BaoFeng Dual Band Two Way Radio

Last updated date: April 19, 2019

DWYM Score
8.4

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We looked at the top 1 Police Scanners and dug through the reviews from 5 of the most popular review sites including List Outdoor, Walkie Talkie World, Walkie Talkie Reviews, Sea Slug Team and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Police Scanner you should buy.

Overall Take

The BaoFeng Dual Band Two Way Radio is a handheld scanner that can pick up 128 channels. The low price on this model makes it popular with those who simply want to give scanning a try. You can also customize your channel names, giving them names that mean something to you. There can be a bit of a learning curve with this model, though, making it not as ideal for beginners. In our analysis of 60 expert reviews, the BaoFeng BaoFeng Dual Band Two Way Radio placed 5th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note April 24, 2019:
Checkout The Best Police Scanner for a detailed review of all the top police scanners.

Expert Summarized Score
9.1
5 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.6
3,451 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Combines wonderful functional and operational features with a reasonable price.
- Best Advisor
Going for just $24, you get 128 channels and a frequency range of 136 to 174. You can customize the names of the channels and monitor 2 different frequencies.
- List Outdoor
This handset is strong and sturdy and has been built keeping in mind rough usage. The device’s ergonomic design and respectable looks are one of the best features.
- Walkie Talkie World
The build quality is quite solid. This device has survived 3-4 drops so far, and it is still working fine.
- Walkie Talkie Reviews
It has three-way (FM, VHF & UHF) radio wave reception with complete frequency coverage.
- Sea Slug Team
What experts didn't like
This device might make an impression of being too complex to use.
- Best Advisor
Can be difficult to program.
- List Outdoor
Manual programming could be a lot better.
- Walkie Talkie World
This has its downsides as well. For example, one option the software has that is not available through manual programming is to disable a stored channel for the scan function.
- Walkie Talkie Reviews
The only drawback we found in BaoFeng UV-5R is, it’s battery power. It can run in 1500 mAh batteries, which can last for 12-18 hours based on the power mood.
- Sea Slug Team

From The Manufacturer

The BaoFeng UV-5R is a compact hand held transceiver providing 4 watts in the frequency range of 136- 174 MHz and 400-480 MHz. It is a compact, economical HT that includes special VHF receive band from 65 - 108 MHz which includes the regular FM broadcast band. Dual watch and dual reception is supported. The transceiver is a micro-miniature multiband FM transceiver with extensive receive frequency coverage, providing local-area two-way amateur communications along with unmatched monitoring capability.

Overall Product Rankings

1. Uniden 500 Channel Scanner
Overall Score: 9.8
Expert Reviews: 5
2. Uniden Digital Mobile TrunkTracker V Scanner
Overall Score: 9.7
Expert Reviews: 10
3. Uniden HomePatrol Series Handheld Scanner
Overall Score: 9.6
Expert Reviews: 7
4. Uniden HomePatrol Series Phase 2 Base/Mobile Scanner
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 5
5. BaoFeng Dual Band Two Way Radio
Overall Score: 8.4
Expert Reviews: 5
6. Uniden 300-Channel Base/Mobile Scanner
Overall Score: 8.4
Expert Reviews: 6
7. Whistler Analog Desktop Scanner
Overall Score: 8.0
Expert Reviews: 4
8. Uniden BearTracker Scanner
Overall Score: 7.8
Expert Reviews: 4
9. Whistler TRX-1 Handheld Digital Scanner Radio
Overall Score: 7.2
Expert Reviews: 4
10. Whistler WS1010 Analog Handheld Scanner
Overall Score: 7.2
Expert Reviews: 5

An Overview On Police Scanners

If you’ve ever watched out your window as emergency vehicles sped to a home down the street, you know the value of having a police scanner. These devices let you listen in on local police transmissions, helping you stay aware of what’s going on nearby. This can help you monitor your area for crime so that you can keep your own home safe.

Choosing a police scanner means finding a device that can help you get the best reception possible. With the right scanner, you’ll get the widest range of options when you’re listening. The wrong scanner will have you frustrated as you struggle to find a transmission. Look for a scanner that offers a broad frequency range and a large number of channels. Some scanners also offer both analog and digital frequencies, which can be a plus.

Some of the best police scanners use something called Close Call RF Capture technology, which helps you tune in to nearby transmissions. Since many consumers investing in police scanners are interested primarily in nearby happenings, this feature comes in handy. Location scanning is another feature that can help you access the transmissions in your immediate area. When a scanner has location scanning built in, it searches for transmissions nearby rather than forcing you to manually input them. This is especially valuable if you plan to use your scanner in more than one place.

