If you live in an area where extreme weather, thunderstorms, or tornadoes are common, you know how important advance storm warnings are for the safety of your family or home. One of the best ways to receive weather alerts in real-time is by using a weather alert radio. There are a variety of weather emergency radios available, whether you just want something for your home or something easy to use on the road. We’ve examined the top-rated weather alert radios available to find the best options. Check out our report on the best storm radios below.
Best Emergency Radio Reviews
The US weather experts at NOAA issue location-specific weather alerts using a protocol called the S.A.M.E. code and you can set this storm radio to receive only alerts affecting your area (it’s user-programmable to include a larger region too; up to 25 counties!). You can set it to use whichever of three alert systems you prefer: a 90-decibel siren, a voice alert or a flashing LED light. It also works with three AA batteries as a backup in case your home loses power during a storm.
This weather radio works in both the US and Canada and provides safety alerts in three languages (English, Spanish and French). The Midland WR120 (this model) is one of the top-rated weather alert radios, after having gotten a massive number of positive reviews. It also works as an alarm clock.
Here’s another one of the best weather radios that has a couple of unique features. It receives warnings on 7 NOAA weather channels and also receives AM and FM radio. It also has a built-in flashlight and LED reading lamp and is waterproofed enough to work outdoors during rainy weather, making it a great all-purpose and weather radio for camping trips.
Plus, it can be charged with USB power from a computer or USB power brick (like a cell phone charger), or AAA batteries or a hand crank or solar power with its built-in solar panel for use outdoors! The built-in solar panel is also adjustable so you can set an appropriate angle for use. This alone makes it one of the best emergency weather radio for preppers.
The Midland Portable Emergency Weather Radio is a great hybrid device that can either sit on a flat surface in its charging cradle or be carried around handheld on battery power. It uses NOAA’s SAME weather alert technology to give you only the weather alerts that are useful to your local area and it can be customized for up to 9 counties at once. It also uses Midland’s Weather Scan technology, which lets you scan the local area and latch on to whatever the strongest NOAA channel is automatically.
The Midland HH54VP2 receives information on nearby hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, ice storms and other weather events as well as civil emergency information about Amber Alerts, fires, and chemical spills. The clear LED screen is backlit for use in the dark. This is one of the best weather alert radios for handheld use.
The Kaito KA500 storm radio can be powered in six different ways: by 3 AA batteries, a built-in angle-adjustable solar panel, a hand crank, by USB from a laptop or cell phone charger, by a rechargeable battery pack or an AC/DC wall adapter (not included).
The Kaito emergency weather radio can receive AM/FM weather as well as NOAA weather alerts and it also functions as a flashlight and reading lamp. It even can charge a cell phone with a USB power output port. This model also has a blinking red light mode which can serve as an emergency beacon. Telescopic antenna extends up to 14 and a half inches. Water-resistant and comes in several different colors.
This emergency weather radio, certified by the American Red Cross, combines several features into a neat package, complete with carrying handle and bright red color. It receives AM/FM radio as well as all 7 NOAA weather stations (or Environment Canada), plus it has an alert function for extreme weather warnings. It also can charge your cell phone via USB and has a flashlight on its side. Powered by either 3 AAA batteries, a built-in solar panel, the built-in hand crank or a computer or cell phone charger via USB. This weather radio is smaller than it looks in the product photos but it also has a blinking red light for beacon mode to find it in the dark.
Frequently asked questions about storm radios
Can I tune a storm radio or emergency radio to a normal AM/FM radio station? Not every emergency radio has this feature; some weather radios only tune to weather radio stations. But in our weather alert radios reviews above we’ve included whether or not each model allows for AM/FM tuning. If in doubt, check the product listings themselves.
What are the important features to look for in a weather alert radio? It depends on what you’re using it for but we generally recommend looking for a weather radio that has multiple ways to power or charge it just in case you lose power. Many weather radios have the ability to charge from a built-in hand crank and some may even include a built-in solar panel (though in stormy weather this won’t be of much use). For some, it may be important to get a handheld weather radio which can fit into a pocket. We also recommend considering getting an emergency weather radio that has a way to charge a cell phone, as many of the models listed in these reviews have.
What kind of information will I get using a weather alert radio? A weather radio using the NOAA S.A.M.E. weather protocol alert system will broadcast alerts tailored to your specific area using a series of county-codes (many weather radios let you program in a range of county codes that are relevant to your area). Weather radios capable of receiving the 7 channels of NOAA broadcasts will also receive weather alerts. Some weather radios will also give you access to civil emergency information like Amber Alerts and information about other local emergencies such as chemical spills. Still, other weather radios will also have AM/FM tuning for receiving normal radio broadcasts.