Best emergency radios of 2018 – solar, hand crank radio reviews signs of type 1 diabetes in child

To test how efficient its hand crank is, we fully drained the battery and then turned the crank for two minutes at a steady rate of 120 revolutions per minute. The FRX5-BT has the most efficient hand crank of the radios we tested – after those two minutes of cranking, the radio played at full volume for 13 minutes, which is more than double the average for our test group.

This crank radio also had the best audio and reception quality in our tests. We tested AM and FM reception quality by tuning in to all the available stations in the area around our office in Ogden, Utah. The FRX5-BT’s digital dial made it easy to find radio stations, and once we found them, the sound quality was clear and balanced.

It also had the best backcountry reception scores in our tests. We hiked all the radios to a remote location in the Wasatch Mountains that’s outside cellular service coverage.


The FRX5-BT received an A- in this test and was the benchmark for quality backcountry reception.

The Eton FRX5-BT also serves as an emergency preparedness tool and includes an LED flashlight that can transmit a Morse code beacon, a siren and glow-in-the-dark rims around the solar charger to help you find it in the dark. It has an IPX4 water-resistance rating, which means it can withstand splashing water and heavy rain.

Its analog tuning knob made it hard to find some of the FM and AM stations in our reception quality tests, and once we found them, the radio’s audio quality didn’t compare well against that of the best models we tested. However, because of its efficient hand crank and good battery life, we recommend the MD-090 if you want a radio solely for emergency preparedness – it’s not a good option if you want to listen to music while camping.

To see how efficient the MD-090’s hand crank is, we drained its battery, spun the crank for two minutes and then played the radio at its maximum volume until it died again. This RunningSnail model generated five and a half minutes of battery life during those two minutes of cranking, which is above average for our test group. Starting with a full battery, the radio can play at maximum volume for 11.5 hours, which is also well above average. In addition, you can use disposable batteries as a backup for the internal battery.

This crank radio has one of the most durable cases. It has an IPX3 water-resistance rating, which means it can handle spraying water and light rainfall. It also has a siren and Morse code beacon to alert passersby to your location if you are lost or injured.

Our battery life and charge time tests were done in tandem. We drained each radio, plugged it into a wall socket and timed how long it took its battery to reach a full charge. We then emptied the battery again by playing the radio at full volume, timing from the moment we turned it on until it died.

For the hand crank efficiency test, we started with a dead battery and cranked the handle for two minutes at a steady rate of 120 revolutions per minute – the industry-recommended speed. As with the other battery tests, we timed how long it took for the radio to die again when we played it at its maximum volume.

We tested each crank radio’s reception in the city and in the backcountry. In both spots, we evaluated how well it picked up AM daytime, AM nighttime and general FM radio transmissions and assigned a grade based on clarity. While in a remote area of the Wasatch Mountains, outside the range of cellular service, we also tuned into the NOAA weather bands and graded each radio’s ability to transmit important weather information clearly.

In its most basic form, a crank radio is a simple handheld device that receives AM and FM signals and can be powered by a hand crank. However, the best models are more than that – they are survival tools. You should look for a crank radio that has as many survival features as possible, is built to be durable and comes from a manufacturer with great support.

Every crank radio can pick up all seven NOAA weather alert stations. However, each station is geographically dependent, so you can only pick up one at a time, depending on where you are. The stations provide warnings for severe weather like tornados, hurricanes and flash floods, but they cover large enough areas that you can receive an alert for conditions several states away.

You should look for a radio with survival features like a flashlight, siren, compass, dog whistle and a mobile device charger. Every tool you have available in a survival situation is important, and these features can help you find your way and get your bearings if you’re lost. They also attract attention if you need help and keep you connected to your phone.

Since these radios are designed to help you survive an emergency, they need to be able to withstand rough conditions. The best models are water-resistant and can survive bumps, drops and jostles. Your radio needs to be able to handle the weather, especially while you’re camping.

When we evaluate any electronic device, we like to look in to the kinds of help and support the manufacturer offers. After you purchase your radio, it’s important to have access to help if something goes amiss. The manufacturers we tested have a combination of email and phone support, FAQs pages, and user forums.