Best EPIRB Reviews (Updated 2019)

Best Epirb ReviewsThere’s nothing better than sailing the high seas; but, when inclement weather rolls in or some other emergency arises, a peaceful day at sea can suddenly turn into complete chaos. Even if you have years of experience under your belt, there’s always a chance that something can go wrong when you’re sailing.

Every captain knows how crucial it is to be properly prepared when they hit the open waters. There are various devices available that can ensure your safety and ensure the success of your maritime adventures, such as a marine GPS, a marine VHF radio, and a marine VHF antenna; but there’s something else that every skipper should have on board their vessel: an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, or an EPIRB.

An EPIRB is a distress signal that is made specifically for mariners. When an emergency arises, this devices sends out a signal to search and rescue professionals. When trouble strikes, the EPIRB sends out a coded message through the Cospas Sarasat, a free network that can by sailors around the globe. The distress signal is transmitted via earth and satellite stations to the rescue station that is closest to the distressed vessel. Additionally, an EPIRB sends out a homing signal that aids search and rescue services with finding the originating location of the distress signal, and thus, the vessel that sent it out.

If you’re looking for a EPIRB, it goes without saying that you’re going to want to invest in the most reliable device possible. We’ve highlighted five of the best quality EPIRBs on the market:

EPIRB Review Center 2019

Not sure which one to choose? Read through the following reviews to learn more about each device. When you’ve decided on an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, click on the yellow link to find the best prices currently available on Amazon.

#1 – Garmin inReach Explorer+

Garmin Inreach Explorer+The first option on our list of the best EPIRBs comes from Garmin, one of the most trusted manufacturers of car Global Positioning devices, including car GPS and motorcycle GPS devices. All of the products that they offer feature the most advanced technologies and are durably built to ensure reliable performance; their inReach Explporer + EPIRB is no different.

Offering complete Iridium satellite coverage, this device allows communication via two-way text messaging from anywhere in the world, so you can stay in touch when you’re out on your schooner with ease. Functioning as a full featured handheld GPS, you can find out your exact coordinates with the touch of a button and even let your family and friends know exactly where you are, via the track and share function. If an emergency strikes, use the SOS button to send out your location and a preset message to emergency response services; once they reply to your message, you will be able to communicate with them until help arrives with this emergency radio. It can even be used as a weather radio, thanks to the optional weather forecast function, which offers updates on the latest forecast.  With unlimited cloud storage, you can use this device to plan out every detail of your voyages and access the information with the touch of a button.

What We Like About It

  • Global Iridium satellite coverage allows for text messaging communication
  • Advanced SOS feature
  • Fully waterproof
  • Can be paired with mobile devices
  • Full-feature GPS
  • Lightweight, rugged design
  • Easy to use

Reasons to Complain

  • It’s a bit pricey, but considering the features and functionality, we think it’s worth the investment

Final Verdict: Fully waterproof and loaded with the most advanced features, the Garmin inReach Explorer + is more than an EPIRB; it’s a personal locator beacon, a satellite messenger, weather radio, GPS device – and so much more! Whether you’re out on your boat, hiking, or doing anything else off the grid, you can stay connected, stay, and secure.

Amazon

 

#2 – ACR GlobalFix PRO 406 EPIRB

Acr Globalfix Pro 406 EpirbACR is one of the best known names in the EPIRB industry. All of the products they offer are durable, reliable, easy to use, and offer a range of features to ensure safety out on the water. While all of the products they offer are incredible, one that stands out from the crowd is their GlobalFix PRO 406 EPIRB.

