Looking for the best GMRS radio to buy? Look no further, because in this article you will find the radio that suits your needs best.
In this day and age, it is easier than ever to buy and use a GMRS radio. However, we should remind you that you need a license to be able to use such a device legally.
Don’t let this scare you. A license will cost you around $35, it’s valid for 10 years and allows your whole family to use a GMRS radio.
But without further ado, let us introduce you to the best GMRS radio that we could find.
The Comparison Table of Best GMRS Radios [Updated 2024]
What Is The Best Gmrs Radio?
Midland GXT1000VP4 is one of the most popular GMRS radios, and for very good reasons. Most of the customers who left a review of this product were very satisfied.
Although each customer has different expectations and needs, this Midland GMRS radio is very likely to be to your liking.
Why Midland Is The Best Brand For Gmrs Radios?
When it comes to GMRS radios or two-way communication devices in general, Midland is considered to be the brand with the highest quality products.
If we compare the price of Midland products with the price of other brands, Midland devices seem to offer more for a better price.
We will elaborate below, where you will find a review for 10 other GMRS radios, in case you still feel hesitant.
9 Best GMRS Radios Reveiws
01. MIDLAND GXT1000VP4 – Best Popular GMRS Radio
- 50 Different channels
- Water splash resistant
- Weather scan + alerts
- “Xtreme Range” (36 miles)
As we said in the introduction, after extensive research, we came to the conclusion that the GXT1000VP4 is one of the best GMRS radios – if not actually the best.
It allows you to connect to no less than 50 different channels. That means almost twice as many channels as your usual GMRS radio.
The GXT1000VP4 comes with a number of features. First of all, the JS4 water protection makes the radio splash resistant.
Obviously, this does not mean it is fully water-resistant, so don’t drop it in water.
Secondly, the NOAA Weather Scan + Alert is a feature that will constantly give you updates regarding weather updates that could have a negative impact on your communication.
We all know how important weather is when trying to establish a lasting connection. Such a feature is bound to come in handy.
Last but not least, this Midland radio can have a range of up to 36 miles if there is no obstruction whatsoever.
This rarely happens, but with partial obstruction, it can still go up to 20 miles, which is very good.
- Multiple helpful features.
- The good range even with obstruction.
- Loud and clear sounds.
- Battery life can feel too short.
02. MIDLAND MXT275 MicroMobile – Best Long Range GMRS Radio
- 15W power output.
- 50-mile range.
- 15 GMRS Channels.
- 8 Repeater Channels.
Here we go back to Midland. This time it is the MXT275 MicroMobile model, which is distinguished by the fact that it has a power output of 15W.
This is true. This is not the largest power output on the market, but it is still more powerful than those with only 2W or 5W.
In simpler terms, this GMRS radio will have a wider range. You will be able to communicate with people who are further away from you.
To be precise, according to Midland, this radio should have a range of a stupendous 50 miles! Of course, this range is only available in “optimal” conditions.
Nonetheless, a power output of 15W will cope with less friendly conditions.
The MXT275 is also a small device, so it is ideal to take in the car, especially if the dashboard is too small.
Moreover, this model comes with a microphone control, which will make communication much easier.
Basically, you will find all the commands you might need right on the built-in microphone.
- Control Microphone.
- Huge range with repeaters.
- NOAA weather feature.
- Tiny screen. Might be hard to read and use at times.
03. MIDLAND MXT115 MicroMobile
- 50 mile radius.
- 142 privacy codes.
- 12 volt accessory plug.
- Weather scan + alert.
- The stock antenna is already good enough.
No, this is not the same item as the previous one. But if you had the impression that MXT275 is a compact device, wait until you find out about MXT115.
This little radio is only 4 inches long, 3.25 inches wide, and 0.85 inches tall. Ideal for any kind of narrow vehicle.
Just like the previous GMRS radio, it comes bundled with a smart microphone, which includes some important features, but not as many as the previous model.
Given that many users have complained that the small screen of the MXT275 microphone makes it too difficult to use, you can consider the MXT115 as an alternative.
However, don’t let appearances fool you. This little radio has a power output of 15W, which means that the range you can get with this is pretty large.
Last but not least, this GMRS radio will provide you with 142 privacy codes, so it will be almost impossible to hear unwanted conversations..
