Best GMRS Radio

Best GMRS Radio Reviews in 2021 – Top 10 Picks Revealed

In this era of mobile phones, two-way radios are a niche hobby. But even this niche hobby is not such a niche anymore.

More and more people are starting to acknowledge these devices’ unique features and get into the hobby.

With the increase of market demand, the manufacturing of low-quality subpar products has risen too. Finding the best GMRS radio is not so easy anymore.

But do not be too alarmed. We are here for you! To help you with finding the best product, we have dived into the rabbit hole, tested a lot of models from different brands, and came up with a list of the best 7.

Let’s get right into it, then!

ImageName & DetailsEditor's RatingPrice

Midland 50 Channel Waterproof GMRS Two-Way Radio
Midland 50 Channel Waterproof GMRS Two-Way Radio











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Midland - 36 Channel FRS Two-Way Radio - Up to 30 Mile Range
36 Channel Two-Way Radio - Up to 30 Mile Range











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BTECH GMRS Two-Way Radio, GMRS Repeater Capable, with Dual Band Scanning Receiver
BTECH GMRS Two-Way Radio, GMRS Repeater Capable











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Midland - 22 Channel Extended Range Two Way Radios with Channel Scan
Extended Range Two Way Radios with Channel Scan











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Ansoko Long Range Walkie Talkie Rechargable FRS/GMRS 16-Channel
Ansoko Long Range Rechargable FRS/GMRS 16-Channel











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Our Best GMRS Radio Reviews

In the first section, you will find reviews and information about the very best products, according to us. We are quite happy with the list we ended up with, and we hope you will be too.

1. Midland 50 Channel Waterproof GMRS Two-Way Radio with 142 Privacy Codes

Midland 50 Channel Waterproof GMRS Two-Way Radio with 142 Privacy Codes

Midland, made by Midland Radio Corporation, is a US-based brand that is going to dominate this list for good reasons.

The company has a pioneering role in 2-way radio technology. They focus on producing two-way radios and innovating tech to make the best quality products.

This brand represents value, quality, and reliability. And this product from them is just one example of that. This is a two-way GMRS radio packed with options.

They are also one of the most powerful walkie talkies you can get your hands on. Their range is 50 meters, which is about as big a range as you can get.

If you use your radios outside and worry about getting water on them accidentally, then you will be delighted to learn that this product has JIS4 Waterproof Protection. Occasional splashes and rains will not harm your radio.

Speaking of rains, this radio comes with an NOAA weather scan & weather alert. This scan will use the ten weather band channels by itself to find the strongest weather channel and give you updates on the weather.

The weather alert triggers an alarm to indicate probable harsh weather conditions in the area.

You can get this product in packs of one, a pair, or three. Some color & finish options are available too – black & silver, mossy oak camo, black & yellow et cetera.

Now you can get the best handheld GMRS radio in your preferred color!

Key Features :

  • Features 50 GMRS channels
  • JIS4 water splash resistant
  • Range: 36 miles
  • 9 sensitivity levels
  • NOAA weather scan & alert
  • 10 weather band channels

2. Midland – 36 Channel FRS Two-Way Radio – Up to 30 Mile Range

Midland - 36 Channel FRS Two-Way Radio - Up to 30 Mile Range

This set of walkie talkies are even more affordable than the previous ones. They come with 36 Family Radio Service (FRS) channels, which is enough for family use.

You can also check for any activity around you using the channel scan provided.

For an FRS, the range of these radios is quite remarkable at 30 miles. If you take these on open fields with no obstructions, then the range would be extended even further.

That’s not all – these radios come with 121 Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System (CTCSS) privacy codes. This offers the user with availability to up to 2662 different channel options.

So, you can block conversations from the channels you do not wish to listen to.

You also have the option to turn off all the tones at once with the silent operation feature. This could come in handy in emergency situations when you need to turn the sound off quickly.

One other feature that can be convenient is the dual power options. The batteries that come with these radios are rechargeable.

If they happen to run out of charge, then you can use three AAA size batteries instead in a pinch. Thus, you will be able to use these for an extended amount of time.

There are two color varieties for this model – solid black or yellow & black.

