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The Best Hand Crank Radios for Emergency Circumstances

best hand crank radio

The best hand crank radio is a must-have in your emergency kit. A favorite amongst survivalists, it has many life-saving features, especially when electricity is out or when you are in a far-off location. It is a handy tool that makes it easy to stay informed of the latest weather updates.

Whether it is a hurricane, tornado, tsunami, or any other similar occurrence, you can evacuate quickly and prepare immediately when you have a hand crank radio. It might seem old-fashioned, but it remains practical and functional even in the age of smartphones.

Choosing a hand crank radio is overwhelming. To help you decide, below are some of the most important considerations:

  • Channels: Aside from AM and FM channels, the radio must also access NOAA channels. With the latter, it is easier to receive updates about the latest weather so you can prepare accordingly.
  • Functions: Pick one that is useful beyond being a radio. For the best bang for the buck, look for other features, such as a built-in flashlight, an ultrasonic whistle, built-in charger, thermometer, and compass.
  • Power Options: Consider the different ways to power the radio. Aside from hand cranking, many also have disposable and rechargeable batteries. Some also have a USB port for connection to a power source. Meanwhile, others will have built-in solar for power.

Are you looking for high-quality hand-crank radios? Read this guide and we’ll talk about some of the top options that should be on your radar.

12 Top-rated Hand Crank Radio Reviews

1. Kaito KA500YL Voyager Hand Crank Radio

Prepare for emergencies and disasters with this wind-up radio. It has multiple power modes and several channels, making it easy to stay updated.

A stand-out feature of this radio is the multiple ways to power the unit. Aside from the Dynamo hand crank, it also comes with a built-in battery, as well as three AA batteries. Plus, there is a solar panel, and it also accommodates USB input. It is versatile as you have five unique ways of powering it.

The tough construction of the radio is impressive, guaranteeing long-term functionality. It is mostly made of ABS plastic. While it is lightweight, the material is water and impact-resistant. I can use it indoors and outdoors without worrying about premature damage.

In terms of its functionality, the Kaito Voyager five-band radio has a wide range of both AM and FM channels. It helps that there is a 14.5-inch internal antenna that strengthens the reception. The radio also has seven pre-programmed NOAA channels, which will let you know the latest weather news.

More than being a radio, it has other functions, making it a great part of your survival kit. It has a LED flashlight, S.O.S. light, and a reading lamp. Additionally, it has a built-in mobile charger, so I can charge my mobile phone on the go.

 Heads-up:  However, one of the drawbacks of this radio is that it has no external antenna jack. It is better if there is a provision for the latter, which can help in improving the reception.

 What We Liked: 
  • You can choose from five ways to power the radio
  • Impact-resistant and lightweight ABS plastic body
  • Wide range of radio stations
  • Multiple functions, including a flashlight and mobile battery charger
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Has no jack for an external antenna
 Bottom Line:  With its tough plastic construction, versatile functionalities, and several radio stations, this hand crank shortwave radio is one of the top options worth considering.

2. RunningSnail MD-088s Hand Crank Radio

A compact and affordable hand crank radio with seven bands, this makes a great addition to your emergency and survival kit.

I can choose from three ways of powering the radio. Aside from manual cranking, I can use the built-in battery, which takes three to five hours to charge through a USB port. Alternatively, it has a built-in solar panel.

To make it more multifunctional, the manufacturer integrates a 1,000mAh battery. This way, I have emergency power when I need it the most. For instance, this is handy when charging my mobile phone so I can make an emergency call when necessary.

The one-watt flashlight is another notable feature of this hand crank radio. The LED is bright enough to provide the illumination I need, especially when camping. More so, I like how it is designed to be portable. With dimensions of 5 x 2.4 x 1.8 inches, it is compact and easy to carry.

Another compelling reason to choose this radio is the guarantee of satisfaction that the seller offers. They will issue an unconditional refund if you are unhappy within the first 30 days of purchase. Meanwhile, they can replace it within 18 months if there is any defect or problems in craftsmanship.

 Heads-up:  Despite the good things, one issue with this product is that it does not hold its charge. Regardless of the way you power the radio, it will not last a long time.

 What We Liked: 
  • Compact design for portability
  • Comes with a bright flashlight
  • Three ways to power the radio
  • Excellent satisfaction guarantee
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Does not hold a charge for a long time
 Bottom Line:  From the multiple ways to power this unit to the money-back guarantee, there are plenty of reasons why this is amongst the top-rated solar hand crank radios.

3. JALL GG113 Hand Crank Radio

Cranking this emergency radio will help you keep up with the latest news, especially NOAA weather alerts. It is a great way to stay safe and sound when there is a disaster.

