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10 Best Hand Crank Generators: Top Picks for 2023. Solar and crank charger

10 Best Hand Crank Generators: Top Picks for 2023. Solar and crank charger

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    Best Hand Crank Generators: Top Picks for 2023

    Hand crank generators offer a reliable and eco-friendly solution to power your devices during emergencies or outdoor adventures. These portable devices convert mechanical energy into electrical energy, providing easy access to power. As technology advances, hand crank generators become more efficient, lightweight, and versatile, making them a crucial addition to any camping gear or emergency preparedness kit.

    When looking for the best hand crank generator, it’s crucial to consider factors such as power, output voltage, portability, durability, and additional features. The generator should have a high enough output to charge devices such as smartphones, radios, and flashlights. Also, its size and weight should be suitable for the intended use, whether you plan to take it camping or store it in a car or at home for emergencies.

    best, hand, crank, generators, picks

    High-quality materials and sturdy construction increase the lifespan and reliability of the device. Besides, some generators may also include additional features like built-in flashlights or solar charging capabilities, providing even greater versatility. Selecting the right-hand crank generator is a balance between these different factors, and finding the ideal one can be challenging. But, the reward of having easy access to power when you need it the most is well worth the effort.

    A well-chosen hand crank generator can make all the difference when faced with unforeseen circumstances or in remote locations. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to help you choose the best hand-crank generator to meet your needs and preferences. The following sections will delve deeper into the crucial features of hand crank generators, comparing and contrasting some of the top models on the market. When you finish reading this guide, you’ll have the knowledge and confidence to decide and choose a hand crank generator that will serve you for years.

    Best Hand Crank Generators

    Discover our carefully curated selection of top hand crank generators, showcasing their pros and cons to help you decide on your energy needs.

    RunningSnail Emergency Crank Weather Radio

    We highly recommend the RunningSnail Emergency Crank Weather Radio for its powerful features and reliable emergency performance.

    • 4000mAh rechargeable battery
    • Multifunctional: radio, flashlight, and motion sensor reading lamp
    • Four charging methods: USB, solar, hand-crank, and battery
    • Some users reported solar panel issues
    • Radio reception may vary based on the location
    • The price may be higher than other emergency radios

    The RunningSnail Emergency Crank Weather Radio provides confidence and peace of mind when faced with unforeseen circumstances. It’s evident that RunningSnail listened to customer feedback and upgraded its design. With its high-capacity 4000mAh battery, this unit can charge more than one smartphone, making it a crucial tool during an emergency.

    On top of that, the radio boasts impressive features such as access to 7 NOAA stations, ensuring that you stay informed in the face of extreme weather conditions. Besides, including a super-bright 3-mode flashlight and motion sensor reading lamp make it a versatile tool that can be used in a range of situations.

    The four different charging methods give you added security, so you never run out of power. But, some users have identified issues with the solar panel’s charging capabilities. Finally, although the price of the RunningSnail Emergency Crank Weather Radio might be higher than other options, its rich feature set and reliability make it a worthy investment for emergency preparedness.

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    Eoxsmile Emergency Radio with NOAA Weather Alert

    The Eoxsmile Emergency Radio is a reliable and versatile tool for those seeking to stay prepared and informed during emergencies and outdoor adventures.

    • NOAA Weather Alert ensures timely weather warnings
    • Multiple power sources for longer runtime
    • Additional features, such as S.O.S. Alarm and flashlight
    • Tuning AM/FM stations can be difficult
    • Alert tone may be too loud for some users
    • Color options may not cater to everyone

    The Eoxsmile Emergency Radio is designed with safety and preparedness in mind, making it a great addition to your emergency kit. The built-in NOAA Weather Alert system provides crucial warnings for severe weather events, ensuring you are well-informed during natural disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes, and wildfires.

    One of the strengths of this radio is its multiple power sources, including solar, hand crank, USB, and battery options. This ensures a long runtime and reassures you that you can access crucial information even when the power goes out. Its versatility is also demonstrated by additional features such as an L.E.D. flashlight, reading lamp, and S.O.S. alarm, making it ideal for outdoor activities and emergencies.

    While the Eoxsmile Emergency Radio offers numerous benefits, it has some drawbacks. Tuning into AM/FM stations can be challenging, and the loud alert tone may bother some users. Additionally, the limited color options may not cater to everyone’s preferences. Despite these disadvantages, the Eoxsmile Emergency Radio remains a valuable tool for those who need a dependable, multifunctional device in times of crisis or outdoor adventures.

    Esky Emergency Hand Crank Radio with 3 L.E.D. Flashlight

    The Esky Emergency Hand Crank Radio is a versatile and reliable choice for those needing a weather radio with multiple charging options and additional features.

    • Three charging methods: USB, solar, and hand crank
    • 2000mAh power bank for charging small devices
    • Built-in bright 3 L.E.D. flashlight
    • Not the most compact design
    • Some users may find the sound quality tinny
    • Requires frequent cranking to maintain power

    The Esky Emergency Hand Crank Radio provides peace of mind during severe weather or emergencies. Its unique three charging methods ensure that you’ll never be without power. The USB port, solar panel, and hand crank allow for easy and convenient charging, even when access to electricity is limited. This portable weather radio also features a 2000mAh power bank, letting you charge your phone or other small electronics when running low on battery.

    With its built-in 3 L.E.D. flashlight, the Esky Emergency Hand Crank Radio is valuable during power outages and other dark situations. This powerful 140-lumen light helps to increase visibility in your surroundings, keeping you safe and informed. Besides, the radio’s rugged design is durable and water-resistant, making it suitable for several environments and conditions.

    While the Esky Emergency Hand Crank Radio does provide many useful features, there are some drawbacks to consider. The radio isn’t the most compact option on the market, and some users may find the sound quality a bit tinny. Additionally, frequent cranking may be necessary to maintain power. But this emergency radio is a reliable and practical choice for those seeking a versatile weather radio with additional features.

    Mesqool 5000 Weather Radio

    The Mesqool 5000 Weather Radio is a crucial emergency tool that offers versatility and reliability for various situations.

    • Multiple power sources, including a 5000mAh rechargeable battery
    • NOAA weather alerts and AM/FM/Shortwave radio reception
    • Built-in flashlight, reading lamp, and cellphone charger
    • Plastic construction may feel cheap
    • A.C. adapter not included for charging
    • Limited shortwave frequency coverage

    Due to its multi-functionality, the Mesqool 5000 Weather Radio is a valuable addition to any emergency preparedness kit or outdoor adventure. The radio has AM/FM/Shortwave channels and seven pre-configured NOAA weather alert stations, ensuring you stay informed about weather conditions and potential emergencies.

    The radio’s 5000mAh replaceable and rechargeable Li-ion battery can power phones in case of a power outage. There are five different power source options to keep the radio charged, including a solar panel and hand crank, ensuring you won’t be left without power when you need it most. Along with its radio capabilities and smartphone charger, this device also features a flashlight, an L.E.D. reading lamp, and an emergency cellphone charger.

