need to make a survival radio a staple in your bug out bag. There really isn’t any reason not to buy one, they’re affordable, extremely versatile, and could save your life.
Without one, you’re pretty much on your own against potentially devastating weather conditions. Take a leaf out of experienced survivalist’s books and add one of these amazing inventions to your kit!
What is the best survival radio?
This completely depends on your individual needs and preferences. What features do you want? Do you want a pocket-sized model that will easily slip into your bag? This Dodocool model is super compact, perfect for throwing into your bag while you’re on the move.
If you’re looking for cool and unique features, the Eton Hand Turbine has a wicked glow in the dark feature, perfecting if you’re trying to locate it in the dark! Or maybe you’d like the Midland ER310? This model has a dog whistle, to help you alert search and rescue teams if you get into trouble!
The bottom line is, the best survival radio will have the features that you need, and that will keep you safe and prepared.