Jul 02, 2021


by: Paul Benson


Categories: News, Radio

Best Two Way Radios For Emergencies – Consider These 5 Things


The best two ways radios for emergencies will depend on the specific environments and situations that you need to have emergency communications available in. For example, a lone worker on a remote farming site may need less battery life and range than a hiking party on a three day expedition across Wales that is likely to encounter all kinds of weather and natural barriers to frequency.

As the requirements for emergency communications will be so specific to each individual, business and their activities, you should consider the following 5 factors to find the right radio to ensure you can always get help or send messages to others when you need to.

  1. Durability from IP rating
  2. Range
  3. Emergency functions & Alert systems
  4. Battery Life
  5. Frequencies

By understanding how the factors above can impact the specification of the radio you need, you will be able to narrow down your search for the best emergency two way radio to use for work or hobbies.

Purchasing the right radio for you will ensure you are able to reach others for help, emergency rescue or simply provide peace of mind by letting others know that you are safe, quickly, easily and reliably.


Need advice about emergency radios? Ask our experts – 

call 0151 263 9993 or send an enquiry.


What Is A Two Way Radio?

A two way radio is a device which has both an audio receiver and transmitter that can facilitate two way communication between two or more users. The radios look a little bit like a cordless phone handset and are operated by pressing a button, then speaking into the transmitter. They are generally fairly small and portable devices making them easy to transport when out and about – perfect for stashing in your bag or attaching to your belt for easy access if you need them in an emergency.

Things To Consider When Buying An Emergency Radio


When it comes to durability, it’s likely that your emergency two radio will need to be able to withstand various levels of heat, water, knocks and drops for peace of mind that it will actually work when you need it. For added peace of mind you have a tough radio, look out for shockproof models – perfect if you’re somebody that tends to drop things a lot!

When purchasing an emergency radio you should therefore pay attention to the IP code if you know you will need to operate in anything other than sunny, dry conditions to see how well it can withstand more unfavourable environmental pressures.

The IP code always starts with ‘IP’ followed by two numbers and indicates how well it will be protected from solid particles such as dust, debris, water and other liquid ingress.

  • The first number indicates the level of protection against ingress of solid objects and indicates if it is dust resistant, dust-proof or offers no protection from solid ingress.
  • The second number indicates the level of protection from water or other liquid damage. Two way radios can be anything from weather proof, splash proof, right up to fully waterproof.

For example, a radio with an IP65 has a solid ingress rating of 6 and a liquid ingress protection of 5. Meaning it is dust proof and can withstand a decent amount of water from any direction.

If you are likely to need protection from water, you should pay attention to the liquid ingress protection rating which runs from 0 indication that no protection from liquid ingress is available, all the way up to 8 which can withstand high temperature, high pressure spray at close range.

Liquid ingress protection rating  Level of protection offered 
0 Not protected.
1 Protected against vertically falling water.
2 Protected against vertically falling water when enclosure is tilted 15 degrees
3 Protected against spraying water, up to 60° from vertical.
4 Protected against splashing water from any direction.
5 Protected against jets of water from any direction.
6 Protected against immersion for up to 30 minutes.
7 Protected against continuous immersion.
8 Protected against high temperature, high pressure spray at a close range.


The distance that two radios can communicate with each other clearly is referred to as the range. The range of most common two way radios can span anywhere from a few hundred metres to up to 80km meaning there is an option for every need out there. You should note however that to achieve the distance specified, conditions will have to be perfect so you should always over estimate the range you need to prevent getting into difficulty with signal strength.


If you’re in the market for an emergency radio, the likelihood is that you will need to be carrying it around in a bag for long periods of time so that it is ready to be used as and when you need it. With this in mind, you should choose a radio that comes in a size and weight that you can both comfortably carry around and easily operate with your hands (or voice in some hands free models) when needed.

Emergency Functions And Alert Systems

Some two way radios have built in systems that can send you weather alerts or even emit S.O.S signals on your behalf – perfect for trekkers, campers, mountain explorers or those working outside a fair distance from base that need to take extra precautions if the weather turns and mobile phone signal or 3G can’t be relied on and you need to reach somebody.

Battery Life

The battery life of your two-way radio will depend on the type of battery used in it. Most run on AA or AAA batteries and lithium- ion has the best longevity with more than 16 hours battery life available and taking three hours to fully charge. For optimum protection if away for longer periods of time, choose rechargeable batteries and a battery pack to ensure your emergency communications are always ready.


The radio frequency that you need will again depend on whether you’re likely to be using the radio out in the open (quite likely in an emergency situation) or in more built up areas like towns. For this reason, we generally recommend that very high frequency (VHF) two way radios are used when purchasing emergency radios.

How Can They Help In An Emergency?

How can they help in an emergency?

The right two way radio can be invaluable in getting the help you need in an emergency situation. Some radio models even come equipped with specific emergency features such as:

  • An alert setting that sends emergency signals to people in the same comms group
  • A ‘lone worker’ feature that will raise an alarm with others if you haven’t deactivated the alarm at regular intervals. This feature is particularly useful if you work alone and injure yourself and need assistance but can’t get to the radio as help will automatically be alerted that you are in need of help.
  • Look out for scanning functions which allow you to scan through the channels and discover which one your group is currently using if you have become separated.
  • Beacons that send S.O.S message in morse code
  • A Torch to light the way if moving in the dark

On top of these specific features that are designed to really go the extra mile in an emergency situation, a two way radio will always offer a cost effective, easy to use communications tool that can cover a wide area – providing you’re in range and have sufficient battery life.

Where To Buy Emergency Radios?

Whether for work or leisure, two-way radios are useful in situations where you need a reliable communication device or when mobile phone use isn’t viable or practical.

If you are looking to buy two-way radios that will ensure you have access to reliable communications in the event of an emergency or would just like to talk through the options available in more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Call our friendly team on 0151 263 9993 or send an email to discuss what you’re looking for and how we can help. DigiX, Motorola, Hytera, ICOM and Kenwood 2-way radios offer some of the best functionality and reliability available and our team is able to secure excellent pricing for our customers on these models.

Founded in 1989, Northwest Radio Communications provides professional communications solutions and excellent customer service to its clients spanning hundreds of industries throughout the UK. From farming, catering, hospitality, leisure, construction and many more, as an approved dealer for DigiX, Motorola, Hytera, ICOM and Kenwood 2-way radios, the team can find the best purchase, hire and maintenance options available for you and your business when it comes to choosing the right communication tools to use.