While the most common way to power this radio is through the hand crank, you have other options. It has solar panels, making it energy-efficient and eco-friendly. You can also charge it through a micro-USB port, which will require at least six hours. Alternatively, you can use the replaceable and rechargeable 4,000mAh battery.

Like most emergency radios, it has an SOS button. Upon activation, it starts a loud alarm, which is a great way to grab attention if you need help. The built-in lamp is also a notable feature. The built-in flashlight has three modes – far beam, dipped beam, and far and dipped beam. Choose a mode that is suitable for the environment where you are in.

One of the unique features that you will find in this model is the motion sensor. Leave it outside the tent as you sleep and upon any movement, the light will automatically turn on. This is a great way to help you stay safe.

With an IPX3 rating, the radio withstands water sprays. The protection isn’t as tough as what you will find from those with higher waterproof ratings, but it is decent. No need to worry about light rain splashes.

 Heads-up:  Nonetheless, it is common for this radio to have static noise. Ensure proper positioning of the radio and get rid of interferences for better signal quality.

 What We Liked: 
  • Has a dedicated SOS button for emergencies
  • Comes with a built-in flashlight with three modes
  • Stay safe with the motion sensor activated light
  • IPX3 waterproof rating to withstand water splashes
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Easily prone to static
 Bottom Line:  Wrapping up, this crank weather radio has multiple flashlight modes, an SOS button, a built-in motion sensor, and an IPX3 waterproof rating.

4. Esky HN28 Hand Crank Radio

If you are on a budget, this hand crank emergency radio is one option to consider. It has almost everything that you will need in a compact package.

Looking at its features, one of my favorites is the three charging modes. Aside from hand cranking, I can power it through USB charging and the built-in solar panel. It has a micro-USB input for charging the battery or plugging in a direct power supply whenever it is available. I also love how it can charge my smartphone even when there is no electricity. This is possible because of the 1,000 mAh power bank.

Aside from AM and FM stations, it also has NOAA weather bands. With the latter, I am always aware of the latest weather updates. Whether it is a hurricane or a tornado, among other disturbances, I can prepare accordingly after hearing about such on this radio.

Whenever I need illumination in dark places, this radio is a lifesaver! It has a built-in flashlight with a strategic position in the front to optimize its functionality. With a three-watt output, it is bright enough in most settings, especially considering its size. It has three LEDs to maximize its visibility.

 Heads-up:  However, take note that this isn’t designed for everyday use. It is best to reserve it for emergencies since it feels a bit flimsy.

 What We Liked: 
  • A great pick for buyers on a budget
  • 1,000 mAH power bank for charging my gadgets
  • NOAA alerts for the latest weather updates
  • 3-watt flashlight with a bright output
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Durability can be an issue
 Bottom Line:  From the bright flashlight to NOAA emergency weather alerts, there are many reasons why this crank radio with a USB charger is amongst my favorites.

5. Aiworth WSS101 Hand Crank Radio

Aiworth-Emergency-Solar-Hand-Cranks-Radio

Build your emergency survival kit with this compact emergency radio. From its construction to its functions, it is one of the top options that should be on your radar.

Among others, one of its most notable features is the bright LCD screen. The backlit display makes it easy to monitor the frequencies at which you are listening to. It also shows the remaining power.

Like the other products in this guide, there are multiple ways to power this radio beyond hand cranking. It has four sources of power. It has a built-in USB port, which will fully charge the battery for four hours. You can also use three AAA batteries or the built-in solar panel.

The one-watt 100-lumen flashlight is another notable feature. It might not be as bright as the LED flashlights in higher-end counterparts, but it is bright enough for many applications. More so, the light flashes along with an alarm, which is an easy way to ask for help when you need it.

Another feature is the discreet and retractable antenna. It has a DSP chip and an adjustable length, making it easy to capture signals for a clear reception. The radio also has an automatic scanning feature as it goes through seven NOAA weather stations.

 Heads-up:  One problem with this radio is that the buttons often malfunction. They don’t always work based on their intended purpose.

 What We Liked: 
  • A bright screen displays the information you need to know
  • Comes with four charging methods
  • Has a 100-lumen flashlight
  • The telescoping antenna helps improve signal reception
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Buttons are prone to malfunctioning
 Bottom Line:  With its telescoping antenna, built-in flashlight with alarm, digital display, and multiple charging methods, this hand crank radio with USB port is one option you should not miss.

6. FosPower FOSPWB-2376 Hand Crank Radio

Prepare for emergencies and stay in the know of the latest weather updates with this hand crank radio.