- Small but sturdy.
- High power output.
- Easy to install.
04. BTECH GMRS-50X1
- Maximum legal power output: 50W
- FM Radio
- 226 scanner channels
- Watch 3 different frequencies at the same time
This is the most powerful GMRS radio on this list, with an output power of 50W. For this reason, the GMRS-50X1 is suitable when you need the widest possible range.
What’s more, the manufacturer boasts that this product has 256 channels. These are the 22 channels without repeaters and the 8 with repeaters.
The other 226 channels have scanner channels.
If you decide to buy this radio, do not forget that it does not come with an antenna. According to BTECH, the best antenna for this GMRS radio is Nagoya NMO-200C.
Besides the fact that the high power will ensure a fairly wide range, it should be mentioned that this radio works very well with the local repeaters. This will result in an even larger range.
Lastly, buyers think it’s an easy-to-set radio. Thus, even if you are not particularly knowledgeable of CHIRP, you will get the hand of it.
- Highest power output you can get.
- Easy setup.
- Multitude of scanner channels.
- Doesn’t come with an antenna.
05. MIDLAND T290VP4
- “Xtreme Range” (40 miles)
- Hands-Free control.
- Comes with two headsets.
- Long internal antenna.
- Splash resistant.
We will continue the list of the best GMRS radios with this great product. Midland T290VP4 integrates almost all the features of Midland radios and comes at a great price.
This radio has a power output of only 2.85W. It is not much, but it does not matter only the power output.
If you want to have as wide a range as possible, your transceiver also needs a good antenna, which is something that this radio does have.
This detail should compensate for the fact that it is not compatible with repeaters. According to Midland, their handheld devices don’t have this feature yet.
Nonetheless, this is a high-quality radio that comes bundled with many features such as NOAA weather scan, eVOX operation, and others.
With partial obstruction, this radio should have a range of about 15 to 20 miles and up to 40 miles without obstruction at all.
Overall, users are deeply pleased with the quality of this product, but make sure you have spare batteries for them, as the battery life could have been longer.
- The good antenna that will assure long-range.
- 121 privacy codes.
- eVox operations.
- Not compatible with repeaters.
06. RETEVIS RT97
- Portable repeater.
- 10W power output.
- Strong penetration through obstacles.
- Small but the audio is loud and clear.
- 16 Channels.
Certainly, Retevis is a brand that you did not expect to appear on this list.
But we talked so much about repeaters in this article, that we thought it would be good to include such a device.
First of all, you will notice from the very beginning how sturdy this unit actually is. This is because it was designed to face any scenario and conditions.
The power of the Retevis RT97 line amplifier is 10W. It is big enough to do its job and ensure you a good range.
What buyers appreciate most about this repeater is that it’s up and running quickly, so to speak.
And despite the fact that it is portable, it is particularly durable and ensures the good audio quality.
Moreover, this unit covers normal GMRS frequency, but you can actually contact Retevis and tell them that you want custom frequency ranges before you buy one of these. They will take care of it for you.
- Excellent base station.
- Comes with a car charger cable.
- Great customer support.
- Very hard to program it.
07. RETEVIS RT76P
- 5 transceivers in one pack!
- Standard 30 GMRS channels.
- 8-hour battery life.
- VOX function.
- 5W power output.
Retevis RT76P is ideal for harsh environments. Their portable repeater made it clear that Retevis is a brand to be taken seriously, as they produce very good GMRS radios for many professional scenarios.
This stands true for RT76P as well. You can buy 5 transceivers in one package, which are already set on the same frequency and the same channel, so you won’t have to worry too much.
Because they are made to withstand demanding jobs, such as construction sites, they are very sturdy and will withstand all kinds of drops or dust over time.
The battery will not disappoint you either. With 1400mAh, the transceivers will last for 8 hours if used non-stop. If you do not use them so intensely, you can expect the battery to last longer.
The power output is 5W. You may need a larger range, which is why we recommend that you consider the Retevis portable repeater from earlier..
- Perfect for bigger groups.
- Good battery life.
- Very resistant.
- Hard to switch the antenna.
8. TERA TR-505
- Recreational purposes.
- 4W power output.
- 16 channels.
- Repeater friendly.
- GMRS, MURS frequencies.
