PROS / The hand crank is very efficient at charging the battery.
CONS / It lacks a siren, compass and Morse code beacon.
VERDICT / The Eton Scorpion II is one of the best emergency crank radios because it has an excellent hand crank, great reception quality and an exceptionally durable body.
Eton is a leading manufacturer of emergency survival products like crank radios, and the Scorpion II is a strong example of those products' quality. This little emergency radio works just as well in an emergency as it does on a casual weekend camping trip. It's also a flashlight, a bottle opener and a battery bank for your mobile devices. It has one of the most efficient hand cranks available and a battery life that exceeds those of most weather radios. For these reasons, the Eton Scorpion II has earned the Top Ten Reviews Silver Award for best crank radio.
The best feature of the Eton Scorpion II is the dynamo hand crank. In our tests, the hand crank generated an average of nine minutes of battery life with two minutes of cranking. Only one other crank radio, also from Eton, produced more battery life in the same test. We tested the battery life with the volume on its highest setting, so it's conceivable that the crank could produce much longer battery life if you have the volume at the lowest setting.
Using a wall charger, the Scorpion II took four hours to reach a full charge from a dead battery, which is slightly above average. With a fully charged battery, it played for 12.5 hours, again with the volume set at maximum, before dying again. The battery life was also one of the best available.
Like all the best crank radios, the Scorpion II provides more than one charging option. A large solar panel allows you to charge the radio with the sun. All you have to do is leave it outside and it will automatically charge. However, using solar power takes a lot longer than other methods – it requires up to 10 hours of direct sunlight for a full charge. The solar panel is mostly useful as a backup while you're camping so that you don't have to use the hand crank as much. You can also use the DC jack to charge the radio through a wall plug, and you can use a USB connection to charge via a computer.
Another great feature of the Scorpion II is the battery bank feature. This allows you to recharge your mobile devices by connecting them to the radio with a USB cord. By clicking a button on the side of the radio and cranking the radio for 10 to 15 minutes, you can completely charge your mobile devices. While you might break a sweat using the hand crank for that long, this is a great bonus if you find yourself in an emergency and need a phone. If your arm gets tired, you can always let the solar panel charge up your phone, though this takes a lot longer.
One of the best features of the Scorpion II is the reception quality. In our tests, it scored 95 percent in AM reception, FM reception and backcountry reception. It also scored 95 percent with audio quality. The results were surprising because of its small stature. Most of the smaller radios struggled with reception when we weren't holding them, but the Scorpion II consistently received clear stations without the aid of a human antenna.
The Scorpion II has seven NOAA weather station presets. These preset stations provide weather alerts and warnings in your area. This is especially important if you live in an area where severe weather conditions like tornados, hurricanes or flash floods happen frequently. If the power goes out, these stations are a helpful resource for knowing whether it's safe to go outside or not. Unfortunately, it lacks SAME technology, which provides severe weather alerts specific to your county.
As the name implies, the Scorpion II is tough. The outer casing is made of thick rubber that makes it one of the most impact-resistant emergency radios we reviewed. If you're in the middle of a severe weather storm and it is roughed up, you can expect it to survive. The casing has an IPX4 water resistance rating, which means it can handle heavy rain, splashes of water, and accidental drops in a river or lake. The hand crank folds away so that it doesn't catch on things when you're not using it. This is an undervalued feature that allows the case to fit more effectively into small areas.
This weather radio has an excellent LED flashlight that can help you find your way back to your campsite in the middle of the night or signal for help in an emergency. The light provides up to 20 feet of visibility and doesn't drain the battery as much as the radio does. However, the radio lacks a Morse code beacon, a siren and a compass – all important emergency preparedness features.
On the side of the Scorpion II is a bottle opener, which is an uncommon feature among emergency radios. While you're not likely going to need a bottle opener in a survival situation, it's a nice convenience feature when you're camping or lounging by the pool. The handle also doubles as a carabiner. While it won't support you as you rappel down a cliff, it is useful to clip onto your backpack when hiking or camping.
Help & Support
The Scorpion II is very easy to use. You won't need much assistance with it. It comes with a one-year warranty. If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact support through email and phone. For quick reference to common issues, you can access the FAQs page or visit the user forum, where you and other users of the Scorpion II can share concerns or ideas concerning emergency preparedness and backcountry camping.
The Eton Scorpion II is one of the best crank radios because it's great for emergencies and for everyday use. It has seven NOAA weather stations to keep you alert to severe weather conditions, an LED flashlight to help you see during a power outage, a carabiner for easy attachment to your backpack and a large solar panel for easy charging. The tough casing, short charge time and long play time allow you to enjoy this crank radio in any scenario.