In the aftermath of Katrina and the more recent hurricane Matthew, we saw the importance of having a survival radio on hand. Those on the outskirts of the storm without power were able to listen in to critical broadcasts from the NOAA. These broadcasts allowed them to make decisions about staying in or bugging out. Those without a self powered emergency radios were quite literally left in the dark.
One of the best survival radios out in the market is the Kaito KA500. This emergency radio offers a number of features to help you blast through any fully blown SHTF situation. Or, at the very least, provide you with a few radio waves when the power goes out.
In this review I take you through the features and benefits of the Kaito KA500 emergency radio.
Specifications and Features
- 5 methods of power (hand crank, solar, batteries, USB, AC)
- Rechargeable Ni-MH internal battery
- 11.1 x 5.8 x 3.3 inches
- 1.6 pounds
- Multiple Signals (AM, FM, NOAA, Short Wave)
- LED Flashlight
- Red Flashing LED for emergency signaling
- Low level Red LED for reading
- Cell phone charger
The Kaito KA500 receives multiple signals including AM, FM, All 7 NOAA channels, and short wave frequencies. This gives you a full spectrum of options to pull in crucial feedback from what’s going on around you. From my location most of the frequencies came in strong. I was surprised at the clarity and sound quality of the Kaito. Attaching earphones to the supplied audio jack boosted the quality even further and added some bass to the transmissions.
Here is a list of frequencies the Kaito KA500 can access:
- AM – 520-1717 KHz
- FM – 88.00- 108.00 MHz
- SW1 – 3.20-9.00KHz
- SW2 – 9.00- 22.00KHz
- All 7 NOAA weather bands
Multiple charging methods
Adding to the redundancy of the Kaito is 5 different methods of charging and powering the device. You can pop in 3 AA batteries, plug in to a USB port, plug into AC, solar charge, or hand crank yourself to charge the internal Ni-MH rechargeable battery.
A solid minute of good cranking gets you about 10 – 15 minutes of battery life. This can fluctuate depending on what you’re using the Kaito for. Using the LED flashlight and listening to the radio will drain the battery faster.
Note that the AC adapter is sold separately.
The Kaito comes locked, cocked, and ready to rock with all 7 of the NOAA emergency frequency bands. These transmissions broadcast critical information about emergency weather events in your area. Tuning into your area i simple as changing the Kaito into weather mode and then cycling through all 7 signals until you hear a broadcast. The NOAA operates 24 hours a day 7 days a week so you always have access to the broadcasts.
Personal review of the Kaito KA500
This is a great survival radio for anybody going camping or preparing for a disastrous event. The signals are clear and redundancy is built into every aspect of the device. It is slow to charge a smart phone but it does work – only needs a little patience! You can definitely get a decent charge with some time.
The hand crank actually works and gives you decent charge with minimal effort. A little red LED alerts you when you have a full charge.
The built in LED flash light is a lifesaver especially for those times when the power goes out. Now, hopefully this isn’t your only option when it comes to illumination – but it can work in a pinch. Using the flashlight will certainly drain the battery a lot faster than if you were only listening to the radio.
Overall the quality and build of the Kaito is extremely rugged and the antennae strength is decent enough to catch a crucial broadcast when it comes through. As I mentioned, sound quality is improved when used with ear phones.
I give the Kaito KA500 a 4.5/5 stars.
Check Amazon for the best price.