What are the best hand crank phone chargers?
When going off the grid, reliable forms of communication can make a big difference in emergency situations. Whether you are day camping or backpacking across the state for a week, ensuring you can contact someone in case of an emergency is basic safety 101.
Of course, a dead cell phone is absolutely useless. You can’t make an emergency call, get a weather alert or check-in with loved ones on your whereabouts. But, given there are precious few power outlets in the great outdoors, a hand-crank phone charger can be worth its weight in gold.
A hand-crank charger should be one of the first things you pack when preparing for an emergency. Even if you aren’t planning on going off the grid, a charger can be a great tool to have around in a bug-out bag or emergency prep kit.
If a natural disaster strikes and you have a power outage for days or weeks, a hand crank charger provides renewable power during the most difficult times. With just a little elbow grease, you can generate enough electrical charge to power your phone or external battery.
Additionally, hand-crank phone chargers are often bundled with other emergency tools like flashlights, radios, speakers, and USB ports. You can’t predict emergencies, so it’s a great idea to have one of these multi-use chargers around.
Thankfully, these fantastic tools are both inexpensive and plentiful – and when paired with a universal external phone battery can give you hours of phone use without fail.
There is no excuse not to have one, especially if you go off the grid with any regularity.
Quick List: The 5 Best Hand-Crank Phone Chargers Available
- Best Overall: American Red Cross Emergency NOAA Weather Radio with USB Smartphone Charger
- Best LCD Display: NOAA Weather Crank Solar Powered Portable Radio and Phone Charger
- Budget Option: FM/AM/NOAA Hand Crank Emergency Radio & Phone Charger
- Also Great: Lynex NOAA Hand Crank Phone Charger and Emergency Radio
- Most Features: FosPower Emergency Solar Hand Crank Portable Phone Charger
- EMERGENCY RADIO: Be prepared for any emergencies & disasters with this rechargeable weather alert...
- STAY ALERT: The “Alert” function automatically broadcasts any emergency weather alerts for your...
- MULTIFUNCTION DIGITAL DEVICE: This AM/FM/NOAA weather band digital radio with display & alarm clock...
The most unique option on this list isn’t the standard hand crank charger. This charger from the American Red Cross is a square power bank and is a little larger than the other options on this list.
However, it uses that additional size to its advantage, packing in a great LED flashlight, as well as a red flashing emergency beacon to attract attention. It also comes with an emergency radio, which is fairly standard for these products.
But, something unique is its alert function, which filters radio content down to just emergency alerts, so you can be sure that what you’re hearing is important, and not just another Steely Dan tune. You can also charge this bank through its solar panel, hand turbine, and batteries.
- Easy to carry around
- Comes with a bright LED flashlight and a red flashing light, which are both quality, bright lights.
- The speaker is very loud, which can be helpful if experiencing loud wind or hail.
- This charger is pretty large, so it’s not recommended as a hiking charger. There are more compact options on the market.
- Finicky with battery alignment. When powering this charger with AAA batteries, our testers report there is an issue with the batteries seating properly.
Best LCD Display:
- 【No Electricity? No Worries】 Thanks to its 4 charging methods, the emergency radio is always...
- 【A Must Have Emegrency Radio】 With this AM/FM & NOAA weather radio around, it will broadcast the...
- 【Don’t let the dark get you down】 Our high quality crank weather radio is ideal for disaster...
This portable hand crank charger is one of the most expensive of this list, but its features are well worth the additional investment. This charger features multiple ways to charge the box, so you can always have a plan B.
You can charge this box through its solar panel, battery, USB charging cable, and by hand cranking. So, you’re in a hurry or forgot to charge it you will still have a way to get power.
You can use the NOAA Weather Crank power bank as a speaker when you plug your phone into an AUX cord, providing some entertainment when needed.
Additionally, this box comes with NOAA weather alerts and an AM/FM radio, so you can stay in the loop during storms.
- There are four ways to charge this charger, so you are unlikely run out of options
- Has a handle at the top for easy portability.
- Also has a built-in flashlight in case you lose power at night.
- This is one of the most expensive options on this list, but it is still a good value relative to the features.
- The flashlight is not LED. LED flashlights more efficient & brighter than non-LED lights, but the flashlight is bright enough for walking across the house at night or other short jaunts.
- ✅【NOAA Weather Radio】NOAA Weather Radio provide citizens, planners, emergency managers and...
- ✅【Three Recharging Ways】Our Emergency Solar Hand Crank Radio can be charger by solar panel,...
- ✅【Keep Your Safety 】Our Weather Hand Crank Radio can solve the pressing need of weather...
