FRS, GMRS, & MURS – Which Two- Way Radio is Best for You?

When out on the trail, working somewhere private, or just travelling somewhere remote, two-way communication requires a tool that’s durable, wide-range, and holds a reliable signal. Two-way radios deliver in every aspect, but each radio varies in quality and performance. The question is which two-way radio best suits your needs- FRS, GMRS, or MURS?

FRS Radios

Family Range Service (or FRS) radios are ideal for recreational use as they’re affordable, don’t require any licensing to use, and reach a range at about one to two miles. Beginners may want to consider a FRS radio, as they can still communicate up to a two mile distance without fear of interfering with other frequencies. Keep in mind, FRS radios aren’t ideal for communicating through obstacles, so talking across walls might prove challenging. FRS is best for casual use and short distances, very handy for camping trips or a weekend out at the cabin.

GMRS Radios

For those in need of a larger range, General Mobile Range Service (or GMRS) radios are a better option. GMRS radios have all the capabilities of FRS radios, but they can also be modified to reach larger ranges and access other frequencies. One important detail to remember is that GMRS radios require an FCC license to use, but in return they provide crisper audio quality and larger ranges of communications. GMRS radios tend to have a larger range by comparison to FRS radios, but that will also depend on terrain and elevation. People planning to really test the durability, range, and strength of signal, will want to consider a GMRS radio.

MURS Radios

If privacy is a concern, there’s always Multi-Use Radio Services (or MURS) radios. Good for business or personal use, these two-way radios can communicate a range of 2-8 miles or more (if connected to an antenna) and don’t require a FCC license. MURS radios also offer PL (or Private Line) codes which allow users to filter unwanted noise traffic and tune to channels that they want to hear. MURS radios provide a solid middle-ground option in terms of audio quality and range of service.

Competitive Analysis

There’s still much to consider between FRS, GMRS, and MURS. Deciding which two-way radio best works for you depends entirely on how you plan to use it, where you’re going, and, of course, your budget. Here is a competitive analysis of the three different radio types.

FRS RadioGMRS RadioMURS Radio
Range2 miles or less2-20 miles2-8 miles
Cost$30-$60$70-$140$45-$90
ApplicationsRecreational, family trips, campingHunting and hiking trips, camping travelingPrivate, business uses, campus uses, security
License requirementsNot requiredFCC license requiredNot required
Build qualityNot very durable, as they’re not built with high quality componentsMore durable, compared to FRS. GMRS radios are built for frequent use and to be in rugged terrainWill depend on price. MURS radios are generally used for short-distance communication on private properties
PerksAffordable, accessible, and requires no FCC license to operateMore durable, larger range, better audio qualityGood middle-range, filters unwanted chatter

Frequently Asked Questions

Still need some help?  Make sure to read below for the following answers.

Which two way radio has the longest range?

GMRS radios with a range of up to 20 miles have the longest range.

Which is the best radio for business application?

MURS radios are the best radios for business applications.

Which is better, GMRS or FRS?

Better depends on what you need. FRS radios are great for recreational use and don’t require a license. GMRS radios have a larger range, and slightly better audio quality, but require an FCC license to operate.

Can GMRS talk to FRS?

Yes. GMRS and FRS share channels that overlap each other.

Are FRS and GMRS frequencies the same?

Yes, however, GMRS frequencies have access to channels within those frequencies that FRS radios do not.

Do you need a license for GMRS?

Yes. A FCC license is required to operate GMRS radios.

How much is a GMRS license?

The FCC currently charges $70 for a GMRS license. You can sign up for a GMRS license here.

Is a GMRS license worth it?

Yes. A GMRS license is good for 10 years and at $70 it’s only $7 per year. GMRS has many advantages over other communication systems.

Can I use Ham radio on GMRS frequencies?

No. It’s illegal to use Ham radio on GMRS frequencies.

What is the best GMRS channel for range?

In general, the more power, the more range. The best channels for range, are the channels that allow a high-power mode on your GMRS radio. These are channel numbers higher than 15. The frequencies of these channels range from 462.55 MHz to 467.7250 MHz.

What is the frequency range for GMRS?

462-467 MHz.

What are MURS frequencies?

151-154 MHz.

Is MURS better than FRS?

Yes. If you’re willing to spend a little more, MURS radios have more power by comparison to FRS radios. MURS radios also have better antennas to improve range, especially if the terrain is hilly or elevated.

What is the difference between GMRS and Ham Radio?

GMRS radios require one license to operate, which can be renewed every 10 years. Ham radio, or amateur radio, is used by hobbyists, who need to pass an exam (sometimes multiple) and get a ham license to operate.

Summary

Selecting the best two-way radio comes down to what you need and what you’re willing to pay, which is why we did the research for you. Whether it’s a FRS, GMRS, or MURS, two-way radio, all options have their perks and uses. Choose wisely!