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What is the Best Baofeng Radio?

man standing on mountain with two-way radio

Baofeng radios are known to be reliable and durable. Since all of their products are worthy of your bucks, how do you know which one to get? We have broken them down into the best of the best for your reference.

Best for Beginners
Baofeng UV-82HP High Power Dual Band Radio
Best Overall
Baofeng BF-F8HP 8-Watt Dual Band Two-Way Radio
Best for the Price
Baofeng UV-5R Dual Band Two-Way Radio
Baofeng UV-82HP High Power Dual Band Radio
Baofeng BF-F8HP 8-Watt Dual Band Two-Way Radio
Baofeng UV-5R Dual Band Two-Way Radio
The Baofeng UV-82HP comes with its own high gain antenna so you don’t need to look for another one to optimize its performance. With everything included, this is the best choice for beginners.
This is an upgraded version of a previous Baofeng model that works out all the kinks. With all the basic functions and the rugged build, this really is the best one for your money.
For everything you get with this 2-way radio, the price comes in at only about half of the other models. If you are looking for a product without the price commitment, this is the one for you.
Best for Beginners
Baofeng UV-82HP High Power Dual Band Radio
Baofeng UV-82HP High Power Dual Band Radio
The Baofeng UV-82HP comes with its own high gain antenna so you don’t need to look for another one to optimize its performance. With everything included, this is the best choice for beginners.
Best Overall
Baofeng BF-F8HP 8-Watt Dual Band Two-Way Radio
Baofeng BF-F8HP 8-Watt Dual Band Two-Way Radio
This is an upgraded version of a previous Baofeng model that works out all the kinks. With all the basic functions and the rugged build, this really is the best one for your money.
Best for the Price
Baofeng UV-5R Dual Band Two-Way Radio
Baofeng UV-5R Dual Band Two-Way Radio
For everything you get with this 2-way radio, the price comes in at only about half of the other models. If you are looking for a product without the price commitment, this is the one for you.

Best Baofeng Radios Reviews

1. Baofeng BF-F8HP 8-Watt Dual Band Two-Way Radio

This dual-band radio is an upgraded version of the UV-5R. It now possesses more power, due to a new chipset and is more durable than before thanks to its hardened shell. 

More power means more range and the BF-F8HP has a power output of 8 watts and comes with its own 2000 mAh battery. It’s also 30% larger than the previous model, allowing for more runtime. 

The battery can be recharged easily, so you never have to worry about running out of battery.

The interface of the BF-F8HP is quite intuitive and easy to use, and it also comes with the latest firmware. The high gain antenna also allows the 2-way radio to perform at optimal performance.

The radio is a portable size and can be clipped onto your belt clip to be hands-free. It comes with everything you need in the box including a helpful user manual.

Pros

  • Upgraded version
  • New chipset
  • More durable with a hardened shell
  • 30% larger battery
  • Longer runtime
  • Easy interface
  • High gain antenna
  • Portable size
  • 128 programmable modes
  • Easy to use firmware

Cons

  • Durable but not waterproof

2. Baofeng UV-82HP High Power Dual Band Radio

For those who are fans of colors and not just the normal black, the Baofeng UV-82HP is the perfect choice as it comes in 5 different colors and designs. 

This is especially handy if you are out in the wilderness and drop your radio, it will be easy to spot.

It still rivals our first choice with a max power output of 8 watts but it can be customized to lower levels if needed. 

A dual-band radio will allow you to store a maximum of 128 channels and the V-85 high gain antenna will make sure you receive clear reception.

The dual push talk button also makes it easier to handle the radio and can also allow you to transmit on two frequencies. Everything, all the customization can be done through the software, which is why it is the best beginner’s choice.

Pros

  • Comes in many colors
  • High power output (8 watts)
  • Dual-band radio (128 channels)
  • V-85 high gain antenna
  • Dual push talk button
  • Easy to use software
  • Built-in receiver
  • Caller ID
  • FM radio

Cons

  • Difficult to prop up

3. Baofeng UV-5R Dual Band Two-Way Radio

If you’re a beginner or trying out a new radio and you aren’t sure if you want to spend too much money, this is a great entry-priced product. Costing at half the amount the others are, the Baofeng UV-5R is still a great radio.

