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The Advantages of Hand-Crank Radios

Updated on March 10, 2014

The Advantages of Hand-Crank Radios

Do you live in a desert or isolated area [maybe rural] where electricity is rare? Do you live in an area that is prone to floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, or power shortages? If this is the case with you, then purchasing a crank radio could be just what you are looking for.

There is nothing worse than not being able to tune-in to get that vital information the way you would normally do, because of a power shortage. This is especially so if you happen to live in a rural or desert area. You would be desperate for information about your area, and what is about to hit. And so, this is where crank radios can be worth their weight in gold.

Not having available any mains electrical power supply in order to listen to news about an incoming storm or whatever emergency it happens to be, could leave you in deep trouble. Crank radios come into their own in this respect. The mere name should tell you that many people use them as an alternative power source - a power source that can literally save lives.

Furthermore, a few years back, there were many crank radios that were shipped out to areas in the Third World. These were areas in which people had no access to electricity at all. So, as you can imagine, it was hard for governments and the authorities to pass on the message of potential life-saving information, if they could not get that message out to the people.

I well remember, back in 1991, watching the news with fascination as the first shipment of crank radios were given to some of the people in parts of Africa. For many of them it was the first time they had ever seen, let alone listened to a radio before. But the happiness these radios brought back then was incalculable. African governments were then able to get vital information out to their people just by the use of the crank radios.

When crank radios first made their appearance, in 1991, they were the very basic models. This meant that they had no early warning weather systems - like the present day crank radios have. Nor did they have a display or solar panel. And they certainly never had any USB connections. They never had in-built flashlights either. They were simply the basic models, yet they worked. And the people who received them were happy to receive them.

If you find yourself with no electrical power, because of a shortage, you cannot then switch on your television, or charge your phone, or turn on the radio you would normally use. You cannot do anything but wait in frustration. But if you had a crank radio, which comes with its own built-in power supply - you would be ready for any eventuality.

I have featured the crank radios here that I feel you may be interested in. They are nothing like their early cousins because the modern-day crank radio, all have a display panel, giving you readable information, they also have early warning LED lights that can tell you when bad weather is about to come in. Furthermore, they can work on three frequencies, AM/FM/ and SHORTWAVE.

They come with their own built-in USB ports too, enabling you to charge more than one mobile device at a time. And finally, the vast majority of crank radios now come with their own solar panels. So, as you can see, crank radios have come a long way since their invention by the English inventor,Trevor Baylis in 1991. However, their main premise has remained the same. to serve during an emergency - which is what Mr Baylis invented them for in the first place.

The Advantages of Hand-Crank Radios

Eton FRX3 Hand Crank Charger
Eton FRX3 Hand Crank Charger

The advantages of purchasing a hand-crank radio may not seem obvious at first. You may think, why buy a crank radio, when a battery-driven radio would do just as good? However, there are advantages you may not have thought about when thinking about buying this type of radio. And the advantages could mean the difference between life and death.

If there is a power shortage, then this type of radio can come in very handy - especially if you are nowhere near a mains socket - or if you do not have any batteries available for your other radio you may have. Furthermore, power shortages also mean you cannot use your computer, television or charge your mobile devices either.

A hand-crank radio beats all of those problems by providing you with an alternative source of power. They will also provide you with the information you need, when you need it - in reference to weather conditions and any other emergency. For an alternative emergency power source, you cannot beat hand-crank radios.

topAlert Emergency Solar Hand Crank Dynamo AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio, Flashlight, Reading LED Light, Cell Phone Charger w/ USB adaptor
topAlert Emergency Solar Hand Crank Dynamo AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio, Flashlight, Reading LED Light, Cell Phone Charger w/ USB adaptor

Comes with built-in flashlight LED weather warning lights, and will also charge your phone. Comes with USB Adapter.

La Crosse Technology 810-106 NOAA/AM/FM Severe Weather Alert Radio with Solar
La Crosse Technology 810-106 NOAA/AM/FM Severe Weather Alert Radio with Solar

Really good radio this one, for the price. You get a blue back-light which changes to red during weather alerts. You also get a mini USB slot for your mobile devices. and a built-in flashlight.

Dynamo Solar and Crank Emergency Radio, 2-Tone Green White
Dynamo Solar and Crank Emergency Radio, 2-Tone Green White

For the price you are getting a bargain here. It not only charges by crank handle, but by solar power too. An emergency radio that will do the job.

Emergency Crank Radio Power Generator
Emergency Crank Radio Power Generator

The Advantage of Hand-Crank Radios

If you happen to live in a part of the world which suffers with hurricanes, earthquakes floods etc - or if you are just someone who likes to travel the countryside - then a crank radio could be just what you are looking for. Crank radios work, and are an alternative source of power. They work by 'cranking' or 'turning' the handle - like a wind-up mechanism. Most crank radios will give you at least 30 minutes of airtime before they need winding again.

But this is more than enough time to hear the information you need to hear. Many crank radios now, come with their own AC power supply - so you can charge them through the mains power point before you leave your home. Not only that, but many have solar panels too, and USB connections. This means that you can charge your mobile devices in many ways, either through solar power - using the crank radio - USB, and also AC [if you are near a mains outlet].

I myself have one of these radios, and the reception is crystal clear. Because of the area I live however, I didn't really need this type of radio, as I am nearly always near an electric power supply, plus, I carry a solar charger around with me anyway.

