Midland GXT1000 vs Cobra CXR900??

Hi. My name is Judy and I am new to this Forum. At my desk at work I have a RELM base station and my work guys have RELM radios and we have both Simplex and multiple Repeater capability. (M&O Division at a public school district). I do keep a RELM handheld at home in case of off-hour emergencies. Also, I was a police/fire dispatcher in the 70’s, so I am comfortable with radios. But using them and knowing anything about them are two totally different things, as you obviously know.

I have read both recent reviews by jwilkers on the Midland GXT1000 and the Cobra CXR900. Both radios sound like they are nice.

A two-way radio set is something I have wanted to purchase for years, but never really looked into it. Yesterday, in anticipation of buying myself a pair of two-way radios, I purchased a FCC license so I could legally use GMRS if necessary. The RELMS are a little out of my price range and I will not use my work handheld for personal use.

Enough about me. Back to radios.

Between the Midland GXT1000 and the Cobra CXR900 FRS/GMRS Radio - is there one that you like better or would recommend?

I live rurally in the desert. Most of us live on 2-1/2 to 5 to 10 acre parcels. I would probably use my radios for line-of-sight with a neighbor or two - maybe I could even talk them into getting the same model so we could all communicate in an emergency - either personal or community. We live in earthquake area in Southern California - home of the 1992 Landers 7.6 earthquake.

I also would like to have a two-way radio set for travel and vacations. Cell phone coverage at my house and in my area is not always reliable unless I twirl around 3 times and stand on my right foot with my cell phone and head tilted to the south. And even then I break up and it is difficult for people to hear me.

I know that we have ham radio clubs locally who have their private repeaters somewhere, but I’m not sure where.



p.s. jwilkers I have been reading your reviews of the various radios and for an inexperience lay-person as myself, you make it pretty easy to understand.

Welcome to the group, Judy!

I like both radios. I think the Cobras are easier to use, have greater range, and have an impressive battery life. The Midlands are more durable and have water resistance.

It all depends on what you are looking for insofar as functions and features. What one user loves, another user may dislike and so on.

Either radio will work just fine.

Please feel free to ask any questions, make comments and such. With all these different radios out there, it can be hard to pin one specific model down…

Thanks! I think I’ll go with the Cobra, then. The greater range and battery life is more important to me than durability and water resistance. It’s pretty dry in the desert and I won’t be going on any dirt bike or dune buggy rides.

Thanks for helping me with those differences which allowed me to make my decision. I feel comfortable going with the Cobra now.


Glad to help :slight_smile: Ask anytime you need help… and please partiipate in the forums with your knowlege and experiences,

All the best,


i’m thinking between two these too.
I like midland’s shape more but you say that cobra’s have longer transmission range.
What confuses me is that

"Midland GXT1000 "

Power 5.33 Watts (ERP) GMRS
.42 watts (ERP) FRS


Cobra CXR900 FRS/GMRS Radio.


Power output: (ERP)
2.24 Watts High-GMRS
.49 Watts Low, FRS

so the Midland actually have higher output power?
or in midlands review was mentioned wattage which is going from transmitter to antenna , not actually from antenna in the air?
I would like longer range. And if they are the same i would take midland.
But it seems like cobras have longer range, is that true?
What is your advice?
Than you.

Power output does not necessarily determine range. All power measurements are ERP… power transmitted by the antenna.

Factors such as antenna design come into play, although no antennas can have gain, per fcc regulation.

so ,are the cobra radios have longer range?

In my experiences and tests, yes. Bear in mind everyone has different experiences. Terrain and such play large factors.

i apologize for stupid question,
as i understood, Midland has more powerful signal then? (5w vs 2.24 on cobras).

Effective Radiated Power ERP as lsted in FCC documents is greater for the Midlands.

“CXR900 offers the maximum power allowed by law”
i found that in Cobra’s specs.
i thought that maximum allowed is 5 wt.
but cobra’s have only 2.3. why they still saying that then?

i want radios(between those two) with longer range but i do not understand why Midland has more wattage power but Cobra still operates at longer ranges(according to your review).
Thank you.

i am totally confused :((((((((((((((((((((((((

Marketing hype… pure and simple. They will tell you anything to sell radios.

Power output doesn’t necessarily equate with range. Their testing lab could have also had some way to skew the stats it reported to the FCC, and the Cobra could have a better antenna design.

There are a lot of factors defining radio range. Someone else may see more range with a Midland than a Cobra… it all depends on test criteria.

yeah… but i thought that your reviews were based on approximately same conditions.
also i’ve seen review of Midland GXT 850 with “maximum power allowed by law” statement also(in yor review 1.73 wt). Marketing, heh?
Doesnt all the Midland series 800-900-1000 have a same transmitter(hardware)? (please anwser on this, if you can)
I almost decided to buy Cobras(based on your review, i hope its not “marketing” type:). Because you claim Cobras have longer range than Midlands in real world.
Tired to read forums to see which one has longer range,(there is not much info) whole week long…
thanks again.

none of my reviews ever had the statement “maximum power allowed by law” as you quoted me.

Again… hype. Only stated by manufacturers.

All my tests were done in the same environment… yes…

BUT… different people in their different environments may experience different ranges and such. My reviews are “guides”… not absolutes.

i was meaning that i have read reviews not written by you where i have seen that: “maximum power allowed by law”

Gotcha… no problem… some people may write that… I keep it real :slight_smile:

The power=range thing is one that is a lot more complicated than most think. In the most general terms a radio with the maximum of 5 watts is going to have more usable range on average compared to a similar radio that is one or two watts.

However, the quality of the components, the antenna, and the efficiency of the design are what really determines range. If you look at a lot of commercial grade radios they tend to be 2-4 watts while having the same or greater range and clarity of many 5 watts radios. It is about how well it was engineered.

So putting the maximum power in a low cost radio is how they are able to sell them for a low price while still having acceptable range. It is like putting a very powerful engine in an otherwise average car to make it fast. It works, is much more affordable, but will not compete as well with something built with every component engineered to the fullest.

A few like Cobra are putting a bit more effort into the engineering of the radios, so what you get are comparable to other radios though they have less “power”. So simple answer: power=range, but well engineered radios can get the same from less or do even better.

so(continuing to irritate you), why Cobra still claiming “maximum power allowed by law” in its specs?
if maximum is 5 not 2 like they have.
Here http://www.buytwowayradios.com/products/cobra/cobra-cxr900.aspx
cobras have 3.5 wt advertised :))) why?
i sent letter to Cobra, will see what they will respond
thanks guys, your help really helps

guys, i just reviewed again reviews

gxt 1000

House to car: .82 miles
House to person outdors: 1.25 miles
Person to person ouitdoor: 1.25 miles

gxt 900

Home to vehicle: .75 mile
Vehicle to vehicle: .75 mile
Home to outoor person: 1 mile
Person to person outdoors: 1.25 miles

gxt 850

Car to house: 1.18 miles
Car to car: .75 miles
Person to house: 1.18 miles
Person to person outdoors: 1.55 miles

according with reviews Midland 900 an 1000 has 5 Wt output(same FCC ID) and 800 has 1.6 Wt. But they have pretty same working distance…
really terrific… It seems like those marketing sharks again

(it is nice to talk with myself :))

i just digged in FCC docs, it seems like they using additional method to show “maximum power output” (or something like that) for Midland radio…


for cobras