A compact radio can be useful for a variety of different working environments. You may be in need of a two-way radio that is small and easily concealed, or even one that isn’t overly complex and easy to use for your operators. Radiotronics has a variety of these types of radios on our website, but if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for they may be hard to find. This is why we have put together this blog post counting down what we believe to be the ten best compact radios currently on the market.

There will be multiple different factors that we will take into consideration when ranking these radios including the cost, the amount of advanced features it has and the overall quality of the radio.

10. Kenwood PKT-23

Kenwood’s PKT-23 is one of the Japanese companies leading options should you be looking to purchase a compact radio. Simple to use, the PKT-23 is an ideal solution should you be looking for a two-way radio that requires little to no training. With all of its function buttons being located on the face plate of the PKT-23, this ensures that the radio is extremely simple to use.

There is one main reason this radio is so low down on this list and is both why we love and loathe this radio, and that is how basic it is. On the one hand the PKT-23’s simplicity is a blessing as it makes it the ideal solution for workplaces that only require a simple communications system, allowing for quick communications across short distances and with the PKT-23 that is exactly what you get. On the flip side due to the basic nature of the radio, this means that it is lacking many safety features that other radios on this list have, along with only having a channel capacity of 8 which limits communications.

Pros                                                                           Cons
• Extremely Compact                                                 • Reduced Range
• Simple To Use                                                           • Extremely Basic
• Little To No Training Required                             • For Smaller Work Forces
• 8 Channel Capacity

Price Ex. VAT £91.66
License or LF? License Free
Frequency Band PMR446
Analogue or Digital? Analogue
Channels 8
Ingres Protection Rating IP54
Dimensions in Millimeters (H x W x D) 85 x 46 x 21
Weight in Grams 110

9. Hytera BD305LF

Our number nine is the BD305LF from Hytera. A license free radio the BD305LF is a radio that can be a fit for many different working environments. If it wasn’t for the fact that other radios in this list have access to more features and/or are licensed radios the BD305LF would be much higher up the list.

An extremely lightweight radio, the BD305LF is the true definition of a compact radio. The BD305LF is capable of operating as both an analogue and digital radio, meaning that you are able to talk with older analogue license free radios and new digital ones such as the BD305LF using separate channels. A major advantage to using these radios is the way it’s charged, the BD305LF can simply be plugged into a wall via the use of a Micro-USB just like you would with a smart phone.

Pros                                                                           Cons
• USB Charging                                                            • Reduced Range
• Dual Mode Capable                                                  • Minimal Features
• Modern Design
• VOX Voice Activation

Price Ex. VAT £75
License or LF? License Free
Frequency Band DMR446
Analogue or Digital? Digital
Channels 16
Ingres Protection Rating IP54
Dimensions in Millimeters (H x W x D) 101 x 49 x 26
Weight in Grams 140

8. Motorola SL1600/SL2600

The SL1600 and SL2600 from Motorola come in at 8th place on our top 10 list for compact radios. With only slight differences between the two, the SL2600 is the slightly upgraded version of the two with a full display and 256 channels in comparison to the SL1600’s LED light display and 99 channels.

Motorola released these radios with the hospitality working environment in mind, their sleek design ensures that they wouldn’t look out of place even in the high end restaurants and hotels. With these radios being licensed this means that your potential range will be much better than other members of this list, available for purchase with both UHF and VHF frequencies, the SL1600 and SL2600 can be used in highly built up areas or in wide open spaces. One feature that both of these radios both have is the Lone Worker, although this isn’t necessarily something that would be required in hospitality environments it is a good feature to have should it ever be required.

The radio featured in the image is the SL2600 model.

Pros                                                                           Cons
• Crystal Clear Audio                                                • Higher Price
• Licensed Radio
• Dual Mode Operation                                             
• VOX Voice Activation
• Sleek Design

Price Ex. VAT £181.51 (SL1600) £199 (SL2600)
License or LF? Licensed
Frequency Band UHF/VHF
Analogue or Digital? Digital
Channels 99 (SL1600) 256 (SL2600)
Ingres Protection Rating IP54
Dimensions in Millimeters (H x W x D) 126 x 55 x 22
Weight in Grams 169

7. Hytera BD505/BD555

Although the BD505 and BD555 are both feature rich radios, the reason that they place so low down on our top ten is due to the fact that they’re relatively new and are a similar price point to the hugely popular Motorola DP1400 and Hytera PD705LT.

