Best Emergency Radio/Flashlight for Your Earthquake Kit

Best Emergency Radio/Flashlight

Hopefully you’ll never need to rely on one, but having an emergency radio and flashlight in your earthquake kit is essential. The best emergency radio for your earthquake kit is one that is reliable and has multiple functions that allow you to save space in your earthquake kit.

The emergency radio is used so you can hear communication from the outside world. It’ll let you be aware of and get ready for anything happening in your area for any disaster, not just earthquakes. The primary purpose is to keep you connected and informed with authorities to let you know whether it’s safe to come out or whether strong aftershocks are still coming. It’s also important to keep you aware of road closures and emergency supply areas.

Features of a Good Emergency Radio

  • AM/FM – Most radios come with both AM and FM receiver. While FM can be used to tune into local stations, if there is a huge disaster you may not be able to tune in so the AM will be more reliable as it has a longer range
  • Multiple Power Sources – You don’t want to rely solely on batteries as they will run out. Having a hand crank powered radio ensures that you will never run out of power. If it has solar power or an external source of power like an AC adapter then you have more options in the event one source fails. The more options to power your radio, the better.
  • Flashlight – since a flashlight is one of the necessities in an earthquake kit, if there is one built into the radio then there’s one less bulky item to take up space in your kit.
  • Charging ports – In this day an age, almost everyone has a cellphone. Cellphones are an important lifeline as you can make calls with it, use apps, and surf the web for information but it’s only useful if it’s charged. A dead cellphone is useless. Get an emergency radio with USB Charging ports to charge your cellphone and other electrical devices.

Best Emergency Radio

Now we know what features we should be looking at when choosing the best emergency radio. Here are a few of my recommendations that have ALL of the features discussed.

Kaito KA500 5-way Powered Emergency Radio


This is made by Kaito and they’ve been around for 20 years and includes a lot of great features. The USB port allows charging of electronics such as your cellphone. This amazing radio has 5 ways to power it. YES, FIVE different ways so you’ll always have a way to keep it powered even if one way fails.

Power Source

  1. Dynamo Cranking Power – 120 turns per minute of cranking will power the built in battery pack
  2. Solar Power Panel – The solar power panel on top will charge the radio under direct sunlight. The panel is tiltable and can be adjusted.
  3. Standard Batteries – 3 standard AA batteries can be used. Remember to store a bunch of extra batteries just in case
  4. Built-in Rechargeable battery pack
  5. USB Charging – You can charge it from your computer/laptop USB or get one of these USB to Wall Charger Plugs to use your wall outlets
  6. BONUS! Yes, there are actually SIX different ways to charge this radio! But this option does not come with the radio and you’ll have to buy it separately. You can buy an AC Adapter that will allow you to plug it directly to your wall outlet.

Lighting

This radio has 3 different types of lights. A 5 LED reading lamp that can be used to brighten up the area, a white LED flashlight useful for moving around at night, and a red LED blinking light for emergency alert.

Kaito KA500 BackKaito KA500 Front

Radio Reception

Various frequencies are detected from this radio which ensures that you’ll get some form of communication from the outside world.

  • AM: 520 – 1710 KHz
  • FM: 87.00 – 108.00 MHz
  • SW (Short Wave) 1: 3.20 – 9.00 MHz
  • SW (Short Wave) 2: 9.00 – 22.00 MHz
  • NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather frequencies
  • Weather Alert: To be activated by weather alert signals

Other Information

  • Dimensions: 10.5 x 5.8 x 3.2 inches
  • Weight: 1.8 pounds

Review

This heavy duty radio has all the features of a good emergency radio. Because of it’s multiple ways of charging, you’ll always have a way of keeping it charged. Because the radio dials are analog, there’s less chance of it failing due to an electrical issue. The ability to detect short waves is an added benefit as shortwave radio frequency energy is capable of reaching any location on the Earth. The powerful reading lamp and LED flashlight provides great coverage that will be useful in any disaster.

 

American Red Cross FRX3 Radio

This slick looking beauty won the 2012 GOOD DESIGN Award. It has a digital display and has standard AM/FM radio capability along with Weather Alert. It also comes with an alarm clock,  a glow-in-the-dark locator, and a headphone output. The USB charging port allows you to charge your cellphone and other electrical devices.

Power Source

  • Hand Crank – one minute of cranking will produce enough energy for 15-20 minutes of power
  • Solar Panel
  • Built-in Rechargeable battery
  • AAA Batteries
  • USB Charging

Lighting

The FRX3 comes with a bright LED flashlight and a red flashing beacon that can be used for emergencies. The solar panel contains a glow-in-the dark locator around the rim to make it easy to locate in the dark.

American Red Cross FRX3

Radio Reception

  • AM: 520 – 1710 KHz
  • FM: 87.00 – 108.00 MHz
  • NOAA weather frequencies
  • Weather band alert

Other Information

  • Dimensions: 6.9 x 5.8 x 2.6 inches
  • Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • AUX input to play MP3 player

Review

This compact radio is perfect for emergencies. It has all of the recommended features and the size makes it easy to carry and store. You can keep one at home, the office, and in the car. The glow-in-the-dark feature is great in the case where an earthquake occurs at night and the power is out and you need to locate it. Although this is primarily meant as an emergency device, the stylish design makes it a good radio to bring to the beach or camping trips as well. You can listen to some tunes around the campfire, use the flashlight, and charge your cellphones.

