Home » Boating » The 10 Best Marine Radio in 2020 – Review on Top Picks
The 10 Best Marine Radio in 2020 – Review on Top Picks
If you are a passionate boater and love to catch fish at the distant water, then a reliable network coverage is necessary for you to get help in distress. A marine radio is an essential device that allows you to pass both voice and digital information to any other person of your interest in times of emergency.
Marine radios are dedicated to ensure your safety on waters. This reliable device can function properly even in poorly network covered areas. It makes you able to send a distress call from the sea or any other water body to anybody with a single button press. This rich mobile handheld system can also be used for recreational water activities like maritime sporting.
A best marine radio can save you from various situations like- boat engine malfunctioning, yacht capsizing, sinking and facing unexpected harsh weather, etc. It facilitates you to connect with the coast guard, harbor guard, rescue urgency teams or other fellow boat riders near to you in case of urgency or danger.
Again, mariners and maritime sportsman can also receive regular updates and alerts via a marine radio as well. There are so many marine radios available on the market, so you may find it difficult to select the right one for you. Here, we have reviewed some best marine radios which may prove helpful to you.
1. Standard Horizon HX870 Floating 6W Handheld VHF
Standard Horizon HX870 floating 6W handheld VHF is an efficient marine radio for everyday use. This intuitive handheld radio optimizes off-shore communication and safety with its built-in 66-channels GPS WAAS receiver.
The premium features and the submersible waterproof tough construction makes it popular among the people. Until now, 6w HX870 VHF is one of the best handheld marine radios among the radios available on the market.
A group of monitoring feature also shows the position up to 9 pre-selected vessels in your area. The 2.3” display with an easy to operate menu can store up to 200 waypoints and 20 routes to navigate via compass page.
This over-sized display also shows SOG, COG, DST, and BRG to the selected waypoint. Class D DSC allows you a distress call along with your boat position to bring peace of mind on the water in your need.
The rugged die-cast chassis and IPX8 waterproof rating allow submersion of the radio. This floatable radio can submerse under water up to 4.92 feet for 30 minutes without causing any internal or external damage.
The high capacity 1800mAh Li-on battery features 3-hour quick charge function to provide plenty of battery life upto 12 hours for regular use.
The standard horizon VHF can receive weather alerts through it WX soft key which is assigned to get current weather information. It also allows you to share your GPS position and receive GPS positions from other vessels.
The SOS strobe water activated light turns on and start flashing if the radio is dropped into the water. Again, MOB function also helps to get the position of the radio under the water.
2. Standard Horizon GX2200B Standard Matrix AIS/GPS VHF
Standard horizon GX2200B matrix AIS/GPS VHF has some good deals on the radio to call on vessels. It has an integrated 66 channel GPS receiver and two integrated AIS receivers to provide peace of mind in high traffic areas.
It can perform DSC calling, waypoint navigation, position sharing, acquiring AIS and AIS START targets with just a few simple steps. The GX2200 matrix VHF display can show AIS target information like-ship name, call sign, MMSI, COG, SOG, BRG, DST.
It can directly contact with an AIS ship to indicate the vessel position which is close to you and also alarms you via CPA alarm (Closet Point of Approach).
The 30W PA/loud hailer with listen back and pre-programmed fog signals function in the PA or Fog modes. The matrix AIS/GPS allows to start a fog horn and view the AIS page simultaneously.
Standard horizon offers some other features like- an 80db commercial grade receiver with local/distance attenuator, ITU class D DSC, diecast chassis, user changeable channel names, voice scramble, programmable scan, noise canceling speaker microphones, NOAA Weather Alert, 4.5-watt audio output, priority scan and dual watch.
It is also able to enter and save up to 100 waypoints by using navigation compass display and sending all AIS target information to a chart plotter through NMEA data connection.
3. Uniden UM415 Advanced Fixed Mount VHF Marine Radio
Uniden advanced fixed mount VHF is a compact marine radio equipped with a rubber grip microphone and DSC capability for comfortable use.
It is designed with a JIS8 submersible water-proof body and a dot matrix LCD display. This is a perfect tool that keeps you relax and provides a good time for your offshore boating and fishing adventure.
The shorter chassis of this marine radio is more versatile and easy to install. The UM415 can transmit 1 to 25 watts to the various marine channels.
You can also get updates of ever-changing weather through the NOAA weather and emergency alerts. The NOAA alerts of S.A.M.E technology provides regular weather updates and predict the chance of rain, winds, storms or other serious weather hazards in your area.
The Oceanus D UM415 is JIS8 submersible that can be submerged in 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes without any damage. The dot matrix display comes with huge channel indicators, up/down scan, rugged speaker microphones and 16/9 keys.
This display is more intuitive to display all the important information clearly on the screen at a high resolution. This two-way radio also offers some extra useful features to its users such as- a public-address system, alarm clock, local time adjustments and daylight savings time adjustments.
It can also store groups of MMSI numbers to make outgoing calls. This best marine radio also comes with a hanger, mounting hardware. This well-designed VHF radio is a good fit for those people who are looking for VHF radio with the latest features at a low cost.
