5 Best Snowmobile Communications Systems: Reviews and Buying Guide for 2020

Hopping on your snowmobile and exploring the great outdoors is always a great time – and it's even better with friends and family! Unfortunately, it's usually near-impossible to hear one another over the roar of the engines.

A snowmobile communication system is more than a way to chat with your fellow riders; it also plays an important role in staying safe. Finding the best snowmobile communications system can feel complicated, but we're here to help.

Our complete buyer's guide includes a list of features to consider when shopping. Plus, we've rounded up our top five favorites for 2020, including options for a variety of budgets.

How to Choose the Best Snowmobile Communications Systems

You'll find no shortage of options for snowmobile comm systems, although many of them are also designed for motorcycles. While that's fine in many cases, you want to make sure the system works well for snowmobiles specifically. Here are the features to look for:

Sound Quality

The most important aspect of a snowmobile sound system is the ability to hear others clearly. Unfortunately, snowmobiles aren't exactly quiet. Your sound system needs to compete with fairly substantial engine noise.

Look for a system with adjustable volume control, so you hear others while you're riding but won't blow out your eardrums if you want to talk while the snowmobile is idle.

Also, consider a system with noise-canceling features. This type of tech blocks background noises such as engines, wind, and more.

Another option to consider are speaker spacers, which rest near your ears to block wind noise. Keep in mind they don't always do a great job of blocking engine noise, but they can help somewhat. They're also usually cheaper than systems with noise-canceling tech.

Communication Range

Snowmobiling in groups is safer than riding alone. However, when riding with others, be sure to keep some distance between each vehicle, to help prevent collisions. Your companions might not always be within your line of sight, which is why it's important that your communication systems work across a fairly significant range.

Keep in mind that the range listed by the manufacturer is typically the range found across open, flat land in ideal conditions. Trees, hills, weather, and other factors can significantly reduce that range when riding in the real world. Choose a system with a wide range, even if it seems greater than the average distance you plan to keep from others when riding.

Durability / Weather Resistance

Here's where you'll find the biggest difference between a communication system for motorcycles and snowmobiles. While motorcycles systems can generally withstand rain and light snow, you need something far more durable when snowmobiling.

Snow is bound to wind up on every aspect of the system, from the control unit to the headphones. The system should not only be extremely waterproof, but the construction should also resist cold temperatures. Check the manufacturer's specs for the unit’s temperature rating.

Battery Life

Long battery life is a must. After all, you'll likely be far away from civilization (and charging devices), so if the battery runs out of power, the system immediately becomes worthless. There are two measurements to note:

  • Standby Time
  • Working Time

Standby time is the length of time the unit holds power when it's not in use. Most systems can remain on for several days before running out of power. That's especially important if you're going on a multi-day snowmobile trip.

Working time is the amount of time you can actually talk through the system. Typically, systems have about 20 hours or so of working time, although that can decrease if you and your group talk constantly.

The Best Snowmobile Communication Systems for 2020

Not sure which system is best for your needs? Here are five of our favorites, suitable for a wide range of budgets.

Best Overall - Midland GXT1050VP4 50-Channel Two-Way Radio

Midland's pair of two-way radios features a robust variety of features that make it a great choice for snowmobilers. With a 36-mile range in open terrain, you can spread out from your snowmobiling companion a bit without losing the ability to communicate. Plus, it features 50 General Mobile Radio Service channels with 142 privacy codes, so you should have no problem finding a clear, secure channel no matter how deep into the wilderness you go.

Another snow-friendly feature is the NOAA Weather Scan. It automatically scans ten weather channels (the WX band) and sounds an alarm when severe weather is detected near you. An automatic weather alert is an important safety feature when snowmobiling, as you're not always able to see the horizon clearly.

The kit includes two radios, boom mic headsets, two rechargeable battery packs, belt clips, several types of chargers, and more.

Pros:

  • 36-mile range
  • Easy to find a clear, private channel
  • Includes headsets and battery packs
  • Automatically scans weather bands
  • Sturdy and weather-resistant construction

Cons:

  • Includes a variety of hunting calls (useless for snowmobilers)

Best Snowmobile Communication Systems Under $200

Vnetphone Intercom System

Vnetphone's intercom system is well-suited for snowmobiling. It's durable and weather resistant, so you don't have to worry about exposing it to water and snow. Plus, the control panel features large buttons that you'll have no problem operating while wearing gloves.