    Although the Mesqool 5000 Weather Radio includes many valuable features, some drawbacks must be considered. The plastic construction may make the device feel cheaper than other options on the market, and an A.C. adapter for charging is not included. But its robust features, reliable performance, and versatile power options make it a valuable addition to your emergency preparedness plan or outdoor activities.

    Raynic Weather Radio 5000 Solar Hand Crank Emergency Radio

    We recommend the Raynic Weather Radio 5000 for its multiple power sources, NOAA alert feature, and portability, making it a reliable choice for emergencies and outdoor adventures.

    • 5-Way power sources for increased reliability
    • Noise alerts for life-threatening weather events
    • Compact and lightweight for easy portability
    • Requires manual tuning for NOAA alerts
    • Headphone jack necessary for private listening
    • Water-resistant, not waterproof

    The Raynic Weather Radio 5000 is a versatile and crucial tool for emergencies and outdoor travel. The five power source options, including solar and hand crank, ensure the radio remains functional even during prolonged power outages.

    Equipped with an NOAA alert radio feature, this device is crucial for receiving warnings during severe weather events like hurricanes and tornadoes. But, it requires manual tuning to a local weather station to receive these alerts.

    Aside from its emergency use, the compact and lightweight design of the Raynic Weather Radio 5000 makes it a perfect companion for hiking and trekking trips. The included compass, S.O.S. alarm function, flashlight, and reading lamp provide additional utilities for adventurers. Remember that this radio is water-resistant, not entirely waterproof, so caution is needed in wet conditions.

    Kaito KA500 5-way Powered Emergency Radio

    The Kaito KA500 is a reliable and versatile emergency radio, perfect for those looking to stay informed and prepared during unexpected situations.

    • Multiple power sources for versatile charging options
    • Comprehensive radio coverage, including NOAA weather channels
    • Built-in flashlight, reading lamp, and S.O.S. beacon for added functionality
    • NOAA weather channels and PEAS are available for the U.S.A. and Canada only
    • Wall power adapter sold separately
    • Small and fiddly selector switch for on/off options

    The Kaito KA500 5-way Powered Emergency Radio offers various charging methods, ensuring you always have power when needed. This radio is prepared for any situation by utilizing a hand crank generator, solar panel, compartment for 3 A.A. batteries, USB input, and wall power adapter.

    A noteworthy feature of the Kaito KA500 is its extensive radio coverage, including AM, FM, 2-Band shortwave, and seven pre-programmed NOAA weather channels. This allows you to stay informed about news, sports, and entertainment from across the globe while providing real-time weather updates for the U.S.A. and Canada. The advanced semiconductor circuitry and L.E.D. signal strength indicator ensure precise radio tuning.

    Additionally, the radio comes equipped with a 5-LED reading lamp, L.E.D. flashlight, and red L.E.D. S.O.S. beacon light, making it a valuable tool in emergencies. Its impact-resistant and water-resistant A.B.S. material ensures durability for both indoor and outdoor use. Remember that some of the radio’s features are limited to specific regions, so plan accordingly based on your location.

    Puiuisoul 4000mAh Emergency Weather Radio

    The Puiuisoul 4000mAh Emergency Weather Radio is a versatile and reliable choice for a hand crank generator with multiple features.

    • 4000mAh large-capacity battery
    • IPX3 waterproof rating
    • 3-mode flashlight and motion sensor reading light
    • Not as compact as some other options
    • It may not be suitable for extreme conditions
    • Hand crank and solar charging are not as efficient as USB charging

    Equipped with a 4000mAh battery capacity, the Puiuisoul Emergency Weather Radio offers increased power compared to other models on the market. This hand crank generator allows USB charging alongside solar and hand crank charging options, ensuring you can maintain control even in difficult situations.

    The IPX3 waterproof rating makes the Puiuisoul Weather Radio a favorable choice for outdoor enthusiasts or those needing a device for unlit areas, such as camping, hiking, and kayaking. over, the 3-mode flashlight and motion sensor reading light provide valuable illumination in a range of conditions.

    While its dimensions may not make it the most compact option, this emergency radio offers plenty of value through its numerous features, durability, and versatility. The Puiuisoul Emergency Weather Radio ensures you and your family stay informed and prepared during unexpected situations.

    TENROOP Emergency Radio

    This versatile hand-crank generator is a reliable choice for emergencies and outdoor adventures.

    • A.A.A. batteries not included
    • The headphone jack might not be ideal for everyone
    • Limited color options

    The TENROOP Emergency Radio is designed with preparedness and convenience in mind, featuring a sizeable 5000mAh power bank that can charge small devices in case of power outages or while you’re on the go. With a 4-way power source, you’ll have multiple options for keeping the radio functional, including a hand crank, solar panel, built-in rechargeable battery, and even room for A.A.A. batteries if needed.

    This portable radio is not s you connected to AM/FM/NOAA weather alerts but includes an S.O.S. alarm and a powerful 3W speaker for emergencies. The reading lamp offers three light modes, ensuring you can continue reading or performing tasks even when it’s dark outside. The 3.5mm headphone jack also allows you to tune in without disturbing others, making it a versatile tool for a range of situations.

    Overall, the TENROOP Emergency Radio is an excellent investment for those who want a reliable hand-crank generator for emergency preparedness or outdoor activities. Its impressive power bank capacity, multiple charging options, and added features like the S.O.S. alarm and reading lamp make it a valuable addition to your toolkit.

    ROCAM Emergency Radio Hand Crank Solar

    The ROCAM Emergency Radio Hand Crank Solar is an excellent choice if you need a versatile and reliable hand crank generator.

    • Multiple power sources for added reliability
    • Includes flashlight and reading lamp
    • S.O.S. alarm and compass for emergencies
    • Solar charging may not work in all conditions
    • No earphone socket as shown in photos
    • expensive than other emergency radios

    The ROCAM Emergency Radio Hand Crank Solar is equipped with AM/FM/Shortwave Radio NOAA Weather Alert, making it a valuable companion for outdoor enthusiasts and emergencies. With its various power sources, you can keep this device running even in the most challenging conditions.

    Lighting features such as the 3W flashlight and 6 L.E.D. reading lamp make this unit stand out from similar products. In addition, its loud S.O.S. alarm and attached compass ensure your safety in times of crisis or navigating unfamiliar territory.

    Despite its higher price and minor drawbacks, the ROCAM Emergency Radio Hand Crank Solar offers robust features that make it well worth considering for your next outdoor adventure or emergency preparedness kit.

    Aivica Emergency Hand Crank Weather Radio

    The Aivica Emergency Hand Crank Weather Radio is a reliable and versatile choice for those seeking a high-quality hand crank generator.

    • Emergency radio with NOAA and AM/FM signal reception
    • 10000mAh power bank for device charging
    • Multiple charging methods, including Type-C, solar, and hand crank

    The Aivica Emergency Hand Crank Weather Radio is designed to keep you informed during emergencies, providing crucial weather information and AM and F.M. signals to stay connected. It is equipped with a 10000mAh power bank as an all-in-one device, ensuring all devices remain charged when needed.

