2 Way Radio Buying Guide
Two-way radios are an easy way to maintain direct communication where cell phones fall short. Cell phones are subject to dropped calls, network failures, and even reception problems in some work environments. To boot, in the workplace, having cell phones to every employees ear isn't always a great way to optimize productivity. Businesses from public schools, correctional facilities and government building (and many more) have been using two way radios over cell phones for many years. It is important however, to note that not all two way radios are created equally. It is important to analyze your personal needs as well as the broader market of radios, before making your decision.
Two-way have two different bands readily available: the Family Radio Service (FRS) and the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS). GMRS does however require a special license due to it's much longer range of up to 25 miles. It has the option of a removable antenna. FRS radios do not require any special license, but can only transmit within a one mile radius.
One of the most common considerations with two-way radios is the lack of privacy. Anyone can chime in when you are on an open radio frequency, by simply tuning into the same channel. If privacy is important for you, then you would be wise to look at radios that have privacy features. People will still be able to tune into the same channel as you, but the voices will be scrambled and impossible for people to decrypt the conversation.
Two-way radios most typically operate on battery power. However, there are different kinds of batteries that power two-way radios today. There is the most standard alkaline batteries that you can buy in any store. Obviously this isn't always convenient. Most two-way radios get a lot of use and having to replace them with pricey convenient store batteries isn't ideal. There are however radios that run on rechargeable nickel cadmium batteries and can be powered up from a charging stand or wall wort style charger. Some radios will even operate on BOTH giving you options. The most modern radios operate with lithium-ion batteries which are not only more lightweight, long-lasting, but typically the best choice for anyone. Many consumer products like portable ipod docks and such, have adopted using lithium-ion batteries for thier longevity and recharge ability. Lithium-ion batteries degrade less over time, compared to other kinds of rechargeable batteries.
Higher end two way radios will simply put, have more features. Transcending simply communicating, business two way radios can be used as a tool for many purposes on the job. Some of these features would include digital clocks, altimeters (for telling altitude), compasses, thermometers, barometers and recently GPS units for complete satelite navigation and tracking. Weather alerts are also something that has been seen in some models. There are radios for different types of sensitive and hazardous work places as well, so areas you wouldn't normally want or allow electronics can now have two way radio functionality as well.
The price of a two-way radio is a complex reflection of the afore mentioned aspects. With so many features and radios built for so many different jobs and workplaces, it is best to do your research and find one that does the job and meets your budget. From a recent statistic gathered in 2010, two-way radios were ranging from $50 (very low end) to $250 for higher powered, feature-robust models. Be sure to shop around and find one that works well for your criteria.
So you've spoken with a traditional radio salesmen. Perhaps you have been working with him for years and he has one opinion: Motorola. Maybe he is an outside the box thinker and has even suggested other less-known brands and in turn offering you some kind of a savings when compared to the mother of two-way radios that is motorola. Fortunately, you don't have to rely on this particular salesmen opinion if you can stand a little number crunching and research. The truth is, brands like Hytera and Ritron, while less known than their counterpart are statistically identical. What about quality and longevity? With readily available manufacturer and even company-side warranties like the one offered here at MyTwoWayRadios.com -- you don't have to worry about longevity.
You can turn that savings towards a warranty and have peace of mind, flexibility and more options. Many off-brand radios have been greatly received by users who branch out and try them. When you get down to the science of two-way radios and what is inside of them, they are rather simple pieces of electronics. While Motorola makes amazing radios, so do many other companies. So crunch the numbers, use compare and contrast systems and see which radio fits the mold you are looking for. We always encourage our customers to leave reviews for this very same reason; to educate others who are in the same dilemma that you were once in when shopping for an off-brand radio.