Editor's Note: This review has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it no longer ranks as a top 10 product. The original review is below, but check out our current top 10 about Crank Radios here.
This crank radio is a good example of human ingenuity. Not only does the Kaito KA888 include multiple options for charging, but it also has some fabulous emergency features including a siren and a tuner to pick up two short wave radio bands. While it isn’t as durable as it could be, we were pleased with the compact size. This crank radio is definitely one to look into, especially if you want a radio with alternative power source options.
The charging time for this crank radio is fairly good. By cranking for two minutes you can have an hour of play time. It is also one of the smaller crank radios we reviewed, which is useful if you have only a limited amount of space. The handle of the crank is a little smaller than we would have liked, but since this is a compact product – measuring 19.5 cm x 10 cm x 6 cm – the small handle wasn't too bothersome. We would have liked a rubber grip on the end of the handle for comfort and an easier grip.
This crank radio doesn’t come with a NOAA tuner, but it can pick up two short wave frequencies – ranging from 6.00MHz to18.50MHz – in addition to the standard AM and FM. Being able to access the short wave frequencies is a bonus in the case of an emergency. The flashlight on this unit isn’t an LED light, but it is sufficient. It has fairly good illumination, but the crank radio is difficult to hold while using it. The feature we really liked about this product is the strap that comes with it. This strap makes it a lot easier to carry around, and just having the brackets available for a strap means you can add your own if you aren’t satisfied with the one that comes with it.
This crank radio has several unique features, including a compass and a thermometer. Having a compass available is valuable whether you are in the great outdoors or trying to find your way around after a disaster. The compass is located on the top of the unit as is about as large as a nickel. While the compass is a little on the small side, it's easy to read and proved useful in our testing. The thermometer on the front of the crank radio is another handy tool. You just have to take into account that the reading may be a little off because of heat radiating from the case.
This crank radio also features a clock, an alarm and a siren. The clock is located on the front of the unit, underneath the tuner. While this is fairly easy to set, the fact that the clock is not illuminated makes it difficult to read in the dark, and turning on the flashlight doesn’t help with this problem. We didn’t have any problem setting the alarm, but we worried that if the batteries ran down, it would prove pointless. However, as long as the unit is fully charged before you head to bed, battery life shouldn’t be a problem. The siren is one of the best features this product has. It is fairly loud and is likely to catch anyone’s attention in the area if you happen to need help.
This product doesn’t have as much going for it when it comes to its ruggedness. The outer casing of the product is hard plastic and it has no protection against water. For a product that is advertised as a dynamo emergency radio, complete with compass and thermometer, we would have liked to have seen at least some measure of water resistance, even simply protection against an accidental splash. However, the unit could be protected easily by storing it in a plastic bag.
This crank radio can be charged in four different ways. The first way is by hand crank. The second way is to set the solar wind up radio in the sun and use the solar panel on top. With 12 hours of sunlight you can play the wind up radio for up to eight hours. The third way to charge the crank radio is using the included AC/DC adapter. This is a great way to initially charge the unit and then use the sunlight and crank to keep it going. After leaving it plugged in for six hours you can get up to 48 hours of play time. The last way to power the crank radio is using three AA batteries. We appreciate the fact that it can be powered by AA batteries because it means we don’t have to wait for it to charge in order to use the radio or any of the features.
The support offered for this crank radio is limited. There is a little information available on the web relating to the product. There are some FAQs on the manufacturer's website, but they are actually for a different product and although the products are similar, there are enough differences that the information was unhelpful. If you do have a question about the Kaito KA888, you can always contact the company through the phone number or email address they have listed on their site.
While other crank radios have more a more durable design, the Kaito KA888 has some of the most unique feature we’ve seen. With a compass, thermometer and siren, this wind up radio is a perfect addition to any emergency preparedness kit. Just make sure that you store it inside something waterproof so that it won’t accidentally get wet.