The system has a range of 1312 yards, which allows your group to ride apart without losing contact. However, the more interesting feature here is the system's Universal Intercom protocol. You can connect with other systems from different brands, not just others from Vnetphone. It's an incredibly useful feature if you want to snowmobile with friends who own different types of systems.

Finally, we like the batteries. A single charge provides eight hours of talk time and a whopping 10 days of standby time. They're not just great for a day spent snowmobiling, but they also work well for a multi-day camping/snowmobiling trip.

Pros:

  • Weather and water-resistant
  • Large, easy-to-use control panel
  • Range of 1312 yards
  • Long-lasting batteries

Cons:

  • Initial pairing can be complicated
  • Doesn't support group chat

Lexin LX-B4FM Bluetooth Intercom System

Your snowmobile communication system needs to stand up to cold, harsh climates – and the Lexin LX-B4FM is more than up to the task. It handles all weather conditions and temperatures up to -3°F.

Up to four riders can connect to the same intercom system for easy communication. The intercom range is a hefty 1600 meters, although you can extend that distance by using the system to make iPhone or Samsung calls. GPS and FM is also available.

Another snowmobile-specific feature we like is the built-in noise-canceling tech. It helps mute the noise of your ride so you can hear your companions through the headset. It's designed to quiet engine noise operating at up to 75 mph.

Finally, we want to note the excellent battery. It's a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery that provides eight hours of talk time, 120 hours of standby time, and 15 hours of music. A fully charged battery should last you all day without a problem.

Pros:

  • Four-way intercom system
  • Includes FM radio and Bluetooth
  • Built-in noise-canceling tech
  • Rechargeable battery provides eight hours of talk time
  • Durable, waterproof, and resistant to cold temps

Cons:

  • Speakers can sound quiet
  • Clips can feel loose
  • Connecting to other Lexin systems can be complicated at first

Fodsports M1S Pro Communication System Headset

All the extra features in the world are meaningless if you can't hear your fellow riders. Fortunately, the M1S from Fodsports excels at clear communication thanks to a full-range membrane monomer, which produces crystal clear sound. Additionally, a CSP chip helps dramatically reduce engine and wind noise.

Operation is simple, too, even with gloves on. Many hands-free functions are available including the ability to raise and lower the volume, answer calls, and more.

Another favorable feature is the battery life. On standby mode, it lasts for an entire week, with a working time of 20 hours.

Pros:

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Effective noise suppression features
  • Long battery life

Cons:

  • Audio buttons can be loose

Best Snowmobile Communications Under $500

Cardo Packtalk Bold Communication System

When using a communication system, hands-free operation is a must, because taking your hands off the handlebars can impact your ability to safely drive the snowmobile. Cardo makes great strides towards solving this issue with their Natural Voice Operation. You activate the system by talking, allowing for truly hands-free operation.

It has solid waterproof and dustproof construction with self-adjusting volume, interchangeable boom, and the option for a corded microphone. If you want to connect it to a Bluetooth device, the unit's Dynamic Mesh Communication system makes setup fast and simple.

Also, if you want to listen to music through these headphones, you'll like what you hear here. Cardo has teamed with audio component manufacturer JBL to create a top-of-the-line listening experience.

Pros:

  • Allows for hands-free communication
  • Durable enough for outdoor winter use
  • High-quality JBL sound system
  • Easy Bluetooth connectivity
  • Helps improve steering safety

Cons:

  • Excessively loud noise can interfere with the voice-activated features
  • FM connection can sound static-y

Final Thoughts

A reliable communications system is a must when snowmobiling. However, not just any system will work. You need a system with a wide range, easy-to-use controls, excellent weather-proofing, and a long-lasting battery.

All of the options listed above have a lot to like, but we think the best snowmobile communication system is the Midland GXT1050VP4 50-Channel Two-Way Radio. It has a wide radio range, solid construction, and cold-temp resistance. Plus, it offers a feature the others don't: automatic weather band scanning. It’ll alert you to potential weather hazards in your area, adding a helpful safety feature.

Snowmobiling is safer – and more fun – with friends, so use our guide to find the ideal communication system for your needs.