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A reliable survival radio is a must-have in absolutely any emergency kit. Whether you choose a compact hand-crank radio you can carry with you or a solar-powered larger model to keep in your home or car kit, you have to have a radio you can rely on. When disaster strikes and you find yourself in a survival setting, your radio will go farther than your smartphone. Radios, both regular radios and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radios, will relay critical emergency information. Radios are more reliable than smartphones, as you’ll always be able to get a signal; radio waves also travel farther than LTE. When cell phone lines are jammed or down, your radio will be your only connection to updates.

If you’re searching for just the right survival radio, there are plenty of options available. Discover our picks for the best survival radios right here.

The FosPower Emergency Portable Radio is more than just a well-equipped radio — it’s a survival radio that can keep you powered up and connected during critical periods. Equipped with three different power sources, you can “recharge” this radio and give it power to operate via AAA batteries, a hand-crank lever, and a solar charger. This versatility is key when you’re working with limited options. It’ll offer both local and regional AM/FM station broadcasts and NOAA emergency weather alerts so you can access the most critical news. It’s also more than a mere radio; with this device, you’ll also get an emergency light source and a backup power bank. A reading light with four LED lights provides visibility and a one-watt LED flashlight lights your way. A 2,000 mAh power bank offers enough power to recharge devices like your smartphone in just hours. This survival radio is also backed by a limited lifetime warranty for an extra layer of reliability.

If you’re looking for a survival radio you can truly bring along everywhere and anywhere, the Esky Emergency Hand Crank Radio is the perfect pick. This compact radio may measure just 5 x 2.4 x 1.8 inches in overall size and weigh just 0.49 pounds, but it offers a whole lot of functionality. The radio receives AM/FM channels as well as NOAA weather alerts, giving you absolutely everything you need in an emergency for local and national updates. It can be charged in three ways — by hand crank, USB cable, or the included solar panel — so you never run out of power even when electricity isn’t an option. This radio even offers a 1,000 mAh portable charger to revive phones and other devices, plus an emergency flashlight that shines with three LED lights. It’s small enough to fit in your pocket, and it’s powerful enough to deliver key emergency tools in a pinch. The radio is even tough enough to survive water and harsh weather, offering fantastic all-around value.

The Kaito 5-Way Solar Emergency Radio is one top-tier product. It’s not only built with quality materials and an emergency-ready design, but it’s also highly functional. This radio goes above and beyond in many ways to give you more, whether that’s more reliability or more helpful features in a survival situation. It’s a five-way radio that can be powered via a hand crank, solar panel, AA batteries, USB charger, or AC/DC power adapter. A built-in NiMH rechargeable battery pack allows the radio to double as a power bank for your phone and other USB-rechargeable devices. When it comes to news and updates, this survival radio gives you AM, FM, two-band shortwave, and pre-programmed NOAA weather channels. You’ll get real-time updates locally and on a larger scale. Other helpful features include a built-in LED reading lamp, LED flashlight, and SOS beacon light. The entire radio is made out of premium impact-resistant and water-resistant ABS material, and it can survive outdoors without worry.

If you’re looking for a survival radio that’ll keep you informed and up to date in severe weather, the Midland NOAA Emergency Alert Radio is the one for you. This slim and compact radio is all about the weather — it’s public-alert certified, and it receives seven NOAA channels that’ll give you the latest alerts about flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, thunderstorms, and so much more. The radio is equipped with SAME alert programming, which allows you to customize your weather alerts to your local area and county. With a 25-county memory system, you can store your favorite or most frequent locations so you’re always in the know, emergency or not. There are extra features, too, like a 90-decibel siren, voice alerts, and flashing LED warning lights. There’s even an alarm clock and snooze. It does, however, only have one power source. Powered by AA batteries, this radio does require you to carry extra batteries in your emergency kit, just in case.

The RunningSnail Solar Crank Emergency Radio is just right for your emergency survival kit if you’re hoping to include illumination. You never know just how dark it’s going to be until you’re without power, and this radio will allow you to see clearly while sharing critical information from local and national agencies. The radio receives AM/FM broadcasts and NOAA weather alerts, ensuring you get emergency updates when weather and other disasters happen. But you’ll also get more. Built right into the radio is a one-watt LED flashlight that’ll illuminate dark spaces and the path ahead of you, along with a table lamp that’ll give you just the right amount of light when night falls. There’s also an SOS alarm with a flashing red light, which you can use to notify others of your location when you need critical help. You can rely on the radio to deliver both broadcasts and light for up to 12 hours (light only) or six hours (radio only).

