Emergency radios are an essential part of a prepper’s arsenal. Access to a communication device is crucial for survival. That’s why in choosing an emergency radio, you should only settle for the best and nothing less.
Choosing the Best Emergency Radios
7 Considerations in Buying an Emergency Radio
1. Reception and Frequency
Let us go first for the obvious. An emergency radio is designed for remote and mobile communication. It should be able to pick up various frequency waves at any location. But frequency range is nothing if you cannot hear the broadcast loud and clear.
In a nutshell, your portable radio should both have excellent frequency range and audio clarity. Commonly, survival radios come with AM and FM waves. However, one that can pick up shortwave stations is much better.
2. Battery Life
As pointed out earlier, an emergency radio that has a short battery life is a useless piece of junk. You will be using the device in places without stable power sources. This means that your radio is only as useful as its battery life. Unlike before, modern emergency radios now come with superior battery packs.
Compared to old school types, these batteries can last up to 20 hours of uninterrupted usage. This takes away the hassle of constantly charging your unit instead of putting it into use. In short, the longer the battery life, the better.
3. Multiple Power Charging Options
Apart from having extended battery life, choose emergency radios that allow multiple charging capabilities. Though often overlooked, this feature is extremely convenient for preppers. Various power source options let you charge your device in many ways.
The most common charging option is via USB straight to a power source. But portable power supplies eventually get drained. An excellent alternative to traditional battery-powered radios are ones with built-in solar power mechanisms. Some models can also be charged by manual cranking. To be safer, choose one that has all these options.
4. Size and Weight
The whole point of using emergency radios is to be able to bring them with you everywhere. So, what is the point of using one that is bulky and heavy as a brick? As a rule, emergency radios should be compact and lightweight. These two factors allow you to carry the radio with you on long hikes minus the stress.
To make it easier during protracted walks, modern emergency radios come with durable handles and ergonomic straps. When you go shopping for a survival radio, keep these features in mind. This would make a difference in terms of convenience in the wild.
Some emergency radios have buttons, knobs, or a combination of both. However, the best option is models with digital screens. Digital screen-equipped radios are more convenient to use. It allows users to see and use the screen under bad lighting conditions.
Buttons and knobs though are more durable than digital screens pads. Radios equipped with buttons and knobs also work in a jiffy. In short, both options have their pros and cons in terms of convenience. It is really up to you to decide based on your particular needs and preference.
You won’t be using your emergency radio in ideal situations. Remember, as a survivalist, you are most likely to use it during the most adverse conditions. It is just logical to get one that is durable and built to withstand torture. If durability is what you want, go for button-equipped radios instead of digital ones.
Button-equipped radios are designed with tough external casing. These particular models can handle extreme environments. Or if you want to go all the way in terms of toughness, choose a water-resistant emergency radio. This may cost you a little bit more but it is all worth it.
Once you have considered the primary criteria in selecting an emergency radio, it’s time to check out the accessories. These extra features may be less important than the main qualities of radio but they are still important.
When you are in the wild, you need all the help that you can get. These extra accessories, therefore, will make your life much easier. Flashlight, additional frequencies, solar charger, to name a few, are awesome additions to the functionality of your device.
RELATED: Emergency Weather Radios
Top 4 Emergency Radios for Survivalists
1. Prunus J-05 AM / FM Radio
There are cases when bigger is better. Though we mentioned earlier that compact emergency radios are favorable, a larger radio is sometimes apt. The Prunus, for instance, is bulkier than your typical radio yet its size is justifiable.
Among its many excellent features are bigger batteries with more powerful capabilities and longer antennas for better reception. It is also jampacked with useful features such as sleep timers, digital readouts, and extra bands. The only con perhaps is its analog dials which make setting exact frequencies impossible.
2. Aiworth Emergency Solar Hand Crank Radio
Ruggedized and mid-sized, this particular emergency radio brand and model is best for extended bug-outs. Aside from the usual features like NOAA and AM/FM frequency coverage, this radio has multiple power source options namely AA batteries, solar, micro-USB, and crank.
But wait there’s more. The Aiworth is also equipped with an automatic weather alarm. This feature frees you from constantly checking on your phone’s weather app for updates. If it only has SW frequency reception capability, it would have been perfect. But you can’t have them all, right?
3. Kaito KA500
When it comes to emergency radios, Kaito is the one to trust. In fact, it is the go-to brand for seasoned radio users. It has all the features that a standard emergency radio should have. But apart from its multiple power source capability and awesome frequency reception, the Kaito KA500 is built like a tank.
If you’re going to get down and dirty in the wild, this particular model could be your best ally. It is also equipped with features designed for emergency use such as a built-in flashlight. Perhaps the only gripe about this radio is it doesn’t have an antenna. But other than that small shortcoming, the Kaito KA500 is a class of its own.
4. FosPower Emergency Solar Hand Crank Radio
Another brand to reckon with when it comes to top-quality emergency radios is FoPower. This popular emergency supply manufacturer never fails to dish out superb products and this specific model is no exception.
Built with a 2000 mAH internal power source, you can use this radio as a battery bank for your phone. Not only that it has the standard features of a decent emergency radio but it also showcases cool features like two-mode integrated light. It could use a bigger internal battery though.
Final Words of Advice
The truth is, choosing the best emergency radios can be a challenge. The barrage of overwhelming options in the market will get you confused. Deciding on which ones to buy could be difficult. But of course, that is if you are not well-informed. The considerations that we discussed earlier will give you a clear guide on what to purchase.
Check out this Top 10 Best Emergency Radios vid by Best Gear Lab:
Just always keep in mind though that the perfect emergency radio depends on how and where you will use it. Make sure that you first consider this. And yes, give yourself more leeway for research. Don’t rush it. Take your time and enjoy the quest!
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In the age of smartphones, why do you think emergency radios are still relevant? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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