    Aside from its functionality as an emergency radio, this hand crank generator includes a built-in flashlight with three modes, a reading lamp, and even an S.O.S. alarm for added safety. The compass on top of the box of radio is a practical addition, making it a Smart choice for outdoor activities like hiking and camping.

    Despite its many features, some users have noted concerns about the tuner quality and the speed of solar and hand crank charging. But, the Aivica Emergency Hand Crank Weather Radio remains a versatile and practical option for those needing a reliable hand crank generator.

    Buying Guide

    There are a few factors to consider when looking for the best hand-crank generators. This buying guide will discuss crucial features and tips to help you choose the right product.

    Power Output

    The power output of a hand crank generator is a significant factor in determining its usefulness. Consider the devices you plan to charge and their power requirements. A higher power output ensures more efficient charging and better performance.

    Portability

    Hand crank generators should be easy to carry and transport. Ensure the hand-crank power generator is compact and lightweight, making it ideal for emergency kits, outdoor adventures, or off-grid situations.

    Build Quality

    A durable and sturdy build is crucial for a reliable hand-crank generator. Opt for high-quality materials that can withstand rough handling and varying weather conditions.

    Additional Features

    Some hand-crank generators have extra features like built-in flashlights, radios, or USB ports. These can provide added convenience and functionality in different scenarios.

    Price

    Always consider your budget when purchasing a hand-crank generator. The market has numerous options, from affordable to high-end models. Make sure you find one that meets your needs within your budget.

    Pros Cons Higher power output for more efficient charging. Higher power output may come at a higher cost—compact and portable design for easy transportation. Smaller models may have lower power output. Durable build quality ensures reliability and longevity. High-quality materials may increase the generator’s price. Extra features provide additional convenience and functionality. Other features may result in a more complex and less user-friendly design.

    F.A.Q.

    We often receive questions regarding hand crank generators and are here to provide answers in this F.A.Q. The section will cover some of these versatile devices’ most frequently asked questions.

    Why should we consider purchasing a hand crank generator?

    Hand crank generators are a great addition to any emergency preparedness kit. They are portable, require no electricity or batteries, and can generate power simply by turning a crank. This means that in times of crisis or natural disasters, you’ll have a reliable power source to charge crucial devices like mobile phones, radios, and flashlights.

    Pros Cons Portable and lightweight Not as powerful as conventional generators No need for fuel or electricity Requires physical effort to generate power Works in any situation Not ideal for long-term, heavy usage

    What devices can a hand crank generator charge?

    Most hand crank generators are versatile enough to charge small electronic devices, like cell phones, radios, flashlights, and G.P.S. devices. Some models even come equipped with USB ports, making it easy to charge devices that use a USB cable for power. But remember that these devices are not meant to power large appliances like refrigerators, air conditioners, or televisions.

    How long does charging a device with a hand crank generator take?

    The charging time for a device using a hand crank generator varies depending on the generator’s efficiency and the device’s power needs. You can expect to charge a smartphone in hours with continuous cranking. To keep the generator’s usability, we recommend taking breaks to avoid fatigue and to rotate the responsibility among multiple people if possible.

    How to choose the right-hand crank generator for your needs

    When selecting the best hand crank generator for your needs, there are a few factors to consider. To make the most informed decision, we’ll discuss some key aspects to help you choose the perfect generator for your situation.

    First and foremost, consider the primary use for your hand crank generator. Will you use it for emergencies, outdoor adventures, or as a backup power source at home? Understanding the intended purpose will help guide your decision-making process.

    Next, evaluate a range of hand crank generators’ power output and charging capabilities. The generator’s size and weight will often determine this. Consider how much power you’ll need to set your devices or small power appliances, and choose a generator that provides enough output for your requirements. Remember that a more robust and heavier generator may not be the best option for portability, so it’s crucial to strike a balance.

    Another factor to consider is the build quality and durability of the generator. Look for generators with sturdy construction and materials, such as metal housings and reinforced handles. Additionally, it’s helpful to read product reviews and gather opinions from other users to determine the reliability and longevity of a particular generator.

    How does a hand crank generator work?

    As enthusiasts of hand crank generators, we must understand how these fascinating devices work. A hand crank generator is a mechanical device that converts kinetic energy created by turning a handle into electrical power. The critical components inside the generator include a crankshaft, gears, and a dynamo.

    When we turn the handle, the crankshaft rotates and transfers the motion to the gears. These gears multiply the rotation speed, and the mechanical power is subsequently fed into the dynamo. The dynamo comprises magnets and coils that create an electromagnetic field.

    As the input mechanical energy increases, the magnetic field also grows, producing electrical energy. This electrical energy is then transferred through wires. It can generate electricity to power a range of devices, like radios or batteries, making hand-crank generators an excellent choice for emergencies or off-grid adventures.

    Related Resources:

    Hand Crank Power Charger vs. Solar: Which is Better?

    Self-sustainability is made much easier thanks to modern technology such as solar power and hand-crank chargers. Both of them have their ups and downs, but how do you know which one is right for you?

    Solar power is better if you have access to sunlight throughout the day, whereas hand crank power chargers are more practical if you’re using it indoors. Both of them are excellent tools for convenience and survival purposes.

    Throughout this post, you also learn the following information:

    • The best of each tool
    • Which one is meant for you
    • What the primary differences are

    What’s the Difference Between a Hand Crank Power Charge and Solar Power?

    Hand-crank chargers have been used for many years to supply power to a battery bank, like this one found on Amazon. If you don’t have a bank to store the energy, then you’ll have to use the electricity as you’re cranking the tool, which simply isn’t practical.

    On the other hand, solar power is useful for those who have access to several hours of sunlight per day. If you’re able to lay the panels out in the sun from morning until night, you’ll be able to charge all sorts of devices.

    Let’s check out the five main differences between these two useful tools:

    • Hand-crank power chargers usually have additional components, such as a radio or a clock. This is because they’re usually used for survival purposes, or by people who live far out in the middle of nowhere. Without cell reception, these radios become an essential part of living.
    • Solar power doesn’t require any manual labor. Unlike a hand-crank system, solar panels only need to be set down in the right place. The most exercise you’ll get from a solar charger is moving it from one place to another to ensure that it’s getting the proper amount of sunlight throughout the day.
    • Hand-crank power chargers don’t need any fuel sources other than the motion of the handle turning. You can use them on sunny days, rainy days, or snowy days. It doesn’t matter. Sunlight isn’t a factor, though there are some models that include a small solar panel on top.
    • Solar panels can last as long as the sun is out. If you have a charger that includes a battery bank, then you’ll never have to worry about running out of power. Unfortunately, hand-crank chargers stop working the second the bank is depleted. This requires constant cranking several times per day.
    • Portable solar panels are typically much smaller than hand-crank chargers, making them more ideal for backpacking and camping. However, getting one with a battery bank can drive up the price, even though the addition comes stock with all hand-crank chargers on the market.

    Which Should You Get?

    Before you proceed to the next two sections to make a selection, you should write down a few notes to figure out which you should choose. They’re both excellent choices since you’re getting a top-notch electricity source without having to make monthly payments.

