Searching for the best NOAA weather radio is not a common activity, considering that this is a highly niched product and people can hardly find trustful reviews on the internet.
Luckily, we’ve decided to gather the best products of this kind in one single place, while also answering all the questions you may have in relation to this topic.
Below you’ll find answers to the most frequently asked questions, complex buying guides, as well as technical information about the most popular NOAA weather radios on the market.
Let’s start with the basics:
What is The Best NOAA Weather Radio?
In this article, we’ll list some of the best NOAA weather radios on the market, some of which are considered to be the very first in the top.
Of course, choosing the best product closely relates to what you’re expecting from it, what needs you want to cover, what’s your available budget and other relevant aspects that will be further presented.
You’ll see below what each product’s unique selling proposition is, as well as all that’s the most important thing you should know about them.
Top 10 NOAA Weather Radio Comparison Table
|Running Snail MD-088s|
|American Red Cross ARCFRX3+WXR|
|Running Snail B01DVXDXQU|
|Midland Deluxe RadioMR400|
Why Midland is The Best Brand For NOAA Weather Radio?
Midland is one of the brands that you’ll see the most often within the best NOAA weather radio lists.
It’s a highly appreciated brand, thanks to the products they produce which are long-lasting, high quality, and easy to maintain.
There are many other names in the industry that produce high-quality weather radios, on the likes of Kaito or Running Snail.
All brands come with their pros and cons, and there are plenty of products you can explore from various companies, so the best choice would be to explore the options available on the market and see what works best for your specific case.
Where to Buy NOAA Weather Radio?
You can buy your NOAA weather radio from most specialized electronics stores and online.
Another way to get this in your possession would be through National Weather Service offices, but that’s a long process and it wouldn’t benefit you because you won’t be able to choose exactly the type and brand you want.
The widest variety can definitely be found online on websites like Amazon, and it will be much easier to research the market this way.
What Type of Radio is the Best Choice For Emergency Situations?
In order to avoid unpleasant situations during emergencies, you should be careful when choosing the type of radio that you’re purchasing.
Each radio comes with a specific set of features that make it appropriate or not. Weather radios are meant to broadcast information about the state of the weather from a specialized station.
NOAA weather radios are the best for people who travel greatly or for those who live in areas that are prone to meteorological disasters.
For other types of emergencies, you should look for radios which are suitable for that specific task.
Is NOAA Weather Radio Really Worth It?
If you’re not sure whether you should buy NOAA weather radio or not, these arguments should definitely convince you.
First of all, any meteorological hazard will be officially announced through such a device, which transforms it into a must-have in all houses or institutions situated in an area that is sensitive from this point of view.
Second of all, they do not require as much charging as compared to a mobile phone, which – unlike weather radios – won’t be available 24/7 to notify users about hazards.
How To Choose The Best NOAA Weather Radio
Not all NOAA weather radios come with the same features. They differ through how they’re charged or powered, what options they bring to the table, how they intercept data, what volume options they have, and many more.
When planning to buy the best NOAA weather radio on the market, you need to keep in mind at least these aspects:
How is it Powered?
Based on the reason why you’re buying the NOAA weather radio for (indoor use or mobility), you’ll need to carefully check how the device is powered.
For indoor use, this is less important as long as you can connect it to a power outlet for a permanent set-up.
For outdoor use, try looking for battery-powered devices that are certified for emergency use. Batteries can be replaced, and you can carry spare ones while traveling.
How Many Alert Options Does it Come With?
Most people buy NOAA weather radios to receive emergency weather bulletins. Well, some weather radios are packed with features that allow you to customize the type of emergencies you want to be notified about, while others are very “dry” in terms of features.
Depending on the purpose you’re buying this radio for, you should take into consideration the number of alert options and how easy it is to set up.
How it Intercepts Data?
Most modern weather radios have a built-in antenna, but there are still models that have an external one.
Intercepting data becomes stronger and stronger based on the system the radio uses.
Some products can be upgraded on-demand with an external jack antenna, which is very convenient for travelers that need more power when requiring high-frequency signals.
How Loud it is?
Volume is yet another factor that you need to consider regardless of the type of weather radio you’re buying.