Power up the radio in three ways. Aside from the built-in crank, you can also rely on AAA batteries. Alternatively, the built-in solar panel will generate the energy you need outdoors. Apart from having a variety of power sources, it is notable because of its 2,000 mAh battery. This is almost two times more powerful than most of its competitors. It is enough to charge your phone or tablet when there is no electricity.

No need to worry about using this radio in the dark. It has a smart design with two lights. The first is a one-watt flashlight and the second is a reading light with four LEDs. Both are bright enough to provide the illumination that you need.

With the IPX3 rugged shell, the durability of this radio is exceptional. It is not only water-resistant, but also tough enough to withstand many years of use while minimizing the likelihood of damage.

The limited lifetime warranty that the manufacturer offers is one more thing that separates it from many crank flashlight radios. It guarantees that there won’t be any substantial problem with its workmanship.

 Heads-up:  In theory, it looks good that it has a USB phone charger. In reality, however, it is quite disappointing that the latter does not work as the company advertises.

 What We Liked: 
  • Users can power the radio in three ways
  • Built-in 2,000 mAh battery
  • Has two light sources
  • Comes with a limited lifetime warranty
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • USB phone charger is often prone to failure
 Bottom Line:  From having three ways to power the unit to the two lights for bright illumination, this is another incredible option for a hand crank emergency radio.

7. RunningSnail Emergency Crank Radio

Whether you would like to listen to AM and FM stations or tune in to NOAA weather channels, this radio is for you!

The highlight of this product is the 4,000 mAh battery. It has one of the highest capacities of the products in this guide. This makes it more powerful to charge more than one phone. It also gives it more juice for longer functionality.

To add, it has a three-mode flashlight, making it a must-have for emergency preparedness. It is super bright, reaching a maximum distance of ten meters. You can choose from two ways to use the illumination – from the main torch or the reading light at the back of the solar panel.

Another great innovation in this radio is the motion sensor. Upon detecting a movement, the light will automatically turn on. This way, when you wake up in the middle of the night, no need to reach for the switch of the radio. It will shut off instantly after 30 seconds.

Need another good reason to choose this emergency radio flashlight hand crank? The company claims that this product has helped over ten million civilians in the United States, proving its reliability in times of hurricanes, snowstorms, and other disasters.

 Heads-up:  One of the shortcomings of this model is the manual tuning knob. This makes it difficult to set a specific station.

 What We Liked: 
  • High-capacity replaceable battery
  • The flashlight has three modes
  • Has a motion-detector to automatically turn the light on and off
  • Has already helped more than ten million civilians
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Tuning to a station is difficult
 Bottom Line:  From the high-capacity battery to the three-mode flashlight, it has impressive features that will make it an excellent option for a survival radio.

8. Raynic Hand Crank Emergency Radio

Another notable pick for the most trusted emergency radio, it will keep you entertained and informed. Whether you are at home or camping, you can stay updated.

This model has five power sources, so you will never run out of options to use it. At the most basic, there is a hand crank. Plus, you can use three AAA batteries, built-in lithium-ion battery, or AC input when electricity is available. Best of all, it has solar charging.

While it has many uses, one of the best is being a power bank. The power bank makes it easy to charge your gadgets when there is no electricity. It has a maximum capacity of 5,000 mAh, which is one of the largest you will find in the market.

The radio has a speaker, but you can also listen privately through the 3.5mm headphone jack. This comes in handy if you do not want to disturb others, such as when you are at a campsite. A unique feature that you will find in this radio is the compass, which is a handy tool when navigating unfamiliar routes and following a map.

This radio is also the perfect companion in the dark as it comes with a main three-watt flashlight and a supplemental 2.5-watt reading light.

 Heads-up:  Some people might not like how the radio dial is wobbly and flimsy, which feels cheap. It’s not a big deal to me but I agree that it would have been better if it was sturdier.

 What We Liked: 
  • You can power the radio in five ways
  • Powerful 5,000 mAh lithium-ion battery
  • Has a bright flashlight and reading lamp
  • Comes with a built-in compass
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Radio dial can be flimsy
 Bottom Line:  Overall, this radio packs plenty of features, including a compass, power bank, flashlight, and reading lamp.

9. Puiuisoul 090p Hand Crank Radio

This feature-rich radio has everything that you will need for emergencies. It is a handy tool that you should have in your survival kit.

One of the best things about this radio is that it has crystal clear sound. With a more immersive listening experience, it stands out. It is impressive even if the radio is small. Plus, there is a clear reception and minimal interference.

