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.
Well, I honestly would say the Puxing PX-UV973. I am hearing reports that the transmit audio bug has in fact been corrected. Now, I have the green PX-888k and the muffled audio really wasn’t detected. Those with the black model, including someone locally here, is REALLY bad! The uv-973 has all the featurea and more, than the puxings or wouxuns.. PLUS a “real” dual receive, and a real duplex function, and a crossband repeater. Darn thing just needs the FCC approval.
I also have a green PX-888K. TX audio is horrible. Unusable without an external speaker/mic.
ok, probably keep the 888k in the bad range then.
Are you sure that the compander isn’t on? The 888k is my mobile rig, and people gave me a hard time about the audio until I hooked it up to the PC and realised that the compander was on. I use a cheap speaker mic on it, but I did before, too.
no, compander was off. I don’t like companders at all, as they also distort RX audio. Maybe TX audio quality varies from copy to copy, not sure, but all Puxing model to date suffered more or less from the same problem. I can’t imagine that I’m that unlucky!
Hi, great job on these groups.
I have already bout a few chinese radios (DB-48, uv-5r…, uv-b5 and b6) and the last one ( I want diffferent one) I bought the bf-uv8 (no display). I can´t program it, all time the message error conecting. Is it possilbe I need a different driver or sofware? I think I have the right ones.
Any one can help me with it???
For me (fireman in portugal) the UV-B5 is best price-quality.
If you can program all the other radios without problems, your driver and cable are fine. Don’t install anything else.
This leaves a problem with the software version, or an electrical problem. I have had a few radios which needed a lot of force applied to the 2.5/3.5mm connector before the software and the radio would see each other. I actually had to squeeze the radio and the connector in my left hand while using my right hand to operate the computer mouse. Worth a try.
Great post! I really like my uv-b5. What about aftermarket antennas…? 73 de Guido
No aftermarket antenna I have outperforms the UV-B5 stock antenna. Boring huh.
Hans, good post!
Can’t wait for you to review the 973…
Can’t promise anything… 😉
Does the Quansheng TG-UV2 support alpha tags in the display
Yes, it does. 6 characters max.
Thank you Hans
Hat dies auf hanstihotwheelz rebloggt und kommentierte:
funkfreunde, kauft euch was in china. guenstig und gut. und die ausahl von hans kann ich insofern unterstuetzen, als das ich bereits 3\4 der genannten geræte selbst habe\hatte. 🙂
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Hey Hans, Where are the TYT radios? I just got to look at a th-uv3r and it looks and sounds real good. Kinda small (FRS-ish) but still well built.
It’s not really easy to get hold of everything…
meaning there being stingy about review units?
That’s an understatement. Just a few sources agree on sending review samples. Most expect you to pay for them, just like anyone else. Fortunately there are some importers who jump in. TYT as a brand however is not popular at all here. Nobody cares.
hi, i know the s-meter on uv-5r is dummy , but on wouxun and quansheng?
Less dummy! None of them are accurate enough to give a decent report, but at least they do give an indication.
The Baofeng UV-5R gets my vote. Dual band plus FM radio for <50USD. My very first dual band Yaesu FT-470 cost me ~400USD. Yes I know, that was 1991 too. I just can't believe you can buy this UV-5R for under 50USD with all the features it has. Also works well against intermod. My Yaesu won't do that. Bottom line: The UV-5R dual band HT is a great value. At it's price point, repair may not be an option unless you are handy but hey, just buy a new one. Some vendors sell them for <35USD. Now I hope Baofeng will build an HF radio with similar attributes. Thank you Hans for all you do and the valued info you provide to the hobby. Best 73
Which radio has the best general receiver coverage? It would sure be nice to have air band. I have a Wouxun KG-UVD1P. I’m looking at Baofeng UV-5R next because it is lower in price and doesn’t seem much worse then the Wouxun.
I have both of those radios and the Wouxun is much better for both TX and RX, and also all-round quality. Now, you can’t beat the $29 price tag on the UV-5R, but when you pay $90-$100 for the Wouxun, you will know where that extra money went after you use it for a short while.
kc5hwb: Thanks for your message. I ended up going with the BaoFeng UV-3R because of it’s size, cost and I expect to mostly receive on it.
This article already one year old. Can somebody Update this with newer products please. Thank you
Could you please update this list (if needed) ?
just wondering why the FDC brand of radios isn’t near the top on performace
Excellent post! Great to see the comparative data nicely laid out for browsers to make informed choices with. Nothing worse than spending hard earned money just to find out that the other brand / model had what you wanted in addition to what you purchased!
Hans: This post is now about 18 months old. Have your recomondations changed since then? I assume a few new HTs are now on the market.
Yes, there are. At this point in time the Baofeng GT-3 Mark II has the best papers. The UV-B5 is still a good purchase too. If you are willing to spend more than $50, you could take look at the various Wouxun models.