    It comes down to pros and cons, so let’s examine everything below.

    Pros of Hand-Crank Chargers

    • Hand-crank chargers don’t need sunlight, 12V plugs, water, or wind. They’re usable wherever you go. All you need to do is wind it up and watch as the battery bank fills up over time.
    • The additional amenities can be the difference between thriving and surviving. You’ll have a radio, flashlights, and other features that come stock with most hand-crank chargers these days.

    Cons of Hand-Crank Chargers

    • Using a hand-crank charger gets exhausting after a while if you use it often. The battery bank inside is limited since there’s no way to build a massive amount of electricity from hand motions. Unlike windmills or hydroelectric plants, they don’t have enough force to keep a steady charge.
    • They’re almost always much heavier than solar panels. Since they have so many extra features and a bigger battery bank, you’ll have to lug around a bigger charger wherever you go. In addition to that, they’re quite bulky, which makes them a pain to bring on backpacking and other outdoor trips.

    Pros of Portable Solar Panels

    • You can set a portable solar panel out in the sun and forget about it. There’s no need to check on it unless you want to get a better angle of light or use it. They’re lightweight, durable, and they don’t overheat.
    • Portable solar panels are better if you want to clip them on the back of your backpack when you’re hiking. You’ll get electricity just by walking around the forest rather than having to stop everything you’re doing to crank it.

    Cons of Portable Solar Panels

    • If it’s not sunny outside, you might not get any electricity. Some panels are designed to pull UV rays through the clouds, but even then, you’ll only get about 20% to 40% of the maximum charge over the course of the day.
    • Since they’re so compact, portable solar panels don’t have radios, clocks, and other useful features. However, they sometimes include a flashlight at the top, which can become very useful when you need it the most.

    Recommended Hand Crank Charger

    The best hand-crank charger on the market right now is this one found on Amazon. It comes with a built-in radio, a powerful flashlight, and a rope for convenience purposes. It’s also red, which makes it harder to lose when you’re using it in a dark place.

    What makes this hand crank charger so much better than the rest of the competition is the mounted solar panel. You get the best of both worlds with this charger. When you’re out in the woods and their no sun, you can crank the handle. Once you find a clearing, set it out and watch as the battery bank fills up.

    If you bring it home and you don’t want to crank it or leave it out in the sun, you can charge it up completely with a micro USB cable. Be prepared with a full battery bank before you head out on a trip, then refill it once you’ve depleted the charge.

    Recommended Portable Solar Charger

    The best portable solar charger on the market currently is this one, also found on Amazon. This powerful charger has 25 times the amount of solar energy as the previous product, although it doesn’t have the option of hand cranking. Much like the hand crank one from above, this one can also use a micro USB cable to charge up all the way.

    If you’re looking for portability, then look no further. The trade-off of a slightly larger set of panels is made better by the fact that they each fold over each other. When you’re not using the charger, you can fold it up to the size of a tablet.

    It has two USB ports to charge a couple of devices at the same time, a bright flashlight on the back, and up to 9 days of usage packed into a charger that only weighs 1.1 pounds.

    Conclusion

    When it comes to hand-crank power chargers and solar power, there’s no denying that they both have amazing benefits. They’re fantastic survival tools and even better for convenience purposes while hiking or walking around the neighborhood.

    If you stay at home and you want something for emergencies, then the hand-crank radio charger mentioned above will be the best choice. If you want a product to charge while you’re enjoying nature or a long road trip, then go with the solar charger.

    Helpful Recommended Products

    Here is a summary of the recommended Amazon products mentioned in this article.

    I also recommend checking out My Patriot Supply for many of your survivalist needs. This includes food for long term storage and more. Here are some items you may be interested in:

    Hey, I’m Jim, and the author of this website. I have always been interested in survival, fishing, camping, and anything in nature. In fact, while growing up, I spent more time on the water than on land! I am also a best-selling author and have a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. I hope you find value in the articles on this website. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or input!

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    Keep your family safe by staying on top of the latest emergency information with the best hand-crank radio.

    By Tom Scalisi and Mark Wolfe | Updated Feb 24, 2023 12:11 PM

    We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

    Weather-related emergencies are often unpredictable, which means keeping informed about the latest developments can make the difference between staying safe and being caught off guard. Stocking a survival kit with the best hand-crank radio is one step toward keeping in touch with the world around you.

    Today’s models have built-in extras and features—from flashlights and built-in batteries to phone-charging ports and solar-powered options—that maximize the chances of staying safe. We spent 3 days field testing eight different hand-crank radios to find out which features matter most and which ones boost overall functionality during an extended power outage. Read on to learn more about our shopping priorities and how each of these models performed in our tests.

    • BEST OVERALL:DaringSnail MD090P Emergency Weather Hand-Crank Radio
    • BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK:Esky Portable Emergency Weather Hand-Crank Radio
    • BEST DIGITAL TUNING:Eton FRX3 American Red Cross Multi-Powered Radio
    • BEST SHORTWAVE:Kaito KA500 AM FM Shortwave Solar Hand-Crank Radio
    • BEST COMPACT:Midland ER40 Emergency Hand-Crank Radio
    • BEST WEATHERPROOF:Eton Scorpion II Rugged Multi-Powered Weather Radio
    • BEST WITH CHARGER:C. Crane COBS CC Solar Observer Emergency Radio
    • BEST SOUND QUALITY:C. Crane CCRS CC Radio Solar Windup Emergency Radio

    Editor’s Note: We’re in the middle of testing even more of the top hand-crank radios on the market right now. Check back for our honest reactions after getting our hands on best picks.

    How We Tested the Best Hand-Crank Radios

    We set up testing scenarios to simulate the types of real-world events, such as severe storms and power outages, that hand-crank radios are designed to meet. In order to get a real feel for how each model would perform, we created a scoring rubric that included battery life, charging capabilities, radio signal reception, audio quality, portability, and additional features that might make sheltering in place a little easier.

    We started by recording the physical dimensions and weight of each radio and charging the batteries. Next we counted the number of AM, FM, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stations that each radio received in three different locations and awarded 1 to 5 points for signal reception. We also scored the radios on a 1 to 5 scale according to overall sound quality. Finally, we awarded additional points for such bonus features as charging ports for other devices, clocks, lights, and battery efficiency observed by a runtime test.

    Our Top Picks

    Whether shoppers need a small radio to stow away in a or glove box or a larger option with longer battery life and built-in features, this guide can help. We tested eight different models, each of which excels in its own way. In our reviews ahead, find out how each hand-crank radio performed and why we consider these among the best hand-crank radios for use in emergencies.

    DaringSnail MD090P Emergency Weather Hand-Crank Radio

    DaringSnail’s emergency crank radio boasts the necessary features for responsible and streamlined emergency preparedness. This radio features a replaceable 4,000 milliampere hour (mAh) lithium-ion battery and three different methods for charging: a folding hand crank, a USB charger, and a built-in solar panel. The micro USB charges the battery in 6 hours; spinning the hand crank for 1 minute provides up to 30 minutes of flashlight time or 6 minutes of radio. The radio measures 6.5 inches long by 3.25 inches high by 2.5 inches deep, and it weighs 13.35 ounces.