Tera TR-505 is a little bit different than the other GMRS radios featured on this list, in the sense that this is a recreational transceiver.
If you plan to communicate with your family or friends when you go on a trip, this one is what you’re looking for.
Like the Pofung P11UV radio, it is not only intended for enthusiasts of radios or telecommunication devices, but also for those who only try to communicate when phones are not an option.
Although it only has a maximum power output of 4 watts, it is fully repeater compatible. This will help you if you’re trying to get a greater range transmission.
In total, it has access to 16 different channels. Although not as many as some would like, it has access not only to repeaters and standard GMRS frequencies but also to MURS frequencies.
Where do you add that radio of this kind can last for years after purchase? Overall, considering how small of a unit this is, it proves to be a great GMRS radio.
- Perfect for family trips.
- Great for non-tech savvy individuals.
- Will keep working for many years.
- Doesn’t have many features.
9. BAOFENG UV-5R
- 128 channels.
- 1800mAh battery.
- 5W power output.
- Tri-color display.
- Switchable antenna.
We end the list with Baofeng UV-5R, another radio appreciated by most buyers.
Much like many other GMRS units, it has a maximum power output of 5W. It is a decent number, which will ensure a satisfactory range.
But it is distinguished by the fact that it comes at a more attractive price. However, customers were happy to learn that it sounds even better than other more expensive products on the market!
Keep in mind, however, that this package only has one transceiver inside. It also comes with a charging base that will charge the battery in a relatively short amount of time.
And not only that it charges quickly, but customers praise the UV-5R radio for its long battery life.
The antenna with which it comes from the factory is also good enough, but if you want to eliminate the background noise as much as possible, a better external antenna could help you.
Unlike other radios, the stock antenna of this one is not screwed in, meaning you can actually change it whenever you want.
- Large battery capacity.
- Good value for money.
- Decent stock antenna but you can still switch it.
- Manual not very helpful.
Buying Considerations of Best GMRS Radios
As you can imagine, there is a plethora of GMRS radios on the market, which may mislead you, making you unsure of what to buy.
For this reason, we have compiled for you a few buying considerations for GMRS radios. When shopping for such a device, remember the information here so you can buy exactly what you need.
Don’t be fooled by the marketing tactics used by transceiver manufacturers and sellers. Most of them will use information that sounds good, but which in reality will not help you much.
Here’s what to look for when planning to purchase a GMRS radio:
Maximum power output.
The power output is the one that will ensure a transmission distance as long as possible. The higher the power output, the longer your range.
Radios vary a lot in this regard. You can find GMRS radio with a maximum power of only 2.5W, but also with a maximum power of 50W. Obviously, those with 50W will do a much better job.
Think, though, about what you will use it for. If you do not need too much radius, then the most powerful radios may not be very useful.
However, they will definitely use up more energy and your battery will be gone in no time.
We have tried to include in our list both powerful units and units with slightly lower power output so that you can choose exactly what is useful to you..
Both low and high power options.
A good radio should give you the ability to switch between low and high power.
If the receiver you are communicating with is relatively close to you (1-2 miles), there is no reason to consume too much battery.
But if the receiver is at a great distance (4+ miles), you will definitely need a higher power output.
Resistance to water splashes and dust.
If you are in need of a sturdy GMRS radio, make sure that it is resistant to shock, water, and dust.
In general, radios are finicky things, they can stop working from all sorts of things. Therefore, radio will not last long on a construction site if it is not made for this purpose.
Retevis radios have been designed exactly for such conditions, so make sure to take them into consideration.
Most come with a desktop charger or a car charging cable, making it easy to charge them. But how much can their batteries actually keep going?
In this regard, we recommend that you read the reviews left by previous clients. The battery capacity mentioned by the seller will not tell you much.
Battery life is influenced by too many factors, especially the power output. Fortunately, we have at hand the experiences of those who bought before us.
If your GMRS radio is repeater compatible, the transmission range issue is almost solved.
A repeater will be able to receive your transmission and pass it on to receivers that you wouldn’t otherwise reach.
With that being said, we recommend that you do not neglect the option to buy a personal repeater yourself.
We have included a portable repeater in the list in this article, so check it out!
This one seems like a no-brainer. Of course, you’re going to buy the cheapest GMRS radio, right? Well, that might not be the best of ideas.
