If you are looking for the best DMR radios, you have come to the right place.
There are not so many options in the market. However, it is still challenging for a beginner to get the right one.
The best DMR handheld radios are the modern, highly improved versions of the older analogue radios. Therefore, they come with advanced features such as the ability to have more than one conversation on the same frequency.
Some of the things to expect from a digital radio include better clarity, more channels, secure communication, nice display and sometimes, Bluetooth connectivity.
Now that you know a bit about what to expect from DMR radios, we shall look at 10 of the top rated DMR radios that can give you value for money.
Best DMR Radio Comparison Chart 2022
Radioddity GD-77 DMR Radio
BTECH DMR-6X2 DMR Radio
TYT MD-380 - DMR/Moto TRBO Ham Radio
AnyTone AT-D878UV dual band dmr radio
Baofeng DM-1701 dual band dmr mobile radio
TYT MD-UV380 Dual Band dmr mobile radio
Ailunce HD1 DMR Radio
AnyTone AT-D878 Plus GPS DMR Radio
Retevis RT84 DMR Radio
AnyTone AT-D868UV W/GPS dual band dmr mobile radio
The Best DMR Radio Reviews 2022
The DMR radio world is shrouded in a lot of mystery. Therefore, many beginner enthusiasts find it challenging to get the truly best choice.
However, here, we bring you carefully selected, top-rated radios that might give you good value for money.
1. Radioddity GD-77 Digital/Analog Two Way Radio
Radioddity GD-77 DMR might be a good choice for amateur users. However, even if you are an advanced user, you might still find its features useful. In addition, you can use this radio for business purposes. Therefore, if you are a radio enthusiast, you don’t need to buy two radios for business or personal use.
Firstly, this is a dual band, two-way radio that favors professional as well as amateur use. Therefore, it runs on VHF – very high frequency and UHF – ultra-high frequency. In simple language, the very high frequency is useful for long-distance communication. On the other hand, ultra-high frequency is good for indoor communication because it penetrates walls and buildings.
You can operate this radio on Tier I or Tier II DMR modes. If a radio is compatible with Tier 1 DMR, you just need to buy and use it on a license-free basis. However, since Tier I frequencies can be interfered with, a radio like Radioddity GD-77 that is also Tier II compatible is better. Tier II compatible radios need to be licensed, and on the other hand, they suffer no interference. This makes them more useful in emergency situations.
This radio has the capacity to store 1024 channels. Therefore, although we do not know how many talk groups you can create; it must offer enough capacity for amateur use. In addition, it comes with a USB programming cable which you will use to connect it to your Windows computer.
Finally, this is a very versatile radio since it also supports instant messaging and private calls. However, when programming the radio, make sure to input your user ID so that you can use this feature.
There is a small disadvantage to this radio. For instance, you can only use a Windows computer for programming. If you have a Mac or Linux computer, they won’t work.
Radioddity GD-77 Firmware/Software
- Tiers 1 and 2 compatible
- Good for business and personal use
- Battery has a long running time
- Bright enough display to see numbers fast
- There is no means to adjust the display brightness
The ability to program this radio to your needs and specifications makes it a good option for you. In addition, it is suitable for your personal and business needs as it is Tier I and Tier II compatible.
2. BTECH DMR-6X2 DMR Radio
If you are looking for a versatile two-way radio, BTECH DMR might meet your needs. On that note, it operates on a very high and ultra-high frequency. The frequency range is 136 to 174MHz/400 to 480MHz.
The first and perhaps the most noticeable thing about this radio is the color display. In addition, at the size of 1.77 inches, this is large enough and the color display helps you see everything at a glance. On the same note, this radio looks sturdy and durable, thanks to the protective plastic casing.
You will be happy with the capacity of this DMR radio when it comes to the storage of talk groups, channels and contacts. For instance, you can store up to 200,000 contacts, up to 10,000 talk groups and up to 4,000 channels.
To clear some technical jargon here, a DMR talk group is a means of organizing all people who have the same interest and want to hear the same things on one frequency. In the same line, is similar to creating a Facebook Group of people with the same interest. In addition, you may organize your DMR talk groups around cities, counties, countries and so on.
Back to the BTECH radio features, it also comes with a built-in GPS so that users can see each others’ locations. Finally, this radio also has an integrated audio recorder to help you record any call that you would like to keep for future reference.
While this is a good radio, it has a small disadvantage. You cannot operate this radio online unless you get a DMARC ID, downloaded from radioed.org. This is just a small hitch that you should overcome easily, and it is for your protection.
