When out at sea, staying in contact becomes a priority and since cell phone signals are likely to fluctuate and be poor. An advantage to getting the best walkie talkies is that they can be a great alternative as they can be used in different environments, by anyone and under most circumstances. Even better, these marine radios have features that equip them to give better performance and be of great assistance during bad weather conditions or in emergencies.
Ensuring your device has all required to meet up to the standard you need means you have to consider and select the right VHF radio carefully. Before you make purchases, we want to provide you some factors that make the difference in the type of you get and how much effectiveness you enjoy from your choices.
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Considerations when choosing handheld marine radios
The importance of being deliberate about what you pick out when getting the best marine handheld VHF radios can not be overemphasized. In order to help you get the best use out of the VHF radios handheld communication device without encountering a problem during the device applications, we have compiled you a few recommendations for things you should look out for and question before making your final decision in this article.
Everything about a great radio should speak portability. Your device should be able to fit into your hand or pocket with ease, just like your cellphone. The size and height, including the marine VHF radios’ antenna height, affect how easily it would also be carried with a belt clip, wrist or hand strap for assistance.
Considering the waterproofing rating of your VHF radio is important, especially keeping in mind the conditions it would be used in overtime. The best marine radio to get functions well in different wet environments and emergencies and should also be able to float when dropped in water to avoid having to lose your handheld device in such situations. It should have at least a year waterproof warranty. A weather radio gives access to weather channels and alerts, which can be a useful feature to stay informed about what is expected, thereby putting you in a better position to prepare and monitor any unexpected changes and sudden severe weather.
The quality of the sound you receive would greatly impact how much you enjoy using your marine radios. Consider checking the audio quality because while a little bit of feedback might be normal, an excess of noise would only ruin the experience with audio so bad your response can barely be heard. This is why your handheld radio should have a noise cancellation function or any similar ability, which helps reduce or eliminate any unwanted background sounds so you can hear the voices of your team members clear as day over any distance. Your sound transmissions should also be protected to ensure your safety.
While many great devices come at a higher price, you can still get a variety of some of the best VHF radios with reputable names and ratings without compromising the device’s actual features and other functions. There are a variety of radios, some of which we have listed here, that come at low costs but do justice to whatever needs you might have.
15 Best Handheld Marine Radios
1. Uniden MHS75
This device is a handheld, 2-way Radio. It is compact and gives you up to 20 miles in communication range, with good signal quality and reception. With a wide broadcasting range and great waterproofing, it is great for all kinds of outdoor activities, on land and water. The MHS75 is submersible. In addition, the floating VHF JIS8/IPX8 waterproof rating means that even if it falls into water, it floats back to the surface. It features all USA, Canada and International marine channels, ensuring that you are safe and alert at all times.
- The radio comes with a solid belt clip for unrestricted movement.
- One of the handheld radio features is that it floats and glows in the dark, making it easy to find at night or underwater.
- It has impressive transmitting power and flexible power settings, which users can switch between 1, 2.5 and 5Watts.
- It is a single radio with no available extra battery included.
2. STANDARD HORIZON HX40
The HX60 is a 6W, VHF handheld marine radio with an FM band receiver and great audio quality. It has an easy-to-operate Menu system, which allows users to customize settings based on their preference. And its Dot Matrix display gives you a clear, fully backlit display. Whether you’re in a boat or kayaking in the ocean, this device provides you significant communication range. It features NOAA Weather Channels with Weather Alert, Scan, Dual/Tri Watch, which gives you real-time weather updates in your area.
- It has a strong lithium-ion battery for up to 24 hours of power.
- It has a strong transmission power, a flexible antenna and a bold LCD display to make it easier to keep in touch.
- The handheld radio has radio equipment, allowing users to listen to their favorite radio station.
- It is a single item with a nonremovable battery.
3. Cobra MR HH350
The HH350 is a handheld, floating VHF radio designed to JIS7/IPX7 standards, which makes it submersible and water-resistant. Cobra electronics come with 6 Watts of power, giving users a more extended communication range. It features a unique LCD screen and noise-canceling microphone, which eliminates background noise to enable you to enjoy the use of this best radio. It is safety first with the MR HH350, as users enjoy 24 hours access to NOAA Weather channels and alarm tone for sending a distress message during emergencies where you’re in need of rescue.
- Its BURP feature functions to give users clear communication by removing water from the speaker grill.
- It comes with a wrist strap and belt clip for good grip and maximum mobility.
- it provides protection against nature and great connection in areas without signal for mobile phones.
- It doesn’t support a typical earbud.
4. Radioddity Voyage RV6
The RV6 is a Marine Radio built to give you the best communication experience when on marine adventures. Its Tri-watch mode allows users to monitor channel 16, 9 and the current channel at once. It is IP67 waterproof rated and is submersible in water for up to 30 minutes. The RV6 has a host of incredible features, including an LCD screen, mic jack, noise reduction technology, AutoScan and power saver mode. It is highly recommended for coastguards, boat owners and marine enthusiasts.
- Its NOAA Weather Alert feature ensures that users get early weather warning signals.
