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Tuesday 28 November 2017

Comparison of DMR radios

The date at the top is only the date this article was originally posted. It does not change when I update the post!

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Please link to this page instead of copying because I will be regularly updating this table with new radios and new data.

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If you spot any errors or out of date information or if you have more information to add, please leave a comment below or send me an email. Check contact page for details.

Anything with a ? in is something I don't know. If you do, then please help by telling me. If I have missed out any Chinese DMR radios please tell me in the comments.

Information in this table is not guaranteed. I have made my best effort to provide correct information but there could be errors. Please check before buying, and if you find a mistake please let me know!

Legal information
This comparison is made for licensed amateur radio operators. It is illegal to use any of these radios on licence free channels such as PMR446 or FRS (including GMRS). Radios used on FRS and GMRS must be certified for use on these channels by the FCC. Radios used on PMR446 must have 0.5W maximum output power, and a fixed antenna.

Radio True DMR Dual band Available in Waterproof Receiver type Rough price User DB Recommended/comments
TYT MD-380 / Retevis RT3 Yes No VHF or UHF No Superhet 90 Yes Yes. Good quality body and good performance. Superhet receiver is good. Promiscuous mode and many more enhancements available in unofficial firmware. Only real issue is tones/beeps volume can't be changed.
TYT MD-390 Yes No VHF or UHF Yes Superhet 125 Yes Yes. Same as MD-380 but waterproof.
Baofeng DM-5R No Yes VHF + UHF No Direct conversion 50 No No. Does not talk to other DMR radios (uses a different vocoder), and only works on simplex mode.
Baofeng DM-5R Plus No Yes VHF + UHF No Direct conversion 70 No No. Does not work on repeaters properly. Will talk to other DMR radios fine on simplex though.
Ailunce HD1 Yes Yes VHF + UHF Yes Direct conversion 190 Yes Yes. Good if you need a radio with VFO mode and dual band. This radio is good because it allows full front panel programming and a proper "VFO mode". Also has promiscuous mode.
TYT MD-2017 / Retevis RT82 Yes Yes VHF + UHF Yes Direct conversion 220 Yes Yes. Trackball is disliked by users. Now has TyToolz firmware (like on the MD-380) which adds features like adhoc talkgroup changing.
Radioddity GD-77 Yes Yes VHF + UHF No Direct conversion 87 Yes No. One of the cheaper dual band DMR radios but buggy and not great quality. Still a better choice than the RD-5R though.
Radioddity GD-55/ TYT MD-398 No No VHF or UHF Yes Direct conversion - No No. Does not work on repeaters properly. No longer sold.
Radioddity GD-55 Plus Yes No UHF Yes Direct conversion 115 No No. Users complain that firmware is too buggy. Development seems to have stopped. Shows the importance of not buying a radio that still has bugs - they may never be fixed!
Kirisun DP-770 Yes No UHF Yes Superhet 300 No No. Expensive compared to other Chinese radios and no promiscuous mode.
BFDX CS580 Yes No VHF or UHF Splash Direct conversion 130 No Yes. Gets excellent reviews. Colour code and timeslot promiscuous mode as well.
AnyTone AT-D868UV Yes Yes VHF + UHF Splash Direct conversion 175 Yes Yes, generally good reviews.
AnyTone AT-D878UV Yes Yes VHF + UHF Splash Direct conversion 210 Yes Yes. Good reviews, but expensive for a direct conversion radio. As of April 2019 this is probably the best dual band DMR radio.
BTECH DMR-6X2 Yes Yes VHF + UHF Splash Direct conversion 170 Yes Yes. Like the AnyTone AT-D868UV but with a few additional features. See comparison of models here.
Connect systems CS750/CS751 (VHF) Yes No VHF or UHF No Superhet 240 No Monitor feature is good – basically a colour code and timeslot promiscuous mode, but there are newer radios out there with more features and cheaper. Generally good reviews.
Wouxun KG-D901 Yes No VHF or UHF Yes ? 150 No No. Reviews complain that the radio only has 32 channels. Not many reviews and there isn't much of a user community. Meant to be more channels with firmware update but Wouxun says you have to send the radio back to be upgraded. Not worth the hassle and cost.
Baofeng RD-5R Yes Yes VHF + UHF No Direct conversion 75 No No. A total mess. Full of bugs.
Zastone Mini9+ No No UHF No Probably direct conversion 50 No Will not work on repeaters but for simplex use it seems good. Very small, limited display and simplex only. Not legal for use on licence free channels.
Radioddity GD-77S Yes Yes VHF + UHF No Direct conversion 77 No No screen. Not sure why an amateur would buy this. Maybe good for blind users. For commercial use it would be better to buy a radio with a superhet receiver. Not legal for use on the licence free frequencies it is programmed to by default.
Alinco DJ-MD40 Yes No UHF Splash Superhet 135 No I couldn't find any reviews of this. Alinco is a good brand so quality would be expected here, but there are cheaper radios available with many more features (MD-380 and MD-390) so I don't really see why anyone would buy this.
TYT MD-UV380 / Retevis RT3S Yes Yes VHF + UHF No Direct conversion 130 Yes No. Not to be confused with the MD-380. This radio is dual band but has a direct conversion receiver. It's not a bad radio overall, and has group and private call promiscuous modes as well as user DB, but there are cheaper ones out there with similar specs. Also has some poor design, like all tones are way too loud and volume can't be changed, adhoc talkgroup change doesn't stick after you use push the PTT once.
TYT MD-UV390 Yes Yes VHF + UHF Yes Direct conversion 175 Yes See TYT MD-UV380 above. This radio is practically the same but waterproof.
Alinco DJ-MD5 Yes Yes VHF + UHF No Direct conversion 170 Yes Yes. Has good reviews but still no superheterodyne receiver. Very disappointing for a supposedly "good" Japanese brand to come out with a direct conversion receiver radio.
Radioddity GD-88 / Kydera DR-880UV Plus Yes Yes VHF + UHF Splash Direct conversion 195 Yes No. Too many bugs at the moment. Maybe in the future, but don't buy until the bugs are fixed as there's no guarantee they ever will be.