    This hand-crank radio offers AM and FM radio reception as well as seven NOAA weather stations for monitoring emergency weather conditions. A telescoping antenna helps maintain clear reception. The built-in flashlight offers three modes, including settings for far, dipped (pointing downward), and both beams at the same time. There is also a built-in reading lamp underneath the solar panel, allowing users to light up the room during power outages. Additionally, a motion sensor picks up movement and illuminates the lamp for 30 seconds.

    We awarded the DaringSnail radio Best Overall because of its combination of affordability, radio reception, sound quality, and battery size. In our opinion, this no-frills option offers the best combination of features for emergencies. In our tests, it tied for the best overall reception and offered pretty good sound quality.

    The analog display with manual tuning and on/off/audio knobs were easy and intuitive to operate. But, because the tuner turned somewhat stiffly, precision tuning wasn’t easy. We picked up plenty of clear FM stations, but most of the AM stations came in with some amount of static.

    This radio would fit in a travel bag easily, adding less than a pound. In addition to its signal sensitivity, it offers the added benefit of storing enough electricity to boost a cell phone charge. It provided a 50 percent cell phone charge in a couple of hours, with enough left in the battery to power the radio for 10 hours straight at a low volume.

    For a depleted battery, cranking for a minute at two to three turns per second provided 6 to 10 minutes of radio runtime. The solar panel was best used as a battery maintainer, as it only charged effectively when the radio was powered off and placed outdoors with unobstructed sunlight angled directly onto the panel. In this scenario, solar charging for 6 hours provided about 5 hours of runtime.

    Product Specs

    • Power: 4,000mAh rechargeable battery (Li-ion)
    • Frequencies: AM, FM, and NOAA
    • Size: 6.5 inches long by 3.25 inches high by 2.5 inches deep
    • Weight: 13.35 ounces
    • Large 4,000mAh rechargeable battery with 3 optional methods of charging
    • Excellent AM, FM, and NOAA Weather Radio reception to keep users informed
    • Easy-to-use analog display; manual tuner and on/off/volume knobs
    • Compact and lightweight construction for easy storage and transportation
    • Motion-sensor light helps conserve battery life in a power outage
    • The radio must be on to monitor weather alerts—no automated alert feature
    • Stiff tuning knob makes precision tuning more difficult than other radios

    Get the DaringSnail hand-crank radio at Amazon or DaringSnail.

    Esky Portable Emergency Weather Hand-Crank Radio

    Sometimes a small, inexpensive option that really works is the best choice. Those shopping for the cheapest, smallest, and lightest weather radio possible may want to consider the Esky portable emergency weather radio. It measures 5.25 inches long by 2.5 inches high by 2 inches deep and weighs just 7.45 ounces, making it a good option for commuters. Although this little device doesn’t offer many extras, it picks up nearby AM, FM, and NOAA weather stations, and, having recently been upgraded, it now includes a 2,000mAh battery that can boost a cell phone for a quick emergency call if needed.

    Although this radio is small and relatively spartan, it does include the emergency features we find most important. Standard and micro USB ports facilitate charging of other devices and AC charging of the onboard battery. The battery can also be charged with the hand crank or via the small solar panel. The three-LED flashlight offers basic on/off functionality. A telescoping antenna helps ensure the best possible reception of FM and NOAA signals, while an internal antenna receives AM frequencies. Since we tested this product, Esky has upgraded the battery to 2,000mAh (compared to the 1,000mAh that we used), so we have linked to those here, as the 1,000mAh model is no longer available. We look forward to testing this upgraded version soon.

    In our tests, with the 1,000mAh battery fully charged, the Esky radio offered 6.5 hours of radio runtime. We would expect to get closer to 14 hours from the updated battery in the current model, and the price appears to be the same as before. With the smaller battery that we tested, we only recommend using it to boost a cell phone to 5 or 10 percent charge for texting or emergency calls in order to leave adequate radio battery life. But with double the available power in the updated Esky radio, charging for app usage and other smartphone functions becomes a more realistic option.

    We really liked the compact size of this radio that easily fits in a jacket. backpack, or purse for daily carry. It weighs less than half a pound—similar to the weight of a smartphone. Also, the low-profile on/off/volume and tuning knobs won’t catch on other items when removing the radio from a or bag.

    The only problem with the unit’s small size was that the analog display was not easy to read or super accurate when it came to finding a known frequency/station visually. When we were close to the known station, we sometimes had to slow down and move the dial back and forth a few times to home in on it.

    Product Specs

    • Power: 2,000mAh rechargeable battery (Li-ion)
    • Frequencies: AM, FM, and NOAA
    • Size: 5.25 inches long by 2.5 inches high by 2 inches deep
    • Weight: 7.45 ounces
    • -size, lightweight emergency radio is easy to pack and carry
    • Minimal battery drain in storage and long-lasting battery life while operating
    • Also works as a portable phone charger or flashlight
    • Suitable for emergency charging only—charging other devices significantly depletes battery
    • Affordability means not much functionality beyond radio, flashlight, and emergency charger
    • Built-in lithium-ion battery has a 5-year life expectancy and is not easily replaceable

    Get the Esky hand-crank radio at Amazon.

    Eton FRX3 American Red Cross Multi-Powered Radio

    Those concerned about keeping their crank radio charged and available will appreciate the American Red Cross Emergency NOAA Weather Radio from Eton. This digital radio is easy to tune to AM and FM radio as well as all seven NOAA stations. The slim design fits nicely on a counter or nightstand, and the alarm clock function means it can also be used as an everyday radio or clock.

    This crank radio’s 2,600mAh battery charges via USB, solar, or the hand crank. The solar panel is surrounded by a glow-in-the-dark rim that makes it easy to find the device at night. Charging devices is easy with the built-in USB port. It provides an automatic weather-alert function that sounds when a weather advisory is activated for the signal area, and the built-in three-LED flashlight can light the way to safety.

    When it came to radio reception, the Eton FRX3 American Red Cross crank radio tied for the best overall among our test group. It transmitted clearer sound with less static than the analog radios, possibly due to having one of the longest telescoping antennas (23 inches, compared to an average of 16 inches for the group) and because it locked in on the signal wavelength with greater precision.

    The included Weather Alert function was a helpful feature that only four of our tested radios offered. It extends battery life by eliminating the need for constant radio play and automatically turns on the radio when an alert is issued by NOAA.

    Another nice feature was the included clock function. Only half the radios in our test group included a clock, and just two included an alarm clock function. Tracking time accurately is critical when dealing with injuries, and it comes in handy for mundane chores like periodically refueling a generator.

    We were also impressed with the relatively fast charging power of the FRX3’s solar panel. It only took about 10 hours to recharge the depleted battery completely, whereas the others took twice as long or longer. Cranking the handle also seemed to produce more efficient results than average. At a rate of two to three turns per second, 1 minute of cranking powered about 10 to 15 minutes of radio runtime.