- The VHF frequencies are transmitted with a flexible antenna and have the capacity to increase point to point VHF range.
- The manufacturer made these marine radios with the emergency system to help save lives.
- There is a risk of internal damage from water exposure if the antenna and batteries are not thoroughly dried before being connected.
- Users might experience glitches.
5. Rugged Radios VMR-5H
This high-quality VHF radio is built uniquely for the marine industry. It is the device of choice for boat owners, harbor workers and coastguards. It is designed to IP67 and IPX7 standards, meaning that it is waterproof and submersible. It features an emergency alarm function, which can be used to alert rescuers at sea and request emergency services. The VMR-5H gives users a significant communication range with a clear transmission.
- It has bold, clearly visible keys and a belt clip for ease in handling and portability through different locations.
- It comes with an AC base station charger.
- It has 88 marine radio channels and 10 NOAA Weather Channels for real-time weather updates and information.
- It is hard to use without prior knowledge or instructions from the manufacturer.
6. ICOM IC-M93D Marine VHF Handheld Radio
This is the best handheld marine radio with has a built-in GPS and a global navigation satellite system to provide your GPS position with speed using GLONASS, QZSS and SBAS (WAAS, EGNOS and MSAS) systems. GPS integration allows you to share your GPS information with other members of your team. Hence, you are always on their radar, and they can more easily find you in a time of distress. The 5w model has a tri watch function perfect for a boater is built with a Class D DSC button and DSC receiver.
- It has an aqua quake function for clearing the speaker grill after using the float’n flash function to find the radio’s location in the water when dropped.
- The piece has a dot-matrix display for clear, bold and large viewing even in sunlight. It has long-lasting battery power with several power levels.
- The transmit power of the antenna gives a long range of signal transmission and also has a clear microphone and noise cancellation feature to eliminate background noise for great communication on a call.
- The package comes at a low price, so you don’t have to pay too much money to purchase this product.
- The soft button order on the keypad is not customizable to enable easier navigation.
7. ICOM M25 21 Handheld VHF Radio
This compact handheld VHF radio has a built-in GPS and weather channels that give weather alerts in case of bad weather. It floats and flashes when dropped in water, and Its body has slender designs with blue trim. The screen has clarity and boldness to allow readability so you can check your device functions and have versatility in usage and communication.
- The models have a tri watch feature, a great microphone for clarity and long battery life.
- The antenna sends signals that cover long distances on the VHF channel.
- The handheld marine VHF radios come with a manual and charger.
- The range is dependent on terrain and conditions.
8. Retevis RT55 Marine Radio Handheld
This is the best handheldadio for boaters and marinas on a ship with lots to offer at a lower price. It is fully submersible, floats in water without issue and has a NOAA weather alert feature to alert and weather warnings in case of rain or an impending storm. The VHF handheld radio has a wide range of communication, which is longer in open fields and decongested spaces with a microphone and flexible antenna to transmit your call on the radio channels in use by your group without interference during conversations. The radio unit has an easily accessible power button, an LCD screen and an automatic backlight as a standout feature. The screen would help you function with greater ease and convenience, which means you can view your available options and your system’s state.
- This dual watch and tri watch radio can withstand submersion in water depth for up to 30 minutes and offer protection from corrosion to your device.
- This version meets military standards and has a manual from the manufacturers to better understand the device operation and use its feature.
- It has an adjustable volume, scans through your channels quickly. Among its safety features, it also has channel 16 available for emergencies.
- It comes with a battery charger for the li-ion battery, which provides plenty of battery life and steady power output.
- None of the units have a wall charger adapter.
9. Icom IC-M73 01 Marine VHF handheld radio
These marine handheld radios have a waterproof rating to withstand water exposure and an aqua quake feature as one of the radio features. Water exposure is often inevitable in certain places, such as on ships. This best handheld VHF radio has a rating that makes it submersible to withstand exposure. You get weather alerts on an available weather channel to call your attention to any risk of a storm in your vicinity and access emergency services to send a distress call if the need arises in any event.
- These electronics have an ergonomic design to give it a sleek and stylish form.
- The package comes with a lithium-ion battery with an impressive capacity to give lasting battery life and a charging cord at a low price.
- The device has 6w transmission power, broadcasts over wide ranges and has a feature to scan channels to find you and your friends marine channels you can access to keep up your conversation.
- The receiver and microphone help to filter out engine noise or other unwanted noises in the area.
- The handheld marine radio doesn’t have an extended warranty.
- There are no floatation devices or accessories to get to make sure the VHF marine handheld radio floats.
10. Standard Horizon HX890BK VHF-HH
This design incorporates ergonomics to aid easy communication with very high frequency and lasting battery life. This is a Horizon device with a 66 channel waas GPS receiver and a Digital Selective Calling ITU-R M.493 Class-H Operation. Also, it gives you access to the emergency channels, so you have the ability to draw attention from others to help in a situation where you need rescue.
- The device uses a 1800mAH Li-ion battery, which provides power supply and lasting battery life, 220v adapter, 110 wall charger and a 6w transmit power.
