The Best Two Way Radios to Buy in 2021

Updated 12/2020

Best Two Way Radios to Buy in 2021

Jumping in to 2021

Closing the door on a year like 2020 can be a difficult task. Maybe you weren’t so lucky to keep up with the expectations set at the beginning of the year. You’re looking ahead to 2021 projections. You’re thinking, “How can I blow these goals out of the water to make up that lost ground?”

Optimizing your communications with a two way radio system might be the way to help you reach your aspirations. Now your wondering, “Well, which two way radios would be better for me?” I created this article to help with just that. I will provide you with what I believe is the best radio option for several different scenarios.

We will look at:

Best All-Around Two Way Radio

Best Two Way Radio for Small Businesses

Best Rugged Two Way Radio

Best Two Way Radio for Rural Use

Best FCC License Free Two Way Radios

Best Straight Forward Two Way Radio

Best Compact Two Way Radio

Best Two Way Radio on a Budget

Best High-Powered Mobile Two Way Radio

Let’s find out the top picks!

Best All-Around Two Way Radio

The Motorola XPR 3500e
Motorola XPR 3500e

This radio is easily my top pick for the best all-around two way radio for 2021. The XPR 3500e comes standard with some pretty great stuff while also providing you the option to upgrade its software for even more advanced features. It’s digital 4 Watt power capacity provides exceptional range and has Bluetooth 4.0 technology for crystal clear voice calling. That coupled with its 19-hour standard battery life ensures peace of mind that your communications systems are all in working order.

For the latest pricing on the Motorola XPR3500e follow the link and add it to your cart or give us a call at (888) 733-7681!

Motorola XPR3500e Features

  • Digital/Analog Transmissions
  • 128 Channels
  • Light-up LED display with limited keypad
  • 19-hour battery life (26 hours with High Capacity Battery Upgrade)
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • IP67 Dust and Waterproof
  • 5 Year Warranty
  • Intrinsically Safe (UL Rated) Option Available
  • IP site connect Optional add-on
  • Capacity Plus Optional add-on
  • Linked Capacity Plus Optional add-on

The Motorola XPR 7550e
Motorola XPR 7550e

If you’re in the market for the ‘Great Bambino’ of two way radios, look no further than the XPR7550e. This elite two way radio comes fully equipped with anything you could want in a push-to-talk system. Its full keyboard gives you the functionality to navigate your two way radio unrivaled by other models.

Meant for those who mean business, the Motorola XPR 7550e comes standard with the advanced systems technologies of IP site connect, Capacity Plus, and Linked Capacity Plus. Additionally, the XPR7550e touts Motorola’s Wave OnCloud function enabling you to seamlessly integrate broadband users into your talkgroups eliminating communications barriers between your office spaces and your industrial operations.

Follow the link for the Motorola XPR 7550e and add it to your cart or call us at (888) 733-7681 for current pricing!

Motorola XPR 7550e Features

  • Digital/Analog Transmissions
  • 1000 Channels
  • 4 Watt (UHF, 5 Watt (VHF) Max Capacity
  • IP68 Dust and Waterproof
  • 21-hour standard battery life (28-hour with Hight-Capacity Battery Upgrade)
  • Full-Color Display
  • Full keypad
  • Orange Dedicated Emergency Button
  • 5 Year Warranty
  • Conventional analog/digital
  • IP site connect
  • Capacity plus
  • Linked capacity plus
  • Wave OnCloud
  • Connect plus (enabled version)
  • Capacity max (enabled version)
  • Intrinsically Safe (UL Rated) Option Available

Best Two Way Radios for a Small Business

The Motorola SL300 (left) and Motorola SL3500e (right)

Motorola SL300 Motorola SL3500e

Not all of us need all the crazy cool stuff that the higher tiered XPR models can accomplish. Some advanced features yes, but our needs don’t call for full keypads and Wave OnCloud technology. That’s why I chose the SL300 and SL3500e as the best two way radios for small businesses in 2021. Both of these radios come in a sleek design that fits perfectly into professional attire, allowing you discreet communication while also being durable and built to last.

The Motorola SL3500e is perfect for managers and team leaders with its higher functionality, while the SL300 can be utilized for team members who do not need access to the more advanced features that come with the SL3500e; making this pair of two way radios perfect for educational institutions, the hospitality industries, events, and retail businesses.

To get the latest pricing for the Motorola SL300 and the Motorola SL3500e follow the links and add them to your cart or as always you can call (888) 733-7681 and someone will be happy to help you out.