    Product Specs

    • Power: 2,600mAh (Li-ion)
    • Frequencies: AM, FM, and NOAA
    • Size: 6.75 inches long by 6 inches high by 2.5 inches deep
    • Weight: 1 pound 2.9 ounces
    • Digital tuning and alarm clock functions make this a practical radio for everyday use
    • The 2,600mAh battery holds plenty of power for extended runtime or for boosting a cell phone battery
    • Features a bright LED flashlight with flashing red SOS function
    • Efficient solar and hand-crank charging systems for faster battery charging

    Get the Eton FRX3 hand-crank radio at Amazon, Ace Hardware, The Home Depot, or American Red Cross.

    Kaito KA500 AM FM Shortwave Solar Hand-Crank Radio

    Those who want more functionality and a broader range of reception may be considering a shortwave radio option. Shortwave radio frequencies are transmitted over much longer distances of hundreds or thousands of miles, and are often used by international broadcasters and audiences. The Kaito KA500 hand-crank radio offers the AM, FM, and NOAA Weather Radio bands that are locally important during power outages and emergency situations, as well as two shortwave radio bands, 3.2 to 10.0 megahertz and 10.0 to 22.0 megahertz, for curious listeners.

    The radio features a large analog display, a telescoping antenna, and manual control knobs for AM/FM/SW1/SW2 tuning, volume, off/power mode, Band selection, and weather Band tuning. It comes equipped with a built-in 600mAh nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeable battery that may be charged by AC adapter, USB PC connection, hand crank, or with the built-in solar panel. Users also have the option to install three AA alkaline batteries to power the radio. The three-way light switch features a LED flashlight with display backlight, red flashing SOS, and five LED reading lamp modes.

    The Kaito Voyager measures 8.5 inches long by 5.5 inches high by 2.75 inches deep. It weighs 1 pound 3.1 ounces. In testing, it scored 4 out of 5 on both reception and audio quality, plus it earned extra feature points as the only model we tested with shortwave reception.

    We noted that the KA500 features a smaller-than-average battery that provides about 4 hours of runtime per charge. The fact that it works with conventional AA batteries makes it a bit more flexible than most of the other radios we tested, although the charge from AA batteries cannot be used to charge other devices.

    In many circumstances, this may not be the best option for primary cell phone battery backup. But the fact that the hand crank can be used to charge a phone directly—instead of charging the radio battery first and then dump charging the phone from the radio battery—is a faster, more direct way to get emergency power into a phone. In our tests, the solar charger worked slowly, only moving the battery indicator light from “LOW” to “HI” after about 12 hours.

    Product Specs

    • Power: 600mAh rechargeable battery (NiMH)
    • Frequencies: AM, FM, NOAA, SW1, and SW2
    • Size: 8.5 inches long by 5.5 inches high by 2.75 inches deep
    • Weight: 1 pound 3.1 ounces
    • Features AM, FM, NOAA, and 2 shortwave radio bands for international radio listening
    • Built-in rechargeable battery charges with AC adapter, PC adapter, hand crank, or solar
    • Also works with 3 AA alkaline batteries for even more flexibility during power outages
    • Preprogrammed NOAA radio frequencies eliminate the need for precision tuning

    Get the Kaito hand-crank radio at Amazon or Kaito Radios.

    Midland ER40 Emergency Hand-Crank Radio

    The Midland ER40 emergency crank radio is built for everyday use, keeping users informed in case of emergency. It picks up AM, FM, and NOAA Weather Radio, and it features a Weather Alert mode that can automatically tune in whenever an emergency weather alert is issued for the broadcast area of a selected NOAA channel. The ER40 is powered by a 2,600mAh lithium-ion battery that may be charged with the included micro USB cable, the built-in hand crank, or the built-in solar panel.

    Measuring 6.25 inches long by 3.25 inches tall by 2 inches deep, and weighing in at 11.45 ounces, the radio is easily packable for travel. It features digital tuning with a backlit LCD clock display screen. The LED flashlight function includes high and low beams as well as an SOS strobe mode.

    In our tests, the Midland ER40 showed excellent runtime, Rapid recharging, good reception, and fair sound quality. The radio ran for 27 hours on a full charge, and cranking the handle for a minute at two to three turns per second gave an additional 15 to 20 minutes of runtime. This radio offered significantly better reception than the similarly sized Esky and Eton Scorpion II radios we tested, with slightly better sound quality, too.

    Another significant standout feature is the 2,600mAh battery. In addition to offering lots of straight running time, it was able to boost our cell phone battery from 5 percent to 25 percent in less than an hour, and it still had power left for hours of radio play. Those looking for a hand-crank radio that doubles as a cell phone battery backup would do well choosing this model.

    Product Specs

    • Power: 2,600mAh rechargeable battery (Li-ion)
    • Frequencies: AM, FM, and NOAA
    • Size: 6.25 inches long by 3.25 inches tall by 2 inches deep
    • Weight: 11.45 ounces
    • Lightweight, compact radio fits easily into a backpack, purse, or cargo
    • The 2,600mAh battery can charge a phone and still provide hours of runtime
    • Emergency Weather Alert feature preserves battery life while monitoring conditions
    • Bright 3-way LED flashlight includes high and low beams as well as flashing SOS mode

    Get the Midland hand-crank radio at Amazon, Crutchfield, or Bass Pro Shops.

    Eton Scorpion II Rugged Multi-Powered Weather Radio

    For off-grid adventures, an emergency radio must meet multiple preparedness needs. The Eton Scorpion II features rugged construction and splash-proof certification that ensure safe, reliable outdoor operation in any weather. This AM, FM, NOAA Weather radio features a digital tuner with LCD clock display, telescoping antenna, LED flashlight, and emergency siren.

    This packable radio measures 6.5 inches long by 2.5 inches wide by 2 inches deep, and it weighs 10.35 ounces. The rubber exterior skin provides slip resistance for wet hands and shock protection in case of accidental drops. A carabiner and bottle opener are built into the exterior of the radio housing for added versatility. The 800mAh lithium-ion battery can be charged with the included mini USB cable, the hand crank, or the built-in solar panel. A USB out port supports cell phone charging from the battery.

    We were impressed right away with the sturdy construction of the Eton Scorpion II. The compact, stocky build and rugged housing felt more durable and ready for outdoor use than any of the other models we tested. This was also the only radio with an Ingress Protection (IPX) rating for splash resistance: IPX4 means it is safe for operating in rainy weather, but should not be submerged in water.

    We considered the overall operation to be good for local emergencies. The radio received stations within 40 to 50 miles but not the weak or distant signals that some of the other radios detected. Rural users may need to seek an elevated or unobstructed location for best reception. The sound quality was adequate for emergency use, but not great for casual listening.

    The smaller-than-average battery (800mAh) powered 13 hours of continuous radio play. Charging the depleted battery for 1 minute with the hand crank added about 5 minutes of radio time. Like the other small-battery radios we tested, this one should only be relied upon for a minimal cell phone boost—not for a significant recharge.

