Best Walkie Talkies

Review & Comparison, Last Update July 8, 2020
Walkie talkies originally used by the military and police have long since become common for campers, hikers, and other fans of active leisure, which is why it is not surprising now we've got such a variety of models on the market. Not sure which one to choose? We have selected 5 best models to help you find a walkie talkie set that will be right for you. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2020
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Standards
Goof for
Frequency Range
Power
Communication Range
Number of Channels
Battery Life
Extras
Package Contents
Weight
Warranty
 
PROS

Thanks to the built-in microphone jacks and ergonomic ear fixtures, three wireless radios from Midland can be used as hands-free devices. On top of that, the battery of the units can be charged using a special car charger, which is convenient for on-the-go use.

CONS

It will take you some time to get the hang of the basic controls.

OUR VERDICT

When it comes to really powerful devices with high coverage, this model from Midland is a real beast. With an exceptional operating range of 36 miles, it blows any other device out of the water. On top of that, you are getting not only one but 3 powerful radios in a single package. There's really not much more you could ask from a portable walkie-talkie set.

detailed parameters
Standards

UHF (FRS, GMRS)

Goof for

Professional, Amateur

Frequency Range

462.550 - 467.7125 MHz

Power

5 W

Communication Range

Up to 36 miles

Number of Channels

50 (22 main and 28 additional channels)

Battery Life

Up to 8 hours

Extras

JIS4 Waterproof, NOAA weather alert, 9-level eVOX, 10 call alerts, Vibrate alert, SOS Siren, Keypad lock, Autosquelch and auto-scan

Package Contents

3 x Radios, 3 x Belt clips, 3 x Hands-free mic headsets, 3 x Rechargeable batteries, Charging stand, 2 x AC adapters, Vehicle DC adapter

Weight

0.39 lbs

Warranty

3 years

PROS

The radios are equipped with rechargeable NiMH batteries that can be powered up in a couple of hours and can withstand up to 12 hours of active use. Alternatively, you can put 3 AA batteries at any given time in case the basic power supply runs out of energy.

CONS

The belt clip feels a bit flimsy.

OUR VERDICT

This Cobra ACXT645 radio set will be a prime pick for users that search for ease of use and reliability. Combining only the lightest and toughest components, each radio is weather-proof, which makes it simple to utilize in any given situation. On top of a great range, the appliance supports VibrAlert™ notifications that will notify you of incoming signals even when the device is in a standby mode.

detailed parameters
Standards

UHF (FRS, GMRS)

Goof for

Professional, Amateur

Frequency Range

462.550 - 467.7125 MHz

Power

5 W

Communication Range

Up to 35 miles

Number of Channels

22 channels

Battery Life

NiMH battery: Up to 12 hours

3 x AA alkaline batteries: Up to 30 hours

Extras

VibrAlert™ notifications, VOX function, NOAA weather radio, NOAA weather alert, Channel scan function, Keypad lock, High or Low power selectable feature, Speaker and microphone jacks, Battery low indicator, Silent operation, LED-flashlight

Package Contents

2 x Radios, 2 x NiMH rechargeable batteries, 2 x Belt clips, 2-port charging dock included

Weight

0.4 lbs

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The eVOX feature allows for sending voice messages without pressing anything: the device automatically detects sound and switches to the send mode.

CONS

The battery level indicator doesn't show the charge level correctly at times.

OUR VERDICT

If you are searching for a professional portable radio that has all the premium features and is reliable at the same time you should definitely consider this model. The two-piece kit can be set for various situations from outdoor camping to mountain skiing. Besides, it's reasonably priced and doesn't lag behind the high-end models too much.

detailed parameters
Standards

UHF (FRS, GMRS)

Goof for

Professional, Amateur

Frequency Range

462.550 - 467.7125 MHz

Power

5 W

Communication Range

Up to 30 miles

Number of Channels

36 channels

Battery Life

NiMH battery: Up to 8 hours

3 x AA alkaline batteries: Up to 20 hours

Extras

VOX function, NOAA weather radio, NOAA weather alert, Channel scan function, Channel monitor function, Keypad lock, High or Low power selectable feature, Speaker and Microphone jacks, Battery low indicator, Silent operation

Package Contents

2 x Radios, 2 x NiMH Rechargeable batteries, 2 x Belt clips, 2 x Chargers

Weight

0.4 lbs

Warranty

3 years

PROS

A simple yet convenient user interface paired with a minimum number of handles and switches makes the radio simple to use.

