What is the best Baofeng radio?
What first comes to your mind when we talk about the best ham radios in the market? That’s right, Baofeng ham radios. Apart from possessing all the essential features, you would expect to find in a ham radio; these gadgets also have an array of extra features and excellent functionality that make them stand out among other ham radios out there.
But with the wide range of Baofeng radio models available in the market, it can be daunting to find the ideal one that ticks off everything you are looking for in a ham radio. Well, not to worry, because we went ahead and put together detailed reviews of what we conclude are the best Baofeng radios. Ready? Let’s get to it, shall we? But first things first, let’s take a look at some of the advantages that come with owning a Baofeng ham radio.
Advantages of getting a Baofeng Ham Radio
- They are affordable – It’s pretty clear that high-end ham radios come with fancy price tags, but that’s not the case with Baofeng radios. For close to two decades now, the Baofeng company has been known to produce world-class radios that are very affordable. So, you do not have to worry about the price when getting yourself one.
- They are very easy to operate -The Baofeng company understands that not everyone is tech-savvy; that is why they have made their radios easy to operate even for newbies. The radios also come with a user manual containing a step-by-step guide on using and programming the device according to your personal preferences.
- They are safe and legal – Apart from striving to produce the latest and most advanced radios in the market, Baofeng has also made it their priority to create ham radios that meet both the FCC and the European ROHS legal standards. This makes them legal to operate as long as you are a licensed ham radio operator.
- They are very versatile – Another advantage that makes this ham radio brand a favorite among ham radio operators is its versatility. Thanks to the extra features they possess, these gadgets are suitable for both amateur and commercial use like hospitals, schools, to mention a few.
- They are very flexible – Baofeng radios are also known to be very flexible. For starters, they can be programmed both manually and via PC. They also can operate in both UHF and VHF frequencies.
- They are very powerful – Baofeng ham radios take pride in having a maximum output power of up to 8 watts, with several power output levels that boost their performance and help save battery power. They also come with high capacity batteries that are guaranteed to last for a very long time, making them suitable, even for survival.
With that being said, let’s jump right into the reviews, shall we?
Best Baofeng Radio Reviews 2021
1. Baofeng BF-F8HP (UV-5R 3rd Gen) 8-watt Dual-Band Two-way Radio(Editor’s choice)
Taking up the first spot on our list as the best Baofeng radio for licensed amateur usage is the Baofeng BF-F8HP Two-way Radio. As a third upgrade from the previous Baofeng UV-5R model, this device is packed with extra features, transmitting power, and better overall performance.
For starters, this gadget is made of robust material, giving it a more rugged feel compared to its predecessor. It also weighs approximately 214g, so it’s very lightweight and portable. Most Baofeng BF-F8HP reviews are also impressed by its tri-color display with selectable purple, orange, and blue colors for easier visibility regardless of the time of the day.
As the name suggests, the Baofeng BF-F8HP operates on both VHF and UHF frequency bands that range between 130-176MHz(VHF) and 400-520MHz(UHF) when programmed. With these high-frequency ranges, the device can work perfectly regardless of the available obstructions. What’s more, the gadget allows you to watch two channels simultaneously, thanks to the semi-duplex feature.
Another thing we like about this gadget is the Baofeng bf-f8hp antenna. The 7-inch V-85 High-gain antenna does a great job at extensively capturing and transmitting frequencies, enabling the device to obtain clear VHF and UHF signals. Although most customers are not impressed with the Baofeng BF-F8HP’s 700w speaker, it still has excellent audio quality, thanks to the CTSS(Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System) and the DCS(Digital Coded Squelch) that are responsible for filtering out unwanted transmissions from channels.
The Baofeng BF-F8HP is also very easy to program, thanks to its versatile CHIRP programming software that allows you to program and customize it on Windows, Mac, and Linux. It also has a large internal memory that can accommodate up to 128 programmed channels.
The device also comes with a 2000mAh high capacity Baofeng bf-f8hp battery that is guaranteed to last up to 24 hours after a full recharge. For longer battery life and better performance, the gadget has a maximum output power of 8 watts with three power modes, including 8 watts (high), 4 watts (medium), and 1watt (low).
