Though it lacks some of the functionality of more expensive weather radios, the Midland WR-120 is a solid performer and a good value. Positives include strong reception and Specific Alert Message Encoding (SAME) technology, which keeps false alarms to a minimum.
Good reception, reliable operation. Though some negative owner reviews can be found, the vast majority seem pleased with how well the Midland WR-120 operates. Reception is on par with other well-regarded weather and emergency radios, which means that in most locations, at least one National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather channel can be received. The alert warning is loud enough that it can't be missed -- too loud say some, and there's no way to lower its volume. Another potential annoyance is that it beeps every 10 minutes if it doesn't receive regularly scheduled National Weather Service test signals, but a manual reset fixes this.
SAME technology, but no way to limit alerts. The Midland WR-120 is Public Alert-certified and receives all seven NOAA weather band channels. SAME technology allows users to program the radio to receive only the warnings for their particular area, which helps cut down on false alarms. Battery backup means the WR-120 can operate as long as spare batteries are on hand if the power goes out, but it lacks the crank feature that makes radios like the Ambient Weather WR-111B (*Est. $40) even more useful in an emergency. An alarm clock is on board, but standard AM/FM reception is not.
Easy to set up, easy to use. To make sure you hear alerts for your area -- and your area only -- the Midland WR-120 needs to be programmed. Most say the process is straightforward and easy to follow, though if an error is made, you need to restart the process from the beginning. One major source of complaints is that there's no way to filter out any alerts you are not interested in -- flash flood warnings to those who live on high ground or frost warnings for those who live in the city, for example.
If you can live with its minuses, value is a plus. Compared to the very-well-liked Midland WR-300, the Midland WR-120 is missing some important bells and whistles. The biggest one is the inability to set the emergency radio to only issue warnings for specific types of alerts. There's also no standard AM/FM radio, though that aspect of the WR-300 isn't well liked anyway. If none of that is a deal killer for you, the WR-120 is bargain priced compared to other comparable weather radios and provides reliable reception of the NOAA weather bands. The weather radio is sold in three different versions -- the WR-120, WR-120B and WR-120C -- but the manufacturer says the only difference is in packaging; the radios themselves are identical.
The Midland WR-120 gets more than 385 user reviews at Amazon.com with the vast majority saying it's reliable and easy to set up. A handful of owners complain about poor reception or the inability to disable certain alerts.
Review: Midland Consumer Radio WR-120B NOAA Weather Alert All Hazard Public Alert-certified Radio, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of June 2013
Walmart.com lets users post reviews or ratings for products they own. In the case of the Midland WR-120, feedback from around 70 owners earns the weather radio 4.5 stars out of 5. While a couple of users have gripes, almost all say they'd recommend the weather radio to a friend.
Review: Midland WR120 Weather Alert Radio, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of June 2013