When we talk about the best ham radios out there, certain manufacturers come out on top with great features. Such radios have extraordinary functionality, which we do not expect from any other regular Ham Radio. And inevitably, these are the exact ones which attract maximum attention. However, fancy things also have a fancy price tag on them. But that's not the case with BaoFeng Ham Radios.
Apart from possessing the key things of distinguished ham radio, BaoFeng Ham Radio offers an array of other features which is hard for anybody to turn their back on. And that too with a pocket-friendly price tag. If you talk to any ardent user of BaoFeng Radio, you won't receive any complaint about it. The performance is phenomenal in every head you mention.
But for such a big manufacturing company as BaoFeng, one needs to select the ideal choice from a wide assortment of options it offers. After long and thorough testing, I have complied the 10 Best BaoFeng Ham Radios to buy. A comprehensive study of each model would widen your horizon when it comes to purchasing a BaoFeng Radio, and it will make the task considerably more comfortable.
Best BaoFeng Radio Reviews in 2021
1. BaoFeng BF-F8HP - Best BaoFeng Radio 2021
Overall Rating - 4.75/5
This BaoFeng production leads far ahead from its earlier production in multiple aspects. After using the earlier models, the upgrade in this one is enormous. It is clearly reflected on the output power that offers, which has been upgraded to 8 watts. It charges fast, and battery life is very long-lasting.
The frequency range of this BaoFeng Ham Radio is 65-108 MHz. Though for certain frequencies, you need to possess a license that can be attained by clearing an exam.
There may be some disturbances in the reception as you fiddle with it, but they are minor enough to overlook.
Besides, you can't find any Baofeng ham radio which does not come with a little glitch. It is a major upgrade from its predecessor UV-5R, as there were too many technical issues to deal with. Compared to it, BaoFeng BF-F8H is a real treat.
The 7” high gain Antenna boosts the reception and gives you an exceptional sound quality thats why we listed BaoFeng BF-F8HP as the best BaoFeng radio in 2021.
There is a backup battery option in case you have no way of charging it through the adapter. It is beyond the normal power levels. The improved battery life enables you to use the FM and flashlight features all day long without charging it even once.
Moreover, it is very durable as it comes with a hard-protective covering that can withstand damage to a large extent. I can personally vouch for the quality of BaoFeng BF-F8HP, and saying that it is far ahead of the previous model.
2. BTECH UV-5X3 - Best BaoFeng Radio Under Budget
Overall Rating - 4.4/5
The highlight feature of BaoFeng ham radio UV-5X3 is the dual-line display on the LCD. Unlike various other BaoFeng models that display the two frequencies on the dual-line display, which is ultimately futile for people who are in the middle of a transmission. Dual-line display of BaoFeng UV-5X3 renders much relevant intel which a user needs mostly.
You can now see the channel name and the channel frequency right there on the dual-line LCD by using the Sync feature. If you are using two frequencies simultaneously, it is smart enough to show both the frequencies.
You can’t find this feature in any other BaoFeng radios. The channel modification has been made awfully easy. As you no longer have to follow the delete and add protocol.
You can scan through the tuned position of the receiving band without the need to scan the whole band.
Furthermore, the scanning of the channels is also very convenient in the BaoFeng UV-5X3. If you are looking for low priced BaoFeng ham radio, then this the Best BaoFeng Radio that you can buy under your budget.
3. BaoFeng UV-82HP - Best BaoFeng Radio for Portability
Overall Rating - 4.5/5
If I asked to compare BaoFeng UV-82HP and BF-F8HP, I would say the former one edges out for me. The reason is two-fold. The speaker of BaoFeng UV-82HP is considerably louder, which helps a lot when you are handling an instrument like a ham radio.
The hiss of the radio while fiddling of a channel can be extremely disturbing. You would have to increase the volume for distinction.
Second is that BaoFeng UV82HP is light and very compact in hand. For a traveller, this is the epitome of the Best BaoFeng Radio. The feature of dual PTT enables you to transmit the signal on two authorized frequencies. These frequencies are classified into two categories, namely ‘A’ and ‘B’.
You can push the up and down buttons to switch between the two with ease. One can be used for communication with the other to scan through channels and so. To be concise, BaoFeng UV-82HP is a convenient instrument that fulfills almost all the requirements of the user.
The battery life is good with various means of charging options. I can assure you that you would never be out of power. It offers you those things absent from the previous models and stands as the most powerful BaoFeng radio.
The pricing makes the deal all more delicious. The scanning of the channel is easy, and adjusting your channel list is highly convenient. You can choose or delete channels of your choice from a total of 128 programmable memory channels.