Featuring a built-in GPS that automatically activates to acquire your position, this device will send out a 406 MHz signal to satellites so search and rescue teams can find your exact location. As the rescue effort is underway, a homing signal and LED strobe light will direct rescuers to you. A built-in test mode lets you confirm that the unit is functioning properly; plus, you can conduct a self-test whenever you would like to. Should the device hit the water, it will automatically turn on to relay your location, so you can have peace of mind if you are in need of help and unable to use manually activate the device yourself. It’s powered by a non-hazmat batter that can last up to five years, and even when the batter life is near its end, this EPIRB can continue to send out signals for 48 hours or more! Compact and ergonomically designed, this device is one of the smallest EBIRBs on the market, and it’s extremely durable and will stand up to the most extreme wear and tear.

What We Like About It

  • Features built-in GPS to let emergency services find your exact location
  • A homing beacon and LED strobe light will direct rescuers to you
  • Powered by long-lasting, non-hazmat batteris
  • Automatic activation upon contact with water
  • Compact, ergonomic, and rugged design
  • Free replacement offer; if you ever need to use this EPIRB, ACR will replace it

Reasons to Complain

  • The price is a bit high, but definitely worth the investment

Final Verdict: With the ACR GlobalFix PRO EPIRB, you can have peace of mind knowing that should you hit rough waters or experience any other emergency, search and rescue teams will be able to find you. With built-in GPS, a homing beacon, and an LED strobe light, rescuers will have no trouble getting help to you.

Amazon

 

#3 – ACR PLB-375 ResQLink+

Acr Plb 375 Resqlink+If you’re looking for a more affordable EPIRB that’s made by one of the best names in the industry, the ACR PLB-375 ResQLink+ is definitely an option worth considering. Featuring the most advanced technology and offering a comprehensive network, when an emergency arises, this device offers reliable communication with search and rescue services.

This unit utilizes the COSPAS/SARSAT satellite network; simply push the easy to access button and it will send out a message to emergency services. It’s also the smallest and lightest weight EPIRB on the market and it floats, so if it drops in the water, you can easily retrieve it. Utilizing global positioning, rescuers will be able to pinpoint your exact location as soon as they receive your signal. The signal strength is 40 MHz and it also has a 121.5 MHz homing beacon. With a powerful built-in strobe light, rescuers will be able to see you even in the darkest conditions. It’s easy to use, too; just position the antenna and push the on button and it will instantly send out your distress signal. Dual built-in tests let you confirm that the device is working and ready for use in an emergency. Powered by a non-hazmat battery that can last for up six years, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that this unit will offer long-lasting protection.

  • Built-in 66 channel GPS
  • Sends out a 406 MHz signal
  • 5 MHz homing capability
  • Bright built-in strobe light for easy visibility in all types of conditions
  • Dual built-in tests to confirm functioning
  • Powered by a non-hazmat, long-lasting battery
  • Small, lightweight design
  • Easy to use
  • Affordably priced

Reasons to Complain

  • Some users said that the packaging was opened and that the unit appeared to be used or returned when they received it, so do be sure to check the packaging

Final Verdict: For an affordable and reliable EPIRB, the ACR PLB-375 ReqQLink+ is an option worth considering. It’s compact and lightweight, so you can easily keep it on you and it won’t weigh you down. With a built-in 66 channel GPS, a powerful signal, a homing beacon, and a strobe light, you can have confidence knowing that you’ll have access to help in an emergency situation.

Amazon

 

#4 – Garmin inReach Mini

Garmin Inreach MiniNext up on our list of the best EPIRB devices is the Garmin inReach Mini. Garmin is one of the most trusted names in communication technology, so you can rest assured that this device is built with the most advanced technologies and will offer fast, reliable help when you need it. Plus, it’s small and lightweight, so it’s easy to keep on your person, and it functions as more than just an EPIRB.

This satellite communicator allows for two-way text messaging via the 100% global Iridium network, so you can communicate even when you don’t have access to a cell signal. The unite can be used to access NOAA charts, maps, and various other useful information via the Garmin Earthmate app and a compatible device. With optional inReach weather service, you can receive the latest weather forecasts from the unit so you always know what you’re sailing into. If you’re in an emergency situation, simply trigger the SOS alert and the unit will send out a message to the GEOS emergency service team. Compact, lightweight, impact-resistant and waterproof, this device is rugged and can withstand excessive wear and tear.

