The best solar radio is one of the essentials for disaster preparedness. It can help us a lot in terms of giving us information about our surroundings. They also come with an FM radio to keep us entertained.
With a solar radio, we become more prepared by knowing what is happening especially in times of emergencies. As it is also sun-powered, we can still use it even without a power source.
If you are looking for the right solar radio, let us help you find it using these reviews and later a buying guide highlighting the things we need to look for when shopping around.
|Top 1||Top 2||Top 3|
|Preview||FosPower Solar Radio||DaringSnail 088R||Kaito KA500|
|Weight||0.7 Pounds||0.49 Pounds||1.48 Pounds|
|Frequency||108 MHz||–||108 MHz|
|Power Bank||2000 mAh||2000 mAh||600 mAh|
- Top 12 Solar Radio Reviews
- 1. FosPower Emergency Solar Hand Crank Radio
- 2. Running Snail Emergency Hand Crank Solar Radio
- 3. Kaito KA500 Voyager Emergency Radio
- 4. RunningSnail Emergency Radio
- 5. Emergency NOAA Solar Powered Portable Radio
- 6. Crane CC Solar Radio
- 7. Wayl 4000MAh Emergency Weather Radio
- 8. 2019 Upgraded Version RegeMoudal Radio
- 9. CrazyFire Solar Hand Crank NOAA Weather Radio
- 10. YEZRO Solar Crank Emergency Radio
- 11. Midland ER310 Emergency Crank Weather AM/FM Radio
- 12. POVO Hand Crank Self Powered AM/FM Solar Radio
- Why You Should Trust Us
- What Is A Solar Radio And Who This Is For
- How Does It Work
- What Are The Different Types Of Solar Radios
- Advantages And Disadvantages Of Solar Radios
- How We Picked And Tested
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 12 Solar Radio Reviews
1. FosPower Emergency Solar Hand Crank Radio
- Ideal for emergencies and households
- With LED flashlight
- Easy to operate
- Comes with a reading lamp
- Includes a power bank and USB charger
- Some longevity issues
When reading a solar powered radio review, you might have bumped into the FOSPower solar radio. It is one of the top picks in the category for many people that want a reliable and full featured product that they can use anytime.
As it is solar powered, it does not rely on electricity to work. For this reason, it is also ideal for off grid living and recreational vehicles. It is also good for boating and marine applications.
In addition, this radio is also good for emergency and disaster preparedness. Therefore, with it, you will always be ready for whatever may come because you will have a handy and portable radio that is there for you.
I would like to note that this radio comes with a USB charger along with an SOS alarm that makes it even more convenient and functional to use. When comparing various solar radios, you should be looking for those features to ensure that you will be able to use the radio for other purposes other than listening to music or the news.
I would like to recommend this product because it is also an NOAA Weather Radio that you can count on to learn about the latest weather condition. Using it, you will always be informed of what is ahead in the location you are going especially if onboard your RV.
In addition, I am impressed that the item comes with a reading lamp. I think it is a handy feature that adds to the value of this product. Therefore, if you are looking for this added function, you should opt for the FOSPower solar radio.
In addition, this model comes with a power bank, which you can rely on to charge your mobile devices like phones and tablets. Choosing this radio, you will surely be able to take advantage of this added feature. More so, i t comes with a USB charger that makes it more portable.
Finally, I would like to note that it comes with a limited lifetime warranty, which is something to give peace of mind.
2. Running Snail Emergency Hand Crank Solar Radio
- Easy to use
- Portable Power Bank
- Triple Charging Options
- Powerful LED flashlight that lasts 1W longer than others
- Saves up lots of space
- Up to date news on any weather forecast within your area
- No statement of being waterproof
These days, it’s not only cell phones, laptops, and tablets that need a portable charger, so it’s not surprising that a trusty LED flashlight that can also serve as a portable radio also has that function.
Since November has kicked off in a tango of rain and shine, humidity and chills, this hand cranked, portable radio that has been boasted by Amazon among those of its kind for being the “EMERGENCY RADIO” is ideal for people who are always on the go and are afraid of missing out on the latest news over the air.
Not only that, but during the times when Mother Nature seems to be having her mood swings, it is quite handy to keep this portable AM / FM & NOAA radio next to you so you can stay up to date on the latest weather forecast, according to most feedbacks in a solar radio review.
What’s more, this little force of technology can be charged by using a Micro USB cable, or, if there is no electricity in sight, the solar panels will help do the trick, along with a simple hand crank that will help wind the internal battery back into action.
This radio even serves as a flashlight with a powerful LED of 1W that lasts even longer than most would expect, something quite useful when traveling cross country, hiking, camping, or simply having to rush to work while the lights are out or completely absent whether due to a power outage, or a storm.
