Do you want to stay in touch with people on the go? Do you work in a specialist environment where you need to receive updates at all times, maybe whilst travelling? Maybe you’re a parent who wants to make sure your kids are safe on their many outings, adventures and bike rides?
Well, we’ve got the solution for you. Today we’re taking you through our top picks of two way radios, each with easy to use features and modes. Whether you want a walkie talkie with weather alerts, or a model with a range of call tones, we’ve got you covered so you’re able to communicate at all times no matter the mile range.
If you’re after two way radios to enhance neighborhood security for you and your friends, kids of any age will find a two way radio to be a great addition to their backpacks amid their toys. Perfect for any outing!
Follow our handy guide for customers to see our top instructions for finding a walkie talkie with strength of functionality. You’re bound to find the right recommendations for you somewhere!
Make sure you read on to find the best mobile radio models for you! All of our picks and advice have been compiled by our in-house team, who each have a brilliant and well-rounded level of expertise in this field.
Best Walkie Talkies 2020
Here is our list of the best walkie talkies of this year. Whether you’re looking for the best GMRS two way radio money can buy, or you just want a small scale FRS, we have something for you!
1. Midland GXT1000VP4
Watt: 5 | Frequency band: FRS/GMRS| Estimated battery life: 16 hours| Coverage area: 36 miles
Our first product is the Midland GXT1000VP4 GMRS two way radio. With 142 privacy codes, water resistance and NOAA weather alerts, this product offers serious value for money.
The Midland GXT1000VP4 comes with 50 channels, way more than the standard 22 channels, and automatically scans for activity on every channel. Depending on your environment, there’s a 36 mile range and 142 privacy codes to block out the unnecessary conversations around you.
With eVOX technology, the Midland GXT1000VP4 also transmits signals automatically using voice detection so you don’t need a PTT button to communicate quickly. In terms of usability, the weight of this GMRS two way radio is incredibly light – with a lightweight device you can carry it around easily. The Midland GXT1000VP4 also comes with a rechargeable battery pack and desktop charger, with the average battery life being 8 hours long.
What’s not to love about these long range two way radios?
2. BAOFENG Pofung UV-82 Dual Band Two Way Radio
Watt: 7 | Frequency band: VHF (136-174), UHF (400-520)| Estimated battery life: 10 hours| Coverage area: 3.1 miles in Urban Areas – 9.6 miles in Suburban
Our second feature comes from BAOFENG, the makers of brilliant radio products with handy and efficient designs. It’s the UV-82 FM Transceiver.
This brilliant walkie talkie comes with two power levels – 4 watts and 1 watt, in the frequency range of 136-174 MHz and 400-480 MHz. The design is economical and compact, featuring special receive VHF bands.
With 128 memories available to program repeaters and simplex frequencies, the dual reception feature of this gadget makes it particularly effective. There’s even a belt clip and wrist strap to allow you to take this wherever you go.
There are a number of amazing features in the function of this BAOFENG radio, which is likely to please all sorts of people. There’s battery saving modes, built-in flash, key lock, VOX, and DCS encode. With the option for minimal interference no matter the conditions, this FRS/GMRS two way radio will require a license to use for effective communication – check which channels you need permission for, and which are open for public monitoring.
The flexibility offered by these machines truly hits the mark – no doubt you’ll want one of these in no time.
BAOFENG truly offers FRS/ GMRS two way radios like no other – and it’s for these reasons that you need these products in your life! They’re some of the best. Anyone can use these with ease.
3. Motorola MR350R
Our next option comes from the super company, Motorola, with the MR350R. These get thousands of positive comments in all cases – so a bottom line message would be that any adventure, or any of your outdoor trips, need the benefit of these walkie talkies!
The info we’re about to tell you shows just why our editors love this Motorola choice. First of all, whether your location is up some hills or on a river dock, these handy talkies allow you to reply to all responders over a long range of distance. With 22 channels and up to 35 miles of coverage, these Motorola talkies boast a super ergonomic design, for easy use and comfortable holding.
