Without a doubt, cell phones are devices which are very useful. They make it convenient to make phone calls and they have apps which can do everything from tell the user where the nearest gas station is to help them calculate the cost of materials. However, sometimes there are better options—both at home and at the work site, especially when it’s absolutely vital for people to remain in contact with one another.
The two way radio actually is a better device for communication than a smartphone is in most circumstances. Why? Because they work during emergencies, are cost-effective, easy to use, are more durable than smartphones and offer clear communication in all situations. Which is probably why so many people are looking for the best two way radio for their budget. With that in mind, here are the top ten models available.
Best Two Way Radios – Reviews
10Midland 36-Channel LXT630VP3
These handheld radios come with everything needed to make them a suitable communication choice for just about anyone. They provide clear and crisp communication on 36-channels and have a range that can extend up to 30 miles, under the right conditions. These units also come with 121 privacy codes that ensure the users that no one else is ease dropping on their conversation. And if that isn’t enough, they can be used hands-free thanks to voice activation, have a back-lit LCD display and other features such as a roger beep, keypad lock and channel scan. They can also be used with a rechargeable battery pack or 3 AAA batteries.
9Midland 50-Channel FRS/GMRS GXT1000VP4
These pair of radios comes with a number of features which make them useful for home or for work. They feature twenty-two channels with twenty-eight extra channels that can be accessed easily by pushing a button. These models also have 285 privacy codes, which can deliver over six thousand channel options and an impressive thirty-six-mile range in areas with little to no obstructions. Some of the other features that can be found with these radios include an SOS siren, ten call alerts, and an NOAA weather alert radio with weather scan. These units are also water resistant to light rain and these units meet JIS4 standards.
8Uniden Handheld 2-Way VHF Marine Radio (MHS75)
Boasting up to a 12-hour battery life and fully compliant with JIS8 standards, which means that it can be dunked in water and still operate, this radio is perfect for taking out on the open ocean. It’s programmed at the factory with all of the channels a marine explorer would need, including channels from the U.S, Canada, and international channels as well. This VHF 2-way radio also supports all NOAA weather channels and has a built-in emergency and weather alerts. This unit features a back lit LCD display and keypad, which makes it easy-to-use night or day.
7Baofeng Black UV-5R V2+ Plus Dual-Band
This dual-band ham radio is designed to keep the user in touch with the outside world. It has a number of features which really make it a good radio. This unit has a bright LED display that’s easy to read under a variety of circumstances and also has auto-band detection when its input. Inside this unit is a micro multi-band FM transceiver that can provide 2-way amateur communications. Other features of this radio include the ability to use 3800mah and 3600mah extended batteries, a user manual printed in English and the exterior of the radio is extremely tough and impact resistant.
6Amcrest Baofeng ATR-22 Two-Way Walkie Talkies (BF-888S)
These pair of walkie-talkies are designed to keep two individuals in constant contact and is both a receiver and a fully functional hand-held transceiver. They come with a charger and an antenna, so each one is ready for use as soon as it’s unpacked. These units have a frequency of 400-470 MHz and operate across 16-channels. They also have a number of other useful features such as voice prompt and VOX function, low-voltage alert, scrambler function, emergency alarm and battery-saver. These models use 1800mAh Li-ion batteries and have an ergonomic design that makes them easy to hold in the hand.
5Luiton LT-316 UHF Walkies
Designed to be a high-quality walkie with a durable design, this unit can be used just about anywhere. They’re made using materials that don’t interfere with radio signals and the whole unit is dust proof. These units are also made of military-quality circuit boards that are prized for their reliability. Each of these radios has approximately a five to ten-mile range and a 16-channel memory that can be programmed by CHIRP. Other features of these radios include an easy-to-carry compact design, a frequency range of 400-520 MHz and 3-watts of output. Whether they’re used by hiker, bikers, hunters or by members of the police, these units are sure to offer reliability and durability for their users.
4Uokoo Long Range FRS/GMRS Radios
This pair of radios can be used on the job site or while out hunting. They a 6-KM range, in ideal circumstances, and has a sound quality that’s often called loud and clear. These radios have LCD back lit displays and have they have a design that’s easy-to-use and are compact. Using only 4-AAA batteries, these radios can be used for quite a long time and even have automatic power savers built right into them. Other features include a dual-channel selector, 38-interference eliminator codes, and a channel scan. Everything needed to use these radios are included with them, except for the batteries.
3Retevis H-777 Long Range UHF Radios
This set of three radios enables three people to remain in contact with each other all the time. This makes them quite useful to be used by members of the same family or to use on a job site and can also provide a link to the outside world. They have 16-channels which operate between the 400 and 470 MHz UHF frequencies and have large capacity batteries that charge in only three hours time but provides up to nine hours of continuous use. Other features of these radios include built-in LED flashlights, a scanning function, emergency alarm and a power saving feature.