As a dual-band radio, it also has 128 channels and a dual frequency display. The UV-5R seems basic, but it has 3 backlight colors you can select and has amazing monitoring abilities. 

The design is also incredibly compact, if you don’t have much space or would like one that’s easy to carry around, this is also the right dual-band radio for you.

Pros

  • Strong build
  • Customizable backlight display
  • 128 channels
  • Dual-band radio
  • Affordable price
  • Compact design
  • Dual band display
  • Dual frequency
  • Good monitoring capabilities

Cons

  • May be difficult to program manually

Baofeng Radio Buying Guide

Purchasing a Baofeng radio is similar to purchasing any other dual-band radio. There are certain functions you definitely want your radio to have. Below is a quick and easy list to refer to whenever you are having trouble choosing.

Power

The more power your Baofeng radio has, the wider and longer the range and stronger the signal. The standard on the market is about 4 watts, but most of the choices we have offered go up to 8 and some are even customizable. 

A radio with high power output needs a strong battery to support it as well. You must also make sure the battery can support the usage of your Baofeng radio.

Build

Especially if you plan on using the radio in outdoor conditions, you would need your Baofeng radio to be tough and robust. 

Make sure it is built with sturdy materials and has good coverage and is hopefully water and dust-resistant as well.

Channels

How many channels does it offer? Most dual-band radios such as the Baofeng radios offer up to 128. Channels will help you better organize the frequencies [1] and separate them for specific purposes.

What are you using your Baofeng radio for? Think about the purpose of your radio to decide how many frequencies you might need. More isn’t always better, as it can be time-consuming to search through them all.

Frequencies

Speaking of frequencies, what does your Baofeng radio operate on? FM, UHF and VHF are the most common but they also have different ranges as well depending on the frequency you choose.

In general, UHF frequencies are best for indoors and the VHF ones are best for outdoors.

boy in gray jacket holding a walkie-talkie

Squelch and Noise Control

The radio should also have some sort of noise control capability. No one wants a radio that receives and sends transmissions full of static. Squelch control is a popular one that radios have to help suppress background and static noise.

Look at whether or not your Baofeng radio has some type of noise minimizing feature such as squelch or RF gain.

Speaker Power

For these dual band radios, speaker power is actually more important than most people realize. A device above 700mW will provide the best performance.

Antenna

Antennas on most technological devices are responsible for reception, which is why having a powerful one on your 

Baofeng radio will guarantee a better transceiver. Most of the options we have provided come with a pretty impressive V-85 antenna for optimized performance.

Easy Programming

You definitely want a Baofeng radio that is easy to use. You should have control over the transmission frequencies and blocking as well as the backlight for some. Make sure the software and firmware are easy to use. 

Baofeng radios are mostly meant for programming and their integrated software and firmware are also generally made to be intuitive.

Display

Having a large and easy-to-read display will also be in your favor. One with a backlight will also guarantee better visibility at night.

person holding steering wheel beside a two-way radio

FAQ

Are Baofeng radios legal in the US?

Yes, Baofeng radios are legal in the US. However, the bands and frequencies that you can operate on may have limitations. It’s a good idea to look into the regulations for your state for further information.

Are Baofeng radios any good?

Yes, Baofeng radios are good for what you pay for. They have all the basic features and designs and are quite easy to use for all levels of expertise.

Why are Baofeng radios so cheap?

Baofeng radios are so cheap because of their country of origin. Unlike Yaesu, Kenwood and some other brands, Baofeng is manufactured in China.

Our Top Pick: Baofeng BF-F8HP 8-Watt Dual Band Two-Way Radio

The Baofeng BF-F8HP offers upgraded capabilities and a much larger battery compared to its counterparts. The larger battery and 8 watt power output gives it quite a long range and a longer runtime as well.

Not to mention, the tough and robust build of this Baofeng radio makes it the perfect companion for outdoor use. If you are looking for an easy to use radio in a portable size and a high gain antenna, this is the one for you.

If you’re yearning for maximum reach, these top long-range two-way radios should be of help!

William