Baofeng’s brand is a commercial success in the walkie-talkie industry. Everyone knows their models, from beginners to veterans, and how cheap and effective they are to use. I use them whenever I am outdoors, and I require a durable and reliable device.
Because of this, I’ve decided to highlight the manufacturer and feature two of their best models that are still in the market, BF-F8HP and UV-5R. These two devices are from different series, so it is expected that there are some differences in appearance and also the functionality. In the end, I’ll give my verdict and narrow down which device is best to buy for specific conditions.
65-108 MHz (FM radio reception),
VHF: 136-174 MHz (Rx/TX), UHF: 400-520 MHz (Rx/TX)
65-108 MHz (FM radio reception),
VHF: 136-174 MHz (Rx/TX), UHF: 400-480 MHz (Rx/TX)
yes (amateur / FCC license)
yes (amateur / FCC license)
2,000 mAh Li-ion Battery
1,800 mAh Li-ion Battery
10.25 x 2 x 1.25 inches
8.1 x 7 x 2.5 inches
Scope of Delivery
Comparison – Baofeng BF-F8HP vs. UV-5R
Much like other modern walkie-talkies, these models aren’t made to be used right out of the box. You still have to assemble them to function while ensuring that everything is connected tightly. The BF-F8HP has a pretty straightforward approach when it comes to assembly. First, you have to ensure that the body of the walkie-talkie is intact, with all the minor features available. After that, you have to connect the antenna very slowly by fitting it to the slot and turning it clockwise until it entirely fits.
The next step is connecting the belt clip, and right after that, the rechargeable battery is up next. Once the battery is connected, you’re all pretty much done, and the device is ready to use. You can use the BF-F8HP as it is, or you can install software called the CHIRP so that you may be able to reprogram everything on the walkie-talkie. Note that this part requires experience and expertise, so if you don’t have any of those, consult veterans that you know, or better yet, look it up on the internet.
If you’ll be using the UV-5R as a beginner walkie-talkie, the setup doesn’t differ much from its opposite. However, several things would change if you’re planning to use this model with a license or professionally. In which case, you have to manually program the device by yourself, which would take some time, but improves through time if you gain enough experience.
Unfortunately, BF-F8HP and UV-5R aren’t waterproof in any way. However, multiple sources claimed that the BF-F8HP could resist being submerged underwater, but there’s no natural way to verify these statements. I don’t use my walkie-talkies underwater or near wet locations, so this doesn’t matter. To ensure that your chosen device will survive and last for some time, avoid submerging the walkie-talkie underwater or using it while it’s raining.
Baofeng’s BF-F8HP boasts a powerful 2000mAh, which can easily last for a day when fully charged. Usually, walkie-talkies would have smaller batteries than this, so it is indeed a surprise to see a device that has such a significant and capable power source. Although there’s no disposable battery option on the BF-F8HP, I still would love to use it because it doesn’t require charging that much.
You can rely on this model, especially if you’re in an emergency because there are many ways to save more juice. To charge, use the included charger on the package and wait for several hours to be notified that the battery is full and ready to go.
UV-5R features an underwhelming rechargeable battery that has 1800mAh. It might only be a slight drop in power rating, but I think that it’s more than enough to shift my perspective and affect the entire verdict. At best, the UV-5R can deliver its full performance for at least 6 hours, and it could last for a whole day as long as it is on standby. In this department, the BF-F8HP wins because walkie-talkies are more valuable when they can last longer.
The BF-F8HP is a capable device with 20 to 25 miles of communication range. It isn’t an impressive rating, but it’s up there with the modern walkie-talkies manufactured by different brands. Take note, however, that this range is only speculated, and it would heavily change negatively depending on the obstructions present at your location. For best results, make sure that you use the BF-F8HP in an open space so that the transmission will not be affected in any way.
The UV-5R, on the other hand, is only able to reach a max range of 12 miles, which is not that close to its opposite. However, it’s essential to take note that this device is a transceiver, which means that it can transmit data and receive it very well. The difference in range might be a significant factor in our verdict, which we will reach shortly.
Baofeng BF-F8HP is an excellent device if you plan to work or organize people. It features many channels and functionalities that will make communication more accessible, even compared to smartphones. This device has VHF and UHF and three full frequency ranges; 65 to 108 MHz, 144 to 148 MHz, and 420 to 450 MHz. Note that the first frequency range I mentioned is only exclusive to Rx, while the other two are for both Rx and Tx.
BF-F8HP can handle 128 channels which is an impressive size, giving you many options and making it easier to use the walkie-talkie for different purposes. You can also tinker with the walkie-talkie if you know how to program and increase the default 2.5 kHz. You may also reconfigure the UHF provided that you have the CHIRP software, a brilliant customization tool that would make your walkie-talkie life a lot more convenient.
Programming this walkie-talkie, however, comes with a condition. You must have a license to operate in higher channels because if you don’t and start broadcasting yourself on these channels, you’ll get yourself detained, or worse, jailed. To make sure that no laws are being broken, consult a firm or research online for your territory’s walkie-talkie rulings so that you’ll know your limits.
The UV-5R model has a different set of ranges when compared with our first device; 136 to 174 MHz, 400 to 480 MHz, and 65 to 108 MHz. It has a total of 128 channels that can be easily reconfigured if you have enough expertise. Going for higher frequencies would require you a license, so just like with the BF-F8HP, ensure that you check your location’s walkie-talkie regulations.
Baofeng BF-F8HP comes with many features, and I must say that these additions make it a worthwhile investment. It has a power-saving feature that allows you to adjust and select from three levels, perfect if you’re outside and can’t charge your device immediately. Like the other walkie-talkies on the market, this model also has a VOX functionality, meaning that hands-free communication is entirely possible.
I find the selective calling feature the most useful because it allows you to call a specific person or even call more than one. Besides that, you will never worry about finding frequency bands since the BF-F8HP has a built-in scanner that delivers. I tried it myself, and I can say that I’m impressed with the results. Other features that the BF-F8HP can include a keypad lock, dual watch, and tri-color display.
UV-5R has some features, but I can already tell that it is a bit underwhelming when compared with the BF-F8H. Reasons might include pricing and outdated hardware, but they are still needed features that would make communication easier for different users.
The UV-5R is an excellent device for fieldwork because of its numerical lock system, which I have also tried myself. Aside from that, it has an LCD that can be easily seen even when you’re in a bright environment. It’s also an excellent model to have in case of emergencies for its built-in flashlight. Albeit simple, it doesn’t require that much power to use, so you can rest easy about your battery since it won’t get depleted that fast.
The price range of Baofeng BF-F8HP is around $50 to $70, depending on the time you will purchase and the platform you will use. Despite being a tad expensive compared to the others, I could safely say that it’s worth the shot, mainly because it has a lot of features, and it could easily reach ranges deemed impossible by the other devices that are out on the market.
On the other hand, the UV-5R is genuinely an affordable device, with a price tag of $29.99 which can even go lower if you get it while it’s on sale.
Conclusion – Baofeng BF-F8HP vs UV-5R
Baofeng is an impressive manufacturer of affordable walkie-talkies, but I could say that they have outdone their branding with the release of BF-F8HP. It is a bit expensive, but Baofeng overloaded it with features that make the price tag worth it. That means, for the specifications and performance alone, my winner in this matchup is the BF-F8HP.
The UV-5R is still a good model, but since it’s from a different series, it’s not that close to BF-F8HP. Still, it’s a cheap alternative if you’re looking for a temporary walkie-talkie. I would recommend buying the UV-5R if you’re tight on budget but are still looking for a high-quality and durable build.