BTECH DMR-6X2 Firmware/Software
- It is good for business and personal use
- The construction of this radio is quite solid
- It resists water and dust
- The internal memory is quite large
- The battery keeps charge for a long time
- Takes some figuring out for a beginner
- This radio can only be programmed with Windows
The main benefit of owning this radio is that you can use it for business and personal use. In addition, you might love the large internal storage capacity.
3. TYT MD-380 – DMR/Moto TRBO Ham Radio
If you are looking for a beginner radio, you might love the TYT MD-380 simply because of its ease of use. However, as you get used to DMR radios, you will see that you can unlock many more features. Keep reading to see the features that this radio comes with:
This is a two-way radio compatible with Tier I and Tier II so that you can choose what is most suitable for your situation. For example, you can use this radio for business purposes where you need to keep your communication secure. In addition, it runs on the UHF band within the 400 to 470 MHz frequency ranges.
With this radio, you can use the TDMA – Time Division Multiple Access, which is a technique that enables many users on the same frequency to share it conveniently by dividing signals into various time slots. Therefore, you can communicate without interference even on Tier I.
Create or join various talk groups based on city, region, country and others since this radio has 1000 channels. The only thing that you need to do is to program these channels into the radio. For programming, this radio comes with a USB cable to connect to the computer.
While this is a good beginner radio, it has a learning curve so beginners can find it hard to get started. However, with time it becomes easier and it has a comprehensive user manual.
- Has a high capacity 2000mAh battery with long standby time and use time
- Easy to make private calls and send text messages
- Easy to program the radio since it comes with software and cable
- The radio has a high quality, sturdy build
- Hard for beginners to get started
- Software is too basic
This small radio is good for beginners but it also has a lot to offer such as messaging, private voice calls and more.
4. AnyTone AT-D878UV Dual Band DMR Radio
The AnyTone AT handheld radio is a DMR/analog model that has some useful features. Therefore, if you are looking for a radio that is simple to program right through its keypad, you might love this one. In addition, it has a nice design and a sturdy build for longevity. Read on to see its features:
AnyTone AT is a dual band radio, meaning that this radio operates on two separate frequencies. Therefore, you can use it for your personal as well as business needs. By using the Tier I frequency, you communicate on casual matters so you need not worry about phishing and similar attacks. However, on the licensable Tier II frequency, you will communicate more securely.
The display is large at 1.77 inches. In addition, it is a color display and the numbers are easy to see even from a single glance. And that is not all! On that note, you can also adjust the screen brightness to meet your needs in the day and during the night.
This radio comes with a powerful, high capacity battery at 3100mAh. Left on standby mode, it can last a long time, probably days. You also get more talk time. In addition, to save the battery, the radio display goes to sleep after some moments of staying idle. On the same note, you can also adjust the screen display to save power.
Finally, you will have a maximum of 4000 channels on the internal memory. Therefore, this helps you to create many DMR talk groups, up to 10,000 in number. It can also store up to 200,000 contacts.
The disadvantage that you will experience with this radio is that it is not easy for beginners. For example, even software installation can require you to look for compatible drivers and other shenanigans.
AnyTone AT-D878UV Firmware/Software
- Long lasting, high capacity battery
- This is a Bluetooth enabled radio
- Can program it through the keypad
- Good for personal and business usage
- The price of this radio is steep
The powerful battery, the large internal memory and the large multi-color display endear this radio to many people. It serves both personal and business needs.
5. Baofeng DM-1701 Dual Band DMR Mobile Radio
One of the things that the Baofeng DM-1701 dual band two-way radio can do is that it is going to offer crystal-clear quality for audio. In addition, this radio comes with sturdy construction, making it good for outdoor use. In addition, most other features that a low budget radio should come with check out nicely, as you will see below:
This radio has digital and analog compatibility. However, switching from digital to analog is so easy once you have programmed it right. Talking about programming, there is a free cable that comes in the box. At the same time, you have to download the software update from Radioddity. The manufacturer also says that you should not attempt to program the radio by hand.
This radio supports many digital functions. Some of them include group call, single call and even all call. In addition, it also offers 2-way radio detection, remote monitoring, encryption function which works between DM-1701 radios. It also has remote kill/inhibit SMS data transmission and finally, you also get a digital alarm.
The radio uses a 2200mAh Lithium-Ion battery. Consequently, you can get a maximum of 18 hours of working time. The standby time is also up to 48 hours. In addition, the radio also comes with a nice display of 1.8 inches.