4. BTECH GMRS-V1 - Best Handheld BaoFeng Radio
Overall Rating - 4/5
BTECH GMRS-V1 is compatible with all the brands of FRS and GMRS radios and its repeaters. This means you can communicate with any person possessing a model of FRS and GMRS.
The easy scanning will allow you to scan through the array of radio channels and add it to your list.
It will save all the channels listed, and they won’t be deleted or removed even if you reboot the device. The list can be altered later as per your needs.
This product has a very high frequency and ultra-high frequency scanner, which scans through channels like NOAA, FM, etc. This particular feature made us to list this radio in the Best BaoFeng Radios list.
The next thing which will tickle your interest is that the GMRS-V1 allows you to watch two channels simultaneously. The antenna is replaceable, so if needed, you can replace the antenna with a longer one for more effective transmission. This instrument is also very lightweight and compact.
5. BaoFeng UV-5R MK5 - Best BaoFeng Radio for Outdoor Usage
Overall Rating - 4.4/5
BaoFeng UV-5R MK5 two-piece radio will enable fluid communication between you and your companion. The range is enough for two people to speak during camping trips and other activities. The LED flashlight is another thing that aids you in emergency time. All these features makes this device the Best BaoFeng Radio for outdoor activities.
Although it may lag behind its successor in a lot of heads, it is still an ideal choice for people who have just got into the hobby of ham radios. The easy switch enables the user to switch between different channels.
The reception of this BaoFeng 2 way radio can give a head to head with other radios in its league. The battery life is also excellent. Once fully charged, it will function for an extended period of time.
You will also get a low battery alert when the power of the radio is nearing its depletion. There are 128 channels available that can be programmed as per your need.
The packaging includes whatever is needed. It comes with a high gain 7” antenna with aids in strong signal reception.
6. Mirkit BaoFeng Radio UV-82 - Best BaoFeng Radio for Easy Operation
Overall Rating - 4/5
The underlining feature of Mirkit BaoFeng Radio UV-82 would be the range that it renders. The communication distance will be 10 km, and you would still get excellent reception and sound quality. This is one of the best models if you prioritize interaction over everything else.
This is an ideal choice while traveling. The range incorporated with the battery life will give you a stable 12-hour connection. One hundred twenty-eight channels can be programmed easily via PC, and the Dual PTT feature makes it the Best BaoFeng Radio.
The Built-in VOX feature enables voice activation. If you are on a camping or trekking trip, the LED flashlight feature would also be extremely useful.
7. BTECH MURS-V1 - Best BaoFeng Radio for Home Use
Overall Rating - 4/5
If you do not possess the license for operating Ham radios, then this product is right for you. Neither of the two parties connected needs to have an official license. MURS-V1 is compatible with all the brands of MURS radios.
The MURS-V1 is pretty easy when it comes to the operation. Even if you are a complete noob and have just got into the hobby of radios, then this the best BaoFeng radio that you can buy.
The privacy tones can be easily modified, and it has a built-in FM radio. The channel names can be customized via PC, and virtually the BaoFeng ham radio can be programmed as per your need through computers.
These are generally used for short-distant communication. For instance, to contact someone at home or somebody from your office, distance plays a major role. The range is not wide, so it is not compatible with long distances.
8. BaoFeng UV-82C - Best Light Weight BaoFeng Radio
Overall Rating - 3.9/5
BaoFeng UV-82C can be characterized as better than the previous models because of its loudspeaker and the sound quality it offers. I advise you to program the radio as soon as it reaches you to comprehend the operation better and get the full potential of the instrument.
As you use the device, you would come to the same conclusion as me that the sound quality is exceptional, and the range is wide enough to use in everyday life. For Office or industrial workers, this the Best BaoFeng Two Way Radio.
The FM radio reception is phenomenal too. The cheap pricing allows one to purchase these in bulk for innumerable reasons.
9. BTECH DMR-6X2 - Best BaoFeng Radio for Personal and Professional Use
Overall Rating - 3.65/5
This dual-band radio is highly versatile that can be used for personal and professional use. Whether using at office or industries or on a trip with friends, the wide range advances an extensive line of usage as well.
What makes it better than its competitors is its tendency to store profusion of channels, around 4000. You can choose the kind of display you want in the daytime and night time.
The nigh time display has a contrasting black theme, so these can be used in darkness or at night.
And your eyes don’t get strained because of the light. DMR 6X2 has a built-in GPS that sends Analog APRS packets. With this, the current location of the holder can be tracked. Also, the channels can be easily scanned and stored.
10. BaoFeng BF-888S - Best BaoFeng Radio for Business
Overall Rating - 3.7/5
This instrument is highly popular between industrial and construction workers. The short-range, along with good reception and sound quality, makes BaoFeng BF-888S an ideal choice for people in construction sites who frequently need to communicate with their fellow workers.
