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Sangean MMR-88 vs Kaito ka500: 2021 Emergency Radios Comparison

July 23, 2020| Gear

Hiking Squad may receive a commission for purchases made through product links on this page, but we always stand by our opinions and endorsements!

You don’t know which emergency radio is the best? No worries, below comparison and review Sangean MMR-88 vs Kaito ka500 two of the most excellent multi-purpose emergency radios in the market.

In a world where technology is constantly advancing by leaps and bounds there comes a time when we head back to old technology.

For example, emergency radios which are deemed as an effective communication medium that is more reliable and useful than the internet and cell phones in times of emergencies and disasters.

Radio remains an important and accessible tool that ideally plays a major role in emergency communication and humanitarian aid.

Accordingly, having an emergency radio is a must; especially for those who live in cities that are at risk of being hit by natural disasters and lovers of off-grid backcountry adventures.

What is the difference Between Sangean MMR-88 and Kaito ka500?

If we want to make a list of the top emergency radios in the market, Sangean MMR-88 and Kaito KA500 would deservedly top the list.

They are among the best emergency radios in the market that you can count on. Needless to say, everyone should have their emergency radio because emergency situations come unpredictably.

For Sangean MMR-88, it is a multi-purpose tool that comes with some outstanding emergency features. It features 19 pre-sets and an emergency buzzer button to help you attract attention when in an emergency situation.

Kaito KA500 is also a reliable radio that boasts many features and several charging options.However, it is a little bit heavier than Sangean MMR-88 and its reception quality decreases when you plug your phone for charge.

Sangean MMR-88 Review and Features:

Click to see on Amazon


Design: Sangean MMR-88 is a compact radio that looks like a small-sized brick.  It is available only in the bright yellow colour with black rubberized edges.

Dimensions: Sangean MMR-88 comes with the following dimensions: 5.98 x 2.71 x 3.30 inches.

Weight: Sangean MMR-88 weights no more than 0.86 lbs. It is surprisingly a lightweight emergency radio.

Features and Options

Comparing Sangean MMR-88 with previous radios from Sangean would result in the admission that the producer invested real time and energy to launch a really great emergency radio. It is distinguished by its excellent features like the four LED reading lamp plus an adjustable LED flashlight.

This latter is itself great as it is a multi-function LED flashlight that you can easily set to low, high and blinking in addition to its SOS MORSE Code functionality. This radio comes with a helpful emergency buzzer that you can use in case you need to ask for help.

Sangean MMR-88 prides itself on an intelligent feature which is the auto shut-off option. The purpose behind it is to preserve the radio’s battery life by shutting it off automatically after every 90-minute in case you play the radio continuously.

If the battery drains you can use either solar or the hand crank to recharge it. Thanks to its power bank feature you can also use this crank radio to recharge your phone or any other small gadget.

In addition to its range of 19 per-sets, Sangean MMR-88 is designed to perfectly receive AM/FM and NOAA broadcasts and channels. This guarantees that you will, no matter the conditions, get weather alerts.

Kaito ka500 Review and Features :

Click to see on Amazon


Design: Kaito KA500 is available in four colours; black, yellow, green and red. It comes with an aesthetically good design with a rubber bumper around its edges.

 Dimensions: this emergency radio comes with the following dimensions: 8.82 x 5.83 x 2.83 inches.

 Weight: 1.4 lbs is Kaito KA500’s weight. This is somehow heavier for a small-sized radio like Kaito KA500.

Features and options :

The most important characteristic of this radio is its six power sources option. You can use a wall adapter or a USB cable to charge it if you are at home.

Outdoors you can rely on multiple power sources to recharge your radio like the hand crank, the rechargeable battery pack, solar or an AC/DC adaptor. Kaito KA500 works also as a power bank if your cell phone or other gadgets are out of juice.  

To make sure the user won’t go off-grid, the manufacturer attached a 14.5 inches telescopic antenna to this emergency radio.

In addition to the NOAA weather frequencies, Kaito KA500 covers AM/FM stations also. You can set it to get weather alerts around the clock 24/7.

The 5 LED reading lamp of this radio is just wonderful. It is bright enough to light up your small room perfectly.  On top of that, you can use it as a red LED SOS beacon.

Performance Comparison: sangean mmr-88 vs kaito ka500

Audio quality:

The greatest thing about Sangean MMR-88 is its surprisingly excellent audio quality. It is known that the last thing that the manufacturers of crank radios think about is the audio quality. That’s normal as they are meant to receive weather stations for weather alerts only.

Sangean MMR-88 is an exception when it comes to audio quality. With its full and well-balanced bass, you would think that it is not a crank radio.

That says, Sangean MMR-88 is a great choice for not only emergency preparedness purposes but also for camping, traveling ,backpacking, hiking and other outdoor activities; especially that its reception quality is also good for AM and FM receptions.

