Wind-Up & Dynamo Radio Buyer’s Guide

Dynamo/wind-up radios let you produce their electricity by turning a crank. This saves batteries or AC power and lets the radio be used during a power outage. A wide variety of dynamo radios are available, including models with a built-in flashlight, shortwave bands, or a cell phone charger.

Several dynamo radios can receive shortwave bands, which allows the listener to hear stations from across the nation and around the world. In the U.S. and Canada, it is quite possible to hear stations in Britain, China, Thailand, and other countries – especially at night. Such radios include the Radio Shack Emergency Crank Radio (model 20-242), the Sonnet R-3582, and the Info-Mate World Band Radio.

The NOAA weather radio band can be received by a number of dynamo radios. This band lets listeners in many areas hear continous weather conditions, reports, warnings, and other information from state-run weather stations. The Grundig/Eton FR300 and Kaito KA007 include this capability. A few radios of this type also can receive aircraft or police communications bands.

It is possible to listen to the audio of television programs on some wind-up radios, such as the Kaito KA009 and Soundmex SM-1012. One dynamo radio – the Vector Stormtracker VEC135 – even has a 5.5″ B&W television built-in, along with a flashlight and weather band receiver.

If you own a cell phone, you may want to look for a wind-up radio which features a built-in cell phone charger. These are usually fairly expensive, but under $75. Radios of this type include the Eton ARCFR400W, as well as some models made by Bell & Howell and Vector. Remember to make sure the charger is compatible with your cell phone before purchasing it.

A number of dynamo radios have a flashlight built-in. This is useful because you can have a flashlight ready without worrying about batteries corroding or not having enough power when you need to use it. The most well-known radio with this feature is the Grundig FR200, which is available at some retail stores, but such radios are also made by Sun-Mate (model 836NL), Nikai (model D-929), and various other brands.

A few other radios of this type even have other features not mentioned in the previous paragraphs, such as thermometers, digital alarm clocks, or cigarette lighter power cords. As with any radio, try to purchase a unit with regular features such as tone & fine-tuning controls and AFC (Automatic Frequency Control). A dynamo radio with a normal tuning dial will probably be easier to tune than one with tuning that is only accomplished by turning a knob to point at frequencies listed alongside it, especially if the knob is small.

You can purchase a dynamo radio on internet auction services, online shopping websites, Radio Shack franchises, and L.L. Bean stores. These radios are produced by a variety of brand names, including Sharper Image, Electro Brand, and Sentry.

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