What I find especially useful and appealing about this little MacGyver box is that it also serves as a 1000 maH power bank. It can even be used to charge your iPhone or Smart Phone without having to bring an adaptor along, which would take up even more space in your bag or sack – whichever you prefer to bring with you; in fact, having a mini portable radio, flashlight and charger rolled into one saves up on space, weight, and unnecessary fuss.
Some of the smaller side benefits that are included for anyone who decides to purchase it will have a little instruction manual, appreciation card, a 12-month warranty, and ever-friendly customer service on hand should the need for assistance ever arise.
This is definitely a multipurpose device to consider purchasing, especially now that the Christmas Holidays are around the corner. When a special occasion is on the horizon and so are much-desired discounts.
3. Kaito KA500 Voyager Emergency Radio
- Different power sources
- Comprehensive radio coverage
- Flashlight and reading lamp
- Can charge phones and other devices
- Quality control issues
The Kaito KA500 Voyager emergency radio is made out of high-quality ABS material. Since it is primarily used for emergencies, the KA500 Voyager is also both impact and water-resistant.
One thing I like about this emergency radio is that it is very versatile and innovative. I really like how the Kaito KA500 Voyager emergency radio can be powered in six ways. First, it can be powered through three AA batteries.
When these batteries go out or when you do not have a spare, you can always also charge the KA500 Voyager via electricity as it has a USB DC output port and a micro USB port. This allows you to charge the NiMH battery pack and ensure that you can still have power even when the power goes out.
In case of power outages and failures, especially during typhoons, hurricanes and other natural disasters, the Katio KA500 Voyager can be charged via solar energy as it comes with its patented and durable solar panel. The solar panel can still charge the radio despite the absence of a battery. Moreover, the panel can be adjusted up to 180 degrees, allowing you to obtain the most optimal angle for the absorption of most solar energy.
If there is no sun or not enough to generate that much energy, the KA500 Voyager also comes with a hand crank so that you can manually generate your own electricity. With this, you can still use the radio and keep up-to-date with the news and other information.
Another thing I like about the KA500 voyager is that it has a comprehensive coverage of AM, FM, shortwave and 7 pre-programmed NOAA weather channels. These channels can be accessed via the 14.5-inched antenna. When you set your device into “alert” mode, it can automatically receive alert signals from the authorities.
The Kaito KA500 Voyager can also work as a power bank for your devices. This way, you can still use them.
Aside from that, this emergency radio also acts as a flashlight and a reading lamp. There is a red blinker as well as an LED light installed in the device.
4. RunningSnail Emergency Radio
- 4 charging modes
- Gives about 4 to 6 hours of radio
- Charge devices
- Act as flashlight or lamp
- SOS alarm
- Quality control issues
The RunningSnail emergency radio is designed to meet a variety of needs in a myriad of emergencies.
What I like about the RunningSnail emergency radio is that it is versatile and practical as it can be powered four ways.
First, you can use three AAA batteries for its initial run.
However, when these batteries run out, the emergency radio gives you the second option of charging it via electricity using the USB port.
In case of power failures and outages, there is also the option of charging it via solar energy as it comes with a solar panel. You can adjust and position this to get the optimal sunlight coverage.
Lastly, the RunningSnail emergency radio can also be charged manually via the hand crank. With this, you can still use your radio and get the latest updates on the news and other information.
The RunningSnail emergency radio also comes with a 2000 mAH rechargeable battery. When this is fully charged using one of the four ways enumerated above, the emergency radio can provide about 4 to 6 hours of radio time.
Moreover, the RunningSnail emergency radio can also be used as a power bank for your cellular phones and other devices. With this, you can stay connected to your loved ones.
Another thing I like about the RunningSnail emergency radio is that it also boasts comprehensive radio coverage, offering you both AM and FM as well as the NOAA weather radio. With this, you are not only updated with the latest news on weather, but you can also keep yourself entertained with the other news channels.
Aside from this, the RunningSnail emergency radio can also provide an emergency light as it comes with a 1W LED light. With this, you can use it as an emergency flashlight or as a reading lamp.
This emergency radio is also installed with an SOS alarm that flashes a red light. This way, you can readily get attention to yourself in case of emergencies.
If the battery is fully charged, the radio can give about 12 to 19 hours of light.
5. Emergency NOAA Solar Powered Portable Radio
- High battery capacity of 4000MAh
- Cute and portable
- 4 charging methods
- 7 NOAA channels
- With an AUX music player
- Long solar charging time for about 25 hours
What I like about this top-quality solar powered radio is its four charging methods. Aside from charging it solar, hand crank and thru USB micro USB cable, it comes with three AAA batteries. With this feature, it assures to provide power anytime and anywhere.
