A number of 9 News viewers have been asking us about weather radios with the recent tornadoes and warnings of a dangerous storm season for 2012.
A weather radio is a great idea, as it will sound an alert well before sirens go off, giving you advance warning.
And if a tornado is approaching, it can be a lifesaver, because it goes on automatically, even waking you in the middle of the night.
Top brands to buy
Neither Consumer Reports Magazine nor the National Weather Service endorse specific brands, but recommend you get what's called a "NOAA" weather radio which meets all government standards.
Popular brands, which meet NOAA standards, include Midland, Motorola, Radio Shack, and First Alert, which puts the First Alert name on radios made by other companies.
Features to Look for
But the one essential feature to look for is a wall power cord plus battery backup. This feature is missing from the cheapest radios, which have either a wall plug or battery, but not both.
One more option on some weather radios that's also nice to have: A hand crank on the side. That way if the power goes out, or your batteries are dead, you can still power it up.
Weather radios are sold at hardware, sporting good stores and some retail stores for around $25 - $50.
Top-rated radios by Amazon.com include:
-Midland WR 120IS, $39
-Midland ER102, $59
-Midland WR300, $79
-Eton Hand Cranked, $40
Weather radio apps
Finally if you've got an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch -- there's a great new app that acts just like a weather radio.
It's called iMap weather radio. You put in your location, and it alerts you on your phone when there's dangerous weather heading your way. It is $9.99 at the iTunes store.
While you're at it, download the WCPO 9 News weather app, for the most local coverage.
As always, don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW ScrippsCo.
"Like" John Matarese on Facebook
Follow John on Twitter
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.