For Kaito KA500, like almost all crank radios in the market, its audio quality is modest and there are even some users who complained about the audio quality to be disappointing.

It is right that you don’t want this emergency radio to listen to the latest hits but that doesn’t mean audio quality is something buyers would like to give up.

When the voices coming out of a certain radio don’t sound clear and smooth the radio experience at its whole becomes unacceptable; to note that, Kaito KA500 audio quality decreases when it is plugged in a wall plug.

Charging  and Battery:

Sangean MMR-88 is one of the most useful and reliable crank radios that you can ever use. It is amazing to discover that its battery boasts an excellent fast charging option.

When it runs out of juice, you can rely on different ways to recharge. There is the hand crank way which gives you around six minutes of battery life when you turn the crank for merely two minutes.

If you are not a fan of the hand crank, you would simply use the solar panel to recharge your radio which was considered by many users to be fast and efficient.

Above that all, you can easily recharge Sangean MMR-88 right from your laptop using a USB cable, your car charger or a wall plug when you are home.

To note that, when plugged into a wall plug it becomes fully charged in less than 3 hours, the thing which is not easy to find in crank radios.

Besides all these options of power sources, Sangean MMR-88 has a 90-minute automatic shut-off setting that which aims at preserving its battery life.

To compare it with Kaito KA500, this latter has itself a good range of alternative power sources which includes hand crank, solar, batteries, USB cable, a rechargeable battery pack as well as an AC DC adaptor.

In terms of the solar panel, it is too small for a radio with the dimensions of Kaito KA500, thus it is so slow to charge the battery. The hand crank is easy and effective when used.

However, its arm is not as strong and sturdy as you may think as it looks a little bit cheap and may snap at any time.

Emergency Preparedness features:

 In terms of emergency preparedness features, Sangean MMR-88 has a nice range of crucial emergency-preparedness features such as the water-resistant casing, its Morse code beacon as well as a siren. The MMR-88 has one of the most useful casings.

It’s also one of the few weather radios in the markets that come with IPX3 water-resistance features. This feature means that Sangean MMR-88 can amazingly resist water spraying from different directions.

Its port protectors were designed to limit the amount of water that can reach the internal components that may spoil with water. This quality is just fantastic as you might be using the radio in different weather situations and conditions.

Well, there is something else which you will fancy about Sangean MMR-88 preparedness features, it is the headphone jack and the siren. The latter is a handy survival that you can resort to in order to alert people to your current location.

Kaito KA500 is also a versatile crank radio that you can rely on to endure and get prepared for disasters. In addition to its power sources that promise you good battery life to get emergency signals, it has a telescopic antenna with 14.5 inches.

You can use it wherever and whenever you are off-grid to be able to receive a signal. This crank radio is able to generate a red SOS beacon to alert rescuers at night.

However, unlike Sangean MMR-88 it is not fully waterproof.


With all that has been said above about the two crank radios, one would but conclude that Sangean MMR-88 emergency radio is the one which is more durable.

Thanks to its compact design and rubberized edges you can rest assured that it won’t break easily. On top of that, the water-resistant feature; which is not found in all crank radios; protects the internal components form getting damaged when the radio comes in contact with water.

This means that you can expect this emergency radio to be your companion for many backcountry hiking adventures.

The Kaito KA500 is also good but not as excellent as Sangean MMR-88 when it comes to durability. That is due to some fragile features like the hand crank which is made of a cheap material; hence it is not as reliable as it is expected to be.

Potential Drawbacks : Sangean MMR-88 vs Kaito ka500

Kaito KA500 Cons:

  • The solar panel is so small, so if you rely on it expect your crank radio to be charging slowly
  • Its weight is 1.4 which is heavier for a small-sized crank radios
  • It comes with a cheap hand crank, its crank arm can break or disconnect from the motor easily
  • It is not fully waterproof
  • The audio quality could be improved

Sangean MMR-88 Cons:

  • It comes with merely 850mAh in its battery
  • It doesn’t feature an AC adapter to plug into a wall plug or car charger


It is somehow surprising to find out that Kaito KA500 costs more than Sangean MMR-88 knowing that the latter comes with better emergency and preparedness features.

When considering all the outstanding features of Sangean MMR-88, except its small battery, you won’t complain about its price. On the contrary, you will still buy it even if it costs more than $$.

Wrap up : Which One you Should choose?

In a crisis, disasters and emergencies, this kind of devices can make all the difference. They can help you get a signal wherever you are and know what is happening better than any other device that belongs to the modern-school of technology like cell phones. Accordingly, you should be wise when choosing your crank radio companion.

Above, we thoroughly reviewed and compared Sangean MMR-88 and Kaito KA500 crank radios. Thus, if you want an opinion, choose the one which has fewer drawbacks and comes with great emergency and preparedness features.

You better choose Sangean MMR-88 and if you have a problem with crank radios with small batteries you can replace its original battery; it is a radio with all that you will need to don’t get caught in a storm or any other emergency

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