There are a small number of things more pleasurable and relaxing than having a boat and taking it out for a ride. Most boat owners go on about how calming being out on the water can be and how it lowers their stress levels after a long day’s work. You need the best marine radio for your tension-free fishing ride.
What most of these individuals do not understand is that all this can be taken a step further. Nearly all boats come with simple sound systems but just like when renovating the stereo system in a car, the marine radio and speakers can be purchased at a fair price. Is it really worth it to renovate the marine stereo system in your boat?
For most folks, the answer to that question is a definite yes, particularly if you use your boat frequently for cruising and recreational boating. You most certainly would want to have the best marine radio for the money in a larger boat that you sometimes entertain borders on too. So there are a lot of good reasons as to why you would want to get the best marine VHF radio.
Table of Contents
- Comparison of 10 Best Marine Radios in 2021
- Top 10 Best Marine Radio Reviews in 2021
- 1. Midland 50 Channel GMRS Two-Way Radio
- 2. Cobra MRHH125 VHF Radio
- 3. Uniden MHS75 VHF Best Marine Radio
- 4. BOSS Audio Marine Gauge Receiver
- 5. Standard Horizon HX870 VHF Marine Radio
- 6. Standard Horizon Handheld Marine Radio
- 7. Radioddity Voyage VHF Marine Radio
- 8. Icom M36 01 Marine Radio
- 9. Fusion Garmin Marine Stereo
- 10. Standard GX1700W GPS VHF Marine Radio
- Best Marine Radio Step by Step Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Relevant Resources
Comparison of 10 Best Marine Radios in 2021
|Midland 50 Channel GMRS Radio||Check Price|
|Cobra MRHH125 VHF Radio||Check Price|
|Uniden MHS75 VHF Marine Radio||Check Price|
|BOSS Audio Marine Gauge Receiver||Check Price|
|Standard HX870 VHF Marine Radio||Check Price|
|Standard Horizon Marine Radio||Check Price|
|Radioddity Voyage VHF Marine Radio||Check Price|
|Icom M36 01 Marine Radio||Check Price|
|Fusion Garmin Marine Stereo||Check Price|
|Standard GX1700W Marine Radio||Check Price|
Top 10 Best Marine Radio Reviews in 2021
1. Midland 50 Channel GMRS Two-Way Radio
Durable and reliable two-way marine radio that has been in use by hunters, fishermen, and outdoors lovers for decades around the world. This Midland 50 channel best marine radio’s walkie talkies come with over 50 channels on the International GMRS channel line.
Plus it has an option for scanning additional channels which can be very useful in case you travel in new spots and will need to quickly and efficiently communicate with other individuals or nearby boats and ships. The outer body of this marine radio is covered in a patented waterproof material that will protect the inside electronics from getting wet thus becoming inoperable and useless.
Moreover, the waterproof material on the outside will protect the marine radio from rusting and corroding especially if you’re planning on using them in salty water that can speed up the corrosion process. In addition to all of these features, these Midland marine radios are available in several colors including yellow and green camouflage variant plus it comes with a 36-mile range communication.
However, only in open areas with little to no destruction such as rocks, mountains, and other obstructions could lead to the radio signal getting distorted. Lastly, these marine radios come with an NOAA weather scan plus alert report thus you can always be sure that the radio band channel will notify you of drastic changes in weather close to you.
- The radio comes with a rechargeable battery pack, microphone headsets, and convenient belt clips as well as a desktop charger and an AC adaptor
- Available in several colors
- 50 channels
- Known brand
- Some hunters and fishermen have reported that the owner’s manual can be hard to understand
- Customer service could be better
- The carrying case is not included in the packaging box
2. Cobra MRHH125 VHF Radio
When on the hunt for the best VHF marine radio, look no further than the Cobra 3 Watt Waterproof VHF Radio. It comes with a rugged compact design and is perfect for an outdoor marine excursion or as a backup in larger marine vessels.
The device is equipped with all marine radio stations in the United States, Canada, and other countries in the world. Additionally, it has a total of 10 NOAA stations and NOAA weather alerts. You automatically get any marine news and weather data any time it develops.
