MURS vs GMRS: Which One is Better & Why?

MURS and GMRS have their roots in the early days of radio communication, with MURS being established in 2000 and GMRS in 1963.

While both services were designed for different purposes, they share a common goal: to provide users with reliable communication.

MURS is typically used by businesses, local government agencies, and individuals for various applications, while GMRS is geared toward family and personal use.

In this article, I aim to demystify the MURS vs GMRS debate to help you decide which communication channel best suits your requirements.

MURS vs GMRS: Which One is Better & Why?

We will delve into the specifics of frequency bands, power output limits, licensing requirements, and equipment options, giving you a comprehensive understanding of these two radio services.

Now let’s proceed to discuss MURS vs GMRS in detail.

MURS vs GMRS: What Are the Key differences

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a business owner, or someone who values reliable communication, selecting the right radio for your needs is crucial.


In this comprehensive guide, we’ll compare the key differences between MURS (Multi-Use Radio Service) and GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) radios and help you decide which option is best for your specific use case.

MURS and GMRS: A Brief History

MURS and GMRS are radio communication services that provide users with a means to communicate over short to medium distances without relying on cellular networks or the internet.

MURS was established in 2000 and is typically used by businesses, local government agencies, and individuals for various applications. GMRS, on the other hand, has been around since 1963 and is more geared toward family and personal use.

Technical Specifications: Comparing MURS and GMRS Radios

  • Frequency Ranges: MURS operates on five VHF (Very High Frequency) channels ranging from 151.820 to 154.600 MHz. GMRS utilizes 22 UHF (Ultra High Frequency) channels, ranging from 462.550 MHz to 467.725 MHz.
  • Power Output and Range: MURS radios are limited to a maximum power output of 2 watts, while GMRS radios can have a power output of up to 50 watts. This means that, in general, GMRS radios offer a greater communication range than MURS radios, although factors such as terrain and weather can impact the actual range.
  • Channel Availability: MURS offers five channels, while GMRS provides 22 channels, giving users more options for communication. Additionally, GMRS radios can access eight repeater channels, extending the communication range even further.
  • Legal Requirements: Licensing and Certification: Operating a MURS radio does not require a license, making it an accessible option for users who want a simple, hassle-free communication solution. GMRS radios, on the other hand, require a license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for users aged 18 and above. The license covers the licensee and their immediate family members and is valid for ten years.
  • Interference: MURS radios, operating on VHF frequencies, may experience less interference from other electronic devices compared to GMRS radios, which operate on UHF frequencies.
  • Antenna options: MURS radios may offer more flexibility regarding antenna options, as the FCC allows for external antennas. GMRS radios can also use external antennas but with specific height restrictions depending on the location and type of structure.
  • Compatibility: GMRS radios are compatible with FRS (Family Radio Service) radios operating on some of the same frequencies. MURS radios do not have this compatibility, as they operate on different frequency bands.

Pros and Cons: When to Choose MURS or GMRS

MURS Radios



✅ No licensing required
✅ VHF frequencies can penetrate foliage and other obstacles better than UHF frequencies, making MURS radios ideal for use in wooded or hilly areas


❌ Limited to five channels
❌ Lower power output and range compared to GMRS radios

Ideal Use Cases: MURS radios are well-suited for businesses, local government agencies, and individuals who require short-range communication in environments with potential obstacles, such as forests or hilly terrain.

GMRS Radios

GMRS Radios
GMRS Radios


✅ Greater power output and range compared to MURS radios
✅ Access to 22 channels and repeater capabilities for an extended range


❌ Requires an FCC license
❌ UHF frequencies may not penetrate obstacles as well as VHF frequencies

Ideal Use Cases: GMRS radios are perfect for families, outdoor enthusiasts, and emergency preparedness situations, where longer communication ranges and channel availability are essential.

Recommendations: Choosing the Best Radio for Your Needs

  • Hunting and Camping: MURS radios may be more suitable for hunting and camping trips in wooded or hilly areas due to their ability to penetrate obstacles. However, a GMRS radio with repeater capabilities may be a better option if the extended range is a priority.
  • Emergency Preparedness: GMRS radios are recommended for emergency preparedness situations, as they offer a greater range and more channels for communication.
  • Business and Local Government: MURS radios are ideal for businesses and local government agencies requiring short-range communication and not wanting to deal with licensing requirements.

In summary, the main differences between MURS and GMRS radios lie in their frequency ranges, power output, channel availability, and licensing requirements.

By considering your specific use case and weighing each option’s pros and cons, you can decide which radio service best suits your needs.

We encourage you to share your experiences, ask questions in the comments below, and join the conversation about MURS and GMRS radios!

frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Who can use MURS frequencies?

Answer: MURS frequencies are available for use by individuals, businesses, and local government agencies without needing a license. This makes MURS an accessible option for many users who require short-range communication in various environments, including commercial, recreational, and public safety applications.

Do people use GMRS without a license?

Answer: While using GMRS without a license is technically against FCC regulations, some people may operate GMRS radios without obtaining the required license. However, doing so can result in fines or other penalties if caught by the FCC. Following the regulations and obtaining a GMRS license before using these radios is always advised.

Can a business use MURS frequencies?

Answer: Yes, businesses can use MURS frequencies for their communication needs. MURS is particularly suitable for businesses that require short-range communication without the hassle of obtaining a license. Examples of businesses that may benefit from MURS radios include retail stores, construction sites, and event management companies.

 Do truckers use GMRS?

Answer: Some truckers may use GMRS radios for communication, especially if they require a longer range than CB (Citizens Band) radios offer. However, it is important to note that truckers using GMRS radios must obtain an FCC license to operate legally on GMRS frequencies.

Can anyone talk on GMRS?

Answer: Anyone can talk on GMRS frequencies provided they have a valid GMRS license issued by the FCC. The license covers the licensee and their immediate family members and is valid for ten years. Users aged 18 and above can apply for a GMRS license, making it accessible for many individuals and families.


Understanding the differences between MURS and GMRS radios is essential for choosing the right communication solution for your needs.

MURS radios offer license-free operation and better obstacle penetration, making them suitable for businesses and users in challenging environments. 

On the other hand, GMRS radios provide a greater range, more channels, and compatibility with FRS radios, making them ideal for families, outdoor enthusiasts, and emergency preparedness situations.

By carefully considering your requirements and weighing the pros and cons of each radio service, you can make an informed decision and enhance your communication experience in various settings.

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