This simple question is asked a lot. The answer isn’t that simple. Most radios I reviewed had something they were really good at, but producing a radio which ticks all the right boxes is not easy. What is important to you? Anything you want me to add?
Best battery life
- Quansheng TG-UV2. Keeps on going. Battery is rated 2000 mAh @ 7.4V.
- Baofeng UV-5R. Rated at 1800 mAh @7.4V and a real stayer.
- iRadio UV-588. Also 1800 mAH @ 7.4V and almost equal to the Baofeng UV-5R.
- Wouxun KG-UVD1P/2P/6P. Good front ends, no intermod.
- Quansheng TG-UV2. Could as well share the #1 spot, difficult to decide.
- Baofeng UV-B5 / UV-B6. A notch below the #1 and #2, but only just.
Best TX Audio
- Baofeng UV-3R. One of the few things this radio is good at. Loud, bright, and everybody loves it.
- Baofeng UV-B5 / UV-B6. On par with the UV-3R, just a tiny bit less punch.
- Wouxun varieties (later models). No complaints.
Best RX audio
- Puxing PX-888K. Worthy of a HiFi label.
- Wouxun models. Not HiFi, but excellent.
- Baofeng UV-82. Larger enclosure, better acoustics? Just sounds right.
Best Harmonic suppression
- All Wouxun models. Super clean, excellent.
- Quansheng TG-UV2. Just a notch below Wouxun.
- Most UV-5R’s I have tested, and the the UV-B5/B6’s are fine too.
Best build quality
- Quansheng TG-UV2. It’s an ugly thing, but built like a tank.
- Puxing PX-888K. Excellent build quality, thicker and stronger plastic than average.
- Wouxun models. I found out that they can take a beating. There are limits, of course.
Best Price / Performance
- Baofeng UV-B5 / UV-B6. Hard to beat at just $43. A ‘no frills, no thrills’ radio which does almost everything right.
- Quansheng TG-UV2. An older and almost forgotten radio, but performance-wise still at the top. Price indication $70 – $75. Worth every dollar.
- Baofeng UV-5R. Lot’s of options, and generally good performance. Has its share of flaws, sure, but at $45 – $50 just live with it.