It is powered using long-lasting rechargeable NiMH batteries. Also, the device can be powered using 5 AAA alkaline batteries during emergencies. The device has a large LED-lit display that is easy to read. The keypad is also LED lit. You can use the device even at very low illumination levels.
The keypad turns off automatically when not in use to save on power. The marine radio is waterproof up to JIS4 standards. You can throw the device overboard and retrieve it intact ready for use. It is the best portable marine radio one can tag along during a marine recreational outing.
- Receives all marine radio stations in the USA, Canada, and other countries in the world
- Waterproof in conformity to JIS4 standards
- Long-lasting battery with optional backup AAA alkaline batteries.
- Large LED display and LED-lit keypad
- The device does not have the latest distress alert systems
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3. Uniden MHS75 VHF Best Marine Radio
The marine radio is designed to withstand whatever sea weather has to offer and still offer premium service. The device is rated JIS8 waterproof level. It can be immersed in water and still perform as desired. It is equipped with all marine channels across the United States, Canada, and other international countries.
You can keep following all the latest marine news on the go. The marine radio automatically checks channels 9 and 16 every 2 seconds so that you do not miss anything. The device has an integrated memory scan chip that automatically scans for signals.
The device will go through all frequencies available until it acquires a transmission. With a rechargeable internal battery that can last for 12 hours, you remain in the know all day. The marine radio enables you to switch from 1 to 2.5 to 5 watts depending on the range you want to scan.
Using 1 watt saves your battery while at 5 watts it consumes more energy but has a wider range. It has a large LED display and a LED-lit keyboard making it usable even at night. When going out to sea, this is the best handheld marine radio that you can hope to tag along.
- All marine radio stations in the USA, Canada, and other countries
- Large LED display and a LED-lit keypad
- Long-lasting internal battery
- The device tends to get stuck on one frequency for long without scanning
4. BOSS Audio Marine Gauge Receiver
The BOSS Audio MGR350B is a marine-grade gauge receiver from BOSS with various features that make it one of the best on the market. It offers several ways for media playback, such as Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, and AM/FM radio. Because of this, you have more options for what you listen to, whether it’s your favorite music or the news.
Its Bluetooth connectivity feature allows you to wirelessly connect, play your favorite music, and control it using your smartphones. This gauge receiver also has several output options that give you enhanced flexibility when it comes to your sound system.
It has both front, rear, and subwoofer preamp output options that you can use to connect them to your speakers or subwoofer of choice. This gauge receiver is fully marinized with an IPX6 rating and completely weatherproof, making it ideal for outdoor use as it can withstand harsh weather conditions.
- Multiple weatherproof features
- Versatile media playback
- Compact yet powerful
- Has an overheating problem
5. Standard Horizon HX870 VHF Marine Radio
The Standard Horizon Floating Marine Radio combines the efficiency of an outstanding marine radio with a functional navigation device to give you the best portable marine radio possible. The handset comes with an internally built 66-channel WAAS GPS receiver.
With the device in hand, you can navigate through unknown waters effortlessly. The device meets ITU-R M493-13 Class D digital selective calling (DSC). It has a separate receiver for channel 70 which is exclusively meant for DSC calls.
The device ensures that you have an exclusive channel that you can use during emergencies without interruption from other users. The microphone is fitted with the noise-canceling ability for both outgoing and incoming calls. You continually send and receive powerful and clear messages. Noises from the sea and engines will not deter your ability to communicate effectively.
Not only is the marine radio waterproof, but it also floats on water. If by accident you happen to drop the device in water, it will simply float. You can then proceed to retrieve it ready for use. It has a 2.3 inches display screen which is easy to read. The operating buttons are strategically positioned near the screen for easy manipulation.
- Waterproof and floats on water
- Internally built GPS
- Microphone fitted with the noise-canceling ability
- Large, easy to read display
- The white LED light is not user-friendly at night
6. Standard Horizon Handheld Marine Radio
Moreover, it comes with scanning functions that are already programmed right into the radio so that you can scan for weather reports or any weather hazards in nearby locations as well as easily communicate with nearby boats and ships.
