5. RunningSnail emergency radio (best for simplicity)
If you’re ever in a situation where you are dealing with an unexpected emergency, you don’t want a crank radio that takes hours to figure out.
The best devices in these situations are often simple and straightforward, and that’s exactly what you get from RunningSnail.
This high-performance hand crank radio comes with a solar panel for charging, and a USB port for wall-based charging too.
Convenient and lightweight, the RunningSnail emergency radio won’t take up much room in your backpack, and it comes with an SOS alarm and a flashlight to help you find help when you’re stuck in a tight spot.
Aside from AM and FM radio, the RunningSnail hand crank radio also comes with access to NOAA news alerts too.
Hand crank and solar panel
FM, AM and NOAA radio
Li-on hard wearing battery
USB phone charging
Lightweight and portable design
SOS alarm functionality
Simple, small, and great for beginners who want an affordable emergency radio, the RunningSnail is a fantastic choice.
We particularly like how easy it is to fit this product into a backpack or pocket when you’re off on a camping trip with the kids.
9. Kaito KA500 5-way hand crank radio (best shortwave)
Another crank powered radio from the Kaito brand, the KA500 is a five-way powered device, with access to everything from solar power, to hand cranking, portable batteries, and more.
Available in a range of colors, this high-performance emergency radio comes brimming with great technology, including USB input for charging your smartphone, and comprehensive radio coverage.
As well as AM and FM connectivity, you also get 2-band shortwave and pre-programmed NOAA too.
Both a durable radio and an emergency mobile battery charger, this hand crank radio from Kaito has plenty to offer.
There’s an LED flashlight, a red beacon light for emergencies, a telescopic antenna, and so much more. You can even rest assured that your crank radio will stay in good condition for longer thanks to a scratch-resistant exterior.
Multiple power options
AM/FM and shortwave radio
NOAA weather alerts included
Emergency smartphone charger
5-LED reading lamp
SOS LED beacon
Easy tuning functionality
Durable scratch-resistant radio
One point worth noting with this device is that you probably shouldn’t rely on the solar panels to charge your device on their own. These panels aren’t the most efficient, so you’re likely to need a helping-hand from your crank too.
Choosing the best crank radio might seem like a bit of a niche concept in the modern world.
If you spend all your time indoors, tuning into radio systems that connect with Google Home and Alexa, then a crank radio will probably feel too old-fashioned for you.
What happens, however, when the power goes out, and you can’t get the information that you need from the television or internet?
If an emergency happened in your area, like a sudden flood or natural disaster, how would you know what you needed to do next?
Radios with solar panels are great, but they’re not the most reliable when the sun isn’t always shining.
What’s more, many people find that it takes several hours in the sun just to get a solar powered radio to work.
On the other hand, the best hand crank radio can deliver the emergency broadcasts that you need much faster, and with greater reliability too.
You don’t have to be an adventurous outdoorsy person to benefit from the best crank radio. Having a crank powered radio handy just in case could give you some much needed peace of mind in an unpredictable world.
How to choose the best crank radio
If you’re searching for the perfect hand crank radio to keep you connected in times of trouble, then you’ve got a few things to think about.
As our hand crank radio reviews will have proven, there are a lot of different products out there to choose from, and each has its own benefits to offer.
Some of the features you might want to look at include:
Flashlight and SOS light: Products like the Midland ER310 come with high-performance flashlights that are sure to keep your surroundings lit in time of danger. You might also want an SOS light, like the one provided by the RegeMoudal NOAA radio, which helps to grab attention with a red glare.
Power options: If you’re going to be powering a smartphone from your radio then the first thing that you need to check for is a USB charging port. After that, it’s worth looking for extra charging options, like solar power and battery compartments, for when you’re tired of cranking the included wind-up dynamo.
Durability: A great hand crank radio needs to be durable because you’ll be frequently taking it with you on adventures in the great outdoors. A waterproof product will always be a good choice, and it’s worth looking for something that’s scratch-proof too, like the Kaito KA500 five-way hand crank radio.
Extra features: What can your radio do besides play AM and FM radio stations? Most emergency hand crank radios come with access to NOAA weather alerts, but you might want something that features Bluetooth or an SD card slot too. The Kaito KA700 comes with Bluetooth access and a voice recorder for making memos and notes too. There’s even a calendar function included.
Sound quality: While a crank radio with a great design and plenty of extra power options is great, it’s not going to be much good if you can’t bear to listen to the tinny sound. Try to find something that can deliver a good quality of sound wherever you go.
Finding the right hand crank radio
There’s no one-size-fits-all for finding the best hand crank radio today.
The choice that’s right for you will depend on the kind of functionality you need, from recording, to SW radio stations and more.
One of our favorite options from this review is the Kaito KA700. This powerful emergency radio comes with everything you need for entertainment and information in the great outdoors.
The KA700 is one of the few crank powered radio products we found that comes with access to Bluetooth streaming. The recording functionality might be a good idea if you want to make notes for a review or trip, you’ll be writing up later.
On the other hand, the KA900 from Kaito is also extremely advanced, with a powerful MP3 player built-in, and a micro SD card for extra listening options.
Which crank radio will you be using this year? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to check out our other reviews.
Just so you know… This article contains affiliate links. The commission we earn helps to cover our costs, and comes at no additional cost to you. For more information on our affiliate program, please refer to our disclosure policy.