- Frequency ranges including; 136-174MHz (VHF), 400-520MHz (UHF), and 65-108MHz(FM reception only)
- Maximum power output of 8 watts with three selectable power settings including 8 watts (high), 4 watts (medium), and 1 watt (low)
- 7-inch V-85 High-gain antenna
- 2000Mah, 7.4V Li-ion battery
- CHIRP programming software
- N5R-340A firmware
- Semi-duplex mode of operation
- It is very durable and lightweight.
- It comes with a high-capacity battery with extended battery life.
- It is very easy to program and operate, making it perfect for amateur usage.
- It features a powerful 7-inch High-gain antenna.
- The package doesn’t come with an FTDI programming cable.
- It is not waterproof.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the most powerful Baofeng radio?
Owing to its high power output and new and improved features, the Baofeng BF-F8HP is the most potent Baofeng radio.
- Is the Baofeng BF–F8HP legal?
Yes, it is legal to use it only if you are a licensed amateur ham radio operator and are operating only on amateur radio frequencies.
- How far can a Baofeng BF–F8HP transmit?
Thanks to its high power output, it can transmit up to a maximum range of 20 to 25 miles depending on the available obstructions.
Check out Best Handheld ham Radios
If you are a newbie looking for the ideal Baofeng radio to start your ham radio experience, the Baofeng UV-82HP is a perfect choice. While it’s not the most sophisticated Baofeng radio in the market, its overall design makes it the best Baofeng radio, especially for beginners.
The Baofeng UV-82HP is the 2nd upgrade from the well-known UV-5R series. While it does have almost all the features found in its predecessor, the device comes with a couple of extra features, better functionality that makes it a more modern ham radio.
It’s impossible not to notice its sleek and slim design, making it easy to carry around. Most Baofeng UV-82HP reviews are impressed by how solid this device is, so it is guaranteed to last for a very long time. The Baofeng UV-82HP also features a tri-color display with backlit keypads, for easier visibility and operation.
The device operates on both VHF and UHF frequency bands ranging between 136-174MHz(VHF), and 400-520MHz(UHF), for better performance. It also comes with a V-85 High-gain antenna that does an exceptional job of capturing and transmitting frequencies, enabling you to obtain clear VHF and UHF signals. However, if you would like to upgrade to a better antenna, it’s essential to keep in mind that the gadget has an SMA female antenna connector, so you have to purchase one that is compatible with it.
Something else we like about this radio is its Push-To-Talk button. For starters, it’s located in a much more comfortable position compared to other radios. Coupled with the semi& duplex feature, this button allows you to transmit on two frequencies simultaneously. So, by pressing the button up, you can transmit on frequency A, and by pressing it down, you can transmit on frequency B.
Another feature that makes this radio perfect for beginners is its programming. Baofeng UV-82hp programming is made easy thanks to it’s latest CHIRP software that allows you easily program it via a computer. Sure, it can be programmed manually, but most customers prefer using the CHIRP software since it’s much easier. The audio quality of the device is also pretty impressive, thanks to its speaker, which perfectly projects the audio even when it’s windy. The CTSS and DCS squelch systems, too, do a great job of filtering out unwanted transmissions from the signals.
The Baofeng UV-82HP is also FM radio compatible, allowing you to comfortably listen to the radio while you go about your ham radio adventures. Most customers are also impressed by the Baofeng UV-82HP range. Owing to its maximum power output of 8 watts, the radio can transmit up to 50 miles. What’s more, it also has three power output levels, including 8 watts (high), 5 watts (medium), 1 watt(low), that help in saving battery power. Its 1800mAH battery also goes a long way in keeping it up and running for a very long time.
- Operates on both VHF and UHF frequency bands ranging between 136-174MHz(VHF), 400-520MHz (UHF), and 65-108MHz for FM reception only.
- V-85 High-gain antenna.
- 1800mAH battery.
- Compatible with CHIRP programming software.
