What is the Best Handheld VHF Marine Radio for 2022? 26 Sep

What is the Best Handheld VHF Marine Radio for 2022?

What is the Best Handheld VHF Marine Radio for 2022? 

The marine technology market is becoming increasingly complex – buoyed with added features which are designed to enhance usability and ensure that users can quickly and effectively navigate the exterior device in order to get it to work in a way that suits them. While the growth of this market means that there is no shortage of options, and a plethora of priorities can be addressed including a budget, size, and primary function, finding the best device for you can feel a bit like a minefield. This blog is here to help you identify the best handheld VHF marine radios, considering the main uses of a VHF radio, what to look for, and Hudson Marine’s pick of the best model for 2022.

What is a VHF marine radio?

A VHF radio is a bit like a walkie-talkie, which is designed to facilitate easy communication between two people on a ship or marine vessel and to enable those on the water to tune in and contact the Harbourmaster and other shore-based institutions. In addition to its core function as a communications device, the VHF marine radio is also a useful tool for navigating and traffic control, providing the user with insight as to the surrounding water and any hazards they may come across. On boats big and small, the VHF radio can be tuned to the main channel for updates and to hear local callouts, with the message receiver then advising the caller to move to a separate channel if they require further assistance. The ‘VHF’ in the title stands for Very High Frequency, with these marine radios operating on high frequencies which will not be interrupted by land signals and external waves.

The benefits of a handheld VHF radio

Of course, the number one benefit of having any VHF radio is the ability to communicate seamlessly between ships, with land, and even with other vessels such as aircraft in the case of an emergency. To consider handheld VHF marine radios specifically, however, one benefit that cannot be ignored is the ability to use the radio in the case of any emergency which ceases or impacts power to the boat. Handheld VHF radios are portable and use battery power rather than relying on direct power from the boat, meaning that they remain useful when the boat runs into difficulty. Handheld VHF marine radios are also built to be both waterproof and shockproof in line with their core function, with some even designed to gloat (or able to be upgraded with accessories which enable floating). Beyond that, the benefits of a VHF marine radio tend to depend on the model you opt for and the bonus features which are included – as explored in the final part of this blog where we put a spotlight on our pick of the best handheld VHF marine radio for 2022.

What to look for in a handheld marine VHF radio

Here are just some of the things to focus on and look for when selecting a VHF marine radio.

Long Battery Life

The whole point of a handheld VHF radio is to kick in when all else fails, and to ensure that you have a clear and direct line to shore or to other ships in the local waters when something goes wrong. You want the handheld VHF you choose to have a long battery life which will allow for extended hours of operational use.

Easy to find

If you need to use your VHF marine radio, you need to be able to find it quickly – and that’s where visibility comes in in terms of the device itself. Flashing lights and buoyant exteriors all contribute to the design of a useful and accessible radio device.


One of the major selling points of modern VHF marine radios is their versatility and the fact that they can be used by all manner of waterside users – from sailors to those on motor boats, yachts, paddleboards, kayaks, fishing trawlers, and more. This versatility lies in the sleek design, easy user interface, and high-quality audio output and speaker for clear communication. Combining all of these benefits and things to look out for, here is our number one model for 2022.

Our pick of the best model for 2022

IC-M25EURO Buoyant Marine VHF Radio The ICOM brand is all about outdoor adventure and ensuring that adventurers stay connected – from mountainsides to choppy seas and beyond. With an emphasis on performance and innovation, handheld radios are just one branch of their product offering – and yet the IC-M25EURO model is one of the best on the market for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it combines all of the above features and more – with an impressive 11 hours of usable battery life, a buoyant structure with a flashing red LED light for easy location, a super lightweight shape that can be carried with ease, and a powerful audio output and speaker to support the radio’s core function. The favourite channel function which is built into the radio lets users tailor the way they use the radio and quickly access other channels, while the four-point charge indicator and built-in USB charger mean that you will never be caught by surprise with no charge. Finally, this ICOM handheld VHF marine radio boasts a large LCD screen for clarity during use, with the screen allowing the user to clearly see the channel number and any other status updates including battery life and signal. The volume buttons allow the user to tailor the sound levels, with some of the recommended accessories including plug-in speakers, an antenna for boosted signal, a headset for ease of use, and a 3-pin plug adaptor. In short, this model combines the style and functionality of a modern radio, which can integrate seamlessly into your boat’s design and build. Whether you prop it up in an accessible place on deck, or keep it on you at all times, this – and any other handheld VHF radio – is a must-have that any marine vessel needs to invest in for safety and security.
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