It has also a very high battery capacity of 4000 MAh that can play up to 10 hours of radio when fully charged. These batteries are rechargeable and this item has a big LCD display of battery usage to remind you of recharging if its battery runs low.
Aside from the Emergency Portable Radio’s 4000 MAh high power capacity, it also comes with an SOS bright light that illuminates when power outrages hit hard, and its alarm can catch people’s attention easily making it ideal also for household emergencies.
When fully charged under direct sunlight or natural light for 25 hours, it can provide maximum power of 4000 MAh.
Its hand crank charging method for a minute can also support for 30 minutes of light and 15-20 minutes of radio usage. By cranking for 8 hours, this device can be fully charged. However, it will only take you five hours to charge this item by using its micro USB.
Another great feature of this Solar Radio is its ability to capture seven NOAA channels and not only connected from the nearest national weather service office. With its seven stations, you can get the most recent weather updates for outdoor survival.
This radio can provide weather updates 24/7 from local weather broadcasting stations from 162.40 to 162.55mHz. Its AM frequencies range from 520 to 1710 kHz while for FM ranges from 87-108mHZ.
Another great feature of this emergency solar radio is its ability to provide alarm once it receives disaster information. “Alert” will flash on screen if it receives bad weather updates and the unit alarms.
Running Snail, the producer of this device has been in the industry of producing high quality emergency crank radio for ten years. Its innovation has a provision of charging your android phone in cases of emergencies and comes with a music player.
The AUX music player can be ideal for outdoor activities such as camping and hiking because this item is very light with only 1.1 pounds weight. It is also portable with a dimension of 6.2 x 2.9 x 2.1 inches with great design.
6. Crane CC Solar Radio
- Quality and affordable solar radio
- Includes stations for NOAA, AM and FM
- 1 Year Limited Warranty
- Comes with an AC adapter and cellphone charger
- Hand crank generator
- Some longevity issues
When shopping around for an emergency radio, you should also take a look at the C Crane sun-powered radio. It is a top contender for those who want a functional and reliable radio during emergencies and disasters.
The solar powered emergency radio is your perfect radio companion for emergency and disaster preparedness. It is with AM, FM and NOAA weather stations, keeping you and your family informed all the time. I would like to recommend it because it also gives updates on the latest danger and weather info for your specific area.
In addition, the item is notable for great reception for NOAA weather channels as well as AM or FM radios. I would like to note that it also comes with an audio, which is designed for clarity of voice, making it ideal for sports and news broadcast.
There are also four ways to recharge it, and these include hand crank generator, AC/DC, solar panel and an integrated battery pack. You can also use it with three pieces of AA batteries, which are not included in the purchase.
I would like to recommend it for its design, too. It has a low profile carry handle, offering portability. In addition, it comes with an integrated LED flashlight for emergencies and disasters like storms, power outages, natural disasters and fires.
In addition, if you need a charger, you can also rely on its emergency mobile charger for its included USB port adapter.
Finally, I would like to note that it comes with a one-year limited warranty and include a US-based tech support.
7. Wayl 4000MAh Emergency Weather Radio
- Comes with other functions like reading lamp and LED flashlight
- Energy efficient and quality components
- Portable and lightweight
- Emergency preparedness device
- NOAA weather, AM and FM stations
- Design could be improved
Another product not to miss when looking for a solar radio is the WAYL weather radio. It is a radio that you can depend on all the time for its useful functions and ease of use. This item is loaded with features including a reading lamp and a LED flashlight.
The hand crank emergency radio is also a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts and those living off grid. It is solar powered, so it will not run out of power provided it is charged efficiently.
The Buzz4000 is ideal for use indoors and outdoors and can be relied on for long-term use. You might also want it for a survival gear and emergency kit because it is an essential during disasters and calamities like hurricanes and earthquakes.
I also liked that it can be used for hiking and camping adventures as well as mobile home living. If you love the outdoors, you should definitely consider this item.
In addition, you can use it to charge your mobile device because it has a USB port that you can use in cases of power outages.
More so, this item is made from quality materials that can deal with tough outdoor conditions, giving you more value for your spending. I would like to recommend it to those who also want an easy to operate radio.
8. 2019 Upgraded Version RegeMoudal Radio
- Easy to use
- Additional functions like SOS alarm and power bank
- Quality and affordable
- Four ways to recharge
- Always powered two light sources
- Some issues with the signal from time to time
A solar power radio is useful during times of emergencies like when there is no power supply or in times of disasters. One of the top-tier choices is the item that is a top-rated radio in the category. You might want to check it out if you are looking for a reliable solar radio.
The Emergency Solar Hand Crank Radio is a recommended solar powered radio for its functions like a LED flashlight that adds to its useful features. With it, you can be certain of a light source even if there is power outage.
You can also make use of the reading lamp that comes with the features of this radio. I would like to mention that it also has a 2000MAh Power Bank that you can use for your mobile devices.