Before you shop, though, you should make a decision about the build you want. Some scanners are designed to be used on a table or desk, while many others are handheld. If you want the freedom to move around your house or even take your scanner on the go, a handheld scanner may be a better option for you.

DYWM Fun Fact

As police scanners have grown in popularity, concerns have emerged that criminals might use them to get away with crimes. This is largely unfounded, especially since most scanner users are simply hobbyists. In other words, criminals aren’t likely to buy a police scanner simply for the purpose of getting away with a crime.

Even if they did, though, the information they’d gain wouldn’t be very helpful since communication is often incomplete. Not only do authorities use codewords only those involved in the incident would understand, emergency services often communicate using multiple methods, so you wouldn’t get the full picture of an incident anyway.

That said, it’s important that those using scanners avoid sharing details on social media, especially if the information gives away the addresses of homes that are currently being searched.

The Police Scanner Buying Guide

  • The most important feature in a police scanner is its reception. The Uniden Digital Mobile TrunkTracker V Scanner can pick up frequencies in both analog and digital modes, which means you’ll be able to pull up transmissions from emergency services and the military. You’ll also get 25,000 dynamically allocated channels. The BaoFeng Dual Band Two Way Radio picks up 128 channels, with a frequency range of 136 to 174, and offers three-way radio wave reception, which includes FM, VHF and UHF. The Uniden HomePatrol Series Handheld sometimes struggles to pick up analog frequencies.
  • If you’re hoping to capture what’s going on in your neighborhood, look for a scanner that builds in Close Call RF Capture. The Uniden Digital Mobile TrunkTracker V Scanner, Uniden HomePatrol Series Handheld and Uniden HomePatrol Phase 2 Base/Mobile all include that feature. With the Uniden HomePatrol Series Handheld, you’ll have the advantage of a do-not-disturb setting that lets your scanner continue to look for nearby transmissions while still letting you listen to whatever is happening now.
  • For listening to nearby transmissions, it can also be useful to have a scanner with location-based scanning built in. The Uniden Digital Mobile TrunkTracker V Scanner and Uniden HomePatrol Series Handheld both automatically search frequencies in the surrounding area to keep you from having to find your location manually.
  • The biggest difference between scanners is their general build. The Uniden Digital Mobile TrunkTracker V Scanner and Uniden HomePatrol Phase 2 Base/Mobile are both tabletop models, while the Uniden HomePatrol Series Handheld and BaoFeng Dual Band Two Way Radio are handheld, similar to the design of the radio a police officer wears on his belt.
  • Once you’ve found a good channel, you likely want to come back to it again. The Uniden HomePatrol Series Handheld lets you create a favorites list to save all of the best channels. The BaoFeng Dual Band Two Way Radio lets you customize your channel names so that you can create nicknames to help you remember the ones you’ve used before.
  • Scanners have come a long way in the smartphone era. The Uniden HomePatrol Phase 2 Base/Mobile has a built-in Wi-Fi feature that lets you sync up with a smartphone app. That means you can access your scanner using your smartphone even when you’re away from home.
  • With other scanners, advanced functionality is built into the device itself. The Uniden Digital Mobile TrunkTracker V Scanner has an advanced dynamic memory system that remembers your preferences and handles more complex tasks. With the Uniden HomePatrol Series Handheld, you can not only save your favorite channels to memory, but you can temporarily skip certain channels.
  • If you’re looking for an affordable scanner, the BaoFeng Dual Band Two Way Radio can get you started. With a price point well below $50, this is a great option for the novice user who wants to simply give scanning a try. You’ll pay more than $300 for the Uniden Digital Mobile TrunkTracker V Scanner, with the Uniden HomePatrol Series Handheld and Uniden HomePatrol Phase 2 Base/Mobile topping $400.
  • Another bonus with Uniden’s scanners is the built-in weather alert feature. The Uniden Digital Mobile TrunkTracker V Scanner, Uniden HomePatrol Series Handheld and Uniden HomePatrol Phase 2 Base/Mobile all have this included.
  • If you want to record what you hear, you’ll need a scanner with plenty of storage. The Uniden HomePatrol Phase 2 Base/Mobile has a microSD slot that provides up to 4GB of storage, which is more space than you’ll probably ever need.
  • If you’re new to scanning, you’ll want to look for a scanner that’s easy to use. Despite its low price, the BaoFeng Dual Band Two Way Radio may not be the best option, since it can be tough to use. The Uniden Digital Mobile TrunkTracker V Scanner needs some initial programming that can be complicated, and the scanner is a bit advanced for casual users. But the Uniden HomePatrol Series Handheld is built for ease of use, with its programming making many of the tasks you’ll need automatic.