The main purpose of an NOAA weather radio is to let you know when an emergency takes place, and its whole existence would be in vain if you wouldn’t hear the alert. This is why you should always check how loud the radio can get.
Top 10 Best NOAA Weather Radio Reviews
01. Kaito NOAA Weather Radio KA500 – Best Quality NOAA Weather Radio
This radio works well with emergency situations since it’s a 6-way powered one. It comes with a slot for 3 AA batteries for convenient use, but it also has a rechargeable built-in NiMH battery that can be powered through a hand crank – a suitable option for those who travel along with distances and require extra safety regardless of the context.
On top of that, it comes with a 5V mini-USB port, as well as an AC/DC charger input.
The KA500 is good for emergency situations or uncertain environments when features like hand cranking are mandatory.
Even so, hand cranking might also act as a downside, considering how much effort the user has to put in for just a few minutes of usage, which won’t guarantee to intercept the exact urgency that’s officially transmitted.
It is a versatile product that should be taken into account for those who are interested in such items, especially considering the brand’s reputation. Kaito items are used in the United States Army, the American Red Cross, and more on the likes of these institutions.
- 6-way powered
- Hand crank generator for energy
- 3 AA battery compartment for emergencies
- USB and AC/DC input
- Telescopic antenna
- Portable receiver fit for both daily use and mobility
- Rechargeable hand-cranking built-in battery
- USB power source included
- Hand crank charging only last for very short whiles (a couple of minutes)
- Shortwave reception is not very efficient
02. FosPower NOAA Weather Radio FOSPWB-2376 – Best Convenient Radio for Emergency Situations
Besides being an absolutely great, wide range NOAA weather radio, this product from FosPower excites potential buyers through its SOS features. It has a siren included, as well as a hand crank powered lantern.
Moreover, it can be recharged through a multitude of options – from hand crank to solar panel for regenerative energy and through AAA 1.5V batteries for urgent situations.
The best part about it is that it comes with a 2000 mAh power bank included, compatible with most USB-powered devices, a must-have for emergencies. Generating light through two different LED sources works well for camping or similar purposes.
As for its main function, the weather radio, the FOSPWB-2376 covers NOAA broadcasts, adding more value to the table through its AM/FM functions for regular radio broadcasts.
Thus, all types of stations are included. One downside would be that the rechargeable battery has quite a limited lifespan – around 3 years.
Overall, the product is ideal for traveling, taking into account its SOS specifications and the dependable access users get from its radio function.
It is suitable for non-emergency situations as well, but there are better options to consider for a rather static set-up (indoors).
- 2000 mAh power bank included
- Hand crank recharge
- Solar panel recharge
- SOS alarm (siren) and lantern included
- NOAA and AM/FM station interception
- Multiple methods of recharging
- Emergency power source – power bank
- A convenient size for portability
- Instructions might not be clear enough for a first-time user
- Limited battery lifespan (~3 years)
03. Midland NOAA Weather Radio WR120B/WR120EZ – Best Compact NOAA Radio For Easy Transportation
Midland came up with a product that fits all criteria for the best NOAA weather radio. It is a very compact device, sized ideally for both traveling and indoor setup.
It has all the features you’d want from an NOAA weather radio: supporting 7 NOAA channels, localized programming, a loud siren, and making use of SAME technology.
It’s a suitable weather radio for those who want a permanent set-up, but it is also compact and comes with AA battery support for easy transportation. It’s a product constructed by the book, so it definitely has to be part of this top.
Besides the obvious features that make it a great product, the Midland radio also features convenient options such as a built-in clock with an alarm system included and flashing LED warning that is triggered concomitantly with the 90 Gb siren.
This makes it suitable for hearing impaired users compared to other products of this kind available on the market.
Moreover, the WR120B/WR120EZ is fully certified for public alerts, so users can safely rely on it for all crucial emergency announcements.