Motorola SL300 Features Motorola SL3500e Features
Digital or analog transmissions Digital and analog transmissions
2 or 99 channels 128 channels
LED dot matrix display (99 channel models) Display and limited keypad
14 hours of battery life (display model) and 15 hours (no display) 13 hours of battery life
2 year Motorola warranty 5 year Motorola warranty
3 watts (digital) 2 watts (analog) max power output 3 watts (digital) 2 watts (analog) max power output
4 programmable buttons

Best Rugged Two Way Radios

The ICOM F3400d/F4400d
ICOM F3400d/F4400d

For those of you who are really going to be putting your two way radios through the wringer, I have chosen the ICOM F3400d/F4400d (VHF/UHF) radio as the best rugged two way radio for 2021. Built to handle inhospitable conditions, this two way radio provides advanced features like trunking capability and Bluetooth Audio as well as exceptional range with its 5 Watt power output all in a slim package.

It’s smaller design lets the radio be more manageable on the job while not sacrificing any durability with its IP68 dust and waterproof rating, as well as meeting military specs for toughness.

At, you can find the F3400d/F4400d with a price range of $640 with no display (pictured above) up to $705 equipped with a full-color display and full keypad.

ICOM F3400d/F4400d Features

  • Digital/Analog Transmission
  • 5 Watt Max Power output
  • 32 Channels
  • 10 Hour Battery Life
  • IP68 Dust and Waterproof
  • Active Noise Cancelling for clear audio
  • Bluetooth Capable
  • Meets MIL-STD-810-C, D, E, F, and G
  • 2 Year Warranty
  • High-Resolution Color Display Option Available
  • Limited and Full Keypad Options Available

If your looking at the $640 price tag for the standard ICOM F3400d/F4400d and thinking, “That’s a bit too high especially considering I don’t need some of the more advanced features it comes with.” I completely understand, another great option for a rugged radio in 2021 would be the
The Motorola XPR 3300e
Motorola XPR 3300e

The XPR3300e is another fully functional rugged radio that has a bit fewer features but still comes fully equipped to handle your harsh environment. This model is rated IP67 for Dust and Waterproof and has a military testing rating of 810D, 810E. So slightly less waterproof, slightly less tough, but can still handle most anything you throw at it.

You can check the current pricing for the Motorola XPR 3300e on our website by adding it to your cart, or calling in at (888) 733-7681.

Best Two Way Radio for Rural Use

The Motorola CP200d (VHF)
Motorola CP200d

For the best two way radio for rural use, I am going with the Motorola CP200d (VHF option). In general, when you find yourself in a sparse open area like on a large farm or out on open water you’re gonna want to operate using the VHF spectrum. The wavelengths in VHF are ideal for open areas and can significantly increase your range in those areas. The CP200d is a great cost-effective choice to ensure you are connected with your team without being bogged down with extra frills you don’t need.

If you find you are still in a rural area but are more surrounded by forests or dynamic terrain, I would still recommend the CP200d but would suggest you go for the UHF option instead. VHF radios are very line-of-sight dependant and while you might lose a little range with UHF, the wavelengths at the higher frequencies will do better navigating shifting terrain.

Motorola CP200d Features

  • Digital or analog transmissions
  • 16 channels
  • UHF (403-470 MHz) or VHF (136-174 MHz) frequency bands
  • 2 programmable buttons
  • 4 watts (UHF) or 5 watts (VHF) max power output
  • 15 hours of battery life (digital mode)
  • IP54 rated - splashproof and virtually dustproof
  • 2 year Motorola warranty

Best FCC License Free Two Way Radios

For Cities: The Motorola DTR700 For Suburbs/Rural areas: The Kenwood NX-P500
Motorola DTR700 Kenwood NX-P500

Now, not everybody needs to get all fancy with their high powered 5 Watt radios like the ones I’ve been talking about. While those two way radios provide you with a lot, the price tag and hassle of acquiring an FCC license for those models can be too much of a headache. That’s why I am giving you the best FCC license-free two way radios, which are the DTR700 for use in cities and the NX-P500 for suburban/rural areas.

Utilizing the 900 MHz frequency, the Motorola DTR700 is able to punch through the floors of high-rise buildings and get your messages to the nearby warehouse staff. It also offers you a limited keypad with a color display for more functionality. It’s hard to beat the DTR700, for non-licensed two way radios.

For the latest pricing on the Motorola DTR700, follow the links and add it to your cart, or call (888) 733-7681

While the DTR700 is perfect for city use, sometimes we find ourselves to be a bit more spread out in suburban or rural areas. That’s where the DTR700 will fall short due to its 900mhz operating frequency. Great for punching, not so much for long-distance. For suburbs and rural areas, I reccommend going with the Kenwood NX-P500 for your non-licensed option. It operates in the UHF range, giving your calls the ability to travel farther while losing a bit of the capacity to go through dense materials. The NX-P500 is also incredibly small and lightweight at only 5.64 oz, making it an ideal portable for having to carry around all day.

Great features along with a great price point, at you can pick up your Kenwood NX-P500 today for only $210!