Finding a radio as good as this is like finding gold dust – and we don’t exaggerate one bit with that. With the extra large buttons, you can wear gloves and utilise these with no obstructions. What’s more, the sophisticated water proofing and Ni-MH battery makes this a tough, durable pick which is easily hardened to the rigors of outdoor life.
The device is also one of the few to come equipped with accessories like belt clips – meaning that hunters or hikers, any user at all, can utilise these high performance Motorola walkie talkies for anything they need to do. Whether in the mountains and trees or just hunting in the backcountry, this article has shown that these Motorola MR350R radios are perfect for any place. You won’t find a better savings deal on any other site, even in the sales.
4. Cobra microTalk Walkie Talkie
Our fourth pick is a brilliant tool which gives you anything you desire at a low cost. It’s for this reason that we’ve included the Cobra microTalk CXR925 radio in fourth place!
This pair of talkies beat the rest by far, the minute you take them out of the box. For anyone wanting to communicate effectively while having fun on a hike in the mountains or hunting trip in the backcountry, you’ve got a brilliant product on your hands with this one.
This audio unit has 22 channels in dual FRS/GMRS – meaning you’ll require a license for use. Each unit has 142 privacy codes and an SOS signal in case of emergencies, so you won’t be stranded on account of a mountain emergency. The coverage options go up to 35 miles, which is dependent on terrain.
The battery life of this unit also gives you access to some great durability options, as the rechargeable lithium AA batteries enhance the convenience over a battery pack. What’s more, the unit is sleek looking and comes with NOAA weather alerts for you to monitor weather changes, such as storms or adverse water conditions, on the easy-to-read display.
These are definitely ones to watch, with a brilliant way of communicating offered to users at any signal range across lots of different distances. This two way radio is the pick for you!
5. Proster Rechargeable 16 Channel Two Way Radio
Our midway pick is the Proster Walkie Talkies, which are specifically designed for people wishing to communicate over small distances – so they’d be perfect as a first time buy for kids.
Ideally bought in a set for businesses such as construction, supermarkets, security detail, and even for recreation activities, this set of walkie talkie pair units will change your world in any case, making short-range communication so much easier.
With an ergonomic design and suitability to indoor and outdoor usage, the Proster rechargeable units work with UHF 400-475 MHz and support up to 16 channels. With a signal capability of 2 mile coverage, you can shape your communication with others at the touch of a button. The volume and clarity of communication is highly desirable in this radio set, given that these radios are specifically designed to be used over short distances.
What’s more, this radio set truly has the whole package because of the CTCSS function which reduces unwanted noise. With USB chargers and rechargeable batteries, this radio can be charged conveniently and with ease. It’s no wonder user reviews are so positive!
6. Retevis H-777 16 Channel 2 Way Radio
Our sixth option is perfect for mums and dads who want to stay in contact with their kids outdoors. The Retevis H-772 is one of the best two way radios around, seriously competing with favorites like Motorola. They even come with a built-in flashlight! Available as a simple pair, or as a bundle of 20 if you like, these radios are marketed at an affordable price.
With a 16 channel capacity and UHF 400-475 MHz, these radios are like no others. The CTCSS and DCS function reduces interference, whilst the original earbuds/ headset provides both improved communication and a hands-free experience.
The solid construction quality, as well as the easy to carry size, allows users to keep these units in use day after day – a staple feature of any on-the-go task. The LED flashlight which is built into every radio increases visibility in the dark, whilst the superior sound quality and volume gives you an amazing clarity of signal over any channel.
The 3W power also means that the life of these units’ batteries are out of this world, whilst the monitoring functions provide yet another asset for users.
7. Swiftion Rechargeable FRS/GMRS Two Way Radios For Kids
Perhaps one of the best, fun choices for kids, the Swiftion Rechargeable talkies offer a 0.5 W power output and both FRS and GMRS capabilities.