In addition, you can have a handy SOS alarm that proves useful in times of need. You might want to check this feature out when shopping around for a portable solar radio.
Choosing the solar radio, you can have a radio that will keep you and your loved ones prepared for emergencies. It offers AM and FM functions along with an NOAA weather alert that keeps you updated of the latest weather conditions.
This solar radio is also rechargeable in four ways, so you will have more choices to keep it powered and useful all the time. I would also like to recommend it because it has two light sources, which are always powered.
9. CrazyFire Solar Hand Crank NOAA Weather Radio
- Three-way charging
- NOAA Weather Alert Radio
- Bright LED flashlight
- Can recharge cellphones
- Cannot multi-function while charging
If you are looking for an emergency radio, this solar hand-crank radio must be perfect for you. This three-way powered hand crank radio can be charged using solar energy and through a USB chord. Aside from USB and solar charging, hand cranking for a minute will provide energy for 10 minutes and 15-20 minutes radio usage.
This device is also equipped with a 1-watt LED flashlight with a maximum output of 120 lumens suitable for different activities in dark conditions such as hiking and camping. Aside from its flashlight and radio functions, it can also charge devices such as cellphones.
Its power bank has a 2,000MAh capacity providing up to 15 hours usage of flashlight or up to 12 hours of radio usage. This 10.4oz emergency radio has also an alarm in case of an emergency. This alarm turns on by pressing for 5 seconds its flashlight button.
The Crazy Fire Solar Hand Crank NOAA Weather Radio has an AM and FM functions with a frequency ranging from 520 to 1710 kHz for AM and 87 to 108 MHz for FM.
This is also a NOAA Weather alert radio that keeps broadcasting nationwide network on weather information. It is directly connected to the nearest national weather service office in your area so you could monitor the condition especially in times of natural calamities.
It is really an advantage to tune-in to a reliable source of news if the weather condition is not good. By listening to this NOAA radio, you can assure the security of your loved ones by being prepared to any possible damages a hurricane or storm may cause your properties and the people within your area.
It is very economical to choose this device with its three-way function. The portability of this product with a dimension of only 6” x 3.4” x 2.5” is an advantage too as well as its waterproof level of IPX3.
10. YEZRO Solar Crank Emergency Radio
- Nice and sleek design
- Different ways to recharge
- Lightweight and portable for use anywhere
- Ideal for mobile homes and off grid living
- Easy to operate and comes with power bank
- Some issues with signals from time to time
YEZRO is a trusted brand for solar radios through the years because it is reliable and committed to offer quality and long-lasting solar radios to its customers. One of its best offerings is the emergency radio that is with AM, FM and NOAA stations.
One of the things I liked about this radio is its SOS alarm and flashlight. Both these features are essentials during disasters and emergencies. Having them, we can have a handy companion when we need to send SOS alarm and use a flashlight like in times of power outages.
In addition, I would like to note that it comes with a power bank, which is valuable when outdoors. With it, we can recharge our mobile device, including cellular phones and tablets. We can also have peace of mind that we can stay connected with the world for keeping these devices charged.
More so, I would recommend this product to those who would like their radio to have a function for a USB phone charger. Having it around, you can also recharge your mobile devices if you would like to use a phone charger.
In addition, the item is perfect for home use as well. It does not consume additional power, so it can be moneysaving, too.
More so, this item comes with an MP3 PLAYER that you will also appreciate if you love music.
11. Midland ER310 Emergency Crank Weather AM/FM Radio
- With NOAA weather scan plus alert to automatically scan and search for the clearest reception of radio channel during bad weather
- Three recharging options (solar panel, hand crank or by its rechargeable 2600 MAh battery)
- Can charge gadgets like cellphone through a USB port
- Emergency flashlight that can deliver Morse Code
- With ultrasonic dog whistle
- Incapable of recharging through its solar panel on cloudy days
Stay connected to the latest news and updates whether you are in your bedroom or out camping from a remote location. The Midland ER310 Emergency Crank Weather AM/FM Radio is something valuable in times of crisis such as during power interruption or inclement weather conditions.
I understand that we are now in the time that everybody seems to be so dependent to internet and mobile phones. What about when these suddenly lose connection or battery especially during bad weather?
A good solution is to keep in your emergency kit a dependable radio like the Midland ER310 Emergency Crank Weather AM/FM Radio. In times of strong storms, massive flooding and power interruption, you surely want to stay updated of the latest news.
It has a special feature called NOAA weather scan plus alert so it can automatically scan and search for the clearest reception of radio channel. This is an advantage during typhoons as it also gives a signal if you are in an area with higher risk of danger.
l like that this solar powered portable radio is reliable in times of blackout. You can charge it in three ways. It can be recharged through solar panel, hand crank or by its rechargeable 2600 MAh battery.