2BaoFeng BF-F8HP 8-Watt Dual Band Radio
The BF-F8HP is a VHF/UHF handheld radio that has a number of features which make it useful to anyone looking to keep in contact with the outside world or to keep in contact with members of your team at work. It has more power than previous generations of the same brand and has a UHF frequency range of 400-520 MHz. This unit also comes with a 2000 maH Battery, a high gain V-85 antenna and a user guide that gives an in-depth explanation of how to use the radio. And it’s also backed by a warranty from the manufacturer.
1BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Ham Transceiver
This easy-to-use and durable radio can be used for a variety of different circumstances and will provide the user with high-quality sound from its FM radio and from its 128 channels. This makes this a good radio for plant supervisors, for hunting or for construction sites. It has a long range capability, is well-designed and very durable and not only has a built-in LED flashlight but also an earphone headset. Other features include a rechargeable battery with a 12-hour life and an alarm function. All in a stylish and high-quality case that’s capable of holding up even in less than ideal situations.
Can’t Find What You’re Looking For? Check these suggestions:
Choosing the Best Two Way Radio
Choosing a 2-way radio may seem like a complicated ordeal with all of the catch-phrases and technical specifications that are banded about on most sites, but that doesn’t have to be a case. Buying one of these radios doesn’t have to be harder than selecting another cell phone or a new PC for your home. All that’s required is to consider each feature the radio provides and weigh it against your particular needs. If you do that, then you can end up with the best one possible. One that suits your needs and lifestyle.
Size & Weight
The first thing that needs to be considered is the size of the radio and its weight. After all, some models can be pretty big and heavy thanks to bigger batteries. This isn’t usually a problem if you plan on using the radio from your home or from other central location. However, if you plan on taking with you while you’re hunting, hiking or mountaineering, then you are probably going to want to find a model that’s small enough to fit in a pack and doesn’t unnecessarily weight you down. Depending on use, you might also want to make sure that the model is ergonomically designed and if you’re going to be using it during winter weather, that it can be used while you’re wearing gloves. All of these are important considerations.
Range of Coverage
This is another feature that needs to be considered but it shouldn’t rely on too much. What I mean is that the advertised range for a particular radio may be substantially different from its actual range. A radio may claim that it has a 20-mile range, but that is usually only in “ideal” circumstances, and guess what? Rarely is your radio going to be used in ideal circumstances, so you can probably expect a realistic range of 2 to 3 miles, maybe 5—if you’re lucky.
Even so, you should get the one with the highest wattage, which is also the one with the longest range. But even that isn’t without its problems. That’s because increased wattage doesn’t just make for more powerful radios but it also means that they blow through batteries quicker and are more expensive to buy. So really, you should buy the highest wattage radio you can afford that has the best battery life possible.
Usually known as Privacy Codes but sometimes also as Eliminator Codes, this feature lessens the change of interference by another radio which might be using the same channel you are. These usually work by having the user choose not only a channel but a code as well, this will give each radio a number of different combinations of channels and codes and thereby lessening the chance that someone will accidentally break into your conversation. Just be aware that this isn’t really a privacy feature although it’s called privacy codes. People can still listen in to your conversations. In fact, no matter what radio you’re using you should always keep in mind that someone could be listening to your conversations.
Battery Life & Battery Type
Battery life is another important consideration for future radio enthusiasts to think about. Just be sure to buy one that has enough battery life for your particular needs. Also, consider the type of battery a unit used. Some use AA or AAA batteries and others have rechargeable batteries. Once again, which one you choose depends on how you’re going to use it and how much you are willing to spend.
The VOX Feature
This feature, also known as hands-free, enables you to use the radio without having to touch it. It’s a useful function for cyclists, skiers or anyone else who needs their hands for other purposes. All you have to do is to talk in the direction of the radio and it will begin broadcasting automatically. A nice feature to have but sometimes they can end up broadcasting accidentally, which can be a real inconvenience and at times, embarrassing.
NOAA Weather Radio
Many of the newer radios have an NOAA weather radio built into them. This is a great feature for just about anyone because it allows you to listen to local conditions and the weather forecast and most of them have alerts that can tell you when inclement weather is on the way.
FRS & GMRS
Two networks that are often talked about in radio advertisements are FRS and GMRS. Some radios use one of these networks or the other, while others are capable of using both networks. The most important distinction between these two is that anyone can use FRS for their radio communications, but people using GMRS channels have to get a license from the FCC. Fortunately, the FCC offers 5-year family licenses so getting one of them isn’t too difficult.
Other Features to Consider
Of course, the above features aren’t the only things to consider but they are the most important. Once you’ve decided on a radio that uses those features, you may then want to consider the following optional features:
- Noise filters
- Scanning capabilities
- Back lit display
- Key Locks
- Paging features
- GPS features