A survival radio is one of the most important pieces of gear you can have in an emergency. When things go horribly wrong, an emergency radio can keep you connected to the outside world, giving you news and weather alerts to help you make the right decisions in high-pressure situations. Plus, emergency radios will work even when the phone lines or internet doesn’t.
The simple and effective technology of the radio, even in a disaster situation, is a big selling point, but today, many emergency radios come with a plethora of different features and design options to help you make the most of your device. But what to choose? Unfortunately, many people have little experience buying survival radios and don’t know what to look for.
Luckily, we’re here to help you find the best prepper radio for you. First, we’ll discuss what you should look for in a survival radio, so you feel confident sorting through all the options on the market. Then, we’ll give a detailed review of what we think is the best emergency radio around - the RunningSnail Solar Crank Radio. Let’s get to it!
Finding the Best Survival Radio
Since emergency radios are such important pieces of survival gear, it’s important that you choose one that can meet all of your needs and still stand strong in the face of some serious adversity. When you’re choosing your next prepper radio, here are a few things to look for:
Multiple ways of charging
If you’re in an emergency, you really don’t want to come to the realization that your survival radio can only be charged using a wall outlet. The absolute last thing you want is to be stuck with a great, high-quality radio that doesn’t have enough juice to get you the information you need.
The solution? A radio that can be charged in a multitude of ways. A battery-operated radio is great (don’t forget to pack extra batteries of the right size), but the best radio will also charge by hand-crank, solar, and/or another method. Essentially, you need a radio that can be powered even without a connection to the electrical grid.
The radio’s connection abilities
Do you only need a NOAA weather alert radio? Or do you need one that will also connect to a broad range of AM and FM stations? Many people will be happy with the basics - a NOAA alerts capable radio - but some preppers want to be able to connect to all aspects of the outside world. If that’s the case, be sure to get a radio with both AM and FM capabilities as NOAA alerts, and other important messages, get sent out on AM radio.
When purchasing an emergency radio, look for logos that say “NOAA NWR All Hazards”, “Public Alert” and/or “SAME”. Although the NOAA and Public Alerts logos are competing standards, they were both developed by NOAA and the National Weather Service and can assure you that your new radio meets high standards for functionality.
Radios with the “SAME” (Specific Alert Message Encoding) logo lets you specify which area you’re looking for warnings on, whether that be for a region, county, or city. This allows you to know if a disaster will affect precisely your area, instead of a wide swath of a state or multi-state area.
Decide on your optional features
These days, emergency radios come with an innumerable amount of optional features. While we’d love to have all of these features in our radios, the size of our wallets often dictates otherwise.
Some of the best available optional features include: the ability to charge phones and other devices; a flashlight, rugged exteriors, built-in speakers, and multiple programmable locations and stations. It's important to keep in mind, however, that not everybody needs all of these features. Consider what you'll use your radio for and which features will be helpful and which will be superfluous.
Now that you know what to look for in your emergency radio, let’s get right to it. Next up, we have a detailed review of the RunningSnail Solar Crank Radio, one of our favorite prepper radios available.
The RunningSnail Solar Crank Radio
The RunningSnail Solar Crank Radio is a multi-purpose AM/FM NOAA weather radio that helps you stay up-to-date on emergency announcements. This great, super portable radio is the perfect accompaniment to your emergency kit.
- Weight: 10.9 oz (309g)
- Dimensions: 6.2 x 2.1 x 2.9 in (15.8 x 5.3 x 7.4 cm)
- Runs on: 3 AAA batteries, solar power, USB cable rechargeable battery, or a hand crank
- AM/FM Stations
- NOAA weather alerts and broadcasts
- SOS Alarm
- 1W LED flashlight
- 1W table lamp
- Can be used to charge other devices
- Water-resistant (level IPX3)
The RunningSnail Solar Crank Radio is an absolute workhorse of an emergency radio in a small, convenient package. This all-in-one radio is incredibly portable and can be used while camping or as a part of your everyday emergency kit. It’s just slightly bigger than most smartphones and even has a wrist strap that takes portability to a new level.
This a multi-function radio, so it can tune into both AM/FM and the NOAA weather alerts system. This means you can listen for emergency broadcasts or simply enjoy entertaining programs, the music, or the news. Although this feature might seem superfluous, it’s a great way to entertain and calm people in an emergency situation.
The RunningSnail Hand Crank Radio is very user-friendly and well-designed. It's easy to tune into a specific station on the radio's analog display and the radio has a retractable antenna which can help you pick up a stronger signal, if necessary.
Multiple charging options
You can charge this radio from RunningSnail through 3 AAA batteries, a solar panel, hand crank, or rechargeable power bank. This is a great assortment of different charging options which can ensure that you never have to go without your radio.
Great extra features
One of our favorite features in the RunningSnail is its light source options. With this radio, you have a 1W flashlight on hand at all times. Plus, you can turn the 1W table light on to illuminate your work or reading space without exhausting the battery.
We also really enjoy that the RunningSnail has a rechargeable power bank. This feature allows you to recharge your phone or other USB-compatible devices, so you have alternative methods of communication. If the radio runs out of juice? Just crank it up or leave it out in the sun, and you'll have an endless supply of power for your phone, too.
Perhaps the most important extra feature on this radio is the SOS alarm. With a built-in flashing red light alert system, this is a great way to ask for help in an emergency, especially if you’re without cell signal.
There’s really not much to point out here for the RunningSnail Solar Crank Radio. It’s a durable, portable, and useful device with an intelligent design. If we did have to choose s disadvantage of this radio, we’d have to say it’s the lack of a digital display.
The analog display is easy to adjust, but it's quite difficult to pinpoint a specific signal without a digital display. So, if you need to connect to specific radio frequencies with high precision and accuracy, this might be a drawback. However, the analog display is more energy efficient, so you'll spend less time cranking up the radio and more time listening.
The RunningSnail SolarCrank is a fantastic radio that’s both durable and well-designed. At such a small size, you can take it anywhere, and with so many different ways to charge it, you’ll never be without the latest weather updates.
The radio’s list of additional features is just another great selling point. This model from RunningSnail is one of our favorite prepper radios on the market and will be a great addition to any emergency kit.