The transmitter performance and audio quality are quite excellent. This is an excellent unit with its extra features as compared with other models. Again, no technical guidance is required for its installation.
Weather Alert Radio
Class D operation
1 watt/25 watt transmit power
Rugged construction with JIS8 submersible
Durable rubber grip mic
instead of metal, the speaker on the mic handle and clip that holds mic is made of plastic
4. Midland – GXT1000VP4, 50 Channel GMRS Two-Way Radio
Midland GXT1000VP4 two-way radio is a perfect handset for outdoor trips to the rivers. This two-way GMRS waterproof radio set automatically checks the activity of channel and supports up to 50 channels.
These radios can easily communicate from a distance of 36 miles and also offers 142 privacy codes to block other conversation. Besides, the weather scan feature (NOAA weather alert) informs about severe weather or hazard all day and night from the local weather channel.
You can attach your favorite headphone or microphone for your convenience. It can also be quiet through its silent page and call notification as well.
This walkie-talkie comes with rechargeable battery, boom mic headsets, belt clips, 120V dual desktop charger, AC adapter, DC adapter and user manual. For outdoor enthusiasts, this Midland radio with GMRS license can be a wonderful communication solution indeed.
Up to 36 miles of wireless range
50 GMRS channels
NOAA weather scan and alert
124 CTSS/DCS privacy codes
JIS4 waterproof protection.
The battery life may come to an end within one year.
5. Standard Horizon GX1700W Standard Explorer GPS VHF Marine Radio
Standard Horizon is a well-known brand in the global marine communication market for more than five decades. This leading company not only manufacture marine radios for individuals but also works with various governments across the world.
Standard Horizon GX1700W is considered as one of the best-fixed mount VHF marine radio for its built-in GPS functionality. It has also become a popular VHF marine radio among the sailors due to its Digital Selective Calling (DSC) function.
DSC allows you to send your boat’s important information to the other ships in your region or rescue authorities. With an internal 12 channel GPS, you don’t need to hassle with wiring radio to a GPS for DSC.
Including sharing position through DSC, the small GPS front antenna also offers some additional features too. The GPS features waypoint creation and navigation.
You can also create up to 100 waypoints through using it’s navigation capabilities. GX1700W is a thin and compact device that is perfect for small boats. It measures 5.7” in depth, 7” wide and 3.1” high.
The rear case design provides flexibility and can prevent water for 30 minutes through its submersible JIS-8. This fixed mount marine radio comes with a large dot-matrix bright display screen.
The brightness, layout and size of the display make it convenient to use. The information shown on display can be read easily at a glance.
By using this navigation (LAT/LON, SOG and COG) compass display, you can always get updated about your vessels SOG, COG, BRG and DST to the waypoint.
You can also create a second station on your boat for full functionality including DSC (Digital Selective Calling) function. The main unit and the second station can be used as an intercom system.
This fixed marine radio also comes with Clear Voice Noise Reduction technology to eliminate sounds caused by waves, engines, wind, and storms. The noise reduction technology produces audible, loud and clear sounds as well.
This GPS radio also features- NOAA weather alert, NMEA input/output, programmable soft key, die-cast chassis. It comes with installation hardware, user manual and waterproof warranty for 3 years. Still now, this radio remains one of the most affordable options for people.
6. Uniden MHS126 Handheld Submersible 2-Way 6W VHF Marine Radio
The Uniden MHS126 is a submersible handed two-way VHF marine radio. The robustness and reliability of this popular model assure you enough that it doesn’t go wrong on open seas.
This reliable radio got everything you need in a marine radio. As a means of communication, this rugged and feature-packed radio is vital to take on a water adventure.
The full submersible JIS8 standard provides the ability to submerge up to 5 feet for 30 minutes without any damage. Again, the ability to survive in all-weather condition is another important aspect of this reliable marine radio.
As this marine radio floats on the water, so you don’t need to dive into the depths of the ocean to retrieve it. This waterproof radio can prevent water if all the ports and antenna are firmly attached and tightly sealed.
If this radio falls on to the ocean, you may need to wash it with fresh water to prevent any chance of salt damage. The reliability of this radio makes you fearless even in the extreme conditions.
On its lifeline, it performs consistently without depending on the weather conditions. It performs parallel on low (-20 degree Celsius) and high (+50 degree Celsius) temperature.
Uniden comes with powerful features and high-quality design for providing safety on the water. This lightweight and compact model measuring 1.6 lbs includes a belt clip and strap to achieve ruggedness.
It gives you access to all USA, Canadian and international marine channels including quick access feature. Besides, you can also get connected with all National Oceanic Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) channels with weather alert.
With various output, the Uniden MHS126 can also improve its range. The transmitter works with 1-2.5W power and also can boost 6W for optimal response. Two or more channels are also can tune at once on it.
This marine radio features- memory scan mode and battery save mode too. It also provides a built-in flashlight and SOS strobe for emergency use.
The lithium-ion battery charge lasts for up to 10 hours of operation. This radio also comes with a DC charger and AC adapter including a charging cradle and battery tray. MHS126 VHF is one of the best VHF marine radio for your safety indeed.
