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5 Of The Best Handheld Ham Radio For Survival – Reviewed

This is a complete buyer’s guide to Best Handheld Ham Radio For Survival in 2022. 🤴

The best part?

We bought the 13 Handheld Ham radios in the current market and reviewed them based on Battery Capacity, Backlit Display, LED Light, Range, and Water Resistance.

And, finally came to 5 Of The Best Handheld Ham Radio to our readers. 📗

So without further ado, Let’s dive right in. 🎭

It is not a secret that we are often faced with strange events in life. The possibility of strange events and disasters means we must always be prepared for survival.

You don’t want to be caught off guard by storms, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, etc. Hence the need to be equipped with the right gadgets to facilitate your escape. 

Imagine being stuck in the middle of the wilderness with nobody available to aid your rescue. 🤷‍♂️

These possibilities don’t have to scare you, not when you can get a good handheld ram radio to make your escape easier.

Apart from your escape from potentially dangerous situations, handheld ham radios are also great for other things like crowd control, remote communication, etc. The uses of this handheld device cannot be overemphasized. 

The presence of so many brands of handheld ham radios can confuse any buyer. There’s always the pressure to find the best option before an emergency.

We understand the pain you are probably going through; hence, we’ve provided a list of some of the best handheld ham radios available on the market. We’ve also provided a buying guide to help you choose the right ham radio for your specific case. 

Best Handheld Ham Radio – Our Top Picks

1. Kenwood TH-D72A 

Best Handheld Ham Radio

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For most people experienced in handheld ham radio, it will not be surprising that the Kenwood TH-D72A has taken our number one spot.

After all, this is a model with tons of features that can hardly be found in competing brands. Everything about the Kenwood TH-D72A stands out as a formidable contender in the handheld radio industry, from its solid construction to its highly competitive price.

This radio is one of the few with a built-in GPS receiver, and its data can be exported through the USB port to a PC mapping software. At the highest output setting, this device can function continuously fit six hours+.

However, if you turn off the radio function and use the device only as a GPS tracker, you can expect over 30 hours of battery life.

As expected for most top-of-the-line handheld radios, the Kenwood TH-D72A is built simultaneously on both bands, and this is an advantage that security personnel will like.

It meets the necessary standards for waterproofing and durability and is designed to be compatible with the UHF and VHF bands, as well as the APRS data communication. We consider this option one of the best handheld ham radios you will find in today’s market.


  • The waterproof feature helps for easy use in bad weather.
  • Great battery life 
  • It supports simultaneous band operation.


  • It requires a bit of practice to get used to different functionalities.
Kenwood TH-D72A Dual Band HT Overview

2. BaoFeng UV-5R – Best budget handheld ham radio

Best Handheld Ham Radio

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The BaoFeng UV-5R is a budget-friendly option that still features a good level of functionality. Hence, it is the perfect option for people that require a cheap option without compromising quality.

The Chinese company behind its manufacture is popular for its range of inexpensive, two-way handheld radios, and this option is one of them. 

Do not be deceived by its low price because this model still features most of the essential features you require of a handheld radio, including a high/low power setting switch, UHF/VHF support, etc.

The model also features a commercial FM reception and an LED flashlight. Hence you can expect to do more with the radio. 

It is essential to mention that the model doesn’t offer enough range on the standard antenna. Still, with an inexpensive alternative thrown in the mix, you can expect to transmit and receive distance to be boosted immensely. 


  • It is one of the best budget-friendly handheld radios on the market.
  • It offers additional features like LED light and commercial FM reception.


  • The range isn’t so good when used with the standard antenna.
Check Price on Amazon

3. Tri-Band Yaesu VX-6R – long-range handheld ham radio

Best Handheld Ham Radio

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Those familiar with the handheld ham radio market will not be surprised by including an option from the Yaesu brand in this Best handheld ham radio list. This is a brand that has been quite consistent in the manufacture of top-level security and communication equipment for years.

The Yaesu VX-6R is one of the few options in this list that features tri-band frequencies, and it operates at 144MHz, 220 MHz, and 430 MHz. The Yaesu VX-6R is pretty compact, meaning it comes in a petite size.

Do not be surprised, however, that this option has so many features, despite its small size. It is often referred to as the Small-giant. 

You will be surprised at how the radio offers so much with ease. Thanks to its waterproof feature, the receiver can be used in any location and under any weather. Even completely submerged in water, the radio stays safe and active.

It comes with two power output options to make transmission easier and better. The alternatives are 5W for high power and 1.5W for low power, respectively. 

We are also excited by its compatibility with so many optional accessories. The Yaesu VX-6R supports about 900 saved channels and features a keypad and LCD.

Its keypad comes with a backlight to make usage easy during dim situations. Its 1500mAh battery capacity is not so bad considering its very compact size.

Below are some of the Pros and Cons of The Tri-Band Yaesu VX-6R that earned it a spot in our Best Handheld Ham Radio list.


  • Its waterproof feature means easy adaptability to different climates
  • It has a small size 
  • It features an LCD and backlit keypad 


  • You can only use it for a few hours.
Field test review of the Yaesu VX6r - Episode 5
Note:- I have written a post for people looking for the Best Walkie Talkie For Cruise?, do read it If you are interested.

At the time of our research on best handheld ham radio reviews, we found a video about “10 Survival Life Hacks You Need to Know,” which is worth watching. 🤴🏆

12 Life Hacks That Can Help You Survive

4. TYT UV8000E – Best dual band handheld ham radio

Best Handheld Ham Radio
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The TYT UV8000E is next on our list for its impressive build and great functionality. Only very few other options can stand at the level of this one. One of its standout features is its battery capacity.