Explanation of columns:
1. True DMR. Whether the radio works as it should do on repeaters and with other DMR radios. I strongly discourage you from buying a radio that is not true DMR. You will not be able to use it on repeaters.

2. Dual band. Whether the radio supports two bands in one radio. This will almost always be VHF and UHF.

3. Available in. States which bands the radio is available in. VHF, which is normally 136-174  MHz and UHF which usually starts at 400MHz and goes up to 470, 480 or sometimes even 520 MHz. For amateur use then up to 470MHz is fine because no countries (that I know of) have an amateur band above that (well okay, there are much higher frequency bands but I mean within the operation of these radios).

4. Waterproof. No means not at all. Yes means submersible in water. Splash means not submersible but certified for use in rain.

5. Receiver type. Superheterodyne receiver (shortened to superhet) is better because it rejects other channels better. So if someone is standing next to you talking on another radio, your radio will not become temporarily deaf. Direct conversion is cheaper and takes up less space on circuit boards but is easily desensitised. (that’s what it’s called when the radio cannot hear what you’re listening to because of a strong signal on another frequency). Most Chinese radios use direct conversion which is inferior, at least in the way it is implemented in these radios. A radio like this is considered to have "poor selectivity".

6. Rough price. Given in US dollars. As with most things, you may find it being sold at a much higher or slightly lower price. Please let me know in the comments below if the average price of a radio changes so I can update the price in the table.

7. User DB. The user DB is a database of amateur radio operators and their DMR IDs. When they are transmitting, a radio with the user DB will show their name and callsign. Without the database, the radio would just show the ID which is usually a number such as 3111234. Only radios which have been specially designed (or adapted by newer firmware such as with the MD-380) will have this feature. Commercial radios and brands like Motorola, Hytera etc do not have this.

8. Recommended/comments. Whether I recommend the radio or not based on my own experience and my understanding of other user’s comments online. Also gives comments on why I do or do not recommend the radio.

Promiscuous mode, which is mentioned in some comments, means that the radio has a mode where it can hear any talkgroup without needing to program it in. Usually you have to program in a talkgroup before you will hear anyone talking on it. Promiscuous mode disables this requirement.


  1. Replies
    1. GD-77 is 87$ usd.
      Add mobile? CS-800, CS-800D, MD-9600, etc?

    2. Changed the info for the anytone at-d868uv.

      At the moment this table is for handhelds only. I am thinking of making a separate table for mobiles.