Submerge in 5 feet for 30 minutes without causing damage
7. Uniden UM380 25 Watt Fixed Mount Marine VHF Radio
Uniden UM380 VHF is a budget fixed marine radio. It comes in two colors- black and white. This compact radio with rugged construction delivers good functionality.
It works on your boat with 12V DC power and can get access to all US, Canadian and international marine channels with NOAA weather alert. You can also connect with external GPS for DSC distress calls through it.
This VHF radio features noise reduction technology to provide clearly audible sound. It comes with a large backlit designed LCD display that works great even in the dark and stormy situations where low light can affect visuals.
This LCD display provides triple watch feature that allows you to monitor up to 3 channel at once. This Class D VHF radio is a standard for recreational boaters.
It facilitates you to press a distress button (red button) to call for help in case of emergency. The UM380 VHF is rated JIS7 and IPX7 for waterproofing and also considered best for boats.
This fixed mount marine VHF features full DSC capability, non-slip rugged microphone and instant channel 16/9 keys. This sleek 25 watt VHF can change the transmission from 1to 25 watts. If you are looking for an affordable as well as long-lasting VHF then UM380 is the best choice for you.
If you are looking for a budget VHF radio, then COBRA MRF45D can be your choice. With 25 watts of power, MRF5d VHF can perform DSC functionality and long-range communication very well.
This selectable 1 or 25-watt output makes it perfect for both long and short-range communications. The noise-canceling microphone provides crystal clear sounds that will change your marine radio experience.
It comes with a big adjustable and dual watch display. The visual and audible alarms keep you safe from bad weather conditions. It provides two-way vessel to vessel or vessel to shore station communication.
This two-way radio can receive all NOAA alerts with a tone from weather channels. You can also send distress signals with a button press to other boats or stations.
This VHF radio meets JIS7 standards for which it can submerge in one meter or 3 feet deeper water for 30 minutes. Its compact design and console C bracket make it great for installation on your vessel.
Uniden BC75XLT makes it great with the option of programming up to 300 frequencies. As it is easy to tune, so it is very convenient to use for the professionals.
It allows the user to program channels and tunes into the nearest point of transmission. This radio scanner can be charged from PC using a USB charger or using an AC adaptor through conventional method.
It does not require hours for a transmission and also offers dedicated buttons which save your breath. Again, this handheld radio also features easy programming, quick boot up and storage option.
The telescoping antenna of this radio managed 70% of the transmission. This high-end product with long usability operates on 2-AA lithium-ion battery which lasts more than 9 hours.
It can also handle rough use and work like a charm through its durable and rough construction. The Uniden BC75XLT can identify signals to monitor the weather and to get updates on the weather.
The close call feature facilitates you to locate and identify signals and tune them without a hitch. It can easily store up to 300 programmed frequencies overall.
In fact, it also allows NOAA alert and “DO NOT DISTURB” function as well. This effective and reliable piece of tech with advanced features is an ideal pick for professionals within an affordable price.
300 programmed channels
2AA lithium-ion battery
You can’t listen longer while you plug the charger
ICOM is a well-known radio equipment manufacturer company over the half of century. It has been associated with advanced, high-quality, compact and solid-state equipment of marine radios.
For its product quality, ICOM marine radios are at the top of the choice list of HAM radio operators. When it comes to communication needs, people choose ICOM throughout their lifetime.
ICOM M36 is a compact waterproof handheld VHF radio. This smart radio automatically adjusts the outgoing and incoming audio to compensate the surrounding noise level on your end as well.
The LOUD button allows you to boost loudness instantly. The noise-canceling microphone helps to reduce any noise and provides excellent sound even at full throttle, in the high wind as well as rough weather.
It also provides strong signal strength and a great range of transmission. The lithium-ion battery offers a practical 8 hours of operating time.
This waterproof IPX7 standard can float for 30 minutes up to the 3 feet deep water. It can retain its settings even after powering off, so you don’t need to worry about falling it into the water. The large backlit display and easy to use keypad make it convenient to use.
M36 handheld VHF radio features noise-canceling microphones, 2 step power save function, weather alert, dual and tri watch, optional waterproof and floating speaker mic, 6watts RF output power. It also comes with AC charger, belt clip and hand strap.
Anyone can never predict an accident. On the water, even the most experienced person can fall victim to bad weather or equipment malfunction. The weather can get worse and even the internet or mobile network may go down.
When caught in a storm, this unaware situation may make you feel helpless. In these situations, a two-way marine radio acts as a critical life-saving gadget.
So, before going out into the seas, emergency essentials like-marine radios are required to pack with you for secure boating or fishing adventures.
Marine radios play a vital role to know how far away the rescue team is and also ensure quick rescue. Very high frequency (VHF) marine radios can work in all-weather condition even in the bad ones too.
Several marine radios are also can connect with a channel to get an update about the weather. Marine radios with different specification and design are available on the market.
Here, we have reviewed on 10 best marine radio to help you find the best one for you. It will be a great pleasure for us if you find it useful. Tactical Gears Lab wishes you safe and entertaining boating or fishing adventure that you have dreamed.