MURS vs. GMRS – What should I use?

When you are out somewhere, working or commuting, two-way communication is essential. A suitable device can provide both a reliable and long-lasting connection with a broad range. Deciding on the right two-way radio can be a challenging task. Most of the time, choosing the right radio will involve going through the necessary steps and procedures.

The difference between GMRS and MURS can help you make the right choice when it comes to choosing a walkie-talkie. That is why I will break down the difference between GMRS and MURS.


Short Answer

GMRS radios have a maximum transmitter power of two to five watts. They can also bounce off of surfaces and penetrate non-residential areas. But the MURS frequency signals can bend over the hills much better.

The multi-use radio service, also known as MURS, uses channels in the 154 to 151 MHz spectrum range. These channels are usually used for short-distance, two way communications using portable hand-held radios. Meanwhile, the General mobile radio service, also known as GMRS, is a radio service that accepts two-way voice calls using mobile devices and handheld radios. It uses channels between 462 and 467 MHz.

A GMRS hand-held unit has a theoretical range of about 2.5 to 3.5KM, while a mobile device has a range of around 5 miles. However, the range of the MURS antenna depends on the size and placement of the antenna. For most standard antennas, the range is about 1.5 kilometers only.

Here are the factors you need to look for when choosing an excellent two-way radio:

  • Range
  • Audio Quality
  • Wattage
  • Channels
  • Cost
  • FCC Certifications


Long Answer

Although MURS is licensed by rule, it is not required for an individual to have a license. A corporation or organization that uses a MURS transmitter may not also need one, even if it is not a government representative. However, The GMRS system requires a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license. This is a ten-year term license that can be renewed anytime up to the license’s expiration date.


What is MURS?

The multi-use radio service, also known as MURS, is a two-way radio service that can be licensed by rule in the US under the Code of Federal Regulations. The FCC officially defines MURS as a private, two-way data communications service for the general public. These services are not allowed to operate over the public telephone network.

The MURS band is part of the Personal Radio Service (PRS) group, which the Federal Communications Commission regulates. It is a kind of two-way radio that can be used by individuals, families, emergency response units, and businesses. Some businesses that still have grandfathered licenses to operate on the MURS frequencies can still provide drive-thru windows and other similar activities in certain areas.

The MURS band consists of 5 frequencies, which were previously part of the LMR business band. They are easily transmitted by any US citizen without a license. The MURS band allows analog FM voice operation, but not digital voice modes such as DMR. Also, there are specific limitations when it comes to remote control modes.


What is GMRS?

GMRS radios are similar to the FRS. It is a type of radio that uses FM signals instead of AM waves. It can reach a range of up to 5 miles and can be equipped with higher-end antennas. However, they can also use up to 50 watts of power.

The General Mobile Radio Service, or GMRS, is a licensed radio service that allows two-way voice communication using mobile devices. In 2017, it was expanded to allow applications related to GPS location data.

Due to the Wide Service Area of GMRS radio, its range is constantly expanding. Due to the placement of mobile phone towers in various parts of the country, GMRS radio repeaters are now able to reach a distance of up to 20-mile.

GMRS radio also has its own channels, which are known as 15-22. They can be used in duplex mode and in simplex mode. Although they are more powerful than the MURS, they are typically more expensive. In the US, only licensed users will be permitted to use it.


What is the Difference between GMRS and MURS?

The multi-use radio service, or MURS, is a type of short-range communication system that uses frequencies between 151 and 154 MHz, typically with handheld devices that can work similarly to walkie-talkies. The GMRS uses channel frequencies between 462-467 MHz.

In fact, the main distinction between the two is that the former, MURS is a VHF service, while the latter, GMRS, is a UHF service. Although both provide private communication, the GMRS is designed for professional use and the MURS for personal use. Some of the other distinguishing factors between the two are that the GMRS has a license and the MURS does not.

Although it uses 2 watts, MURS units are typically weaker than GMRS. However, MURS units are still likely to provide a good distance performance. MURS users usually report that their devices can reach distances of up to 1 mile.


So, when should I use MURS?

The multi-use radio service, also known as MURS, uses channels in the 151 to 154 MHz band. Most commonly, it uses hand-held radios for short-distance communication. So, basically, the MURS radio is beneficial for those who only want to use it for personal context and non-occasional use.

The MURS is a short-range mobile network that has five defined channels. It can be used for local voice or data communications.


And when should I use GMRS?

If you need a more flexible and reliable two-way radio, then the GMRS is the best choice. It has the best signal quality and range. It is good for professional and private use. You can also use The GMRS radios even for a longer distance than MURS and still with Crispness and clarity.

GMRS radios use FM instead of AM. They are commonly used for music and regional coverage. Although they have the same overall sound quality, GMRS radios have a slightly louder sound than MURS.


Conclusion – MURS vs. GMRS

It may be challenging to choose between two different but functional walkie-talkies, right?! So I’ve researched and compared them to help you come up with the right decision based on your preference and purpose of use.

Whether you opt for MURS or GMRS, each has its distinct features and benefits. So, based on the points I’ve mentioned above, which do you think suits your needs? Though both can be functional and beneficial, there is one walkie-talkie that will surely serve its purpose based on what you are looking for in a device! So, which one will you opt for?



Founder of & Tech enthusiast. Interested in gaming, computers, and walkie-talkies.

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