Ever bought a tin of paint from a bargain store, only to find it takes five coats to get the job done? Or bought the kids the latest toy from a cheaper “online importer”, only to find it breaks after a day? There are some things in life that are worth paying more for, and the two way radio industry is one of those markets where you definitely get what you pay for.
There are ” cheap Chinese imports “, ” imitations “, ” aftermarket alternatives ” and ” Original Manufacturer ” products, with so much choice flooding the market, does it really matter what you buy? It all comes down to what you want a radio for.
A “cheap radio” will generally feel fragile and will not reach the full power output expected from a two way radio. (0.5watt for License Free and 5watt for Licensed) They will likely break if dropped and will not give you the range you might be expecting. But if all you want is no frills communication within a very small distance then it’s just as well to buy a radio for under £30 and replace it if anything happens to it.
If you’re looking for something more durable, there are some great radios available that are advertised as “extreme” or “heavy duty” and these will not leave you disappointed. Expect to pay around £90 per radio for something durable like this that will also give you the range you require.
If you’re looking for a rugged and reliable product that will still be with you in years to come then the price will definitely reflect what you’re getting for your money. There are some great radios from manufacturers like Motorola , Icom and Kenwood that have been around for years and are still going today. I have a pair of professional license free radios from Motorola that I’ve had for over 6 years which have been through the woods, over the channel, “abused” by the kids, run over by bikes and they’re still getting stuffed into our backpacks at family outings and coming out strong every time. These manufacturers are well known for making quality products and there are some great models available for around £150 per radio if you don’t need an “all singing, all dancing, multi-function, high-tech” model.
Of course there are plenty of options available for those of you with no budget worries and are a fan of the latest tech that the digital market has to offer. Expect to spend around £300 per radio for something really “smart” !