At a whopping 3600mAh, you can expect it to surpass many other options in standby and usage time. You will find that most handheld ham radios come with batteries that fall within the range of 1000 to 2000 mAh, but this option takes the bar higher.

Apart from its incredible battery capacity, the option comes with many other standout features that are also worth mentioning. It operates on the popular dual-band VHF UHF frequencies.

The TYT UV8000E also features an immense power output of 10w, which means more range advantage for every user. It also features a cross-band repeater.

It is possible to toggle between different settings of power output. The manufacturers often warn that users avoid operating the radio on 10 watts while enabling the cross-band feature. 

Below are some of the Pros and Cons of The TYT UV8000E that earned it a spot in our best digital handheld ham radio list.


  • This option has a reliable 3600mAh battery capacity that allows for more prolonged use. 
  • Equipped with a unique backlight
  • Relatively affordable 
  • It is easy to use 


  • None found.

5. Yaesu FT-857D – Best handheld ham radio for beginners

5 Of The Best Handheld Ham Radio For Survival – Reviewed
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With another device from Yaesu making it into our list, you can tell that the company has a well-deserved reputation in producing top-quality radios. The Yaesu FT-857D is not an exception in the level of quality that this brand boasts of.

It is specially designed for in-vehicle use, hence, its compact size. It is small enough for easy mounting in some in-dash slots or under the dash. Despite its compact size, you can still expect to see almost all the features that most massive radios carry. 

The Yaesu FT-857D is designed to support VHF, UHF, and HF bands. It also features a fully adjustable power output that ranges between 5W and 100W, depending on the band.

The radio is designed to support up to 200 memory channels. Its channels can be grouped into collections and given custom names. 

Beginners may initially find the menu interface somewhat confusing, but with time, you will find the vast array of settings and features easy to access. 

If you desire to own a reliable general-purpose radio that you can use in your car with ease, then the Yaesu FT-857D is the perfect choice for you.

Below are some of the Pros and Cons of The Yaesu FT-857D  that earned it a spot in our Best Handheld Ham Radio list.


  • Compact size fit for care usage 
  • A wide array of features


  • The interface can be quite confusing for beginners.

Buying Guide For Best Handheld Ham Radio

What is Handheld Ham Radio?

Handheld ham radio is a portable remote communication device that simultaneously communicates between two or more people operating their ham radio. The operation of the ham radio works on the assumption that you are using radio frequencies on a non-commercial basis. 

This compact handheld device enables operators to do the impossible. The tool allows operators to connect with other operators in a different hemisphere. Some radios even allow operators to communicate with astronauts on the International Space Station.

Handheld ham radios are designed to meet several different purposes, from emergency rescues to crowd control and even team operation. Whatever your need, however, you need to get a good handheld ham radio; hence, this guide.

Best Handheld Ham Radio: What To Consider

The above list of best handheld ham radios will help you know the top options available in the market. However, if you want to join the community of ham enthusiasts, then you need to know what factors will help you make the best choice.

If you are starting with the use of this gadget, then the following are factors that you should consider when making your choice of ham radio: 

  • Battery Capacity 

It is a no-brainer. You do not want your usage of your device to be limited by poor battery endurance. Hence, you need to look out for options with good battery life. The fact that you are looking for this device as part of your survival kits means that you will mostly be limited on where to charge the battery. Your choice should, therefore, be able to last for hours of normal use before needing a recharge. 

  • Backlit Display 

Remember that this is a survival device, and you will often need to operate it in areas characterized by pitch darkness. Distress times often happen when power has been cut out, or there is no power.

At such times, you need to be precise about the operation of your ham radio. The presence of a backlight on your handheld ham radio will help make operation in darkness easier. When selecting, look for a radio that allows you to switch the backlight on and off.

  • LED Light 

This is another vital part of most modern handheld ham radios. Trying to find your way out of danger in total darkness is a challenging task. Hence, you need every assistance you can get.

With the presence of an LED lighting system in most modern handheld radios, however, you can easily find your way around in the dark when faced with emergencies. Therefore, you should purchase ham radio with the LED light feature. It is also vital to ensure that your chosen option does not give up too much power for its LED light feature. 

  • Range 

The range is another important factor to look out for when buying a ham radio. This factor can determine if you will survive an emergency, alive or dead. Note the range of the ham radio is dependent on the frequency used.

Hence, you should go for a radio that allows you the liberty of switching between different bands. The extent of reach your ham radio can offer will get you quick rescue when in an emergency in the midst of nowhere. 

  • Water Resistance 

Finally, this is another critical factor to look out for. Bear in mind that the radio can accidentally drop into the water at any time, and its water-resistant ability will determine if you can continue using it or not.

📗 FAQs on Best Handheld Ham Radio

Below are a few queries on Best Handheld Ham Radio that everyone expects to answer, and I did include the same for my readers.

How far will a handheld ham radio transmit?

Around 1-2 miles

What is the best type of radio for survival?

HAM Radio CB Radio FRS walkie-talkies Scanner Radios

Can I own a ham radio without a license?

The answer to this question is both Yes and No. you can do a whole lot of listening, but no transmitting.

How far can a radio transmit?

The maximum communication distance on flat ground with no obstructions is around 4 to 6 miles.


Apart from accidentally dropping, you could be out in an emergency during bad weather conditions. At such times you would want your ham radio to continue working effectively. So, you should find a ham radio that would continue working at such a time.

There you have it, a list of the best handheld ham radios in the market today. We’ve also included a buying guide to help you make the right choice of handheld ham radio when making your purchase.