As a prepper, you will know that it is vitally important to keep up do date with the news. That allows you to be more informed about the situation as it develops and will enable you to stay ahead of the problem, too. We all know that the radio is the best option for when SHTF, and we think that the solar-powered radio is the best choice. Every prepper should have one in their bug-out bag, and if possible, everyone else should have one, somewhere.
Most of the portable radios that you can buy are, unfortunately, battery-powered. If you are a prepper, you will know how batteries can be challenging to carry. They are heavy when you take lots, and most will not last very long. Furthermore, you do not know how long you will need the radio; you can’t carry an endless supply of batteries.
That is why, for any survival situations, your first option is to eliminate the need for those batteries with a solar panel radio.
Why Choose A Solar Powered Radio
There are various reasons why you should choose a solar-powered radio. All of the information available to you will let you make informed decisions about what to do next. All of those decisions will affect your total strategy of what you are planning to do in the situation. However, one thing that you need to know, and you probably already do is that you can not always rely 100% on what you hear on the radio.
The unfortunate reality is that governments will create propaganda to lead you into a false sense of security. However, information is information, and it will help you to pick the right decision at the right time. Any working radio will do a job. However, the main word of consideration here is “working.” That is why, we as preppers, chose something that can be charged via sunlight.
What To Look For In A Solar Powered Radio
There is not a massive amount of things that you can choose from with a solar-powered radio. However, in this section, we will look at what those things are and decide which is best to pick.
The more bands that you can get, the better.
Do not pick a radio that is too big. You will want to be able to fit it into small spaces, like a pocket in a bag or even your pants pocket. To get some decent amounts of sound, you will want a more significant radio, but remember, they will use more power. In my opinion, a smaller radio with headphones is the best bet.
While there are a few options for power, there are also some better than others. You do not want a radio to stop working on you at a crucial time. Therefore, you want something that you can charge up at a moment’s notice, and you want one that will not use a lot of power while you are listening to it. There are a few options for power; they are:
- USB charged
Most preppers will prefer a combination of solar-powered and wind up. That way, you can charge the radio in the day, and listen to the important news updates in the evening. If the battery starts to get a little low, you can always increase the life with a few cranks.
Furthermore, you could use a rechargeable radio, and have a bigger solar panel, like the portable ones we have reviewed, here.
Best Solar Powered Radios
Here is a quick rundown of the top five solar-powered radios for you to choose from:
- Kaito KA500
- Duronic APEX
Our first option for a solar-powered radio is the RunningSnail. This choice is not as small as you would perhaps like. However, the added extras that you get do make up for the size. There is a torch, and an easy to see LCD. The torch will drain the battery pretty quickly, so make sure that you only use it in emergencies.
This radio has a 4000mAh battery, which is more than enough for 10 hours of listening time, providing you do not use the torch too. However, you can always use the crank handle to top up the charge. One thing to note, though, is that you will have to wind it for a long time to go from empty to full. One minute of cranking will provide you with around 20 minutes of radio.
- Four methods of charging (solar, USB, hand crank, 3x AAA batteries).
- AM/FM radio
- Earphone socket
- Charge indicator
- Too big for some people
The second option of emergency solar panel radios is the Kaito KA500. Kaito has a considerable reputation when it comes to emergency lighting and radios, and the KA500 is no exception. This radio has an analog display, which is a bit of a two-way thing. Firstly, you will not use power lighting it up, but secondly, it is a bit more challenging to see in the dark.
The solar panel on this model flips up for more accessible sunlight gathering, and under it, there is an LED strip light. It is not as good as the flashlight, which it has too, but it is ideal as a reading light. Furthermore, if you have no charge in the internal, rechargeable batteries, the radio will work with only the power from the solar panel, which is a great addition.
There are seven pre-programmed NOAA weather channels and a Public Emergency Alert System, too. You can use it for charging your mobile device; however, there are better options that you should consider separately for that.
- 6-way powered (rechargeable battery, AA batteries, 5V USB input, AC input, Solar, hand crank)
- Reading light
- Earphone socket
- 7 NOAA channels
- Will charge phones in an emergency
- There are better options for charging phones
The Duronic is an excellent mid-range option for an emergency solar radio. At only 6 x2 x3 inches and 0.7lbs, it is one of the smallest contenders in this article, which is a superb plus point. It has both AM/FM radio frequencies, but it does lack the NOAA channels that the Kaito has.
You can charge it with either batteries, USB, solar, or crank handle, so you have almost as many options as the others. Cranking the handle for only one minute will give you about 18 minutes of radio, so you will never be short of listening to the news. The backlit LCD is a nice touch, but I do feel as though it compromises on run time, even if just by a minute or so over the Kaito.
However, size-wise, this may be my favorite on the list. You are unlikely to notice the battery difference when you consider that you can fit this in your combat pant pocket. It also has a headphone socket for on the go listening.
- Does exactly what it needs to
- Extendable antenna
- Simple controls
- No NOAA Channels
- Small 300mAh battery
Smaller and more powerful than the Duronic, and it includes a few other features too. At 5 x2.4 x1.8 inches, it is considerably smaller than any of the others except for the next solar-powered radio. When it is fully charged, the 2000mAh battery will run the radio for 15 hours, which is more than enough for a few days if you do not use it consistently.
You can charge the battery with either a USB cable, solar power, or the manual hand crank. That means that even if you use it for 15 hours, you can charge it pretty quickly. This radio also has access to the NOAA channels, so you are unlikely to miss critical updates. Furthermore, it also has an SOS alarm for use in emergencies.
So, you may be asking yourself if there are any bad points to this. Well, if you are ok with an analog display, then there may not be any negatives; however, you may struggle to see the frequency in the night.
- Large battery
- SOS alarm
- 3-way charging
- No replaceable battery option
Almost identical to the AKRICCSO, this solar-powered radio is the same size, it has the same methods of charging, and also has the NOAA accessibility. So, you may be asking why we even have this item on the list. Well, the reason is simple; it only has a 1000mAh battery. While that sounds like a downside, it makes it lighter than the AKRICCSO by 4.2 ounces. Again, that’s not a lot of weight saving, but if you are carrying it in your pants pocket, you are sure to notice it knocking against your leg less.
- Lightest on the list
- 3-way charging
- Small battery
- Fiddly dials
You should always have a solar radio in your bug-out bag. Which on the list is up to you, but if I had to choose, I would pick the Kaito KA500 or the AKRICCSO any day of the week. Make sure that you know what aspects you want before buying it, and ensure the radio you buy fits all of those points.