SOS Blog

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How to Choose the Perfect Emergency Radio

Including an emergency radio in your disaster survival kit is a common piece of advice. However, not many people know how to pick out a reliable emergency radio that’s actually going to help them get through a crisis. Not all radios are made equally, and when you’re in the midst of an emergency without power – whether you’re at home or traveling – your survival may depend on the gear you’ve stocked up on. We’ve come up with some radio tips to help you choose the perfect emergency radio for you.

What Type of Radio Should You Get?

When it comes to emergency radios, you first and foremost need a self-powered radio that will deliver NOAA alerts. The primary use of your emergency radio will most likely be to stay informed about the outside world. A standalone AM/FM receiver allows you to tune into any local FM stations that are still broadcasting and keep up with NOAA alerts, relief instructions and more information that is sent via AM radio. During severe emergencies, FM stations are not likely to be available, so having a radio that broadcasts AM is extremely important. If you want to be able to communicate with others via your radio, you’ll need a two-way radio; however, most people do fine with a standalone receiver.

Battery-operated radios are often the go-to option for new radio buyers; however, it’s ideal that you find a radio that is supported by multiple power sources. An AC adapter is perfect when you have power. Solar and hand-crank radios are a better option for traveling or as a backup for when the power goes out. Remember: if your radio has extra features, the power will drain faster.

What Size Radio Should You Get?

For your at-home emergency stock, it’s a good idea to purchase a large radio with special features of your choice (see below) and one small radio in case you need to relocate. For your car, office, boat or cabin, it’s recommended you keep a smaller radio on hand that you can continue to travel with when necessary.

What Makes an Emergency Radio the Best?

As discussed, the best emergency radios broadcast both FM and AM and can run without electricity. Solar and hand-crank radios are always a great option. Battery-powered radios also make great emergency devices, as long as you remember to stock up on extra batteries. However, what makes some radios stand out more than others is the additional features they come with. Some of our favorite options include:

Finally, you should consider searching for radios that offer SAME – Specific Alert Message Encoding. SAME allows you to receive warnings for specific areas, so you can be notified when there is a hurricane, tornado or another natural disaster headed your way.

For a wide variety of the best emergency weather radios, search no further than SOS Survival Products. If you’re still wondering which radio is right for you, give the experts at SOS a call! We’d be happy to help you find the best emergency radio for you.


  1. I just bought an American Red Cross crank radio and I'm pretty amazed how useful and practical it is. These days, tornadoes and other disasters are common, so it's important to invest in something that can give you information even without electricity. I found it by reading at some good reviews on various sites. While some are very expensive, this one can do the job pretty well. If you are trying to find out what kinds of radios you need, see this site for some good reviews:

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  3. In this issue I am going to address the radio devices you will need to keep in contact with the outside world during emergency conditions and the features you should look for in each. Unless you are an afternoon talk radio listener, you may not even own a portable AM radio. However, an AM radio will be the primary source for all local news, weather, and relief instructions for your town.

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