One of the disadvantages that you will find with this DMR radio is that it is extra tall. While it is not heavy, its high size makes it get in your way especially when you clip it to your belt.
Baofeng DM-1701 Firmware/Software
- Good, clear audio from other radios
- It is easy to program
- You can program some functions into the buttons
- The price is affordable
- It has a large internal storage
- Too many menus can be confusing to a beginner
The Baofeng DM-1701 dual band two-way radio is an affordable option with the functions and capabilities that most of the higher priced DMR radios come with. You might find it a good buy.
6. TYT MD-UV380 Dual Band DMR Mobile Radio
With the manufacturer claiming that the TYT MD-UV380 is the best Chinese DMR radio, we thought that it is worth investigating that claim. However, if you are looking for an affordable DMR model, this radio might be a good deal for you. But first, see some of the features that it comes with below:
First, this is a dual-band radio, which means that it operates on both the VHF and UHF frequencies. Therefore, this makes it a serious consideration for people who are looking for a radio that they can use for both business and personal needs.
This small radio also supports many digital functions. For example, it supports an encryption function, but mostly this feature only works between TYT MD devices. In addition, you also get features such as remote activate/kill/stun and private voice call and text messaging. Also, in digital mode, you will get group call and all call functions.
Thirdly, you will get up to 3000 channels. In addition, you can enjoy front panel programming, which allows you to change some things without using the programming cable and computer.
Fourthly, the radio comes with a 2000mAh battery, which can keep your radio running for more than 10 hours. It also comes with a multi-color display that enables you to see the numbers at a single glance.
The only disadvantage that you might find with this Chinese DMR radio is that it is too basic since it is an entry-level model. Even the price itself shows you that this is a beginner radio.
TYT MD-UV380 Firmware/Software
- The price is fair
- It can store up to 3000 channels
- Made with sturdy construction for durability
- Clear reception and audio from other radios
- It has many digital functions
- The software crashes easily making programming a headache
There are good features with this radio but it is also fair to say that it has glitches, especially when it comes to the software. However, once you figure out how to handle that, the radio is so simple to use.
7. Ailunce HD1 DMR Radio
In DMR radio comparison guides, you will be sure to find the Ailunce HD1 DMR radio. It comes with ham radio capabilities so if you are looking for such, you might love it. In addition, if you are looking for a sturdy radio that you can use in outdoor conditions, you might want to try this one. But first, look at its features in the upcoming section:
First, this is a versatile piece of radio that works with Tier I and Tier II of the MOTOTRBO series. On the same note, that is not where the compatibility stops. With standard encryption, this radio becomes compatible with Tier I and Tier II. In addition, the radio has compatibility with many models of radios that work on the DMR standard.
Secondly, this radio is also compatible with other radios that are exiting from UHF and VHF frequencies. Therefore, this makes the radio versatile and easy to migrate to digital technology. Switching between analogue and digital with this radio is easy. In addition, when you listen to other radios over this one, you will find the signals clear.
Thirdly, even with its small size, this radio comes with a high capacity battery with a rating of 3200mAh. On standby, this battery can last as long as 160 hours. At the same time, it has a talk time of more than 15 hours. Because of its quality build, you can use this radio for different outdoor adventures. Even if it drops, it is not going to sustain damage.
You can have up to 3000 channels and up to 200,000 contacts. In addition, it is enabled with digital dual time slot technology so that there is no interference in communication.
The main disadvantage that you will have with this radio is that the user manual is not comprehensible. It is a bit jumbled up and it feels as if it is translated from another language.
- It comes with the programming cable
- Long battery life
- Supports both analog and digital functions
- It is dustproof and waterproof so it is good for outdoor use
- Company support could be better
- Small screen
If you love a sturdy radio on which you can access all functions through the keyboard, you might want to try this one. In addition, it has a GPS function for tracking your location. Never get lost when hiking!
8. AnyTone AT-D878 Plus GPS DMR Radio
For a person looking for an Analog/DMR radio with integrated Bluetooth, GPs and other functions, the AnyTone AT-D878 radio might help. However, this one also has more features, which make it good for personal and business use. See the features below:
Firstly, this is a dual-mode radio, meaning that it operates on both the digital (DMR) and the analog modes. You can choose either depending on your immediate needs. At the same time, switching between the two modes is so easy. In addition, it is also ETSI (European Telecommunications Standard Institute) Tier I and Tier II compatible.
