Best Hand Crank Radio

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iRonsnow IS-088+ Hand Crank Radio Review

The iRonsnow IS-088+ emergency radio is one super packed unit! There is no doubt who ever designed this was a very serious survivalist and thought of everything they’d need in a situation where power is just not available.

ALERT: This radio was “upgraded” in 2016. There have been a few improvements to the overall performance of this radio. So make sure when you are ordering to get the “+” edition in order to take advantage of these improvements.

– Improved battery capacity from 300mAH (IS-088) to 1000mAh (IS-088+) so your battery lasts longer and you’ll need to charge them less often.

– Improved the LED flashlight power from 300mAH (IS-088) to 1000mAh (IS-088+), so instead of having three small LED bulbs with 0.05W (IS-088), there is one much stronger LED bulb (IS- 088+) that is a full Watt that is brighter than the old 3 smaller ones.

iRonsnow is-088 review

Your iRonsnow IS-088 dynamo emergency radio can generate power either through it’s own solar panels or by using its hand crank when the weather is bad. Obviously this is really important when it comes to places like Alaska that have long periods of darkness, or if you’re living in rainy Seattle 🙂

Either way, this emergency radio really is ready for any emergency you throw at it.

And it can also be charged using a USB port if that option is available. So you can charge it from your computer, laptop or anything with a USB port. Just wanted to make that clear.

The iRonsnow has the usual AM and FM radio capabilities you’d find any other portable or emergency radio. But the feature that really sets this apart is the NOAA weather radio programing available.

So if you’re in a situation like a tornado, typhoon, hurricane or whatever natural disaster is going on, at least you’ll be informed as to when it will be over. Or be warned of more to come.

And this isn’t your grandfather’s radio!

It’s also packed with some extra useful gadgets that are updated for 2017 like an LED flashlight, a very smart addition as LEDs make use of far less voltage than a traditional flashlight. This allows the ironsnow emergency radio to be able to keep the light operating for a much longer period of time over traditional flashlights.

And a really clever addition is the smart phone charger. One of the reasons I feel this radio deserves my number one pick. If you’re really in the middle of a disaster, communication is key. And most people aren’t going to have a stack of backup batteries for their phone.

Heck, I use an iPhone 6, there are no battery changes. So the iRonsnow is-088 dynamo emergency solar and hand crank is not just a great “addition” if I ever needed to use my phone in a disaster situation, it’s pretty much a MUST!

iRonsnow IS-088+ colors

So being able to recharge my phone with the iRonsnow is-088 dynamo is a HUGE plus for me! Making it a contender for the best hand crank radio available today.

But also be warned, it isn’t going to charge your phone to 100% in 10 minutes or anything like that.

Rather, this feature was meant for more like making use of an emergency call one time. Meaning, it probably won’t charge your phone more than 10% using its small internal battery. (This has been upgraded for 2016!)

But that’s okay, because you CAN keep charging it if you decide to hand crank it. And it’s not all that bad. The hand crank is easy to crank. And it generates some nice power too. So you can hook up your phone and hand crank to get a charge if you’re arms are ready. Just a nice option to have as well!

Weight: This is always an important consideration, especially if you’re planning on throwing this in your backpack for a hike or camping trip.

It’s kind of amazing, with all the power and features of this, it is surprisingly very light, weighing in at less than 0.5 pounds. Not bad at all.

Dimensions: It’s also very compact in size, perfect for traveling. The dimensions are 5″ x 2.4″ x 1.6″

Power Specs: “1 minute hand-cranking supports over 5 minutes radio play time, over 30 minutes of continuous flashlight light or 5 minutes of cell phone talk time.”

Again, not bad at all for just ONE minute of hand cranking. Obviously 10 minutes of cranking should be enough power for all your day’s needs.

The only power level indicator that shows is when is near empty and you’ll see a little red light. Usually a full solar or electric charge will last for about 3 hours for the radio and 1.5 hours for the light. Now if you keep the device without use for more that 15 days the charge will dissipate and you will need to charge it back.

