From communicating with coast stations to harbour authorities, here are the best Icom VHF radios for your boat.

With over 50 years of experience developing two-way radio products globally, it’s no surprise that the best Icom VHF radios are sought-after equipment in the marine industry.

Whether you’re searching for a handheld VHF marine radio to take with you as you clean the deck or a mounted VHF marine radio to stand guard in your navigation zone, the Icom boasts incredible features such as IPX7 waterproofing and easy-to-use interfaces.

Best Icom VHF at a glance

Best budget Icom VHF – Icom IC-M25Euro handheld marine radio

First-ever handheld VHF with built-in AIS – ICOM IC-M94DE handheld marine radio

Best Icom VHF radio for battery life – Icom M37E handheld VHF radio


The best marine radios, including Icom, have adapted and caught up with the latest technology over the years with many offering functionalities such as GPS integration. But, did you know that all new radios now have the ability to be registered with a Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number so rescue services such as the Coastguard can be supplied with information about who is sending a distress signal?

Other specifications that are worth mentioning include USB charging, DSC capabilities, buoyancy abilities, and AIS functions.

If you’re interested in how AIS is one of sailing’s biggest technological developments of the past decade, Pip Hare, a regular contributor here at Yachting World, created the sailor’s essential guide to AIS: Everything you need to know.

Icom 25

Icom IC-M25Euro handheld marine radio

Best budget Icom VHF

• Battery life: 29 hours on standby monitoring VTS CH12
• Waterproofing: IPX7
• Floating: Yes
• Weight: 225g
• DSC: No
• GPS: No

Reasons to buy: This radio has an impressive battery life and USB connector. Plus, it’s good value for money.

Reason to avoid: It isn’t fully waterproof and unlike others on this list, it doesn’t have a GPS feature.

If you’re searching for a lightweight low-spec VHF Handheld radio that you can store in your pocket, this is the one for you. Despite not being fully waterproof, the float and flash system works well enough that if you do drop it in the water it’ll carry on functioning. It also has the bonus feature that you’ll be able to retrieve it easily. Our tester’s favourite feature was the convenient USB charging port.

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icom M94

Icom IC-M94DE handheld marine radio

First-ever handheld VHF with built-in AIS

• Battery life: 16 hours (on standby monitoring busy VTS channel)
• Waterproofing: IPX7
• Floating: Yes
• Weight: 367g
• DSC: Yes
• GPS: Yes
• AIS: yes

Reasons to buy: Along with built-in AIS, it has a DSC/GPS and features an easy-to-read screen.

Reasons to avoid: The masses of functions result in a shorter battery life. It is noticeably heavier than lower specified models, and it doesn’t come with 12v cable as standard.

You can read our hands-on test review: Icom M94DE VHF Marine Radio review

The Icom IC-M94DE is the flagship model from Icom and is chock-full of features – two of those key features are its DSC and AIS functions. It is the first handheld VHF radio to offer AIS functionality too so this is a rare beast indeed at the moment.

The VHF is buoyant and when it detects water, it automatically flashes the screen light on and off.

The AIS function is easy to access and switching between alternative screens is quick and effortless.

The M94D features a waterproof rating of IPX7 (1 meter for 30 mins) and it offers a battery life on standby of 16 hours (charging in 3 hours). Also of note is the sizeable screen, making it easier to read than some smaller units.

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Icom M37

Icom M37E handheld VHF radio

Best Icom VHF radio for battery life
Battery life: well over 48 hours (on standby monitoring busy VTS channel)
Extra battery tray/number and type of batts. Yes/3 x AAA
Waterproofing: IPX7
Floating: Yes
Weight: 299g

Reasons to buy: Another VHF marine radio with an easy-to-read screen and impressive battery life. It also has robust, no-nonsense casing and versatile charging options.

Reasons to avoid: Not a DSC/GPS-equipped model.

You can read our hands-on test review: Icom IC37 Handheld VHF Marine Radio Review

This handheld VHF unit is a real workhorse. It is designed for both leisure and the commercial market, so you know that the features will stand up against other models.

The Icom M37E handheld VHF comes as standard with an additional battery tray which takes 3 AAA batteries.

Charging is versatile and whilst it uses a drop-in cradle, the cradle cable is USB, so you can plug this into any power supply, 12v, 240v or portable power bank.