These are also preferred by families who tend to keep constant contact with one another. The LED flashlight enables clear viewing at night or in darkness.
Best BaoFeng Radio Buyers Guide
More About BaoFeng Radio
Doubtless that BaoFeng co. is one of the best ham radio manufacturers out there. BaoFeng production promises you ham radios of superior quality and once you choose to put your trust in them, rest assured you will never be disappointed.
Apart from possessing the key features that make up for ideal ham radio, BaoFeng has an abundance of other store features that ought to be a treat for the buyers.
The highlighting fact about BaoFeng Ham Radios is that they are so versatile that there is a radio to serve every need. You can be a professional or an amateur; Baofeng radios would not let you down in any situation.
Whether you want a walkie talkie for a trip with friends or at a construction site or even radio at home to listen to weather and news updates, BaoFeng Ham Radios fulfill each user's need without any compromises. So that settles it; BaoFeng should definitely be in your cart.
How to Program a BaoFeng Radio
Programming a BaoFeng radio is tricky even for an expert so here were are providing simplex, duplex, and computer-based ways to program your BaoFeng 2 way radio. Before getting into the topic, let me explain the basic buttons and terms of a BaoFeng Radio.
BaoFeng Radio Basic Buttons/Terms
Now I hope you learned about the basic buttons present in a BaoFeng radio. Let's dive into our actual topic of how to program a BaoFeng Radio. Since there are three methods of programming a BaoFeng Radio, I am explaining them one by one.
Method 1: Simplex
Method 2: Duplex
Hurray, you have learned two main programming methods to program your BaoFeng radio. You can efficiently operate it now without any worries.
Method 3: Using CHIRP Software
CHIRP software is available online for free, and this requires a computer, a BaoFeng Radio USB programming cable, and you have to add up to 128 channels in your BaoFeng Radio. Once you have these three things follow the steps below:
After these steps, your BaoFeng radio will be programmed with the MURS, GMRS, FRS, and NOAA weather channels with enough memory space left to add new channels.
Factors Need to Consider Before Buying a BaoFeng Radio
Baofeng has launched loads of models that it is hard to keep track of the quality of performance. Despite that fact, some of the models have emerged as best out of the lot. However, as a buyer, you will be looking for that one Ham Radio that fulfills all of your needs.
Therefore, certain factors need to be considered before picking the perfect radio for yourself. Before diving into the determinants, one thing needs to be kept in mind. Although an amateur radio is meant for “beginners”, one usually still needs a license to operate a ham radio.
This measure has opted because certain frequencies are reserved for specific reasons. It eliminates the problem of overhearing or interruption when say, two government employees are engaged in a conversation.
That is why an examination is conducted, which certifies you qualified to operate a ham radio. Nonetheless, there are still certain Ham Radios which anybody can operate if they do not reach the reserved frequencies. The frequency on which you can operate is mentioned in the instruction manual, which comes inside the package.
Now let us see some of the factors that need to be considered before buying a BaoFeng radio.
1. Features and Specifications:
Specifications and the features a Ham Radio offers are crucial particular to look into. These include the frequencies on which you can operate, the instrument's reception, the sound quality, transmission, how much output power it offers, how long the battery can last, etc.
Intel on these heads is of utmost importance. One thing that is important to think about while buying a ham radio is its range because it is directly linked with your needs.
For instance, if you want to purchase Baofeng Ham Radios in bulk for easy communication between workers at a construction site, a radio which offers short-distant communication would do just fine.
Whereas, if you want two-way walkie talkies for, let’s say, a trip, you will need a ham radio that sustains long-distance communication. Therefore, the distance you want your radio to cover needs to be considered. This is among other specifications that you need to think about.
The number of channels it offers and the radio's scanning system also need a minute’s thought.
The compactness and light-weight of the Ham Radio play a significant role whilst choosing the Best Baofeng Ham Radio. It would help if you had a Ham Radio, which you can easily fit in your pocket or your backpack when you are out on a trip.
Baofeng Ham Radio is very portable in general, but if you compare each model, you will see that some radio's portability is more than the others. The product's dimensions and weight are usually written on the box or the description of the product if you are buying it online.
Nevertheless, just to be extra sure about the portability, it is advised to go through the reviews of popular Baofeng models to get a better insight into each instrument's portability.
UV-82HP has been credited for being highly portable as compared to other models of Baofeng. Apart from being light and compact, it also has good reception and is known to be highly durable.
Thus, if you are looking for a compact instrument, you might want to put this instrument on your list for further consideration.
As a user, each one of us anticipates the product we are purchasing would last long. Nobody likes investing a great sum into the same kind of thing time and time again.