Specifications between the ironsnow is-088 and the is-088+ at a Glance

Specifications: ironsnow is-088 dynamo emergency solar hand crank self powered am/fm/noaa weather radio…

Battery Power: 3xAAA/350 mAh/3.6V Ni-MH
Working voltage: 2.7V to 4.2V
Maximum Power Consumption: 0.5W
Radio Bands: AM: 525 KHz to 1710KHz
FM: 88MHz to 108 MHz
WeatherBand: 162.40 to 162.55 MHz
Flashlight: 3-LED Flashlight
LED lifespan: 100,000 hours
LED illumination: 5000lux @120mm
Size and Dimensions: Dimensions: 5″ x 2.4″ x 1.6″
Weight: less than 0.5 lbs.
Includes: USB charging cable, retractable antenna, wrist lanyard, mini, micro, USB smart phone ends for charging.

Specifications:

This is for the iRonsnow IS-088+ (the plus one) Solar Hand Crank Radio AM/FM/NOAA/WB Weather Radio, Dynamo LED Flashlight 1000mAh Emergency Power Bank for iPhone/Android Smart Phone

Battery Power: 1200 mAh/3.6V Ni-MH
Working voltage: 2.7V to 4.2V
Maximum Power Consumption: 0.5W
Radio Bands: AM: 525 KHz to 1710KHz
FM: 88MHz to 108 MHz
WeatherBand: 162.40 to 162.55 MHz
Flashlight: 1-LED Flashlight
LED lifespan: 100,000 hours
LED illumination: 5000lux @120mm
Size and Dimensions: Dimensions: 5″ x 2.4″ x 1.6″
Weight: less than 0.5 lbs.
Includes:
USB Charging Cable
Retractable Antenna
Wrist lanyard
Mini, micro, USB smart phone tips for charging

iRonsnow is a registered brand on USPTO. Only iRonsnow Official is an authorized Seller.

iRonsnow Pros

  • It is very fast charging. With just an hour of sun light most basic features will last almost 8 hours if not more!
  • 1000mAH battery – bigger equals less time between charges.
  • The battery is just as bright as other small flashlights, so the LED flashlight really is a helpful flashlight, not just some lame “add-on” to the unit.

iRonsnow Cons

  • My number one problem with this is that it comes with an adapter for iPhone, but NOT for Android phones. You can go and get one at Radio Shack or similar, but would have been nice to have it included.
  • Another slightly less annoying “problem” is the radio speaker isn’t the loudest nor does it have great “bass quality” at all. It’s rather “tinny” in fact. The sound quality is enough to listen to emergency radio news, but definitely isn’t meant to “jam” to 🙂
  • And there is no other jacks or hook ups to plug in anything better. So you are sort of stuck with the lousy speaker. I’d love to see a way to plugin an external speaker source in the next generation model if at all possible.
  • There’s no way to use a standard battery if the need arises. This will not take AA or AAA batteries. Only the 1000mAH battery (included).
  • The only indicator that shows is when is near empty charge and is the red light, usually a full solar or electric charge will last for about 3 hours for radio and 1.5 hour for the light. Now if you keep the device without use for more that 15 days the charge will dissipate and you will need to charge it back.

Common Questions for the iRonsnow IS-088+ Answered

Does this radio turn on automatically to report weather emergencies?

This radio does NOT ever turn on automatically. It has a regular on/off power switch. In order to “tune in” to either an AM FM radio station or an emergency weather broadcast, you need to use the dial just like you would tune in any other radio receiver to get transmissions. This is a dial and not an electronic tuner. Obviously for simplicity and durability.

Honestly I wouldn’t want a sophisticated electronic radio with fancy electronic components for emergencies. More chances of an electronic malfunction.

Is this waterproof?

No. The company states that it is “water resistant” but that really is just marketing as the only thing that makes it water resistant is that it is made of plastic. Check out the Sangean h210 waterproof radio if you want one that can be submerged in water or left out in the rain. Or the Dland if you just need a waterproof speaker.

So here’s a quick fix. Just grab a good quality freezer bag and zip it up. Now it is waterproof! Easy peasy! And you should always do this for anything electronic in your backpack or survival/emergency gear.

What cords does it come with?

The radio comes with a cord that is a standard male USB to male mini-USB cord which is used for charging the unit from a USB power source like your computer.
It also comes with a coaxial pin to female USB adapter that is required for charging other devices from the radio like your iPhone.

Due to needing so many cords, sure would be nice if there was a way to pack the cords Inside the radio itself. There must be a little free room somewhere to make a little storage “pocket” for my cords. Hey, company owners…hint, hint!

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