The Marine Radio comes with headset and belt clips so that you can immediately use it right out of the box plus it comes with a standard charger that is also included.
However, lots of customers have reported that it would be better to change the charger as the one provided by the manufacturer tends to break very quickly. Lastly, keep in mind that the standard horizon hx300 model does not come with a warranty, and lots of individuals that have bought this marine radio have reported that the customer service is not helpful.
- Automatically scan for weather report and any weather hazards
- The belt clip and headset is included in the packaging box
- Standard charger is included
- Available in several colors
- No warranty
- Assembled in Thailand
7. Radioddity Voyage VHF Marine Radio
The Radioddity Voyage radio is an exceptionally durable handheld VHF marine radio that’s perfect for emergencies. Its tri-watch mode uses three channels – 9, 16, and current – simultaneously, making it easy to contact the coast guard in emergencies.
It also covers a wide range of frequencies – from the US to international channels. It comes with an IP67 rating, making it waterproof and the ideal radio for marine use. Aside from being waterproof, it also uses a red flashing light that signals its location when dropped in the water. It also floats, so it’s easy to retrieve while out on the water.
It also picks up the 10 NOAA weather channels, giving you the latest information about any sudden weather changes while out on the water. Other features include LCD contrast settings, auto and priority scans, monitoring function, and more. Overall, the Voyage handheld radio from Radioddity is an excellent option for anglers everywhere, especially in emergencies.
- IP67 waterproof item
- Vibration water drain feature included
- Safety emergency radio
- Wide range coverage
- Has durability issues
8. Icom M36 01 Marine Radio
The Icom floating handheld marine radio is fitted with a voice boost to ensure that the messages you send and receive are clear. The device cancels out ambient noise from the main speaker and the sea to deliver clear and precise messages.
The device is waterproof to IPX7 standards. This means that even if the device is thrown overboard, it will not get damaged. It simply floats on the surface of the water, and if you can retrieve it, it will work perfectly.
It has integrated NOAA weather and weather alert technology. The technology enables you to determine the weather conditions that are likely to be present at sea in advance. This is the best handheld marine radio that you can get to ensure that your marine excursion is hustle-free and enjoyable.
Although the device produces high-quality sound at all times, its internal battery is very long-lasting. You can use the marine radio for 8 hours straight without recharging the device. It has large operating buttons that are easy to use. The design of the appliance makes it easy to hold and carry. For a device that floats on water, it is surprisingly very compact.
- Waterproof and floats on water
- Long-lasting battery
- Voice boost for use in noisy environments
- For all its efficiency, the device is not designed with aesthetics in mind
9. Fusion Garmin Marine Stereo
The Fusion Garmin marine stereo is the perfect addition to any boat that allows boat owners to listen to their favorite tunes while out on the water. Its brushed exterior exudes style and elegance without sacrificing its overall functionality.
A built-in Class D amplifier allows it to deliver a greater output and enhanced efficiency. It also uses Multi-Zone Technology to control two different zones on your audio system, which you can customize according to your preference. This feature allows it to deliver excellent audio quality and fidelity, enhancing your overall listening experience.
Aside from these, it also offers compatibility with MFD (multifunction display) devices, Garmin watches, and other smart devices. This marine-grade stereo also incorporates DSP (Digital Signal Processing) technology that allows for a superior quality listening experience.
It offers multiple source options that allow you to play music from almost any device using AUX and USB connections and Bluetooth connectivity. You can also listen to the AM/FM radio as well as DAB+ and SiriusXM radios. It has both IPX6 and IPX7 ratings for its front panel, making it highly water-resistant.
- Modern display
- Built-in Class-D amplifier
- Multiple control options
- Multi-zone technology
- A little on the small side
10. Standard GX1700W GPS VHF Marine Radio
The Standard Explorer combines the functions of a marine radio and a navigation device in a single gadget. This is the best portable marine radio that will help you navigate through unknown waters and still give you all the services that you would expect from a marine radio.
