The importance of having a reliable and high-quality marine radio really cannot be overstated. Whether you are venturing offshore or staying on inland waterways, being in contact with other vessels, the marina and with rescue services is vital.
While the safety that is provided by having the best marine radio is clear, it isn’t always straightforward which one you should opt for. As this isn’t a purchase you want to get wrong, you should use this comprehensive guide on how to choose between all of the available marine radios on the market.
Make Sure You Consider These Features
- Handheld vs. Panel-Mounted. This is generally a choice that is determined by what type of vessel you will be using the radio on. Generally, a handheld model will be for smaller boats, kayaks or those on inland waters. The panel-mounted marine radio will reach greater distances and is perfect for ship-to-ship communication.
- Waterproof vs. Submersible. The handheld models will generally be at greater risk of being dropped into the water or, at the very least, getting wet. This means that the radio should be at least waterproof and ideally able to withstand full submersion.
- Noise Cancelling. As there is always a great deal of background noise on any boat, ship or vessel, it is crucial that the product you choose has quality noise cancellation. The best marine radio will be the one that can block out the majority of background noise without ever losing the words of those broadcasting.
Top 6 Marine Radios Chart
|Picture||Name||Transmitter Power||Price||Rating (1-5)|
|1. Uniden UM380 Fixed Mount Class D VHF Marine Radio - White||25 watts||$$$||4.4|
|2. Cobra Electronics MR F45-D Class-D Fixed Mount VHF Radio||25 watts||$$$$||4.3|
|3. Midland Nautico 3 Waterproof Marine Radio||5 watts||$||4.2|
|4. Uniden MHS75 Handheld Submersible 2-Way 5W VHF Marine Radio||1, 2.5, or 5 watts||$$||4.1|
|5. Uniden Atlantis 150 Submersible Handheld Two-Way||1 or 2.5 watts||$||4.1|
|6. Cobra MRHH125 3 Watt Waterproof VHF Radio||1 or 3 watts||$||3.6|
Understanding Transmitter Power
On our list, we have included a full range of marine radios that have various transmitter powers. The basic thing that you must understand is that the lower the watts the shorter the distance that the radio will be able to reach.
There are two main types of marine radio:
- Between 1 and 5 Watts. These radios are for short distances, usually between crew members on one ship. Although they can be used in emergencies when the main radio is out of action.
- 25 Watts. This is the power provided by mounted radios. Many of the best marine radio options also come with the choice to transmit at a lower watt setting, which can be useful in a range of situations.
Remember: The higher the power that is produced the more power the unit takes. This should be taken into consideration for battery life or powering a marine radio.
Top 3 Best Marine Radio Reviews
The Uniden Class D Full-Feature Fixed Mount Radio is so compact and sleek-looking, you will love having it on the boat as it is effective without needing to take up a lot of space. The first positive about this radio is that it makes people on board feel safer knowing there is such a reliable device that can get help if needed.
This is also an incredibly heavy-duty device so you never have to worry about it getting roughed up or breaking from a fall. It even comes with the hardware needed for mounting.
The installation of this device is incredibly straightforward so it is great for all boats whether they are for personal or for commercial use. Once it is all hooked up you can easily hear how clear it is.
The best marine radio is the one that you can rely on to work and be receptive when you need it to most. This is why other boat owners should seriously consider having the Cobra electronics MR F45-D Fixed Mount on board at all times.
This is a well-built radio that also gives you 10 NOAA weather channels and alerts with GPS capability too. This is the kind of radio that gives you the extras you really want and that will help you out if you experience trouble on the water.
One of the best things about this model is also that even with the added features and stations, it is simple and does exactly what you would want it to do without being overly confusing.
The Midland Nautico 3 Waterproof Handheld radio is great to have when you have a crew of people or would like to have a radio that can stay with you the entire time you are out on the water.
This marine radio is incredibly compact so it can easily be strapped to your hip. In terms of performance, it gives you all the stations you could want, marine channels as well as weather channels for warnings too.
This is also a good radio for kayaking or when going out in a smaller boat. The device is incredibly easy to use and the waterproof feature doesn’t hurt to have either.