If you want free power supply, just simply expose its internal lithium ion battery under the sunlight so it can store clean and cost efficient energy for emergency needs.
Meanwhile, its 2600 MAh Battery is also a good alternative power supply. A rechargeable and replaceable cell can perform radio operation for 32 hours.
My favorite part about this item is that while it is chargeable, it also has a function where you can charge other gadgets like your cellphone through its USB port.
In case the user is in danger, he can use this device by turning on its emergency flashlight. It is not your ordinary lighting device because the said 130 lumens LED Bright Cree light can deliver Morse Code to call for help.
Not just that, the Midland ER310 Emergency Crank Weather AM/FM Radio has an ultrasonic dog whistle so rescue operations for casualties can be easier in times of emergency.
12. POVO Hand Crank Self Powered AM/FM Solar Radio
- Helps maintain communication via NOAA stations that can capture clear signal from various weather forecast channels 24/7.
- Four recharging options (hand crank, solar panel, AAA battery and USB powered)
- With LED Flashlight, USB port for charging gadgets, music player and SOS alarm
- Light weighted and portable
- With 30-day money back and a lifetime warranty
- No product description if this item is waterproof
One of the smartest ways to prepare for various weather disturbances is to invest for a reliable emergency radio. If you are looking for a good quality radio, try to check the one made by POVO. Learn here how necessary it is to be included in your emergency kit essentials.
Communication is vital in times of crisis cause by calamities. It helps you to be ready and alert you on what actions to be taken for survival. The POVO Emergency Radio Hand Crank Self Powered AM/FM is something that will keep you alive as it maintains good communication channel and helps you monitor the weather conditions.
I appreciate that it has a NOAA stations that can capture clear signal from various weather forecast channels 24/7 to keep the user updated of the news.
Aside from that, this device also boasts that it can scan frequencies of local AB/AM/FM. Its long antenna and adjustable volume do the tricks so it can get the top-tier reception and sound quality.
Further, if you read the product description, I think you will instantly agree with me that the POVO solar emergency radio is slim and can be easily carried in case you need to evacuate on a safer place before a hurricane or super typhoon arrives. It only weighs 9.9 ounce so it is really portable.
Its function does not end on sending the user the latest weather updates. This device also have LED flashlight that can be zoomed so it allows you to maintain visibility during blackout. Moreover, it has a louder SOS alarm to capture help in times of emergencies.
In addition, in case you get bored, it has a music player to play your favorite melody. No problem also if you run-out of battery charge on your cellphone, the POVO Emergency Radio Hand Crank Self Powered AM/FM has a built-in USB port.
I am impressed also that the POVO Emergency Radio can be charged through four options unlike the other brands. The user can regain its power through hand crank, solar panel, AAA battery and USB powered.
Said items also come in a gift-wrap so it is also a good present idea for a loved one.
POVO also valued the loyalty of their customers; hence, they offer 30-day money back guarantee and a lifetime warranty in case the client is not satisfied.
Why You Should Trust Us
You should trust CleanEnergySummit.org when finding solar powered weather radio and sun-powered radios in general because we are here to share what we know and that we are passionate about helping you pick the top-rated clean energy products that you can use for a longer time.
Our team has made a thorough review of the top picks so that we can help you make a better decision later. With us, you are sure to compare the product better by knowing what makes each of them special.
Choosing our team, you will be able to use an AM/FM radio that will make you feel satisfied with your purchase. One of the reasons is that we spent time and effort in considering the factors that we need to look into when weighing our options. By doing so, we are able to pick the products that match your special qualities or criteria.
Once done picking the most suitable choices, we conducted reviews that will help you figure out what solar radio is fit for your needs and style. Using our reviews and buying guide, you can make an informed decision that will give you satisfaction.
We do hope you will be able to find your perfect solar radio by using our buying guide. Buy one today!
What Is A Solar Radio And Who This Is For
Like all things solar, the solar-powered radio operates on solar energy. It is basically the typical radio having a different power source: the sun.
Through the panels, this solar energy is converted to electricity that is responsible for powering up the radio. As such, how long the radio operates depends on the charge it got from the sun.
The very first model was made in the 1950s by the company, General Electric. What began as an experiment quickly evolved and turned into an important innovation.
Using the sun’s energy, this solar AM FM radio eliminates the need for batteries and/or plugging it into a power source.
Because of this, the solar-powered radio has indeed, became quite popular, especially among areas that are prone to power failures and outages. With this, people can still obtain information via the radio despite having no electricity.
Moreover, as there are no wires required or plugging necessary, the solar-powered radio can be used anywhere. This is perfect especially for those who are constantly travelling or for the avid fans of outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, and the like.