As mentioned both the BD505 and BD555 are some of the newest radios from Hytera having been released in 2018. With a modern look, this doesn’t detract from these radios being fit for purpose in even some of the harshest of environmental conditions. There are numerous differentiating factors between the two radios with the BD505 being a 40 channel non-display model and the BD555 a 256 channel device with a single display, on the BD555 the display is located at the top of the face plate and shows the current channel and battery life remaining.

The radio featured in the image is the BD555 model.

Pros                                                                           Cons
• Licensed Radio                                                          • Lacks In Safety Features
• Modern Design
• Dual Mode Capable
• Display & Non Display Available
• User Friendly

Price Ex. VAT £124.99 (BD505) £149.99 (BD555)
License or LF? Licensed
Frequency Band UHF/VHF
Analogue or Digital? Digital
Channels 40 (BD505) 256 (BD555)
Ingres Protection Rating IP54
Dimensions in Millimeters (H x W x D) 108 x 54 x 29
Weight in Grams 220

6. Motorola XT420/XT460

Our number six isn’t actually a single radio, it is the XT400 models from Motorola. The XT420 and XT460 are some of Motorola’s leading license free radios, and because of this are trusted in a variety of industries as a go to radio. The slight difference between these two radios are that the XT420 is a standard black box styled radio, where the XT460 has both an 8 character display with 3 action buttons below.

These radios are the best of both worlds offering outstanding professional grade quality at an affordable price, and although the Motorola stalwarts are license free this doesn’t hold them back when it comes to features. Both the XT420 and XT460 have a total of 16 channels programmed to PMR446 analogue frequencies, these channels are capable of being cycled through via the use of a channel scanning feature meaning that a transmission will never be missed. These radios are also compatible with the previous Motorola XTNi radio.

The radio featured in the image is the XT460 model.

Pros                                                                           Cons
• Low Price                                                                   • Analogue Only
• User Friendly Design                                               • Reduced Range
• VOX Voice Activation
• With and Without Display
• Backwards Compatible

Price Ex. VAT £75 (XT420) £99.99* (XT460)
License or LF? License Free
Frequency Band PMR446
Analogue or Digital? Analogue
Channels 16
Ingres Protection Rating IP55
Dimensions in Millimeters (H x W x D) 105 x 55 x 35
Weight in Grams 180

*Radiotronics Sale Price

5. Kenwood TK-3601D

The next radio in our top 10 is the TK-3601D from Kenwood. Although this is license free, it stands apart from other radios alike due to a number of factors. The TK-3601D has 32 channels programmed to DMR446 frequencies, this meaning that not only is there more channels to transmit on, but due to being a digital radio this means that the transmissions both sent and received will be crystal clear.

As all radios in this list the TK-3601D is a compact device but there is something special about the design of the TK-3601D. Simple to use with minimal buttons and a small display showing the user their current channel and remaining battery life, the TK-3701D would be ideal for use in a variety of smaller working environments whether they be customer facing or not. Due to the radios size and the accessories that are available, the TK-3701D can be easily concealed allowing for a smart appearance from your staff.

Pros                                                                           Cons
• Extremely User Friendly                                         • Reduced Range
• Easily Concealed
• Dual Mode Capable
• IP67 Ingres Protection

Price Ex. VAT £205
License or LF? License Free
Frequency Band DMR446
Analogue or Digital? Digital
Channels 32
Ingres Protection Rating IP67
Dimensions in Millimeters (H x W x D) 97 x 54 x 27
Weight in Grams 160

4. Icom IC-F52D/IC-F62D

In fourth place we have a pair of two-way radios, although this sounds amiss, the IC-F52D and IC-F62D are the same radio but at the same time they’re not. Icom, the producer of these radios, tend to keep each frequency band to a specific product name. In this case the the IC-F52D is a VHF radio and the IC-F62D is UHF.