    3. Anytone....double time slot monitor (promiscuous), 250 channels per zone. Dual band....NOT dual watch.
      De K0XM

  2. TYT MD-2017/Retevis RT-82
    Radioddity GD-55/ TYT MD-398
    Radioddity GD-55 Plus
    all of them with RDA reciver type!

  3. I own 2 Anytone with several friends who own multiple Anytone AT868. Firmware 2.21 with software 1.21 is 199% stable. Radio by far easiest to use. Simple change zones. Zones hold 100+ channel's. No need for 3rd party firmware. Callsign database loaded within Anytone software. There are required updates. Base band 1 time flash. KC7JOE

  4. Replies
    1. Wouxun KG-D901 added. I don't think anyone will consider the Wouxun KG-D900 since it has no screen, so I haven't added that one. Thanks.

  5. Excellent blog and YouTube videos. I am new to DMR and learning about the available radios before I take the plunge. I am planning on buying a Dual Bander and considering either the Ailunce MD-1 or the AnyTone AT-D868UV. Are you planning on a full review of the AT-D868UV or maybe even a video face-off between MD-1, AT-D868UV, RT82 and MD-2017? That would be super awesome for someone like me shopping for a Dual Band DMR. Thanks again for all the information you make available.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I'm not planning on doing a comparison between the three radios right now. This is purely because of the cost. It would cost a lot to buy all three radios and I wouldn't have any use for them. I don't like any of them at the moment because I believe that they all use direct conversion receivers which are in my opinion, rubbish. Have a look at my latest video where I explain this whole situation.

      My advice right now to everyone wanting to get into DMR is to just buy a MD-380 or MD-390. In most places almost all the DMR repeaters are on UHF only anyway (but check your local repeaters online). The MD-380 and 390 are basically the same internals and the only difference is the housing which is waterproof on the 390. These radios are reasonably priced and work well. They've been out a long time so don't really have any bugs now, unlike the dual band DMR radios which seem to have a lot of bugs.

      When there is no performance downside to getting a dual band radio then sure, go for it, but at the moment there is and it's not worth it unless you actually NEED both bands.

  6. Hello, in case you have not heard it yet, Tytera announced a Dual-Band version of the MD-380, called TYT MD-UV380. A couple of website are reporting some (limited) information:
    Since it is said to be "Built on the popular MD-380" I have high hopes it will have a similar superheterodyne architecture! It would not make sense to me Tytera built another clone of the MD-2017, just to keep the look of the MD-380. We'll see.

    1. Yeah I saw that, and I hope so too. It would be a waste of time if it turns out to be just an MD-2017 clone although at least then it won't have the trackball.

  7. Hi, have you had personally the Ailunce HD-1? Have heard from my friend, radioamateur, too, that the TYT MD-2017 during receiving produces loudly buzzing, maybe from the display changer.. What about practical oppinion with Ailunco? Thanks Steve

    1. Yes I do have the HD1. I haven't had any loud buzzing during receiving on it. It works fine

  8. Thoughts on the retevis rt82 the price point seems good for dual band with gps

    1. Hi Charles. The RT-82 is in the comparison table. Have a look there for my thoughts, which are in the last column on the right. Thanks

  9. A lot of this info is out of date. The AnyTone AT-D868UV has had many firmware updates and is now a fantastic radio. Update info when you can and also add some of the newer radios including the Baofeng RD-5R! 73

    1. Thanks for your comment. The RD-5R is actually already in the list, near the bottom. I have been following progress with the Anytone radio and people still seem to be having problems with it, so I have not changed it on this page. I am still following it though and will change here when appropriate. You're lucky to have a radio with no issues.

    2. Thanks for the quick reply. Yup totally missed the RD-5R. I guess we are lucky. I've had 2 of the AnyTone radios (own one at the moment). A friend also has one and seems to be a great radio after latest firmware updates. 73

  10. I am looking for a true DMR handheld radio with following features.

    Dual band (VHF + UHF)
    Superheterodyne receiver type
    With user database

    Price doesn't matter.

    Please suggest a few.

    1. Look in the table yourself. I'm not here to spoon feed you.

    2. I asked for suggestion because this article seems to be last updated in Nov 2017. Things might have changed since then (New products, updates, fixes etc.). Anyways, I would appreciate if you can please give your opinion on Alinco DJ-AXD4 which isn't listed here.

