Weather radios are lifesavers, especially for people living in areas prone to extreme weather. Their primary purpose is to alert the user about an incoming weather emergency like tornadoes and hurricanes. These alerts guide the affected person and even direct them to vacate if need be. The radio picks up transmissions from public and government-operated radio stations. You will also get them broadcasting other unusual natural disasters like tsunami and non-weather emergencies like terror attacks. Having prior knowledge ensures better preparation to face even the worst conditions. To help you get a flawless preparation, here are some of the best NOAA weather radios reviewed - Kaito KA500 NOAA on top of the list, followed by Midland ER310 NOAA. We have also tried to answer some of the questions you may have regarding weather radios.
1. Kaito KA500 NOAA Weather Alert Radio
The Kaito all-hazard NOAA is a deluxe weather radio which is alert-enabled and operates on numerous band receptions. The device is highly portable and has six different powering options. The options are AC/DC power adapter, an inbuilt rechargeable battery, a hand-cranked generator, USB power input, removable AA batteries, and a flip-up solar panel.
It confirms that you will always be on the stand with this weather radio regardless of where you are. Whether traveling, camping, or any other outdoor activity, you can always tag this radio along.
The radio comes with a LED light with three settings - flashlights, a reading lamp, and a red light for SOS light beacon.
The radio bears a versatile design and is useful in more ways than one. It can be used as an everyday radio, as well as an emergency alert tool. The radio is PEAS-enabled (public emergency alert system) to ensure you never miss any alert.
The radio receives the transmission from regular AM FM frequency, shortwave SW and the NOAA frequency channels. It comes ready with 7 pre-installed NOAA channels. You can easily navigate channels turning the knob. The radio also has an alert mode that automatically activates whenever there is an alert transmission from NOAA.
2. Midland ER310 Emergency NOAA Weather Radio
This emergency radio is among the loudest weather radio. The Midland ER310 emergency crank radio features an inbuilt 2600mAh battery with three charging options. It can be charged via hand cranking, USB power input, or solar power. The radio can also run on 6 AA removable batteries to ensure you never miss an alert, regardless of where you are. It can also be used to charge your phone and other devices via a USB cable.
The radio features a flashlight with a low/bright setting, and an SOS Morse code LED light. It also has a special dog whistle that can help search teams find you in case of an emergency. The only shortcoming is that after 1 minute of cranking, you only get 10 minutes of radio.
The emergency radio supports regular radio AM, FM, and NOAA band transmissions. Once there is an emergency broadcast, the radio searches for all available weather signals and pins in on the strongest. It ensures you get filtered alerts specific to your locality. It is alert-enabled. Anytime there is a severe weather alert around your area, it sounds an alarm.
3. RunningSnail MD-090 Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio
This one of the most resilient weather radios in the market. It is a survivor as it withstands almost all conditions. It is powered by an inbuilt 2000mAh lithium-ion battery, which can be recharged by; hand cranking, USB power supply, or solar panel. It also supports AAA batteries making it very portable and efficient.
The radio supports AM, FM, and NOAA band transmissions. It operates as a radio. You can also receive weather alerts like in case of hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes. The radio can also serve as a table lamp, flashlight as well as SOS light alert. It is also able to charge up USB enabled devices, but the battery drains faster when charging.
4. Midland WR120B/WR120EZ NOAA Weather Radio
This weather radio packs up several features. It is large and elegantly designed with an easy to read digital display. The display indicates and spells out the alert like “HURRICANE.” It is also programmed to give customized oral alerts bad weather around your area.
The radio comes with 7 pre-programmed NOAA and has the SAME alert program that sends an alert whenever a specific area is threatened. The device is paired up with an inbuilt alarm clock with a snoozing feature. Designed only for indoor use and runs on power directly from a socket. It also supports 3 AA batteries in case of outages. It, however, does not support regular radio.
5. FosPower Emergency Solar NOAA weather radio
This portable weather radio is suitable for both household and outdoor use. It features an inbuilt 2000mAh power bank, which you can use to power other USB enabled devices. A solar panel and hand-cranked charge the power bank. The device can also be powered by AAA batteries and provides you with multiple power options.
FosPower weather radio supports regular AM/FM radio as well as NOAA channels. This gives you unlimited up-to-date weather reports and alerts. The device is integrated with 2 LED light sources, which act as a flashlight, reading light, and an SOS alert light. With all these features, there is a need to have a higher capacity power bank.
