Eton is a leading manufacturer of emergency-survival equipment like crank radios, and the Scorpion II is a good example of the high quality you can expect from the company’s products. This little 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. Our tests show it has one of the most efficient hand cranks available and a battery life that exceeds those of most weather radios.
The Eton Scorpion II’s best feature is its dynamo hand crank. In our tests, it generated an average of nine minutes of battery life with two minutes of cranking. Only one other crank radio, also from Eton, charged the battery more in the same test. We tested the battery with the volume on its highest setting, so two minutes of cranking could produce a 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 faster than average. With a fully charged battery, it played for 12.5 hours, again with the volume set at maximum, before dying – this is one of the longest battery lives available.
Like all the best crank radios, you can charge the Scorpion II more than one way. It has a large solar panel, so you can charge it with the sun – all you have to do is leave it outside, and it automatically charges. However, it takes up to 10 hours of direct sunlight to reach a full charge. As such, the solar panel is mostly useful as a backup while you're camping so you don't have to use the hand crank as much. You can also use the DC jack to charge it with a wall plug, or you can use a USB connection to charge it via a computer.
Another one of the Scorpion II’s great features is its battery bank – you can use it 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 handle for 10 to 15 minutes, you can completely charge your mobile devices. You might break a sweat using the hand crank for that long, but it’s a good tool to have 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.
The Scorpion II has excellent reception quality. In our tests, it received an A- in AM reception, FM reception and backcountry reception. It also received an A- for audio quality. These results are surprising because of the radio’s small stature. Most of the smaller radios we reviewed struggled with reception when we weren't holding them, but the Scorpion II consistently received clear transmissions without the aid of a human antenna.
This emergency radio has seven NOAA weather station presets. These stations provide weather alerts and warnings in your general region, which is especially important if you live in an area where severe weather conditions, such as tornados, hurricanes or flash floods, occur frequently. If the power goes out, they are a helpful resource that can tell you whether it's safe to go outside. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have SAME technology, which provides severe weather alerts specific to your county.
As the name implies, the Scorpion II is tough. The outer casing is thick rubber, which makes it one of the most impact-resistant emergency radios we tested. If you're in the middle of a severe weather storm and it gets 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. In addition, the hand crank folds away so it doesn't catch on things when you're not using it. This is an undervalued feature that allows it to fit in small spaces.
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 Scorpion II is missing a Morse code beacon, a siren and a compass – all important emergency preparedness features.
On the side of the Scorpion II, there is a bottle opener, which is an uncommon feature for an emergency radio. While you most likely won’t need a bottle opener in a survival situation, it's a nice convenience when you're camping or lounging by the pool. The handle also doubles as a carabiner, and while it won't support you as you rappel down a cliff, it is useful to clip the radio onto your backpack when hiking or camping.
The Scorpion II is very easy to use, and you likely won't need much assistance. If you do have any questions or concerns, you can contact support through email and phone. For quick answers to common problems, you can visit the FAQs page or user forum on Eton’s website, where you and other Scorpion II users can share concerns or ideas about emergency preparedness and backcountry camping. It comes with a one-year warranty.
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 aware of severe weather conditions, an LED flashlight to use during a power outage, a carabiner that makes it easy to attach to your backpack and a large solar panel for charging. The tough casing, short charge time and long play time make it a good option for any scenario.