The solar-powered radio is also ideal for those looking for eco-friendly alternatives. Aside from reducing one’s carbon footprint, it also helps in saving electricity and household bills.
Aside from that, solar-powered radios are also recommended for those living off the grid or are planning to. The solar-powered radio generates its own electricity via solar energy. In other words, it can be charged on its own. Thus, one can definitely conserve and save on the electricity stored in the battery bank of one’s solar system.
How Does It Work
In a solar-powered radio, there are two ways to collect and obtain solar energy.
The first way is what most solar-powered devices usually used and generally, what people are used to. Here, the solar-powered radio is equipped with PV panels that collect and absorb sunlight.
The sunlight then goes to semiconductors that are connected to two contact points. Once photons, or light particles, enter the semiconductors, these then quickly remove the electrons in their atoms. In other words, solar energy is transformed and converted into electricity. Electricity then courses through the device, powering it up.
The second method is generally not preferred since it cannot really sustain in running the radio. This approach espouses the same principle used in running solar ovens. Here, solar energy is collected by metal reflectors, panels, mirrors and other reflective surfaces.
These reflective surfaces then direct the sunlight into an insulated box that in turn, generates heat. This heat powers a turbine in order to produce electricity.
Despite the differences, these two methods both rely on solar power. As such, how long the radios will last depend on the charge they got.
There are also some models of a solar powered am FM radio that comes with batteries. After the electricity has been generated, there are some that goes into powering your device. The other half then goes to the battery for storage.
This way, one can still use the solar radio even during nighttime. It is also beneficial during winters, storms, or in days when there is barely any sun.
What Are The Different Types Of Solar Radios
Solar-powered radios are certainly popular due to the numerous benefits they offer. As such, there are a lot of versions and types in the market.
Solar-powered radios can be differed based on two factors: method of collecting solar power and power sources.
First, solar-powered radios differ on the method or way of collecting and storing solar energy.
The first type uses solar panels to absorb and collect solar energy. The light particles or photons are then transmitted into semiconductors that are connected into two crucial contact points.
When the semiconductors receive the photons, they then remove the electrons present in the atoms. With this, the solar energy is then transformed into electricity.
The second type relies on heat to generate electricity. Here, the solar radio is equipped with mirrors, metal reflectors, panels and other reflectors in order to reflect and refract sunlight into an insulated box.
After that, heat is then generated which is used to power a turbine found inside the device. The turbine then generates electricity that is used to power the solar radio.
Despite their differences, both of these types rely on solar energy in order for the radio to work. How long the radios will work depends on the solar power it stored and is charged with. There are also some versions of these types that come with a battery.
The battery then stores excess electricity generated. As such, you can still use your radio during overcast days, storms, typhoons, days that do not generate a lot of solar power. Batteries are also useful during winters and for nighttime usage.
Second, solar-powered radios also differ on their power sources.
There are versions that purely rely on solar power. However, these models are not effective during overcast days, storms, as well as during winters.
Some versions can be charged via solar energy and via electricity through a USB cable. With the USB cable, you can still use the solar radio during overcast days. However, it might not be preferred for those looking to save on their electricity bills and for those who do not have a stable electricity source.
There are also some versions that come with a hand crank. Most users generally prefer this version. When the weather is less than ideal, you can always opt to use the hand crank to generate small amounts of electricity. However, the downside is that it can get a bit tiring.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Solar Radios
A solar-powered radio is the typical radio that collects and converts solar energy in order for it to generate electricity. How long the radio will last depends on the charge it got on that day.
However, while the solar-powered radio is certainly useful, like all devices, it has its own fair share of advantages and disadvantages.
Knowing these is essential for a buyer to know what to expect from their device and thus, increase overall customer satisfaction. With this information, they will also be able to weigh down on whether the device can suit their needs or not.
Due to its reliance on the sun, the solar-powered radio eliminates the need for using batteries, and other fossil fuels. It is not only that, but you also eliminate the use of electricity. Thus, you can do your part in alleviating and helping in conserving the environment.
Solar energy is also a clean energy source, meaning it does not produce any type of pollution nor does it harm the environment. With the solar-powered radio, you can reduce your carbon footprint little by little.
Solar energy is a free and abundant source. With the solar-powered radio, you reduce your electricity consumption and as such, help save up on your electricity bills and other household expenses.
Moreover, since solar energy is free, you would not have to worry about using the device long enough. As long as the sun is shining, the solar-powered radio can be recharged repeatedly.
Like all solar devices, solar-powered radios are also reliable. For one, the sun always rises every morning and gives off solar energy, even during cloudy/ rainy days. With this, you are assured that you can always use and charge your device.
Aside from that, solar-powered radios are simple and do not really have many mechanical parts. Thus, they do not break down easily unlike their electrical or battery-operated counterparts. In fact, they can even last longer and are sturdier.
