What every best Weather Radios has:
- Public Alert certification.
- SAME technology.
- An audible alarm.
TheSweethome.com tests nearly 100 different products -- including six weather radios -- to name the essential components of an emergency kit. Testers include an occupational first-aid attendant and a science journalist who specializes in natural disasters and survival skills. They recommend three of the radios, but one of their top picks (the budget choice) has been discontinued.
This site for ham radio enthusiasts includes reviews of weather radios based on users' personal experience. Navigation is easy, with comments listed in a table format that can be sorted by average rating, number of reviews, last review date or price. Contributors seem knowledgeable about radios and typically provide detailed, insightful feedback.
Radio enthusiast Jeff McMahon reviews and discusses all kinds of radios on his blog. Here, he calls the Sangean CL-100 "definitely the one to get" if you're looking for a weather radio, and he says it's a "rather decent" clock radio. In fact, in a later post, when a power surge fries his regular clock radio, McMahon replaces it with his trusty old CL-100.
This weather-enthusiast website includes a discussion forum on weather radios. Traffic is light, so there isn't much feedback here, but we found a few threads comparing weather radios. The most recommended model overall is the Midland WR-300, but newer threads contain recommendations for some Reecom and Sangean weather radios. We also found several threads here that discuss troubleshooting issues for various radios.
Amazon.com lists hundreds of weather radios, though some of these are the same model in different colors or sizes. We found many models with 100 reviews or more, and several of these receive overall ratings of 4.3 stars out of 5 or better. The quality of the write-ups varies greatly, with the most illuminating reports coming from users who have needed to rely on their radios in an emergency.
BestBuy.com sells far fewer emergency and weather radios than Amazon.com, and weather radios are a little hard to find, mixed in with regular radios. Still, a couple of models earn strong ratings with at least 20 user reviews posted. Reviews tend to be short, but each reviewer does indicate whether he or she would recommend the item to a friend.
This website focuses on emergency preparedness. In this post, Virginia Nicols discusses features to look for in an emergency radio and evaluates seven radios from her own family's collection. Each radio gets only a short write-up a few sentences long, but that's enough to get a sense of its strongest points. Nicols recommends four radios and specifically recommends avoiding one inexpensive hand-crank model. Although it's undated, this article was updated with a new top pick in 2016.
Walmart.com sells a small selection of weather radios, and most of them don't get a significant amount of feedback from users. However, we found one Midland model with strong ratings from more than 180 users. The quality of user comments varies, ranging from vague remarks to useful details. Each review indicates how long the reviewer has owned their weather or emergency radio and how often they use it.
B&H Photo and Video's selection of emergency weather radios is limited, and you have to dig through listings for non-weather radios to find what you're looking for. We found only one weather radio with a substantial number of customer reviews, though others have limited feedback. The reviews themselves include a list of pros and cons, which the site helpfully sums up at the top of the page.
This flashlight-enthusiast forum attracts people interested in emergency preparedness. There are several discussions of emergency and weather radios on the Non-flashlight Electronics forum, and the Sangean CL-100 is the overwhelming favorite.
Graham McClung, an amateur weather enthusiast, reviews eight weather radios on this site. Although only three new reviews have been posted since April 2011, most of the radios covered here are still available. McClung's reviews are based on features rather than testing, combined with an analysis of user feedback from retail sites. He also doesn't actually rate or rank the various models. Still, his reviews provide a useful summary of each radio's pros and cons.