- Maximum power output of 8 watts with three power output settings including 8 watts( high), 5 watts( medium), 1 watt( low)
- It is very affordable.
- It’s easy to operate.
- It has high power output.
- It has excellent audio quality.
- It comes with extra features like a built-in LED flashlight with enclosed lens and reflector.
- Some customers have pointed out that the power switch is not that stable.
- The antenna is susceptible to interference.
Best Baofeng radios for the money
When looking to purchase a ham radio, you definitely want to go for one that is of exceptional quality but affordable, right? We picked two ham radios that are a perfect combination of high quality, outstanding performance, and affordability, making them the best Baofeng radios for the money.
First off is the BTECH UV-5X3 5 watt Tri-band Radio. According to most Baofeng UV-5X3 reviews, the first feature makes this radio unique is its display. It features a tri-color display that can be synchronized, enabling you to view a lot of information at once.
Being a Tri-band radio, the BTECH UV-5X3 transmits on three frequency bands along with an FM frequency band that allows you to listen to the radio. These frequencies range between 130-174MHz(VHF), 400-480MHz(UHF), and 222-225MHz(Ham Band). For better performance, the device comes with two antennas; a 16.9cm V-85 High-gain antenna and a 17.4cm single-channel antenna.
The BTECH UV-5X3 also has great audio quality, thanks to its 10-level squelch system that eliminates unwanted transmissions from channels, enabling you to get crystal clear signals.
Another thing that most customers love about this device is its programming. Thanks to it’s latest firmware; the BTECH UV-5X3 can be programmed manually using the keypads. It also features 128 pre-programmed channels that you can manually delete or add on the scanning list using the keypads. What’s more, the gadget is compatible with CHIRP programming software, allowing you to program it on a computer. The UV-5X3 also comes with a 1500mAH battery that can last for a very long time before it needs recharging. It also has a maximum output power of 5 watts, which is perfect for a radio of this caliber.
The device also has extra features like the DTMF calling methods, the VOX (Hands-free) feature, to mention a few that boost its overall performance.
- Tri-band frequency ranges, including 130-176MHz(VHF), 400-480MHz, and 222-225MHz(Ham Band).
- Maximum output power of 5 watts.
- Two antennas; a 16.9 cm V-85 High-gain antenna, and a 17.4 cm single-channel antenna.
- 1500mAH battery.
- Tri-color synchronized display.
- It is very affordable.
- It’s beginner-friendly.
- It does not necessarily need to be programmed on a computer.
- It has a great display.
- Some customers have pointed out that the battery is not that durable, since it becomes weak after a couple of months.
Another affordable Baofeng radio is the Baofeng walkie talkie UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio. Also, an upgrade from the original UV-5R series, this radio is packed with improved features, all at a pocket-friendly price.
Judging by its looks, you will notice that it is made of solid material, making it durable. It comes with a high capacity 1800mAH battery that can last between 12-14 hours of working time and up to 36 hours of standby time. What’s more, the radio also comes with an extra battery, making it perfect for survival. It also has a maximum power output of 4 watts, which is relatively low compared to other Baofeng radios but still improves its overall performance. Most Baofeng walkie talkie UV-5R reviews are impressed by its detailed display that is well organized for easier operation.
The gadget transmits on two frequency bands ranging between 134-174MHz(VHF) and 400-520MHz(UHF). With these high-frequency ranges, the device has better transmissions within a particular area. It also features a TIRDRADIO 771 antenna that perfectly captures and transmits frequencies, enabling you to get clear VHF and UHF signals.
Like most other Baofeng radios, the Baofeng walkie talkie UV-5R has exceptional audio quality, thanks to its 0-9 level squelch system that reduces background noises to help you obtain crisp and clear audio. The CTSS and DCS codes also do a great job of blocking unwanted calls, allowing you to have private and uninterrupted communication.
The Baofeng walkie talkie UV-5R is compatible with CHIRP programming software, making it easy to program and customize it on Windows, with the help of an appropriate programming cable. It also has 128 pre-programmed channels that can be deleted or changed on the scanning list.