CONS

Somewhat limited operational range.

OUR VERDICT

If you are looking for a prime set of multiple FRS units, look no further. The Archell AR-6 is a good choice for the whole family or your staff since it features 4 powerful radios that can work at a distance of up to 7 miles away from each other. You can use it while out and about or for security reasons, especially since it's easy to master.

detailed parameters
Standards

UHF (FRS)

Goof for

Amateur

Frequency Range

400 - 470 MHz

Power

3 W

Communication Range

Up to 5 miles

Number of Channels

16 channels

Battery Life

Up to 8 hours

Extras

VOX function, Emergency alarm, Intelligent charging with overcharge protection, Battery low alert, Built-in LED flashlight, Noise reduction, Channel monitor, Scanner function, High or Low power selectable feature

Package Contents

4 x Radios, 4 x 1500mAh High Capability Li-ion Battery, 4 x SMA-Female Antenna, 4 x Chargers, 4 x Belt Clips, 4 x Handstraps, 4 x Earphones

Weight

0.34 lbs

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy

PROS

Among many handy aspects of these radios, each unit features a built-in LED flashlight and a time-out-timer (TOT). While the former is just a nice addition, the latter is actually quite useful in saving the battery life for the moments when you forget to toggle off the speak/transmit mode.

CONS

The speaker sound quality at high volumes leaves something more to be desired.

OUR VERDICT

Although the Retevis H-777 have a relatively limited operational range, the wide frequency range combined with a dedicated memory unit that can store up to 16 channels makes this kit a good option for urban use. Exceptionally lightweight and with a sturdy, reliable housing and buttons, these radios can be of great use at construction, demolition, and other similar sites.

detailed parameters
Standards

UHF (FRS)

Goof for

Amateur

Frequency Range

400 - 470 MHz

Power

2 W

Communication Range

Up to 2 miles

Number of Channels

16 channels

Battery Life

Up to 9 hours

Extras

VOX function, Emergency alarm, Time-out-timer (TOT) feature, Low battery alert, Built-in LED flashlight, Noise reduction, Channel monitor, Scanner function, High or Low power selectable feature

Package Contents

2 x Radios, 2 x NiMH Rechargeable Batteries, 2 x Belt clips, 2 x Charger

Weight

0.3 lbs

Warranty

2 years

Midland GXT1000X3VP4

An Exceptional 3-Radio Pack

When one or two handheld radios are just not enough it might be a prime time to consider purchasing a 3-piece set. Fortunately, the Midland GXT1000X3VP4 has it all for communicating over long distances using GRMS frequencies.

Right off the bat, we would like to mention that this model boasts by far the biggest number of pre-installed channels among other walkie-talkie radios in the same price range. Reaching almost 50 different frequencies, the user can utilize the radios on 22 regular channels and 28 private channels many other portable radios cannot access. In addition to that, all pieces are equipped with 142 CTCSS and DCS privacy codes that allow for up to 3000 different channel options that can be used to block conversations on the same or closest frequencies.

When it comes down to reliability, the Midland GXT1000X3VP4 radio proves to be a good mean of communication, which will come in handy when regular cellular devices cease to work. Surprisingly enough, even despite the relatively small size of the handheld radio units their maximum operation range can reach 40 miles when used on flat terrain without many obstacles and around 25-30 miles in forested and obstructed areas.

Review of Midland GXT1000X3VP4 Waterproof Two-Way Radio

Thought out to the Last Detail

Convenience features include several weather report services such as NOOA Weather Alert, as well as the Weather Scan. What makes it special, though, is even when not activated, this feature will still notify you about severe weather conditions in your area.

The microphone jack located on the front panel of each unit allows using radios in hands-free mode, which could be quite convenient on certain occasions. Thanks to this, the handheld radios can quickly turn into a cruise radio in your vehicle or into a compact speakerphone on the side of your backpack while you walk. Moreover, the kit comes equipped with 3 boom mic headsets that feature high-quality microphones for static-free communications.

The battery life, on the other hand, is limited to the equivalent of 4 AA batteries stripped into one unit that acts like a rechargeable battery. Every radio has its own AC charger adapter, so you won’t have to worry about recharging. As for the actual longevity of a fully charged unit, it can operate for around 6-8 hours of active use before it needs a refill.