Secondly, programming this radio is simple using the provided USB cable. Because this radio uses updated firmware, it is going to work without glitches, when programming or when updating the firmware. Therefore, if you have programmed radios before, this should be simple and fast. However, you have to update using a Windows computer.
You will enjoy a lot of digital functionality from this powerful, 7-Watt radio. For instance, you can create up to 10,000 talk groups, store up to 200,000 contacts and store up to 4000 channels. Additionally, you can also have voice call, text messaging, all call and group call in digital mode.
Other features include Bluetooth connectivity, GPS function which enables easy tracking and many more. If you know radios, you can unlock this one to enjoy many functions.
In spite of all the good features, there is a disadvantage to this radio. For instance, it has such a big learning curve, so be prepared to do some learning.
AnyTone AT-D878 Firmware/Software
- Powerful and long-lasting battery
- Field programming is possible through the keypad
- Good for professional and amateur radio uses
- High-quality build and design for durability
- The price of this radio is high
There is no doubt that this is one of the high-quality DMR/analog radios in the market today. However, just set aside enough time to learn how to program it so that you can unlock all of its digital functions.
9. Retevis RT84 DMR Radio
Since 2009, Retevis has been making communication devices for families and businesses. One of those devices is the Retevis RT84 DMR radio. It serves as a walkie-talkie with a range of 3 miles. It also has enough features to place it on par with more expensive varieties.
First, as a dual-slot DMR radio, it is able to operate on the MotoTRBO Tier I and Tier II frequencies. In addition, you can use it in analog or DMR mode. Therefore, this might be a good radio for business and personal needs. In the same line, you don’t need to buy two radios. Under the VHF and UHF modes, the audio is clear and so is the transmission.
The design of the radio features a large, multi-color display that is easy to read at night and even at night. The numbers are displayed in large sizes. Some of the things displayed here include frequency, channel, time, date and more. The information displayed will depend on how you program it.
The battery has a capacity of 2000mAh. Therefore, it provides enough power to last you through a day of hiking and outdoor adventure. In addition, on standby mode, the battery can last a couple of days.
Another thing that we might mention here is the digital functionality of the radio. For instance, you can get group call, all call and other functions. Additionally, this radio also operates on commercial and amateur DMR modes. Therefore, you can catch clear audio from your networks easily.
One disadvantage that you get with this radio is that customer support is not as supportive as it should be. One of the reasons why you may need customer support is when programming the software.
- The price is affordable yet the features are still good
- Switching between digital and analog modes is so easy
- Retevis provides a 24-month warranty for the body
- Stores up to 1000 channels, 120,000 contacts and 250 talk groups
- Firmware updates can be such a pain
If you are looking for a low price radio for personal use, this is the DMR/FM radio that might help you. It switches so smoothly between the digital and analog modes.
10. AnyTone AT-D868UV W/GPS Dual Band DMR Mobile Radio
This is the second Bridgecom Systems radio that we are looking at here. If you are looking for a dual band radio that runs on DMR or analog modes and can switch effortlessly between the two, you might try this one. But first, look at its features:
First, the noticeable or the physical features are pretty impressive for this radio. It has a 1.77-inch display. On the same note, this display has day and night mode so it is easy on your eyes all the time. In addition, it displays channel, time, date, frequency and other important details. It can display single or dual channels, depending on your programming.
This radio has a large internal space because you can store up to 4000 channels. You can also store up to 10,000 digital talk groups as well as 150,000 contacts. However, digital functionality does not end there. For instance, in DMR mode, you can make group calls, all calls, private calls, send text messages and do much more.
The AT-D868UV radio comes with a high capacity battery that has a rating of 3150mAh. In the same line, the battery can power the radio for up to 35 hours. In standby mode, it can stretch to more than a couple of days.
With TDMA technology, users on one frequency can divide the signal into different slots so that there is no interference in conversations. Finally, when you buy this radio, it comes with a free, BridgeCom University Course worth $50 to teach you how to use your radio.
One disadvantage with this radio is that soon after a firmware update, something always goes awry. For example, it can even affect the volume of your audio.
AnyTone AT-D868UV Firmware/Software
- Good for both digital and analog needs
- Comes ready to use out of the box with battery charged
- The user manual is easy to follow
- Waterproof and dustproof build
- The cost is a bit steep
If you have been searching for a handheld DMR radio that is Tier I and Tier II compatible, you might love this one. It comes with other useful features especially in digital mode.
What to Consider When Buying the Best DMR Radios
If you are looking for the first handheld DMR radio, you can find the waters a bit murky to navigate. However, the guidelines below should assist you to get a good dual band DMR radio.