6. Runningsnail MD-088s NOAA Solar Radio
This product from the running snail brand is a handheld emergency kit. It features an inbuilt 1000mAh battery, which can be used to recharge USB devices. The battery is recharged either by; USB power input, hand cranking, or a solar panel equipped on the radio.
It supports AM/FM radio and the NOAA channels, keeping you up-to-date with the weather situation. The radio features a bright LED light which comes in handy in the dark and in camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities. However, the battery has quite a small capacity, and you also have to crank for a while to get a considerable charge.
7. Midland WR400 Deluxe NOAA Weather Alert Radio
This device is a desktop weather alert radio. It acts as an AM/FM radio, NOAA weather radio, and an alarm clock. It has an easy to read display which indicates the time, charge level, and available alerts. It has a large audible speaker with high-quality sound for jamming to your song or transmitting alerts.
You can customize the radio about how you would want to receive alerts, whether by voice alarm, siren, or visual LED flasher. It has the SAME program and automatically connects to the local NOAA to receive current alerts. Since it is an indoor weather radio, it is powered directly from the socket or via 4 AA lithium batteries in case of a power outage.
8. Esky ES-CR01 Emergency NOAA Solar Weather Radio
This radio is compact and small in size, making it easy to put the receiver in a small bag or clip it on your belt and walk around. It has an inbuilt 1000mAh battery, which you can use to charge other devices like a mobile phone. You can recharge the battery using USB power input, solar panel, or a quick hand crank.
The radio acts as an ordinary radio as well as NOAA weather radio. This gives you access to current weather updates and alerts. It also has a bright flashlight that comes in handy in dark areas. The radio is durable and can withstand even the toughest conditions.
9. Eton American Red Cross NOAA Weather Radio
Eton American Red Cross is a versatile and multipurpose survival kit. It has an ergonomic design with a functional hand crank. You will find it serving as a regular radio and emergency radio giving alerts whenever there is a weather emergency. It features a bright flashlight and an LED flashing/glowing beacon to indicate its alert.
The power supply can either be hand cranking, solar power, and AC/DC power supply. It has an excellent 2600mAh inbuilt battery to keep you going for long. The radio receives ordinary radio as well as the NOAA channels with ease. It has an LCD screen that displays the channel and the time.
10. Kaito KA500IP Voyager NOAA Solar Weather Radio
This weather radio from Kaito is a tough and resilient one. It supports standard FM/AM radio, NOAA channels and also shortwave signals. The radio is powered by an internal Ni-MH battery, which can be recharged by either hand cranking, AC/DC adapter, or solar panel. A solar panel can run the radio even in the absence of the battery. For standby purposes, you can power the weather broadcaster by 3 AA batteries. The unit can charge smaller devices like mobile phones through a standard USB jack at the back.
Apart from standard radio and weather alerts, the weather informer also has a flashlight and a reading light. The main issue is only that the solar panel is not reliable. This radio will allow you to get more alerts to move forward anytime in an emergency.
11. Compass Culture Brand Solar-Hand Crank NOAA Radio
Compass Culture NOAA radio is a full package. The fact that it is small in size and can fit in your hand should not fool you. Full of necessary features for an emergency. It serves as an AM/FM radio, NOAA alert receiver, flashlight, and a charger for your cell phone.
The radio has a 2000mAh internal battery but can also run by AAA batteries. Use a solar panel, hand cranking, or a USB power adaptor to recharge the battery. Compass Culture NOAA radio comes with a bracelet compass bonus, a high-quality paracord, whistle, and a fire starter. On the low, however, is that a minute of hand cranking only gives you 5-7 minutes of activity.
Science Behind NOAA Weather Radio
Weather radios are specially designed to pick up transmission about weather stations. They are programmed to receive the transmission from NOAA channels and other public weather channels. Though weather updates are a routine, the emergency occurrence is set to interrupt broadcast and give you alerts to allow preparation. These events include hurricanes, tornadoes terror attacks, among others. While the radio may support ordinary radio channels, the NAOO broadcast is given priority.
Importance of NOAA Weather Radio
Weather radios are multipurpose and are essential in an emergency. They are used to give alerts and warnings of an impending crisis. This alert allows you to be prepared and even have time to vacate if there is a need to. Most radios have essential features like flashlight, cell phone charger, and many others to help you survive an emergency.
