Today I’ve got something really exciting to share…
A Complete Guide To Buying & Using A Solar Radio For Emergencies
Because in a fast-paced, ever-changing crisis…You can’t make wise decisions without accurate intelligence.
And while a smartphones is powerful, their also vulnerable in turmoil…
That’s why you need a more reliable means of tapping into critical intel.
TOPICS IN THIS GUIDE… ↓(click to jump)
- Best Solar Radios On The Market
- Why You Should Get A One
- Solar Powered Radio (Pros|Cons)
- The Best Solar Radio Features
The Eton Scorpion II Multi-Powered Weather Radio is perfect for your off-the-grid needs.
You can stay updated on weather and emergencies with AM/FM/NOAA weather bands.
It even has a bottle opener for different types of emergencies.
Equipped with solar and hand-crank power options, you'll never have to go without a flashlight, news updates, or the ability to charge your cell phone.
This rugged and compact radio is the one tool for outdoor adventures and potential disasters.
- Extremely Rugged - All-Weather Ready
- It has several frequency bands, including NOAA Weather
- Clips easily to a belt loop or pack with a built-in carabiner
- Digital tuner / digital display
- Hand crank, solar, and grid power options
- No Replaceable Battery Option
Midland is a common sight at the small electronics counter of many outdoor stores. One of their most popular units is their 2-way FRS communication radios.
This emergency radio is a little heftier than competitors. But it features a 2600mAh internal battery which can be charged via USB, solar, or hand crank.
In turn, this large battery can also charge any small USB device.
It also comes with an ultrasonic dog whistle mode and a LED flashlight with an SOS beacon.
Note: many users replace the provided internal battery with the second-generation E310. This upgraded battery has a higher capacity 18650 Lithium battery for extended use.
- It has several frequency bands, including NOAA Weather
- NOAA Weather Alert mode scans for and sounds an alarm automatically
- Digital tuner
- Hand crank, solar, and AA battery options
↓ Unboxing | Setup Of The Midland ER40 ↓
FosPower is a familiar electronic brand, and its gear gets many favorable ratings across many sites.
Their small electronics are well-built and feature most of the add-ons consumers want.
The name says it all in the FosPower Emergency Solar Portable Radio case.
The FosPower is a compact radio with solar and hand crank charging capabilities. It also features several LED lights for close-in tasks (reading, etc.) or on the go.
It includes several radio bands, including the NOAA weather channels.
Some users have had issues with the quality of the factory. But most have exchanged them for working units quickly via FosPower's warranty.
My one big gripe is that the NOAA weather radio lacks standby mode.
This mode helps to conserve power yet announces NOAA warning and watch conditions.
Growing up in "tornado country," this was a crucial feature for my battery-operated weather radios.
- LED Flashlight
- Hand Crank for alternative charging
- USB Power Port
- Some Amazon users report durability issues
- The weather radio must be ON to receive, with no standby mode.
↓ FosPower Solar Crank Radio Charger! Emergency Preparedness!
We've reviewed several small Kaito emergency radios over the years.
And they're always a contender on our survival electronics lists.
The KA500 is a reliable emergency radio with a well-thought-out set of features.
First off, it has several charging options, including:
- Hand crank
- DC wall plug
- Internal AA batteries
The antenna and solar cell fold away to remain protected in transit. But the hand crank could use a little more protection.
The analog tuner is decent but requires a delicate touch to dial in a faint station.
A digital tuner would be a good upgrade for this model.
As with many inexpensive options, there are reports of quality control issues online.
So be sure to check all the features of your device on arrival to ensure they work.
- MANY charging options
- USB charging for devices
- A more comprehensive range of frequencies supported (AM/FM/NOAA/SW/PEAS)
- Analog tuner
- Quality control issues at the factory
↓ A Must-Have Prepping | Survival Item – Solar Crank Shortwave Radio
Running Snail has recently improved its compact hand crank and solar charging radio.