With a stylish, trendy build quality, these radios are a perfect gift for your little ones to have all the fun! With a coverage of up to 22 channels over 9000 feet, the life of the batteries in these units offer a brilliant output for hours on end of fun. What’s more, this radio offers CTCSS/ DCS functions to minimise background interference, whilst the built-in torch light provides use in the dark.
This unit is powered by AA batteries which offer a brilliant battery life – as far as the average radio goes. These two way radios are light weight and offer resistance to adverse conditions in whatever mode of use, and they can be easily carried around in your pocket. No need to waste data on a phone call, just press a button and call your kids home for dinner! So much choice, so much suitability for the user in any situation – even an emergency.
A stellar choice that has the whole package – you won’t find a tool so suitable for your kids in the whole of this article.
8. Floureon Two Pack 22 Channel Walkie Talkies for Kids
This product is a consumer favorite from the manufacturers, FLOUREON. Trust us – we’ve done our research. These Channel Walkie Talkies, available in a range of colors, are calling out to you… they boast many a unique selling point for consumers, with practically none of the hassle that other manufacturers provide.
The whole package is truly offered in these radios, which are perfect for emergency SOS use, casual use, and more. With their sturdy antenna and crisp sound thanks to the radio band coverage, this choice gives you 22 channels in a PMR system which is really easy to use.
The LCD backlit display easily displays the batteries’ level, whilst the crisp, clear microphone allows premium sound quality across any activity. Remain in contact between 3 and 5 kilometers with these radios that offer attractive colors, adjustable volume and VOX, and many more extras.
9. eSynic Two-Way Radio USB Cable Charging UHF
Our ninth pick comes from eSynic, and is the Long Range Two Way Radio Sets. Perfect for families and friends alike – you readers need to check out this radio! Definitely one of the best on the page, these handy units operate over 16 channels.
Perfect for a circumstances of first-timers, these radio makes offer all the ease of the best high-end radios, without the process of complexity. Beating out market competitors like Arcshell, these talkies are the tip of the iceberg.
There is a built-in clip which is fantastic for ensuring the radio is secured to your waist, whilst the recharged batteries offer power for hours on end. The English voice prompt of this radio provides efficient use and transmissions between voices of both speakers and receivers. With the sturdy antennas and clear portability of design, these radio makes are perfect for any worksite and are far superior to the average cellphone. In whatever room, you can bank on these radios to be the best.
10. Uniden MHS75 Waterproof Handheld 2-Way VHF Marine radio
Our final radio is perfect for users on cruises, or those who have keen boating habits. As a radio with some of the highest reviews on the market today, the Uniden MHS75 is made of tough die-cast aluminum metal.
With its affordable price and specific design for international marine channels, no matter the country – from the US to Canada – these radios offer speed-of-light transmissions with an easy to read display. Water is not an issue with these models… in fact, water is your best friend, as these marine radios are perfectly water resistant and have a handy size.
The light weight ergonomics of this radio are tailored to any consumer – and review comments and research alike would suggest that users review this model as highly effective.
There are three power settings – 1, 2.5, or 5.0 watts, meaning transmissions are totally at your mercy. What’s more, the efficient sound quality shows that the volume of high reviews is justified for this radio, which offers the whole package.
Considerations for buying a Walkie Talkie:
There are many aspects of walkie talkies that you’ll want to keep in mind before you buy. Whether a keen outdoorsman or just somebody looking to watch over their children, you’ll need to consider how your walkie looks and functions in a variety of situation settings.
You’ll want to consider a radio that leaves nothing to be desired, in terms of weight, size, and functions. The best radios will generally be lightweight and easy to use, not feeling hefty to hold, but will also be packed with durability.
Every manufacturer has their own regulations so the size of walkies changes throughout brands, however, generally you can get a radio for as small as 5.8″ and 2 lbs. Before you go searching in your phone browser for that perfect accessory to your camping trip, make sure you’ve got an idea of the size you want to go for so you’re not left with empty pockets and a disappointing connection.