If you need illumination, this is a great hand crank emergency radio. It has a three-mode flashlight, with a beam extending as far as ten meters. Aside from the main torch, it has a reading lamp, which you will find at the back of the solar panel. Plus, it has a motion detector to automatically turn on when there is a movement.

Cranking this radio is effortless. The handle feels rigid, so you can rotate it without a problem. The manufacturer recommends spinning the crank for one minute at a speed of 130 rpm to generate maximum power.

You have 30 days to try this product and decide if it is a good fit for your needs. If you are unhappy in any way, you can return it to the manufacturer. You will receive an unconditional refund. To add, the company covers the radio with a 12-month replacement warranty.

 Heads-up:  Despite the good qualities, there are several drawbacks, such as the slow charging time of the solar panel. It can take a couple of days, which is quite frustrating.

 What We Liked: 
  • Delivers crystal clear audio
  • Motion-activated reading lamp
  • Comes with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee
  • Has a 12-month replacement warranty
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Slow solar charging
 Bottom Line:  From its crystal-clear audio output to the satisfaction guarantee, this hand crank radio flashlight has a plethora of impressive features.

10. Mesqool MQL-CR1009-Y Hand Crank Radio

Ann all-in-one radio, this is another excellent pick for preppers. It is affordable but packs plenty of features that you will find handy in emergency circumstances.

With seven NOAA weather bands, you will hear the latest updates. Whether it is a hurricane or tornado, among other disturbances, you can prepare accordingly. Even if there is no electricity, the radio is a good way to listen to the latest news. This emergency radio with shortwave can also give you access to several AM and FM stations.

The loud SOS alarm is another great feature. This way, it is effortless to send a distress signal, so it won’t take long before help is on its way. A bright red light will also flash along with the sound, making it easier for you to be found.

I also love the portability of this radio. It is lightweight and compact. Best of all, it comes with a sturdy and adjustable handle. It is made of nylon with a carabiner strap. Even better, you will find a built-in compass to help in your navigation.

The large-capacity power bank is another good reason to buy this radio. It has a reserve juice of 5,000 mAh. Meanwhile, you can power this radio through three AAA batteries and a built-in lithium-ion battery. Like the others in this list, it has a solar capability.

 Heads-up:  One thing that the manufacturer can improve is the tuning knob. It is stiff and hard to turn, making it difficult to set it to a specific frequency.

 What We Liked: 
  • Keeps you updated with the latest weather news
  • Loud alarm to easily signal for help
  • Sturdy handle with compass
  • Large-capacity power bank
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Tuning is difficult with the stiff knob
 Bottom Line:  This crank radio with a cell phone charger has multiple power sources, a powerful power bank, a loud SOS alarm, and a nylon handle with a compass.

11. Eton ARCFRX3+WXR Hand Crank Radio

A multi-powered and multi-functional radio, it packs a wealth of features that will help you survive difficult situations.

You have two main ways to use this radio. The first is through the hand turbine, which you have to crank to energize the battery. The second is through the solar panel. You can take advantage of the heat of the sun to charge the unit.

Turn the alert function on, and you will be amongst the first ones to receive news about a weather disturbance. You can receive all seven NOAA bands, so you can quickly prepare when there is a hurricane, snowstorm, or similar occurrence.

Staying connected isn’t a problem when you have this hand cranked radio with cell phone charger. The 2,600 mAh battery will let you charge your phone by up to 1.5 times. Even if there is no electricity, you can call or text your family and friends.

If there is an outage, you will be thankful for this radio as it has a built-in flashlight. The bright LEDs will ensure proper illumination when you need it. It also has a red flash, which is beneficial when you need help.

 Heads-up:  One con of this model is that it has a built-in battery. This means that there is no way to replace it if it becomes faulty, leaving you with no option but to buy a new radio.

 What We Liked: 
  • The alert function sends instant warning
  • Comes with a 2,600 mAh battery for phone charging
  • Built-in bright LED flashlight
  • Has a red flash if you want help
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • The battery is non-removable
 Bottom Line:  A highly-favored product in many crank radio reviews, it has solar power, bright flashlight, red flash, and built-in power bank.

12. Zurio ZUR-MN-EMR01 Hand Crank Radio

An essential in your survival kit, this AM FM radio has NOAA bands, which will give you round-the-clock weather updates.

Compared to many of its cheaper competitors, it has a long-lasting battery. A lot of its inferior alternatives have less than 1,000 mAh capacity. In contrast, this model has a whopping juice of 4,000 mAh, which is enough to power your smartphone.

What I love the most in this hand crank shortwave radio is the money-back guarantee. In some products, it is only for 30 days. With this model, however, it is good for one year, so I can purchase with confidence.