It now includes a better solar cell and larger battery capacity.
The RunningSnail is a good emergency radio in a pinch.
But the battery life (even with the upgrade) makes them a little unreliable for long-term use (say, in a home/cabin).
They're designed to be lightweight and small for use as a portable radio.
As with many smaller USB chargers, voltage regulation is lacking. That's why you may find your smartphone won't "recognize" the device.
This issue is partially true, but the phone will usually continue charging slower than expected.
- USB, solar, and hand-crank charging
- Radio reception is not great
- USB charging of other devices is spotty
↓ RunningSnail Hand Crank Radio Review
This NOAA Weather Radio is a better option if you're looking for a more extensive solar-powered radio for a cabin.
We always had one in the kitchen above the fridge growing up.
You can charge it via any one of four options:
- Hand crank
- AAA batteries
And it can act as a 4000mAh USB battery bank for other devices.
It's an LED flashlight, a reading lamp, and an SOS strobe.
These are all welcome emergency features.
It has a sturdy triangular design that keeps it from tipping or rolling.
A digital tuner helps with dialing in faint stations.
And the AM/FM/NOAA frequency range keeps you well connected.
- Stable design
- Solid construction
- Slow to charge via solar due to large battery
- No preset weather stations
↓ Multi-Purpose Flashlight Emergency Radio Review
This Aiworth Emergency radio is a new product on the market.
But it has many of the same features as other more expensive models.
It's very compact and lightweight.
Yet it sports a solar cell, hand crank charger, and USB charger and can use AAA batteries.
It has various frequencies, including the 7 NOAA weather presets.
These will help keep you up to date on emergencies.
The AUX input, phone charger, and LED flashlight features make it a great multitool of a radio.
- Compact and lightweight
- All 7 NOAA presets included
- Several charging options
- 2000mAh battery bank will only charge smartphones ~1 time
- Instructions not well translated into English
This solar radio looks like a miniature boombox straight out of the '90s.
The Wayl Buzz4000 Emergency Weather radio is an excellent addition to any emergency cache.
It's a full-featured AM/FM radio with 24/7 NOAA weather coverage.
It's easily powered via USB, hand crank, solar, or AAA batteries.
This flexibility provides max charging options for any emergency.
The internal 4000mAh battery bank can power the radio - or charge your other devices via USB.
It's both water-resistant and sports stereo speakers.
Heck, the Buzz4000 is even able to play audio files from an external USB drive!
- Stereo speakers
- 4000mAh battery bank
- Can play audio files via USB
↓ Wayl’s Buzz 4000 Emergency Radio Review
Tenergy is another new company, and I have limited experience with their products.
But this radio is well-rated online and has earned several "best new radio..." rankings.
It's an inexpensive solar radio with features you'd expect on more expensive models.
The hand crank and solar cell allow you to charge without using either AAA batteries or the wall charger.
Unlike most radios, you can charge the internal lithium battery from AAA batteries.
This feature allows you to consolidate partial batteries into one charged device.
Also, it's one of the few devices on this list to use USB-C connections.
The Tenergy can charge most devices, including new smartphones and watches.
The radio functions work well, as do the LED flashlights.
It also includes an unexpected plus, the well-padded case, protecting the radio from abuse.
- Well designed functions
- Great power options
- USB-C compatible
- Padded case
- Slow to charge via solar or hand crank
↓ Tenergy Hand Crank Emergency Radio
A solar-powered radio is a radio that includes a solar cell.
This radio design lets you charge an internal battery directly from the sun.
Most solar radios are smaller portable models with moderately sized solar cells.
These smaller units are ideal for camping, survival, and emergencies.
Some also come with other charging means.
This gives users a wider range of charging options.
An internal battery provides a location to store power.
That way, the radio can be used later, even after dark, when the solar cell is not producing power.
It’s also nice that solar charging is a passive task.
Passive charging means letting your solar-powered radio charge while focusing on other tasks.
