The Midland ER210 is one of the smallest crank radios available. It receives NOAA weather alerts and all AM and FM stations, which you program using a digital tuner. The hand crank isn’t efficient, and its reception quality was below average in all the conditions we tested. Still, its Cree LED light is among the brightest on a crank radio, and it has a louder-than-average maximum volume. While it’s not a great radio for entertainment purposes, it’s a decent addition to an emergency preparedness kit or camping equipment. It doesn’t make our guide to the best emergency radios because it’s an older model.
The ER210’s biggest downside is its inefficient hand crank, which only produced an average of one minute and 13 seconds of battery life after two minutes of cranking. For this test, we drained the battery completely and cranked the generator for two minutes, using a metronome to maintain a two revolutions per second speed. For comparison, the best crank radio produced over 13 minutes of battery life in the same test. This deficiency is magnified by the fact that the radio doesn’t take disposable batteries, which means you have to rely on the internal rechargeable battery.
In our tests, the rechargeable battery took four hours and 26 minutes to reach a full charge when plugged into an outlet, which is faster than average. When we played the radio continuously at its maximum volume, it had an average battery life of eight hours and 13 minutes, which is also better than average. In addition to using the hand crank or a power outlet, you can charge the ER210’s battery via its USB port or its solar panel.
The radio received a B in our AM and backcountry reception tests and a B+ in the FM test. This means, comparatively speaking, that its reception quality is decent but not great. However, its NOAA weather band reception is just as good as that of the best crank radio we tested, which makes the ER210 a good addition to an emergency preparedness kit or camping gear.
It is also one of the loudest radios we tested. The ER210 projected sound at 84.9 dB when we used a decibel meter to measure the volume 1 meter from the speaker. Loud crank radios do a better job of attracting attention if you get lost or injured in the backcountry.
At 10.6 ounces, the ER210 is one of the lightest and smallest crank radios available. While its casing isn’t water-resistant like the best crank radios’, it is made of impact-resistant rubber and has a solid-formed handle. Because of this, it’s easy to tie the radio to your backpack or slip it in your pocket. In addition, its Cree LED flashlight is one of the brightest in our test group, and it features a Morse code beacon setting.
Midland covers the ER210 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.