  11. Thanks for all the time you've put into this; it's really helpful. I'm planning on taking the plunge into DMR soon.

    1. (Now I'm trying to determine whether it'd be worth it to have an HT with GPS built-in.)

  12. Hi, very helpful pages and YouTube videos. Can you tell me if the TYT MD380 can be used as a DMR scanner please? Thank you

  13. Additional review of Anytone AT868.

    Anytone AT868 come along ways adding many new features in 2018 to be equal or better than radios in this review.

    Yes, if you really need a radio with VFO mode and dual band. This radio is good because it allows full front panel programming and a proper "VFO mode". Also has promiscuous mode. However, selectivity is low in rural areas.

    Yes. Gets excellent reviews. Colour code and timeslot promiscuous mode with Dual or single slot hold for repeaters. Select any scanlist active via keypad. Software is Excell based.

  14. Hi,
    wondering what you think of the Retevis RT3s?

  15. Just got my HD-1 and I think my favorite thing about it versus the MD-380 would have to be not having to make a seperate channel entry for each talkgroup on each repeater. I use make only two for each repeater, one for each timeslot, set them for promiscuous mode, and set the default talk group for each, but I can swap the talkgroup on the fly via the menu pretty easily. This, in my opinion, is a huge benefit versus being limited to 16 channels per zone. 100000 place address book is great as well. The lack of a Super Het. Receiver is quite disappointing and honestly the worst aspect of this radio. I've noticed, especially on analog, even my UV-5R out performs this radio consistently on analog. Should aluance make this same radio with a superhet receiver, I would not hesitate one heartbeat to upgrade and never think twice.

    Also, for the GPS model, APRS functionality is currently not working, and I would like to see that fixed, though via their Facebook group, I've seen mention that this issue is being worked on, and may have resolution down the road via a firmware patch.

    All in all, I am happy with the radio.

    I would like to see the a mobile chart as well, as someone else suggested.

  16. Alinco announced a Dual Band DMR, the DJ-MD5T. Some US vendors already offer it for sale, although it appears it will start shipping in mid-November:

    Not surprisingly, no information on the architecture of the RX section. Given the price, I do not have high hopes it is a superhet.

    Does anyone have any information on it?

    1. That's very interesting. Thanks for commenting. I'll keep an eye on that radio and if I find out anything I'll add it to the table.

  17. How about the TYT/Radioddity MD-9600? In recent software/hardware versions it seems to work quite well as a mobile dual band DMR radio. I have one and like it. Can be programmed from MD-380 and MD-2017 codeplugs.

  18. so there is no dual band radio with superhet receiver ? :(

  19. I live in a Lifestyle Village with not much in the way of antennas, so I have discovered DMR and have a Retevis RT90 Mobile unit installed in a man-cave in the house, Dual band. I believe it is a clone of the TYT 9600, so far I have had no issues. High / low mobile power. I can access several DMR repeaters here in Melbourne, also have 2 TYT MD-UV380 dual band HHs, again no issues with them, although they are not recommended in the above review, I cannot find fault with them, No 16 Ch restriction, and VHF/UHF as well. I am in the process of setting up Analogue frequencies in blocks of 25, covering ALL VHF and UHF repeaters including CTCSS frequencies. The UV380s can also be programmed on the fly if need be. Driving to VK4 (S/coast) next year so also have a JumboSpot while mobile. de Bruce, VK3UV

  20. Think I must be the only person who has had no issues with the RD-5R - works like a dream on local repeater and hotspot. Annoying analog squelch tail was removed with a software update, zero complaints at all.

  21. There are now two more Dual Band DMD radios, the AnyTone AT-D878UV and the BTech DMR-6x2. The D878UV is an updated D868, with APRS in FM and an optional Bluetooth module. The 6x2 looks like a re-branded D878 with a few tweaks. Interestingly, both are claimed to be closely related to the Alinco DJ-MD5 in architecture and firmware. Found an interesting 3-way comparison here:

    It could be that Alinco did not develop the DJ-MD5 in house but just contracted AnyTone to design and manufacture it.

