Best Walkie Talkies

Review & Comparison, Last Update September 11, 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
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BEST 2020
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Standards
Good 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 powerful devices with great 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)

Good 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 Ni-MH batteries that last up to 12 hours on one single charge. As an alternative, you can always put a set of 3 AA batteries, when the main power supply runs out of charge (these will last for up to 30 hours).

CONS

The belt clips feel a bit flimsy.

OUR VERDICT

The Cobra ACXT1035R walkie talkies are one of the top picks among handheld radios that can be safely used in harsh environments. Reasonably priced, these two radios won't hit your budget too much and won't let you down regardless of the weather, all thanks to the IPX7-rated housing. An excellent choice for long-range use.

detailed parameters
Standards

UHF (FRS, GMRS)

Good for

Professional, Amateur

Frequency Range

462.550 - 467.7125 MHz

Power

2 W

Communication Range

Up to 37 miles

Number of Channels

22

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, "Rewind-Say-Again" Feature, 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

Weight

0.35 lbs

Warranty

1 year

PROS

An advanced eVOX function of the radios enables transmitting voice messages without using the PTT button. The sensitivity of the hands-free mode can be adjusted at three different volume levels, for added convenience.

CONS

The battery level indicator lacks accuracy a bit. 

OUR VERDICT

If you are familiar with handheld transceivers and walkie-talkies in particular and seek a multi-functional model, this set from Midland will be an optimal choice for you. It smartly couples quality build with multiple adjustable settings and boasts a wide range of channels that can be adjusted in the UHF range.

detailed parameters
Standards

UHF (FRS, GMRS)

Good for

Professional, Amateur

Frequency Range

462.550 - 467.7125 MHz

Power

2 W

Communication Range

Up to 38 miles

Number of Channels

36

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, 2x NiMH rechargeable batteries, 2 x Belt clips, 3 x Hands-free mic headsets, Charging stand, AC adapter, Vehicle DC adapter

Weight

0.4 lbs

Warranty

3 years

PROS

A simple user-friendly interface of the radios along with only a few buttons, dial knobs, and special sound clues will make it easy for novices to get the hang of this kit. In addition, it is equipped with headsets, charging docks, and belt clips.

CONS

The actual operational range is slightly smaller than stated.

OUR VERDICT

If you were searching for a budget-friendly set of handheld radios, look no further. This pack from Arcshell can be the best bang for your buck. The kit comes equipped with 6 commercial-grade radios that have UHF capabilities, making it ideal for urban use.

detailed parameters
Standards

UHF (FRS)

Good for

Amateur

Frequency Range

400 - 470 MHz

Power

2 W

Communication Range

Up to 5 miles

Number of Channels

16

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

6 x Radios, 6 x 1500 mAh high-capability Li-ion batteries, 6 x SMA-female antennas, 6 x Chargers, 6 x Belt clips, 6 x Handstraps, 6 x Earphones

Weight

0.33 lbs

Warranty

1.5 years

PROS

TOT or Time-Out-Timer built into the radios will automatically turn the walkie-talkie off when it's not in use. Owing to this and a low battery indicator, you are unlikely to run out of charge too quickly. 

CONS

Runs on AAA batteries only.

OUR VERDICT

This 2-piece set from Motorola stands out for portability and is amazing for use at limited ranges. At only 0.25 pounds of weight (without batteries), the radios can be easily carried in hand, pocket, or on your belt. The model has an operation range of up to 16 miles, which is not that shabby considering how small they are.

detailed parameters
Standards

UHF (FRS, GMRS)

Good for

Professional, Amateur

Frequency Range

462.550 - 467.7125 MHz

Power

2 W

Communication Range

Up to 16 miles

Number of Channels

22

Battery Life

3 x "AAA" batteries: up to 18 hours

Extras

Flashing low battery alert, Keypad tone, Talk confirmation tone, Battery Save/Power-save feature, Monitor, Auto squelch, Keypad lock, Time-out timer

Package Contents

2 x Radios, 2 x Belt clips

Weight

0.25 lbs

Warranty

1 year

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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 3,000 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 - Long Range Walkie Talkie

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 - Long Range Walkie Talkie in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Cobra ACXT1035R

Built to Last

This impressive-looking walkie talkie set from Cobra is a great mid-price option for users that need a robust set of radios capable of operating in harsh environments and transmitting over long distances. However, these features are not the only ones that make this particular set so attractive for its price.

