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7 Best Hand Crank Radios On The Market Today [With Video Reviews]

By Just In Case Jack | Last Updated: March 8, 2019

Hand Crank Radio In Hikers HandEveryone should own at least one emergency radio and it should be a hand crank radio.

I truly believe that.

Why? Because we all have an obligation to prepare for future emergencies.

Regardless of whether you think a widespread global catastrophe is in the cards or not…

Local weather emergencies happen all the time – that’s a fact.

And the hand crank radio is one of the most reliable, versatile, and powerful tools in such an emergency.

So if you’re thinking about getting one, you’re in the right place.

Today, we’re going to cover the following hand crank emergency radio topics:

**Note: If you just want our top recommendations, feel free to SKIP AHEAD HERE.

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Nowadays, it seems like all the latest survival gadgets come with a special battery. Sure, these unique batteries are more efficient.

But what happens when the power goes out?

One option is to go with a portable solar charger, but what if it’s a cloudy day…

And while a solar charger can power a radio, it cannot tune into emergency broadcasts on its own.

Instead, you need a device that can access emergency information, rain, or shine. A tool that can keep you informed anytime, anywhere without relying on the power grid.

There’s only one device I know of that can do all those things:

A hand crank radio!

Yes, to some they may seem a bit old-fashioned. Heck, my grandpa had a “wind up radio” in his workshop when I was a kid.

He’d wind it up and tune into the weather band. Listening for information on tornados in our area.

But every so often, the volume would fade. And as soon as it did, Grandpa would pull it off the shelf and furiously crank to charge it back up.

As a kid, it always seemed like a lot of work for a static-filled weather report. But, now as an adult myself, I know better…

Plus, hand crank radios have come a long way in the past 40 years!

Today’s hand crank radios are even more reliable than those of the past. And today, the best ones include many additional emergency features. Ones which we’ll discuss shortly…

The bottom line is:

Hand crank radios can run for hours on a fully charged battery. And the hand crank generator provides a never-ending supply of power and information.

Making the hand crank radio, a must-own device. One you should add to your collection of survival gear.

Because when cell, tv, and internet go out, a radio will be your only means to crucial information.

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Hand Crank Radio


Multiple Power Sources

In emergency preparedness, backups are essential.

For example, everyone should have a spare flashlight, emergency food, and a stockpile of water.

So when it comes to your emergency radio, multiple power sources are just as important.

The best hand crank radios feature both USB and solar charging options. Plus, the ability to run on lithium or alkaline batteries. And these are in addition to the hand-crank generator.

The hand crank adds one more level of backup.

So by my count, the best hand crank radios have 4 ways to power them:

  1. Hankcrank Generator
  2. Solar Power Panel
  3. USB Port
  4. Replaceable Batteries

Weather Bands and Alerts 

Most radios include AM and FM frequencies. But that’s not good enough.

You need a radio that also includes both NOAA weather band frequencies and weather alerts.

1. Weather Bands Frequencies

These dedicated weather bands allow you to continually monitor the weather. And not just during occasional commercial breaks between songs.

When an emergency is at hand, you need critical intel right NOW!

These frequencies broadcast a repeating forecast for your local area. So no waiting…But you’re out of luck if your radio doesn’t include these important weather bands.

2. NOAA Weather Alerts

Weather alerts, are designed to reach you even if you’re listening to the game or have the radio turned off.

Alerts allow you to receive severe weather and civil emergency alerts in real-time.

As we all know, time is of the essence when it comes to emergencies. You need to be able to take immediate action before the disaster arrives.

For example, you want to be notified in the middle of the night if an F4 tornado is heading your way.

A Multi-Purpose Tool

The best emergency radios do more than entertainment and alert.

Some come packed with extra features making it a multi-purpose survival tool.

For example, look for a radio with a built-in flashlight to provide an extra means of illumination. And use the LED strobe mode to signal for help when you’re lost.

Get one that allows you to charge other devices using a USB outlet.

This allows the hand-crank generator to top off all your other electronic devices as well. Such as a cell phone or a rechargeable flashlight.

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1. Kaito KA500 Voyager

The Kaito KA500 Voyager is an excellent choice for your hand crank emergency radio.

Besides the hand-crank, USB, and solar chargers, the KA500 can use standard AA batteries. And the AA battery is practically a worldwide standard.

It features AM/FM, weather and shortwave frequencies, and Alert mode. It also has LED flashlight modes, which provide extra signaling options.

Plus, it’s one of the best emergency radios I’ve ever come across.

2. SANGEAN MMR-88 Emergency Alert Radio

The Sangean MMR-88 Emergency Alert Radio is packed with survival features.

These features make it indispensable in an emergency.

It’s a Public Alert Certified Radio, alerting you of severe weather warnings even if the radio is turned off.

This Sangean Emergency Radio features three charging modes (hand-crank, USB, and solar) for versatility.

The digital radio has AM/FM and weather bands, and 19 frequency presets for quick tuning.

You can even listen with its built-in speaker or a set of headphones.

3. ESKY ES-CR01 Radio

The ESKY ES-CR01 is a compact emergency radio with great features.

It includes multiple charging modes. This makes it easy to keep a full battery.

And the 1000mAh battery and USB output allow you to charge your other small electronics.

The folding hand-crank stows away when not in use, allowing you to clip the radio to your belt for easy carry!

4. The American Red Cross FRX3+

The American Red Cross FRX3+ radio features all the best options.

It also comes with the endorsement of the American Red Cross.

It includes multiple charging options, a weather alert mode, and a massive 2600mAh battery.

These features make this one of the most reliable hand-crank radios on the market today.

It also features a bright LED flashlight and a durable design.

5. Midland ER310 Emergency Crank Radio

The Midland ER310 is built for all types of emergencies.

However, the Midland ER310’s Alert mode is unique.

When an alert is received, a siren sounds, and the LED flashlights strobe.

Plus, all audio alerts will be saved for an hour, giving you time to listen to the message if you miss part of it.

An excellent emergency feature, indeed.

6. Kaito Voyager V2

Finally, the Kaito Voyager V2 radio has all the usual features of an emergency radio plus some survival radio features as well!

It includes:

  • Multiple charging options
  • AM/FM and weather bands
  • Weather alert mode
  • The ability to charge other devices

But, this radio also adds shortwave radio frequencies to its list of features.

This allows you to listen to (but not transmit on) some of the HAM radio frequencies. This means more information and connectivity when you need it most!

7. C. Crane Co COBS CC Solar Observer Wind Up Radio

Finally, the C. Crane Co COBS Wind Up Radio has all the best features of a basic emergency radio.

It’s got multi-power source options (crank, solar, batteries, and an AC adapter). It’s also has a 3 LED built-in flashlight so it’s 3X better than units with only a single LED.

It has 7 preset national weather channels for continuous weather updates. However, this hand crank radio lacks automatic weather alerts.


A high-quality hand-crank emergency radio can make a huge difference in staying informed vs. staying in the dark.

And while the cheapest ones are no more than a radio with a crank, the best ones include extra survival features.

The bottom line is this:

Hand crank radios have stood the test of time. They continue to be an excellent investment for you and your loved one’s safety.

If you don’t yet own one, you should. Because a hand crank emergency radio is an essential part of your readiness plan.

Jason K.

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