Radio Bands / Channels
Channels are also a really important consideration of making your choices. While walkie talkies are used in plenty of establishments, from hospitals to public building services, the number of channels will help you find a balance between value and your needs. If someone wants to communicate with maximum ease and minimal obstacles, a radio with more channels could be the best choice. However, the qualities of these elements means that your price is generally going to be higher.
Bands are also a key consideration. For instance, CB radios are citizens band radios, which means they’re a land mobile device which allows short distance person-to-person communication ; therefore they’re ideal for shorter distances between users.
If you want to find a cheap market favorite, but also find a pick with your standard 22 channels or more, stick with us and read the list above to have all the information you need to make your decision.
Power and Range
The power and mile range are, again, two key important elements to your walkie talkie choice. While you’ll want to consider the importance of these aspects themselves, also consider the different modes that will help you see them clearly
A backlit LCD screen and keypad will allow you to use your gadget in the dark; so you can see how much power and battery time you have left. If you have a rechargeable battery, it’s key to know when you need to stop and recharge. If you have AA batteries, it’s all the more important to know how long your walkie will typically last.
What’s more, as we touched upon, there’s often a trade-off between different modes of operation on your model’s design. If your model has a larger and longer range of radio bands, this could come at a higher price or an ability to drain battery quicker. To make sure you can go all distances you had in mind, across a range of terrains – camping or mountain exploring – it’s key to look at power and range, to ensure max performance.
Privacy and Interference Codes
Privacy codes are a brilliant feature of any walkie talkie, allowing you to use the tech offered with ease. The function of privacy codes is to eliminate interference on a channel.
To get privacy codes working, you’d need to set up the channel you want to use, and then set privacy codes on top of that channel. For example, if I wanted to go to channel four and then privacy code eight, or channel five and privacy code seven – this helps to eliminate surrounding messages from other channels – so there’s no reason to have an issue with interference.
This helps you use your technology the right way by only hearing the people you want to.
Different walkie talkies offer different ranges of privacy codes. Any great top of the line model will have at least a few for you to pick from.
Different walkie talkies will use different types of batteries, which each give a specific battery life. Some can come with a battery pack included, consisting of AAA batteries or AA batteries. Some even come with a charging station if the battery packs include a rechargeable battery.
Lower end devices will use either AAA or AA batteries, whilst most walkie talkies use a lithium ion battery. To ensure maximum battery life, battery types such as these, or a Nickel Cadmium battery, are highly important.
You need to consider how long you’ll be spending on your walkie talkie and how much usage you can expect to get out of it, in order to consider the battery life that works for you and whether you need to buy some extra battery packs besides the main battery pack you’re given. A standard usage of power levels includes 90% standby, 5% reception and 5% transmission -so you can see most of your charge is eaten up while the walkie talkie is nestled in your pocket.
Some models will offer a USB cable and desktop charger, so you can use the charging station of your battery pack on the go no matter where you are.
Having a feature that lets you listen to NOAA Weather Reports from weather channels is extremely handy. Weather radio channels can help users decide whether they need to stick by tree cover for the day, or whether they can go exploring.
Perfect for all of your outdoor activities – like hiking- if you have a walkie that comes with built-in weather reporting, you can tune in to the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)’s channel, the Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR). This channel broadcasts 24/7 and keeps you in contact with all important conversations relating to the great outdoors and different weather situations.
Whatever you’re doing, this accessory of your equipment is just as important as PTT buttons – you might want to consider keeping this on the menu as an example of a key feature of the best walkie talkie.
What Are Walkie Talkies And How Do They Work?
Walkie talkies have been revolutionising portable communications since the Second World War… but how do these two way radios work? And what actually is a walkie talkie?
Commonly known as a handheld transceiver, or a HT, a walkie talkie is a handheld portable device which resembles a telephone handset. A speaker features in one end, and a microphone in the other – allowing two way communication. Many talkies can use one radio channel, and equally one radio will be able to access lots of different channels.
A walkie talkie set can come in a variety of different design models for different price ranges. Therefore, these devices will differ in price based on the ability they give to users. Features such as very high frequency or sensitivity levels, or privacy modes, can come at a little extra… as can practical features such as a wrist strap.