But for those people who live in isolated areas, like the countryside, or desert areas - with a lack of a power supply - then the crank radio could be just what you are looking for. These wonderful radios can literally mean the difference between life and death.

Because without an electric power supply you are without the vital information you need if an emergency does occur. This can be crucial when you need to know what is going on about any on-coming danger within your area. Of course even people who live within the big cities will find their crank radios extremely useful - in the event of power shortages and lack of light. Most crank radios now come with a standard built-in flashlight anyway.

The great thing about crank radios is the fact that nearly all of them have a weather- warning system installed. This could be a series of LED lights which light up to warn you when bad weather is arriving. Many crank radios also tune into the NOAA Weather Station. Again, this is extremely useful, as you can imagine, giving you updates of changing weather conditions.

These radios used to be the standard 'crank' and nothing else. Now, they come with not just the crank handle, but a built-in flashlight, USB connections and solar panels too. This means you can recharge your mobile devices straight from the crank radio using the USB connections or the solar panel. The radio is charged by either the mains outlet,, the solar panel, or by 'cranking' [turning] the handle.

Of course, this is with the exception of the $15 Solar and Hand Crank Emergency Radio, which is featured in the video below. This radio is a basic model without a display screen. But if that is all you are looking for, then this radio is a fantastic buy.

As more and more people are going out and exploring the world we live in, crank radios are becoming an essential 'must have' emergency item, for an alternative emergency power supply.

$15 Dollar Solar and Hand-Crank Emergency Radio

This is a great clip about the Solar & Hand Crank Emergency Radio. For the price it is, you are getting a great piece of kit here.

The Advantage of Hand-Crank Radios

A short video on the merits of crank radios.

A Series of Crank Radio Images

Click thumbnail to view full-size

The Advantages of Hand-Crank Radios

Midland Hand-Crank Radio
Midland Hand-Crank Radio

Crank Radios have become the essential 'must have' emergency item right now. They are invaluable for when there is no other source of electrical power. With no power there is no news and therefore you are isolated if there is ever an emergency. This is especially so if you live in an area which is prone to earthquakes, hurricanes, floods or other extreme natural weather conditions.

If you are the type of person that likes to go exploring, then taking with you a crank radio might be the best decision you could ever make. Because you just never know when an emergency will hit you. You need information fast, and you are nowhere near a power source, crank radios are the answer. When you are considering purchasing a crank radio, consider one that has the NOAA Weather Service available.

This type of radio, like the one pictured, will give you one way information about all weather conditions. NOAA is a series of radio stations that are based nationwide. They will give you continuous broadcasts of weather information from the nearest National Weather Service office. Like nearly all crank radios, they can be charged using the crank handle, or the solar panel. However, many come with a mains socket too. So what some people tend to do is to charge them through the mains socket before they leave their home - if they are travelling.

With hand-crank radios being your only alternative source of power - if you are nowhere near a mains outlet, and if you do not have a battery-powered radio - they have become an essential part of anyone's survival kit. Winding the handle will give you at least 30 minutes of airtime. From then on you can tune into your local radio stations to get those all-important weather reports. Many crank radios have short wave channels now - to provide you with the information you need.

Short wave frequency gives you a more 'localized' view of just what is going on. And, as I have stated, most crank radios have this frequency along with AM/FM too. Crank radios are your personal electronic emergency kit, all rolled into one. You get a built-in flashlight and even a bottle opener too, with all but the basic models.

You also get a USB connection to enable you to connect your mobile devices, such as phones, tablets, etc. And furthermore, the vast majority of crank radios now come with solar panels - so this means there are different ways to charge your mobile devices while listening to the information you need. There are many crank radios that also have a large visual display in which you can read about changing weather conditions too. The basic models, however, do not have the display panel.

I myself have no need for a crank radio, but I do own one anyway. I like their ability to work just by the mere turning of the crank. I also love the fact that crank machinations seem to be making a comeback. albeit a slow one. There is no doubt in my mind however, that crank radios are an essential 'must have' emergency item. And they are well worth more than what you may pay for one, if an emergency does happen to strike. Indeed, they could very well save your life.

The Advantages of Hand-Crank Radios

The advantages of hand-crank radios are:

An alternative emergency power source

Can work without batteries

Built-in flashlight

Solar panel

USB Charger

Small, rugged and compact

Can tune into AM/FM/Shortwave

NOAA Weather Station Access

Eton Scorpion Solar Crank Radio

Eton Scorpion Solar Crank Radio
Eton Scorpion Solar Crank Radio

This hand-crank radio has everything you could wish for when you are out and about in the countryside. For a start, it is rugged, and can be powered up using the crank handle or the solar panel. It comes with a built-in flashlight - which is an LED torch, a bottle opener, and a USB socket for your mobile device. With AM/FM/Shortwave bands this has everything I myself would want if I was out in the wilderness. This radio, would be an essential item to add to your survival kit, if ever there was an emergency.

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    • wleon63 profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      @flycatcherrr: As I mentioned within my article my friend, they are a great source of alternative power for when you are nowhere near a mains outlet. I wish to thank you for 'liking' my lens. Truly appreciate your time.

    • flycatcherrr profile image


      4 years ago

      I have a radio that has both a hand-crank and a solar panel, so one way or another I can hear news bulletins when the power goes out. I also take it out to the garden with me, sometimes, just to listen to the radio as I work.


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