It is always wise to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. When it comes to disaster and emergency preparedness, no kit is complete without a survival radio. In the event of a disaster or emergency, information has life-saving power. A good emergency radio delivers important alerts and warnings when and where other means have failed. The best survival radios also provide light, signaling capabilities, and a way to charge your phone when you need it most.
If you live in an earthquake, hurricane or tornado zone or love wilderness adventures that take you off the grid, a quality and reliable emergency radio is a must-have. Below, we have reviewed our top ten picks of the best emergency radios in the market. They have the features and functionality to get you through even the most serious disasters. Our buying guide explains the most important features a radio should have for it to be useful in dire situations.
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How To Choose The Best Emergency Radio – Buying Guide
You will come across a variety of survival radios and not all of them are made equal. It is important to carefully evaluate your options before you select one. Below is a list of the most important features to ensure the radio you get has so it will be useful in emergency situations:
Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME)
An emergency radio with SAME capability is superior to a similar one without this feature. SAME stands for Specific Area Message Encoding. This feature enables you to program the radio to receive only alerts specific to your location. This saves you time by giving you only relevant information and conserves the radio’s power.
Water Resistance, LED Lights And Alarm Clocks
For an emergency radio to be used during disasters such as storms and outdoor emergencies, it is important that it is water resistant. Ensure the radio has LED light capability. This light can function as a flashlight or an emergency signal such as a Morse Code. Alarm clocks also come handy as they alert you to incoming warnings and updates.
Charging Ports And Other Extras
A radio that offers additional features that come in handy during an emergency is always a great purchase. First of all, ensure the radio has a working USB charging port that will charge your cell phone so you can make emergency calls. Other useful extras to look for include a flashlight, headphone jack, SOS siren and signal, reading light, compass, clock, alarm etc.
The ability to receive and transmit National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) updates is a necessity in an emergency survival radio. When your radio has this feature, you will be able to receive emergency alerts even where there isn’t good reception and other radio stations have failed. To ensure that you get a radio with NOAA weather bands receiver, check that it has AM capability (NOAA sends its alerts through AM channels) and look for a NOAA sticker.
Radios consume power fast and the last thing you need is to lose your only connection to the world. A good survival radio has multiple ways of powering it. Most survival radios can be powered by AC adaptor, USB adaptor, AAA or AA batteries, and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can be charged via AC, USB, solar, manually by hand crank when all the other methods won’t work. With all these charging options, you will be able to keep your radio working even if the power goes out for an extended duration.
Size And Weight
Size and weight also matter especially when you want a portable emergency radio you can use anywhere. A compact and lightweight is more convenient to keep in an emergency kit and use outdoors and on the move. If you want a survival radio primarily for use indoors, you can get a larger radio with more features.
Color might not seem like an important consideration for an emergency device. However, you may want to choose a color that blends with the environment when shopping for a radio to use outdoors. For urban use where you’re sending a signal to be rescued, a highly visible color such as bright red or yellow is a good idea.
In addition to having multiples charging methods, it is important to get a radio with a long battery life so you can get a decent amount of radio time and lighting before you have to replace or recharge it. Check the stated battery life by the manufacturer and read user reviews to see how long the battery actually lasts. It is also wise to keep have backup batteries handy.
Range and Tuning Ability
The range and tuning ability in a survival radio is very important. The best survival radio offers multiple tuning options, has a wide band range, can pick up plenty of stations and broadcasts information in a clear, crisp and loud audio. Digital tuning is usually easier to use than analog tuning but analog tuning makes it easier to obtain harder to reach signals. Check that the radio you buy has good reception and test it after you get it. It is also smart to have a separate antenna for boosting the reception.
Ease of Operation
You will come across radios offering all kinds of bells and whistles. In an emergency situation, the ease of operation will be the most important feature. It is important to get the most useful radio that is also easy to use and comes with easy to understand and follow instructions.
Help & Support
Last but not least, look into the kind of customer support the survival radio equipment manufacturer offers. If you find the radio is defective, you want to be assured that getting the help and support you need won’t be a hassle. Look at the kind of warranty the brand offers and read consumer reviews to get an idea of the quality of customer service they offer.
Q: What Is ‘All Hazards’ And Do I Need It?
A: Whenever there is an emergency or life-threatening event, a radio with an ‘All Hazards’ capability will sound an alert and then deliver real-time information about the hazard. If you live in a disaster-prone area or your wilderness expeditions take you off the grid, you need this feature.
Q: What Do You Do If Your Reception Is Poor?
A: If there is a National Weather Service (NWS) station covering your area, it is important to know the frequency of the nearest tower. The range for NWR reception is usually about 40 miles from the transmitter. The reception can be better or poorer depending on your location. If your reception is poor, you can get a separate antenna to boost the reception of the radio.
Q: Please Explain The S.A.M.E. Technology In Some Emergency Radios?
A: S.A.M.E. stands for Specific Area Message Encoding. It is a digital protocol or code used to send a warning alarm tone to emergency radios equipped with S.A.M.E. technology. Such radios can be programmed to receive only codes meant for a specific location.
Q: When Will I Need An Emergency Radio?
A: You will need an emergency radio when natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornados or adventures in the wilderness take you off the grid and you don’t have access to electricity or cell phone signal. An emergency radio will deliver important weather updates and emergency alerts. It will also provide illumination and give you a way to send signals. In your everyday life, you can use it for entertainment when outdoors or when the power goes out.
Q: Why Can’t I Just Use My Smartphone?
A: While many smartphones deliver emergency alerts, a cell phone is often not a viable option in the wilderness and when disasters strike followed by power outages. Batteries die, signals get overloaded, and cell phone towers collapse. You need a backup device that can work off the grid.
Globo Surf Overview
When disasters or outdoor expeditions take you off the grid, an emergency survival radio will be the most valuable equipment. It will be your only way to get important warnings and news. If you have the best survival radio, you will also have a way to signal, a flashlight, and a way to charge your phone for emergency use.
Ensure the radio you choose has a long battery life, multiple charging methods, access to NOAA weather channels and ability to withstand harsh conditions. When you get your radio, we recommend charging it up in different ways, learning how to operate it and testing its functions before you actually have to use it in an emergency situation. It is also important to test the radio and replace the battery periodically.
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Which of the survival radios on our list is your top choice? We would love to read your thoughts or experience with the emergency radios we’ve reviewed! Feel free to share in the comment box below!
Globo Surf Survival Radios Reviews