Types of Weather Radios
Weather radios can be divided into-
- Weather alert radios
- Weather band radios
Weather alert radios are designed to receive weather alerts automatically. Transmission from NOAA overrides the radio function, automatically bringing you the alert. This happens whether you are turned in to ordinary radio channels or even in standby mode.
Weather band radios, on the other hand, have to be tuned to an NOAA channel to receive alerts. They operate as an ordinary house radio, and when you are tuned to AM/FM radio, you cannot receive the emergency broadcast. You will also miss the alerts if the radio is switched off or there is no power.
Best Weather Radio Brands
Many brands have indulged in making inventions and technological advancements on weather radios. Different brands have come up with distinctive features to come up with the best radio. It is in a head to head competition between the Midland and Kaito brands from a general perspective. Both brands have a wide range of products, but all are high performers.
Setting Up Weather Alerts on a Radio
Weather radios are easy to use and program. Certified weather radios receive the transmission from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) channels. After you have successfully set up your radio and hooking it to power, pull out the antenna. On switching on the radio, it will be ready to receive the NOAA broadcast whenever there is an alert.
Are NOAA Weather Radio Frequencies Different?
The NOAA broadcasts on a unique frequency by itself. The frequency is different from the ordinary AM/FM and has seven channels.
How to Choose a Reliable Emergency Radio (NOAA Certified)
There are a few key factors to consider when looking into acquiring an emergency weather radio. They include-
Band connection- To receive emergency weather broadcasts, the radio needs to receive NOAA transmission. This ensures that your weather radio has access to all the NAOO channels. There is also the SAME (Specific Area Message Encoding) technology. This allows your radio to focus on weather alerts specific to your locality and ignore all others.
Power- The radio is meant to operate even in times of emergencies. It is only fair, therefore that it runs on different power sources. Hand cranking, solar panel, AC/DC power, and even dry cells all need to be incorporated. This ensures that the radio is not reliant on one power source, which may fail and cause you to miss an alert.
Light- A flashlight feature becomes necessary outdoor when hiking or camping. It is also essential during power outages. It may also be incorporated with an SOS Morse code to make a signal or blink to let you know there is an alert.
Size- When it comes to weather radios, the smaller they are, the better it is. A smaller radio is portable. You can easily move around with it. This will ensure that you always receive alerts even when out camping or hiking.
Durability- On some occasions, the radio may have to operate under chaos. Therefore, the radio needs to be able to withstand tough conditions and still last you a while. Nothing is more irritating than buying a device and ends up breaking up before rendering you enough service.
How Much Does an NOAA Weather Radio Cost?
Each radio brand has a different cost based on features design and the specific manufacturer. With that in mind, you can get a decent certified weather radio within a range of 25$ and 100$. However, the cost is not limited to the bracket, and it may go beyond either of the extremes.
Does NOAA Have a Weather App?
If you are a person who prefers to receive alerts on a mobile phone readily, there is no need to worry. The presence of NOAA weather radio app is a good option. The app is not as hands-on as the radio, but it still serves the purpose. The app is available for both android and apple gadgets.
Why is My NOAA Weather Radio Beeping?
The most common cause of beeping is low power. This can be salvaged by changing the batteries or recharging the radio. However, in some models like Midland, beeping after every ten minutes means the radio has not received the weekly signal test. The radio is programmed to receive a test from national weather service. If it does not receive the test after ten days, the beeping begins. It goes away when the next test comes in, but you can force reset by unplugging it from power and removing the battery.
What is a Crank Weather Radio?
This radio is all about the hand-cranking technology applied to recharge the radio battery. It features a knob rotated by hand and rotates an inbuilt crank generator that produces power.
Why is My Smartphone Just Not Enough for Emergency Weather?
A Smartphone is capable of receiving weather alerts with a weather app. It, however, cannot compare to the weather radio on all levels. The radio has the advantage of receiving broadcasts, regardless of where you are. This does not apply to the Smartphone since it does not receive alerts if there is no cell signal. For example, if you are hiking or camping in the woods, you will not receive any signals.
Having prior information about an emergency can sometimes make a difference between life and death. Receiving alerts on time allows you to be better prepared to face the crisis. Avert loss of property and life by acquiring a high-quality weather radio from the ones reviewed above.