Another highlighted feature of this ham radio is the ‘emergency’ button. In case you are lost, you can go ahead long-press the ‘call’ button, which activates both the alarm and lights that will attract attention.
- Operates on two frequency bands ranging between 136-174MHz(VHF), and 400-520MHz(UHF), and 65-10Hz(FM reception only).
- TIRDRADIO 771 antenna.
- Maximum power output of 4 watts.
- Two 180mAh rechargeable batteries.
- Compatible with CHIRP programming software.
- It is very affordable.
- It is easy to program and operate.
- It has excellent audio quality.
- It has durable batteries.
- Some customers have complained that it’s charging bay is not durable.
- The battery tends to affect the radio’s range negatively.
Best Baofeng Radios For Commercial Usage
5. BTECH DMR-6X2 (DMR and Analog) 7-watt Dual-Band Two-Way Radio (Best DMR Radio)
Digital ham radios are becoming more and more popular. As usual, the Baofeng company is always at the forefront, ensuring that they offer the best digital radios in the market. We picked the BTECH DMR-6X2 Digital Radio as the best digital Baofeng radio and mainly because of versatility. Designed to work in both digital and analog mode, this device is perfect especially for commercial use.
The BTECH DMR-6X2 is built with sturdy material, making it durable. It’s also water-resistant, so it is guaranteed to withstand accidental splashes of water. Another over-the-top feature of this radio is its display. It features a 1.77 TFT display with vibrant blue and contrast black selectable themes, allowing you to customize it, depending on what time of the day it is. What’s more, the display is designed to hold the received signal’s information until another signal is received.
The BTECH DMR-6X2 also takes pride in having a large internal memory that can accommodate 4000 channels, 10,000 talk groups, and 200,000 contacts. Although most BTECH DMR-6X2 reviews don’t like the fact that it is not compatible with CHIRP programming software, the radio is front panel programmable, so you can still add or delete both digital and analog repeaters and channels. What’s more, it also allows several scan lists to be entered per channel.
Like most Baofeng models, this device operates on two frequency capabilities ranging between 136-174MHz(VHF) and 400-480MHz(UHF). It’s 6.25-inch SMA female antenna does a great job of capturing and transmitting frequencies, making it possible to get clear VHF and UHF signals. Its audio quality is impressive, thanks to its manually adjustable squelch system that effectively filters out unwanted noises.
The device comes with both a 2100 and 3100mAh batteries, so you don’t have to worry about it shutting down amid your ham radio endeavors. It also has a maximum power output of between 7 and 8 watts with four power levels, that go a long way in saving battery power.
Finally, the BTECH DMR-6X2 is pack with extra features like a built-in GPS, Startup Code Plug, digital simplex repeater, to name a few that boost. It’s all-round performance.
- Frequency ranges between 136-174MHz(VHF), 400-480MHz(UHF), and 65-108MHz(FM reception only)
- Maximum power output of 7 watts
- TFT display
- Compatible with DMR Tier 1 and 2
- 6.25-inch SMA female antenna
- It operates on both VHF and UHF frequency bands.
- It features extra features like built-in GPS.
- It has a large internal memory.
- It is easy to program and operate.
- It is not compatible with CHIRP programming software.
- It can only be programmed on Windows.
Another Baofeng radio that is FCC approved for commercial use is the Baofeng UV-82C Dual-Band Two-way Radio. As one of the latest ham radios from the Baofeng, this device has the ideal combination of high quality and exceptional performance bound to attract any budding ham enthusiast’s attention. The device features a large display and keypads for easier monitoring and operation.
It also has a sleek and robust design that makes it durable and portable. The gadget operates on VHF and UHF frequency capabilities ranging between 136-174MHz(VHF) and 400-520MHz(UHF) for better transmissions within a field. It also comes with an A-V-85 antenna that does an excellent job of capturing and transmitting frequencies, enabling you to receive crisp, clear VHF and UHF signals.