Designed for daily use, this set from Midland will be suitable for both professionals and amateurs. The rugged build and superior capabilities allow using the radio at extremely long ranges. Small, lightweight, and easy-to-use, the Midland 3-pack radio provides the users with a high quality of communication, regardless of weather conditions and terrain.

Midland GXT1000X3VP4 Waterproof Two-Way Radio in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Cobra ACXT645

A Great Middle Ground Option

This semi-professional handheld kit from Cobra will be a good pick for users that need to stay connected throughout the day, be it within the city limits or in the complete wilderness.

When it comes to a power source, each radio can be powered by a single NiMH battery that is included in the package as well as by 3 standard AA batteries. While the latter is a simple way to quickly boost the walkie-talkie, the NiMH battery is rechargeable, so, unless you have a set of rechargeable alkaline batteries, this method is surely more practical. The total runtime can reach a whopping number of hours. As stated in specifications, the device can be operated for up to 12 and 30 hours when powered by the NiMH and AA batteries respectively.

As for the charging, each radio can be recharged using a USB cable included in the package and a docking station featuring 2 ports that will let you charge both walkie talkie units simultaneously. This enables using the charging station not only with AC adapters but also for juicing up power banks as well as other USB-powered appliances. Although the charging time won’t take too long (around 6-8 hours), you can always speed up the process by utilizing a high-capacity power bank instead of a regular power outlet.

Other convenient features of this model include a standby mode as well as a keypad lock mode that both put the device into a receive-only mode, thus, noticeably saving up the battery life.

Review of Cobra ACXT645 Walkie Talkies

Versatile and Lightweight

Charging process aside, let’s talk about the major specifications of the two-way radios. With a total communication range that reaches up to 35 miles (depending on terrain), this is truly one of the best walkie-talkies that you can get in a budget price range. Likewise, the appliances support frequencies within the range of 462.550 - 467.7125 MHz while being capable of receiving the NOAA alerts. Encased into an IPX4 waterproof thick housing, each walkie-talkie can be used in virtually any weather without the risk of damaging the internal components.

To make things better, the total weight of each unit is only 0.4 lbs, which definitely adds to the usability of the kit. The lightweight design combined with belt clips makes carrying them a tad bit easier than other bulky professional models. To add more, each unit is equipped with a backlight, which ultimately makes operating the radios comfortable even under low light conditions.

Wrapping things up, this budget-friendly package from Cobra will be an excellent addition to your hiking, fishing, hunting hobby, or professional gear since it provides excellent coverage in pretty much any terrain and weather conditions.

Cobra ACXT645 Walkie Talkies in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Midland LXT630VP3

Reliable and Simple

The Midland LXT630VP3 is a two-piece family radio system that can be easily used by both amateurs and professionals without any prior experience in radio communications.

Each device in the two-piece kit features low and high power modes that allow for maximizing the effectiveness of the walkie-talkie. To expand on that, the low power mode allows the radio to conserve the battery charge when it is close to being completely drained while operating on the same distances as if the radio was fully charged. This is achieved thanks to a lower quality of the sound that is transmitted and received by the gadget. But don't think that the decline is that significant, the signal and the sound will be heard and understood on the other side of the line without any problems though you might have to listen a bit more attentively.

There are quite a few security precautions that you can use in order to protect your conversations. The 121 code combinations of this FRS offer a huge number (over 2000) of secure channels that will neither be heard or interfered by other radios. This makes it a great pick for security teams and those who'd prefer to keep their chatter hidden.

Review of Midland LXT630VP3 FRS Two-Way Radio

Perfect for Outdoor Use

What makes this model stand out, though, is the option to turn off all sound notifications and audio cues. It might not sound that impressive but this ability of the radio is proven to be crucial for both fishermen and hunters. The latter will be glad to know that this feature can be turned on with one single push of a button. After that is done you will no longer scare your animal of choice away due to annoying beeping of the device or, what’s even worse, chatter on the channel. That is definitely a nice addition to an already great model that other similar radios could use since it gives the hunter an element of surprise over the game.

The kit comes supplied with two rechargeable NiMH batteries, two chargers, and two clips that you can use to attach the radios to your belt or other pieces of clothing. As for the power source, the radios can be powered by both NiMH and AAA batteries, which makes this model adaptable to different circumstances. The operating time of the device varies, depending on the battery type of your choice. While the NiMH will provide you with 8 hours of continuous communication the AAA ones can power up the radio for up to 20 hours, which is quite impressive for a 5W device.

