Top 10 Best Baofeng Radio Reviews Of 2018 (Updated)
To amateur radio users like you and me, Baofeng is the current favorite ham radio brand. And it couldn’t be any better if you get one of the best Baofeng radios in outdoor operations, personal communication or professional networking.
However, by the term ‘Amateur’, I am not denoting the level of experience, I am just assigning adjectives to radio users who haven’t been in commercial radio use yet. So, it’s wise to check out the local license requirements and manage one (if you haven’t done yet) before start operating one of these radios.
In this article today, our experts have demonstrated the summary of their week-long research on the brand and its ham radio models. To be specific, we’ve picked up the 10 best radios and provided Baofeng radio reviews for each of them.
Here Our top 5 Picks
We were neutral and unbiased throughout the whole process and the products are placed in ascending order.
So, without further delay, let’s start off-
Things Consider Before Buying a Baofeng Radio
Baofeng is a widely popular Chinese manufacturer who’d renamed themselves as Paofeng later. Before going through the messy technical specs of the best radios of them, let’s have a look at what you should be looking at in order to get yourself the best Baofeng radio-
Radio Frequencies and Frequency Range
There are three modes of communicational radio frequencies- FM, UHF, and VHF. For radios that support any of these frequency types, has their own range of frequencies. Take a look at the specification chart and find out whether it meets your requirements or not.
Power output plays a big role as long as outdoor communication radio usage is concerned. Because based on this value, you will be served at certain times and with certain battery life. Most of the Baofeng radios have a power output range of 4-5 watts. Where some specific models offer 7W and 8W as well. With more power output, of course, the performance will be better.
We can't imagine a ham radio without speakers. But when it comes to speaker powers, products vary a lot from one another. We especially suggest you stick to 700mW-1W of speaker power, based on the loudness of the environment that you'll be using the radio in.
Structure and Metallic
If your purpose is to use a radio for non-personal use, then the strength and sturdiness of the radio itself vary a lot. Usually, we suggest you go for the as strong structure as possible. Because that’s what defines how durable a product is going to be.
Our Top 10 Best Baofeng Radio Picks Of 2018
1. Baofeng Black UV-5R V2+ Plus (USA Warranty) Dual-Band 136-174/400-480 MHz FM Ham Two-way Radio
The #1 Baofeng ham radio is literally the best of the list. It’s Baofeng Black UV-5R V2+ Plus which has been a part of the UV-5R Cosmic Variants Series from the brand. The other models from the series are UV- 5RA, UV- 6R, UV- 5RE, UV- 5RAX, UV- 5R Plus. And as you can see, the UV- 5R V2+ is the best and yet, the most popular ones.
If you have an eye on the expensive array of ham radio models, then Baofeng Black UV-5R V2+ Plus would be the best available option for you. The price is great and so does the features. This model comes with exclusive frequency coverage, unmatched monitoring capability, and a strong reception two-way amateur communication.
This product had been made better than its earlier siblings (UV- 5RA) is, it can connect batteries of Baofeng 7.4 V 3600/3800 mAh power. These single features simply took this model out of the crowd and provided an extensive value for the end users.
Chinese products, especially radios have always been complained to be connectivity issues with computers. But something exceptional had been noticed in case of this best Baofeng radio. As long as you connect the programming cable to your PC/laptop, it will recognize the device without any driver installation at all.
A couple of drawbacks comes with this radio model and we're warning you about these-
However, as this is a low a budget compact ham radio set, I don't think these two drawbacks will make that much of a difference.
2. BaoFeng BF-F8HP (UV-5R 3rd Gen) 8-Watt Dual Band Two-Way Radio
The brand Baofeng has got two generations of ham radios so far- 2nd generation UV- 5R radios and 3rd generation UV- 5R radios. The product that we are going to talk about, belongs to the second kinds.
BaoFeng BF-F8HP is a ham radio has many good features to talk about. But let’s look at the most unique and innovative feature of this commercial ham radio-
The output power is recognized to be one of the core factors that decide how well a ham radio will perform while you're working on higher ranges. In that sense, BaoFeng BF-F8HP has got 8 Watt of output power. Comparing to other models from the brand, it’s almost 2-3 watt more. The closest competitor of this model is UV- 82HP (7 watts), in terms of power output.
Now, let’s see what other features are included in this best Baofeng radio-
As BaoFeng BF-F8HP is declared to be an upgrade of its previous versions of UV-5R series, it has got certain improvements in batteries, casing, Antenna and so on. The battery is 30% larger, the radio shell is made to be harder and more durable, and the V-85 antenna is a higher gainer of frequency signals.
So far, BaoFeng BF-F8HP had been so good if we think about non-amateur commercial uses. Some tiny drawbacks are- having a speaker of 700mw only and having no dual push-to-talk switches in it.
3. BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio (Black)
Remember the Baofeng the 2nd Generation UV- 5R series radios? Yeah, our #1 pick was one of this series release from this Chinese brand. Fortunately, at no #3, we have got another radio from this 4 models series. This time, the product is BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio.
Comparing to our first pick, this BaoFeng UV-5R has a few variations in structure and functions. But also, a lot of features such as battery compatibility, power output, frequency mode, case quality is similar. So, if you loved the first product of the list, you’ll also put BaoFeng UV-5R on your buying shortlist.
However, let’s have a deeper look at what’s good in this ham radio-
The frequency range of the BaoFeng UV-5R is 65-108 MHz (FM radios), 136-174 MHz(VHF) and 400-520 MHz(UHF). So far American and European radio frequencies are concerned, BaoFeng UV-5R is good to go as a commercial ham radio.
The max power output is 4W so far. But there are two-way power settings (high and low) that can set the device to 1W and 4W power. You can adjust the battery life with this switching of powers.
The only drawback we found in BaoFeng UV-5R is, it’s battery power. It can run in 1500 mAh batteries, which can last for 12-18 hours based on the power mood.
4. BaoFeng BF-888S Walkie Talkie 2pcs in One Box with Rechargeable Battery Headphone Wall Charger Long Range 16 Channels Two Way Radio
Another popular Baofeng ham radios in hand, another charm of excellence in use. This popular product is more of a personal communicational radio and can provide a great value for the money you invest in it. The name is BaoFeng BF-888S Walkie Talkie, which also knows as one of the most Budget-friendly Baofeng models of the market.
In the sense of almost technical aspects, BaoFeng BF-888S Walkie Talkie is quite different than other 2nd and 3rd generation UV- 5R series. Let me show how-
The board used in this ham radio is BF-88S Baofeng Board, where almost all of the other radios are hosted on either UV- 5R 2nd/3rd generation boards. So, this makes quite a difference.
Moving forward to the memory allocation and channel memories are built with quite an importance. There are 16 locations of channel memories with 50 CTCSS or 105 CDCSS. So far, good enough to go for personal and communicational use.
The battery is made to be 2.5 watts power output and a dual power mode. When there will be low voltage in the battery, it will show you a low voltage alert and you can enable battery savings features accordingly.
Like other good Baofeng models, the BaoFeng BF-888S Walkie Talkie has a latest PC03 modeled programming cable.
A few drawbacks before I finish. This walkie talkie based mini ham radio receives only UHF radio signals, not FM or VHF frequencies here. Also, it has only a single push-to-talk switch which receives only alternate channels via it’s A/B button.
5. BaoFeng BF-888S Two Way Radio (Pack of 6pcs radios) - Customize Package
You might be wondered to see two consecutive models of same model number- BaoFeng BF-888s. But don’t raise an eyebrow yet. Although they belong to the same slot of brand release, actually these two are different in terms of frequency, power, controls and of course, price.
While the earlier pick of this list was a walkie-talkie version of ham radios that would be best used in personal communication. And the product we're discussing now is a two-way full form radio pack. The BaoFeng BF-888S Two Way Radio runs on 1500 mAh Li-ion batteries with low voltage alert. Comparing to such a battery size, it has got 3-5 wall power output.
Apart from the power, there is one unique feature that we would give an honorable mention. It’s capable of intelligent charging. So, it can intake a minimum power from the wall mountable charger, and charge it up in the shortest range of time.
Moving forward, the frequency range of this product is 400-470 MHz, which is well enough for distance communication. It can host and remember up to 16 channels, with 50 CTCSS and 105 CDCSS.
Lastly, there are a number of power savings attempts embedded in this product. It can prolong its battery lifetime up to 2+ hours when it’s running out of ample battery power.
Last but not least, you can have an emergency alarm system ad a scannable feature for getting you some emergency help.
6. BaoFeng UV-82 Dual Band Two-Way Radio 136-174MHz VHF & 400-520MHz UHF (Black)
BaoFeng UV-82 is our next pick, which had been another dominant product from the brand Baofeng. One interesting fact is, with the release of this product, the brand Baofeng has started themselves to rebrand as Paofeng. Because the name is easier to pronounce and more customer-friendly.
And as one of the first release after renaming the brand, BaoFeng UV-82 literally carries the bar on ham radio technology.
This BaoFeng UV-82 is basically an upgraded release of the series of UV- 5R and UV- B. But what the made in an exceptional way is its speaker power. Typically, you know that Baofeng ham radios typically has 700 mW speaker output in its usual radios. But after receiving much complain about this issue, the new BaoFeng UV-82 has got a 1W speaker, which is definitely louder enough to help you in chaos.
Other upgrades that BaoFeng UV-82 has got is- a stronger and larger design of buttons, a better reception of the receiver antenna and some other minor upgrades. Apart from these, BaoFeng UV-82 has got every other good feature like other popular ham radios of this brand.
