by Shane White
Midland’s newest Weather Radio, the ER300, was just released in January. I am pleased to have the opportunity to review such a cool product.
In my opinion, everyone should have a weather radio that can wake them up in case a storm or something is happening in their area. The Midland ER300 Emergency Crank Weather Alert Radio is an excellent choice that is full of features.
First and most important of all is the fact that this is a weather radio. This radio receives signals from the NOAA/NWS, as well as AM and FM. Tuning is easy with the rubber tuning and band select buttons. Weather alerts can be enabled my toggling the WX ALERT button so that you will be aware of any alerts in your area. If you have trouble receiving stations, simply pull out the antenna to improve your signal. This alarm is nice and loud and should wake you up if needed without any trouble.
This is where I was the most impressed with this product. From standard AA batteries to solar to a hand crank, there are just so many ways to keep this weather radio powered up.
Pop open the battery cover and install six AA batteries to power it up. This works nice as a backup if you are not able to charge this by other means. I recommend keeping the AA batteries separate but nearby so they will last longer.
Lithium Ion Battery
When you receive this product, simply connect the 2000 mAh Lithium Ion Battery inside the battery compartment. Right out of the box, mine had some power which could be useful for those who buy and throw it right into their bug out bags. There is a switch on the side of the radio that toggles between the AA batteries and the Lithium Ion Batteries. Keep it switched to the LI position to utilize the hand crank, the solar panel, and/or the USB charger.
For a nice quick charge, pull out the large hand crank and turn it for about a few minutes and you can listen to the radio for a few minutes. I found the crank to be a little awkward, but not too bad. I have large hands so I usually have trouble with these things anyways. The hand crank worked great for charging for short periods of time.
I really liked the solar panel. I found that simply keeping this in a well lit room seemed to keep it charged enough to keep monitoring for weather alerts. Naturally this is much more effective in the bright sun outside or other bright lights.
The best way to keep this charged is to just plug it into a USB port, or you can get a USB outlet adapter for it and plug it in this way. The USB in is not the new micro USB connector that fits most cell phones just so you know, but the older style mini USB connector. A cable is included in the box so you don’t have to search for one. Just be sure you keep it with your radio for when you need it.
I used the li-ion battery the entire time I use this radio. I found that the life of this radio to be very long if it is sitting in a room simply monitoring for weather alerts. I recommend keeping it plugged in so that it will always be fully charged when you need it.
Cell Phone Charger
This is something that is very useful as well. Simply plug in your phone and it will disable the radio while it charges your phone. Very handy.
A 130 lumen flashlight is on the front of the radio. This makes the radio an even more useful tool. There are two levels of brightness as well as a flash mode depending on what you need.
Ultrasonic Dog Whistle
I am honestly not sure what the advantage of this is, but if you need one, it has it. I don’t recommend putting this up to your ear to see if it works. It does work and can hurt your ear.
During my trial period of the weather radio, I got to hear the weather alert go off. We had a winter weather warning and was alerted with a very loud alarm. After canceling my alarm, it took me to the NOAA weather station to hear exactly what was going on. Very nice and easy if you are half asleep and want to know if you need to take shelter or just turn it off.
I believe this is an excellent weather radio. The size and number of features makes it a great multi function tool for your bug out bag, to keep bedside, or really just bring anywhere.