Editor's Note: The manufacturer has released an updated version of this product called the Scorpion II, which we will evaluate when the site is refreshed.
Eton is a leading manufacturer of emergency survival products like crank radios and the Scorpion is a strong example of those products' quality. This little emergency radio has a wide variety of tools and features that work just as well in an emergency as they do on a casual weekend camping trip. It's a flashlight, a bottle opener, a compass and a battery bank for your mobile devices. It has one of the most efficient hand cranks available and a battery life that exceeds most weather radios. For these reasons, the Eton Scorpion has earned the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award for best crank radio.
The best feature of the Eton Scorpion is the dynamo hand crank. Cranking this radio for two minutes, while averaging two revolutions per second, produces enough energy to power the radio for two hours. This charge time surpasses many of the other emergency radios we looked at. For comparison, most emergency radios only produce 10 to 30 minutes of battery life for the same amount of hand cranking.
Coupled with superior charging, this weather radio has an excellent LED flashlight that can help you find your way back to the campsite in the middle of the night or signal for help in an emergency. The light provides up to 20 feet of visibility and doesn't drain the battery as much as the radio does.
Another great feature of the Scorpion is the battery bank feature. This allows you to recharge your mobile devices by connecting them to the radio with a USB cord. By clicking a button on the side of the radio and cranking the radio for 10 to 15 minutes, you can completely charge your mobile devices. While you might break a sweat using the hand crank for that long, this is a great bonus if you find yourself in an emergency and need a phone. If your arm gets tired, you can always let the solar panel charge up your phone, though this takes a lot longer.
The Scorpion has seven NOAA weather station presets. These preset stations provide weather alerts and warnings in your area. This is especially important if you live in an area where severe weather conditions like tornados, hurricanes or flash floods happen frequently. If the power goes out, these stations are a helpful resource for knowing whether it's safe to go outside or not.
If you are just casually listening on the back porch, you can use the AM or FM tuner to listen to the radio. You can't preset any of the radio stations like you can with other crank radios, but you can scan the entire range of AM and FM frequencies. If you don't want to listen to the radio, you can listen to MP3s by connecting your MP3 player to the aux-in port.
On the side of the Scorpion is a bottle opener, which is an uncommon feature among emergency radios. While you're not likely going to need a bottle opener in a survival situation, it's a nice convenience feature when you're camping or lounging by the pool. The handle also doubles as a carabiner. While it won't support you as you rappel down a cliff, it is useful to clip onto your backpack when hiking or camping.
As the name implies, the Scorpion is tough. The outer casing is made of thick rubber that makes it one of the most impact-resistant emergency radios we reviewed. If you're in the middle of a severe weather storm and it is roughed up, you can expect it to survive. The casing is splashproof and water resistant, which means it can handle heavy rain and accidental drops in a river or lake. The hand crank folds away so that it doesn't catch on things when you're not using it. This is an undervalued feature because it allows the case to fit more effectively into small areas.
Like all the best crank radios, the Scorpion provides more than one charging option. There is also a good-sized solar panel that allows you to charge the radio with the sun. All you have to do is leave it outside and it will automatically charge. However, using solar power takes a lot longer than other methods – it requires up to 10 hours of direct sunlight for a full charge. The solar panel is mostly useful as a backup while you're camping so that you don't have to use the hand crank as much. You can also use the DC jack to charge the radio through a wall plug, and you can use a USB connection to charge via a computer.
The Eton Scorpion is very easy to use. You won't need much assistance with it. It comes with a one-year warranty. If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact support through email and phone. For quick reference to common issues, you can access a FAQs page or visit a user forum, where other users of the Scorpion are likely to share the same concerns.
The Eton Scorpion is the best crank radio because it's great for emergencies and for everyday use. It has seven NOAA weather stations to keep you alert to severe weather conditions, an LED flashlight to help you see during a power outage, a carabiner for easy attachment to your backpack and a large solar panel for easy charging. The tough, splash-resistant casing, short charge time and long play time allow you to enjoy this crank radio in any scenario.
Two minutes of using the hand crank produces up to two hours of battery life.
The solar panel takes 10 hours to fully charge the radio.
This is the best emergency crank radio because it has everything you need to keep informed, and it can charge your other devices as well.