Baofeng UV-82C programming is made easy thanks to its CHIRP programming software compatibility, which allows you to customize it according to your personal preferences easily. Most Baofeng UV-82C reviews have pointed out that the gadget has great audio quality, thanks to its speaker that projects clear and undistorted audio, regardless of the available distractions. For increased privacy, the radio features 50 CTSS and DCS private codes that block any unwanted calls, allowing you to have more privacy during your calls. Together with the semi-duplex feature, the Baofeng UV-82C features both single and dual Push-to-talk buttons that enable you to watch two channels simultaneously. What’s more, it also has a lock mode that you can activate to prevent accidental frequency changes.
Like most Baofeng models, this gadget comes with 128 pre-programmed channels that can be deleted or changed when programming. It also comes with a 1800mAH battery that has exceptional battery life. As it the same with other Baofeng radios, this device has extra features like the VOX(Hands-free) feature, a built-in flashlight, among others that boost its all-round performance.
- Frequency ranges between 136-174MHz(VHF), 400-520MHz(UHF), and 65-108MHz(FM reception only).
- CHIRP software compatible.
- 128 pre-programmed memory channels.
- A-V-85 antenna.
- 1800mAh battery.
- It is very durable and portable.
- It is easy to program and use.
- It allows one to monitor two channels simultaneously.
- It is CHIRP software compatible.
- The package does not come with a programming cable.
Best Baofeng radios for GRMS and License-free MURS Usage
Finding ham radios that fit this category can be more challenging than it sounds. But not to worry because we picked the best Baofeng radios for GMRS and License-free MURS usage, that offers the best in terms of quality, price, and functionality.
First up is the BTECH MURS V-1 MURS Two-Way Radio. Just by looking at it, it’s hard not to notice it’s robust but simple design, making it durable and easy to operate. The device features a large tri-color display that can be synchronized to display a lot of information at once.
The BTECH MURS V-1 is FCC Part-95 certified, so it is legal to operate it without a license. However, it’s frequencies are pre-programmed to the standard MURS frequencies to ensure that it cannot transmit beyond that band. It also comes with 15 pre-programmed channels grouped into five channels, so you don’t have to necessarily need to program it. However, you can still program other features on a PC. What’s more, the gadget also comes with a MURS Single-band antenna that perfectly captures and transmits frequencies, enabling you to obtain clear signals. However, if you want to upgrade to another antenna, make sure that it is compatible with it’s SMA female antenna connector.
It also has great audio quality, thanks to its squelch system. What’s more, it also features 50 CTSS and 346 DCS codes that filter out unwanted calls enabling you to have private calls. Thanks to its dual Push-to-talk button, you can monitor two channels simultaneously. It also comes with a 1800mAh battery that is guaranteed to last up to 10 hours. Thanks to its high power output, the BTECH MURS V-1’s range is approximately 1 and 5 miles depending on the available obstructions.
Most BTECH MURS V-1 reviews are impressed by the fact that the radio is compatible with most MURS transceivers. What’s more, it comes with extra features like the VOX (Hands-free) feature, a built-in flashlight that makes it worth every dollar on its price tag.
- Fifteen pre-programmed channels that are grouped into three groups of five channels.
- 1800mAh high-capacity battery.
- FM broadcast capability.
- Dual Push-to-talk button.
- Large tri-color display.
- MURS single band antenna.
- It is very affordable.
- It is easy to program and use.
- One does not need a license to operate it.
- Some customers are not impressed by the quality of its belt clip.
Next up is the BTECH GMRS-V1 GMRS Two-Way Radio. Like the BTECH MURS V-1, this is a high-quality radio with exceptional functionality and goes at a pocket-friendly price.
The device is FCC Part-95 certified, so you don’t need to be a licensed ham radio operator to use it. It is built of high-quality material and can fit perfectly in anyone’s hand, making it durable and portable. It features a tri-color display that can be synchronized to display most information at a go. Like the BTECH MURS V-1, this radio has 30 channels that are pre-programmed to the standard GMRS frequencies, so they cannot be changed or deleted. However, things are a little different with the BTECH GMRS-V1. This is because, in addition to the 30 channels, it has 98 extra receive slots that can be programmed to accommodate any VHF or UHF channels ranging between 136-175MHz(VHF) and 400-520MHz(UHF). You can store NOAA weather channels, marine frequencies, or any other channels within these frequency ranges.
