Reviewers describe the Sangean CL-100 as a rarity among weather radios: an excellent desktop weather radio that's also an excellent clock radio. It combines lots of useful features with good AM/FM reception, surprisingly good sound quality, and a clear display. Users are also highly impressed with its build quality. They have a few complaints about reliability, but fewer than we saw for most weather radios. Only Sangean's customer support leaves something to be desired.
Superior sound quality. What sets the Sangean CL-100 apart from other weather radios is its performance as a radio. Users at Amazon.com say its single good-sized speaker and bass/treble controls deliver very good sound quality. Most users describe the reception as excellent, with some saying they can receive stations on it their other FM radios can't reach. Moreover, it includes not only a built-in, extendable antenna but also an external antenna that can be installed to boost reception. A few users at Amazon.com say they have had trouble receiving weather alerts, but one reviewer notes that simply making sure the antenna is in the extended position may fix this problem.
Fully loaded. The Sangean CL-100 has all the features you'd expect from a quality weather radio, including SAME (Specific Area Message Encoding) and selectable alerts (though alerts about life-threatening situations cannot be blocked). One feature users particularly appreciate is its end-of-message (EOM) response, which automatically shuts off the radio after an alert finishes. Moreover, the Sangean CL-100 offers non-weather related extras such as RBDS (Radio Broadcast Data System), which provides additional information in text form about the songs you hear on the radio. The programmable alarm clock wakes you with your choice of music or a buzzer and comes complete with dual alarms, a snooze button and an adjustable sleep timer.
Easy to program -- in most cases. Most reviewers describe the Sangean CL-100 as easy to set up and use. One Amazon.com owner says, "The controls and user interface are leaps and bounds above any competitor's offerings. " The RBDS feature even makes it possible to set the date and time automatically over the radio. A few owners, however, say they had trouble getting it set to the correct channel, and some of them never managed to get it right. Users like the radio's clock display, which has adjustable brightness and contrast, though some say the angle of the screen makes it hard to view while lying in bed. The radio runs on four AA batteries and also has an input jack for an AC power adapter (included).
Pricey, but worth it. At $60, the Sangean CL-100 costs a bit more than most weather radios, but users generally think it's well worth the price. In addition to its features and performance, owners say the build quality of this radio is "superb ". We saw a few complaints about reliability, generally involving radios that malfunctioned after a year or so. However, there were fewer complaints of this sort for the CL-100 than we saw for most weather radios. One thing owners find frustrating is the lack of useful customer support from Sangean. One owner at Amazon.com gripes, "Only one tech support guy at Sangean, and he is not available, " while another says the tech support staff "acted as if my call was an imposition. "
The Sangean CL-100 receives roughly 350 reviews at Amazon.com, with ratings averaging 4.3 stars out of 5. Owners rave about its build quality, ease of use and sophisticated features, including the ability to select which alerts you receive. The radio gets a few durability complaints, but fewer than most models.
Review: Sangean CL-100 Table-Top Weather Hazard Alert with AM/FM-RBDS Alarm Clock Radio, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of April 2014
While it doesn't appear that Graham McClung has personally tested the Sangean CL-100, his review provides a detailed analysis of its features and performance, based on user feedback from retail sites. He also compares the CL-100 directly to competitors such as the Midland WR-300 (Est. $45).
Review: Sangean CL-100 Review, Graham McClung, April 4, 2011
Survivalist blogger Ken Jorgustin includes the Sangean CL-100 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, but the comments below the article indicate that Jorgustin also recommends the CL-100 based on personal experience.
Review: Weather Radio Reviews 2013, Ken Jorgustin, June 3, 2013
Marc Gottlieb recommends the Sangean CL-100 as one of the five top weather radios on the market, with an overall rating of 4.75 stars out of 5. His one-paragraph review summarizes the CL-100's most useful features, but it contains no information about performance, reliability or ease of use.
Review: Sangean CL-100 Table-Top Weather Hazard Alert with AM/FM-RBDS Alarm Clock Radio, Marc Gottlieb, Not dated