Weather radios are necessary equipment in certain areas, as they receive a public broadcast service by government-owned radio station.
These radios broadcast weather forecasts, and potential weather emergencies like storms and cyclones. Specifically, you are looking for NOAA channels, a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information, 24 hours a day, every day.
Weather radios are extremely useful for preparing for potential life-threatening situations, and I recommend owning one powered with independent energy sources if you live in a dangerous area. They will save your life.
While this is one case where I’d recommend you to spend as much as possible, I understand you might not have the budget for it, plus there are features you might desperately need, while others you don’t.
That’s exactly why I compiled this list with the best weather radios. I made sure there is something for everyone, since being able to prepare for potential disasters is vital.
Quick Summary–These Are the Overall Best!
RunningSnail Emergency Crank Radio – this is by far the best radio on the list. It has so many excellent features at an affordable price. I can’t recommend this enough.
Vondior Portable Radio – this is the perfect purchase for those who don’t need or care about any of the extra frills that come with most weather radios. It is a plain radio that easily tunes into NOAA weather stations. Simple and effective.
Midland WR120B / WR120EZ – a great middle ground between more expensive radios and basic ones. It’s a desktop radio made with weather hazards in mind.
What Makes a Weather Radio Good?
Compiling such a list was a hard task, since it’s about a tool that saves lives. This tool is a must-have for many people, so I had to be extremely careful while making this list.
As usual, there are many factors that go into making such a list, and naturally I favored reliability and safety above everything else.
Safety from weather is a tremendous concern for many people, so I created a list that included as many options as possible, to ensure everyone can find a good weather radio for their situation.
Let’s see the criteria I used to make the list.
Reliability is vital for a tool like a weather radio. Specifically, can you rely on it if your power goes out? What if something goes wrong with one of your power sources? A good weather radio must give you different avenues to provide power for it.
A typical radio might only work with one or two power sources, but what if you are in the middle of a thunderstorm and the water killed your batteries? What if your phone died and you can’t charge your radio with the USB chord?
These are all concerns you should consider before buying a weather radio. If a radio doesn’t have at least 3 different ways of getting power, I suggest avoiding it.
The weather can get pretty extreme, so you want a radio that can survive the harshest conditions. Don’t rely on cheaply built radios, they break down too easily. It’s a tool that you buy to save yourself from the poor weather. Get a good one!
You can find great radios without spending a fortune, just check our list. Relax, we’ve got you covered.
As with every other item in this list, reception quality is important. You want your radio to capture the broadcast no matter what, else it would defeat the point to get one.
Luckily, technology has developed to a point where most radios will have excellent reception quality, and should be able to capture the broadcasts even under harsh conditions, such as a cyclone or a thunderstorm.
Audio Quality is not a negligible factor. Crystal clear audio is a nice to have, but realistically, you are buying a weather radio to use it in extreme conditions, so excellent audio quality still matters.
If you are caught in the middle of a cyclone, or there’s a strong thunderstorm outside, excellent audio quality will make the situation easier on you.
Imagine you are trying to restore power in your house, and you also have to focus to understand what’s being said on the radio. That would suck.
You don’t need perfect audio, but at least something you can hear clearly under harsh conditions. You want a radio that produces loud and clear alerts when it matters.
Size influences many factors of this list, including audio quality and durability.
Smaller radios can be moved around easily and used outdoors, but you will have to accept the lower audio quality and the higher chances to break.
Conversely, big radios are more durable and offer excellent audio quality, but can’t be moved around much.
There is no better or worse option. It depends on your needs and how you plan to use your radio. If you plan to go camping or other outdoor activities, then a smaller radio is right up your alley, whereas for a static radio to keep in your house you can get a sizeable one.
I have mentioned stuff like “loss of power” multiple times already, so you might know where I’m headed.
Some radios come with useful extra features, such as a flashlight, the ability to offer data on their location’s humidity, sirens, and programmability.
Life is priceless, but not everyone can afford to spend their hard-earned money on the best weather radio, and not everyone needs a fully fledged weather station with all the bells and whistles, especially since not everyone lives in dangerous areas where the weather is a hazard.
The 5 Best Weather Radios
FosPower Emergency NOAA Weather Radio: The Overall Best Weather Radio
The FosPower weather radio is brilliant. It checks all the boxes:
- It is extremely reliable, as we can use it with 4 different power sources, including a hand crank. Yes, you can charge it with your muscle strength., which is a light saver in extreme situations.
- It has good reception, meaning you will get NOAA weather updates even under harsh conditions.
- It has great build quality thanks to being rugged and water resistant.
- It comes with neat features such as two flashlights, an alert siren, and the ability to charge your phone via USB.
- It is very affordable.
What’s there not to love? It’s a great weather radio you can carry around with you to keep yourself safe. There is no reason to not get one of these, it is packed with so many features for such a tiny price that not getting this would be a disservice to yourself.
The alert siren is the cherry on top. Let’s say you went fishing and lost yourself with a dead phone battery. You can turn on the siren, which makes a loud noise and red light, and signal that you need help. It also scares away wild animals, should you run into one.
The FosPower radio is a lifesaver, get yourself one today. It’s so cheap you have no excuses.
Midland WR120B / WR120EZ: Great No Frills Weather Radio
If you are looking for a desktop weather radio, consider the Midland WR120B / WR120EZ.
