I’ve come across many walkie-talkies from different brands, and one manufacturer that I love the most is Baofeng. They produce high-quality yet cheap devices that are good even for kids just starting to understand wireless communication. In this review, I’ll compare two variants from the same series and give my verdict at the end, which is the best buy amongst the two. The two models that I’ll be reviewing are UV-9R and UV-5R. From specifications to essential features, I’ll make sure to include every single thing so that you’ll never have to worry about researching these models anymore.
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)
2,200 mAh Li-ion Battery
1,800 mAh Li-ion Battery
5.26 x 2.52 x 1.63 inches
8.1 x 7 x 2.5 inches
Scope of Delivery
Comparison – Baofeng UV-9R vs. UV-5R
Since UV-9R and UV-5R are from the same series, it’s only to be expected that they work almost the same way and share the same setup. With these devices, you have to assemble each to make them work. Worry not, though, since Baofeng made sure that even people who haven’t touched walkie-talkies can finish the setup real quick.
To start, you must find the battery pack included in the package. Place the battery at the back of the device and make sure that it is in the proper orientation so that you can hear a sound cue. Next is the antenna, which is pretty straightforward as you have to insert it at the topmost part of the device. Rotate the antenna clockwise and make sure that it is connected tight so you’ll get the most out of your selected device’s range.
After that, you can consult the manual with the channel programming and setup, and then you’re good to go! UV-9R and UV-5R can accommodate external earphones, so if you want more freedom and portability, it’s helpful to know this feature.
The UV-9R is superior when compared to the UV-5R in terms of waterproofness. The UV-9R has an IP67 rating, allowing the user to use the device even if it is submerged 1 meter under the water. Any deeper than 1 meter is not advisable and would render the device unfunctional.
The UV-5R is an outstanding device if we look at its features, but it flat-out fails when waterproofing. You might have to reconsider the environment in that you plan on using the UV-5R model and practice caution and proper handling. It may be a sensitive device, but it’s still a durable one that would still function despite being submerged underwater for a couple of seconds.
Baofeng’s UV-9R brings out an impressive power source with its 7.4V Lithium-ion battery that will give the device a total of 20 hours life span. It’s also rated at 2200mAh, but you might have to do a full-charge first before being able to use the device at its total capacity. It’s also reasonably easy to know when you’ll have to charge the device because the LCDs indicate how much juice the UV-9R still has.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to buy another battery pack as a reserve if you’re concerned about the battery life because the UV-9R can’t accommodate disposable alkaline batteries. It might have been a perfect feature to have, but wishing so would also mean that the price point would change.
The UV-5R model features a weaker battery than the UV-9R. It only has a 1800mAh Lithium-ion, which can bring 6 hours of lifespan for the device in continuous usage. However, you can expect the UV-5R model to last for 20 hours if it is on standby mode. Just like its competition, the UV-5R isn’t also compatible with disposable batteries, so you might have to think of other strategies to prolong the battery life of your device, especially in emergencies.
Range-wise, both of the devices that we are reviewing have the same performance. UV-9R and UV-5R can reach ranges from 10 – 20 km., only if the environment is clear of any obstructions. If walls and other things interfere with radio signals, expect that estimated range to drop to 5 km. To get a better range performance, it’s best that the device is at its full battery capacity.
The UV-9R is capable of using three different frequencies, which are as follows; 65 to 108MHz, 136 to 174MHz, 400 to 520MHz. These receptions alternate from FM, UHF, and VHF, so you have tons of options depending on the usage to why you’re aiming for buying a walkie-talkie.
For beginners, the UV-9R has a total of 128 channels that are free for you to explore. Any more than that would mean that you have to acquire a license. Depending on your location, walkie-talkie laws are different, so to make sure that you are safe, do some research first before accessing any higher and more complicated frequencies.
The UV-5R isn’t that much different from the UV-9R in terms of the frequencies used. The device can also access the same frequencies; 65 to 108MHz, 136 to 174MHz, 400 to 520MHz. It also features 128 highly programmable channels, and just like the UV-9R, you might have to check the channels you are accessing if it requires a license to operate. In conclusion, if you’re thinking about frequencies, there’s nothing much to ponder upon in this department since UV-9R and UV-5R are identical.
Baofeng UV-9R is known for its many features that are often considered a bit overwhelming. While I might agree, I think walkie-talkies are supposed to have many features in the first place because they are mainly used as a backup communication device and also an item that you will use in times of emergencies.
The UV-9R has VOX functionality, an essential and mainstream feature for walkie-talkies. It simply allows hands-free communication by detecting your voice and broadcasting it automatically to a channel. There’s also this feature that would allow you to lock the keypad so that there would be no unintentional key presses.
The UV-9R is also a must-buy if you’re looking for a walkie-talkie that has a power-saving feature. There’s also a busy channel lock handy for people who are always on the go and don’t have that much time to manage channels manually. The last feature that I’ll be talking about is the flashlight, a great utility tool that can be an advantage in times of emergency.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the UV-5R. It features a squelch system that goes hand-in-hand with the LCD. It shares many features with the UV-9R, including the busy lock channel, VOX functionality, and flashlight. You may also have fun with the UV-5R with its CHIRP integration, a programming system dedicated to two-way radios.
Since it’s Baofeng that we are talking about, you should expect to see cheap price tags on both devices. Let’s start with the UV-9R, not considered as a high-end model but isn’t also a low quality produced one. It has a price point of $32 which is very fair for all the included features.
As a first walkie-talkie, I would suggest other brands and models because the UV-9R requires some time to get used to. This model is a perfect balance of budget and efficiency for enthusiasts like me. Those in the workforce that need constant communication would also love this variant because of how easy the operation can be.
The UV-5R has a close price of $29.99, which is only a couple of dollars less than its competition. I can personally attest that this is a budget-friendly buy, especially if you compare this with other models outside of Baofeng. However, when compared with the UV-9R, things are a bit different, and you’ll understand more in the last part of this article.
Conclusion – Baofeng UV-9R vs UV-5R
Since the Baofeng UV-9R is the newest when compared with the UV-5R in the UV series, I can immediately say that it is superior and one that I would recommend to my friends and families.
The UV-9R features a 2200 mAH battery, giving the device a battery life of almost a day. The UV-5R, on the other hand, only has an 1800 mAH battery which is a big deal, especially if you’re planning to use the device that you’ll buy for outdoor activities. While both models don’t support disposable power sources, it’s still okay because the UV-9R, in particular, could last a long time and can be easily charged for just a couple of hours.
UV-9R and UV-5R may have the same features, but UV-9R did it a lot better, and I’m saying this through personal experience. I have tested both devices, and I had more fun using the UV-9R in the long run.
The price point is also something that I would like to talk about. The UV-5R costs $29.99, which is already a budget-friendly price tag but add $2 more, and you can get the UV-9R which features better battery life and range.
I would not get the UV-5R model because of the price issues, but my decision might have been different if it dropped lower to $20. For now, the UV-9R is superior and is one that I would use as an emergency walkie-talkie device.