But how do they work? Well, any adults that remember things from their experience with middle school science class might remember this. Once you speak into your talkie, whether using a PTT button or otherwise, the device’s technology will convert your voice into radio signals.
From there, these will travel to all radios that are within the frequency range of your given channel, and then will be transmitted via audio out put. In order to avoid a problem, many advise that you speak clearly and slowly, and always state when you’re finished…over.
The fact is, majority of models on this website come at a highly agreeable price – so no matter the purchases you make, you can find everything in a single radio that will stand the test of time and be right for all of your emergencies.
Other features to keep your eye on include:
- Whisper mode
- Belt clip availability, for ease of use and hands-free mode
- Sound quality of products, i.e. boom microphones
- Accessories included in the cost
Types of Walkie Talkies
Whatever type of walkie talkie you opt for, you’ll want to make sure it’s a model that can pick up a decent reception in those areas lacking signal. There are different types of two way radios that have different benefits depending on your needs. The best models will generally offer:
- A long range of radio service
- Adequate battery life
- Special features such as many channels – some have 22 channels
- Features include an LCD screen, keypad lock, and adequate sound quality
The first thing to consider, however, is the types of walkie talkies you’ll be looking at and the different settings they offer for their function. There are two main categories of walkie talkies, each with distinct functions.
Family Radio Service (FSR) models:
- Do not require licensing
- Are fairly cheap
- Have a legal limitation of 500 milli-watts
Family SR models are ideal for:
- The occasional recreational outing, i.e. hiking.
- Because of their short range coverage of around 2 miles, they are not as appropriate for longer term activities where you need long range coverage.
General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) models:
- You will need a license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
- Are more costly than FSRs
- Come with at least 15 channels
- Have more range and can cover 5 miles+ – as some cover up to 30 miles
GMRS models are ideal for:
- Longer use at longer ranges.
- Long-ranging coverage, i.e. keeping the kids safe.
Categorising Walkie Talkies by Purpose
There are many different purposes of walkie talkies, each with different settings of ranges. Here’s some of the key purposes of a walkie talkie, and the best for these purposes at an agreeable price.
Walkie Talkies For A Restaurant
If you’re a restaurant manager looking to improve the communication of your staff, you’ll know that walkie talkies are an ideal option. The hospitality industry, including restaurant businesses, greatly benefits from the use of a ham radio (amateur two way radios with a range of frequencies).
The key features you’ll be looking for in a restaurant talkie are:
- Hands free modes so you can go about other tasks whilst talking
- Lightweight and easy to use
- A range of frequencies over a long range for maximum communication
- Fast speeds from features such as voice activation, meaning your handy talkie will boost productivity
- Long lasting battery power
Many radios designed for the restaurant, hotel, and hospitality industries come with business exclusive features, such as exclusive frequencies, a range of privacy codes, and more. This allows transmittance of signals with minimal flaws or chatter. You may also want to look for radios with keypad lock, saving time and power by minimising accidental dials.
All of these features help the efficacy of your restaurant business by minimising the wait time of your guests – as well as crunching time between ordering, billing, and more. Some of our best walkie talkie picks for restaurant use includes:
Walkie Talkies For A Cruise
The best walkie talkies for a cruise will generally consider the sorts of environments you’re going to be setting sail to. For a cruise, you might want a waterproof walkie talkie which offers water resistance, NOAA weather reports (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) from weather channels, and a long lasting battery life.
For the sorts of coverage you’ll be looking at, you’ll want your two way radio to be either a GMRS or UHF model – meaning you can have up to a 10 mile range of coverage. This is ideal if your group wants to keep in touch and go separate ways, or if Mom and Dad want to go on a romantic shore excursion while the Grandparents stay onboard with the kids. Having weather alerts also means that you can check what the weather’s going to be like in the local area before you plan the day’s itinerary.
