If you want more range, put on a masthead 3db or 6db gain antenna and you can always connect the handheld to that for a fast range boost. Don't skimp on the antenna, cable, or actual installation (waterproofed joints, drip loops,proper tie-offs,etc.) either, it makes a difference.
You get 'free' power with well tuned and efficient antennas. Antenna height above surrounding obstacles is another big hit. Mast mounted, moderate gain (3-6dB) tuned antenna and a proper installation will beat a poorly installed and utilized power hungry radio.
The best way to save power is to not transmit. Listen for the info you are looking for before asking for it and you save about ten to one on consumed electricity.