If you’re looking for a way to communicate when on an outdoor adventure, like a hiking trip, or you need communication at a workplace or industrial site, then a MURS radio could be the answer.
MURS, or Multi-Use Radio Service, is a system of communication using two-way radios. The MURS system was established specifically for short-range communications. Unlike other systems like ham radios, using a MURS mobile radio doesn’t require an FCC license.
MURS uses five authorized channels and is most common for short-distance, two-way communications.
You can use small, portable hand-held radios, similar to walkie-talkies, or a base station, giving options among tactical radios for civilians.
But not all MURS radios are the same. Let’s take a look at our top choices, and then some important considerations before you choose your MURS mobile radio.
Best MURS Radios
|1||BTech MURS-V1 MURS Radio||Buy On Amazon|
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|2||TERA TR-505 MURS Two-Way Radio||Buy On Amazon|
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Best For Higher Budgets3Motorola RMM2050 MURS Two-Way Radio
Best For Higher BudgetsMotorola RMM2050 MURS Two-Way Radio
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Best For Low Budgets4Dakota Alert M538-HT MURS Radio
Best For Low BudgetsDakota Alert M538-HT MURS Radio
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Best Overall5Retevis RT27V MURS Radio
Best OverallRetevis RT27V MURS Radio
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|6||Dakota Alert M538-BS MURS Radio||Buy On Amazon|
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1. BTech MURS-V1 MURS Radio
- This device has 3 banks of 5 channels each.
- Users can switch between 2W and 500mW power modes.
- It comes with 50 CTCSS privacy tones.
- This radio is PC-programmable for hands-free voice activation.
This radio from Btech comes with 15 two-way channels that you can program for private communication.
It has a full keypad and LED display that provides information about the channels you are using. The keypad can be programmed for simplified operation, which is helpful if you are keeping your employees on a single channel.
You can customize audio and tri-color LED alerts, including privacy tones. The antenna is removable, so you can switch it out for a different model if you prefer. You can also program it for hands-free use.
- A large number of privacy tones help you keep your communications discreet.
- This device can watch two channels at the same time so you won’t miss important alerts.
- It is compatible with all MURS devices and some Kenwood products as well.
- Two power modes help you save battery without compromising performance when you need it.
- The clip, buttons, and other external features aren’t as durable as some other models.
2. TERA TR-505 MURS Two-Way Radio
- Full 4 watts of transmit power increases the range and coverage area
- Select the low power 1 watt setting for shorter range communications
- Built-in channel lock feature
- Rugged design
This ruggedly designed, compact radio comes pre-programmed with 16 General Mobile Radio Service channels.
It features both repeater and direct handheld to handheld communications. It’s easy to operate in any conditions with top-mounted volume and channel knobs, and a built-in channel lock feature.
Choose the option for greater range with UHF channels and a full 4 watts of power output, allowing you to communicate up to 10 miles depending on the terrain. Or, choose the low power 1 watt setting providing for shorter range communications such as MURS.
You can also purchase an optional USB programming cable so that you can program MURS license-free VHF operation channels.
A free MURS programming file is available for download. It’s ready to use with a Lithium-ion rechargeable battery, giving you up to 30 hours of operation between charges.
It comes with a 2-hour desk charger, flexible antenna, belt clip and operations manual.
- Pre-programmed with 16 General Mobile Radio Service channels and split frequency programming
- Compact size
- Easy to use top mounted volume and channel knobs
- Built-in voice announce feature for memory channel, battery level, hi/low power, channel lock/unlock and scan on/off status
- Have to purchase the optional USB programming cable. A free MURS programming file is available for download, or you program the MURS license free VHF operation channels
- Low setting saves power but also reduces range
3. Motorola RMM2050 MURS Two-Way Radio
- Rugged design
- 219 private line/privacy codes
- 6 customizable codes
- Tested using Motorola’s Accelerated Life Testing (ALT) that simulates up to 5 years of field use
This ultra durable two-way radio is great for industrial and other work purposes but also built for adventures. It meets military specifications as it’s sealed against dust, wind, shock, vibration and more.
These radios also undergo the exclusive testing by Motorola known as Accelerated Life Testing (ALT), which simulates up to five years of field use.
It features Business Exclusive Frequencies, with 5 MURS FCC license free frequencies, and 219 private line codes, including 6 customizable codes.
It also has a powerful 1500 mW speaker, creating clear communication without feedback even in noisy conditions.
There’s also an advanced voice activation allowing for hands-free operation, with or without any optional accessories.
The 2 Watt power provides coverage up to 220,000 square feet or 13 floors of a building. It’s also protected by an antimicrobial coating to prevent germs and mold on the radio’s surface.
