The Midland ER310 is one of the best emergency radios (opens in new tab) you can buy thanks to a combination of affordable pricing and rich feature options. This is an FM and AM radio but for those adventurous types, or anyone in need of early weather warnings, this also works for NOAA radio signals too.
As you'd expect from a decent emergency radio, the ER310 is equipped with multiple power source options so that, should the worst happen and you're left without power, you'll still have this connection to the world.
While this isn't IP rated and doesn't have GPS that's to be expected at this price point and for many will be more than enough. The multiple charging options work fast meaning you get the maximum amount of radio time for the minimum of charging effort.
Midland ER310: Design and build
The Midland ER310 looks pretty standard when it comes to emergency radios, but that's a good thing. This is because the best ones all have lots of features which define their look. In this case that means a rugged outer finish, in black and red, which can take a knock but isn't built to any IP standard for waterproofing. The unit is just under eight inches long and weighs in at a little over one pound.
There is a large handle which makes carrying this easy and also helps if you want to loop this onto a bag or belt while travelling. It'll also double as a decent LED light while camping and can be hung from the tent for easier night time bag diving.
The Midland ER310 is equipped with a backlit screen that's large and clear with high contrast monotone lettering that's easy to read even for those hard of sight. On the back is a pop out stand that allows this to remain stable even when quickly laid out on a rock while hiking, for example.
There are three power sources with solar panels on top, a crank handle and the option to insert AA batteries – but more on that in the next section. On the side is a USB port both for charging the device and with an output for charging another device like a phone. The 2,600mAh battery isn't the biggest but for radio use can last a long time.
Midland ER310: Features
In terms of radio performance you get FM, AM and NOAA/NWS weather channels with seven of those available. The retractable aerial is good for a range of 50 miles when fully extended. You can listen via the speaker or using headphones plugged into the 3.5mm headphone port.
The 1400 Lux LED flashlight is useful to find your way in the dark but this also doubles as a safety feature. You can set this to flash in morse code, saying SOS. This light will also work as an alert, flashing, if bad weather is detected on an alert report.
The screen features a clock with the time which you can adjust manually to suit where you are. This also features an ultrasonic dog whistle, great for being found if being looked for by a search party – or if you've just lost your dog.
The ability to charge a smartphone is a useful addition. The port is USB-A meaning that this won't be the fastest charge you might have come to expect from your phone, but when caught out this can be helpful. Especially when you consider that you can charge this, and therefore your phone, using solar and crank energy.
Midland ER310: Performance
The quality of the audio isn't something that's going to blow you away. That isn't to say this isn't good though. For the radio, it's plenty clear enough and great for vocal audio, it's also fine for listening to music, just don't expect a great deal of bass power. The trade-off is that this performs really well for battery life.
Pop this in direct sunlight and after an hour of charging you can expect an impressive 45 minutes of radio use. Go for the crank power and a single minute of cranking will get you nine minutes of radio. The primary charging method is via USB which takes five hours to full and gets you 32 hours of charge. That's not including any extra you want to add by using the six AA batteries you can add in.
Should you buy the Midland ER310?
The Midland ER310 is a really affordable option when you consider how feature rich it is. With crank, solar and battery power options, FM/AM/NOAA radio, an LED light with SOS function, ultrasonic dog whistle, phone charger, carry handle, clock screen, and kick-stand, this does a lot for the price.
For those that want GPS as a feature or that require some IP weather rating then you may want to check out our list of the best emergency radios (opens in new tab).