Your portable devices like smartphones and tablets can only last so long without electrical power — but with the Mesqool 5-Way Emergency Radio, you’ll have plenty of power to get by on. This radio, which receives seven pre-configured NOAA weather alert channels and AM/FM broadcasts, doubles as a backup power source for absolutely anything that can charge via USB. It contains a 5,000 mAh replaceable lithium ion battery, giving you power in a pinch absolutely anywhere. In addition to the radio capability and that sizable backup battery, you’ll also enjoy a bright LED flashlight and LED reading light to illuminate your space when the electricity goes out. There’s even a headphone jack so you can listen to the radio and its broadcasts privately. When it comes to powering this survival radio, you have five options: AAA batteries, a micro USB input, a hand crank, a solar panel, or the backup battery inside the unit itself.

How can you trust all of a survival radio’s promises? If you choose the Eton American Red Cross Emergency Radio, you can have complete confidence — this radio is made in collaboration with the Red Cross, meaning it’s a dependable piece to carry with you. This survival radio is prepared for anything, and it can receive AM/FM radio stations as well as all seven NOAA weather bands for critical alerts. It doesn’t have localized SAME capability, but it does offer plenty of helpful emergency features. An “Alert” function automatically broadcasts emergency alerts in your area, and you can tune in to local stations for more information. A 2,600 mAh rechargeable battery powers the radio, and it can easily be charged with a USB cable; it’ll also double as a backup power source for your other devices. When there’s no power available, you can charge up the radio with the included hand turbine or the solar panel. A built-in LED flashlight and a red LED emergency alert beacon give you even more features to love.

If you’re worried about losing power and connectivity in an emergency, you’ll want to choose the Holababy Emergency Radio. This survival-ready radio features a built-in 5,000 mAh lithium battery that powers both the radio and all of its other capabilities. With double — or more — power than most similar products, this radio can last you quite a long time when you’re surviving without power. Worried about that running out too? You can power this radio in three ways, either with AAA batteries, solar power, or the built-in hand crank. With access to AM and FM channels as well as all seven NOAA weather alert channels, you’ll have all of the emergency access and information you need when survival is key. This radio even offers lighting in the form of an extra-bright LED flashlight and an SOS light and noise alarm. Whether you’re using this radio around the house when you’re without power or in more serious survival situations outdoors, you can confidently count on its power to last.

The Aiworth Emergency Survival Radio can survive it all — especially when you’re facing wet conditions. While plenty of survival radios are built to be tough and durable in emergency situations, this compact yet powerful radio is able to survive water, moisture, and wet weather easily. Built with a sealed waterproof housing, this radio will keep on working even in rainy conditions. With a large, easy-to-read LCD screen, you can check the radio’s NOAA broadcasts and alerts, see a real-time battery power level, and control all of the features. You can scan weather radio bands for the latest updates, and you can plug devices like smartphones into the radio for extra power from the 2,000 mAh battery. Worried about running low on power? You can use the hand crank and solar panel to recharge the radio if traditional electricity isn’t available. The only real drawback to this durable product is its lack of AM and FM broadcast signals. It only offers NOAA channels, which can be limiting if you want local or national news beyond dangerous or severe weather.

The Dodocool Emergency Radio is more than just a simple radio. It’s a radio, a weather alert device, an SOS alarm, a power bank for electronic gadgets, and a lighting device all in one relatively small package. It is a larger survival radio, measuring 7.09 x 4.92 x 2.56 inches in size. However, it offers a whole lot for its size. You’ll get both AM/FM and NOAA weather broadcasts, checking in locally and nationally for news, critical emergency alerts, and the latest on severe weather. With 2,000 mAh of power in its battery, you can use the radio as a charger or backup power source for your phone, tablet, and other gadgets or devices. An SOS alarm allows you to call for help and easily be found in a pinch, and the built-in flashlight is bright enough for total darkness outdoors. The exterior of this radio is made from impact-resistant and waterproof material, ensuring it’ll work when you need it to most.

Related: Create a lifeline with the best emergency radios

Why should you trust us

I have nearly a year of experience reviewing products for Brookline Media’s websites, including The Drive and Car Bibles. My past reviews include best ATV bags, best solar chargers for backpacking, and best waterproof tents. I’ve also written historical articles for War History Online, how-to articles for WonderHowTo, and the nonfiction book Fidget! for Adams Media.