Key Features :

  • 36 FRS channels and channel scan
  • Range: 30 miles
  • 121 CTCSS privacy codes
  • NOAA weather scan & alert
  • Dual power options – rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries

3. BTECH Handheld Gmrs Radio, GMRS Repeater Capable, with Dual Band Scanning Receiver

BTECH GMRS Two-Way Radio, GMRS Repeater Capable, with Dual Band Scanning Receiver

BaoFeng tech, in short Btech, is a US-based brand dedicated to making affordable radios for both commercial uses as well as amateur radio enthusiasts.

Do not mistake affordability for being backdated tech, though; the brand is committed to providing its customers with all the latest technological improvements out there.

So, it is no surprise that some of the market-dominating walkie talkies are creations of BaoFeng tech. This GMRS V1 is one such radio.

Its most significant advantage is its capability to do split tones, a feature many GMRS radios in this price range does not have.

The GMRS-V1 has what the manufacturer described as a semi duplex display. It has only one receiver built-in, but you can monitor two channels simultaneously with the semi duplex display.

There are two PPT buttons on the radio that grant instant access. You can use them to transmit on either of the two channels being monitored.

Additionally, you can also make the dual PTT switch work as a generic PTT switch. With the CTCSS tones, you can easily change or add any access tones spontaneously.

On display, there are three different formats that can be displayed – frequency, name, and channel. You can customize the order of these three being displayed.

For example, you can have the frequency shown on top and the name on the bottom, or vice versa. The customizability can be used to your preference.

Key Features :

  • Built-in semi duplex display
  • Switchable large tri-color LCD display
  • LED flashlight scanning methods – frequency, channel, tone
  • 15 GMRS channels & eight repeater channels
  • All privacy CTCSS & DCS tones supported
  • Built-in FM radio
  • Range: 30+ miles

4. Midland – 22 Channel Extended Range Two Way Radios with Channel Scan

Midland - 22 Channel Extended Range Two Way Radios with Channel Scan

We have another affordable pair of walkie talkie from Midland. They are not extraordinary, but they come with an inexpensive price tag and can get the job done well enough. So, it’s a bargain for me!

These two-way radios are meant for family use; hence they have 22 FRS or FRS channels. The range, I would say, is decent.

At 24 miles, it is not the best range you can get from walkie talkies, but it is enough for use by a family.

Keep in mind that interferences and obstructions can lessen the range more. So, if a bigger range is essential to you, these might not be for you.

That being said, the range will extend when you are on a plain area with no obstructions nearby.

Much like the previous Midland product, these too have dual power functions. This is handy for emergencies when you do not have a charger nearby. Just remember to pack some extra AAA batteries with you.

A unique feature of these radios is the keypad control system. They have a keypad lock function, which prevents you from accidentally activating any keys from the device.

Moreover, to ensure that you are aware of the changes, each key makes an audible tone after being pressed for confirmation or response. If you do not like these sounds, you can turn off the tunes with the silent feature.

Key Features :

  • 22 Family Radio Service channels
  • Range: 24 miles
  • Dual power – rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries
  • Keypad control lock
  • Three colors – black, black & blue, black & mossy oak

5. Ansoko Long Range Walkie Talkie Rechargable FRS/GMRS 16-Channel

Ansoko Long Range Walkie Talkie Rechargable FRS/GMRS 16-Channel

Unlike the other ones mentioned so far on this list, Ansoko is a relatively small brand. They are based on online e-commerce websites.

Their primary focus is on making consumer electronics and home electronics products. They are most known for their walkie talkies.

This particular product is a set of 6 walkie talkies – something you can get for your family or work. Especially for a family, I would highly recommend getting this set.

The walkie talkies come packed with some great features that are sure to satisfy you.

These radios are designed for indoor use or indoor to outdoor use. Because there are more obstructions in these instances, they are able to operate at very high frequencies.

So, if you live in an area with high obstructions such as large metropolitan cities or high-rise buildings, these radios would be great for you.

These radios are built to be tough and long-lasting. They performed very well too, I have gotten loud and clear audio when using this set indoors.

Moreover, they are very beginner-friendly. So, if you have people in the family or workplace who are not as tech-savvy, this would be a great choice.

You can use the built-in LED flashlights during nighttime on a pinch. For extreme situations, they can be used to send SOS signals too.

Key Features :

  • Range: 3+ miles (differs in different work environments)
  • 50 CTCSS codes and 105 DCS codes
  • Built-in LED flashlight for SOS and general use
  • 2-watt radio with 400-470-megahertz frequency
  • Plug-in charging base

6. 15 Watt Gmrs Mobile Radio – 8 Repeater Channels, 142 Privacy Codes

15 Watt GMRS Two-Way Radio - 8 Repeater Channels, 142 Privacy Codes

This set from Midland costs considerably higher than the previous ones from this brand, but if you want the best GMRS radio, this is a compelling contender.

