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Here Are The Best Two Way Radios for Survival… That Will Help You and Your Family Stay Alive in a Disaster
The best survival two way radios shouldn’t be compared to the toy walkie talkies you might have played with as a kid. It would be like comparing an easy bake oven to an oven you might find in a restaurant. The very best two way radios are sophisticated devices that allow people to communicate clearly over long distances and in difficult conditions (e.g natural disasters, tough terrain, etc). Some of the better two radios on the market even have privacy features that can block eavesdroppers. The best two way radios for survival also need to be super durable – after all, if they’re meant to be used in a post-disaster scenario, they’ll need to be able to take a beating.
We’ve compiled a list of the top ten best survival two way radios that will help you find and stay in touch with your family in times of crisis. Imagine that a massive earthquake has just occurred, or some kind of devastating terrorist attack. Cell phone networks are either down or too congested to be usable, and your family isn’t with you.
In this sort of situation, a two way radio is exactly the tool you’ll need to get locate your family, confirm their alive and healthy, and get them back to safety. The first reaction in a disaster (if your family isn’t with you) is panic – your first thought will be “Where are they and are they alive and safe?” A two way radio will help you forestall this panic, and allow you to quickly and effectively find your family and get them to a place of relatively safety.
In particular, the best two way radios will act as an emergency communication tool if there is either an EMP attack or a nuclear detonation of some kind. Scientists warn that an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) has the potential to wipe out the grid and leave us in a post-apocalyptic world. In a world devoid of communications equipment, an EMP proofed two way radio could be the only way for you to communicate with your loved ones.
Two Way Radios Are Proven Communications Tools
There is nothing more important than communication if the grid were to go down, so logically you would want to acquire two-way radios that are highly equipped for such survival situations. When shopping for a radio, it’s important to remember that cost often reflects quality – what you don’t want is to end up in a disaster scenario where your two way radio doesn’t perform effectively.
It’s crucial to select the right radio that will suit your needs, from range to durability to privacy, so you can be properly prepared when you need it most. Here are a few of the ten best radios to consider. The most important thing to consider here is the power a two way radio gives you in an emergency should you become separated from your family or close friends.
Advance Warnings of Disaster: Note about NOAA Weather Radio
All of the models below except the last 2 have access to NOAA weather channels. The NOAA weather channels are automated government radio channels across the country (and specific to each region) that provide weather information. During severe weather (like a hurricane or tornado), they focus exclusively on providing updates about safety conditions, dangerous areas to avoid, and so forth. They also provide non-weather information in times of natural disaster and issue national security statements.
Basically, access to the NOAA channels are more or less essential to survivalists and preppers, and are definitely a consideration when it comes to picking the best survival two way radio. That being said, almost all models have this feature, so we haven’t mentioned in the individual descriptions. Just keep in mind that most models will have them, and we make a note where they don’t.
Separated From Your Wife, Husband, or Children
With a world possibly on the brink of a major war or terrorist attack in the coming years, and natural disasters growing in frequency and strength in many instances, a two way radio is one of the most important pieces of survival gear to invest in … they are proven in disaster zones and proven in multiple types of terrain.
A two way radio for survival purposes is one of those essential items to acquire before it’s too late. When disaster strikes, it will be too late – you won’t be able to just out and buy one. In a world where telecommunication networks have broken down, having an effective way of communicating over long distances will be the advantage your family needs to stay together and stay safe.
The Top Ten Best Two Way Radios for Survival
1) Motorola MS350R – The Overall Best Two Way Radio for Survival and Emergencies
If you want the best two way radio as a part of your family emergency plan, then the Motorola MS350R is probably the best survival two way radio out there.
We say that because the MS350R is basically impervious to dust and rain. It’s IP-67 Waterproof, which in laymen’s terms means that it can be dropped into water a 3 feet (1 meter) deep, stay there for half an hour, come out, and still function. This distinguishes it from most other radios on this list, which are water resistant. The MS350R is waterproof. You could drop it into a pond or river, and as long as you don’t let it sink too deep, when you get it back out it will still work. Durability is number one on our list of important features, and the MS350R knocks it out of the water (no pun intended) in this respect.
It also has the vibracall vibration mode feature, which could prove useful in a variety of emergency situations. The audio is incredibly clear, and it comes with a rechargeable battery pack but can also be powered with AA batteries.