It has got an FM radio range of 65-108 MHz, and a 136-174 & 400-520MHz in other types of radio waves. Also, the dual display, dual-band, and dual frequency is just another Baofeng goody.
We think it’s a good buy for the money. What do you think?
7. Baofeng 2-Pack UV-5R V2+ *UV-5R V2+ Plus* Dual-Band 136-174/400-480 MHz FM Ham Two-way Radio
As a brand, Baofeng or Paofeng, whatever you call, used to receive some issues regarding its case. Because while you're on an outdoor adventure, you need to sure that your communicational radio survives the physical threats that come along.
Considering these facts, the brand has launched Baofeng 2-Pack UV-5R V2+Two-way Radio. It’s a new product in the market, but whoever used it, put a highly appreciating review about the product.
Let's dive into its features and see whatever good it has got-
Firstly, I will admire the frequency range upgrade in the Baofeng 2-Pack UV-5R V2+Two-way Radio. It has dual band coverage with the consecutive frequency of 136-174 MHz and 400-48p MHz. The upgraded firmware has enabled it to be the better receiver that it's earlier siblings.
Later on, we would like to focus on its structure. As we said before, Baofeng had made this product to be a stronger one in terms of structure. Therefore, a stronger case, a metallic upgrade, and a durable housing made it be one of the strongest ham radio ever.
8. BaoFeng UV-82HP (CAMO) High Power Dual Band Radio: 136-174mhz (VHF) 400-520mhz (UHF) Amateur (Ham) Portable Two-Way
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Although BaoFeng UV-82HP (CAMO) High Power Radio is a smaller and more compact version of ham radios from the brand Baofeng, you'll be surely impressed by the set of features that it has got. It's more of a personal radio, which can be used for commercial, communicational and military purposes as well. Let's break down the features one by one-
The first note that I would like you to take is, BaoFeng UV-82HP (CAMO) High Power Radio has got an extraordinary power level. It's from the UV-82 series of Baofeng, and the three power levels are 1W, 5W, and 7W. I know you'll be amazed at such a high-power output range from such a tiny device, but it actually does.
Moreover, you can dual frequency modes between VFO and MR. A more impressive fact is, you can switch between them with software. An 80-page user's manual that comes with it may help you more on this.
Next on, the BaoFeng UV-82HP (CAMO) High Power Radio is a better gainer of radio signals with its improved V-85 optimized Antenna. And if you want to mount some accessories to the radio, it will happily equip them.
Lastly, you can set it into multiple burst operation among the selectable tones of 1000 Hz, 1450 Hz, 1750 Hz and 2100 Hz.
Such a good array of features, right?
9. BaoFeng BF-UV-5RE Radio Two Way Radio
At #9, we would like to recall the famous UV- 5R Cosmetic Variants series and another pick from the list. This time it’s BaoFeng BF-UV-5RE Radio. It's almost all the same to other three models of the list, just a few upgrades, and drawbacks. We are going to disclose all of them to you-
First of all, the very basic property is its frequency range. In case of BaoFeng BF-UV-5RE, the range is 136-174 / 400-479.995 MHz, which looks pretty good to go.
An upgraded feature of this model is it’s upgraded LED display of two colors brighter intensity. Even in darkness, you can have full access to the displayed information on this best Baofeng Radio.
The material, structure and metallic of this radio is quite appreciable till now, and it's certainly one of the most fashionable ones in the list.
Another good thing about this product is its multilingual operation. Keeping users of different countries in mind, this BaoFeng BF-UV-5RE supports English, French, German and French instructions.
10. Baofeng Blue UV-5R V2+ w/ 3800mah Extended Battery (USA Warranty) Dual-Band 136-174/400-480 MHz FM Ham Two-way Radio
We are at the bottom of our product list of this Baofeng radio review and at #10, we have got a less popular, but still a good ham radio from the same brand of Baofeng. This model is called the Baofeng radio review. As the name indicates, it's Yellow in color and has many good virtues of its other variants.
This product is called a tri-power Two-way radio and the name almost shows that it has got in it. You can adjust the power level of Low / Medium / High which will intake 1W, 4W and 8W of batter power consecutively.
One certain feature that many of the users call Drawback is, it's FM only reception. The device can't go for other types of radio frequencies and receives FM signals of 136-174MHZ and 400-520MHZ (TX/RX).
Apart from these, this has got almost all other goodies from the brand of Baofeng. The bright LED screen, the Tri-color display, and the strong and durable casing- that what makes Baofeng Yellow BF-F9 V2+ as good as it’s users claim.
Pat yourself on the back, because you've just completed reviewing the best ham radios from the brand of Baofeng. Since we’ve been focusing on these products real-time benefits, you might have seen a lot of specifications and a wide variation of features. All we would like to suggest is, predict the purpose and environment of use, and look at the price-quality ratio of your desired product. Finally, take the best buying decision for yourself.