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When you're shopping for a two-way radio you'll find that there's a very wide difference in prices. Some radios are priced under $50 while others cost several hundred. Why is this? What's the difference between them? Which one should you choose?

retail store workerThere are several factors to consider when buying a two-way radio. But it all comes down to how you plan to use your radio. The first question to ask is if you planning on using it for business or personal use. Answering that question determines several things starting with the frequencies you can use.


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is in charge of managing the use of wireless spectrum in the United States. For two-way radios, there are essentially five groups of frequencies available: Business-Band UHF, Business Band VHF, GRMS, FRS, and MURS.

If you are using your radios for personal use, you can legally use GRMS, FRS, and MURS. If you using them for business use, you can legally use Business-Band UHF, Business-Band VHF and MURS. The FCC requires you to get a license for UHF, VHF, and GRMS radios usage.

The benefits of the business radios and even MURS is that the frequencies are much less used than GRMS or FRS so you are a lot less likely to have some kid interfering with your transmission.

Power Output

The more expensive commercial radios usually have a higher power output. The higher the power, the farther the radios can transmit.

Battery Life

The more expensive radios use more expensive batteries such as lithium ion batteries. These batteries have fast charging, no memory effect, slow loss of charge when not in use, and are lighter than other batteries. If you need your radio for long periods, you'll want a lithium ion battery.


A professional two-way radio is much more durable. A professional two-way radio is built to what's called MIL-SPEC standards. These standards ensure products meet certain requirements, commonality, reliability, compatibility, and similar defense-related objectives. Radios that meet these standards must meet levels for such criteria as vibration, rain, salt air, sand/dust, shock (dropping), humidity, temperature as well as other factors. Buying a product that meets mil-spec standards means you are buying a quality product that is built to withstand tougher use.

Headsets and Accessories

If you need a specific type of headset you'll be much more likely to find it with a commercial radio. Most of them have a variety of headset options ranging from Secret Service, call center agent, to police lapel-type speakers and headsets.

If you also want to charge multiple radios in one charger unit, which save space and power, multi-unit chargers are only available with commercial two-way radios.

If you are still unsure about what type of radio you need, give us a call and we'll help you sort it out.

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