It comes with an internally built 12 channel GPS. You can save up to 100 previously used waypoints. You can then use the device to navigate through one of the waypoints if you desire to return to previously explored waters.
Unlike other ordinary marine radios, with the device, you are not limited to send and receive operations. You can send out your position to colleagues, send out distress calls, and share waypoints all from a single device.
It receives a total of 12 NOAA weather alert channels. You are always in the know, and you can plan in advance depending on forecasted weather conditions. The device is waterproof. If by accident you throw it overboard, you can retrieve it intact and ready for work. It has a large 3-inch display screen. The control buttons are strategically placed next to the screen for easy manipulation.
- Fitted with a noise-canceling microphone
- Internally built 12 channel GPS
- Connects automatically with up to 4 vessels at sea
- The screen is not easy to read under glaring sunlight
Best Marine Radio Step by Step Buying Guide
Just like no pair of jeans fits two individuals the same way, the same goes for marine audio systems. What works great for you may be a terrible fit for someone else. This is the reason why you just can’t buy the first marine VHF radio system you come across when shopping online or in the store.
You need to get the best marine VHF radio system that is custom-made for your requirements and the way your boat is set up. That being said, here are some of the main factors that ought to consider when you’re shopping for the best marine radio and speakers:
Just a small number of us can shop for goods without the price being a factor. Luckily the best marine speakers and radio can be obtained in a variety of price ranges. This makes it fitting for every shopper to be able to find something that they can afford. An important thing to do before going shopping for the best marine VHF radio is to set a budget for yourself. This budget should include what you’re willing and able to invest.
What Your Boat is Used for
Another crucial criterion that you ought to consider as far as what best marine VHF radio you’ll buy is the type of use your boat usually gets. If you’re a fisher, you need the best portable marine radio. You do need the best marine band in a boat that is used just for entertainment purposes though.
How Frequently You Use Your Boat
How often you use your boat is a critical decision in the best marine VHF radio buying process too. It would be difficult to rationalize investing in a $300 plus radio system in a boat that you only get to use once in a blue moon.
On the flip side, it is very easy justifying investing that much money in the best marine VHF radio system on a boat that is used more than a few times a week. Try matching the price of the best marine radio you’ll buy with the amount of use you’ll get out of it.
Blue Tooth Capability
Gone are the days of inserting CDs into stereo players. In the modern age, music is listened to by downloading that music on a smart device like a tablet. That means any marine radio you buy really must have Bluetooth capability. Go for the best marine radio with Bluetooth to handle the playback of the various music storage devices that you own.
Let’s face it; nobody wants to read a thick manual to learn everything about their new best marine handheld VHF radio. Go for one that the controls are laid out in such a way that it makes it easy to operate.
You need the best marine radio VHF unit that is built as watertight as possible and can withstand harsh elements like moisture and other corrosive substances.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: How Do You Test a Marine Radio?
A: If you’re trying to test your marine radio, input the Coast Guard’s coast station group identity “003669999” into the radio’s DSC memory. In the next step, you can make a test call. First, open up the radio’s DSC menu and select “Test Call.” After this, use the number and transmit the call.
Q: What Is the Difference Between a CB Radio and a Marine Radio?
A: While you might see a fisherman talk about both a CB radio and a marine radio on a boat, they’re not the same. A CB radio is usually carried for the eventuality of an emergency, such as a natural disaster. A marine radio (VHF) is more of a general requirement on the boat.
Q: Do You Need a License for VHF Marine Radio?
A: No, you do not need a license for carrying a VHF marine radio.
After reading this comprehensive review and guide, we hope that you now have a good idea about the marine VHF radio review. If there is still some confusion on which is the best VHF marine radio for you, you’ve to find the answer to your question.
All the radios reviewed in this article have wonderful features and customer reviews. But you have to pick one according to your need and budget. So now it is time to choose the best marine radio. Just follow this article, think about your needs, and consider your budget and then buy the right one!