First things first, this model has a special VOX system that can transmit the signal only when you talk. Owing to this voice-activated feature, you can finally forget about pushing the button every time you need to talk, which will come in handy in cases when you have only one recipient. Aside from that, the handheld radios have built-in NOAA weather forecasts and alerts providing valuable information on storms and emergencies.

Just like many other walkie-talkie products designed for operation in harsh environments, each piece included in this kit is protected against water damages. To be more precise, the housing of the radios has an IPX7 protection rating, which enables submerging it into the water for short periods of time. Thanks to that, you can rest assured the radio won't get damaged if you accidentally drop it into water. 

Review of Cobra ACXT1035R FLT Floating Walkie Talkies- Waterproof

Adjust Channels Your Way

What sets this particular transceiver model apart from the majority of other walkie-talkies is its memory unit. Owing to this subtle yet highly convenient addition, the radio automatically records the last 20 seconds of any incoming talk, which will come in handy when someone calls but you can't answer in time.

Speaking about calls, the radio can be set to alert about incoming transmissions with audio or vibrating notifications. This microTALK feature can be additionally tweaked to use either audio, vibration, or a combination of the two signals at the same time. In addition to that, each radio features a channel scan function that allows finding active frequencies fast and with no hassle. 121 privacy codes and up to 2600 channel combinations, on the other hand, enable saving all the frequencies in the radio’s memory unit, which minimizes the frequency interference.

In the end, if you are looking for a commercial-grade walkie-talkie set that will work pretty much under any conditions, this set from Cobra will be the right option. Robust, durable, and, most importantly, reliable, it will make communications over long distances simple when there are no other transmission means nearby.

Cobra ACXT1035R FLT Floating Walkie Talkies- Waterproof in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Midland X-TALKER T77VP5

Endless Capabilities

The Midland X-TALKER T77VP5 is yet another two-piece radio set. Yet, unlike many others, it comes together with a bunch of handy accessories that will make using these walkie talkies a real joy. However, before we get to the attachments, let's first take a look at the main pieces of the package, that is the radios themselves. What distinguishes them from many rivals is that despite their output power of only 2 Watts, each radio can operate at extremely long ranges of up to 38 miles provided that there’s little to no obstructions in the way of the signal.

Communication security is ensured by 121 CTCSS privacy codes, which, in conjunction with a built-in channel system, provides over 2,600 safe channel variations. As a result, using these radios, you can have peace of mind no unwanted listeners will be able to overhear your conversations. 

When it comes to controls, the X-TALKER T77VP has quite a few knobs and buttons. These include a Push-to-Talk, monitor, scanner, call, and lock buttons. Moreover, there is a dedicated mic button that toggles the microphone on and off. For more personalized adjustments, you also have a secondary menu key that enables regulating the volume and privacy settings of the selected channel.

Review of Midland X-TALKER T77VP5 Walkie Talkie

What Else Is in the Box?

Additional equipment that comes with the radios includes a charging station, two rechargeable batteries as well as a handy carry case and an earpiece for each walkie-talkie. All these pieces neatly fit into the carry case, which makes the whole package highly portable. We especially appreciate the headsets that come included in the kit. They are high-quality and allow for convenient hands-free communications, which makes these walkie talkies a suitable option for truckers, drivers, and people that generally travel a lot but don’t have a dedicated transceiver in their vehicle.

The only thing that we didn’t really appreciate is that a low battery indicator on these walkie talkies tends to show the battery status somewhat inaccurately. Due to this little quirk, we advise having a set of AAA batteries at hand just in case the main battery runs out of juice unexpectedly. On the plus side, though, the NiMH battery provides up to 12 hours of continuous operation before it needs to be recharged, which is quite a lot as for a portable model.

Finally, the X-TALKER T77VP will be a good option for users that need a reliable semi-professional set of radios that can be used at long distances with little to no frequency interference. Aside from high quality and a vast array of features, the kit is reasonably priced, which makes it a smart and practical investment for anyone planning to use these radios pretty often.

Midland X-TALKER T77VP5 Walkie Talkie in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Arcshell Rechargeable Long Range Two-Way Radios

No-interference Radio Communications

When it comes to picking a walkie-talkie set that has more than just a pair of radios, your chances of finding a good one that is not overpriced are close to none. Fortunately enough, Arcshell has an answer. In a single package, you'll get as many as six handheld radios instead of two or three. But what makes them good aside from the quantity? Let’s take a deeper look at their specifications and find out.