- Supports 7 NOAA channels
- SAME technology
- 90 db siren with flashing LED warning
- Built-in clock (alarm included)
- Certified for official public alerts
- Localized programming function supporting up to 25 countries – cheap and convenient
- AA alkaline batteries support
- Compact size
- To stop the emergency alarm, the device must be disconnected from any power source which leads to reprogramming
- Doesn’t broadcast test alerts
04. Running Snail Weather Radio MD-088s
Running Snail usually produces great weather radios, and this one is no exception from the rule.
It is a well-designed weather radio, catching both AM/FM and NOAA. What makes it stand out is its convenient size paired with features that can be used around the house for an emergency situation, as well as while traveling.
It’s a good item to have around the house, but it might not be the very best NOAA weather radio on the market. It’s a balanced product with basic features that one would need for a weather radio, but it is rather suitable for a specific target audience.
Considering that it comes with a power bank included, the price-quality ratio is excellent, transforming this model into a worthy listing in this top.
Its most prominent advantage is how sensitive the dial tuning is – you’ll find any signal in a matter of minutes and the device will let you know when you’re on the clearest channel through a signal light.
Overall, the product deserves your attention taking advantage of its low price before anything else.
- 1000 mAh power bank included
- Covers AM/FM and NOAA
- Flashlight included
- 3 methods of recharging – USB, solar panel, and hand crank
- Compact design
- Can be carried around easily thanks to its size
- Versatility in terms of features and power sources
- Suitable for emergency situations
- The hand crank is not very efficient
- Doesn’t hold charges for long
05. American Red Cross ARCFRX3+WXR
You can choose the safe way and purchase a product from the American Red Cross. You’ll know from starters that this product is certified and specifically designed to help people that find themselves in an emergency situation or in the middle of a natural disaster.
It is built in such a manner to be convenient from all points of view, from size to features.
The WXR model is packed with features and functions that will keep you safe during any weather emergency – it received AM/FM frequencies and all 7 NOAA bands.
It can be powered through both hand cranking and solar panel charging, it includes a 2600 mAh power bank and a LED flashlight that can last for quite a while.
You can also activate a red LED flash beacon for SOS situations. All these functions are available from a compact device of just 5 3/4″ H x 7″ W x 2 2/3″ D. weighing somewhere around 1 lb. It is a highly reviewed product with few downsides and many benefits available for a convenient price.
- Automatic alert function
- Multiple power sources: solar panel, hand crank, rechargeable battery, AA battery support
- Digital features: AM/FM frequencies, NOAA weather band
- Digital display and USB ports included
- Red beacon for signaling emergency situations
- Compact size for easy transportation
- Multiple features for SOS purposes
- Plenty of options when it comes to power
- Made of thin plastic – won’t resist shocks
- Buttons are difficult to access due to their placement
06. Running Snail Emergency Weather Radio B01DVXDXQU
Running Snail is known for producing great items that act like complete emergency kits which people can use regardless of the situation they find themselves in.
This emergency weather radio is no exception from the brand’s streak of high-quality products. This model has plenty of benefits to take into account for a purchase.
It acts as a complete means of communication, covering AM/FM, as well as NOAA and an SOS alarm included. It comes with multiple light sources included and it can be powered in a multitude of ways: hand crank, solar panel, the built-in rechargeable battery, or an AAA battery set.
The device is able to broadcast emergency weather alerts for events on the likes of tornadoes, severe storms, or hurricanes, as emitted by the responsible official institutions in your area.
The table lamp and flashlight transform this tiny item is a useful tool for SOS situations, as well as during power outages.
It comes with an SOS flashing alarm included so you can be noticed in critical, survival situations. Its compact size and multiple charging methods are highly convenient as well.
Additionally, you can use it as a charger for your phone or other USB-powered devices.
- Supports AM/FM frequencies and NOAA channels
- Includes a table lamp and LED flashlight
- Can be self-charged – hand crank, solar panel
- 2000 mAh rechargeable battery that also acts as a power bank
- SOS flashing light alarm
- Perfect for both indoor use and traveling
- Provides up to 12 hours of light, suitable for power outages
- 6 hours of radio time on rechargeable battery
- Charging it using the solar panel will last around 20 minutes
- AAA batteries keep it powered for around 30 minutes or less
07. Sangean Certified Weather Radio CL-100
Sangean is yet another known brand that produces quality weather radios for emergency situations.