This feature is a huge advantage when hiking, driving, cooking, or doing other camp chores.
It only requires occasional re-positioning, so the solar cell receives direct sunlight.
These two features (“free” power and passive charging) are why most people invest in a solar-powered radio.Click here to instantly download this Complete Checklist PDF. No purchase necessary.
Sometimes, older technologies are better than new ones.
Sure, old technologies may not be as “cool” as new technologies.
But what they lack in appeal – they make up for in reliability!
Radio signals transmit for very long distances Over-The-Air, meaning without any physical wires.
And these signals are known to distribute critical emergency information in real-time (think “weather radios”).
Listening to this information while still performing other tasks is far easier.
That’s why every vehicle has a radio instead of a TV on the dashboard!
Now, it’s true that most radio stations rely on expensive antennas and transmitters.
But all it takes to receive a signal is a small device that easily fits in the palm of your hand.
Of course, if the internet is out, chances are electricity isn’t far behind.
And ALL radios run on some form of electricity.
That’s why having a secondary power source for your emergency radio is critical.
Fortunately, several methods exist to power a radio besides plugging it into the wall.
Popular alternative power options range from batteries to hand-crank generators.
But one of the best and most convenient options is SOLAR POWER!
Doing so ensures you’ll still have a means of receiving intel after an EMP attack.
As with any new technology, there are advantages and disadvantages.
That’s why it’s essential to weigh both the Pros and Cons when deciding which solar-powered radio best fits your needs.
First up, solar power is considered a “free” energy source.
I quote the word “free” because nothing is truly free.
In this case, you’ll need additional features on your radio to collect solar energy.
And these extra features equate to more weight and bulk.
Plus, added complexity, more pathways for error, and more cost.
But these disadvantages are offset by an unlimited power source.
It’s a power source capable of charging even in remote locations and with minimal effort by the user.
Of course, all this free energy depends on ACCESS to sunlight.
The amount of power a solar cell produces depends on the intensity of the sunlight it receives.
It may take days to partially charge a radio battery in a foggy forest (especially in the US Pacific Northwest).
Yet, a few hours of direct sunlight in the desert may charge it completely.
So, you must be aware of the environment in which you plan to use your solar-powered radio.
- “Free energy” from the sun!
- Great for remote locations and off-grid areas
- An eco-friendly method of charging the battery
- Will charge (slowly) even on a cloudy day
- More bulk/weight/parts than similar traditional radios
- More costly than similar regular radios
- Need consistent access to direct sunlight
- Smaller solar cells take longer to charge a battery
- It depends on direct sunlight to charge efficiently
No emergency radio is worthy of purchase if it doesn’t tap into the national weather service updates.
NOAA weather stations continuously broadcast weather information.
Now, you may be thinking, EVERY emergency radio would include this feature.
And you’d be wrong.
The cheapest ones will leave off the weather band radio frequencies and only give you AM/FM.
This is not good enough – spend more dollars on critical weather intel.
In the case of small electronics, the idea of durability comes down to a couple of basic questions.
First, is the device water-resistant?
It’s a fact – survival gear used will eventually get wet.
Even in the desert, someone will inevitably spill water on your electronics.
Or a surprise desert storm will pop up when you least expect it.
So, look for a radio with an IP rating for water resistance – and then treat it as if it’s still not water resistant!
Secondly, can the device handle rough use?
Your radio will get dropped, sat on, and shoved into a cramped pack.
If delicate parts like the antenna are exposed, they can easily break.
Shock and dust ratings are an excellent way to find devices built for rugged outdoor life.
Size and weight are prime considerations when carrying your radio in a pack or vehicle.
A smaller radio is more likely to find its way into your pack.
And a radio left on a shelf at home does you no good when you’re out and about.
Cost is always a factor, and you get what you pay for (to some extent).
The cheapest radios are often built with less reliable parts.
They also tend to lack features that may make your life easier.
Be sure to read reviews (like ours) and do your homework before deciding which radio to buy.