Frequency and power aspects aside, let’s take a closer look at the communication range of these little radios. The heavy-duty radio is capable of transmitting and receiving the signals at a distance of up to 30 miles. The distance, of course, is limited by the terrain and weather conditions and may thus vary slightly from the optimal numbers. Additionally, the device has a special voice-activated transmission mode that allows you to utilize the radio absolutely hands-free.

Finally, the Midland LXT630VP3 is a good choice for both hunters and campers, thanks to the waterproof housing and an excellent level of stealthiness it offers.

Midland LXT630VP3 FRS Two-Way Radio in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Arcshell AR-6

Full of Surprises

The Archsell AR-6 is a set of four two-way long range radios. However, we should clear up that the long range part doesn’t mean the device will work at great distances away from each unit. To be more specific, it basically means that the frequency range of the device uses long waves in order to not interfere with other channels that the device may receive during operation. That way the signal is clearer and never drops off.

Each unit from the set is supplied with a handy headset that can be used independently of each other. The main selling point of the headset is the ability to utilize the radio in a hands-free mode, which makes it convenient for use for security tasks or communication between workers in warehouses.

The operational range of each radio barely reaches 5 miles, and thus, this model is not suitable for hunting or camping purposes. On the bright side, however, under normal weather conditions without obstacles, the communication is possible at 7 miles or more. This feature makes the kit extremely useful at construction sites, malls, warehouses, and anywhere where you might need a private communication network.

This model doesn’t feature a digital screen, which is a bummer, to say the least. Since there are no means to see the frequency and the channel due to the lack of visual cues the user must rely on the dials and audio hints while changing the modulation and frequencies as well as the channels.

Review of Arcshell AR-6 Rechargeable Long Range Two-way Radios

Linking Made Easy

In case you need more than four radio pieces for any reasons, you may face some issues with pairing all of the devices by yourself. That's because the firmware is programmed differently for each set in order to not interfere with frequencies of similar products that can be used in the close vicinity of the AR-6 units. This can be easily fixed, though. All you have to do in order to make your own network of 5 or more devices is to get in contact with tech support that will help you program the radio units using a simple USB cable and computer.

Other than that, the AR-6 acts really great as a standalone kit that is reliable, easy to use, and has a small weight and thus can be utilized by anyone from a small kid to an adult. The kit offers a great versatility, and each piece just screams high-quality and reliability, thanks to the always stable connection between the units and great, durable materials of the housing.

All in all, this GMRS will be more suitable for personal or corporate use at small sites rather than for snowboarding or skiing, due to the short operational range. But it's one of the best at what it does and an easy tool to master.

Arcshell AR-6 Rechargeable Long Range Two-way Radios in the use

 

Retevis _H-777

Best Model for Urban Use

In contrast to other similar products, the Retevis H-777 two-way radios utilize an independent charging base for each walkie-talkie appliance instead of a single base for the whole package. Thanks to this, you can charge each unit separately, which simplifies both storing and recharging. Each base comes equipped with a dedicated USB charger that makes on-the-spot charging much easier than with a standard stationary base.

The real charging time will take around 2-3 hours, depending on how drained the battery is as well as on the wattage output of the power source. Once charged, the radios can endure up to 9-10 hours of active use.

When it comes to the actual operational range, these walkie-talkies are not something you would want to take on the hike to the mountains since their effective usage is limited to a 2-mile radius. And that is not surprising, given the fact that the output wattage of each unit is limited to only 2 watts. On the other hand, though, these two-way radios are excellent for urban use and smaller camping trips, as well as for small-scale hunting and fishing. On top of that, these little radios will certainly come in handy in construction and demolition sites. 

Review of Retevis _H-777 Walkie Talkies

Wide Frequency Range

Moving down the list of features, each handheld radio can be used to save up to 16 channels onto the internal memory device, which is quite surprising for the models in this price range. Combined with an effective frequency range that goes from 400 MHz all the way up to 470 MHz, you are getting quite a versatile communication tool that can be used as a true two-way radio without too much of a risk of interfering with other radio frequencies in your area.

As for the design aspects, each unit features a rainproof housing, which allows using devices under bad weather conditions. That said, though, the IPX rating doesn’t make them completely waterproof, so, be careful when using the walkie talkies close to the open waters. Last but not least, the radios are equipped with a fairly powerful LED flashlight that can come in handy as an auxiliary source of light or in case your flashlight has run out of juice.