Unlike the previous listings, this radio is meant to be used in a car. So, it is powered through a cord that you can plug in your car.

The plug that it comes with is a 12-volt accessory plug compatible with most cars. Midland claims that this radio has triple the range you get from a traditional counterpart.

I did not test that out, but I can attest that the range I got throughout my time using this model was pretty impressive. At 50 miles, this range even increases in obstruction free areas.

You also get all 8 GMRS repeater channels, so expect to get vast transmission & reception range.

The package comes with a detachable flip frame mount that can be installed on the dashboard or under it. You can slide the radio out for quick removal whenever needed.

The microphone that comes with is high-grade equipment. It has the classic push to talk mechanism for communication & channel controls.

This radio has an LCD with seven customizable colors. So, you can choose the color you like the most and get superb visibility.

Key Features :

  • Corded electric radio
  • 15-watt MicroMobile
  • 15 GMRS channels & repeater channels
  • Range: 50 miles
  • 124 CTCSS privacy codes
  • NOAA weather scan & alert
  • Made for cars

7. Midland 15W GMRS Two-Way Radio with Integrated Control Microphone

Midland 15W GMRS Two-Way Radio with Integrated Control Microphone

Ending this list is a micro mobile radio that you can fully control using just the mic. Keep reading to know more!

This MXT275 from Midland is a two-way radio featuring a microphone with fully integrated controls, which allows you to control all aspects of the radio with only the mic.

Particularly this feature comes very handily when you are driving and need to use the radio with one hand. So, it is perfect for a car.

Many people do not like having a radio on top of their dashboard. The reason could be a shortage of space on there. Or, it may feel too cluttered to some people.

This radio is perfect in these situations, as you only need the microphone to use this radio.

You can stash the radio base away under a seat or in a console and keep just the microphone nearby. The external antenna of this radio has a magnetic mount.

You can also block other conversations that you do not wish to be a part of, thanks to the 142 privacy codes.

If you wish to use a headset with your radio, this model allows you to do that too! It has an accessory input jack for Midland FRS or GMRS radio headsets. Overall, this is one of the best GMRS mobile radios out there.

Key Features :

  • Features 15 GMRS channels, along with eight repeater channels
  • Range: 50 miles
  • Comes with an external magnetic antenna for more range
  • NOAA weather scan & weather alert
  • 142 CTCSS & DCS privacy codes
  • 10 weather band channels

Top GMRS Radio Comparison Chart

Product Name

Range (Mile)

Weight (Ounce)

Privacy Codes

Dimensions (Inch)

Channels

Midland GXT1000VP4

36

4.8

142 CTCSS & DCS

7.9 x 2.4 x 1.5

50 GMRS

Midland LXT600VP3

30

16

121 CTCSS

2.19 x 6.09 x 1.27

36

BTECH GMRS-V1

30+

8

50 CTCSS & 346 DCS

2.28 x 1.26 x 4.33

15 GMRS & 8 repeaters

Midland LXT500VP3

24

16

50 CTCSS & 102 DCS

1 x 2 x 6

22

Ansoko Long Range

3

6.4

50 CTCSS & 105 DCS

4.5 x 2.4 x 1.3

16 GMRS

Midland MXT115

50

0.01

142 CTCSS & DCS

4 x 3.25 x 0.85

15 GMRS & 8 repeaters

Midland MicroMobile

50

40.16

142 CTCSS & DCS

10.24 x 9.88 x 2.8

15 GMRS & 8 repeaters

Things to Consider Before Buying GMRS Radio

Before you get a GMRS radio, it’s best if you had a list of criteria that the radio must meet. Below are a few considerations and factors that shouldn’t be overlooked when shopping for a GMRS radio –

Intended Use

The reason you want to use the radio is very important when purchasing one. For example, if you are going to use them around your home & back yard within your family,

an FRS radio could be enough depending on the size of your house. Moreover, FRS radios do not require any license to use.

If the radios are for work and will need to cover a larger area, then GMRS radios are more suitable. GMRS radios come in two kinds – handheld and two-piece.

The latter generally costs more than the former. Which one you should buy will depend on how you intend to use the radio.

