Midland ER310 Emergency Radio

Midland logoThe jury is still out on this one. Short story long, for most of my life I lived in places where there was no extreme weather events. But I recently moved to Dog River and pretty much everyone suggested it would be a good idea to buy an emergency radio—the type that has an alarm for things like tornado warnings. So after a bit of online research I landed on this, the Midland ER310, which got consistently high marks from reviewers across the web.

Midland ER310 emergency radioI can't complain about the good stuff. It's small by my radio standards, about the size of two ice-cream sandwiches together. It runs off internal rechargable batteries (recharged via a USB cable while still in the radio) but it can take alkalines as well. It has a crank generator to charge it if it runs out of juice and you have no power available. It also has aa solar cell for recharging. It's got a flash and strobe light, and an ultrasonic dog whistle in case you're buried and you need to get rescue dogs' attention. And there's a power output port (again USB) so you can charge your phone off of it.

It's also got commercial AM and FM reception, digital tuning, and the weather band. If you tell it your local emergency NOAA weather frequency, it will listen for the alert signal and emit a very loud wail that resembles a car alarm. You can then go right to the weather info, or switch to your favorite AM or FM station for more info.

All that works as it says it does. I can't complain.

As a radio I am not fond of it. I'm going to check it against a couple of other radios I have sometime and see how its actual performance is on AM and FM. I don't think it's great. It does have a collapsable whip antenna that helps. Audio quality is so-so. You'd expect that on a small radio with a small speaker, but I'm still under-enthusiastic about how fast they get overloaded and the sound distorted. Yes, I know that in an emergency the sound quality is not going to be my prime concern. But I think it does keep me from using this as a regular garage or house radio when it could otherwise be perfectly good for that task.

This radio's shortcomings are why I ended up going for a GE Superadio again to use as my emergency radio. The GE won't replace this one--it doesn't have the NOAA alert monitoring or weather band reception, and no lights, no dog whistle, no solar panel nor crank nor USB in/outputs. But it has far better radio performance, and if for some reason lightning or a tornado or a North Korean a nuke takes out my local stations, I might need that performance to be able to get more distant stations to find out what's going on.

If I had to do it again, I'd take a look at Midland's WR400. But I would also want to see it in action first.

Current status: works okay.