What every best Weather Radios has:
- Public Alert certification.
- SAME technology.
- An audible alarm.
Wirecutter tests eight emergency weather radios to find out which will work best in an emergency. Thom Dunn takes them into a rural basement to test their reception, measures the light output of their flashlights, how long they'll run on a single battery charge, how well they'll recharge using their built-in solar panels or hand cranks, and then he drops them onto concrete and runs them under the shower to judge toughness.
Jeph Preece tests eight hand-crank emergency radios. He tests reception quality (both in town and on a backcountry hiking trail in the Wasatch mountains in Utah), loudness, battery life and the efficiency of each radio's hand crank. He ranks the radios from best to worst, and picks three winners – best overall, best value and best durability.
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 WR300, but newer threads contain recommendations for some Reecom and Sangean weather radios. We also found several threads that discuss troubleshooting issues for various radios.
Amazon 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.
Best Buy sells far fewer emergency and weather radios than Amazon. 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 radio to a friend.
This website focuses on emergency preparedness. In this post, Virginia Nicols discusses features to look for in an emergency radio and recommends six. 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 specifically recommends avoiding one inexpensive hand-crank model.
Walmart sells a small selection of weather radios, and most of them don't get a significant amount of feedback from 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.
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.
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. However, only one new weather radio review has been posted within the past year.