Also, since it has fewer mechanical parts, solar-powered radios are also low-maintenance. You do not really need to check on it. You just need to clean it for a few times and maybe replace some batteries, if your unit has one, but that is it.
Great for those in remote areas and emergencies
Solar-powered radio are great for those living in remote areas where there is limited access to fuel and power. In these areas, radios are usually the only source of news and information. As such, since you only need the sun, you can still keep up-to-date with the latest news with your radio.
Solar-powered radios are also handy during emergencies such as power outages or failures, storms, typhoons and the like. During these times, there is hardly any electricity to power on devices. With the solar-powered radio, you can still receive news and other information since it only needs the sun to power on.
Unlike the early versions, today’s solar-powered radios are small and compact. Thus, they are not a hassle to take anywhere.
As such, these are perfect for those who are constantly travelling or those who frequently camp hike and engage in other outdoor activities.
Reliance on the sun
Like all solar devices, solar-powered radios need an ample amount of sunlight to function. As such, it might not be useful during winters or at nighttime, except when your unit comes with its own batteries.
It is also not useful during overcast days, storms and the like and for those living in colder climates. While there may still be sunlight, it might not be enough to power up and sustain the radio.
How We Picked And Tested
Solar-powered radios are a great way to conserve the Earth’s resources and save on electricity. Due to their design, solar-powered radios are usually used for emergencies, those who frequently travel or engage in outdoor activities or for those who live in remote areas and places.
With its numerous benefits, solar-powered radios are certainly popular. As such, there are a lot of styles and types available in the market that can make choosing one a bit daunting and overwhelming.
The best solar radio hinges on how well it can suit your needs. Thus, it mostly depends on you. However, there are a few key factors you need to remember when shopping. This article will highlight such elements.
Charge Time and Life
A good rule of thumb is to look for a solar radio that can last long and charge fast. As such, consider one that has multiple power sources. There are some models that are solar-powered but that also come with batteries, or they can be charged via USB. There are also hand cranks which relies on the effort you put it.
With these extra power sources, you can definitely use your solar radio for a longer period of time. Moreover, this makes the device more reliable as there are situations where the sun is absent.
It is recommended to get a model that comes with battery. That way, it can store some electricity to use in cases where the solar power is not enough.
Solar radios should also be durable and sturdy as there are some people who use them for emergencies or bring them with them during outdoor activities.
Look for a model that is at least waterproof. This way, you are assured that your unit can at least withstand water, rain and storms.
It is also recommended to purchase one that is shockproof or at least resistant. This way, you would not have to worry about bumping the device or it falls.
Logos and certifications
One thing to ensure that your solar radio is indeed durable is to check the various logos and certifications on your device.
Check its IP-rating and other pertinent logos. For those who want to use the radio for emergency purposes, look for the All Hazards or Public Alert logo. With this, your radio is approved and is expected to receive alerts during emergencies.
Of course, one of the most important factors you need to consider is the volume of your radio. This element, however, is more of a preference and usually depends on what you will use it for.
For general, everyday use, you do not really have to purchase one that is incredibly loud. Just find one that can generate a decent amount of volume. If you want, you can also purchase one that has an AUX port. That way, you can use your earphones if you like.
Size and Weight
Again, this factor is usually more of a preference and depends on how you will be using the device. For one, consider if you would like to carry it with you anywhere or if you just want it at home.
For those who are frequent travelers or those planning to use it during emergencies, then a smaller and lightweight radio is recommended. That way, it would not be too much a hassle in carrying it.
Otherwise, if you just want the radio to be at your home, then you can buy the bigger and bulkier versions. These tend to be more durable and offer more features.
Solar radios are generally used to obtain news and other information. However, there are some versions that offer than that. Choosing to purchase one that comes with different features is a matter of choice.
There are solar radios that have different power sources, act as a power bank and come with hand cranks. There are also versions that give you the option of using headphones or speakers. Another version features a flashlight that is perfect for those who want to use the radio during emergencies.
If you are thinking of purchasing a model that offers different features, opt for one that has different power sources aside from solar power. It is also useful to buy one that comes with batteries or one that has a hand crank. It is also useful to purchase a unit that can charge your phone.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you make a solar radio?
Making a solar powered shortwave radio is easier than most people think. You only need an old or rarely used battery-operated radio, preferably made with a waterproof casing, to form the project’s foundation.
We must emphasize “battery-operated” because solar systems produce DC electricity. You could use an electric radio, but it will require an additional inverter to transform DC power into AC energy.
Making a radio with solar panel requires correlating the solar panel’s energy output with the radio’s power requirements, or at least close to it.
