7 Best Hand Crank Radios Hand-Pick By An Emergency Expert

By Jason K. | Updated: 06/28/2023

Everyone Should Own At Least One Emergency Radio

Hand Crank Radio In Hikers Hand

I truly believe that.

Why? Because we ALL must prepare for future emergencies.

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

Because local weather emergencies happen ALL THE TIME – that’s a fact.

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

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

Today, I’m going to use my Engineering, Gear Testing, & Mountain Rescue (SAR) experience to share with you the following:


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Best Hand Crank Radios

Why Everyone Should Own One

Best Hand Crank Radio Features

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Best Emergency Radios For Sale

1 Our Top Pick
Kaito KA500 Solar Power Hand Crank Emergency Weather Radio

Kaito has been making quality radios since 1998.

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

It has multiple charging methods, such as the hand-crank, USB port (for USB charging), and solar chargers; the KA500 can also 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.

And the best feature is the number of unique charging options. This makes it one of the most resilient survival radio options.

That's why I consider it one of the best emergency radios ever.

Side Note: I hate dealing with aaa battery options and tend to avoid them.

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↓ Kaito Voyager KA500 Emergency Radio Review

Sangean AM/FM/Weather Hand Crank Emergency Radio

Sangean is a radio company that's been around since 1974.

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.

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↓ Sangean MMR-88 Emergency Portable Radio Review

3 Our Budget Pick
Hand Crank Radio with Flashlight

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!

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↓ Solar Crank Phone Charger Radio

Eton American Red Cross Emergency NOAA Weather Radio

In1986, Etón produced its first shortwave radio. Since then, their emergency radios have been sold worldwide.

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.

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↓ Eton Emergency Digital Weather Radio

Midland ER310 Emergency Crank Weather Radio

Established in 1959, Midland Radio Corporation has been at the forefront of two-way radio and weather radio technology. AND they are based in Kansas City, Missouri!

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.

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↓ Midland ER310 Emergency Crank Radio

NOAA Portable Solar / Hand Crank AM/FM Radio

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!

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↓ Kaito Voyager V2 AM FM Shortwave Portable Radio Review

C. Crane CC Wind Up Solar Emergency Crank Radio

C. Crane is located in Fortuna, a small town in the wilds of Humboldt County California. They've been making radios and audio equipment for 30+ years.

And 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 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 emergnecy radio lacks automatic weather alerts.

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↓ C Crane CC Solar Observer Portable Emergency Radio Review

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Why EVERYONE Should Own One

Nowadays, all the latest survival gadgets seem to come with special batteries.

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?

Then you’re out of luck.

Instead, you need a device to 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.

My grandpa had a “wind-up radio” in his workshop when I was a kid.

He’d 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 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, I know better…

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

Today they’re even more reliable than those of the past.

And today, the best ones include additional emergency features.

Ones which we’ll discuss shortly…

The bottom line is:

These radios can run for hours on a fully charged battery.

And the crank provides a never-ending supply of power and information.

These features make them a must-own device.

One you should add to your collection of survival gear.

Because when cell signals, tv broadcasts, and the internet go out, a radio will be your only means to gather crucial intel.

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Hand Crank Radio

Best Hand Crank Radio Features To Look For

Multiple Power Sources

In emergency preparedness, backups are essential.

For example:

Everyone should have a spare flashlight, emergency food, and a water stockpile.

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

The best ones 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 crank adds one more level of backup.

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

  1. Crank 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 includes NOAA weather band frequencies and weather alerts.

1. Weather Bands Frequencies

These dedicated weather bands allow you to monitor the weather continually.

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 real-time severe weather and civil emergency alerts.

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 at night if an F4 tornado is heading your way.

A Multi-Purpose Tool

The best emergency radios do more than entertain and alert.

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

For example:

Look for a radio with a built-in flashlight to provide extra illumination.

And use the LED strobe mode to signal for help when lost.

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

This also allows the hand-crank generator to top off all other electronic devices, such as a cell phone or a rechargeable flashlight.

Final Thoughts

A high-quality 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 features.

The bottom line is:

These emergency 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 an emergency radio is essential to your readiness plan.

Jason K.

  • Born & Raised In The Remote Woods Of Michigan
  • Engineering Degree From A Major University
  • Long Standing Member Of Mountain Search & Rescue
  • Offical Gear Tester For Several Outdoor Companies
  • Avid Outdoorsman: Backpacking, Camping, Fishing
  • Years Researching & Writing About Surival & Gear
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