It has the now familiar Icom Float’n’Flash system which means it is buoyant, floating on its back and the screen automatically flashes when dunked so it’s easy to find should you drop it in the water.

Whilst it might not have all the bells and whistles of some higher spec’d models, what it does do, is perform exceptionally well at the essential core functions.

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Icom M330ge

Icom IC-M330GE

Best compact Icom VHF


Waterproofing: IPX7
Power: 25W
MOB: no
DSC: Yes
GPS: Yes

Reasons to buy: compact size, catering to smaller vessels. It also features a clever interface and Full DSC features.

Reasons to avoid: It is missing some features found in larger models.

The Icom IC-M330GE is one of the smallest fixed VHF/DSC radios on the market. with a front face so compact that it is roughly the size of your modern smartphone measuring 156.5 x 66.5 x 110.1mm and weighing only 730g in total.

Given its small size, the radio is aimed at a market where space is at a premium and so there is necessarily some giving up of features seen in the larger units. However, quite a bit has been maintained even in a unit this size.

The unit is controlled via a directional keypad, with soft keys providing simple operation. Most used functions are assigned to soft keys for quick one-push function access.

DSC functions include distress, individual, group, all ships, urgency, safety, position request/report, polling request and DSC test calls.

The IC-M330GE includes an integral GPS Receiver which also your current position and time to be used for DSC calls. The M330GE is NMEA1830 compatible.

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IC-M605EURO Multi Station VHF/DSC Radio with AIS Receiver

Best VHF for advanced features with AIS


Waterproofing: IPX8
Power: 25W
DSC: Yes
GPS: Yes
• AIS: Yes

Reasons to buy: built in AIS receiver, easy to read and use interface, connect multiple command stations to the main unit

Reasons to avoid: may be a little too pricey or feature full for a small vessel

The IC-M605EURO is an advanced Class D VHF/DSC radio with integrated AIS receiver, capable of showing real-time AIS vessel traffic information on the large colour TFT LCD display.

This radio contains lots of advanced features including Active Noise Cancelling technology, a sophisticated reciever and a last call voice recording function that saves up to two minutes of an incoming call. The IC- M605EURO also has the capability of connecting up to three command stations, allowing operation/intercom via either RCM600 Remote Stations or HM-229 Command mics. This makes it a great communication system for large yachts or motor cruisers.

The integrated AIS receiver shows real-time AIS vessel traffic information on the display. The AIS combo screen enables you to monitor the AIS plotter during basic operation. You can directly call a selected AIS target from the AIS screen using an individual DSC call.

The last call voice recording function automatically saves up to two minutes of an incoming call. When connected to the optional SP-37 horn speaker, you can talk with crew on the deck or shore from the radio’s microphone and can hear any reply via the horn speaker. Also available the RX hailer function and four patterns of automatic foghorn.

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Icom IC-M510E VHF/DSC Marine Radio with Smartphone Control

Best Smart phone compatible VHF radio


Waterproofing: IPX68
Power: 25W
MOB: Yes
DSC: Yes
GPS: Yes
• NMEA 0183/-HS connectivity

Reasons to buy: easy to read and use interface, connect multiple smart phones to the main unit, AIS compatible

Reasons to avoid: may be harder to fit on a smaller boat or one with confined nav/comms stations

The IC-M510E is a stylish, new advanced VHF/DSC marine radio from Icom that gives you control of the radio via your Smartphone using the RS-M500 app (iOS™/Android™). In fact up to three smartphones can act as remote controllers via the radio’s WLAN network. It is even possible to have intercom function between your smartphone and the radio itself.

Use the RS-M500 app (for iOS™/Android™) to remotely control the IC-M510E through WLAN. Up to three smartphones can be used as a wireless microphone or remote controller in substitute for the COMMANDMIC™. Intercom function between your smartphone and the radio is also available.

The IC-M510E is slim (depth: 71.2 mm; 2.8 in) and easy to install. Suitable for either panel or trunnion mounting.

The Navigation function guides you to a specified waypoint or AIS target. You can assign up to 100 destinations as waypoints.
The optional CT-M500 wireless interface box provides NMEA 2000 connectivity and Hailer/PA feature. The CT-M500 and the radio can be connected through WLAN.

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