- Powerful 1500 mW speaker for clear communication even in noisy conditions
- Antimicrobial coating to help prevent germs and any growth of mold on the surface of the radio
- Military specifications for sealing, including protection against dust, wind, shock, humidity, temperature ranges, vibration and other adverse conditions
- Advanced Voice Activation allows for hands-free operation
- Pricier than some of the other options
- There’s a chance you could lose power during use, with no way to re-power other than by plugging it in to charge
4. Dakota Alert M538-HT MURS Radio
- VHF (Very High Frequency) radio
- Operates in 151.820-154.600 MHz frequencies
- Earphone jack for private listening
- Can also be used to communicate with the M538-BS base station
This MURS radio is capable of two-way conversations, acting as a transceiver. That means you can transmit messages but you can also receive messages, including alerts from the MURS alert transmitter.
In fact, it has long-range wireless operation that will receive an alert message up to 2 miles away.
The unit sounds off with the voice alert signal when an alert signal is received, and it displays an alert icon as a visual cue that an alert signal has been received.
It’s ideal for work settings like construction sites or property management, where staff can talk to each other using multiple radios. Also good for outdoor adventures.
With 5 channels and 38 privacy sub-channels, you can be sure the wireless conversations are clear and secure. It’s also equipped with an earphone jack for private listening.
- Features 5 MURS channels and their 38 privacy sub-channels
- Two-way conversations as it will transmit and receive messages from other Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS) units
- Will receive alert signals from the MURS Alert transmitter
- Receives alert messages up to 2 miles away
- Not as rugged as other models
- Can’t upgrade the antenna as with other models
5. Retevis RT27V MURS Radio
- Comes as a set of two
- Each radio has its own charging cradle
- Comes with a USB plug and adapter for car charging
- Has a time out timer
This set has two MURS radios included, with each having their own charging cradle. They also include a USB plug and adapter, allowing you to charge it in the car between uses.
Another bonus are the earpieces included with each radio. The noise reduction ear plugs provide crisp sound even in noisy environments, making them perfect for industrial use while also having enough range to use outdoors.
The sound is transmitted to the ear plug via a transparent tube that uses air to transmit sound. That makes the sound quality superior to a metal wire earpiece.
There are also clips to allow the earpiece to be attached to a collar or shirt. It comes with the required rechargeable battery that provides about 10-12 hours of use between charges.
- Comes with an earplug for each radio
- Sound is transmitted to the ear plug via a transparent tube that uses air to transmit
- Also comes with clips to hold the earpiece wire in place
- Noise reduction earpiece provides excellent sound even in a noisy environment like a warehouse
- Antenna is not removable
- No channel indicator; the radio reads the channel to you as you move the knob
6. Dakota Alert M538-BS MURS Radio
- Wireless two-way communications device
- Powered by a plug-in transformer
- Receives alert signals from the MURS Alert transmitter
- Pair with a Dakota hand-held radio to allow people in the house to communicate with those outside
A bit different from a hand-held radio, this MURS option is a wireless base station that functions as a transceiver.
It wirelessly transmits and receives messages, such as from other MURS radio units.
It will also receive alert signals from the MURS Alert transmitter, providing the voice of the alert signal as well as displaying an alert icon as a visual cue that a signal has been received.
It features five channels and 38 privacy codes, allowing for clearer conversations. Has a range of 2 miles with open sight lines, and as with other MURS radios, doesn’t require a FCC licence.
Powered by a plug-in transformer. It also has a normally open (N/O) relay output that can connect the base station to other existing systems like doorbells and alarm panels.
Or, use it in conjunction with the Dakota hand-held radio, allowing people in the house or shop to communicate with those in the field.
- Range of 2 miles
- 5 channels
- 38 privacy codes
- It can be connected to other systems like doorbells and alarm panels
- Not as portable as a hand-held radio
- Need open sight lines for full range
MURS Radio Buying Guide
What Is MURS Radio?
The Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS) provides five channels for communicating without the requirement of a licence from the FCC (Federal Communications Commission).
With these MURS channels, users can communicate with a two-way radio, which looks just like a walkie-talkie, or by using a base station.
MURS is ideal for off-the-grid trips, so you don’t have to rely on cellular service. It’s also good for workplaces like warehouses, hotels, or other large industrial centers.
With privacy codes, you can communicate privately among your colleagues, although MURS is not secure enough for sharing sensitive information.
The privacy codes basically separate your conversation from others on the channel. MURS is most commonly used to accomplish short-distance, two-way communications.
The first key to using a MURS radio is to be sure the radio you’re purchasing is intended for use on the MURS system.
While some may require a download to operate on the MURS channels, you can’t use a ham radio, for instance, to transmit on MURS channels. So make sure you get one that’s specifically built for MURS frequencies.