All in all, these types of talkies are reliable, high quality, and – for the price – they easily outmatch mobile phones where reception and build quality is concerned. This Midland model, or this Uniden Marine Radio, is a pretty good pick for cruises.
Walkie Talkies For Survival
For those of you that are outdoor enthusiasts, you’ll know that the best walkie talkies offer you a long range of signal and high battery life across a range of different environments.
If you’re outside hiking, backpacking, or even hunting, whether you’re alone or in a group – your walkie talkie could be the one thing that keeps you safe. You’ll need to ensure that your two way radio, whether handheld or hands free, is equipped for a range of environments – as dense forest areas will carry different frequency levels compared to mountainous areas. The most desirable bundles tend to offer two radios for a low price.
Most FRS / GMRS radio picks give you a maximum of 22 primary channels. However, if you opt for a survival model with privacy codes, you’re immediately opened up to thousands of channels.
The key features of your walkie talkie should include:
- Easy handling weight, design, and size – i.e. belt clips
- A long battery life
- A good range of radio signals with decent sound quality
- Weather protection – most hunting walkie talkies offer water resistance
- An LED flashlight
- NOAA weather channels
- VOX – i.e. hands free voice activation – which has its advantages over the standard push-to-talk button
- Emergency alerts – this is key for any high-risk emergency situations you may find yourself in.
The best two way radios for outdoor use, including hunting walkie talkies, include these fabulous two radios:
What Is The Difference Between UHF/VHF And GMRS/FRS?
One of the key questions you’ll ask when shopping for a two way radio is, “what is a UHF/VHF model?” and “are these models better than GMRS/ FRS?”.
You can scroll back up to see us explain the meanings behind GMRS/ FRS, however, here is the UHF/VHF element debunked:
UHF stands for Ultra High Frequency, and transmits a range of frequencies that make them suited to indoor use. This is because the wavelengths of radio waves emitted are shorter – and this means the waves can cut through steel and concrete.
VHF stands for Very High Frequency. These radios are slightly less suited to indoor use, but are better for discreet radio services due to their covert design. These radios, however, are great for a range of outdoor communicating uses – such as at construction job sites or in a music festival. This is because these models cover a larger distance with less power as the waves transmitted are longer.
How these two models work ties intricately to the function of FRS and GMRS radios. You’ll actually find that there’s some overlap between these categories, as both FRS and GMRS radios are categorised as UHF models.
Business walkie talkies for indoor use, such as in hospitality industries, are highly likely to be UHF as these signals generally propagate through line-of-sight and are more suited to indoor use. In contrast, VHF band radios are more used for national parks, guiding services, amateur radio operators, and similar outlets.
UHF radios can be programmed to operate of FRS frequencies, so you can access different levels of radio use with the right manipulation. However, you need to be aware that the FCC penalises users with high fines for any interfering transmission.
Do I need a license to operate my radio?
Whether or not you need FCC approval in the form of a license to use your walkie talkies depends on the model you have.
You will need a license if you:
- Have a walkie talkie that is of FRS/GMRS or solely GMRS
You will NOT need a license if you:
- Have a walkie talkie that accesses ONLY FRS channels – FRS radios are free to use
Make sure you check the frequency operation of your walkie talkie – because if you’re caught using the wrong frequency without a license you could rack up a hefty fine, and nobody wants that!
How far can my radio communicate?
Again, the communicating range of your walkie talkies, whether long range or otherwise, will depend on which radio you’re using.
The mile range of some walkie talkies is very impressive; as some can range between 2 miles and 10 miles. Unfortunately, there are a lot of interfering factors that will affect how far your radio can actually communicate.
The factors affecting transmission distance include:
Power output is measured in watts. A mobile walkie talkie could broadcast anywhere between 5 to 100 watts – and typically, the higher the wattage, the further the transmission. On the flip side, this might give a shorter battery life.
The environment you use your walkie talkie in, and the range of frequencies in that environment, will also affect how far your walkie can communicate. Here, you need to look at the frequency of radio waves which is measured in Hertz, or Hz. Lower frequencies have longer wavelength and greater penetration.