 

iRonsnow IS-088+ Radio

If you want an ultra-compact emergency radio, this one’s for you. It’s so compact you can bring it anywhere and with it weighing only half a pound, you can store it anywhere as well. This also has all the features of a good emergency radio like the other two discussed above and won’t take much space in your emergency kit. It also has ports for charging your cellphone.

Power Source

  • Hand Crank
  • Solar Panel
  • AAA Batteries
  • USB Charging

Lighting

3 LED Flashlight

Radio Reception

  • AM: 520 – 1710 KHz
  • FM: 87.00 – 108.00 MHz
  • NOAA weather frequencies
  • Weather band alert

iRonsnow IS-088

Other Information

  • Dimensions: 5 x 2.4 x 1.6 inches
  • Weight: 0.5 pounds
  • Wrist lanyard

Review

This is a great emergency radio. Nice and compact and light-weight. Because it’s so small and light-weight you can literally take this anywhere (camping, fishing, star-gazing, hiking, traveling, etc). It may not have all the features as the other two and it might not be as durable but it does the job.

 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully I’ve given you some really good options when it comes to emergency radios. They are an essential item in your earthquake kit and can be used for a variety of activities, not just for disasters. The multi-functional capability of these radios allows you to do a lot more with only one item. This is great because you won’t have much room in your earthquake kit so you’ll only want to put what is necessary. They provide communication from the outside world and would be a valuable resource if you are ever in a disaster.

If you don’t have an earthquake kit yet, I suggest you get one. Preparedness is the best way to protect yourself from an earthquake. Protect yourself and your loved ones by preparing an earthquake kit just in case.

Click HERE to learn What You Should Have in an Earthquake Kit

Here my review on the Best Earthquake Kits

 

8 Comments

  1. Sue

    I do not live in an earthquake zone, but I do live in a tornado zone so I sitll need a good emergency radio. I have a small one now that has a handcrank and batteries but really offers nothing else. Thanks to your article I can see I need to upgrade to a better one.

    I think you may have sold me on the Kaito 500 as it seem to offer the most! Thanks for the great information and reviews!

    Reply
    1. Andy (Post author)

      No problem Sue! It’s great that these radios have multi-functionality. You won’t need as many separate items because this already has most of them built in!
      Yeah, the Kaito 500 seems like the best one out of the three but they are all very good emergency radios.

      Reply
  2. Miller

    Andy, this is a great site. I lived in S. California for most of my life and I know how earthquakes can be incredibly frightening.

    I also lived in San Francisco just after Loma Prieta for a little while, too. I now live in S. Florida, where we’ve swapped hurricanes for earthquakes. This site gives great information, resource tools and practical advice. And, it is a great niche.

    I know you are in Vancouver, but you have the same issues faced by anyone on the West Coast.

    By the way, hurricanes are easier because you know there are coming, but they happen a lot more often. I’ll take S. California any day!

    Reply
    1. Andy (Post author)

      Thanks for your comment. Yeah, disasters are everywhere you can’t really get away from them, you just swap one for the other like you said. We haven’t had any major earthquakes here in Vancouver yet but we are close to the Cascadia Subduction zone which has the potential to make some serious damage, AKA “The Big One”. It’s predicted by scientists that we are long over due but unfortunately they aren’t able to predict when. So the best thing we can do now is to get prepared, know what to do during an earthquake, and get an earthquake kit because you never know when it will hit.

      Reply
  3. Roy

    I like the Red Cross FRX3 radio, I like the design and all the possibilities it offers, how much does that one cost,and is it possible to get it shipped to Norway. This radio is perfect not only if any emergency should occur, it looks very easily to handle and can be used anywhere.
    However the FM band will be closed in 2017 in Norway, but I guess the AM band can be used anyway.
    Thank you for your radio reviews, I learned a lot about these type of radios.

    Reply
    1. Andy (Post author)

      Hi Roy, thanks for your comment. Yeah I like how stylish the Red Cross FRX3 radio is. You can use it for everyday life, not just for emergencies. It retails for $79.99 but currently is on sale for $39.01 (51% Savings) and I checked and they do ship to Norway however you have check how much shipping is to your country.

      Reply
  4. Retha

    These are absolutely wonderful radios! I have a disaster radio that is only for emergencies, but these are for more than just disasters which makes them a preferred item. I especially like the American Red Cross radio because of the small, sleek design along with the solar power. Solar power has become one of the most convenient and most preferred power sources out there, and I think that is is a welcomed addition to any device. Since this is such an important item that a lot pf people will most likely end up buying, how much does this little dandy cost? If the price is reasonable, I definitely will love to have one! Great site!

    Reply
    1. Andy (Post author)

      Hi Retha! I love the Red Cross FRX3 radio as well. I don’t post prices in my post because the retailer may change them at anytime. I checked and they retail for $79.99 but currently is on sale for $39.01 (51% Savings). You can click on the title link or image for more details. I think they are a really good deal for what you’re getting because of all the amazing features it has and because of its slick design you can use it for family outings, camping, picnics, to the beach, etc, not just for emergencies.

      Reply

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