The 7 Best Handheld VHF Transceivers

Updated February 21, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

7 Best Handheld VHF Transceivers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 24 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Handheld marine and aviation VHF radios will serve as your emergency lifeline the next time you leave land, whether by plane or by sea. We've come up with a selection that includes basic and sophisticated models that vary in range, power, battery life, display and price. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best handheld vhf transceiver on Amazon.

7. Luiton LT-188H

The Luiton LT-188H is a budget-friendly option with a solid build and clear reception. Its compact size makes it a cinch to take with you just about anywhere, but the included programming software unfortunately only works on PCs.
  • built-in led flashlight
  • helpful key lock feature
  • doesn't come with instructions
Brand Luiton
Model LT-188H VHF
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Cobra MR HH425LI

The Cobra MR HH425LI makes it simple to switch from the GMRS to VHF bands with the touch of a button. It also has a cool feature that allows you to replay the last 20 seconds of audio if you didn't quite get the information the first go around.
  • five vox sensitivity levels
  • end of transmission beep tone
  • vibration alerts
Brand Cobra MR HH425LI
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. BaoFeng UV-5R

The BaoFeng UV-5R may not be the most powerful option on the list, but it's the best bang for your buck at under $25. Its transmit audio is crisp and clear, and it comes with a flexible antenna, lithium-ion battery, belt clip, wrist strap, AC adapter and a charging tray.
  • auto off for battery conservation
  • fm radio capability
  • can monitor two bands simultaneously
Brand BaoFeng
Model UV-5R
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. Yaesu FTA550

With its icon driven menu system, the Yaesu FTA550 is easy for anyone to navigate through the features. It has the ability to program up to 200 memory channels using 15 alphanumeric characters, plus the backlit keypad makes it a breeze to use in low light conditions.
  • receives the noaa weather channel
  • comes with a usb programming cable
  • splash-resistant housing
Brand Yaesu
Model NATAL-MR-PN-8748692
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Icom IC-M73

The Icom IC-M73 is a top choice for its stylish ergonomic design and user-friendly operation. Its LCD is perfectly illuminated for nighttime reading, and the Aqua Quake function is a standout feature that vibrates water out of the device.
  • internal speaker has clear sound
  • six watt transmission strength
  • battery level indicator
Brand Icom
Model IC-M73
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Uniden MHS75

The Uniden MHS75 has a rugged construction that is built to take on any adventure with bumps and bruises along the way. A single charge will last you about two to three days, plus its triple watch feature lets you monitor several signals at once.
  • can be submerged in 5ft of water
  • audible bad weather warning alert
  • includes a sturdy belt clip
Brand Uniden
Model MHS75
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Standard Horizon HX870

The Standard Horizon HX870 is one of the best-selling radios on the market, and rightly so because of its reliability while out on the rough seas. Strobe lights click on if it falls in the water and a built-in GPS sends your coordinates to a rescue team if trouble strikes.
  • intuitive user interface
  • extra-large display screen
  • excellent noise cancellation
Brand Standard Horizon
Model HX870
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

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Last updated on February 21, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.


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