A two-piece GMRS radio with a mounting backet & microphone holder is the best choice for use in cars instead of handheld ones.

Transmission Power

The wattage of a radio directly translates to how good it will be at transmitting signals. General GSRM radios have up to 16-watt power. But you can find 40 to 50-watt radios too in the market.

If you are using the walkie talkies in an area with severe weather conditions, consider getting these high watt GSRM radios. You should also consider higher wattage for use in moving vehicles.

Coverage

How far do you want to transmit signals? Where will the other people use radios to be from your location? Coverage depends entirely on the intended use.

Measure a rough calculation of the amount of coverage you will need. For example, you could measure your home and backyard area if you intend to use the walkie talkies in your home.

Then, cross-check the coverage being offered by the manufacturers for specific GMRS models.

Keep obstructions & range shortage due to them in mind. For smaller areas, FRS radios are enough. GMRS radios provide greater coverage.

Security Options

You may have noticed the words DCS (digital) and CTCSS (analog) codes in our review section. These privacy tones and codes are meant to provide you with security when communicating.

They do this by combining multiple channels & codes to create a unique transmission route for you and your intended recipient.

Thanks to them, other people on your channel will not hear what you say, except the intended recipient. You can have clear, unobtrusive communication with these.

Additionally, look for GMRS radios that have an auto-squelch feature. It will automatically provide secure signals without you having to fine-tune adjustments manually. So, it is novice-friendly.

Clarity

To have the clearest, lag-free transmission and communication, look for radios with fewer transmission impediments. Common impediments include the rate of frequency deviation, rate of audio distortion, antenna impudence, etc.

Number of Channels

Do not assume that the more channels you have, the better the radio is. Quality of transmission and reception matters a lot, too.

This is why I would recommend you to go for radios that have repeater channels and other channels meant for scanning, along with generic GMRS channels.

These extra channels can significantly improve transmission quality and range.

Power

It is always better to get radios with bigger batteries. They will run for a longer period of time and provide you with a solid power backup.

At the very least, your GMRS radio should be able to provide 8 hours of run time on a full charge. NiMh and Li-io batteries are known for their durability and extended function time.

You should also keep spare batteries at hand and adapters that you can use to charge a radio with a laptop in a pinch.

Ease of Use

How easy is it to use the radio based on intuition? Can you explain the usage to children and older people easily?

This is important if anyone belonging to this group is going to be using the radio. For folks living in colder areas, can you easily use the radio when you have thick gloves on?

How difficult is it to replace or charge the battery? Is the button lock effective against all types of accidental touches? Consider all of these questions according to your own preference and traits.

Weather Resistance

If you want to use the radio outdoors, then this should be a very important consideration for you. You do not wish your radio to be broken due to water, do you?

It is important to note that there is a difference between splash resistance and water resistance.

You can submerge water-resistant radios underwater, but splash resistant ones would not hold up. They are, as the name suggests, resistant to only occasional splashes and accidental rains.

Therefore, for extreme weather conditions, get water-resistant radios instead of splash resistant ones. GSRM radios with NOAA weather scan & alert can also come really handy, so look out for this feature.

Shape & Weight

Especially for handheld radios, this is something that you should keep in mind. You will be keeping the radio with you in person at all times.

So, the smaller, lighter, and less bulky it is, the better. Check out the dimensions of the products when browsing.

The shape of the radio matters a lot too. If the radio is shaped cleverly and the heavy parts are well distributed, a heavy radio will not feel as heavy in your hand.

On the other hand, a light radio made in a blocky shape may feel bulkier and uncomfortable to keep inside your pocket.

Installation Tools

This is especially vital if you plan to get a vehicle-mounted radio. Make sure that the radio comes with the necessary mounting bracket, slider, and mic holder. Otherwise, you cannot mount the radio properly in your vehicle.

Antenna

Longer antennas will naturally be better receptors. So, you will get clear transmissions with longer antennas.

But, walkie talkies, particularly handheld radios, can get a bit too bulky to use with long antennas. Shorter antennas are more portable but with less range.

Additional Features

The primary purpose of a walkie talkie is transmitting and receiving messages in the form of radio signals. But, the more extra features you get with a radio, the more convenient it will be to use.

For example, weather bands and weather alerts can save your life. If you have an emergency flashlight, it can be used at night. You can even send SOS signals if the situation calls for it.

