Manual Crank and Solar-Powered Radios Conserve Energy

Crank and solar powered radios hit the market for emergency and everyday use.


  • The Weather Mate’s injection molding process does not waste an ounce of plastic. The Weather Mate has an LCD screen and a radio receiver that can pick up signals from weather and non-weather radio stations.
    Photo Courtesy of www.thedesignblog.org

Say hello to a new wave of radios. Solar-powered radios and manual crank radios provide better options for environmentally conscious consumers willing to work for their entertainment.

For users who want a radio primarily for weather alerts, the Red Cross Solar/Self Powered Radio is a solid option. The built-in crank charges the internal rechargeable battery. Solar cells power the device when the sun is up, even in overcast weather. The radio picks up seven National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) channels as well as AM and FM channels, though it is not intended for everyday use. The 11.2-ounce radio includes a cell phone charger and flashlight for $30.

Kaito’s Small Pocket Portable Radio is a simple radio that gets the job done. Charge the Kaito by cranking it. Kaito specializes in emergency technology and is based in Los Angeles, California. The portable radios are so effective that the Civil-Military Operations Team in Kabul, Afghanistan, delivered the Kaito radios to the Office of Disaster Preparedness. Each providence in Afganistan was given no fewer than five radios to make civilians aware of natural and manmade threats to their safety. For campers, travelers, or anyone who needs weather alerts, the 80-gram portable radio is an reliable yet inexpensive choice at $6.49.

The best in weather radios is yet to come, however. If you want an emergency radio that is ecologically sound from start to finish, wait for the Weather Mate . In its creation, it eliminates excess waste because it uses a 400-ton injection system that inserts the exact quantity of plastic needed to create each piece. The Weather Mate generates energy through a crank like the Kaito and includes a flashlight. Its reports will come from NOAA. It will be released in late 2009. Pricing is not yet available.



Some companies have reached beyond creating radios solely for emergency use. These radios, intended for everyday use, are greener options.  

The Free Play Energy Self Sufficient Radio has both a solar-powered feature and a crank for sunless days. The solar cell atop the unit absorbs light and converts it to power. When fully charged via solar power, it can run for 25 hours. Or you can crank the tiny gadget for 30 minutes for 35 minutes of power. It can be purchased online starting at $50.



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