A Hand Crank Emergency Radio should be a requirement in all camping gear and emergency kits for use during critical situations. The crank radio, or otherwise known as dynamo radio, is a device that will keep you informed and prepared for breaking news and weather updates during emergencies as well as staying your company at the beach or camping.
An emergency hand crank radio can offer you various means of communication, charge mobile devices, and other such options as LED flashlights, alarms, etc…
The operation of hand-crank radios can use battery backup, use a solar energy source, or crank its handle to charge. The dynamo or cranking mechanical process is considered the key feature as it charges quickly and independent of any power supplies.
Our Top Pick:
FosPower 4000mAh Emergency Solar Hand Crank Portable Radio, NOAA Weather, Power Bank USB Charger for Household/Outdoor Emergency with AM/FM, LED Flashlight & SOS Alarm [2020 Upgraded Version]
Eton Hand Turbine AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio with USB Smartphone Charger and LED Flashlight
Weather Radio Raynic 5000mAh Solar Hand Crank Emergency NOAA Weather Alert Portable Radio 5 Ways Powered AM/FM/SW/ with Flashlight, Reading Lamp, Cellphone Charger and SOS Alarm (Yellow)
Kaito KA500 5-way Wind Up Emergency AM/FM/SW & NOAA Weather Alert Radio, Powered Solar Power, Dynamo Crank with Flashlight
Sangean MMR-88 AM/FM & Weather Plus Alert Emergency Radio with Solar/Hand Crank/USB/Flashlight, Siren, Smartphone Charger
Emergency Crank Radio, Esky 4000mAh Solar Hand Crank Portable AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio
American Red Cross Emergency NOAA Weather Radio along with USB Smartphone Charger, LED Flashlight
Midland ER310 Emergency Crank Weather AM/FM Radio with NOAA Weather Scan plus Alert, Multiple Power Sources, SOS Emergency Flashlight, Ultrasonic Dog Whistle
C. Crane CC Solar Observer Wind Up Solar Emergency Crank Radio with AM, FM & NOAA Weather, Built-in LED Flashlight
Hand Crank Radio Buying Tips
There are many brands of hand crank radios out on the market, and in order to make an informed decision, you must take a look at the options and manufacturer. All crank radios are not made equal.
The first thing you need to do is decide on what you want to do with the crank radio. If you’re going to simply listen to the radio on the beach without having to worry about batteries, then the Eton FR150 is the right choice for you as it’s compact and has minimal options, thus minimum price. If you’re looking for a hand-crank radio for your Emergency Preparedness Kit, then you will want other options such as flashlight, NOAA All-Weather, AM/FM/SW/LW; basically all the bells and whistles you can afford.
Once you have an idea of Options and Budget, you are good to go. It’s essential to look at name brands as in the Hand Crank Radio market you do get what you pay for. You can probably save a few bucks on a cheap imitation brand that uses cheap rechargeable battery packs, cheap and pretty much useless solar panel, cheap antenna, etc… you get the point. Again if this is just for beach use, then maybe cheap is the way to go, but if you want something for an emergency I don’t think saving a buck is the way to go
Here is a list of features most modern radios can have and how important they are in case of an emergency. Please review these options and do a real apple to apple comparison when making for final selection. Please take advantage of our customer reviews with our listed products as these are real-world experiences, not corporate propaganda.
NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information. Broadcasts include official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Digital Tuners allow you to locate various AM/FM and short wave radio stations with greater precision and much faster than older analog tuners. Often you can also save a certain number of preset stations.
Multiple Power Sources
While the hand crank is the most reliable power source, many hand-crank radios can also use battery power, and some can be powered via solar power. Power source redundancy is good, but the crank provides the highest reliability.
Cell Phone Charger
Being able to charge your cell phone from your hand crank radio can be a huge advantage. You may be able to contact family and friends when electric power is out or when you are not near a vehicle.
Some hand-crank radios can charge USB devices. You can charge media players, cameras, etc. These items may be useful during emergencies. They may also provide a degree of recreation.