In the end, if you are desperately searching for a reliable set of walkie-talkies but don’t want to break a bank at the same time, this lightweight kit from Retevis will be right up your alley. Durable build, fairly long-lasting battery, as well as the ease of use make it one of the top options that you can find for the price. 

Retevis _H-777 Walkie Talkies in the use

 

What Is a Walkie Talkie?

It happens frequently that you need to maintain communication with your colleagues or buddies either on the job site or during leisure time. Usually, you rely on a cell phone for this purpose. But it is not always convenient and the tariffs of mobile operators may be relatively high. That is why many people still fancy walkie talkies. These radios are used by people of all professions: security guards and police, taxi drivers and truckers, sailors of merchant ships and private yachts, construction workers, and foresters, office and warehouse staff, sportsmen, etc. Recently, radio handsets became common among fishermen, hikers, and campers.

This particular type of communication turned out to be so popular because walkie talkies do not require any area coverage by cellular base stations, satellites or other telecom transmitters. Two or more parties can communicate with each other free-of-charge within the range of a stable connection limited by the power of transceivers used.

If you like active leisure, fishing, mount climbing, or forest walks you might also be interested in headlamps. The advantage of using a headlamp is that it allows for lighting up the way hands-free, which is handy if you have some other gear to drag behind you.

What Features to Compare

Frequency Range

The first important feature of these radios is the frequency range. The majority of walkie talkies operate in VHF and UHF channels.

VHF (Very High Frequency) channels use the frequencies from 134 to 174 MHz. The signal has an average penetration rate. This range is recommended for radio communication in the rural areas. As a rule, radio stations used for these purposes are bulky and have long protruding aerials.

UHF (Ultra High Frequency) channels include the frequencies from 400 to 470 MHz. Radio sets operating in this frequency range due to the high penetration rate of transmitted radio waves provide you with a reliable connection in the urban environment, inside of buildings, and in other areas with many obstructions. Before buying a transceiver you should collect information on the licensing of certain frequencies in your region or state.

There is also the FRS standard (462.5625 – 467.7125 MHz), which is applied to a license-free mobile short-range radio communication in the North and South America. This standard limits the power of stations allowed for use in the USA to 0.5 W maximum. There is a total number of 14 channels with 0.25 MHz frequency steps available. In a rugged country, woodlands, mountains, and for the marine use you should stick with transceivers of an LB channels' 30 through 50 MHz frequency range or VHF channels' 136 through 174 MHz frequencies.

One more important factor that needs to be considered is the communication range. This range is restrained by the power of receiver and transmitter of a particular radio station, and by the frequency used for communication. Usually, the figure announced in the manufacturer’s manual is valid for perfect conditions only (sunny weather, open ground without obstacles, the absence of power transit lines and other sources of interferences) and varies from 20 to 30 miles, but in fact, the actual range in a real environment might be smaller.

Extra Features

You may also be interested in the extra features provided. Many portable professional radios are highly resistant to external impacts and feature water-resistant bodies that comply with specific standards. Your station may be protected from raindrops or water splashes, and even after a submersion, it can keep you in contact with your communication partner.

It is also common to provide a walkie talkie with the VOX function (also known as the voice-operated switch). It operates through the built-in microphone and turns on the transmitter of the walkie-talkie when the user speaks. What's convenient about this function is that you do not need to hold the Push button, which makes it particularly handy for use on the go. Some radios also allow storing communication channels in the memory of the device and setting special ringtones for selected channels to know who is calling you.

Design and Convenience

Finally, you should take a look at the design and convenience of radios since the materials, weight, controls and assembly may differ substantially. A decision might be based on the availability of informative display reflecting all necessary information, the possibility to replace the pre-installed antenna with a more powerful one, the location of buttons and controls on the case, and the ergonomics of the handset in general. The station may have a belt clip and a wrist strap to prevent its accidental dropping.

Sources:

1. What are Walkie Talkies? wiseGEEK.

2. Natan Chandler How Walkie-talkies Work? HowStuffWorks.

3. Walkie-Talkie, Wikipedia. July 23, 2016.

4. Shannon Morel What Should One Consider When Looking to Buy a Walkie-Talkie (Two-way Radio) System for Business Use? Quora. October 24, 2011.

5. Chris Woodford Walkie-Talkies, ExplainThatStuff. March 9, 2016.

6. Jeremy Laukkonen How do I Choose the Best UHF Walkie Talkie? wiseGEEK. 21 July 2016.

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