It also comes with a V-85 Dual-Band antenna that does an excellent job of capturing and transmitting frequencies, enabling you to get clear signals. Most BTECH GMRS-V1 reviews like it’s audio quality, thanks to its speaker that perfectly projects clear and undistorted audio.
Something else we like about the BTECH GMRS-V1 is its programming. The radio can be programmed manually and on a computer, thanks to its CHIRP programming software compatibility. The BTECH GMRS-V1 programming allows you to customize a couple of its features, including the Push-to-talk button that enables you to monitor two channels simultaneously. It also comes with a 7.4v,1800mAh battery that can last for a long time before recharging. Due to its high power output, the BTECH GMRS-V1 range is between 15 and 20 miles depending on the obstruction level.
- Thirty pre-programmed channels with additional 98 receive slots.
- CTSS and DCS private codes.
- Large tri-color display that can be synchronized.
- Frequency ranges between 136-175MHz(VHF), 400-480MHz(UHF), 65-108MHz( FM reception only)
- V-85 Dual-Band antenna.
- It is very pocket-friendly.
- It features a large tri-color display for easier visibility.
- It is easy to program and use.
- It’s 1800mAH battery has excellent battery life.
- Some customers have pointed out that the radio has a slow scan rate.
How to spot a fake Baofeng Radio-Buying Guide
From these reviews, it is evident that Baofeng has produced a lot of top-notch quality ham radios. Unfortunately, there are a ton of counterfeit Baofeng radios in the market that are tarnishing the company’s reputation. So, how can you spot a fake Baofeng radio?
Well, we put together a comprehensive guide on a couple of things to consider when distinguishing between a genuine and a fake Baofeng radio.
- The manual
Baofeng radios have been known to come with detailed manuals. A genuine Baofeng radio comes with a detailed user manual containing high-quality pictures and made of good-quality paper. On the other hand, a fake Baofeng radio comes with a manual that is not as detailed and attractive as the generic one.
- The packaging
Just like the manual, the Baofeng company puts a lot of work into the packaging. So, a genuine Baofeng radio has an appealing packaging box, compared to the counterfeit one. Also, a legit Baofeng radio is clearly advertised on the packaging while the fake is not.
- The firmware
Another way to distinguish if the Baofeng radio you have purchased is original or fake is by paying close attention to the firmware. And don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it sounds. All you have to do is to download the CHIRP programming software on your PC. If it indicates your device as either B82, N5R, BFB, depending on the model you have, then it is genuine. On the other hand, if the radio’s model name on the software begins with 2015, 2014, to name a few, then it’s definitely a counterfeit device.
However, most Baofeng reviews have pointed out that some fake Baofeng radios have copied these firmware numbers, so it might not be reliable.
- The Battery and Power Output Level
When it comes to the battery, it’s quite challenging to differentiate between a fake and a genuine one. However, an original Baofeng radio has a durable battery with detailed information about it at the back. The battery does not tend to heat up so quickly when being recharged.
With the counterfeit Baofeng radio, you get a battery that does not have clear information about it at the back, and it does not last for a long time. As for the power output levels, a fake Baofeng radio tends to output the same power on the high and medium levels.
- The model name
While most people don’t consider it reliable, it still is an essential factor to consider when keeping an eye out for fake Baofeng radios. A genuine Baofeng radio has it’s own unique name that clearly describes what type of radio it is. On the other hand, a fake Baofeng radio comes with a suspicious name like ‘New 2019 UV-5R’ to mention a few.
Final thoughts on the Best Baofeng Radio Reviews
Well, there you have it. Going about your Baofeng radio comparison and choosing the perfect one that suits your needs should not be a challenging task anymore, thanks to this all-inclusive guide. However, always make sure that you purchase your radio from an authorized distributor to avoid buying a counterfeit one.