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Wind Up Radio

Crank it up: Your guide to the best wind up radio

Want to make sure that you can always tune into your favourite radio shows?

Having a rechargeable DAB radio is a great start. Rechargeable devices mean that you don’t have to worry too much about spending a fortune on batteries. Additionally, you can usually access a wider selection of radio stations with DAB too. 

But, what do you do if you’re nowhere near a wall outlet, and you’ve run out of power?

If you don’t have any batteries on-hand, you could be left without entertainment for the rest of your journey or camping trip. 

The best wind up radios eliminate that problem.

Designed for outdoor explorers, hikers, and survivalists, the wind up radio gives you an environmentally-friendly way to listen to your favourite music or shows. Not only do wind up radios ensure that you can always access a source of power for your favourite gadget, they also save you a fortune on batteries too. 

Rather than relying on a plug socket or a set of double A’s for energy, your wind-up radio comes with a hand crank that you can use to keep your radio fully-charged. Most of these devices can also be charged using other methods too – like USB cables or even solar power when necessary. 

Because these devices are very limited in what they can do, there’s a good chance you won’t find many wind up DAB radios or digital devices. However, your wind up device could easily double-up as an alarm clock, flash-light, or even a source of charging for your smartphone.

Ready to get shopping?

Here are the best wind up radios to try in 2020.

Wind Up Radio

1. Duronic AM/FM hybrid wind up radio

Simple, versatile, and compact enough to take with you on any adventure. The Duronic AM/FM hybrid radio give you three ways to keep your device charged. You can either create crank-based energy using the wind up handle on the device, or solar charge the tool by leaving it in direct sunlight. There’s also the option to plug your radio into a USB cable so you can charge it by the mains at home.

One of the more affordable wind up radios on the market today, the Duronic hybrid is available for less than £15, and comes with a number of useful features. Aside from connecting to AM and FM signals, the Duronic also comes with a headphone jack for private listening, and an LED torch built-in. You can also use this device as an alarm clock on your next camping trip.

Features include:

  • Lightweight and portable design
  • LED light indicator
  • 7 hours of battery life (fully charged)
  • Crank power or solar power options
  • Deceptively small but offering plenty of volume
  • AM/FM connectivity
  • Durable extendible aerial
  • 300mAh battery 
  • Headphone jack
  • Alarm clock

This is a very basic radio system, so you probably shouldn’t expect something as robust as the Roberts Unologic, for instance. Duronic have clearly created something that their customers will feel comfortable throwing in a back-pack for a last minute camping trip. 

However, if you’re looking for something cheap, cheerful, and reasonably reliable, this is a fantastic piece of kit. It does need winding up pretty frequently if you’re relying on the crank charge alone – but the same can be said for most wind up radios.

Pros:

  • Three charging options to choose from, including solar power
  • Easy to find a station with an extendible aerial
  • Very affordable for any budget
  • Excellent volume performance
  • Headphone socket included

Cons:

  • Solar-powered panel doesn’t work well on overcast days
  • A little cheap and plastic in style
Wind Up Radio

2. iGadgitz Xtra

The iGadgitz Xtra offers another very basic example of a wind up radio for today’s adventurous souls. Inexpensive, and easy to use, this device will give you around seven hours of playback after a full charge. Like the Duronic device above, there are three charging options available for this radio, including solar panels, a wind up crank, and a USB cable for mains charging.

We were particularly impressed with how compact this device is. It’s about the size of an adult hand, which means that it won’t take up much space in your backpack if you’re off on a camping or hiking trip. Once again, if you’re looking for a wind up DAB radio, this won’t be the product for you, as it offers AM/FM only. 

However, for less than £15 you still get:

  • Multi-language manual that’s easy to follow
  • 3 year warranty
  • 3.5mm headphone jack for private listening
  • AM/FM signals
  • Telescopic aerial 
  • Internal 300MAH battery (7 hour playback)
  • Pocket-sized design
  • Eco-friendly charging options (solar or crank)
  • USB charging connection

Though you won’t be able to tune into your favourite radio app with the iGadgitz, you will get a strong and reliable radio connection just about anywhere you go. If you’re looking for something simple, light, and reasonably durable, this could be the ideal travel radio for you.

Compared to the Duronic, the iGadgitz also feels a little stronger and heavier, which could give you some additional peace of mind in your investment. However, once again, it’s worth remembering that you will get what you pay for with a £15 radio, which means that the audio quality isn’t exactly sensational.

