Baofeng UV-5R vs GT-5R – Which one should you buy?

The Baofeng UV-5R and the Baofeng GT-5R are closely related, yet one does have the edge over the other, as any user who has used the two will quickly notice.

While the Baofeng UV-5R is an excellent entry-level ham radio, some users have had complaints. Apart from having a few legal concerns, some users think it’s worth nothing more than its low price.

The GT-5R, the UV-5R’s successor, comes with several upgrades to address its predecessor’s shortfalls. Amateur radio operators will want to know that much as the GT-5R bears the Baofeng name. Radioddity spearheaded the upgrade project to bring about the performance differences between the two.

Yet, you may wonder if the said enhancements actually make the GT-5R better than the UV-5R or if they solve the former’s shortcomings. Let’s take a quick look at the two products.

Table of Contents

Key features of the Baofeng UV-5R and the GT-5R

SpecificationBaofeng UV-5RBaofeng GT-5R
Frequency RangeVHF / UHF
144-148 MHz
400-480 MHz ⭐
Transmit Output Power5 watts5 watts
Voltage4 volts7.4 volts
PTTSingle and DualSingle and Dual
LicenseNo License to Receive Amateur Individual License FCC (Part 15b)No License to Receive
Amateur Individual License FCC (Part 15b, Part 97)
Weight340 grams
12 ounces
227 grams
8 ounces

Baofeng UV-5R Two Way Radio Dual Band 144-148/420-450Mhz Walkie Talkie 1800mAh Li-ion Battery(Black)

Differences between the Baofeng UV-5R and the Baofeng GT-5R

  • The difference in frequency ranges means that the Baofeng GT-5R eliminates the spurious FCC frequency guideline violating emissions that many UV-5R users had complained about.
  • GT-5R also has an FCC compliant RF section that the UV-5R lacked. It also strictly transmits on the ham bands and is made to expressly limit spurious emissions (transmission on federal, police, and other public service bands).
  • The Baofeng GT-5R complies with the FCC Equipment rule (Part 15B) and is licensed with the FCC ID: ZP5BF-5 RA(TX), unlike the Baofeng UV-5R.
  • The difference in watts means that the Baofeng UV-5R will cover less distance than what the Baofeng GT-5R will cover (up to 40 {20 miles more} miles depending on the region).
  • The Baofeng GT-5R strictly transmits only on the bands between the 144-148MHz for the VHF and the 420-450MHz for the UHF even though it receives outside of these frequencies; UV-5R strays beyond these bands from time to time.
  • The GT-5R works with 6 AA alkaline batteries enclosed in an AA case if one does not want to use its original battery or needs a replacement.

BAOFENG GT-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio 144-148/420-450MHz, FCC Compliant Version of Baofeng UV-5R, Ham Radio Handheld for Adults, Supports Chirp

Product similarities

  • The Baofeng UV-5R and the Baofeng GT-5R still use a single UV-5R license (FCC ID: 2AJGM-UV5R) that all previous versions have been using. This practice is not entirely legal (and for which the GT-5R has also been faulted), even though the latter now meets the ham band transmission standard. The manufacturers would need an additional independent GT-5R license to cover Part 90 (and not their UV-5R license, which they have used on over 30 ham radio variations that each require a separate FCC license).
  • Both devices have a straightforward menu through the LCD, with which a user can program them. They both can also be configured with the aid of a computer using the Chirp software (even though the GT-5R does not come with a programming cable which you need to acquire separately).
  • Both are dual-band ham radios supporting the VHF and UHF radio frequencies
  • Their monitor function allows you to access the voice enhancement capability in the case of weak signals. Both also have removable antennas, which you can replace with more robust third-party antennas to enhance their signals even further.
  • Both have a flashlight that helps provide primary light and also work as an SOS tool when set to blink continuously
  • Their keypads can both be locked to prevent accidentally switching channels as you operate them
  • Their VOX functionality allows for hands-free use as you drive or go about other errands
  • Both have the Squelch function, which helps reduce unnecessary channel noise when there’s no transmission

What users say

Baofeng UV-5R

Most users agree that the Baofeng UV-5R is a powerful and worthwhile acquisition if you seek to meet your ham radio needs. Despite coming at a pocket-friendly price, it continuously and consistently receives broadcasts from over 20 miles away.

The provision to accessorize it due to its removable antenna and battery guarantee a user receives much better signal reception and battery life. Its advanced features and beginner friendliness make it an excellent choice for both experts and beginners who have just passed their tech license exam.


Multiple users complained about the Baofeng UV-5R’s inability to transmit through the GMRS, FRS, and MURS frequencies (FCC locked), only transmitting on channel mode. The same users, though, admit that they did receive via those frequencies – one-way usage. Many users also complained about the spurious emissions beyond the recommended ham radio bands. As it is, the UV-5R is not an FCC compliant device.

Many other users advised that it’s best to acquire it if you possess or plan on possessing a Ham operator license. The license allows one to unlock access to the MURS, FRS, and GMRS frequencies since you will be meeting FCC regulations without power and band limitations.

Baofeng GT-5R

Many users commended the Baofeng GT-5R for being quality, worth their while, and delivering just as promised despite being cheap. Users attest that they do not need to reprogram the GT-5R since it doesn’t transmit on any unlicensed channels or frequencies, even though users can program channels within the stated frequencies.

A few other users complained about the GT-5R though finding one specific shortcoming was challenging since complaints were unrelated.

Which device you should choose – Our verdict

Before zeroing down on either the Baofeng UV-5R or the Baofeng GT-5R, you should consider; what your ham radio needs are, whether or not you hold a license, and if you’d like to meddle in configuration.

The Baofeng UV-5R is transmit locked to meet the FCC regulation for GMRS, FRS, and MURS frequencies that need licensing to access. Keep in mind users’ complaints about it occasionally transmitting on public service bands.

The Baofeng GT-5R, on the other hand, only transmits within the ham radio bands and nothing more. Entry-level amateur radio users who don’t wish to run the risk of unlawful transmissions should consider the GT-5R, which will keep transmission within ham radio bands.

BAOFENG UV-5R Ham Radio 8W Long Range UV5R Dual Band Handheld Rechargeable Walkie Talkies Two Way Radio Portable Radio Full Kit,2Pack