What We Like About It

  • Built-in GPS for easy and accurate location identification
  • Allows for two-way text messaging communication
  • Can be used as a weather radio
  • Offers an interactive SOS feature that will send out powerful emergency signals to search and rescue teams
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Impact-resistant and waterproof
  • Can access downloadable maps, NOAA charts, aerial imagery and more
  • Unlimited cloud storage and trip planning

Reasons to Complain

  • Some customers said that it used its battery power too quickly
  • Others said that the device was defective when they received it

Final Verdict: The Garmin inReach Mini is an EPIRB that also allows for two-way text communication, functions as a GPS device, and offers a range of other features that will keep you aware and secure when you’re off the grid. It’s easy to use, lightweight, and durably designed.

Amazon

 

#5 – Spot 3 Satellite GPS Messenger

Spot 3 Satellite Gps MessengerLast up on our list of the best EPIRB devices is the Spot 3 Satellite GPS Messenger. If you’re looking for something that’s truly affordable, yet very reliable, than this is the device that you should consider purchasing.

If an emergency arises, with the push of a button, you’ll be able to send out an SOS signal to search and rescue services, who will be able to pinpoint your exact location, thanks to the advanced built-in GPS technology. The check-in feature allows you to send out a pre-programmed message to your family and friends to let them know where you are and that you’re doing just fine. You can also send and save your contacts so that they can keep tabs on your whereabouts with Google Maps. Pocket-sized, lightweight, and durable, with the Spot 3 Satellite GPS Messenger, you can have peace of mind knowing that you’ll have access to help should you ever need it.

What We Like About It

  • Sends out an SOS signal with your GPS coordinates with the push of a button
  • Check-in feature sends out a pre-programmed message to friends and family to let them know you’re safe
  • Sends your location to your contacts, who can keep track of your whereabouts with Google maps
  • Pocket-sized and rugged
  • Affordably priced

Reasons to Complain

  • Some users said that though the device is supposed to be waterproof, it stopped working when it got wet
  • Others said that they had trouble tracking the location of the unit

Final Verdict: The Spot 3 Satellite GPS Messenger is the most affordably EPIRB on our list. It’s lightweight, rugged, and can be used to send out emergency signals, as well as a tracking device.

Amazon

 

The Best EPIRB: A Buyer’s Guide

If you’re a mariner, you know that an emergency can occur at any time; a severe storm can blow in, a massive wave can come crashing down on your vessel, you can hit rock, or any number of other issues can arise. In the event that you are in a life-threatening situation, an EPIRB will get you the help you need in a moment’s notice.

Factors to Consider

Since an EPIRB serves as your life line in an emergency, it’s crucial that you select a high-quality, reliable device; otherwise you could end up stranded and in serious trouble. To ensure you are investing in an EPIRB you can count on, take the following factors into consideration when you’re shopping:

  • If the unit doesn’t have GPS, it is needs to use satellite triangulation to transmit emergency signals, which can take up to an hour, if not more. With GPS, emergency signals can be transmitted in under five minutes.
  • Notification time. The faster your location can be detected by search and rescue services, the better, so look for a device that has a short notification time.
  • Battery life. The longer the batter life, the better; if the battery power runs out, you could end up in a serious situation.
  • The lighter and more compact the EPIRB is, the easier it will be to transport.
  • Additional features. EPIRB can also offer additional features, such as two-way text messaging. Consider your specific needs to determine if you need these features.

Summing It Up

Whether you’re a merchant marine, an angler, the captain of a sailboat, or you navigate a kayak, an EPIRB is a must-have device. This device will serve as your lifeline in the event of an emergency, and each product featured on our list will be sure to keep you safe and secure.

Sources:

Orolia Maritime

USCG

Jolly Parrot

Marine Insight