This has enough potential of becoming the best NOAA weather radio on the market if we’re taking a close look at its features, as well as the price-quality ratio.
It was reviewed by plenty of users and received nothing but great compliments. First of all, it’s a certified item, which means you won’t have to worry about not receiving important alerts.
It is aligned with SAME broadcasts and it is fully programmable. You can choose between 25 FIPS location codes and you can customize the messages you want to receive.
What’s even more interesting about it is that the device stores up to 20 alert messages and has an EEPROM backup system.
You won’t lose anything when using this weather radio. You can also set up daily wake-up alarms with snooze included.
The LCD screen can be dimmed as much as you need and there’s a contrast control setting that you can make use of to save energy. As for the alarms, you can customize the bass and treble.
The device comes with a DC power input, a stereo headphone output, in case you want to connect an audio device to it, an external antenna, an aux-in, and a ground terminal. It operates with 4 AA batteries.
- LED scrolling graphic LCM display
- Auto shut-off feature
- Can connect external sources to it
- Table-top SAME technology
- Public Alert certified
- Supports up to 25 SAME codes
- NOAA and ANSI certified
- Programmable with 5 stations presets
- Sudden unplugging can lead to a factory reset
- AAA batteries drain even if the radio is plugged in
08. Esky Emergency Weather Radio ES-CR02
Esky produces quality weather radios and the ES-CR02 model respects all requirements you may have for such a product.
It comes with three different ways to recharge, perfect for situations in which electricity is not available. It has a 1000 mAh rechargeable battery included that can be powered through a USB cable, the included solar panel, or by using the hand crank.
The latter one will take longer to charge the battery but it’s a must for emergency situations when you need to use the SOS functions of this item.
It’s important to also note that you can use the USB port on this device to recharge your mobile phone if needed. This way, you can stay connected to the outside world regardless of access to power.
This weather radio is suitable for emergency situations, acting as a portable radio that catches AM/FM frequencies, as well as NOAA.
You can use it both as a tabletop inside your home and as a portable device while traveling.
You can carry it by hand easily thanks to the attached lanyard it comes equipped with. As for performances, it is durable, water-resistant, and has a built-in flashlight for convenience.
Overall, it makes up a great product for a multitude of purposes, and it deserves a place in this top of the best NOAA weather radios.
- 3 ways to recharge the battery: solar, hand crank, and USB
- 1000 mAh rechargeable battery that also acts as a power bank
- AM/FM frequencies and NOAA are all covered
- Ultra-bright light flash to use in emergency situations
- Made of durable materials and resists shock
- Can be used while traveling thanks to its size
- Multiple SOS functions to use during emergencies
- Easy to recharge
- Sound can be tinny depending on the channel
- Hand crank winding gives a very limited usage time
09. Midland Deluxe NOAA RadioMR400
Another great product from Midland combines two features into one: scanning weather alerts and sending alerts as launched by official institutions.
It has 7 WX band channels that constantly scans for floods, tornados, thunderstorms, and even civil danger warnings, going even farther with its reach. It is an amazing product for severe weather updates, and it can be programmed as it uses the SAME technology.
You can set your custom program with up to 25 code options, transforming it into an appropriate item for traveling.
You can also personalize the way that the system produces alerts, in the sense that the siren alarm can go up to 85 dB, but you can set it lower as per your own needs and requirements.
You can put together a voice alert of your liking or turn on the visual LED flasher for better visibility. If the device will be used as a tabletop, users can set up wake-up alarms with the AM/FM radio function and a snooze button.
Instead of waking up with whatever plays on the radio, you can choose to wake up to local weather directly.
- 7 NOAA weather bands available
- SAME technology with up to 25 codes
- Custom programming for weather alerts
- Visual LED flasher included
- Supports AA alkaline batteries
- Good AM/FM and NOAA coverage with programmable function
- Highly customizable
- Support all-hazard alerts
- Reduced number of power sources
- Reception is sensitive to positioning
10. Midland NOAA Emergency Weather Radio ER310
This one is definitely the winner when it comes to SOS functions. It is one tiny item, packed with all functions you would need from such a device to replace an entire emergency kit.