Pros:

  • 3 charging options, including wind up and solar
  • Stronger feeling than some options
  • Lightweight and pocket-sized
  • Easy to use design
  • Extendable aerial included

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to tune at first
  • Audio quality is limited
Wind Up Radio

3. CZAING solar wind up radio

When you imagine a wind up radio, there’s a good chance that you picture something like the CZAING solar wind up radio. It’s compact, lightweight, and designed for portability. What’s more, the CZAING might not be a wind up digital radio with access to Wi-Fi and DAB channels, but it does come designed for the modern marketplace. 

For instance, as well as giving you a way to power your radio through cranking alone, the CZAING also comes with a smart phone charger and power bank built-in. There’s also an emergency flashlight for survivalists that’s enough to give you a burst of illumination when you need it most. 

Available for just under £20, this solar and wind up radio features:

  • Lightweight and portable design
  • Hand cranking or solar panel charging
  • USB charging available
  • AM/FM radio supported
  • LED flashlight
  • Built-in 300 MAH battery
  • Smartphone charging and power bank
  • Built-in charging protection

Overall, the CZAING is a very robust feeling piece of technology, particularly when you compare it to some of the other, more lightweight options on the market today. Once again, it’s lacking a few things, like the option to connect to DAB channels – but that’s something you’re not likely to find in most wind up products today.

Additionally, one thing we noted when conducting our wind up radio reviews, is that this product doesn’t come with a headphone jack, which is a bit of a problem for those who want private listening options.

Pros:

  • 3 charging options, including solar and crank
  • Compact lightweight design
  • Smartphone charging option
  • Strong LED flashlight included
  • 1 year warranty for peace of mind

Cons:

  • No headphone jack
  • Needs a lot of regular cranking
Wind Up Radio

4. Duronic Ecohand wind up radio

The Ecohand by Duronic is the even more simplified version of the hybrid solar and wind up radio that we reviewed above. Intended primarily for emergency use, this Duronic AM/FM radio comes in the same bright red shade as the other products in the Duronic design, so you’ll never lose track of it. Small enough to fit in your hand, the device can either be powered via wind up cranking, or using a mains adapter. 

There’s no solar power option with this addition to our list of the best wind up radios. However, when you’re located in the UK, where sunlight is scarce, you might not need solar. Offering pretty good sound and reliable reception for less than £13, the Duronic Ecohand is an affordable and easy way to get your hands on a fantastic eco-friendly radio. 

Features include:

  • Wind up radio charging or mains power
  • Small and lightweight design
  • Easy to use rotary dials
  • AM/FM reception
  • Great tuning and volume
  • 2.5 hours of playback when fully charged
  • Small enough to fit in any bag and most pockets

This is definitely one of the simplest wind up radio reviews that we’ve done when creating this list. The Duronic lacks a lot of the features that you would be able to access from other devices, including a headphone jack or an LED light. However, if you’re looking for a very basic way to listen to radio channels on the go, then this could definitely be the ideal option. 

There are no complex bells and whistles to come to terms with on this device – which makes it a fantastic choice for those who don’t feel comfortable using a lot of tech.

Pros:

  • Simple and easy to use
  • Basic set up with two charging options
  • Small and lightweight design
  • Tuning and volume is good

Cons:

  • Very limited feature set
  • Feels a bit cheap and plasticky
  • No solar power option
Wind Up Radio

5. Degen DE14 wind up radio

As noted elsewhere in this article, finding a wind up DAB radio isn’t easy. However, you can find a few products that give you a wider range signals to choose from. For instance, the crank solar radio from Degen, otherwise known as the DE13 comes with access to FM, MW, and SW1 signals. 

Aside from giving you everything that you need to tune into your favourite channels on the go, the Degen wind up radio also comes with a wide selection of other useful features, including an LED torch, an alarm siren, and a USB port where you can charge your smartphone. There’s also the opportunity to charge your radio via solar power if you have enough sunlight. 

For just over £20, features include:

  • Excellent LED torch
  • SW, FM, and MW radio
  • Alarm siren 
  • Multiple options for powering, including batteries, hand crank, solar panel
  • USB mains charging when necessary
  • Phone charging available
  • Robust and reliable construction

This is one of the tougher, and therefore the best wind up radios that we’ve seen on the market. When you’re clambering through trees in the great outdoors, the last thing that you want to worry about is breaking your radio. Fortunately, the Degen feels tough enough to withstand most bumps and knocks. Additionally, it comes with modern features like smartphone charging which come in handy. 

