BaoFeng UV5R vs UV5RA Comparison: The differences You Should Know

BaoFeng is a world-class manufacturer of top-notch handheld and mobile radio transceivers. In its category of basic HTs, the UV-5R generation has been a favorite! We often recommend the range to beginners looking for economical options.

UV-5R has got a lot of cosmetic variations. This include UV-5R v2+, UV-5RA, UV-5RE, UV-5R+ (Plus).

We have seen that there is a lot of confusion between the UV-5R variants.  Today, we will compare Baofeng UV-5R vs UV-5RA.

Before we will go into the differences in deep, here’s a quick look at their overview:

UV5R Vs UV5RA: Differences at a Glance



Overall Rating









Value for Money



User Interface




8 x 4 x 5 inches

8 x 4 x 6 inches

Manufacturer Warranty

1 Year

1 Year

Frequency Range

136-174/400-480 MHz

136-174/400-520 MHz




Recommended For

Beginners, Preppers, Scanning, Group Communication

Beginners, Preppers, Scanning, Group Communication

Key Pros

Highly Affordable + Superb Value

Solid Construction + High Performance


BaoFeng UV-5R – The Best Beginner-Level Radio That You Can Buy!

BaoFeng UV-5R holds its own in terms of power, performance, and aesthetics. It certainly won’t let you down with its construction, battery life, and sound quality!

The HT costs under many other flagships and that too, while still offering many modern features and functionalities. BaoFeng UV-5R’s competitiveness is truly remarkable!

It is compact and lightweight, and fits easily into the hand, making it a top choice for outdoor use. That is precisely why it is a must-have for when traveling in groups. Moreover, the long-lasting battery gives you a relaxed run for hours.

For better clarity and enhanced range coverage, an external antenna is a must. For an HT under $30, an external whip shouldn’t be a problem! Besides, there are several economical antenna options in the market.

Compared to the 5RA, we believe it’s the price aspect of UV-5R you are going to love the most. It’s the best way to kickstart Amateur radio experiments. This is exactly why we have listed UV-5R amongst the top ham radios for beginners.

You may also want to take out the time and learn about the functions for more ease of use, especially if you’re a newcomer. The user manual isn’t dummy-proof and may not be of much help for beginners.

However, despite these minor downsides, UV-5R is a fantastic entry-level amateur radio with satisfactory scanning abilities. Here’s what more to expect from the device:

  • Emergency alert
  • Dual-watch and dual-reception
  • VOX
  • 1750Hz Burst Tone
  • Flashlight equipped

BaoFeng UV-5RA – A Premium HAM Transceiver Without The Premium Price!

The BaoFeng UV-5RA is among the transceivers that have impressed us the most. The reasons should be fairly obvious: it offers incredible value, boasts a vibrant screen, and features lower power consumption!

Key differences you will notice between UV-5R and UV-5RA is the former’s comparatively better performance in terms of battery life and power consumption.

This spectacular piece of tech offers excellent features like:

  • 4/1 watts output power
  • Flashlight
  • NOAA weather channels and alerts
  • Tri-color display
  • Voice prompts

The highlight of BaoFeng UV-5RA is that it has all the bells and whistles without the sky-high cost! At this price, you’re getting a premium, high-quality transceiver that you can still about call affordable!

You can’t beat this HT! It shares a name and, visibly, an appearance with the BaoFeng forerunner, UV-5R. But this powerhouse crushes its predecessor when it comes to construction quality and casing.

I found the PTT on the UV-5RA harder to press accidentally, and the case is also a little smoother.

Much like its predecessor UV-5R, this one has some notable features like VOX and 1750 Hz Burst Tone for improved frequency and direction.

We certainly recommend this handie-talkie for new ham enthusiasts without a shred of doubt. However, if you’re looking for more, you cannot do without upgrading the stock antenna. Additionally, the UV-5RA is not compatible with UV-5R accessories.

If you plan on switching to this model, keep in mind, you will need to pay an additional price for all the external accessories.


There isn’t much difference between UV5R and UV5RA being from the same generation of transceivers. The latter is known as a rebranded version of the UV-5R model with a few minor cosmetic tweaks.

After using both transceivers, I felt a slight difference in the construction of UV-5RA. It appears to have the sturdiness that UV-5R misses!

For that reason alone, UV-5RA emerges to the top as a clear winner between these two Baofeng radios.