The radio has a convenient help button that will activate the SOS alarm. With the loud siren, it is easy for people around to notice your call for help. As a bonus, you will also receive a free whistle with every purchase.

Like the other products in this guide, you enjoy multiple ways to power the radio aside from hand-cranking. You can use three AAA batteries or the lithium-ion battery. A solar panel is also present. Plus, you can charge it through an AC adapter.

 Heads-up:  If you are a newbie in emergency radios, setting this up is quite tricky. You won’t find comprehensive instructions for setting up the weather alerts.

 What We Liked: 
  • Has a powerful 4,000 mAh battery
  • Loud SOS siren that easily activates with a push of a button
  • Five ways to power the unit
  • Risk-free money-back guarantee for one year
 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Tricky to set up for beginners
 Bottom Line:  With the one-year money-back guarantee, powerful rechargeable battery, loud siren, and multiple power sources, you won’t regret choosing this emergency radio with solar and crank charger.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Hand Crank Radio

crank-radio-reviews

If you are clueless about what to choose, below are some of the most important considerations that will help you decide. Spare time to read through them to ensure that you make the best possible purchasing decision.

Power Options

It is seldom to find one that is solely powered by a hand crank. Many are multifunctional and have removable and built-in batteries. It is also common to have a solar panel. Other models will even have an AC input so you can plug it directly on a wall socket.

Functions

Enjoy the best bang for the buck by picking a multifunctional crank radio. Aside from listening to news and weather updates, many are innovative enough to integrate a flashlight, power bank, compass, and SOS alarm.

Channels

The radio must access a wide array of AM and FM channels, as well as NOAA weather bands. This is influential in its performance. If it accesses minimal frequencies, then you have limitations in terms of what stations you will listen to.

Antenna

The internal antenna does a lot to improve the reception of the radio. It should be adjustable, so you can pick up better signals in different locations. The antenna also helps in minimizing the interference.

Durability

Choose a military hand crank radio, which is tough enough to withstand long-term use. It must have a durable shell that protects against bumps and other external damages. You will also benefit from choosing one that has a waterproof or water-resistant construction.

Battery

It isn’t always practical to crank the radio to make it work. Luckily, most of them have a built-in battery. Research how long the battery lasts. Also, consider how many hours it will take to fully charge. Replaceable batteries are better than built-in ones.

Portability

Think about the size and the weight of the radio. Especially if you will use it when camping, hiking, or in any other outdoor activity, portability is an important consideration. While it is lightweight, make sure that it does not compromise quality.

The Different Types of Hand Crank Radio

The best way to categorize hand crank radios is depending on the way you power them. The most basic has a hand crank. However, most are multifunctional and will have other power sources, including solar panels, batteries, and AC input.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Hand Crank Radios

The best emergency crank radio delivers a long list of benefits. It is great for entertainment as you can listen to AM and FM stations. It is also a must for your safety as it has NOAA weather alerts, such as when there is a hurricane or tsunami. Plus, many are multifunctional and also useful as a power bank, flashlight, compass, and SOS device.

If there is one drawback, however, it would be that hand cranking is tiring. Manually winding a handle will require a lot of effort on your end and the battery takes a long time to charge. Also, its overall sound quality and reception aren’t as impressive as what you will find in traditional radio.

Should I Have a Hand Crank Radio

hand-crank-shortwave-radio

Yes, you should have a hand crank radio! This is a great way to stay updated on the latest emergency broadcasts while also enjoying its multiple functionalities. It is a must-have in your survival kit.

Do Hand Crank Radios Need Batteries

A hand crank radio will not need batteries to work. All that you need is to manually turn the crank and it will generate the necessary power. However, such is often insufficient and you will need to crank a long time to get a full charge. With this, you will benefit from choosing models with alternate power sources, including rechargeable and removable batteries.

How Long Does It Take to Charge a Hand Crank Radio

In most cases, it will take ten to 15 minutes of manual cranking before you can charge the battery. However, take note that the goal is not to fully charge it through hand cranking, as such can take up to 16 hours. You will need just enough charge to listen to emergency announcements.

How Long Do Hand Crank Radios Last

It depends on the overall quality of the radio. Choose one from a reputable manufacturer, such as companies from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia. The best ones will last one to five years, especially if you take care of them.

Conclusion

With the best hand crank radio, it is easy to stay updated. It can keep you entertained and informed, even if you are out in the wild. This is handy in emergencies, especially in instances when you need to prepare or evacuate. Plus, it can have other functions, such as being a flashlight and power bank.

5/5 - (2 votes)