  22. By the way, on the topic of superhet vs direct conversion: not only the new Dual Band DMR radios continue to be released with a direct conversion architecture but even HTs dedicated to ham radio are adopting it. See for example the Yaesu FT-65, which in US sells for less than $120. I might be old school, but I'd rather buy a FT-70DR for about $50 more and get a Dual-Conversion Superhet with the Fusion Digital Mode as a bonus.
    That is why I had high hopes for the Alinco DJ-MD5. If Yaesu can make and sell at a profit a Dual Band Superhet combining Analog FM with a Digital Mode, why not Alinco????? At the end, at $170 the FT-70DR is priced exactly as the Alinco DJ-MD5GTP, the model with GPS. And the FT-70DR is arguably a better radio overall, in built, features, user-friendliness and frequency coverage (RX)

    1. Wow, I am so disappointed in Yaesu. Thanks for making me aware of this.

  23. Any news about Retevis RT52?

  24. The BTech DMR-6X2 can be added to the list also.
    Several additional features not found on the Anytone D868.

    1. Thanks, I have updated it now and added a link to your excellent comparison

  25. I have a Baofeng DM-X which works fine however it is not in the review above ... it is an upgrade from the Baofeng DM-1702 which is also not included in above review ... the software for creating a code plug is not intuitive like Chirp for other non DMR transceivers!! Will you be adding the Baofeng DM-X to the review list??

  26. Hi, greetings from canada. Have you had any luck running simplex between your 878UV and your Zastone Mini 9+?
    I can receive fine on my 878uv but the Mini9+ does not hear my 878uv! Any idea why? Thanks and love you youtube channel!


    1. Hi Stephan. I actually do not have that Zastone radio

  27. Some comparisons of radios I own. I have several of the MD380 series (RT3) and one RT3S (UV380). The MD 380 are the bells at receive if you don’t want bells and whistles. Not a lot of capacity for DG contacts but I didn’t purchase it for that.

    The RT3S is close to sensitivity for analog to the MD 380. Slightly less but I can’t tell , perhaps due to the placement of the speaker which I think sounds better. It might be ported behind the keypad but with 3,000 channels and less than $100 USD I think it’s a better no frills dual band than the 868

    I purchased an Anytone 868 nearly two years ago and have been disappointed with the analog receiver. I’m told by others including amateur groups who seem to be getting payola from the vendors that “ there is nothing wrong with the radio” and that the ARRL and consider it at a par when measured on a service monitor.

    It’s possible I got a bad lot of the bunch in June 2018 but other than the informative display it doesn’t suit my need to have a truly, all in one radio. My guess is the FM broadcast band capabilities may have reduced the sensitivity.

    My last review is the MD 9600 mobile. I sent the first one back as it changed memory channel, even when left for a few minutes. My second replacement wasn’t much better.

    The analog side has really good sensitivity at the sake of lousy front end shielding as it de senses by adjacent signals If I lived in the middle of no where it might be a decent rig.

    All of these have acceptable DMR operation, but I feel that manufacturing has discovered that one can make any receiver sound ok on digital as it masks any imperfections on the design.

    I’m looking at trying out a connect systems CS800D next and I’ll give my report later.

    1. I have the 878 and analog sensitivity is in the crapper. Seems any dmr radios I've tried have poor squelch sensitivity-perfectly copyable signals won't open the squelch. Holds true for the Anytone, Alinco and md-uv380. My Baofengs run rings around them on receive. At least with the 390 I figured out the squelch settings in software, but the rf sens-not so good.

    2. Got the CS800D a year ago and it performs way better than the MD9600. Analog receive is as good as the commercial rigs which it's rated for as a dual conversion, superhet receiver.

      Has the remote head which is great at saving space. Does not have dual watch or display but there is an additional BFD which increases the size of the screen by X's ten to allow several zones to be displayed at once.

      Connect systems offers good support as the owner is also their primary sales person. Not sure what to do with the 9600 which is supposed to have a ground to chassis issue which may be the reason why it has crappy receive and other problems.

  28. Is the MD-380/390 still available today? Many sites list it as discontinued while others appear to have them in stock. The units are listed as MD-80 not the lesser MD-UV380 (see the entry in the chart above).

  29. The opengd77 project now supports gd77(s), dm1801(orig), d5r, rt3s, md-uv380,390, and md9600, rt90. Consider this alternative software approach designed for hams.


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