The Midland WR-300 is a top weather alert radio in the eyes of experts and users alike. This reliable, high performing desktop emergency radio sports Specific Alert Message Encoding (SAME) technology to cut down on false alarms and offers great performance on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather channels. Performance as a standard AM/FM radio could be better, some say.
Great for alerts, not for jams. When it comes to switching itself on and alerting you when there's a weather emergency or other nearby situation unfolding, the WR-300 does its job amazingly well. The clear reception for alerts unfortunately doesn't carry over to more general listening on the AM/FM bands. Some users also bemoan the lack of an auto shut-off feature once an alert has been issued: The unit repeats the alert for five minutes unless it's turned off manually following a message.
Programmable and flexible. The Midland WR-300 includes SAME compatibility, which lets you only receive alerts for your area. It features programmable slots for selecting up to 23 counties to receive alerts from -- a handy feature if you're also concerned about friends and relatives affected by storms elsewhere. You can also select the types of alerts you want to hear, such as severe thunderstorms but not frosts. If you're a heavy sleeper or have a hearing impairment, an accessory port also lets you connect the WR-300 to attachments like a pillow vibrator or a larger flashing light to supplement the 90-decibel built-in siren, LED flasher and voice notification.
It's (thankfully) not rocket science. While you do have to locate and manually input your county codes, users and experts report the Midland WR-300 weather radio is simple to set up. Geologist and weather enthusiast Graham McClung notes there's some programming involved with most weather radios, but he feels that the process is fairly intuitive with the WR-300. Once programming is done, most user reviews say that the WR-300 is easy to use.
Goes the distance when you need it. Now available for quite a bit less than the original selling price, the Midland WR-300 has earned a solid reputation for reliability when it counts: in a real emergency. That more than offsets the lackluster performance as a conventional clock radio, at least in the eyes of most experts and users.
Geologist and amateur weather enthusiast Graham McClung provides a handful of recommendations in this article on selecting a good weather radio. He notes that the WR-300 is "still the most popular desktop weather radio," adding its slightly cheaper price makes it a good pick for the features it packs. The article also links to McClung's stand-alone review of the WR-300. In it, he concludes "it's a good solid machine which does its job well."
Review: How to Select the Best Weather Radio for Your Needs, Graham McClung, May 25, 2011
More than 1,100 owners posting to Amazon.com give the Midland WR-300 an overall rating of 4 stars out of 5. More than half give it a perfect score, but a few owners complain that the radio doesn't automatically shut itself off after an alert. Poor AM/FM radio reception is another common but minor complaint among owners.
Review: Midland WR300 Weather Radio, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of June 2013
This website for ham radio enthusiasts includes user reviews of weather radios. The Midland WR-300 is one of the more widely reviewed models on the site and scores a 4.1 out of 5 rating following about 18 reports. Users praise its reliability while some complain about non-crucial AM/FM radio reception.
Review: Reviews Summary for Midland WR-300 S.A.M.E. Weather/All Hazard Radio, Contributors to eHam.net, As of June 2013
More than 35 owners comment on the Midland WR-300, giving it lower ratings than at other user-review sites -- just 2.9 out of 5 stars overall. 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: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2651533, Contributors to RadioShack.com, As of March 2012
5. Richard Rhodes
Texas-based ham radio operator Richard Rhodes provides an excellent, intensely detailed weather radio roundup and comparison 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 C. Rhodes, June 1, 2009