To start off, each handheld radio is quite compact, measuring only 4.53 x 2.36 x 1.36 inches which makes them quite useful for covert use and generally easier to carry around. The antenna, on the other hand, is 4.3 inches long. Although it doesn't impede the appliance's ergonomics, for better portability, it can be even screwed out and retracted when needed. So, its 50-Ohm impedance won’t be that huge of an issue.

Moving on, the frequency range of these walkie-talkies is nothing outstanding, but nothing to be ashamed of either: it is set between 400-470 MHz, which is standard for most commercial-grade handheld transceivers. Power-wise, the maximum output of a single radio is 2 watts, which though not impressive will be more than enough to use on both UHF and RFS radio bands. 

Keep note, though, that because the built-in transceivers of these radios are rather small, the maximum operational range of each walkie-talkie is rather limited, covering the radius of just about 5 miles. Not fantastic, but not a bad result either considering the price tag of the kit. Besides, the ability of UHF waves to penetrate most hard materials easily offsets the smaller operating range, making these walkie talkies a valid option for communication in urban and suburban areas.

Review of Arcshell Rechargeable Long Range Two-Way Radios with Walkie Talkies

Excellent Versatility

As we get closer to the convenience features, it is worth mentioning that each radio can be set to operate on different channels that are pre-programmed. In order to switch the frequencies of a given channel, there is a special knob on top of each unit. Since there is no heads-on-display, the radios feature a synthesized voice announcer that will tell you the channel number and the frequency it is set on.

Every single radio included in the kit has 16 built-in channels, a separate rechargeable battery, as well as a charging dock for it. The indicator on the dock will conveniently show the charging status. On top of that, for hands-free use, the units are equipped with a headset.

All things considered, this package from Arcshell is one of the best bargains for the money that you can find today. With a price of a standard two-piece kit, you are getting 6 radios that are not overblown with features but do a decent job of transmitting information over some distance.

Arcshell Rechargeable Long Range Two-Way Radios with Walkie Talkies in the use

Additional Info

User Manual


 

Motorola T100

Small and Powerful

The Motorola T100 is a somewhat unconventional set of radios, and not solely due to its colorful housing as one might think. Why then? Let's go over the details and see.

To address the elephant inside the room, the radios included in the package do not have a rechargeable battery and run on AAA batteries instead. Due to this, we recommended getting a set or two of rechargeable AAA batteries in advance and a charging device for it. Once put inside the radio, a pristine set of three AA batteries will be enough to get you by 18 hours of active radio use, which is somewhat in-between a professional-grade and an amateur model.

Power means out of the way, let’s consider the capabilities of the radios, based on their specifications. Each of the two radios is surprisingly small and measures only 1.1 x 1.91 x 5.22 inches (with antenna retracted). Owing to that, a single walkie-talkie will easily fit in your pocket or a backpack pouch. The overall weight of a single unit is 0.25 pounds, which further contributes to its portability. For added convenience, both walkie-talkies feature an integrated belt clip, so, you won't really have to carry the radios in a pocket.

Review of Motorola T100 Talkabout Radio

Surprising Range

Both units are equipped with a monochrome display that shows all the essential information like the battery status, chosen frequency, and radio channel. What is more, the display will conveniently show the transmission status by flashing the Rx icon (upon receiving the signal) or Tx (when transmitting).

Furthermore, the radios can be used on distances of up to 16 miles from each other before the transmission quality starts deteriorating and that is quite an achievement as for a portable set that only runs on ordinary batteries. Alternatively, the frequency range of 462.550 - 467.7125 MHz makes this set an ideal pick for urban use, given that it can operate both on UHF FRS and on GMRS radio standards. For this purpose, the radios feature 22 built-in radio channels that can be switched to the desired frequency on the fly when needed. In case there are multiple users on the same channel, you can always use an auto-squelch function of the radio to lower down the reception volume.

All in all, despite some minor drawbacks, the Motorola T100 radio set is simple, compact, and extremely easy to use, which ultimately makes it a valid option if you are on a budget but still want to stay in touch with your family and loved ones when camping, mountaineering, hiking, etc.

Motorola T100 Talkabout Radio in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

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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