Last Updated: Sep 4, 2020 @ 2:02 pm.

What's the best weather radio? We tested 11 weather radios to find the most reliable radios to keep your family safe—at a price that doesn't break the budget. Yes, some weather radios cost big bucks with bells and whistles you don't need . . . but there is good news: these options were both affordable, reliable and easy to use. Here are our top picks.

FYI: We rate and review safety gear for families—and we've been doing it since 1994! We don't take money or freebies from the brands we review. We are 100% reader-supported. Thanks for your support.


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Best Pocket-Sized Radio

Excellent reception in remote areas
We loved this affordable portable weather radio—its simple analog dial is easy to use and reliable. Runs on AA batteries. Lightweight.
$29.97

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Best Pocket-Sized Weather Radio: Vandior NOAA Weather Radio

Sometimes simple is best—this little weather radio weighs under 6 ounces and fits in a pocket. But it works extremely well, pulling in weather radio transmitters even in remote areas. One caveat: this radio does not have an alert function, where it turns on when the weather service sends out a warning. Hence, this radio is best for travel, camping or other outdoor activities. For weather radios with an alert function, see the picks later in this article.

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Best Solar-Powered Radio

Solar powered, crank or USB
Excellent for back country use, this emergency radio includes a flashlight plus AM/FM and weather radio bands. Super lightweight.
$19.90

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Best Solar-Powered Weather Radio:  iRonsnow Solar Emergency NOAA Weather Radio

For outdoor adventures where you’ll be far from an electrical outlet, we’d recommend this weather radio: iRonsnow’s Solar weather radio. It can be charged via a hand crank, USB cord or solar cells.

 

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Best Bedside Weather Radio

Has battery backup
Loved the weather alert mode! This digital radio pulls in weather radio transmitters even in remote areas. Weighs just 2.4 ounces.
$22.00

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Best Bedside Weather Radio: Midland WR120

Midland is the Cadillac brand when it comes to weather radios and this model is our choice for the best bedside weather radio. When a storm hits over night, you need a weather radio that will sound an alarm. And this model has a doozy of a siren—at 9o decibels, it will wake the dead. And that is the point: you don’t want to sleep through a tornado warning.

Some folks don’t like this, saying the siren is too loud and isn’t adjustable. We understand that frustration, but it’s that loud for a reason.

This radio has S.A.M.E. technology—in a nutshell, you can program the radio to only go off for the county you live in. It can store 25 locations, so you could take it on a road trip and get warnings as well.

Three AA batteries provide backup in case of a power failure. It has about 5 hours of use or 75 hours of standby power for alerts, although this can vary depending on the batteries used. As such, this probably isn’t the best choice for outdoor activities like camping where you may be away from a power source for more than a day.

In our testing, this radio provided the best warning for overnight storms.

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Best Budget-Friendly Radio

Works on AAA batteries
Loved the weather alert mode! This digital radio pulls in weather radio transmitters even in remote areas. Weighs just 2.4 ounces.
$10.97

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Best Budget-Friendly Weather Radio: Digital Weather Radio

If you prefer digital to analog, this weather radio is our top pick. One key feature: a weather alert mode that works for 50+ hours on the AAA batteries. This is a great portable weather radio for the outdoors or as part of an emergency kit.

What is weather radio?

NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office. NWR broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Working with the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Emergency Alert System , NWR is an “All Hazards” radio network, making it your single source for comprehensive weather and emergency information. In conjunction with Federal, State, and Local Emergency Managers and other public officials, NWR also broadcasts warning and post-event information for all types of hazards – including natural (such as earthquakes or avalanches), environmental (such as chemical releases or oil spills), and public safety (such as AMBER alerts or 911 Telephone outages).

Known as the “Voice of NOAA’s National Weather Service,” NWR is provided as a public service by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), part of the Department of Commerce. NWR includes more than 1000  transmitters, covering all 50 states, adjacent coastal waters, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Pacific Territories. NWR requires a special radio receiver or scanner capable of picking up the signal. Broadcasts are found in the VHF public service band at these seven frequencies (MHz):

162.400
162.425
162.450
162.475
162.500
162.525
162.55

 

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing safety gear for families since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward safety, ease of use and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Baby Bargains is your independent and unbiased source for expert baby gear reviews.

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