For example, if the radio requires 6.0 DC volts (four 1.5V AA batteries), your solar panel must deliver at least six volts. Alternatively, a 4.0 or 4.5-volt solar panel from a solar light will suffice.
You will also need at least 800mAh NiMH or lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, electrical wirings, solder and soldering iron, and a BAT43 Schottky diode to complete the solar powered waterproof radio.
Making a solar powered ham radio requires preparing the repurposed solar panel and connecting its wires to the old radio’s power terminals. Next, secure the blocking diode and the solar panel before final assembly.
Is a solar shortwave good for emergencies?
Yes, a solar shortwave radio is perfect for emergencies because most transmissions in such events use shortwave frequencies, including emergency alerts and NOAA weather access. Natural and man-made disasters can destroy power and telecommunications infrastructure, rendering conventional radios useless.
A solar crank radio is also excellent for emergencies because it does not require batteries. The system transforms mechanical energy (hand cranking the radio) into electrical power to receive emergency weather updates and disaster-related news.
Solar-powered shortwave radios with an integrated hand crank mechanism are the top-rated during emergencies because they do not rely on electricity. Even in stormy weather, the crank system enables people to listen to crucial warnings, alerts, and updates.
Some solar shortwave and hand-cranked radios can also serve as a flashlight and phone charger, allowing users to illuminate their surroundings and boost communication lines. These solar charger radio units are indispensable in emergencies.
Can I just use my phone instead of a solar radio?
Yes, you can. For example, you can turn the phone into a solar powered FM radio for cars with a few tweaks, allowing you to enjoy radio streaming services.
In addition, some smartphone apps also empower users to transform their devices into ham radios or walkie-talkies, such as X-TALK. Motorola’s WAVE PTX is another app that converts smartphones into two-way radios.
However, even with these apps that give your phone traditional radio features, they will be pointless without power supply. For example, natural calamities can topple electric posts and put a location in a blackout. And a fully drained phone battery won’t be able to function as a radio.
On the other hand, a waterproof solar powered radio can continue entertaining, informing, and alerting you amidst power failures and non-functioning telecommunications infrastructure. You do not need batteries, making this radio type indispensable for outdoor enthusiasts, off-grid families, and emergency responders.
The advantage of turning your smartphone into a solar radio is it already has Bluetooth functionality for effortless connectivity. The phone can also be charged with USB port, which is considerably faster than using solar energy.
What are the most trusted solar radio brands?
While there are undoubtedly an unlimited number of brands for a solar radio, not all of them can give you the satisfaction you are looking for because they are not reliable. You might want to check out FosPower, RunningSnail and RegeMoudal.
These are popular and trusted solar radio brands that you can count on. For the rest, you can check out our featured reviews.
Are solar radios waterproof?
Not all solar radios are a waterproof solar radio that is why you have to compare and weigh your options well. Being waterproof, you can have peace of mind that they are tough to handle rough outdoor conditions. So when shopping around for one, you should check for this feature.
How long does a solar radio last after it is fully charged?
There is no specific answer to this question. We cannot tell for all solar radios. It depends from one manufacturer to another. You have to check on this feature when weighing your options for a portable solar radio.
What is the warranty?
Some items are with a one-year warranty while others have a limited lifetime warranty. Nevertheless, you need to check on the specifications or contact the manufacturer for info. You can also call them directly or visit their website.
What are the most trusted places to buy?
Just like a solar radio charger that you can buy in clean energy stores, you can also get solar radios in these places and more. However, if you want to get top-tier deals and affordable prices, you might want to check out Amazon, the largest online marketplace for solar radios.
How to install and use?
You operate and use a solar radio just as you do with your ordinary radio. There is no need to install or assemble because it comes ready to use out of the box. You can also use it as per instructions from the manufacturer.
How to care & maintain?
There are no special care and maintenance instructions for these solar radios. Most of them are designed and built for the rough outdoors. They are made from heavy-duty components, so they can last for years without maintenance. Just take care of it based on manufacturer instructions, and you are good.
A solar radio is an emergency essential because it can work even during power outage provided it is charged. It is also with AM, FM and NOAA weather stations that can keep your family entertained and informed.
In addition, if you are living off the grid, the solar radio is useful because it does not need a power outlet to operate. In addition, it is handy during disasters and calamities, including hurricanes and earthquakes.
Nevertheless, the solar radio is a valuable device that is always ready to serve for years provided you take care of it and use it properly.
To choose the best solar radio, refer to our buying guide and top picks reviews to buy your sun-powered radio today!
Hi, I am Eddie, Cleanenergysummit’s content editor. It’s so much joy to work alongside Justin, as the idea of providing knowledge about using clean energy excites us.
I’ve been working to address any concerns or questions you may have as you transition to using solar electricity to power your home. Tune in to hear our advice and suggestions on anything clean energy. Welcome!