What Will Work After An EMP Attack?

what will work after an EMP attack


Devastating. If there is only one word that could describe what an EMP attack on the United States would be like, ‘devastating’ would be it.  So one of the thoughts that cross many prepper’s minds is what will work after an EMP attack.

The rest of your life would literally change following an EMP attack. That is not an exaggeration because life would literally return to the Stone Ages.

Should an EMP device be detonated high enough about the atmosphere, the entire power grid across most of North America would collapse.

What does this mean for you?

It means there will be no more electricity. It means your TVs, computers, and phones will no longer work. It means your cars most likely won’t work (more on this later). It means airplanes would no longer work and would fall from the sky. Electronic banking would no longer be possible. The supply trucks will stop rolling. The economy will collapse.

And when that happens, you can guarantee there will be chaos. The once peaceful and delicate community you live in now will become a war zone. People will take to the streets looting all the stores and restaurants and businesses in the area.

The normal people you once knew will become savages. They will turn on one another for food and supplies. Organized raiding parties will form and prey on the innocent. Every single second of your life will be all about survival and keeping an eye out for threats.

What’s worse, is this catastrophe is not something that could be solved in a short time period.

What Should You Expect?

The United States is so woefully underprepared for an EMP attack. Even the most conservative estimates are that it would take at least TEN YEARS for the country to recover. During that time, over 90% of the American population will be killed by starvation, dehydration, disease, murder, and suicide.

This is what will happen when literally nothing works. No more electronics, no more power, no more heat and electricity, no more vehicles, no more internet, no more cell service.

What will work after an EMP attack?

That’s what we’re going to talk about today. As part of your preparation for the EMP, you will want to stock up on the items that will continue to work.

Here is an outline and discussion of the various items that will continue to work after an EMP attack:


This one has an asterisk next to it because even though batteries will continue to function after an EMP attack, there’s a decent possibility that any electronic devices that are battery operated will not.

For example, will your battery power phone or flashlight work after an EMP blast?

It really depends on where they are. If they’re outside in the open, they’ll most likely be fried. But if they are stored in concrete or metal buildings there is a possibility that they will continue to work.  We would also recommend placing your cell phone and other smaller electronics in a Faraday Bag.

Regardless, since batteries will still be functioning following an EMP attack, it will be a good idea to stock up on them. AA, AAA, 9-Volt, C, D, etc.


There is absolutely no question that the internet will be down after an EMP and you will no longer be able to go online.

As a result, you will no longer be able to read articles or watch YouTube videos to gain knowledge from online, nor will you be able to read books on your Kindle device because your devices will be fried.

Therefore, your only way to gain new knowledge will be through books, and this is why you’ll be very thankful you had a full bookshelf after the EMP hits.

If you don’t yet have very many books in your possession, CHANGE THAT!

You’ll want to have a large variety of books in your possession, including the following types:

  • Religious Texts
  • Classic Novels
  • Any Genres You Personally Enjoy Reading
  • Children’s Books
  • Comic Books (if you enjoy reading them)
  • First Aid Books
  • Car Repair/Maintenance Books
  • Gardening Books
  • Self-Defense Guides
  • Philosophical Books
  • Homesteading Guides
  • Wilderness Survival Guides
  • Disaster Preparedness Guides
  • Blog Articles On Survival (print them out and store them in a binder)
  • eBooks On Survival (some are available in the paperback form that you can order now through Amazon)

Each of the above categories of books will provide you either with entertainment value or valuable information. You will need both to survive in a post-EMP world (or both). The more books you have in your possession the better. Remember they may need to last you for ten years or more.

NOTE: in addition to books, you’ll want to have plenty of writing paper/notebooks/sketchpads and writing utensils (pens, pencils, highlighters, markers, crayons, etc.) too.


Here’s another one that has an asterisk to it. Only two asterisks this time because the vast majority of vehicles most likely will NOT work after an EMP attack. This is assuming that the blast is strong enough and within close enough proximity.

In fact, chances are good that all automobiles produced after 1990 will either not work or at least be damaged after an EMP attack. Various scientific tests have been conducted with electromagnetic pulses (in controlled environments) and these tests have met mixed results. Sometimes, the cars quit working and don’t restart. Other times, they shut off but turn on again afterward.

Regardless, there’s no question that the cars of today and for the last several years are very dependent on microprocessors and computers in order to run. And if the enemies of the United States wanted to deal a truly devastating blow to us, you can guarantee that the blast will be quite strong and be a significant threat to automobiles.

As a result, you need to prepare for an EMP attack with the assumption that the cars sitting in your driveway will no longer work. This is assuming they were produced after 1990.

So if you do want a functioning automobile that will work after an EMP attack, what do you need to do?

Buy a car that will be completely unaffected by the EMP!  Yes, even though most vehicles will be rendered useless by the EMP. What will work after an EMP attack is several well made but used vehicles. Those made in the 1970s and 1980s are popular choices among preppers due to the strong likelihood that they will be unaffected by an EMP.

