The Midland ER310 is a good crank radio for everyday use at the beach, park or campsite, and its survival features make it an excellent addition to your emergency preparedness kit. It doesn't have the most efficient hand crank or longest battery life, but it's a great radio to have if you're lost or stranded. Not only does it alert you to severe weather, but it can also help others find you if you’re lost in the backcountry.
Many emergency radios have survival features that attract the attention of search and rescue if you're lost, but unlike most, the ER310 has an ultrasonic dog whistle. Since canines have excellent senses of hearing and smell, they are the best trackers for search and rescue. You can’t hear the whistle when you activate it because the frequency is too high for human hearing, but the dogs can, and they can lead people to your location. There's also a flashing SOS beacon, which can get people’s attention from a great distance.
The ER310’s biggest downside is its inefficient hand crank. In our tests, it produced just three and a half minutes of battery life after two minutes of cranking. While it isn’t the least-efficient hand crank available, its results are more than a minute below the average. For comparison, the best crank radio generated 13 minutes of battery life in the same test.
When we plugged it into an outlet, the radio took five hours to charge and provided nine hours and 45 minutes of battery life. You can also recharge the battery with the solar panel or a USB connection. In addition, you can power it with regular AA batteries if you don't want to wait for the battery to charge.
The ER310’s reception quality is generally good. It earned a B in our AM reception tests, which is average, and an A for its FM reception. When we took it into the backcountry, we graded its reception at a B+, which makes it one of the better radios for hiking. So while the reception isn't perfect, its overall quality is good, and you can hear necessary information.
We measured the ER310’s maximum volume using a decibel meter, which we placed 1 meter from the speaker. At 87.6 dB, this is the second-loudest emergency radio we reviewed. This adds value to its extra survival features because it's even more likely that people or search dogs will hear the radio when they look for you.
You can plug your mobile devices into the radio’s USB port and use the hand crank to charge their batteries. This is an excellent way to keep your electronics charged while you're camping or when there's a power outage. This isn't just a convenience feature that lets you play games when there's a power outage; it also keeps you in contact with people who can help assist you if you need help.
The Midland ER310’s casing is well constructed for a weather radio, and it’s made from hard plastic and rubber. It can handle the bumps and drops that come with camping and everyday use; however, it isn’t water-resistant. If you're hiking and receive a severe weather warning from one of the NOAA weather alert stations, you need to store it in a dry place.
Midland covers the ER310 against defects in materials and workmanship for one year, which is the industry’s standard warranty. You can contact the company’s support staff by phone or email if you have questions, and Midland’s website has a good FAQs page that includes helpful information about product features as well as emergency preparedness tips.