Lock buttons will prevent accidental transmissions. VOX enables you to transmit messages hands-free, which would be handy in a car.

Headsets can come in handy for people in noisy areas. They are also great for hands-free use. GPS will indicate the location of a radio; therefore, its user’s too. LCD screens with backlight can be used in the dark.

There can be more features, so keep your eyes peeled for them.

Tips for Using GMRS Radio

So. you have the best GMRS radio on your hands. What comes next? Here are a few tips to help you get started –

Research Basics

All GMRS and FRS radios have similar basics. Do research online and learn how to effectively use a walkie talkie by optimizing its settings.

You should also look into tutorials on how to set up a radio, manage channels, and assign channels for a specific use et cetera.

For learning purposes, I would recommend YouTube. Nothing beats visual learning. You can also check out radio enthusiast’s forums & blogs.

Get Acquainted with High/Low Power Settings

Did you know that GMRS radios have two power settings? As the names suggest, the high-power setting uses a lot of power, while the low power one does not. You can juggle between the two depending on your use.

In circumstances where you do not need the high-power setting, consider switching to low power to save battery life.

If your radio is about to run out of power and you do not have backups or means of charging it, switch to low power mode to extend its battery life.

Legal Considerations

Before you can operate a GMRS radio, you need to have a license. However, if the radio you have falls under FRS, a license is not necessary. So, make sure you have a license before you start using the walkie talkie.

Additionally, some channel frequencies are illegal to tune in. Generally, most GMRS radios will automatically not allow the user to tune in to those frequencies.

But, if you get a radio from China or elsewhere outside of the US, it might. So, make sure the channels you will be using are legally permitted.

Backup Power Source

GMRS radios typically come with batteries that are rechargeable. And you often end up using radios in locations where cellphone reception is not available.

So, if your radio dies on you due to battery drainage, there is a risk of losing contact with your group.

This is why you should always have backup batteries with you. Most GMRS radios can also run on non-rechargeable batteries.

So, check how many such batteries will your radio need should the power run out and keep at least that amount with you.

You can also keep adapters that can be used with a laptop to charge the radio’s battery on hand.

Learn the Language

For walkie talkies, there are certain words and phrases people often use. These words can be shortened versions of commonly used long words, terms, or sentences.

Learn these pro words and teach them to the other people who will be using the radios too.

That way, communications will have better clarity, and you can save time & battery power.

Relation Between Range & Surface

You might feel tempted to buy GMRS radios with the largest range shown by manufacturers. But remember, most of them are giving you a figure that the radio would achieve if you were to use it on an obstacle-free plain surface.

In reality, there are buildings, trees, and other structures all around us.

So, you will not get the full range you were promised. Keep that in mind and consider the wattage and power of the radios too.

Additional Tips

When speaking, you do not need to keep the microphone right at your mouth. Keep it 2 to 3 inches away from your lips parallelly when speaking. This transmits the clearest audio.

Be careful when you are using the radio and driving at the same time. It is best if you slow the car down to a side of the road when transmitting to be safe.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I need a license for using GMRS radios?

Yes, you do. One license will cover your entire family, and it does not cost that much. To apply for a license, you must be 18 years old or older. Additionally, the equipment you use must be certified for GMRS purposes.

2. How do I handle the channels?

You can divide channel numbers and use a specific channel for a particular group of people or purposes.

For example, you may use channel 1 for everyone in range, channel 2 for your kids only, channel 3 for housekeepers & babysitters, etc.

3. What does the wattage of a radio indicate?

Generally, the more wattage a radio has, the stronger its signals will be. This means radios with higher wattage will have a more excellent range and vice versa.

4. What is the difference between long and short radio antennas?

Short antenna radios are more comfortable to carry, therefore work well in small areas such as home, small hotel, small construction site, etc.

This advantage comes at the cost of less range. The short antenna cuts the range by 30 percent (approximately).

5. How many GMRS radios can I use at the same location?

Technically, there is no limit to the number of radios you can use, other than license restrictions. However, too many radio signals can interfere with communication, so it is recommended to have around ten users on one channel.

Final Words

The best GMRS radio can be a real lifesaver in areas where you do not have cellphone reception and must keep contact with one or more people.

But that is not its only use. These radios can also make day to day life more convenient, be it domestic or work life.

I hope my article has been informative enough for you to find the perfect radio that meets all your needs. Now you can easily connect and talk to your friends or coworkers, too.
That’s all for now! Have a good day.