Kenwood Viking vs Harris Xl-200 Review

The Harris XL-200 and the Kenwood Viking VP900 are multi-band radios that are perfect for emergency response personnel like firefighters and police officers. High audio output in loud environments and non-flammable components are just two features that make these radios top contenders for public safety officials.

These multi-band radios, although similar, are still quite unique. The Kenwood digital radio, Viking VP900, and the Harris radio, XL-200, will be compared by their safety, design, and technical features; accessories that are compatible with each piece will also be included.

Read this article to determine what is best for you and your team—Viking or Harris radios?

The Features

Safety Features:

Emergency responders need efficient and powerful multi-band radio receivers to ensure clear and consistent communication with fellow workers. Therefore, tough radios are a must. The Harris XL-200 and Kenwood Viking VP900 are packed with safety features.

Below, is a list of safety features for each radio.

Viking VP900:

  • Large knobs (easy to work while wearing gloves)
  • 1 Watt audio output (this is great when working in loud environments—crowds, fires, construction, etc.)
  • The top flip display allows the user to easily read text on the radio while it is in a holster

Harris XL-200:

  • 1.5/4 Watt audio output and dual speakers (convenient in loud environments)
  • A-B-C-D switch (easy to operate while wearing gloves)
  • LCD displays on the front and top
  • Hazardous location options

Design Features:

Large knobs and LCD displays are all important parts to consider when purchasing a multi-band radio. In addition to safety, design features are also important. When Harris and Kenwood designed their high-tech radios, their engineers were meticulous and clearly determined to create safe, efficient, and powerful technology.

With that in mind, both brands of radios are certified as MIL-STD 810; the Viking VP900 is even sometimes called the Kenwood fire radio. Both radios operate in extreme environments like severe temperatures (hot or cold) or low-pressure altitudes.

See below for a list of design features for each brand.

Viking VP900:

  • MIL-STD 810 certified to withstand:
    • Temperatures ranging (operating) -22F to +140F (-30C to +60C)
    • Rain, humidity, fog, sand, leakage, and more
    • Vibrations
    • Low-pressure altitudes
  • Radio weighs 20.4 oz. with a battery
  • Polycarbonate case in black or high visibility

Harris XL-200:

  • MIL-STD 810
  • MIL-STD 504.1 standards
    • Ensures durability in the event the radio is contaminated by fluids ranging from varying fuels to fluids from coolants and fire extinguishers
  • MIL-STD 522.4
    • Protects against ballistic shock
  • Radio weighs 16.2 oz with battery and antenna
  • Comes in black or high visibility colors

Technical Features:

Technical features can help aid in a safe and more efficient radio. Thankfully with advances in technology, the Viking radio and Harris XL-200 are OTAR usable which means their encryptions can be done over the air. OTAR is not the only advantage; both radios also feature integrated GPS systems and P25 capabilities making them efficient and versatile.

See below for more information on the technical features for each brand.

Viking VP900:

  • Encryption
    • OTAR (Over-the-air-rekeying)
    • VK5000 or Motorola KVL3000/KVL4000 Key Loaders
  • Integrated GPS
  • Supports VHF, 700/800 MHz
  • P25 abilities
  • Instant Recording Replay
  • Text messaging
  • Backlight that can change color to indicate an event (ex: orange display means emergency)
  • The battery is lithium-ion and holds 4500 mAh

Harris XL-200:

  • Multiple backlight settings
  • Supports VHF, UHF, 700/800 MHz, and LTE
  • Integrated GPS
  • P25 capabilities
  • Encryption
    • OTAR
    • L3 Harris Key Loader
    • 128 keys
  • The lithium-ion battery holds 3100 mAh

For more in-depth information on the Viking VP900 and Harris XL-200 follow the links below to the radios’ guides.

Kenwood Viking VP900

Harris XL-200

Two Way Radio Accessories

After choosing which radio is suitable for your environment, the next step is picking out the appropriate accessories to maximize the efficiency of your radio. Products from Waveband Communications can be your answer. Below is a list of compatible accessories for the Kenwood Viking VP900 and Harris XL-200; be sure to check them out.

Kenwood Speaker Mic:

With a speaker level audio and a push to talk switch, the Kenwood speaker mic will make your multi-band radio more efficient ensuring you are using your radio to its fullest extent. An IP54 waterproof rating and a heavy-duty Kevlar cable show that this mic is durable and can keep up with the rugged qualities of the Kenwood fire radio. Check out the video below to learn more about this industry-leading radio mic.

Kenwood Viking Accessories:

Waveband Communications carries a multitude of accessories that can improve how you use your Kenwood Viking VP900 radio. A variety of earpieces, chargers, and batteries are available. Follow the link HERE to choose which products are best for you.

Harris XL-200 Replacement Battery:

To maximize the performance of your Harris XL-200, you want to make sure you not only get high-quality accessories but also have a battery that can last for hours on end. Waveband Communications’ Harris XL-200P battery is the answer.

Manufactured with gold plated contacts, premium abs housing, and nickel-plated tabs mean you will be buying the highest quality battery. In addition, Waveband offers one or two-year warranties with a less than 1% return rate on batteries since 2003. Visit Waveband Communications to ensure your Harris Xl-200 can keep up with you on those extra-long days.

Harris XL-200 Radio Accessories:

As a multifaceted company, Waveband Communications also carries a wide range of accessories that work well with the Harris XL-200 radio. From earpieces to antennas, it is all there. Follow the link HERE to find your accessories.


Viking radios and Harris radios are rugged systems that are great for those working in harsh and/or public environments. When making a choice between the two brands, it can be challenging due to the multiple similarities. However, we hope that our breakdown of the Kenwood digital radio—VP900 and the Harris radio—XL-200 is helpful when making a decision. Don’t forget to check out Waveband Communications’ accessories for both brands to ensure you are getting the most out of your multi-band radios!

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