This is a superb choice if you need a weather alert radio with crystal clear audio quality and powerful reception, with the downside being the fact that it isn’t portable at all. It’s not that it’s big or heavy, it’s just that its form makes it really inconvenient to carry around.
This radio has over 60 emergency alerts, and alerts automatically override the current programs to warn you of impeding dangers. It works with many natural and human disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, but also fires, floods, and power outages.
Another prominent feature of this radio is the S.A.M.E. programming, which lets you pick the alerts you want to receive. You can also program it to warn you via voice, display, or tone alerts.
If you are looking for a desktop weather radio, this is the one to get. Buy your own Midland WR120B / WR120EZ today and make your life easier by preparing for imminent danger.
Kaito Voyager KA900: Expensive and Packed with Features
The Kaito Voyager KA900 is a premium product with all the features needed to keep you safe and informed. This weather radio can be dynamo or solar powered and lets you recharge your phone’s batteries with a standard USB chord.
It even has a crank so you can charge it manually, which is a lifesaver when there’s no other way of getting power, like during a thunderstorm. Yes, batteries exist, but you know Murphy’s law, right? Anything that can go wrong will, invariably, go wrong. So your batteries might be dead for whatever reason, and then the crank will be your only way of operating the radio.
It also comes with a flashlight, perfect during power outages, and of course, it lets you tune into NOAA weather stations easily and stay informed about potential weather hazards.
The 14” antenna offers high sensitivity and selectivity reception. The radio offers crystal clear audio quality thanks to its dual speaker setup, which is crucial in more extreme situations. You can even insert a micro-SD card and have it play your favorite music on it.
The major reason holding back this radio is its steep price: $99.98 is quite high, especially since other radios on this list offer similar features for less than half the price. However, this is a case of “you get what you pay for”.
RunningSnail Emergency Crank Radio: Excellent Portable Emergency Weather Radio
With 4 different ways of powering this radio, sturdy build quality, led flashlights, and the ability to sort radio stations so that you only hear NOAA weather reports, this tool is an excellent choice for anyone.
So, who should buy this radio? Anyone planning to go for outdoor activities, really. It is made with portability in mind. It has a powerful siren alert as well, in case you lose yourself in the woods.
One thing I love about this radio is the flashlight with its 3 illumination modes: far beam, dipped beam, far & dipped beam. You can easily move around even in the darkest of nights with it. The SOS mode starts up the siren, which is very loud and will make you get noticed by others in a huge radius.
Who should not buy this radio? People looking for a desktop radio. There are better products if you are looking for something static that sits in your house monitoring the weather.
There’s not much to say about this product really, it’s great. There’s everything you need to keep yourself safe during an emergency, and more. I can’t recommend this weather radio enough.
Get yours today, you will be grateful when you have a power outage and it will keep you informed and safe.
Vondior Portable Radio: Simple Is Best During Emergencies
The Vondior portable radio completely differs from all other entries in this list. It’s a very simple portable radio that works with AM, FM, and NOAA stations. That’s it. Super simple, no bells and whistle, just a good old reliable radio.
Aside from its simplicity, what’s great is the built-in headphone port on this radio, so you can enjoy excellent audio quality with a good pair of headphones, which will easily beat any open audio output, typical of other radios.
The radio comes with a powerful long-range antenna, a tuning dial, and an AM / FM switch. Again, nothing fancy, but simplicity is a lifesaver in complicated life situations.
The radio is super small, but it’s sturdy and reliable. Unfortunately, it only works with batteries, so have dedicated batteries for the radio in case of emergencies.
If you need to tune specifically into NOAA weather stations, the radio has a button that activates the alert mode, which disregards everything that isn’t a NOAA station.
Vondior’s portable radio is very cheap too, so you have no excuses. Pick one up if you live in an area where weather can pose a threat, it will save your life.
Buy your Vondior portable radio today!
- When should I buy a weather radio?
If you live in a place subject to potential weather hazards, such as cyclones and hurricanes, purchase a weather radio. It will alert you of approaching dangerous weather letting you prepare in advance. It’s also a great purchase if you plan to conduct outdoor activities in a dangerous area.
- What are NOAA channels?
NOAA channels are radio stations that offer weather news 24 hours a day, every day of the week. They are especially useful because they will alert of potential weather dangers coming in a specific area, and letting you know where to move in case of a cyclone.
- Can’t I just buy a regular radio?
Regular radios can still tune into NOAA channels, but they lack the features that make alert radios worth it. Specifically, they won’t alert you of coming thunderstorms or other dangerous weather, so it doesn’t make much sense to use one for this use case.
If all you care about is when it will be sunny next week then sure, regular radios will suffice. But if you want to be alerted in case of potential danger, then get a weather alert radio.
Weather radios are an important tool that can save your life. I prepared this list to help you pick the perfect weather radio for you.
These radios will alert you of incoming danger and let you prepare in advance for upcoming natural disasters. They are, by all means, one of the best investments you could ever make if you live in an area prone to weather hazards.
Whether you are looking for a radio to place on your desktop ready to alert you, or a portable radio that keeps you informed and lets you charge your devices during power outages, the list I made has something for you.
No matter your situation, please stay safe out there, it’s a dangerous world. And please, don’t cheap out on weather alert radios. They aren’t that expensive in the first place, so why risk it? Get a high quality one.
What are you waiting for? Buy the best weather radio today!