Recommended VHF radio

Finally, after researching for hours on the best VHF radio, I found a good VHF radio. It is a bit expensive but worth buying it for the money. I would prefer a handheld radio rather than a fixed mount radio because it is easy to handle.

Image is linked to amazon

Standard Horizon HX890 Handheld VHF Navy Blue – Floating 6 Watt Class H DSC Two Way Radio (linked to Amazon) is the best radio. Yeah, I know it is a bit expensive product. It is worth buying it. One of the best things about this is it is a waterproof(IPX8) and floatable device with inbuilt GPS. And has 1800mAh high capacity Li-ion battery (up to 11 hrs).

Here I am not convincing you to buy the expensive handheld VHF radio. This will save money in the long run. Rather than buying VHF radio each year, you can buy this for years. And it has 3 years warranty too.

And it has Day & Night Mode, which is crucial while boating. This device has a large (1.7’’ x 1.7’’) Full-dot matrix display, which is a big screen for a handheld VHF radio.

Battery life11 hours
1800mAh Li-ion battery
Power & range6, 2, 1 W
for both TX/RX audio
Built-in GPSYes
WaterproofYes (IPX8)
Float and flashYes
Daylight visibilityYes (Day and Night)
PortableEasy to carry
Loud voiceYes
Warranty3 years

Why I am recommending this product

1. Built-in GPS

This device has a built-in GPS. So, you can send your location to the coast guards if you are in an emergency. This device is DSC (Digital Selective Calling) active, which means the coast guards will get to know about your boat and everything by pressing the emergency switch on it. All this information will be sent to the coast guards with the help of GPS.

2. Waterproof and Floats in water

You should always buy a waterproof device, not water-resistant. You might think what is the difference between water-resistant and waterproof, anyway, both are the same right? No, it is not the same. Water-resistant can resist the penetration of water to some degree but not completely.

Whereas waterproof makes it impervious(not allowing fluid to pass through) to water. Make sure that you are buying a waterproof VHF radio, no matter what radio you are buying.

Whenever you are buying a handheld radio, make sure that it is a floatable device. Else, if it falls in the water, it will go deep in the water, and you can’t find it. This device is IPX8 waterproof and it flotes in the water as well, and it has 3 years of waterproof warranty.

3. Noise-canceling and loud noise

You are buying a VHF radio for communicating with the coast guards in an emergency. While speaking, both the people (both the listeners) should here properly. Otherwise, there is no use of using a VHF radio.

Due to the disturbances (any sounds), while boating, both the people can’t hear properly. So, by having a noise-canceling function, the other side people can here properly.

With the help of a loud voice function, you can here properly if there are any disturbances outside. This device has 700 mW Loud Audio and Noise-Canceling Function for both TX/RX audio.

4. Good battery life power

Battery life is crucial for any electronic device. This device has an 11 hours battery life, and it has 1800 mAh capacity. It is a Li-ion battery. With this long battery life and capacity, you don’t need to charge this device regularly.

The range of VHF radio is essential, whenever you are in an emergency, you will send an emergency signal to others (coats guards or other boaters). If your VHF radio has a less range, then it can’t even reach to the other boaters near you. So, make sure that it has a long-range.

And another way to increase your range is by using a high power (in watts) VHF radio. The low power VHF radio will make a weak signal, which can’t be detected by others properly. The high power VHF radio will make a strong signal, which can be detected by everyone properly.

Power can be used to improve the quality of the signal and to overcome some obstacles. Remember, more power out means more power in, giving shorter battery life for handhelds or non-recharging batteries. So, if you are buying a high power device (in watts), then you will get less battery life. This device has a 6W transmit power output (Selectable 6/ 2/ 1 W)

5. Daylight visibility and Float and flash option

There is no use of using a VHF radio if you can’t see anything in the daylight. This device has a big screen 1.7’’ x 1.7’’ screen and it is a full dot matrix display, and it has a selectable Display Mode – Day & Night Mode.

Consider these things while buying a handheld VHF radio

In the below table I mentioned what all the things you need consider while buying a VHF radio (for both fixed mount VHF radio and handheld VHF radio).

Battery lifeshould be moreshould be more
Power & rangeshould be moreshould be more
Noise-cancellingYou need it
(nice to have)
You need it
(nice to have)
Built-in GPSYou need itYou need it
WaterproofYou need itYou need it
FloatableNo needYou need it
(nice to have)
Float and flashNo needYou need it
(nice to have)
Daylight visibilityshould be moreshould be more
PortableNo needshould be portable
Loud voiceYesYes
WarrantyYou need it
(nice to have)
You need it
(nice to have)
DesignNo need muchNo need much
PriceUp to youUp to you

Check my article on Consider these things while buying a VHF radio (don’t worry, it will open in new tab). In that article, I explained all the things you need to consider while buying a VHF radio.

Bottom line

Whatever VHF radio you are buying, make sure that it has the following functions.

  • Waterproof and Floats in water
  • Built-in GPS.
  • Noise-canceling and loud noise
  • Good battery life power
  • Good Daylight visibility