Examples include Jeeps, GMC/Chevrolet Blazers, Ford Broncos, Land Rovers, and Toyota Hi-Lux pickup trucks made before 1990. Each of these is AWD and are reliable vehicles.


When you consider what will work after an EMP attack you might immediately think about money.  Electronic banking, using ATM machines, and online transactions will no longer be a possibility after an EMP attack. But what will work after an EMP attack is cold hard cash. At least in the hours or days after the blast, cash will serve as your only way to buy and sell things (other than basic bartering items).

The thing to be careful about, however, is that money will most certainly suffer from hyperinflation in the days following an EMP attack.

What you need to do then is have a strong reserve of cash in your home ($500 at the bare minimum, $1,000 to $2,000 would be preferable) at all times.

Immediately after the EMP has happened, take that money and go right down to the store before the looters get there. Offer the manager or the owner all or a good portion of that money in exchange for any food and supplies that you can take with you, and let them keep the change.

This is not a waste of money because again, that cash will become worthless as a result of hyperinflation and furthermore this will be your last chance to grab things at the store before they are looted.

Faraday Cages (And Anything You Put In Them)

If you want an almost surefire way of knowing what will work after an EMP attack and what won’t in regards to electronic items, keeping them inside a Faraday cage at the time of the EMP blast is your best bet.

Named after Michael Faraday, a scientist who lived in Great Britain in the 1800s, a Faraday cage is simply any container or enclosure that can shield the contents inside from an electromagnetic field.

Faraday cages are also incredibly cheap and easy to make using materials you likely already have.

For example, you can build a Faraday cage out of nothing more than a galvanized metal trash can and cardboard, or you can build one by covering a cardboard box with at least three layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil. With both of these examples, wrap your electronic item in a towel and then in plastic wrapping before placing it into the cage for added protection.

Since you won’t be able to recharge your electronic item in a power outlet anymore after an EMP, invest in a solar charger to go with it.

Does a Faraday cage guarantee that your phone or laptop will still work after an EMP? No, but it greatly increases the likelihood, and for that reason alone is worth building.

Guns and Ammo

One of your top priorities following the EMP will be security. You must be prepared to defend your property, supplies, your family, and yourself from looters and mobs and raiding parties, and you need to have the weaponry to successfully do it.

And guess what? Guns will definitely work after an EMP attack, as will ammunition. And you definitely need both if you want to mount a successful defense of your home.

At the bare minimum, there are five guns that you will be wise to own:

  1. .22 Rifle
  2. Shotgun
  3. Semi-Automatic Pistol
  4. Semi-Automatic Defensive Rifle
  5. Hunting Rifle

Try to buy a firearm that meets each of these categories and then store a minimum of five hundred rounds per weapon (1,000 rounds or more would be preferable because remember, this has to last you for ten years potentially).

NOTE: even though your guns won’t be unaffected by an EMP attack, an electronic safe will be. This means if you store all of your guns in an electronic safe, you may not be able to access them after the EMP goes off. It’s just something to think about.

Solar Panels*

Here we have another asterisk because even though solar panels should technically survive an EMP attack, they will also be damaged.

As a golden rule, expect your solar panels to have their output reduced by around ten percent (maybe a little more or a little less) after an EMP attack. But they will continue to work and that’s what important.

NOTE: while your solar panels can weather an EMP, the solar charge controller (which charges batteries) and the voltage inverter (which converts battery power) will definitely not. Keep one of each in a Faraday cage if you want to be able to use your solar panels after an EMP.


Tools that need to be hooked up to power in order to run will be useless after the EMP, but what will work after the EMP attack are basic hand tools that don’t involve power or electronics of any kind.

This includes hammers, nails, screwdrivers, screws, knives, hatchets, axes, sledgehammers, saws, wrenches, sockets, etc.

Basic tools such as these will work after an EMP attack and you will definitely want to have them after an EMP. Now is the time to stock up on these kinds of tools before it’s too late.


An electromagnetic pulse attack upon the United States is going to be bad no matter how you slice it.

But you can become more prepared by stocking up on items that will work after an EMP attack, including the items that we have covered in this article.

So while your car may not work, an older model of car may. While your phone or laptop won’t work after an EMP, protecting it in a Faraday cage may be able to save it. While you won’t be able to access information online anymore, you can still access the same information through physical copies of books.

You can still live in a post EMP world, and your survival will always be made easier if you invest in these kinds of items.

[author image=”http://0.gravatar.com/avatar/3de80cf1a55e6dea1488ac3fd34c291e?s=192&d=mm&r=g” ]Nick Oetken is a professional writer and outdoorsman. His mission is to help ensure that the average everyday person is more prepared for extraordinary circumstances that may come their way.[/author]


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