- It has an FM broadcast band receiver as a standout feature, so you’re always in the know in places where you aren’t actively communicating.
- The marine radios are fully submersible, available at a fair price and have a 3-year waterproof warranty.
- A standout feature allows switching between modes during day and night and has a waypoint and route navigation function.
- Screen display seems to fade in sunlight.
11. Uniden Atlantis 275
The manufacturers of this equipment took responsibility for providing a useful solution to sailors and boaters with the description and design. This floating radio has 6w batteries, a large screen with a white or orange backlight, and a simple keypad with bold buttons for the user’s comfort and ease while sending messages. It is a great choice as it is very portable and has a small body to be used in any location, and fits great into the hands.
- The radio has a flashlight and strobe light built in to help during emergencies.
- After it has been dropped into the water reaching a depth of 4.9 feet, it has a vibrating tone that can be used to clear the speaker area.
- These types of VHF marine radio give access to all the different marine radio channels.
- It doesn’t have a built-in GPS to transmit the location in case of an unfortunate event.
- The process to charge can be uncomfortable, and it doesn’t include a universal AC adapter to recharge anywhere.
12. Uniden Bearcat BC125AT
It is the best VHF marine radio with over 40,000 available frequencies, including civilian and military bands. This scanner packs a punch and is always sea-ready as you move to any place with or without a smartphone signal, making it an amazing choice. In addition to its amazing capabilities, this low-cost device is very portable and light. Its LCD screen has an orange backlight screen, which reduces the trouble involved in reading what’s displayed.
- You can register channels with the name of the person you are interacting with using alpha tagging.
- It is preset in several bands so you can locate the channels of your choice in a flash so you can quickly put your call through to the right person.
- It has a do not disturb mode, which inhibits the close call rh technology from interfering with transmissions.
- It is not easy to use without prior knowledge.
13. COBRA ACXT1035R
If the idea is to increase the value provided to you, this device is a great choice. It not only shapes perfectly into the palm so that holding and using it is easy, It comes to you precharged and ready. This waterproof device has a rubberized grip, and even when it falls, it is equipped to float. You can listen to any missed calls with the Rewind Say Again feature, which replays the last 20 seconds of a previous transmission.
- Its range reaches up to 37 miles in line of sight transmission.
- The NOAA weather channels give weather alarms. It also has an emergency radio recovery to receive alerts sent to your device without changing channels.
- It has dual power, a fast charge and a LED flashlight.
- The parts of these VHF marine radios can be fragile and flimsy.
14. STANDARD HORIZON GX1850W
This Horizon fixed mount VHF radio has a submersible design with IPX8 standards. Its separate receiver for class d selective calling DSC is a very powerful and effective VHF radio. it has a very long range of transmissions with several available marine channels. It has a large dot matrix led screen, so the icons are bold and easy to read and understand.
- This upgrade to a former explorer series is very efficient and reliable, with features for NMEA2000 networking.
- It is a very easy to use device with an E2O menu system.
- The handheld marine radio has a scan function. It is compatible with a second RAM mic station giving you varying options.
- It can be complicated for a novice to use.
15. BaoFeng Radio UV-82
This BaoFeng VHF radio is an upgrade from the previous version. It provides several features such as the built-in vox function and the switchable rf power. It contains 128 Channels with 50 CTCSS and 104 DCS and ranges up to 400-520 MHz. The VHF marine radios have a bold LCD screen and a dual-band display, which only adds to the VHF radio’s functionality.
- It has a flashlight to use in case you are caught in a dark place or have to use it at night time.
- The VHF radio has a strong battery with lasting battery power.
- The keypad lock helps to prevent accidentally tampering with the keys and affecting the setting or changing channels.
- The ranges of these VHF marine radios are dependent on different factors.
- It isn’t able to float.
Overall Best Buy
Our overall Best Buy is the ICOM IC-M93D device, which has a lot of remarkable features. The VHF marine radios have a full dot-matrix display, a GNSS receiver and a tri or dual watch function, amongst several other things. These functions really distinguish this handheld radio as a high-class one with high rating and performance.
Best Budget Buy
Getting a Uniden MHS75 is extraordinarily affordable, yet the handheld VHF marine radios a very efficient one with several useful features and functions. It has several benefits, including long-lasting battery life, seals that glow in the dark and a large display.
Where to buy handheld marine radios
You can get a great walkie talkie from any electronic store close to you. Sellers might have a section for marine radios, which you would have to be directed to. Ensure to purchase only a great product that is high functioning, impressive and compact. You can also purchase one from a website or an online store. Check the handheld VHF radio reviews and the Marine radio review to make sure you are getting the walkie for your needs.
What is the best handheld VHF marine radio?
The best handheld VHF marine radio has to be the one that can offer you the most of what you need. Once you have put the considerations into your selection process, you can select a radio with features that suit them and can serve them best. Above, we have also highlighted our overall Best Buy marine radio, which is the ICOM IC-M93D device. This device and so many others listed have very good features that would be able to bring to you durability, strength, great communication and clear wide-ranging frequencies.