If you are looking for a radio for personal use, look for one that does not require you to pay for software updates. The manufacturers of the radios that we reviewed in this article offer free software updates. However, there are still some companies out there that require you to pay a fee.
If you are looking for professional handheld DMR radios, perhaps a paid software update is better. That way, you are sure you won’t miss out on any important security patches.
In our DMR radio comparison, we have looked at some that come with 4000 channels yet others come with 1000 channels. In this case, the more you can get the better. Remember, for every talk group, for every color code and for every frequency, you will need a channel.
Most people consider this a convenient feature. However, eventually, radios with Bluetooth capability will be more popular than those without. With Bluetooth turned on, you can connect the radio to other Bluetooth devices such as speakers. Consequently, you can listen to a broadcast from the comfort of your sofa.
In addition, you can connect to your Bluetooth headset and listen without bothering people with radio chatter.
It is possible to find DMR radios for sale without display LCDs. Mostly, people who have been using these radios for a long time are not thrilled by fancy TFT, multi-color displays. Therefore, they go for non-display radios with knobs and buttons for setting things. However, if you like to know what channel, frequency, time or talk group you are on at a glance, get one with a display.
Most radios come with an integrated GPS function. Therefore, it is easy to keep track of the user. This feature is important for people going to undertake extreme adventures such as mountain climbing, mountain biking, backpacking and so on. Additionally, your network can allocate a time slot for the GPS to report your location.
However, since GPS consumes a lot of battery power, please ensure that you do not keep it on all the time.
Design and Build Quality
Although there is none in our review, some of the best DMR radios come in portable rather than mobile design. Portable designs are for people who stay grounded in one place for some time. However, for people who are always on the move, mobile designs are best because they are easy to move with. In addition, they do preserve battery power.
If you will be using the radio outdoors, consider the build quality. It should be sturdy and if possible, the manufacturer should offer a warranty of 12 or 24 months on the body. In addition, dustproof and waterproof ability are also important considerations.
If you are interested in waterproof radios, you can read our article: Best VHF Marine Radios.
By being a dual-band, it means that the radio runs on VHF and UHF frequencies. The former is recommended most of the time because it does not interfere with military installations and communications. Additionally, it is also good for long-distance communication. For indoor communication where you need to “breach” walls and buildings, you need to use UHF.
The DMR mobile radio for sale should be affordable, but it should also have all the features that you need. On the same note, some models cost well below $100 and some cost more than $300. If you are just getting into DMR radios, get a cheap one. You can upgrade to a bigger one later.
FAQS for DMR Radios
For first time buyers, finding the right digital mobile radio is always so confusing. Here are some of the questions that most newbie and even advanced users ask frequently:
What is a DMR radio?
DMR is an international radio standard for two-way radio communication. Because it is a standard, it means that radios manufactured by different brands can work in the same network and perform the functions that are defined within the said standard.
Because of its flexibility, DMR radio enthusiasts can buy their favorite radio irrespective of the manufacturer. Additionally, they can do that without being encumbered by systems that would otherwise lock them out.
The European Telecommunications Standards Institute gets the credit for creating and maintaining the DMR standard. Today, you can communicate over a digital radio.
How do I program my DMR Radio?
Every DMR radio comes with its software and if it does not, you are directed to the website from where you can download it.
- If the software came in a DVD, find out what system it is compatible with. For example, many are compatible with Windows computers. Install it onto the computer.
- Plug your radio in using the programming cable that it came with.
- Program in your DMR ID before everything else. After that, a program in the contacts
- Enter the channels
- Set the channels and frequency names
- Finally, write the data to the radio. Consequently, the settings are transferred to the radio
Do I need a license before I can operate my DMR Radio?
Not if you will be operating your radio under Tier I. This is mostly a preserve for amateurs and beginner radio enthusiasts and it is license-free.
However, to operate your DMR radio on Tier II and Tier III, you will need a license. In addition, licensing helps to keep your communication secure from hackers and other risks common with Tier I users.
Conclusion and Recommendation
If you have an analog mobile radio, it is time to upgrade to the best DMR radios and unlock many functions and features.
Besides, many of the DMR two way radios that you have seen here come with both DMR (digital) and analog functionalities.
Therefore, switching from analog to digital will be so easy and smooth.
From these DMR radio reviews, some are most appropriate for beginners. Others are appropriate for advanced users.
Our recommendation is Radioddity GD-77. It does not require you to get a license, it has many functions and programming is easy.