Midland WR400 weather alert radio review – Looks good in any room in the house

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REVIEW – The Midland WR400 Weather Alert Radio is a desktop weather alerting radio that also plays AM/FM radio and can serve as a wake-up alarm. The size and design of the WR400 are perfect for bedside or any indoor use, but choose your alert type carefully if you live with others. The 85 dB tone isn’t the only alert choice with the WR400. This radio has the look of a clock radio and won’t be called ‘nerdy’ by any non-radio nuts who see it.

What is it?

The Midland WR400 Weather Alert Radio is a desktop weather alerting, AM/FM radio, and wakeup alarm.


What’s in the box?

  • Midland WR400 radio
  • AC power converter with cord
  • Instruction manual


Hardware specs

  • Durable black plastic construction
  • Easy to see white-on-black button labeling
  • Program up to 25 Specific Area Message Encoding counties
  • 85dB alert tone
  • AA battery backup
  • Wall mount holes underneath the radio
  • USB-A output port


Design and features

The sound quality of the WR400 is as good as any clock radio. The audio coming from the 1.75“ speaker is clear. When the volume is turned way up, the speaker sound does not buzz, crackle or otherwise degrade.


The WR400 radio will work fine on 4 alkaline AA batteries, but after a couple of hours of AM/FM radio listening, the battery level dropped a bar on the battery power display on the screen. You might run through a lot of batteries if you want to use this radio for frequent listening on battery power alone. The batteries are intended to be a backup in case of a power outage.



When plugged into AC power there was a faint but noticeable, continuous background tone present during FM and weather channel listening that was not present when using batteries alone. That may be an issue for those who want to listen to the WR400 for extended periods but should be a non-issue if this is to be a weather alert radio and/or wake-up radio, only.


I bought some ferrite core line noise filters to snap on the WR400’s AC power cord to see if one or more on the cord might stop the background tone. They did not. For me, this isn’t a deal-breaker since I will use this radio mainly for weather alert monitoring and not continuous listening.

I’m about 10 miles from my National Weather Service broadcast transmitter and can receive weather radio broadcasts indoors with the antenna fully collapsed. For good FM reception, I kept the antenna fully extended.

The WR400 can alert with a loud tone (there is no volume adjustment), the ‘voice’ of the alert announcement, or a flashing screen. Unless I wish to become single, I’d better make sure this radio is either out of the bedroom or set for voice or flashing alerting during sleep hours.

Midland support provided a more specific clarification to my previous questions about what the radio does at each of the alert modes.

It turns out ‘VOICE’ mode also sounds the 85dB alert tone first, then the severe weather announcement is played through the radio’s speaker.

Only ‘DISPLAY’ mode mutes the loud alert tone, and scrolls the text of the alert message on the screen of the radio.


The radio’s display looks best when viewed from above it. If a bedside table keeps the WR400 directly at eye level, or a few inches above, the time is not easily viewable since it points upwards at about 45 degrees.


I was only able to clearly see the time with the radio on my bedside table if I lifted up my head off the pillow a few inches. If I kept it at my bedside I’d tilt the radio’s rear up a bit so the time is more visible when viewed directly.

The WR400 is wall mountable. There are 2 screw holes in the bottom of the radio. Screws and anchors are not provided.


The alarm can sound by either playing the last AM/FM station you used or via a buzzer. You designate when you set one or two alarms. But you only have two options to stop the sound. The radio alarm buzzer sound can only be stopped by pressing the ‘Weather’ bar which doubles as the ‘Snooze’ button, or by turning off the small alarm switch on the side of the radio. It would have been incredibly user-friendly if pressing any button on the top of the radio stopped the alarm sound.

It’s too bad the weekly weather service emergency broadcast test is not audible with the WR400. These occur in my area around 11:30 AM on Wednesdays, during good weather conditions. I’d prefer to hear the weekly test alert whether in ‘Voice’ or ‘Tone’ mode but this model keeps the weekly test silent.

After the weekly test, the yellow ‘ADVISORY’ light flashes for about 30 minutes. That’s the indication that the test was properly received.

During my review of the WR400 we had an unusual period of near normal weather so I was not at the radio during any actual hazard alerts.

Midland support clarified for me the following points about the WR400 emergency alert reception.

  • When the radio is in Voice mode, alerts ‘open the speaker’ and the radio will play the alert as it is stated by the weather service electronic voice.
  • When in Tone mode, an alert will activate the radio’s loud alert tone. The alert message will be heard only if the user presses the ‘Weather’ button on top of the radio.



The radio was easy to set up without using the manual but it is there if you want to set up by using the directions. The ‘Menu’ button takes you into the settings mode and by using the directional buttons and ‘Enter’ to make selections, then ‘Menu’ to save, it is pretty easy to run through the settings choices.

The radio is equipped to use ‘S.A.M.E.’ codes for Specific Area Message Encoding (county) alerting, but I prefer to have my radios set to receive all alerts for the whole area my NOAA broadcast station covers.

Here’s a link to the 80 ‘Events’ for which the WR400 can be programmed to alert. Many of the Events are hard coded to ‘ON’. I did not specify any Events, which is the default to receive all warnings. Iceberg and volcano warnings are actually among the Events. Who wouldn’t want to know if those warnings are transmitted?

What I like

  • Nice design for bedside, office or any room in the house
  • Easy to use controls
  • Excellent weather channel and AM/FM reception.

What I’d change

  • Weather radios need volume control for the alert tone. 85 dB isn’t always necessary or helpful.
  • AC line noise needs to be eliminated.
  • Any button on the radio should stop a wakeup alarm sound.

Final thoughts

The Midland WR400 is a reliable indoor weather alert radio for home or office use. In Voice mode with the volume down this could be a life saver at bedside. In Tone mode, you’ll probably hear the alert anywhere in a 3000 square foot home or smaller.

Price: $69.99
Where to buy: Midland USA and Amazon
Source: The sample of this product was provided by Midland USA.

5 thoughts on “Midland WR400 weather alert radio review – Looks good in any room in the house”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. I have the WR300, and based on this review there is no need to upgrade. Being in North Texas, I have the alarm set to go off if there is a tornado watch or tornado warning. Otherwise, I don’t really use the radio for listening to music or even for a wake alarm anymore.

  3. Stephanie Connell

    Maybe I do not have it set up correctly but mine has not gone off when there has been thunderstorm watches or warnings. My weekly advisory test also flashes unless I read the statement then it’s soild well over the 30 minutes. Any advice

  4. You can make the test make a noise, you have to go to the menu, set events, edit events, then required weekly test (you have to scroll down) then press select and then down and then select. Then it’ll sound the alert

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