    Product Specs

    • Power: 800mAh rechargeable battery (Li-ion)
    • Frequencies: AM, FM, and NOAA
    • Size: 6.5 inches long by 2.5 inches wide by 2 inches deep
    • Weight: 10.35 ounces
    • Faster scanning with digital tuning fixes precisely on the desired radio frequency
    • Certified IPX4 splash-proof for safe outdoor operation with exposure to rain
    • Compact size and lightweight construction; easy to take along on outdoor adventures
    • Unique features include a built-in carabiner and bottle opener on the body of the radio
    • Fair reception; best for emergency use within 50 miles of the broadcast tower
    • Limited battery size is less capable of charging other devices

    Get the Eton Scorpion II hand-crank radio at Amazon, Ace Hardware, or The Home Depot.

    C. Crane COBS CC Solar Observer Emergency Radio

    The C. Crane Solar Observer radio is a simple compact radio with enhanced reception and audio quality, making it a great choice for both emergency use and casual listening. It’s powered by an 800mAh rechargeable and replaceable NiMH battery pack. The included AC adapter keeps the battery pack charged, or the built-in hand crank or solar panel can do the job during a power outage. The radio can also be powered by alkaline batteries.

    The Solar Observer measures 7.5 inches long by 6 inches high by 2.5 inches deep and weighs 1 pound 1.9 ounces. It features an analog display and manual controls for volume and tuning AM and FM radio. The seven NOAA Weather Radio frequencies are preprogrammed on a separate dial for fast access during bad weather. This radio also includes a three-LED flashlight and radio display backlight.

    We were very impressed by the Solar Observer’s reception capability and audio quality. In our tests, it tied for the top scores in both categories. In fact, the audio quality of both of the C. Crane radios we tested stood head and shoulders above the others in our test group. The sound is optimized for voice clarity, as in news, talk, and sports broadcasts, so those who want one radio for both casual listening and emergency use might want to take note.

    The Solar Observer was the only radio we tested that actually included its own wall plug, which was helpful. All of the others included mini USB cables but no hub to plug into. The 800mAh battery pack was somewhat underwhelming for the price, but it operated more efficiently than the similarly powered Eton Scorpion II.

    On the first full battery charge, we got 17 hours of radio runtime. When the battery was depleted, 1 minute of cranking added 15 to 20 minutes of radio play. One downside: This radio does not have a built-in USB port for charging cell phones, but it does come with a USB adapter that plugs into an older-style port to accomplish the same thing.

    Product Specs

    • Power: 800mAh rechargeable battery (NiMH)
    • Frequencies: AM, FM, and NOAA
    • Size: 7.5 inches long by 6 inches wide by 2.5 inches deep
    • Weight: 1 pound 1.9 ounces
    • Includes an AC adapter for direct power and to charge the battery pack
    • This versatile radio can also be powered by alkaline batteries
    • Tied for best radio reception and best sound quality among the radios we tested
    • Preset frequencies for quick monitoring of any NOAA Weather Radio channel
    • Uses a USB adapter rather than a built-in USB port to connect with other devices
    • The smaller-than-average battery pack limits phone charging ability

    Get the C. Crane Solar Observer hand-crank radio at Amazon or C. Crane.

    C. Crane CCRS CC Radio Solar Windup Emergency Radio

    Radio enthusiasts who appreciate quality will enjoy the great-sounding and well-appointed C. Crane Radio Solar Windup model that picks up AM, FM, and NOAA Weather Radio. With its clean lines, clear sound, and LCD alarm clock display, this compact radio is an ideal choice to keep on the desk or nightstand. A high-capacity lithium-ion battery offers many hours of radio play per charge and supports external device charging during emergencies.

    The Radio Solar weighs 1 pound 0.95 ounces and measures 6.25 inches long by 3.25 inches high by 2.25 inches deep. It comes equipped with a 3,600mAh lithium-ion battery that is charged via micro USB cable or the built-in hand crank; a larger-than-average solar panel can boost the battery during power outages, and it also works with three AA alkaline batteries.

    Several premium features stand out on this radio in addition to the voice-optimized sound quality. The clock may be used as an alarm clock, and the radio includes an optional Weather Alert function. Users may preset up to 25 stations, customize the audio, customize the display, set a sleep timer, set up tuning filters, or lock the radio controls.

    The C. Crane Radio Solar is a high-performing emergency radio that does not look like an emergency radio. The sound quality was outstanding (tied for top honors in our tests), the signal reception was very good, and the battery life was the best we tested. And the radio itself has an understated “office equipment” sort of appearance. Any buyer might be satisfied with the performance, but it comes at a premium price.

    The Radio Solar played for 51 hours on the initial charge, which is more than double the second longest runtime. When the battery was finally depleted, 1 minute of hand cranking added about 10 minutes of radio runtime. The large solar panel on this model stood out among the test group as one of only two (the other being the Eton American Red Cross emergency radio) that added more playing time than the amount of time it spent in the sun; 5 hours in the sun added 6 hours of radio play.

    Product Specs

    • Power: 3.7-volt 3,400mAh rechargeable battery (Li-ion)
    • Frequencies: AM, FM, and NOAA
    • Size: 6.25 inches long by 3.25 inches wide by 2.25 inches deep
    • Weight: 1 pound 0.95 ounces
    • Outstanding audio quality with the ability to customize sound and fine-tune the reception
    • Extended running time per charge; more than double that of the others tested
    • Numerous premium features, including up to 25 preset stations, customizable display, and more
    • Oil- and UV-resistant rubber housing for long life without yellowing
    • Applying premium functions requires sensitive/complicated operations like pressing 2 buttons simultaneously, press and hold, etc.
    • than 5 times the price of the least expensive option in the test group, and nearly double the average price

    Get the C. Crane Radio Solar hand-crank radio at Amazon or C. Crane.

    What to Consider When Choosing a Hand-Crank Radio

    Hand-crank radios might seem old school, but the newer products on the market feature modern technology that makes them more versatile than ever before. Read on to discover several of the most important considerations to keep in mind while shopping for the best hand-crank radio, from supported frequencies to weatherproof qualities to portability and more.

    Power

    Today’s hand-crank radios are all about usable power. In fact, many of the best hand-crank radios can charge or run using several power-source options, such as accepting replaceable batteries and featuring onboard batteries that charge via a solar panel or a USB port. Most of these devices can also charge cell phones or flashlights in a pinch.

    When it comes to battery size, there are options as compact as 600mAh batteries, which are ideal for packing in a bag or stowing in a glove box, and larger 4,000mAh batteries for longer charging and flashlight usability. Some larger batteries offer more than 20 hours of radio time or 15 hours of flashlight power. While they might take 10 to 15 minutes of cranking for a usable charge, users can replenish the battery and charge devices even when the power is out.

    Supported Frequencies

    While weather-related frequencies should be the main FOCUS of a hand-crank radio, entertainment can go a long way toward maintaining morale when the power is out. A high-quality hand-crank radio should be easy to swap between several frequencies.