We particularly liked the fact that the Degen comes with the option to use standard AAA batteries if you can’t find the energy to crank for power, and there’s not enough light for solar. Overall, the versatility of this device makes it a great tool for anyone to have on-hand.

Pros:

  • Durable and strong design
  • Plenty of useful features, including flashlight
  • Smartphone charging
  • Plenty of volume
  • Excellent range of signals

Cons:

  • Not very efficient
  • Not always easy to use
  • Still not a DAB wind up radio
Wind Up Radio

6. RunningSnail wind up radio

Another wind up radio advertised as an “emergency” product for survivalist, the RunningSnail wind up device is one of the more powerful options on the market. It comes with access to a sensational 4000 MAH power bank, as well as an SOS alarm and various other features to give you more convenience when you’re exploring the great outdoors. 

The RunningSnail provides a handy selection of four charging options to choose from. You can charge your battery fully at home with a USB cable, use the hand crank system, or charge your device via solar. Alternatively, the product also takes 3 AAA batteries too. 

Once again, you’ll be limited to AM/FM radio frequencies, but for just less than £40 other features include:

  • 10 hours of playback on a full charge
  • 4 ways to recharge your 4000 MAH battery
  • Smartphone charging
  • Robust and reliable design
  • Large LCD screen displaying battery
  • Aux music-in to play your phone songs 
  • Designed to withstand almost any condition
  • LED light

Not only is the RunningSnail strong and durable, but it’s created for the modern consumer. There’s plenty of juice to charge up your smartphone when you’re on the go. Additionally, you can use the aux-in cable to listen to your favourite tunes on your phone if you don’t like what you find from AM/FM signals. 

The RunningSnail wind up radio comes with plenty of power and volume to suit virtually any occasion. What’s more, for peace of mind, you can enjoy the benefits of a 100% refund guarantee if you’re not fully happy with the product.

Pros:

  • Refund guarantee
  • 10 hours of playback
  • 4 ways to charge your radio
  • Smartphone charging
  • Aux-in option included

Cons:

  • No DAB option
  • More expensive than some wind up radios
  • No headphone socket
Wind Up Radio

7. Duronic Apex wind up radio

Whenever we do a top 10 review here at Radio Fidelity, there’s often one brand that seems to excel in a specific category more than others. That seems to be the case for Duronic in the world of wind up radios. Although we haven’t been able to find a DAB wind up radio from Duronic, we’ve found a number of reliable and powerful options from the company, including the Duronic Apex. 

The Duronic Apex is the AM/FM three-way charging radio for the person on the go. Designed for portability and convenience, the Apex comes with a built-in LED torch and an alarm function. There’s also a clock display, so you can keep track of the time on your next hike or camping trip. 

Available for just over £16, the Duronic features:

  • Small and lightweight design
  • 3 charging options including wind up and solar power
  • Easy to use tuning dials
  • USB adapter option
  • Torch included
  • AM/FM radio
  • Easy-to-use screen
  • Up to 7 hours of playback
  • Strong and durable 

Although the Duronic Apex still isn’t the best wind up radio we’ve seen for durability, it’s a lot tougher in design than the other Duronic models. Compared to the Ecohand and Hybrid, the Apex feels immediately more robust from the moment you take it out of the box.

We liked how simple it was to use this device, particularly with the convenient back-lit display. Additionally, the LED light was surprisingly bright for such a small product. The biggest issue we had was trying to tune the radio properly.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Very good flashlight for the size
  • Plenty of volume and reasonable audio quality
  • Easy to use with tactile tuning
  • 3 choices of how to charge

Cons:

  • Could be more durable
Wind Up Radio

8. Greadio wind up radio and power bank

Another amazing wind up radio designed for the modern marketplace, the Greadio is an emergency solar-powered device and hand-crank radio. It comes with a built-in flashlight, SOS alarm, and various other features. With a 2000 MAH battery, this device provides one of the highest strength batteries out of any of our wind up radio reviews, with the lowest price – at just under £14. Additionally, it comes with enough power to charge your smartphone on the move too. 

Designed to be the perfect partner for your next adventure, the Greadio wind up radio will keep you connected to the world with up to 10 hours of playback on a full charge, depending on the volume you choose to play at. Additionally, there’s always the option to power your radio via solar if you don’t feel like cranking. 