You should have one or more flashlights stored for an emergency. But if you don’t or if your batteries die, etc., having a flashlight built into your hand crank radio can be a handy thing.
Radios that support Specific Area Message Encoding allow you to receive weather alerts for your specific geographic location.
In an emergency, you can alert others and signal for help by triggering a loud siren alert that is built into some hand-crank radios.
Short wave capable
Short wave capability gives you the option of listening to information from different countries. In a major multi-country disaster, this could be quite useful.
In emergency situations where there is no electricity, having a hand-crank radio with a backlight can be a huge help. It may be too dark to discern what stations are being tuned in without direct light on the radio. A backlight built into the radio removes the need for this external viewing light.
Some hand-crank radios can use GMRS (General Mobile Radio System) and/or FRS (Family Radio System) channels to broadcast to other GMRS/FRS radios. This can be useful for keeping in contact with family members or friends in or near your home in the event of an emergency.
We hope this comprehensive list helps you make the best selection for your hand-crank radio.
How Do Crank Radios Work?
The Hand crank radios operate the same as any standard radio. The difference is that while a standard radio will use batteries and an AC wall outlet for power, the hand crank radio uses a dynamo generator to generate its power and then stores this self-generated power into a small bank of rechargeable Lithium batteries.
The hand crank generator works like an electric motor in reverse. The generator, which was invented by Michael Faraday (physicist), generates electricity by transforming kinetic energy provided by you and converting it to AC electrical current. This is possibly bypassing a conductive wire through a magnetic field. The magnetic field is created when you spin a coil of wire, usually copper, around a magnet. This creates an electrical current that is transferred to the fence and used to power the radio and components.
Hand-crank radios have multiple sources of electricity:
- Hand Crank Generator
- Wall Electrical Outlet
- Lithium Rechargeable Battery Pack (for storing electricity from the generator)
- Solar Cell Panel (for Lithium battery pack trickle charge)
Here are the most common components of a Hand Crank Radio:
- Crank Motor: This is the power plant of the machine. The crank mechanism works with a magnet and coiled wires to generate electricity.
- Rechargeable Battery Pack: Stores the electricity generated by the crank motor.
- Capacitor: This device has two conductive plates separated by an insulator. Electrical charges are stored in each plate.
- Integrated Circuit or Microcircuit: The integrated circuit is an electronic chip in the circuit board that consists of many interconnected transistors.
- Circuit Board: Printed circuit boards that connect the electronic components of the radio without wires.
- Transistor: Used mainly as an amplifier. It also controls and generates electrical signals.
- Antenna Connection: Collects radio waves from the air and basically acts as the radios ears.
- Speaker: Turns electrical signals from waves to vibrations to sounds the human ear can hear.
Why should buy Hand Crank Radios?
Radios have been the staple of Home Emergency Kits since they were invented and the primary means of communication. Although we now live in the age of multimedia and mega communications, a good Emergency Radio will allow you to be informed of news, weather information, and alerts at a minimum.
With global events changing the world climate nearly every minute, shortwave has become a necessity in the home, office, and while traveling. Take comfort that you can listen to live broadcasts from around the world, direct from the source. Shortwave provides instant access to international news. Affordable prices and varied models of crank radios allow you to keep one in your home, 72-hour emergency kit, and even keep one in your car!
Most new Emergency Radios great options like a built-in flashlight with emergency strobe, audible alert, AC and backup rechargeable lithium batteries, solar and dynamo crank for battery charging, and even built-in chargers for keeping your cell phone or other small appliance charged. Newer models now include 2-way VOX (Voice Operated Transmission) and enables you to talk directly with any other 2-way radio or General Mobile Radio tuned to the same channels.
Crank phones are not just for emergencies, either. You don’t need one with all the bells and whistles as your perfect companion for a beach day or camping trip. Let the sun trickle charge your radio via built-in solar panels while you tan and/or sit by the bonfire while camping and best of all? NEVER NEED BATTERIES AGAIN!
For an average of about $80, depending on the options, a hand crank solar radio is a great personal gift and an essential part of your emergency kit.