Motorola DTR700 Features Kenwood NX-P500 Features
Digital Transmission Digital or Analog Transmission
50 Channels 6 Preprogrammed Channels (99 presets available
1 Watt Max Power Output 2 Watt Max Power Output
16 Hour Battery Life 15.5 Hour Battery Life
Full-Graphic Color Display 7 Color LED notification light
IP54 Splashproof and Virtually Dustproof IP67 Water and Dust Proof
2 Year Warranty 2 Year Warranty

Best Straight Forward Two Way Radio

The Kenwood PKT-23
Kenwood PKT-23

If you are looking for a no-frills, get my message out and be small while doing it, two way radio, theres no better option than the PKT-23. I chose this model for the best straight forward two way radio because you get what you see with this guy.

With its minimalistic button layout and super tiny profile, this two way radio is there to get the job done without making a fuss. Its analog-only transmission means you are even less dependant on the digital realm where at times things can get a little temperamental. Also, with a profile smaller than a credit card, this radio can easily fit in your pocket without restricting movement.

You can pick up your Kenwood PKT-23 for the low price of $145 at!

Kenwood PKT-23 Features

  • Digital or analog transmissions
  • 6 preprogrammed channels (99 presets available)
  • UHF (450-470 MHz) frequency band
  • 2 watt max power output
  • 7 Color LED notification light
  • 15.5 hours of battery life
  • Lightweight 5.64oz (160g) design
  • IP67 rated - water and dustproof
  • 2 year warranty

Best Compact Two Way Radio

The Motorola EVX-S24
Motorola EVX-S24

Some of us just need efficient, reliable communication with our coworkers maybe in a design that doesn’t clip every corner you go around. For the best compact two way radio in 2021, I have chosen the EVX-S24. This little radio packs a punch while only being 3 1/2 inches tall and just over 1 inch thick! It boasts a 3 Watt max power output providing a surprisingly large range for such a tiny radio over a 256 channels!. Don’t sacrifice any functionality in your compact two way radio with the EVX-S24. 

The Kenwood PKT-23, in the section above, is another solid choice for a compact two way radio, It is even smaller than the EVX-S24, but doesn't offer quite as much range and functionality. That is why I went with the Motorola EVX-S24 as my pick for best compact two way radio in 2021 over the Kenwood PKT-23, but that's not to take anything away from the PKT-23. It is a great little radio.

You can follow the links and add the Motorola EVX-S24 to your cart to see its latest pricing, or call (888) 733-7681.

Motorola EVX-S24 Features

  • Digital and analog transmissions
  • 256 channels
  • UHF frequency bands
  • 3 watts max power output
  • 12 hours of battery life
  • Monochrome display
  • 3 year Motorola warranty

Best Two Way Radio on a Budget

The Icom F3001/F4001
Icom F3001/F4001

The best two way radio for those on a budget must be the F3001/F4001 (VHF/UHF). This portable two way radio from ICOM is a lovely entry-level radio that can ideal for shift work where the radios will be passed around constantly, due to its intuitive design and easy operation. Not to mention you are getting a programmable, 5 Watt radio, with some advanced features for only $140!

The ICOM F3001/F4001 is perfect for you if you are just getting into the two way radio market or know that you will have high-turnover in the positions using the radios. It’s also a great fit if you know you don’t need features like capacity plus, and Bluetooth 4.0 technology. If you are just looking for a great radio that can keep your conversations private and still offer some advanced functionality. Look no further.

Go to to grab your ICOM F3001/F4001 today for $140!

ICOM F3001/F4001 Features

  • Analog only transmission
  • 16 Channels
  • 5 Watt Max Power Output
  • 3-Color LED light
  • Priority Scan
  • Lone Worker Function
  • Enhanced Emergency
  • 2-step power save

Best High-Powered Mobile Two Way Radio

The Motorola XPR 2500
Motorola XPR 2500

My pick for the best high-powered two way radio in 2021 is hands down the XPR2500 from Motorola. This mobile two way radio is simply great. It allows for companies transitioning from analog systems to do so at their own pace with its digital/analog transmission capabilities. The XPR2500 also delivers superior digital radio technology with twice the calling capacity as its predecessors and features like integrated voice systems.

I love the Motorola XPR 2500 for how it is keeping drivers and base stations connected with ease, whether picking up cargo or transporting passengers.

Check out the latest pricing for the Motorola XPR 2500 by following the link and adding it to your cart, or call (888) 733-7681.

Wrapping it up

I’m hoping this resource will be a valuable tool for you as you work to exceed your goals for 2021! The two way radios I have chosen are what I believe are the best for each scenario, but that is not to say there are not many other great options out there to consider. There are also a lot of other scenarios that I did not cover in this article.

If you read this article and feel like you would like to know about other two way radio models, or have a question about a use case not covered, please give us a call at (888) 733-7681, leave a comment below or fill out our contact us form and one of our certified radio specialists would be happy to help find what’s best for you!

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