The Best Weather Radios Of 2018

So, you're heading on a family camping trip, a boating trip, or just planning to go on a hike in a remote area.

You might have the perfect packing list and all the right gear.

But how will you receive important weather and emergency alerts when you're on the go?

By investing in a portable weather radio.

Keep on reading to learn more about what you should look for in the best weather radio.

From understanding the features you can't live without to reviewing some of the best models of portable weather radio, we have the ultimate guide you need to stay safe.

What Does a Weather Radio Do?

Before we get into breaking down the best weather radio options for your needs, let's make sure you're clear on what they do.

First of all, there are two main types of weather radios. The first is called a standard radio, and it works for those looking to place their radio in a set location.

Maybe you need a radio in your kitchen, in your office, or even in a hospital. The standard models operate on AC power, which means that they're not suitable to be taken with you wherever you go.

If you need more flexibility -- like if you want to take a weather radio on a trip or hike?

Look for a portable weather radio.

These are smaller models that are usually run on batteries. They can slip inside your boat, can be taken from one construction site to the next, and work well on campgrounds.

So, what's the purpose of a weather radio -- whether standard or portable?

Basically, it helps to pick up emergency broadcasts and bad weather alerts/watches from other stations.

They can help you to be notified the moment something like a flood, an earthquake, or yes, even a terrorist attacks, takes place.

Who sends out these important alerts and messages?

Most often, it's the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or the NOAA for short.

If you'd prefer to get your news from a more localized station, you can simply switch to a local channel.

You can select a model that runs all of the time, or one that only switches on when an alert is being sent across the airwaves.

Now that you know a bit more about what a weather radio is, let's discuss the features you should look for.

The Best NOAA Weather Radio Features

While of course, the more specific features that you look for on a portable weather radio will depend on your unique needs, there are a few non-negotiable options.

It goes without saying that, especially if you're in the market for a portable model, a weatherproof option will likely serve you well. When you're camping in the middle of the woods, you don't want to have to worry about finding a cool and dry place for your radio.

The same goes if you're looking to place your radio on a fishing boat, or if you're on the go in a rain-heavy climate.

Plus, many people opt to install the radio in their showers -- so some serious waterproofing is a must in this case.

You should also look for a portable weather radio that comes with several different power/charging options. Yes, batteries are certainly helpful -- but what if they run out when you're in the middle of nowhere?

Especially if you're concerned about being trapped without a radio, we suggest picking up a hand crank option. The same goes if you're traveling or working within a city that often faces blackouts of sudden losses of power.

If this is the case, you may want to consider buying an emergency radio over a traditional weather radio.

You should also know what to look for when it comes to the standards of the alerts/messages you'll receive.

We highly suggest buying radios that have the National Weather Service's logo printed on them. This means you could look for radios that read "NWR All Hazards" or simply "Public Alerts."

Without one of these two logos, you may not end up getting all of the alerts that you need.

If you want to get localized alerts, search for models with the SAME (Specific Areas Message Encoding") logo.

If You Prioritize Reception and Battery Life

Maybe you're heading out on a long fishing trip with your family and friends. Maybe you plan to explore uncharted territory and spend the weekend getting lost in the mountains.

If so, you need a radio that's able to get reception almost anywhere. You also need one that has a battery life that can go the distance.

Enter the Crane CC Pocket portable radio.

First of all, it's rubberized shell makes it nearly impossible to crack. So, even if you accidentally drop it, chances are that it will still work perfectly.

It also has one of the longest battery lives out of any other portable weather radio on the market.

It's also excellent for those who need the noise of a radio to help them to fall asleep at night. It comes with a sleep timer, as well as a strong backlit display, so that you can always get the alerts you need at night.

Don't want to bother everyone else with the sound of the radio?

Don't worry.

This model also comes with awesome headphones that you can plug in while you listen.

We also love that it comes with a lock, so that, once you find the station of your dreams, you won't accidentally change it when you move the radio.

Finally, because it comes with an extra antenna, you'll get incredible range no matter where you are. This makes it an awesome fit for those headed to more remote locations.