Baofeng ham radios are top-notch when you talk about durability. Although all of them can sustain damage to a large extent, there are certain varying durability factors.
For instance, some are not water-resistance, so if they are accidentally socked in water, they will stop functioning. Hence, if you are an outdoor enthusiast, it is advised to purchase a water-resistant model.
Even so, when you talk about Baofeng ham radios in general, they are considered to be hard and highly durable.
The price of Baofeng Ham Radios has progressively increased and understandably as each succeeding model has more to offer than the proceeding one.
However, that does not mean that the most expensive model is also the best. The term best is very subjective. You need to list out your requirements and buy a ham radio corresponding to those.
As I mentioned before, if you want to purchase ham radios Just for communication like at a construction site or an industry, it is advisable to go for cheap models as almost all models have excellent signal reception and sound quality.
If what you require is a lot more than mere communication, then investing in a quality model is suggestible.
Safe to say that even the best models are pocket friendly when you talk about Baofeng ham radios. BF-F8HP is one such model. It goes easy on your pocket, and the functions of it are profound. The quality is superior to most other models.
The last thing you need to look into is the reviews of the users. This is essential because it gives you a second-hand look into the functionality of the product.
If you are a beginner, you need to go for a basic model. And whether or not you would be able to operate a model as a novice will become known once you read what the users have to say and what kind of experience they have had.
Up until now, almost all Baofeng productions have received phenomenal reviews. They’ve been said to be pocket-friendly, easy to use, highly durable, and, most importantly, very useful.
Frequently Asked Questions about BaoFeng Radio
1. Can BaoFeng Ham Radio be used as a walkie-talkie without a license?
For communication purposes, a person needs to possess a license to be acknowledged by the FCC. In such a case, one can use some frequencies on VHF and UHF bands. However, MURS and FRS frequencies cannot be used by anyone. When you pass your licensing exam, you are allotted a band space, and you can use only the frequencies which are allotted to you.
If you operate on any other frequency other than this, you may be out of bounds. There is a heavy fine of about $10,000 if you are found operating a Ham Radio without a license. So, to answer the question, yes, it is necessary to obtain a license if you want to use it as a walkie talkie as an unlicensed person can only receive radio signals and not transmit them.
2. Can I listen to Baofeng radio services without a license?
You can receive radio frequencies without a license but cannot transmit them. This means, even if you do not have a license, you can still listen to various broadcasting services such as AM and FM, weather reports from NOAA weather channels, National and Sports news, etc. What you can’t do is use the ham radio as a walkie-talkie for two-way communication because, as I said, you need to obtain a license to transmit signals.
3. What is the range of BaoFeng radio?
First of all, for using Baofeng Ham Radio as a walkie talkie, you need to possess a license and be officially acknowledged by the authorities. Having said that, the approximate maximum range you can get from them is around 10 to 20 km. The range can be augmented if another suitable antenna has replaced the default antenna. But for most of the Baofeng production, this is the approximate range you can expect.
4. Can I Update the firmware of BaoFeng radio?
No, the firmware of BaFeng Ham Radio cannot be upgraded as it comes with a One-Time programmable chip.
5. Are Baofeng Ham Radios illegal?
In 2013, it was found out that the BaoFeng productions have not been complying with the FCC regulations. Upon getting a complaint regarding the same, the FCC Enforcement Bureau started an investigation and found that the UV-5R model exclusively has been out of bounds when it came to FCC part 90. Then they asked the manufacturer to stop the production of UV-5R as it does not comply with the prescribed rules.
Thus, it is not the BaoFeng Ham Radios that are illegal, but just a few selected ones that should not be purchased until the feud has been concluded.
6. Does BaoFeng Radio come with a user manual?
All BaoFeng models come with an instruction manual. The manual will guide you through the setup of the radio and the entire operation. The manual also has a detailed account of all the features and specifications offered by the radio. If there are problems that are not mentioned in the manual, you can always contact the technical support who will amicably render solutions to your problems.
One thing is clear when it comes to efficient Ham Radios. Hardly any other manufacturer can beat BaoFeng, whether it be sound quality, good reception, wide range, frequencies, or any other key feature. BaoFeng productions have proved themselves the best again and again. It is beneficial to novices as well as professionals. Hence, if you are looking for the best ham radio with a profusion of useful features, BaoFeng Radios are perfect for you.
About the Author
I am Tim, a weather enthusiast who loves to watch hurricanes and all other harsh weather conditions. I studied B.Sc(Meteorology) at the University of Miami. With excellent knowledge of Weather Forecasting, Meteorology, and Environmental Science, I am currently working in San Francisco as a Meteorologist. Also, I am a member of The Weather Channel and AccuWeather. In this blog, I will write a detailed review of Weather instruments that you need for survival and other activities.