The Midland WR-300 is Public Alert certified, which means that it meets all the standards of the National Weather Service for performance and ease of use. It has a variety of useful features, including battery backup power and selectable alerts, and it doubles as an AM/FM radio and alarm clock. The radio's biggest problem is its iffy reliability. Many users say it failed within a year or so or never worked at all.
A mixed bag. In general, owners seem to think that the Midland WR-300 is good as a weather alert device, but not so great as a radio. However, reviews are fairly mixed on both counts. At Walmart.com, we saw multiple comments that the WR-300 picks up stations other AM/FM radios can't, yet users on other sites say they can't pick up even nearby stations. Several owners at Amazon.com and RadioShack.com complain that they didn't receive any weather alerts during severe weather, even when the nearest emergency weather station was on a nearby mountaintop. An owner at eHam.com recommends adding an external antenna, saying this "improves the quality drastically. "
Programmable and flexible. The Midland WR-300 has most of, though not quite all, the features you could ask for on a weather radio. Like all Public Alert-certified radios, it's SAME compatible, so you can select which areas you wish to receive alerts for. It also lets you select the types of alerts you want to hear, such as severe thunderstorms but not frosts. However, some users bemoan the lack of EOM (end-of-message) response after an alert has been issued. Unless it's turned off manually following a message, the unit repeats the alert for five minutes -- a big nuisance when alerts come through in the middle of the night.
A bit of a learning curve. Many owners say they had problems programming the Midland WR-300. One owner at Amazon.com says that the menus are "not intuitive," and another Walmart.com reviewer describes the instruction booklet as "vague and confusing." However, once the radio is set up, it appears to be fairly easy to use. An Amazon.com user says it's "very simple," and even the kids know how to turn off the siren or listen to an audio warning. Graham McClung of WeatherRadioGuide.com recommends using the video presentation on Midland's website to walk you through the setup process. The radio runs on four AA batteries and also has an AC power adapter.
Not the most reliable. The Midland WR-300's $45 price tag is about average, but problems with reliability make its value somewhat questionable. McClung notes (in 2011) that "There seem to be an increasing number of quality control issues arising in the past year or so," and our analysis of user reviews confirms his finding. Several users at Amazon.com and RadioShack.com say this radio either stopped working (after anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of years) or never worked right to begin with. Moreover, users who replaced the radio under warranty often say that the replacement also failed after a short time.
More than 1,350 owners posting to Amazon.com give the Midland WR-300 an overall rating of 4 stars out of 5. Owners like its SAME technology and the ability to disable specific alerts, but we found a significant number of complaints about reliability.
Review: Midland WR300 Weather Radio, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of April 2014
About 20 ham radio enthusiasts review the Midland WR-300 on this site, giving it 4.1 stars out of 5 overall. Reviews are generally brief but include a fair amount of technical detail. In general, reviewers say it's great as a weather radio, but its other features are useless.
Review: Reviews Summary for Midland WR-300 S.A.M.E. Weather/All Hazard Radio, Contributors to eHam.net, As of April 2014
About 40 owners rate the Midland WR-300 at RadioShack.com. It earns a lower rating here than at other retail sites -- just 3 stars out of 5 overall -- and fewer than half the reviewers recommend it. Most complaints focus on radios that abruptly stopped working or never worked at all.
Review: Midland All Weather/Hazards Alert Radio with AM/FM Tuning, Contributors to RadioShack.com, As of April 2014
The Midland WR-300 has more than 50 reviews at Walmart.com. Owners give it 4.2 stars overall, and 93 percent of them recommend it. Owners describe the radio as a good value, but some say it's hard to set up and the clock is hard to read.
Review: Midland AM/FM Alarm Clock Radio with Weather/All Hazard Alerts, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of April 2014
While it doesn't appear that Graham McClung has personally tested the Midland WR-300, his review provides a detailed analysis of its features and performance, based on user feedback from retail sites. He also makes note of the "issues with reliability" that we discovered in user reviews.
Review: Midland WR-300 Weather Alert Radio – Among The Best Of The Desktop Models, Graham McClung, March 31, 2011
Survivalist blogger Ken Jorgustin includes the Midland WR-300 on his list of the top three weather radios of 2013. His picks appear to be based solely on an analysis of reviews at Amazon.com rather than hands-on testing. A reader also weighs in on this radio in the comments section.
Review: Weather Radio Reviews 2013, Ken Jorgustin, June 3, 2013
Gottlieb recommends the Midland WR-300 as one of the five top weather radios on the market, with an overall rating of 4 stars out of 5. His one-paragraph review summarizes the WR-300's most useful features, but it contains no information about performance, reliability or ease of use.
Review: MIDLAND WR300 Weather Radio, Marc Gottlieb, Not dated