2) Midland GXT1000VP4 – Best Value Survival Two Way Radio
For something a little more affordable, invest in the Midland GXT1000VP4. It has great transmission range and is splash resistant. You may not get the perks of a fully submersible radio, but those come at a much higher price tag. The GXT1000VP4 comes with belt clips, headsets, rechargeable batteries, and charger. If our top choice is outside of your price range, the GXT1000VP4 is a great choice for something more affordable. We recommend the Midland GXT1000VP4 as the best value two way radio for emergencies and survival.
3) Motorola MH230R – Best Mid-Range Two Way Radio for Survival and Emergencies
In our view, the best two way radios need to be durable and rain resistant, and they needs to have good battery life, good range and clear audio. The Motorola MH230R is all of these things, and comes with a number of additional features which also come in handy. The battery pack is rechargeable (or you can swap out your own batteries if you wish), and it comes with a vibration mode so it can be used in potentially dangerous situations (e.g there is an active shooter and a ‘ring’ would give you away). The buttons are large enough that someone can operate it even if they’re panicked (e.g if a child needs to use it), and it’s easy and straightforward to use.
The key thing about the MH230R is that it is durable and will hold up in rough and challenging environments. For these reasons, we highly recommend the MH230R as the best mid-range two way radio. The reason why it’s third and not first on this list is because the more expensive MS350R has it beat in most areas – but the MS350R is also more expensive.
4) Midland GXT1050VP4 – Best Survival Two Way Radio for Hunting
The Midland GXT1050VP4 is a slight step up from the GXT1000VP4. It’s a solid all-around choice – durable, water resistant, good range and excellent audio clarity. The key difference between these two models is that the 1050VP4 comes in a camouflaged color and includes 5 animal call alerts. If you want a hunting two way radio that can also be used for survival purposes, the GXT1050VP4 is the perfect fit.
It’s slightly more expensive than the GX1000VP4, and for survival situations, the hunting related features aren’t a priority. But if you’re a hunter, there’s no doubt that the GXT1050VP4 is one of the best hunting two way radios out there.
5) Cobra CXT1045R – Best Survival Two Way Radio for Fishing and Kayaking
The Cobra CXT1045R is a reliable two way radio which will do the things you need it to do, and additionally has a few nifty features which might make it a great choice for your specific needs. The company Cobra was actually one of the very first producers of the CB radio more than 5 decades ago, and the radios they produce today are as reliable as ever. They are durable, with decent range – the one drawback is the audio clarity is not as good as some of the other models higher up on this list.
However, the CXT1045R has two features which might come in handy. Firstly, this model floats, which means if you drop it in the water, you can just scoop it right back out. This makes it great for fishing trips and kayaking, and if you live near a body of water or in an area prone to flooding or hurricanes, this feature may prove useful in a survival scenario as well.
Secondly, this model has a replay function – it automatically records the last 20 seconds of audio, so if there’s something you can’t make out or don’t understand, you can play it back. If a member of your party is in a crisis situation, this could prove to be a lifesaver as sometimes it can be hard to hear people if there is a large amount of background noise. If you fish or enjoy being out on the water, or if you live in an area near water, or an area that floods often, the CXT1045R could prove to be the best survival two way radio for you.
The LXT630VP3 is one step down from our top choice among Midland’s two way radio models, but this affordable model is a pretty good pick if you want one of the best two way radios and you’re on a tight budget. This model is good all-around. It’s range is slightly worse than our top choices, but still solid, and it’s water resistant (as opposed to waterproof on the GXT1000VP4) and has great audio clarity.The batteries that it comes with are rechargeable, and it also takes AAA batteries. It’s small, light, and easy to use.
While this isn’t at the top of the list for the best survival two way radios, if you want a dependable, budget option that will do pretty much anything you’d need it to do, the Midland LXT630VP3 is a very solid choice.
The Uniden SX507-2CKHS is tested as having the longest range of any of the radios on this list. Obviously, that’s under perfect conditions (elevation, no minimal blockage like trees, buildings, etc). But the range of this model will still be better than most of the other models we’ve recommended here. The model is waterproof – it can be submerged for 30 minutes in up to 3 feet of water and still function. Also, the SX507 floats, so if you drop it into water, you won’t need to dive it to get after it. The battery life is also pretty good.
The only drawback on this model is that a number of purchasers have had various complaints about them – we haven’t had this experience personally, but we didn’t want to put it near the top of our list if other people were having difficult experiences with it, which is why it’s not higher up on our list of the best survival two way radios.
With a compact design, decent range and voice-activated radio transmission, Cobra’s MicroTalk CXT345 is a reliable and inexpensive choice for those who want something lightweight and minimal to store in a pack or with you on the go.