    Emergency radios are capable of AM, FM, and weather-Band frequencies from the National Weather Service. Music, talk shows, sports reports, and more are available on AM/FM frequencies. FM radio waves don’t travel as far, and as such, these local radio stations provide locale-specific reports, including weather-related closings and emergency information valuable to people living or working in the area. This detailed information might not be available on the weather bands, so it’s an important feature to consider.

    Waterproof Rating

    Whether it’s used as a piece of gear for camping or in the event of hazardous weather conditions, the best hand-crank radio might have a weatherproof rating that guarantees the device is reliable in tough conditions. These radios will resist damage from water, dust, and other detrimental elements, ensuring users are able to stay up to date on the latest emergency information.

    Often, manufacturers test their products using IPX ratings 0 through 6. The most common designation for the best hand-crank radios is IPX3, which means these radios are protected against water and dust sprayed onto the device from any angle up to 60 degrees. While that might seem complicated, the gist is that IPX3-rated products may offer more weather-related protection than non-IPX-rated products.

    NOAA Weather Alerts

    If there is one feature at which the best hand-crank radio might excel, it’s accessing the NOAA emergency weather updates. NOAA maintains a network of radio stations throughout the country, and reports run continuously, 24 hours a day. These reports warn against storms, earthquakes, avalanches, and other public safety concerns relevant to the region.

    While weather reports and updates might be available on a standard radio, NOAA broadcasts its reports at higher frequencies than FM radios can pick up. NOAA-enabled radios can tune into several of these frequencies, keeping users up to date on emergencies and changing conditions.

    Additional Features

    The most important feature a radio can provide is information, but the best hand-crank radio might have more to offer. Many of these devices have built-in options that can increase comfort, morale, and survivability. A clock display can help the user monitor anything from timing of medication to the next time the generator will need fuel. Features like compasses help guide explorers, while thermometers can point out when conditions are unsafe and it’s time to set up camp for the night.

    Built-in flashlights are incredibly helpful. The best hand-crank radio for a given situation may include one or two lights, helping to navigate lights-out scenarios. These radios might feature a small flashlight beam as well as a light that operates as a lamp, illuminating a room with a wider beam of light. When these lights drain the battery, a few minutes spent spinning the hand crank can have them back up and running.

    Portability

    Some emergencies require evacuating or heading for higher ground, while a planned-for adventure might simply require packing lightly. Whatever the situation, compact and lightweight hand-crank radios will be the most portable. While most of the best hand-crank radios are compact and easy to transport, there are a few points to consider beyond size and weight.

    Folding handles and telescoping antennas help the design of these emergency tools remain streamlined and easy to pack. Likewise, the best hand-crank radio for portability might have a smaller battery to keep it even lighter for carrying. A design with handles to which a carabiner can clip might make one model the best hand-crank radio for strapping to a backpack. Balancing portability and usability will help ensure the radio is functional and easy to keep on hand.

    FAQs

    While hand-crank radios aren’t new technology, there is a lot to know about their different features and how the devices work. Below is a collection of some of the most common questions about hand-crank radios and our succinct answers.

    Q. What is a hand-crank radio?

    A hand-crank radio is a radio that doesn’t require outside electricity to run. The user simply turns the crank to charge an onboard battery, allowing these devices to work even when the power may be out.

    Q. When would I need an emergency radio?

    Should there be a natural disaster or an unfortunate public safety situation, the power grid could go down, leaving you without valuable information that could keep you safe. An emergency radio helps you keep in touch with that info.

    Q. Do hand-crank radios need batteries?

    Hand-crank radios have built-in batteries onboard, but many can take supplementary batteries for extended radio or flashlight time without cranking.

    Q. How long does it take to charge a hand-crank radio?

    Charging time depends on the mAh rating of the battery and the charging method. The larger the battery, the longer it takes to fully recharge when depleted. Charging via an AC adapter takes 4 to 10 hours. Solar charging requires 12 to 20 hours of full, unobstructed sun exposure. Turning the hand crank at a rate of two to three turns per second will fully recharge the battery in 6 to 15 hours.

    Why Trust Bob Vila

    Readers have trusted BobVila.com for sound budget-conscious home improvement advice since 1996. Staff writer Mark Wolfe has tested hundreds of battery-powered tools and gadgets for Bob Vila’s product reviews team. He provides honest and straightforward recommendations based on more than 20 years of professional lawn and garden experience, along with an extensive background in DIY home and automotive repairs.

    Additional research provided by Tom Scalisi.

    USB Hand Crank Generator

    The Socket USB 1Amp is the latest hand crank generator to come from K-Tor. It provides power from a standard USB, Universal Serial Bus, socket. It provides this power on this standard interface at up to one amp. And, it can charge any device that can be charged from a USB.

    This makes this model the most powerful sized hand crank generator on the market by far. It’s advanced features include a Smart chip that converts directly from the generator to the USB 5 volt specified output at a high level of efficiency making this generator the highest power delivered to the USB device being charged and at the lowest possible effort cranking. The Smart chip also has electronic current limiting and thermal protection to protect against accidental overloads. This new model now comes with a Velcro strap to attach the body of the unit to the hand holding it so that those with small or weak hands will have no trouble holding it and it takes minimal effort for this hand. The device can also be attached to a solid object. The Socket USB 1Amp comes in the same housing as the venerable Socket 2 that has sold over 35,000 units. It has the same size and weight at 15 oz and about the size of a water bottle. The Socket USB 1 Amp is now the preferred solution for USB charging applications.

    Small, Light Weight and Portable

    The size of a water bottle, the Socket weighs less than a pound, making portability one of its best features. (Size: 2.5″ x 2.25″ x 6.875″. Weight: 15 oz.) The Socket USB 1Amp comes with a Velcro strap to help you hold the unit or attach it to a solid object. This means those with small or weak hands will have no trouble holding the unit and the work is done by the cranking hand, with little effort by the hand holding the unit.

    Charge All Your Devices

    The Socket is the only hand crank charger that can charge:

    Hand Crank Chargers Advantages

    Hand crank chargers are used worldwide for:

    • Those traveling to areas that don’t have electric power. The Socket is a great universal travel battery charger for digital cameras, cell phones, flashlights, your GPS, iPhone and more. This is a great vacation device that you can rely on to charge your small electronics.
    • Camping and hiking so that a back up source of electricity is always readily available. The Socket generates electricity for flashlights, mobile phones, radios, cameras, rechargeable lights and other devices critical for campers, hikers and those in the great outdoors away from an AC outlet.
    • Emergency personnel and those in a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, hurricane or tornado. The Socket can make a difference between life and death in natural disasters that interrupt electricity. You can generate electricity by hand power when electrical sources are unavailable.
    • Emergency supply and survival kits for a home emergency, car emergency and general emergency preparedness. The Socket should be included in every 72 hour and emergency survival kit. It can be the difference between life and death in an auto, weather or natural disaster.
    • An alternative to solar powered chargers that rely on the sun to generate electricity. Solar powered generators don’t work at night or in the shade. Our hand crank generator, The Socket, works all the time, at night and in bad weather when the sun is not available.

    Never hike with a dead phone again.

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