If You Need Clear Speakers

Is there anything worse than an annoying, static-filled radio signal that makes it impossible to tell what's going on?

We don't think so.

Plus, we know that you don't just want to hear important safety alerts when you're on the go. You also want to be able to clearly enjoy some of your favorite radio stations.

The superior sound quality is just one of the many reasons why we love the Sangean CL-100 portable weather radio.

We love the fact that this model actually allows you to control both the bass and the treble of the radio. So, you'll get the perfect sound, every single time. It also boasts one of the biggest speakers of any portable radio.

So, no matter where you are, you'll be able to have an awesome dance party -- or just hear weather alerts from far away.

Need to get up early in the morning?

This is a great model to use if you need to be sure that your alarm will wake you up. You can set an alarm that will let you choose a specific station, or just let the sound of a siren wake you up.

We also love that the alert program is customizable on this model.

So, if the sound of a blaring siren is too much for you (or if it might scare younger children?) You can switch it to a much nicer voice alert, telling you exactly what's going on.

And when the alert message comes to an end?

The radio will either mute or turn itself off completely. This is essential when it comes to saving your battery life.

Be aware, however, that even a model as good as this one isn't perfect.

You aren't able to raise or lower the volume if you opt to get alerts within the voice mode.

If You Just Need the Basics

Are you heading out for a shorter trip, and only need the essentials when it comes to your weather radio?

One of the best NOAA weather radio options is also one of the least complicated models.

It's called the Midland WR-120EZ system -- but don't be fooled by its no-frills look.

It gives off incredibly clear local SAME alerts, as well as options from the NOAA. So, you'll be able to know exactly what's going on when it comes to both the local and the national level.

It's also ideal for those who might be on a little bit more of a budget than others. With this model, you don't have to pay a lot in order to get the features that you deserve.

It's an excellent model for those who'll likely be faced with limited visibility, or those who plan to travel at night. It comes with an especially bright blue display and clear block lettering. So, it's not only easy to read. It can also work perfectly as a makeshift flashlight in a bind.

You can also use this model as an alarm. Because it has especially loud alert volumes, you won't have to worry about accidentally sleeping through a warning for upcoming rough weather.

You'll even get weather alerts that come with a specific color code. So, even if you somehow do miss the original alert, you can just take a look at the bright display screen in order to find out exactly what's going on.

Be aware, however, that you'll get more alerts with this model than with some of the others. Depending on where you're headed, this might be annoying. You can't disable local alerts, so if you don't want to hear them all the time, you may want to choose another option.

If You Need to Charge Your Cellphone

Just because you're somewhere in the middle of the woods, doesn't mean that you don't get cell phone reception.

Are you looking for the best weather radio that also works to charge your cell phone?

If so, then we know that you'll love the Katio Four-Way Powered Emergency Weather Alert Radio.

At under $100, it's just as affordable as it is effective.

It's also perfect for those who are about to head out on longer trips, and need to be sure the radio won't lose power.

You can charge this radio by hand crank, batteries, solar power, or through a traditional adapter. All of these options will certainly help you to feel much less stressed out on the trail.

You can even plug your cell phone into this radio, and get a little bit of extra charge that you need to make a call.

This model also comes with a bright flashlight, in addition to a reading lamp. It even comes with a strap to make carrying it easier than ever.

It goes without saying that this model is also resistant to water damage -- so it's perfect for more rugged trips.

Despite all of these awesome features, this model is also lightweight. This means that you won't have to worry about lugging it around with you wherever you're headed to next.

For those who need it all, this one is a no-brainer!

Finding the Best Weather Radio for You

We hope that this post has taken some of the guesswork out of finding the best weather radio for your next trip.

Looking for more information about the best portable weather radio for you and your family? Need to read in-depth reviews of some of the most popular models on the market?

We've got you covered.

Be sure to keep on checking back with our website and blog for the latest information about any and all camping, radio, and GPS-related products.

Let our expertise help you to find exactly what you're looking for to stay safe and have fun.

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