Here are the other MURS rules:
- The radios must use this narrow selection of VHF band channels, with a power limit of 2 watts.
- MURS stations may not be connected to the public telephone network.
- MURS radios may not be used for store and forward operations.
- Radio repeaters are not permitted.
- Users can be any age and they can be used for personal or business use, but they cannot be used by a representative of a foreign government.
The MURS technology transmits on 5 VHF or Very High Frequency channels. Audio quality is usually very good, since there are codes in each channel that blocks other signals.
The MURS frequencies separate your use from the otherwise busy frequency.
Also, because MURS uses those standard frequencies, most radios and base stations that use MURS are compatible with each other, regardless of the brand.
You can also purchase accessories, or look for radios that include accessories, which can include car chargers and earpieces.
GMRS Vs MURS
General Mobile Radio Service or GMRS is sometimes confused with MURS, but it is different. The most significant difference is that you need a license from the FCC to operate a GMRS system.
GMRS is also used for two-way communications and also typically over shorter distances. The system includes station operators as well as a mobile station that includes one or more mobile units.
Land stations may operate as repeaters that will extend the range, and the GMRS units often include detachable antennas that transmit at higher powers.
MURS radios are typically built to be durable and withstand use and abuse. Here are a couple of key considerations:
MURS radios are typically equipped with rechargeable batteries and come with a charging station.
Some also include the ability to charge it with a car adapter, allowing you to re-charge while on the road. Battery life will range from 8-30+ hours, which will vary depending on the signal strength and usage.
A feature of some radios is the IP or Ingress Protection rating. This is used to determine the level of seal of the appliance. You use the IP rating to determine the ruggedness of the radio in challenging environments.
An IP rating features a 2 digit number, with the first number being the level of intrusion protection, meaning how well it’s protected against dust, drops and bumps, and the second digit being the moisture protection level. The higher the number, the better the radio is protected.
For instance, an intrusion protection level of 6 means the radio is sealed tight against dust; a moisture protection level of 8 means it is protected against prolonged immersion in water. So a radio with an rating of IP68 would be extremely durable.
While not all radios have IP ratings included in their packaging, if you’re looking to use yours in extreme conditions, you may want to look for one with a high IP rating.
MURS Radios Range
The usual range of communications between MURS stations is less than a few miles. You can also connect a MURS radio to an external antenna, which allows you to extend the range to ten miles or more.
Typically, the maximum range of 2-3 miles is under ideal conditions with clear sight lines. More typical is a range of 1-1.5 miles. And if you’re in the great outdoors with trees and hills, range is cut down to about ¼ to ½ mile.
MURS channels are in the 151 – 154 MHz spectrum range. The five channels are either 11.25 kHz or 20.00 kHz each.
Here are the MURS channel frequencies and their bandwidths:
- 151.820 MHz (11.25 kHz)
- 151.880 MHz (11.25 kHz)
- 151.940 MHz (11.25 kHz)
- 154.570 MHz (20.00 kHz)
- 154.600 MHz (20.00 kHz)
While MURS has five channels, there are also privacy codes or private line codes that make them even better for communicating.
Privacy codes are sub-audible tones that allow users to communicate on the same channel as other users, without hearing their chatter. In other words, you set two radios to the same privacy code and you get a clear signal without the “party line” effect of multiple users on the same channel.
While the conversation is not private, other groups would have to input the same privacy or PL code to hear your conversation.
There are 38 privacy or PL codes available on each of the five MURS channels, which makes for a total of 190 different possible channels. That doesn’t mean you want to discuss sensitive information, but it does mean you can communicate clearly with another party using the same code.
Like any technology, there’s a range of price options for MURS radios. Some of the well-known brands have a high price tag. A high IP rating will sometimes mean a higher cost.
And then there are packages of multiple radios that obviously would cost a little more. You should be able to find something for every budget.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most of our MURS radio choices come with the 5 MURS channels, and you simply switch among the 5 channels to find the one you want to use.
But there are a few that have other options, such as General Mobile Radio Service channels, and require a download of MURS programming.
In that case, it’s best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific unit, allowing you to add MURS channels to the radio. It’s even better to ensure you purchase a radio that already has the MURS channel capacity.
MURS radios provide an easy and reliable way to communicate at short distances, without worrying about using a cellular phone, and without having a licence from the FCC.
With a variety of brands and price ranges, there’s a MURS radio for every use, whether that’s off-the-grid hiking, management of a large warehouse, or tending to a farm or ranch.
MURS radios can also be built durable enough for outdoor adventures. And with a relatively long life between charges, they should be good for a day of hiking or an overnight camping trip.
Whatever you decide on for your MURS radio or base station, you can’t go wrong with our selection.