It comes equipped with the basic weather alert function, plus an SOS emergency flashlight, an ultrasonic whistle, many power sources to choose from, and an LED alert.
More than that, it is extremely convenient to carry around, thanks to its design with a handle included. The ER310 includes 3 sustainable power sources to take advantage of during power outages: a solar panel, a hand crank, and a rechargeable battery of no less than 2600 mAh.
The battery also acts as a power bank if you happen to need a power source for any USB compatible device.
Its weather alert function is impeccable, catching both AM/FM signals and scanning through all 7 available WX channels. Whenever an alarm is launched, it indicates it through both sound and visual notifications.
The attached ultrasonic whistle goes well with dangerous situations where you need to reach out to rescue teams easier. This combo makes this Midland product a proper option for the best NOAA weather radio in the market.
- 3 different power sources to choose from
- Rechargeable 2600 mAh battery also acts as a power bank
- Emergency flashlight and whistle
- Scans through 7 WX channels
- Compact design for easy carrying
- Combines both the weather radio function and SOS functions
- Made of durable materials to resist shock
- SOS strobe beacon included
- Battery might require replacement after a specific timeframe
- The required weekly test cannot be disabled
Crane Weather Radio – Model CCRadio-2E CC2BE
Crane produces some very durable products, and the CC2BE model has most features you’d want for a tabletop weather radio.
First of all, it has a very clean AM reception thanks to its twin-coil antenna. It catches AM/FM frequencies, as well as NOAA bands.
It also has a 2-meter ham band included, for even better coverage. It weighs as low as 4 lbs. making it ideal for carrying around. The features it has to make it compatible with both indoor and outdoor use.
Moreover, it comes with a series of technicalities that can be proven very useful and convenient in both emergency situations and normal house use – clock, wake-up alarm, sleeps timer, a headphone jack to easily connect an external device and listen to AM/FM, a clean digital display and 5 memory presets to set the way you want them. The battery life is long and doesn’t require changing for long periods of time.
- AM/FM and NOAA frequencies covered
- 2-meter ham band included for better coverage
- Digital display
- Memory presets
- Clock and wake-up alarm
- Plenty of features to use
- Portable thanks to its small size
- Clean reception thanks to the antenna
- Buttons are sensitive to repetitive use
- Sound volume is quite low
Buying Considerations of Best NOAA Weather Radio
Living in areas that are meteorologically sensitive raises a series of issues that need to be handled with care to avoid unpleasant situations.
There’s one paramount factor that can save lives when taken into account: instant information. This is where NOAA weather radios step in.
These tiny devices can provide families with round-the-clock data regarding the state of the weather, which is highly unpredictable and requires taking swift decisions.
In this sense, purchasing NOAA weather radio should be done with a few aspects in mind, the most important of them is presented below.
Understand what you’re buying
Owning a weather radio in risk areas is a must to prevent a disaster. First of all, you need to understand what a weather radio does and that it cannot simply be replaced by a smartphone or other types of devices.
NOAA weather radios are built with a specific purpose in mind and they make use of a special technology that allows them to send the alerts in time.
The USA and Canada take great responsibility in broadcasting alerts, and the safest way to do it is through radio.
A mobile app cannot replicate this, as it wouldn’t be as fast or efficient. Plus, phones don’t have such a wide range in terms of signal, making it difficult to reach everyone regardless of their location.
This is why NOAA transmits these alerts on high-frequency radios. Technology advanced tremendously in the past years, hence weather radios now come with a multitude of helpful features that go hand in hand.
Choosing the best NOAA weather radio is directly related to the type you’re opting for. Some radios are only equipped with the basic functions and others are much more convenient through the plethora of options they bring to the table.
But what’s truly pivotal when choosing NOAA radio is its core design: band or alert. Band radios come with a limitation: they have to be tuned to one specific weather station, so they’re only suitable for an indoor set-up where location changes are not applicable.
People who opt for this type are regularly living in a safer zone when emergency warnings are not encountered as often.
The other type is based on an alert system, covering both AM and FM. The receiver gets all the broadcasts in the area and can be programmed for specific SAME codes.