Power Bank Capability
Power bank flexibility is a great bonus feature.
This option lets you tap the internal battery as a charging device for other small electronics.
Look for a radio with a USB outlet; that way, you’ll always have a spare battery for your smartphone, camera, or GPS.
Another common bonus feature, an LED flashlight is often integrated into solar-powered radios.
It’s an excellent way to add a backup light if your headlamp goes out.
Other Charging Routes
The rate of solar charging is variable based on sun conditions.
That’s why it’s also best to have other ways to charge your radio.
First, look for a plug-in charging port to use standard grid power.
Next, get a radio with a hand-crank generator that allows you to convert a quick arm workout into a charge.
Having replaceable (usually AA or AAA) batteries is also helpful.
If all else fails, this feature lets you swap out dead batteries for fresh ones.
You should NEVER underestimate the ability to use headphones with a radio.
Why? Because headphones (mono or stereo) make it much easier to listen to faint signals.
Most portable solar-powered radios have small antennas.
Small antennas can struggle to pick up faint signals.
But headphones or earbuds allow you to hear even the weakest signals.
Also, headphone speakers are much smaller than those built into the radio.
That means headphones take less power to create the sound.
This feature equates to small power savings over time.
But it can add up to precious minutes or hours of use compared to the built-in speaker.Click here to instantly download this Complete Checklist PDF. No purchase necessary.
Now that you’ve seen the best solar-powered radios add one to your supplies.
They’re compact enough for a pack, but I like to keep one in each vehicle and my house/garage for emergencies.
They open your world to an unlimited supply of energy from the sun.
They often come with an ideal backup power source, like a hand crank for cloudy days and nighttime use.
The bottom line is:
Solar Radios are a vital connection to intelligence when you need it most.
Why Trust Skilled Survival...
Go here now to review a full breakdown of:
- Who We Are
- Our Credentials
- Our Mission
- & Product Recommendations...
Here are a few highlights of our teams credentials & certifications:
- Certified Member of a Mountain Search & Rescue Organization
- Plant Emergency & Safety Leader for a Major Food Manufacturer
- Member of the 10TH Mountain Division Hut Association
- Certifications: Avalanche 1, WFR, CPR
- Official Gear Tester for Numerous Outdoor Gear Companies
- Countless Multiday Backpacking trips into Remote Wilderness
- Bachelor's Degree In Mechanical Engineering
- Bachelor's Degree In Civil Engineering
- Bachelor's Degree In Biomedical Engineering
"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it." - Warren Buffett
We're fully aware that TRUST is NOT something you GET but is EARNED.
And we'll continue to earn YOUR trust through our forthright and honest approach with each new Blog Post, Guide & Product we create...
P.s. Do You Live In A 'Danger Zone' County?
Find out now using my Danger Zone County List & Special Report it’s absolutely FREE.
In minutes you’ll know EXACTLY where you stand and if you should be worried or not..
5 Best Vacuum Sealers Hand-Picked By A Survival Expert
Vacuum sealer are an essential kitchen appliance to keep food fresh and avoid unnecessary waste. We review the top 5 on the market today.
7 Best Camping Generators For Whisper Quiet Private Power
You need quiet power for both camping and survival. In this article, I share the best camping generators and how to modify them for silence.
10 Best Hand Crank Generators For Backup DIY Power
Crank generators are a wise black-out backup tool. We show you the best ones to keep your family safe in a long term power outage.
9 Best Survival Bags Hand-Picked By Our Gear Expert
Settling on the RIGHT survival bag can be an overwhelming task. But we make it easy by focusing on only the best ones available today.
Best Portable Power Stations For Luxurious Camping Or Survival
We review the best portable power stations on the market. And break down the features you'll want for camping, traveling, and emergencies.
Bluetti AC200P Review: Putting It To The Ultimate Test
We put the Bluetti AC200P power station through its paces as a backup emergency solar generator and a portable camping generator.