A mobile two-way radio usually offers the best of both worlds. It packs a solid performance while being fairly portable and easy to use and program.
But there are many things to consider and more than enough options on the market to make you end up confused about the right choice.
But if you’re reading this, then you’re all set and should be able to pick the right one for your needs in no time, as we have reviewed the 5 best mobile two-way radios on the market.
Best Mobile Two-Way Radios
Here are our mobile two way radio reviews.
The BTECH Mobile UV-50X2 is a powerful dual band radio at a great price. It’s impressively functional and comes with a lot of bells and whistles, while offering solid core performance.
There’s extended frequency range, dual synchronize display mode, auto scan, variable frequency scanning and a lot more. However, one of the most impressive features is that you can watch up to 3 other frequencies or channels while having one of the bands as your main TX/RX band. Similarly, it also supports simultaneous VHF-VHF or UHF-UHF operation.
The power output is 50 watts, and both the transmitting and receiving capabilities are impressive. The radio hits repeaters about 30 miles away easily with just a basic homemade antenna. The internal speaker produces sound that’s loud enough, while the programming is fairly easy.
- Powerful dual band mobile radio with impressive functionality
- Solid performance with 50 watts of power and great range
- Loud sound
- Easy programming
- Some of the features are hard to understand
The Yaesu FT-2980R is one of the few mobile two-way radios with almost universally positive ratings. The primary reason customers are all praise for this radio is all the advanced features and functionality it brings to the table at a great price.
There’s a WIRES internet linking access feature, 221 memory channels, built-in DCS and CTCSS, as well as a solid 80 watts of power. In fact, this radio is both functional and powerful enough to be used as a HAM radio base station as well.
The range is amazing with a loud, clear sound and no interruptions. It’s easy to operate, program and built like a tank.
- Advanced features and functionality at a great price
- 80 watts powering a solid performance
- Loud, clear sound with no interruptions or disruptions
- Rock-solid build quality
- A single band radio so you won’t have dual band performance like with the above radio
The Kenwood TM-281A is another single band radio that offers impressive functionality at an affordable price. It comes with 200 memory channels, CTCSS/DTCS, weather alert function and tons of other features. Users suggest keeping the manual handy when using it for the first few days as you will be figuring out a lot of new features as you use it.
The build quality is probably as good as it can get for the price, with a lot of aluminum on the body and solid construction that will easily last for years. The power output is an impressive 65 watts too.
Users get good reports on all the local repeaters they hit, and they hit even the ones that are pretty far away with full signal strength. The sound quality is great and the radio is also easy to program.
- Comes loaded with features
- Solid construction with a great front facing speaker
- Hits faraway local repeaters with full signal strength while also getting good reports on all of them
- Impressive sound and easy to program
- Only single band (2m)
If you’re after a dual band radio but at an incredible price, then you have just found it in the AnyTone AT-778UV. It’s a surprisingly functional dual band radio with 25 watts of power, large color LCD, DTMF and 5Tone function, 180-degree rotating display, 200 channels, built-in cooling fan, lighted keypad mic and the list goes on.
The programming is easy but the operation can take a while to get familiar with. The performance is excellent for the price with clear and loud audio and clear transmission.
It produces great reports and the colorful display shows a lot of information in one place.
- Real dual band performance at an incredible price
- Very functional with lots of useful features
- Easy programming
- Loud audio and clear transmission
- Operation can get a little challenging initially
5. TYT TH-9800
If you want to go beyond dual band performance, then the TYT TH-9800 will be right up your alley as it’s a quad band two-way mobile radio. It comes with 50 watts of power and the usual features, but also offers cross band repeater feature, twin display and receive, 800 channels and more.
The sound is very clear and loud. Both the power output and audio reports come out great, even after a year of using it. And that speaks volumes about its overall durability as well.
It performs great on both the transmit and receive side, and on all the bands. The programming is easy with the CHIRP software.
- Quad band performance
- Some impressive advanced features like cross band repeater feature and twin display and receive
- Clear and loud audio
- Great durability
- You can’t transmit on AM on the 29MHz band
Mobile Two-Way Radio Buyer’s Guide
Base stations are the most powerful, feature-loaded and with the biggest range, but while also being the most expensive and least portable.
Handheld two-way radios, on the other hand, are the most portable and easiest to use, but typically the most limited in terms of the functionality and performance.
Mobile two-way radios are a nice balance of the two. They come close to matching the performance and power of HAM radio base stations, while offering a fair bit of portability and ease of use. They are a go-to option when it comes to using a radio in your vehicle.
Single Band (2m) vs. Multiple Bands
One of the most important considerations when choosing a mobile two-way radio is whether you’re fine with a single band or want dual band performance. A few advanced users may also want more than the two bands (VHF and UHF) that are the most popular, which is why we have a quad band option on our list as well.
However, the 2m band is indeed the most popular and would be enough to get the kind of experience you want for most users. If you’re sure you need more than that, then something with dual band performance should do the trick for you.
A quad band would be more like an overkill for most users, especially including beginners.
Some Other Features to Look For
- Power output (the higher the better as far as the overall performance is concerned)
- Overall functionality, including memory channels, ease of use and programming and so on
- Sound quality (must be loud and clear)
- Build quality
- Both transmit and receive performance
- Ability to hit local repeaters well (especially the ones at quite a distant)