Buying Guide: Best gadgets for power outages

By November 2, 2012Buying Guides

Hurricane Sandy recently made its way up the East Coast, causing widespread blackouts in many areas. Power outages can be dangerous, and it’s important to take basic steps to prepare for emergencies. While many gadgets are rendered useless during power outages, there are certain devices that can help you stay safe. Many of these are considered necessities that should be staples of every emergency preparedness kit.

Hand-crank radio

It’s important to stay informed during a storm, but without a backup generator you can’t watch broadcast news or follow updates online. A hand-crank radio allows you to listen to news without plugging the device into a power source.

Without the means to follow a storm’s progress or listen for potential evacuation notices, you may be left in a dangerous situation. Many hand-crank radios can receive AM and FM signals, so you can listen to both local and national news.

Lanterns and flashlights

Even if you know your house like the back of your hand, it can be difficult to walk around in the dark. A light source is necessary, especially if you’re dealing with an extended blackout. Flashlights are useful if you need to move from room to room and ensure that all windows and doors are locked. Lanterns can be carried and can illuminate larger areas than flashlights.

However, some people struggle finding their flashlights after the power has gone out. To counter this, we recommend buying plug-in lamps that store electricity and turn on automatically during an outage.

Power supplies

Some electrical gadgets, like cellphones, are necessities, so it’s important that you have a way to keep them charged in the event of a blackout. You can plug external batteries into your wall and then use them to charge any important devices.

It’s important to remember that these energy storage units have limited power supplies. They shouldn’t be used to keep frivolous gadgets, like handheld game consoles, alive.


That said, stocking up on batteries is a common recommendation for blackouts. You don’t have to limit yourself to D cells for flashlights either – you may want to consider buying an extra cellphone or laptop battery so those two gadgets are usable for longer periods of time during outages.

Hurricane Sandy is just the latest natural disaster, and there will be others that can cause power outages in the future. What gadgets do you use during a blackout?


Join the discussion One Comment

  • Ryan says:

    Better than flashlights would be headlamps. Their ability to follow your eyes without occupying a hand makes them much more viable in a variety of situations.

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