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FRS Radio Comparisons
by Paul & Tina Shinn

An FRS Radio Comparison Chart

How do you pick an FRS radio? At GMRS Web we think you should consider the features and characteristics below. We have chosen technical characteristics that really matter when you consider an FRS radio purchase. Keep in mind that just because a radio might have a low score in one rating area does not mean the radio won't be a popular seller OR an excellent performer. You should think about how you intend to use the radio. Most FRS radios are quite good for their intended use or user.We can all be thankful there is wide variety of radio models with a plethora of features across all of them. At GMRS Web we hope to evaluate as many radios as we can so that you can make an informed choice and get all the radio you can for the buck.

The reference scale below is from 1 to 5, where 1 is the lowest rating for a particular category and 5 is the highest rating. You will notice that we do not discuss OUTPUT POWER or RANGE of FRS radios. Such discussions are frankly irrelevant. Height and antenna efficiency are far more important than output power. There are so many other factors that affect range of operation that the information would be meaningless. Most FRS radios have an effective radiated power of five hundred milliwatts or one half watt. Some have 300 milliwatts and one or two units advertised as children's hand-held radios are in the 100 milliwatt range. These low power units are generally advertised as having a range of 1 mile or less. Don't get stuck trying to make your purchase decision on the transmit range of a radio.

Pick a radio that works for you. Pick a radio that has the features you want. Pick a radio that suits your personality. Pick a radio that has the features you require for your particular need. We have gone to great length to simplify the review process so that you can make an informed choice using the chart and through reading the reviews. If you need clarification, by all means ask us in the reader forum.

Click here to read a description of the different product evaluation categories.

Radio Model Toughness Ease of Use Water Resistance GMRS Radio Compatibility Transmitter Clarity Receiver Clarity Receiver Sensitivity Receiver Selectivity Battery Life Accessories Available
Radio Shack 21-1850 FRS Mobile 4 4 4 5 5 4 5 4 n/a 1
Kenwood UBZ-GM14 3 3 3 5 5 4 4 3 5 4
Coleman CR-411 1 1 2 2 2 1 3 5 1 4
Kenwood UBZ-LH14 *Corrected 1/12/01 2 4 3 5 5 5 4 5 5 4
Kenwood UBZ-AM14 3 3 3 5 5 5 5 4 2 3
Radio Shack 21-1825 2 4 1 4 5 4 4 3 2 3
Coleman CR401 5 3 4 5 5 4 4 4 2 3
Coleman CR400 5 5 3 5 4 4 2 3 2 2
Motorola TalkAbout 250 5 3 4 2 3 3 5 5 4 4
Icom IC-4008A 4 4 5 4 4 5 5 4 4 5
Cobra Micro-Talk250 2 5 4 3 3 2 4 2 1 4
Kenwood UBZ-LF14 2 4 3 5 5 5 4 5 5 4
Yaesu VXF-10 4 4 3 4 3 3 3 2 5 3
Midland 75-510A 1 5 2 4 5 3 4 3 5 5
Radio Shack 1810 3 3 4 1 2 2 5 5 4 3
Cherokee FR-465 3 5 2 5 5 3 5 3 1 4
ADI Talk King 1 4 2 5 4 3 3 1 1 3
Radio Shack 21-1817 3 4 2 5 4 2 2 1 3 3


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Last updated June 25, 2001

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