If you just want a basic, hand crank phone charger, this is a solid option. The charger has two features, which is an LED flashlight and an emergency radio. You can charge this power bank through hand cranking, a micro USB charging cable, and through its small solar panel.
We really liked the fact it’s water-resistant, which is great if you will be hiking in the rain. This is the perfect emergency charger for hikers or campers, as it’s very compact and portable, roughly the size of an aluminum can at just 5″ long.
You can easily throw it in a backpack and have it on you in case of emergencies.
- This is the most inexpensive power bank on this list.
- Very simple and easy to use with its minimal features.
- The flashlight is incredibly bright thanks to its LED bulbs.
- If you are looking for a power bank with several features, this one may be too simple for your liking.
- The efficiency on this power bank isn’t the best, as the flashlight only works for 15 minutes for every one minute of cranking on average.
- Hand crank emergency radio: 2000mAh rechargeable battery provides up to 12 hours of light or 4-6...
- 3-way to charge: Despite of the Micro USB charging, it could be charged by Solar charging, Manual...
- A weather radio: Ability to receive weather forecasts and emergency news broadcasts from NOAA and...
Another option that is on the more simple side is the Lynex NOAA Weather Hand Crank Charger. This power bank has a super bright flashlight, which is always a great touch.
Additionally, it comes with an emergency alarm, which is a helpful feature for hand crank chargers.
An emergency alarm can be incredibly helpful during emergency situations when you have called for help and are trying to help people find you. Basic emergency alarms are an additional cost in an emergency kit, so this is a great charger to meet both needs.
- Has an emergency alarm, which is great for attracting attention when injured or in danger.
- This power bank is compact and easy to carry around in a backpack or safety kit.
- Comes with three charging options, so hand cranking can be a backup option.
- This is a very small power bank, which may be a con for some who would prefer something bulkier.
- It’s a little pricey for how simple it is, but the quality of this charger is excellent.
- [2000MAH POWER BANK WILL KEEP DEVICES POWERED] FosPower's emergency radio incorporates a 2000mAh...
- [3 POWER SOURCES POWER WHEN YOU NEED IT] Use the emergency weather radio's 3 power sources when you...
- [2 LIGHT SOURCES ALWAYS POWERED] The emergency crank radio can also provide light. The 4 LED reading...
If you would like a hand crank phone charger with all the bells and whistles, this option from FosPower is excellent.
This charger comes with four power sources being solar, hand cranking, a micro USB charging cable, and batteries. What makes this power bank unique are the reading lamp and LED flashlight, which are perfect for reading before bed while camping.
It is water-resistant and has an emergency alarm, which are both excellent features. Just like with the preceding chargers, it also has a built-in radio to listen to NOAA weather broadcasts.
- Comes with top-of-the-line features for emergency situations.
- Has four methods of recharging, which provide additional security.
- The reading lamp is a unique feature that will benefit readers while camping.
- The structure of this power bank is a little complicated. You must have the charger flat, or else the LED light turns on. So, if you try to tip it towards the sunlight to charge via solar panel, the light turns on automatically. This can drain the battery as you charge it, which is a problem.
- The sound quality for the speaker isn’t fantastic, but does work well in emergency situations.
Considerations for hand-crank phone chargers
Hand crank phone chargers seem futuristic on one hand, but prehistoric on the other. For many of them, you have to do minutes of cranking just to charge your phone.
The physical cranking is what generates the electrical charge, which means it does take a lot of work. In fact, most companies say it takes about 10 minutes of cranking to make just a single call.
This is one of the biggest complaints about mobile phone chargers. So, if you are going to spend this time cranking the charger, consider the factors below.
Is solar power important to you?
Innovation is a beautiful thing when it comes to hand-crank chargers. Thanks to solar panels, we can now charge our phones with the power from the sun. Many hand-crank chargers today have solar panels on them, lessening the amount of time you have to spend cranking.
Rather than spending minutes of cranking to just make one phone call, you can leave the charger out in the sun. However, the charging box should come with a crank, just in case the sun doesn’t come out when you need it.
The efficiency of a hand crank is how much power you will get per minute of cranking. Some chargers have a much higher efficiency than others, which means less work for you to charge your phone.
Rather than stopping to take a break when hiking or being in an emergency and having to crank the charger, it’s best to get a charger with a high-efficiency conversion. This will save you a lot of time (several hours), so you can spend more time enjoying life off-grid.
Many hand crank phone chargers come with amazing features. Companies have been adding emergency tools like flashlights, radios, weather alerts, and more to their products.
However, you may not want all of these features. Perhaps you prefer living life completely unplugged, and just need a charger in case of emergencies.
Either way, it’s a good idea to have an emergency charger in tow, no matter its features. So, in the list below, I include several options from innovative, to simple.
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