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Best Emergency Radio - Eton Red Cross MicroLink FR 160 Review

Updated on November 6, 2011

Part of why I write is because I want to help people who don’t have the time or energy to spend days, weeks or months researching products or ideas to see if they will work for them. When I get focused on a topic, I tend to spend weeks researching it, which allows me to pass my findings on to you. This time, I have found the best emergency radio.

In another article, I mentioned that the Red Cross MicroLink Emergency Radio from Eton is a critical item that should be in every home. In addition to being a weather radio, it is also an AM/FM radio, flashlight and cell phone charger. And best of all, it has no batteries, it is self powered (sort of), getting power from either the hand crank or the solar array on top. Add to it the low price point, all taken together, this is the best emergency weather radio out there.

Why Do I Need an Emergency Radio?

Most emergencies, either short or long term, are weather related. Look at Hurricane Katrina, the rash of tornadoes in 2011, or the ever-worsening snow and ice storms that can leave a region without power for days, even weeks.

An emergency radio is not a communication device. Rather, it is a way for the government to communicate with you. A good emergency radio must have access to the NOAA weather band spectrum, which will keep you up to date on the status of weather or civil emergencies. It will let you know if more severe weather, like tornadoes or blizzards are on the way, or if it is all clear.

Why is the Red Cross Eton MicroLink the Best Emergency Radio?

First off, when I say that this radio is the best, I am saying it is the best for the average consumer who is most interested in making a quick and easy purchase to get the most bang for your buck. If you want to spend a hundred bucks or more, you could likely find a better radio that does more, but who wants to devote that amount of research time, and that type of money?

The MicroLink radio is the best because it is very affordable, has many features and uses, is compact, and does not rely on batteries or electricity.

At around $30, this radio is slightly more expensive than many of the cheap options, but way more affordable than the giant behemoths that I would not want around my house. I already have enough stuff taking up room.

As far as features, the MIcroLink FR 160R has a hand crank for power, a solar array on the top for easy charging, a 7-band NOAA weather radio, an AM/FM radio, a powerful LED flashlight, a strong antenna, and a USB port for charging most cell phones (NOTE: some customers report that an iPhone or iPod should not be used with the Eton MicroLink for risk of damage, so you should use caution here. Might be best to find a throwaway phone with a USB cord that can be used for emergencies only).

This one device can help you find your way around a dark house, or worse yet, a dark and destroyed house. It can keep you in contact with your friends and family, as well as emergency responders, and links you to valuable and lifesaving information via the NOAA weather band. And best of all, you can pack it away in your emergency kit and forget about it since it does not rely on batteries. The peace of mind from knowing that this light and radio will fire up right away after a minute or less of cranking is worth the price alone.

From dead to bright in 30 seconds of cranking. Image shown to demonstrate size of unt.
From dead to bright in 30 seconds of cranking. Image shown to demonstrate size of unt. | Source

Conclusion - I hope I was able to provide you with a recommendation on a purchase that is well worth the money. For the price, you can get one for your home, and one for each vehicle. Of course you can find fancier radios that have more gadgets, but those are simply more things to go wrong in an emergency.

The Eton MicroLink FR 160 is well built, easy to use, and best of all, easy to tuck away without worry for your next weather emergency. If you buy just one item to prepare for an extended emergency, make this it.


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    • marriedwithdebt profile image

      marriedwithdebt 6 years ago from Illinois

      Hey Adam, thanks for reading. Yeah, this device is great. I'd recommend it to anyone.

    • Fortadam profile image

      Fortadam 6 years ago from Portland Oregon

      This is like the Swiss army knife of electronic gadgetry! I think it will come in very handy when the zombie apocolypse hits later this year in 2012 ;). Great find