As we’ve said, radios are devices that can break down quickly. But usually, a radio more on the expensive side will probably last longer.
For example, cheaper units tend to have bad receivers, even if they look good on paper.
And it’s all fun and games until you realize that you can’t hear much, despite the transmitter being a couple of miles away from you.
Some radios will seem more expensive than others, but they may come with accessories that could be useful.
These are earphones, microphones, battery eliminators, antennas, and so on.
It really depends on the seller and what you’re trying to buy, and some will even come with a greater number of transceivers.
Do you need all of those? It’s up to you!
NOAA weather scan.
NOAA weather scan is a feature that is bound to come in handy. With its help, your GMRS radio will receive information regarding the weather.
It might not seem important, but the weather actually plays a huge role in determining the range that you will be able to get. Even wind can have a negative influence on your communication.
Knowing what the weather will be like at all times could help you a lot.
Generally, most Midland radios have these features implemented, and we actually included a few units from that brand into our list.
FAQ’s of Best GMRS Handheld Radio
Q: What’s the best GMRS radio on the market?
A: After extensive research, we have concluded that Midland GXT1000VP4 is the best GMRS radio you could get your hands on.
It can get a range of up to 36 miles if there is no obstruction between the transmitter and the receiver.
It also comes with NOAA weather scan and alert has access to 50 channels and many more.
If you want to read more about GXT1000VP4 as well as other GMRS radios, check out the rest of the article.
Q: Can I use a GMRS radio without a license?
A: No. In order to legally be allowed to transmit on GMRS frequencies, you need a license issued by the U.S. Government.
Instead, you can use an FRS device without a license.
Q: How do I get a GMRS license?
A: It’s very easy. All you have to do is fill out a form here and pay $35.
No test is required, and the license will be available for 10 years for you and your family. In other words, your entire family will be allowed to use GMRS devices, if at least one member of the family has such a license.
Note, however, that your employees or colleagues are not covered by this. They will have to apply for a license as well.
Q: What does GMRS stand for?
A: GMRS stands for General Mobile Radio Service. It is a land-mobile intended for the general population for two-way communication, very similar to FRS and MURS.
Before GMRS, people would use instead a similar service, called Class A Citizens Radio Service, starting from the 60’s up until the late 80’s.
Back in those days, the maximum power output allowed was 60W, before they reduced it to 50W.
Q: What are the rules of getting a GMRS license?
A: If we are talking about getting the license that allows you to use GMRS devices, there aren’t many rules.
You need to be over the age of 18, you need to have not been convicted of any serious felonies and, interestingly enough, you can’t get a license if you’re a foreign government representative.
Q: What are the rules for using GMRS?
A: Regarding the use of GMRS radios and frequencies, there are a few things you need to know.
You are not allowed to transmit music or misleading messages of any kind. You are not allowed to campaign for any candidate, and you are also not allowed to advertise any product or service.
Moreover, you are not allowed to make continuous transmissions unless a person’s life is in imminent danger.
Most likely you won’t even get a chance at violating these rules, but for a complete list, we recommend that you consult the official FCC website.
Q: What do people use GMRS for?
A: Communication services such as GMRS and FRS can be used for many purposes.
However, they are mostly used by people in order to communicate over relatively short distances (from 0.5 up to even 50 miles!) When mobile phones are not an option.
They can be used in forests, mountains, fields, but also and in urban environments.
Some of these radios are intended for professional use, such as on construction sites.
There are recreational GMRS radios on the market as well, which users can take while hiking, skiing, hunting, or on any kind of vacation with family or friends.
Q: What is better? GMRS or FRS?
A: Both are used for the same purposes. They are both used by the population and both use Frequency Modulation to send and receive information.
However, the maximum power output of GMRS devices is 50W, whereas you’re only allowed to have a power output of 500mW if you’re using a FRS.
For this reason, you will not need a license issued by FCC in order to use a FRS transceiver.
Moreover, FRS can use channels 8-14, while GMRS has access from channel 1 all the way to channel 14.
All in all, GRMS seems like the better choice.
The problem is not that there are too many GMRS radios on the market. The problem is that there are such different specifications.
An individual who does not know the terminology of telecommunications is bound to get lost among all these options.
We hope, however, that our article has helped you find the GMRS radio that best suits your needs.
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