Although the Icom radio is small in size, its IP67 Ingres protection rating ensures that it will continue to operate even after being submersed in water whilst also being safe from dust intrusion. The IC-F52D/62D are capable of performing mixed mode operation meaning that should you have existing analogue radios they can still be used alongside your newer models. The 512 possible channels means that these radios are an ideal solution should you have a larger workforce, these channels can be split across groups meaning that individual areas of your business can have their own private channels.

Pros                                                                           Cons
• Feature Rich                                                              • Expensive in Comparison
• IP67 Ingres Protection
• Extremely Compact
• Dual Mode Capable
• Crystal Clear Audio

Price Ex. VAT £399
License or LF? Licensed
Frequency Band UHF/VHF
Analogue or Digital? Digital
Channels 512
Ingres Protection Rating IP67
Dimensions in Millimeters (H x W x D) 92 x 56 x 29
Weight in Grams 215

3. Hytera PD365/PD365LF

The PD365 from Hytera is one of the most feature rich compact radios available to purchase. It’s sleek design means that it stands apart from the crowd in a market that is fiercely competitive. Available as both a licensed and license free model, having the choice between the two means that both short and long range communications can be achieved. Ideal for use in environments where appearance is key, the PD365 wouldn’t look out of place in high end establishments such as hotels and restaurants.

Something that makes both the PD365 and PD365LF an exceptional product is it’s ability to wireless charge. When purchased with a compatible battery and charger, simply place your radio into the holder and your radio will charge allowing for easy access from the unit should the radio be needed quickly.

Pros                                                                           Cons
• Available As Both Licensed and License Free    • Lacks In Safety Features
• User Friendly Interface
• Wireless Charging
• 3-Line Monochrome Display
• VOX Voice Activation

Price Ex. VAT £137.5 (L) £122.15 (LF)
License or LF? Licensed & License Free
Frequency Band UHF/VHF & DMR446
Analogue or Digital? Digital
Channels 256 (L) & 16 (LF)
Ingres Protection Rating IP54
Dimensions in Millimeters (H x W x D) 106 x 54 x 23
Weight in Grams 180

2. Motorola CLP446

The radio that we have chosen as our number two is the CLP446 from Motorola. Although the radio has been available to purchase in the UK for many years, it’s popularity hasn’t ever reached the heights that it has on the opposite side of the Atlantic. A huge success in America, the CLP446 is a license free, compact two-way radio that is easily one of the smallest available on the market from a major manufacturer. Ideal for use in a variety of working environments, due to its small stature the CLP446 is easily concealed making it an ideal solution for customer facing positions where appearance is everything.

The CLP446 is available as both a standard wired version and a Bluetooth capable model, when purchasing the Bluetooth CLP446 this will allow for the use of wireless accessories such as microphones and earpieces.

Pros                                                                           Cons
• Extremely Compact                                                  • Reduced Range
• Ideal Beginner Radio                                               • Small Number Of Channels
• Extremely Easy Use                                                 • Reduced Functions
• Wired or Bluetooth Versions Available
• Voice Assisted Operation

Price Ex. VAT £149.99
License or LF? License Free
Frequency Band PMR446
Analogue or Digital? Analog
Channels 8
Ingres Protection Rating IP54
Dimensions in Millimeters (H x W x D) 88 x 50 x 19
Weight in Grams 68

 

1. Motorola EVX-S24

The EVX-S24 from Motorola is a product name that you may have heard before in association with the brand Vertex Standard. In 2019 Motorola absorbed the company into their own, transferring across some of the companies most popular radios such as the EVX-S24 and branding them Motorola.

One of the smallest radios within this top 10, the EVX-S24 is the true definition of compact. Although it is small in stature, what the EVX-S24 has as features more than makes up for what it lacks in size. VOX Voice Activation can be used with compatible accessories, this allowing for the hands free use of the radio within the workplace should it be needed. Safety features such as Lone Worker and an emergency button ensure that the users of the EVX-S24 can send out a quick alarm should they find themselves in danger.

Pros                                                                           Cons
• Extremely Compact
• User Friendly
• Crystal Clear Audio
• Lone Worker Capable
• IP67 Waterproof

Price Ex. VAT £165
License or LF? Licensed
Frequency Band UHF/VHF
Analogue or Digital? Digital
Channels 128
Ingres Protection Rating IP67
Dimensions in Millimeters (H x W x D) 91 x 55 x 31
Weight in Grams 215