9) Retevis RT21 – Best Choice for Buying Survival Two Way Radios in Bulk
For number nine, we’ve chosen something a little different. The range and durability of the Retevis RT21 is worse than other models on this list, but the RT21 is also the most affordable option we’ve got here. We’ve put the Retevis RT21 for those of you who want to buy two way radios for a larger group of people – in this case, we’re directing you to the 10 pack. If you have a large family, or want to include friends or neighbors in your survival plans, then the 10 pack of the RT21 two way radios is the way to go. Note that this model does not include access to NOAA weather radio channels.
It’s also worth noting that the RT21 offers an awesome 2 year warranty, plus a 30 day no questions asked return policy with their two-way radios so you can be comfortable putting it to the test without having to dip back into the emergency funds. This model also comes with the Secret Service-style earpieces. The RT21 is basic, but it’ll get the job done and you can buy them in bulk if what you need is to be able to communicate with a larger party.
10) BaoFeng BF-F8HP – Best Choice for Tinkerers
This is another choice that is slightly different selection – this model is a programmable two-way radio, whereas every other model on this list is pre-programmed. In all honesty, the BaoFeng BF-F8HP is not the best choice for the average person who wants a survival two way radio – when it arrives, you can’t just pick it up and use it. If you’re someone who likes tinkering with electronics however, this could be a fun choice. Comparatively, it’s not all that portable nor is it water resistant. However, it is extremely versatile, and if ham radio is a hobby of yours or something you’d like ti learn more about then the Baofeng BF-F8HP would be an excellent choice. This is more of a fun two way radio that you can tinker with, but it would also work in a survival situation if you knew what you were doing.
Note that this model can be programmed to receive NOAA weather radio, but does not come pre-programmed with this access.
Keep Your Family Together With Best Survival Two Way Radios – Even If You Have To Evacuate
Once you find the two way radio that you like best, get some use under your belt. You want it to be an extension of your arm, something familiar to you and easy to use. It is something to practice with your children as well. Like it or not, in a post apocalyptic world, anything can happen, and being familiar with multiple types of radio interfaces will put you far ahead of most people in your community.
Keep in mind also that one of the main reasons to have a two way radio for survival on hand is so you can stay in touch and locate your family in a disaster scenario. That means that it would be pointless if you or they don’t have the device on them! That’s why your two way radio should be packed into your get home bag (and your family’s get home bags) – so that your radio is never too far from wherever you are. This way, you’ll always have an emergency fallback way to communicate with your family in the event that someone is in danger or stranded.
Search and rescue teams, remote fire fighters, staffing at remote industrial installations, explorers, and the list goes on each include two way radios near or even at the top of a list of essential survival supplies to have on hand.
In a disaster zone, where there’s no phones or internet, being able to get in touch with your family and close friends is essential. Imagine the devastation of not being able to find your spouse or children…
In World War II, families were torn apart, many never to see each other again, when widespread evacuations sent many in different directions. Children fled from schools. Parents and siblings fled from homes and work places …
In the end, realize that communication following a disaster can be the tool that keeps your family together, helps you find your close friends, helps you communicate with watchful neighbors and even citizens in other nearby towns about approaching threats, or threats and dangers that may be happening in the next town or city over.
Protect From EMP With A Faraday Cage
A lot has been published over the months about the risk of damage to electronics caused by an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) attack. While experts believe that an EMP attack is ultimately unlikely, it’s still a very possible and plausible scenario that could happen given the right circumstances. A Faraday Cage can be something simple constructed at home that can protect small electronics from the resulting damage to the electrical grid (read up on “Faraday Cage” and you will find a lot of data on this, which is too much data to include in this article).
Additionally, a Faraday Cage can be used to protect a 12 volt inverter that you can then connect in an emergency to a 12 volt battery (preferably a marine deep cycle battery but just about any automotive battery will work), and now use this battery back up as a way to charge your family’s two way radios.
• Regarding wiring an inverter to a 12 volt battery (or bank of batteries), it’s not a complicated set up. Talk to your local RV/motor home repair shop and the owner would probably be glad to show you how to put it together.
• Even better than that 12 volt battery and inverter: Invest in smaller back up batteries that will fit a two way radio for whatever set of two way radios you choose (just be sure you are getting the right batteries for your two way radio; you can have rechargeables and standard as back ups).
• Because two way radios are a low-watt device, inexpensive solar panels can be used to recharge your two way radios, which is even better than relying on a 12 volt inverter (to be better prepared, consider having both options).