These have many more benefits compared to band radios but keep in mind that you should purchase one that offers battery support. This way, in the eventuality of a power outage, you’d still get notified about any emergency happening in the area.
Another critical aspect, the power source, has to be selected according to your needs and plans.
If you’re going to use your radio indoors only, you can choose one that’s connected directly to the power socket, but make sure it has a backup (preferably battery).
For traveling purposes, the more power sources the radio has, the better – hand crank, solar panel, AA batteries, power bank included, etc.
Keep in mind that the backup power source is not meant to keep the radio running for prolonged timeframes, but rather for emergency situations only.
Before anything else, consider the volume of the alerts. Audibility is a must for a weather radio for obvious reasons – you need to hear the alarms loud and clearly.
Look for weather radios that generate sounds of around 90 dB for the alarms, as well as LED blinking. Some items come with a customizable system where you can choose different tones, volumes, or specific blinking for certain types of alerts – a very convenient feature for areas in which test alarms are sent out often.
Try reading as many reviews about the alarm system as to make the appropriate purchase.
SAME technology explained
SAME stands for Specific Area Message Encoding and refers to the official weather alerts coming from a state’s national weather service. Each geographical area comes with a specific SAME code.
NOAA stands for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and this is where the alerts come from and then further distributed through SAME codes.
Currently, there are around 700 NOAA stations in the USA and each country comes with its own SAME code.
Weather radios that use SAME technology are guaranteed to deliver the alerts accordingly. NOAA works closely with the national Emergency Alert System (EAS), putting in place a secure way to send alerts across the country.
There are products that can cover only one SAME code or multiple SAME codes at once, depending on your geographical location.
It’s best to opt for a weather radio that’s programmable in this sense so that you get the alerts from the appropriate station based on your location.
The NWS (National Weather Service) published an official list of SAME codes that you can use for programming your weather radio, thus staying safe regardless of your location throughout the country.
FAQ’s of Best Emergency Weather Radio
What is the best NOAA weather radio?
Deciding what’s the best NOAA weather radio can be tricky because people who buy it are doing it with a specific purpose in mind.
There are radios which act more like feature-packed SOS tools rather than simply announcing weather alarms, making them fit for people who travel a lot. On the other hand, there are radios which have a sole purpose: broadcasting emergency alarms.
The latter ones should be certified, based on the SAME technology and support as many NOAA channels as possible. The best NOAA weather radio is the one that fits your needs perfectly.
A good fit would be the Midland NOAA Weather Radio, model WR120B/WR120EZ – a straightforward product, highly appreciated in the market.
Can I travel while using NOAA weather radio?
Yes, you can definitely travel while using NOAA weather radio, as long as the device allows programming per country.
Some weather radios come with an on/off switch for a travel mode, a very convenient feature for those who engage in traveling very often, but these are exceptions.
Most NOAA weather radios have to be pre-set for a specific SAME country code. Other products won’t support country programming at all, so if traveling is part of your plan, pay great attention to what product you are purchasing.
Can I get NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts in my car?
Some automotive brands come equipped with weather radios designed to pick up emergency alerts, but you need to look for this feature specifically to make sure it’s an existent option in your car.
You also have the possibility of tweaking your existing car radio by adding the NOAA/SAME function to it, through specialized manufacturers.
Each station has its own frequency where these alerts are sent out, so check out the official GOV website to program your car radio. Of course, if you decide to purchase a programmable weather radio, you can carry it with you directly.
Are there special NOAA weather radios for the hearing impaired?
Yes, some NOAA weather radios are specifically designed for hearing impaired people. Instead of generating a loud sound, they usually vibrate or blink. Using visual and tactile functions make the alarms noticeable for those who are not sensitive to sound.
Not all-weather radios come equipped with such features, but it’s not impossible to find one that’s compatible with your needs.
You might want to consider placing the device in a visible, accessible place to take advantage of these features.
We hope this guide was helpful and helped with making an informed purchase.
There are many such products on the market, so the safest way to buy one that fits your needs is by reading plenty of reviews and buying guides. You can find more similar content on our website.