Features include:

  • Multiple power options, including crank and solar
  • SOS function with LED lighting
  • Alarm included 
  • Easy tuning for FM/AM radio
  • Robust and durable design
  • 12 month warranty
  • Smartphone charging
  • 8-10 hours of battery life
  • USB charging option

Created to withstand a multitude of outdoor activities, the Greadio is one of the most compelling wind up radio options on the market. Despite its low price, we feel that the product is reliable and durable enough that you’ll feel pretty safe taking it with you on your next adventure.

The 12 month warranty included with this device is a nice touch too – particularly since it’s so affordable to begin with.

Pros:

  • Multiple charging options
  • Durable design
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Great lighting for emergencies
  • 12 month warranty

Cons:

  • No headphone socket
  • No DAB or Bluetooth features
Wind Up Radio

9. Odoland AM/FM wind up radio

Finally, we come to the last option on our list of the best wind up radios to try this year. The Odoland lightweight AM/FM radio is a very simplistic device, small enough that you might confuse it with a torch at first glance. You can use this device to tune into a wide range of radio signals – even during the worst weather conditions, thanks to its ramped-up signal. 

There’s a solar panel built into this device, although we found that it wasn’t as efficient as some of the other products that we looked at with our wind up radio reviews. However, you’ll still be able to use this device easily in a range of scenarios, from camping and festivals to tapping into entertainment when you’re in the garden. 

For just under £18, features include:

  • AM/FM NOAA signals
  • Signals that withstand various weather conditions
  • Super-bright LED light built-in
  • Three recharging options, including solar and wind up radio
  • USB charging available
  • Excellent emergency radio performance
  • Up to 20 minutes of radio from one minute of cranking

Although this particular wind up radio is very lightweight and convenient, it’s worth noting that it’s somewhat limited in what it can actually do. After all, you’re dealing with a very small and basic device here. Once again, there’s no DAB radio connection, and we couldn’t find a headphone input either – so you won’t be able to listen to music privately.

Another downside of this radio is that it’s quite limited in volume. If the weather is blowing a gale outside, you might have a hard time hearing your radio inside of your tent.

Pros:

  • Simple and straightforward
  • Multiple charging options
  • Super bright LED light
  • AM/FM and NOAA
  • Weather boosted signal

Cons:

  • Limited volume
  • No headphone jack
  • Limited feature set

How to choose the best wind up radio

If you’re looking to crank up the entertainment value of your next big adventure, then a wind up radio could help you to do just that. With the right wind up radio, you’ll ensure that you always have access to your favourite channels, wherever you go. Plus, you can rest assured that you’re not contributing anything negative to the environment either. 

So, how do you make the right choice for the best wind up radio? There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but there are a few features that you may want to look into. 

For instance:

  • Torch: It’s helpful to have an LED light on your windup radio, particularly if you’re going to be using the device as a tool for camping and hiking. Some of the lights that are available with today’s wind up radios are more effective than others – so check the reviews to learn more.
  • Phone charging features: Some of the latest wind up radio options come with smartphone charging features. You can even use the hand crank to add a bit of extra power to your phone when you desperately need to get in touch with someone back home. Remember that you might need to spend quite a lot of time winding to get anywhere though.
  • Durability: A wind up radio is usually designed for use on the go. That means that most of the best products out there come with durability built-in. However, you should always keep an eye out for knock-proof radios, as well as devices that can continue to work when exposed to rain and other sources of moisture.
  • Additional charging options: You won’t necessarily want to rely on nothing but wind up charging to use your radio. Many of the best wind up radios on the market will come with extra charging options available. For instance, you might have the option to power your radio via some included solar panels, or a USB cable that attaches to the mains. 
  • Alarm clocks: Many wind up radios also come with clocks and alarm features so you can use your radio to handle your schedule, just like you would at home. This is a convenient feature to have if you don’t want to drain the battery on your smartphone too.

Finding your wind up radio

There’s no perfect wind up radio that will appeal to everyone. However, the good news is that there are a number of great choices to pick from. If you’re looking for something with the widest range of features as well as exceptional durability, we’d probably recommend the RunningSnail, with its amazing 4000 MAH battery. 

However, if you need something a little more simplistic, the Duronic Ecohand is a great way to take your radio with you on the go without harming the environment. 

Which wind up radio will you be trying in 2020?

Stay tuned to the latest radio industry insights with Radio Fidelity.

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