Manufacturers of two-way radios still make outlandish claims about their products’ maximum transmission range. Four years ago, we noted that manufacturers calculate these stated ranges by setting up tests on mountaintops that have an unobstructed valley view between radios. You’re more likely to find buildings, hills or trees interfering with your signal and diminishing your range significantly.
Nevertheless, manufacturers now claim that two-way radios can transmit clearly for up to 50 miles. In reality, Family Radio Service channels are limited to 0.5 watts, which we found to mean that you’ll have a range of 1–3 miles at best. General Mobile Radio Service channels are limited to 5 watts, which will give you a range of 1–5 miles, according to our evaluations.