Both experts and users call the Midland WR-300 weather radio a top pick. It's Public Alert certified, and includes SAME technology and defeatable alerts. Its accessory outlets can be linked to a public-address system or to auxiliary warning devices such as strobe warning lights and pillow vibrators, making the radio ideal for those who are hearing impaired. While SAME location codes must be obtained by the owner and entered manually, users can add future alert codes.
Reviewers say performance on the weather channels is excellent, but the WR-300 doesn't perform well as an AM/FM receiver or clock radio. If that's a concern, the Sangean CL-100 (*Est. $65) might be worth a look. And although the WR-300 can run on electrical power or batteries, it doesn't have a hand crank; for that feature, consider the Eton Microlink FR160 (*Est. $30) . The FR160 may be short on features, but reports say it does the essential job of providing radio reception -- including weather channels -- in an emergency very well.
The Midland WR-300 weather radio is discussed and reviewed by numerous sources, including Home-Weather-Stations-Guide.com, online radio expert Richard C. Rhodes, enthusiasts on eHam.net, and owners posting reviews to Amazon.com and RadioShack.com.
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Geologist and amateur weather enthusiast Graham McClung offers a handful of recommendations in this article on selecting a good weather radio. He calls the Reecom R-1650, Sangean CL-100 and Midland WR-300 standout desktop choices, and says the WR-300 is still the most popular of the three.
Review: How to Select the Best Weather Radio for Your Needs, Graham McClung, May 25, 2011
2. Richard Rhodes
Texas-based ham radio operator Richard Rhodes provides an excellent weather radio roundup on his personal website. He compares the Midland WR-300 and the now-discontinued RadioShack 12-262, giving the WR-300 the edge because it's easier to program.
Review: Weather Radio Update 2006, Richard Rhodes, June 1, 2009
This website for ham radio enthusiasts includes user reviews of weather radios. The Midland WR-300 doesn't attract the most feedback, but fares the best among the radios discussed here by more than a handful of owners. It scores a solid rating of 4 out of 5 in more than 15 reports.
Review: Reviews Summary for Midland WR-300 S.A.M.E. Weather/All Hazard Radio, Contributors to eHam.net, As of March 2012
More than 775 owners posting to Amazon.com give the Midland WR-300 an overall rating of 4.1 stars out of 5. Well over half give it a perfect score, but a few owners complain that the radio doesn't automatically shut itself off after an alert.
Review: Midland WR300 Weather Radio, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of March 2012
More than 30 owners comment on the Midland WR-300, giving it lower ratings than at other user review sites -- just 3.1 out of 5 stars. Complaints follow a familiar pattern: poor AM/FM radio reception and failure to shut itself off after an alert message. Some report reliability problems. Still, more happy owners post feedback than unhappy ones.
Review: Midland All Weather/Hazards Alert Radio with AM/FM Tuning, Contributors to RadioShack.com, As of March 2012
The Midland WR-300 is named one of five best picks here, although the write-up is brief and places more emphasis on features than performance. Reviewer Josh Tuliano likes the radio's easy-to-read LCD and excellent reception, particularly on weather band stations. However, we can't tell if his evaluation criteria included hands-on testing.
Review: Best Weather Radio, Josh Tuliano, May 4, 2011