Sangean CL-100 Review

Sangean CL-100 Weather Alert Radio Review

Overview

The Sangean CL-100 does everything that good weather alert radios do – receives all 7 NOAA frequencies, allows limitation of alert reception to those areas which directly affect you, and receives all types and categories of alerts. It also comes with an external directional antenna to ensure good reception.

The Sangean CL-100 Weather Alert RadioBut there’s more – you can select which alarms you receive to those which are important and relevant, and you can set the volume of the alarm to a suitable level. The  display on the screen is also color coded to the urgency of the alert.

The voice part of the message will automatically shut off at the end of the message, and the radio comes with a very clear and adjustable LCD
display.

The clock radio has better sound quality than most, and the wake up alarms have a few nifty features as well. Snooze and sleep functions are included, and the radio includes RBDS (or RDS) which, if your local FM station supports it,  will provide extra text information and can even set the time for you.

The Sangean CL-100 is a little more expensive than some of its competitors, but its quality and features compensates for that. Its main competitor is probably the Reecom R-1650, which takes a slightly different approach to some of the extras  supporting the Weather Radio function. You may like to compare the two to see which suits your needs best.

You can find the Sangean CL-100 by following this link, where the price is good and you can see what other buyers have had to say about it. You’ll also find more information by reading on.

In a previous post I commented that trying to combine a quality AM/FM clock radio with a weather alert radio was probably a waste of effort, and that if you needed a weather radio it was probably better to go for a good  radio that just delivered alerts and warnings clearly and reliably. I was thinking of the Midland WR-300 at the time, which is a very popular desk top weather radio with good but not great clock radio capabilities.

Since then I’ve reviewed the Reecom R-1650, which is probably better as a weather radio and is certainly a better designed clock radio with reasonable sound quality on FM.

And now I really have to eat my words, because the Sangean CL-100 is both a very good weather alert radio and a top quality clock radio. And while it’s recommended price would make it considerably more expensive than either the Reecom R-1650 or the Midland WR-300, it is quite strongly discounted to a point where the price difference is really not that great. And overall the radio just looks and feels solid and well made.

Weather Radio Performance

Like other well designed weather radios, the Sangean CL-100 will receive all 7 NOAA Weather Radio Frequencies, and reception is good. A telescopic antenna forms part of the set, but included in the pack is an external directional antenna so clear reception should be possible in all but the most marginal areas.

Up to 25 county codes under the S.A.M.E. system can be stored, and the last 20 messages are retainedin the memory. Both of these are more than adequate, although slightly less than the 30 and 25 available on the Reecom R-1650. All types and categories of weather, natural disaster and civil emergency alert covered by the NWS are available, together with extra capacity should further categories be added.

Unnecessary alarms can be programmed out – if you are only interested in warnings (a severe thunderstorm has formed and is approaching)  rather than watches (conditions for storm generation have developed but no storm has yet formed) then you can block alarm for the watch advice. The text summary will still appear on the screen. This also means you can delete flood warnings if you don’t live in a flood prone area, and so on.

You can choose between a siren or voice alarm, and the alarm will gradually increase in volume. You can also set the siren volume, while the LCD display is color coded for the severity of the announcement – yellow for Advisory, orange for Watch and red for Warning.  A jack is included for accessory warning devices, such as strobe lights or pillow vibrators for the hearing impaired.

And another excellent feature is that the voice message will turn itself off once the message has finished – no repeats which seem to go on for ages in less well designed radios. 

All in all, the Sangean CL-100 includes all those features that you would expect in a well designed weather radio, including clearly displayed messages on the LCD screen (contrast and brightness are both adjustable).

Here’s another rarity – the radio is easy to program. The instructions are reasonably clear, but the method is logical and easy to follow. It is very rare to find the manual and programming instructions described as a positive feature in buyer reviews, but this is often the case with the Sangean CL-100.

So that covers what you need and want in a weather alert radio. What about its performance as a Clock Radio?

AM/FM and Clock Radio Function.

Unlike many other dual purpose radios, the digital Sangean CL-100 has very good sound on the AM and FM bands, considering that it only has a single speaker. It can scan the frequency bands, and up to 5 stations can be preset  in both AM and FM.

It’s equipped with RBDS (RDS) capabilities, so if an FM station in your area is set up for it, you can obtain the accurate time and date, as well as other text messages on the screeen, such as song titles, while listening to the program.

The radio possesses dual alarms, and you have a choice of music or a buzzer (also known as a Human Wake-up System or HWS – I’m not making this up), as well as sleep timer and snooze alarm. You can set the radio alarm to wake you with a higher volume than the one you dozed off to when the sleep timer was on.

The list continues – there is also an input socket so you can plug in your MP3 player.

And so it goes – plenty of good things in both the weather radio and conventional parts of the CL-100

Problems?

Nothing significant.

Although the instructions and manual clearer than most they could be improved a little, and the angle of the screen makes it a little hard to see if you are using it as a bedside alarm clock.

Summary

Both the Sangean CL-100 and the Reecom R-1650 Weather Alert Radio look to be  better designed radios than the very popular Midland WR-300, and if you look around there is not a great difference in price between them.

Comparing the Reecom R-1650 and the CL-100 is less easy – they are both very fine units. If you want to program a few more locations and be able to see more of a history of past alerts, if you would like to connect it to a PA system, and if you see the need to change the volume of the voice messages you will probably like the R-1650 better.

But if you want a higher quality AM/FM radio with more options, together with a clearer screen and marginally better reception of all signals, then you may choose the Sangean CL-100.

Follow the links to find great prices on both radios, together with more information and some well thought out buyer reviews.

And click on this link for a more general review of Weather Radios

If you buy anything as a result of following the links in this post, you should be aware that I may earn a small commission on the sale.

One thought on “Sangean CL-100 Review

  1. Farfel

    Avoid the matching small mag-mount vertical that is often sold with the CL-100. It is absolute junk.

    Reply

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