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What is a solar radio?
When was it first used?
Where does a radio like this come in handy?
Solar radios are any type of radio that charges an internal solar cell battery via solar energy. The radio then uses that battery to power its functions.
General Electric first created the solar radio in the 1950s. A few years later, the first public solar radios were sold in New Jersey.
Today, these radios are most commonly used for weather alerts. People who live in areas that are prone to hurricanes, fires, floods, earthquakes, or tornadoes use them to stay abreast of changes in the weather or natural disasters coming their way.
These radios also work nicely as a backup source of information or entertainment while camping or hiking. As long as you are somewhere with access to sunlight, you can charge and use a solar radio whichever way is best for you.
In this article, we’ll show you seven of our favorite portable solar radios. These radios all offer a few other features as well, so take your time looking through them to find the one that works best for you.
Check out our top solar radio picks on the list below.
RunningSnail Emergency Solar Weather Radio
The RunningSnail Emergency Solar Weather Radio features three different ways to charge: a hand crank, a solar battery, and a micro-USB charging port. This radio also includes a charging option for a smartphone.
- The radio features AM/FM and NOAA capabilities to keep you in touch with any emergency news you need.
- This radio also comes with a built-in LED flashlight.
- It takes a lot of time in the sun to charge this radio.
- The radio is much smaller than some of the others on this list.
Emergency Weather Solar Hand Crank Portable Radio
Choose the Emergency Weather Solar Hand Crank Portable Radio for convenient emergency and radio needs on the go. This radio includes AM/FM as well as NOAA options and a built-in SOS alarm.
- The radio features a bright flashlight on the front of the device.
- This offer charges via solar power as well as a rechargeable battery, three AAA batteries, or a hand crank.
- Some customers have trouble getting a good sound quality on this small radio.
- AM may not work at all on some devices.
Eton Multipowered Portable Emergency Weather Radio
Prepare for hiking, camping, or emergency weather situations with the Eton Multipowered Portable Emergency Weather Radio. This radio comes with a digital tuner to make it easier to find the right station. This choice also works as a smartphone charger in addition to providing radio functions.
- The radio picks up AM/FM stations as well as NOAA weather alerts.
- The radio comes with a durable carabiner attachment to make it easier to hang it in direct sunlight for charging.
- The flashlight component may quit working sooner than the rest of this option.
- The buttons may be difficult to push even after extended use.
FosPower Emergency Solar Hand Crank Portable Radio
Use the FosPower Emergency Solar Hand Crank Portable Radio for emergency alerts, radio stations, and phone charging. This device has it all and even includes a flashlight on the front. If the solar panel and hand crank aren’t enough power, you can also use it with three AAA batteries.
- This option even includes a built-in reading light separate from the flashlight function.
- The radio picks up NOAA alerts easily and dials into AM/FM stations with no trouble.
- The radio has no headphone jack for private listening.
- The smartphone charger doesn’t offer as much charging capacity as some other similar products on the market.
Sangean MMR-88 Emergency Radio
Choose the Sangean MMR-88 Emergency Radio for a durable little solar weather radio that is built to last. This radio picks up AM/FM and NOAA weather frequencies and comes with a clock function that can be turned on and off as needed to preserve the life of the battery charge.
- This radio charges three ways: solar energy, micro-USB charging, and hand cranking.
- The built-in LED flashlight comes with multiple settings, including high, low, blinking, and an SOS blinking function.
- When the weather alert function is on, the radio cannot be used for AM/FM.
- The crank handle may break more easily than anything else on this device.
Midland Emergency Weather AM/FM Radio
The Midland Emergency Weather AM/FM Radio includes a rechargeable battery as well as solar charging and hand cranking functions. This radio features a large, bright LED flashlight on the front and NOAA weather capabilities along with traditional AM/FM functions.
- This radio can be used as a charger for smart devices using the included micro-USB cable.
- The radio comes with a dog whistle built into the design to make it easier to help with search and rescue.
- AM reception may be worse than FM or NOAA weather reception with this radio.
- The solar charging function may take a long time to power up.
C. Crane Solar Observer Emergency Radio
Pay attention to weather alerts or just listen to the radio while camping with the C. Crane Solar Observer Emergency Radio. This little device includes four different ways to provide power and makes it easy to charge via solar energy. This offer features a sturdy built-in handle for quick and easy carrying.
- The radio features a built-in battery charger for smart phones.
- This radio is built with a sturdy construction and designed to hold up well to a lot of use.
- The solar charging function takes a long time and may not offer as much power as the hand crank function.
- The battery cannot charge on a car’s dashboard although many other, similar products offer this ability.
Did you find the best solar radio for your needs? Many of these offers offer similar features, but they aren’t all quite the same. When shopping for your emergency or camping gear, what are some features to look for in a solar radio? Here are a few to keep in mind:
- Pick a radio that offers multiple types of charging. This way, if the solar charger fails, you can go another route.
- Choose a radio that is small enough to fit into a backpack if necessary. This is ideal for hiking or camping and is also necessary for quick emergency evacuations.
- Go with a radio that picks up weather alerts easily. Prioritize weather alerts over other types of radio uses when buying this offer for emergency purposes.
Is it really better to choose one with extra features, or should you pick one with simple features? It’s usually better to pick a radio that includes extra ways to charge but doesn’t come with a lot of bells and whistles. This way, you won’t run out the battery life quickly by using it to charge your phone or display a clock.
However, it can be convenient to have a flashlight, radio, clock, and phone charge in one device. The right choice is up to you, but consider all the options before picking the best solar radio for your emergency and camping needs.
Last update on 2022-07-10 at 12:38 Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.