Types of survival radios

Technically, any radio can become a survival radio in a pinch. As long as you have a radio that can pick up AM and FM broadcast signals, you’ll be able to tune in to broadcasts. But when you’re focused on survival, having an actual survival radio — one that’s equipped with the tools and radio wavelengths you need in an emergency — is even more important. 

Survival radios share many of the same features and capabilities. But there are two different types of these radios: AM/FM and weather alert. Each specific type offers its own benefits and disadvantages. Read on to discover which is the best fit for your emergency kit.

AM/FM survival radios

AM/FM survival radios, which are also often called simply emergency radios, are able to pick up AM and FM radio frequencies. They’ll keep you informed on the latest information when you’re in a developing situation, allowing you to access both local radio stations and those that are farther away. This kind of emergency radio is typically used when the power goes out — so, these radios don’t always have a wealth of extra features.

Your average AM/FM survival radio features multiple power options, like a hand crank, solar charging, and traditional wall outlet or battery power. This ensures you’ll be able to use your radio even when your access to electricity is nonexistent. These radios can also include survival extras, like a built-in flashlight, an emergency alert sound, and extra battery power.

Weather alert survival radios

A weather alert survival radio is a more specialized kind of emergency device. These radios are able to broadcast alerts from NOAA, giving you critical information about weather in your area. You can even fine-tune your alerts if you choose a weather alert radio that includes Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) capability. Many weather alert models also allow you to tune in to local radio stations for updates and alerts beyond the weather. This versatility can be especially handy in a survival situation.

Additionally, these radios often include all of the same features of AM/FM survival radios. You’ll find options with flashlights, emergency lights or alerts, backup battery power, and more. 

What to consider when buying a survival radio

As you try to decide which survival radio is the right pick for your emergency supplies, it’s important to consider both how the radio works and how much functionality it offers.

Many survival radios offer multiple operation methods. It’s common for a single radio to run on batteries as well as a hand crank and solar power. This gives you more versatility in survival situations; if one method won’t power your radio, you have other options you can try. Look for a radio that’ll work even when you have access to nothing at all — one that can use hand cranking and solar charging to regain power. Batteries, electricity, and even USB charging can all fail in an emergency.

You’ll also want to assess what kinds of other helpful functions a survival radio offers. The more you can do with your radio, the more you’ll streamline your emergency gear. Some radios come equipped with multiple flashlights, emergency sirens and signals, and even backup power sources so you can recharge items like your flashlights, smartphone, and more. Other radios are simpler and work solely as radios.  

Do you need a survival radio?

Absolutely everyone needs a survival radio packed in their emergency kit or carried with them each day. A survival radio is a critical device when the unexpected happens — it can rapidly become your only connection to the latest news, key information, and status of your local area. It’s more reliable than your cell phone, and it’s what you’ll depend on if power lines, cell service, and other important services are rendered unavailable in an emergency.

Connectivity and information aren’t the only advantages of carrying a survival radio. In addition to offering you updates about local weather and emergency situations, these compact devices can also give you other survival perks. These include:

  • A renewable power source that offers USB charging for other electronics and high-power items, including flashlights, cell phones, tablets, and more.
  • Multiple modes of charging or resupplying power, like solar charging, hand cranking, and more.
  • The freedom to not be reliant on electricity or cell service when these are unavailable or down.
  • Multiple survival tools in one, like flashlights, SOS lights or alerts, and backup battery power.
  • The ability to carry information wherever you go in a lightweight, compact device.

Pricing ranges for survival radios

  • Under $20: If you’re looking for a basic survival radio with a compact size and simple features, you can find plenty of options for less than $20. These radios can come in AM/FM or weather alert formats, and most offer extras like flashlights and backup power source capability.
  • $20 to $60: Spend a bit more, and you can get even more out of a survival radio. For $20 to $60, you’ll find options that are both AM/FM and NOAA weather alert models. These radios tend to be packed with extra features, too, giving you three or more power options plus extras like SOS lighting, flashlights, and great durability.

How we chose our top picks

To choose our best survival radio picks, we examined the products available on Amazon and focused on those with the highest ratings and the most customer reviews. We assessed the functionality and features of each radio and took customers’ comments and experiences with them into account to choose the best of the bunch.