We've been looking for a tough and reliable emergency weather alert radio, and the Midland is it. It is super solidly built, and has lots of features, including a hand crank and a flashlight. But most essentially it tunes into the Hazard Alert network from the NOAA.
Midland Emergency Weather Radio
WHERE TO BUY
Bottom line: Severe weather alerts! This is how you'll get them early. A radio is also how you'll get news about the outside world when your cellphone (and everything else on the electrical grid) goes down. Midland products tune into the Hazard Alert broadcasts from NOAA and the National Weather Service to get you local alerts on weather early. Damn important.
Recommended for: Home and away shelters. ALSO, the smaller compact unit is ideal for go bags.
Midland, a venerable and trusted CB radio company since the 1950s, also produces emergency weather radios. The handcrank versions come in two sizes: The compact model is best for go bags. The ER300 is slightly larger, with a fixed handle to hold on to. Critically, it is solid and continues to work even when dropped, which we did several times in our testing.
It tunes into NOAA weather alerts, and also has FM and AM bands. You can power it in a variety of ways: There's a rechargeable battery included (plug it into a wall); it works with AA batteries; and can also be charged via an attached solar strip and by a handrcrank. You can even recharge a cell phone using the unit. Laslty, it's got an included flashlight.
This is easily the best unit we've found. You should have one of these in your home(s). Get it out, play with it, learn to use it.