2020 Best Walkie Talkies : A Buyer’s Guide
Background Information: What You Need To Know
Staying in touch with other people is essential, especially if you are going through a survival situation or travelling. The best walkie talkies make it easier for you to communicate with your party, even in areas where your mobile phones cannot get a reception. Walkie talkies come in a minuscule size so you can take them anywhere with you. Apart from communication, these two-way radios also provide a wide range of features, including weather alerts and SOS signals. The latest walkie talkies also have improved radio ranges and frequency options and they weigh significantly less so you do not feel excessively burned as you trek.
So, if you are planning to go on a long trip, hiking, camping or just want to take part in some outdoor adventure, we highly recommend that you get the best walkie talkie for your needs. Here we will teach you all you need to know before buying a walkie talkie and then recommend the best walkie talkies for 2020.
Types of Walkie Talkies
There are many types of walkie talkies on the market today. One of the main questions that buyers face is: What to pick? To choose the right walkie talkie you need to decide how and where you will use it. First, you need to choose between two major categories of walkie talkies: Family Radio Service (FSR) and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) walkie talkies.
FSR radios do not require any kind of licensing. They are considerably inexpensive and have a legal limitation of 500 milli-watts. They have a short range of coverage of about two miles and ideal for occasional recreational outing. GMRS radios, on the other hand, require a license from the Federal Communication Commission. They are more costly than FSR radios and come with at least 15 channels. They have a bigger range of coverage of more than 5 miles, with some covering up to 30 miles. Walkie talkies can also be classified according to purpose. Let’s have a look at some of them:
- Walkie talkies for kids: They are designed specifically for children to play with. They are made from plastic and are very light. Walkie talkies for kids are powered by either double or triple A batteries. They come in numerous colors and designs so as to appeal more kids.
- Long Range Walkie Talkies: They come with different ranges. The range of coverage increases with power, so, for example a 2-watt radio can cover up to 8 miles while a 4-watt radio can reach up to 30 miles.
- Hunting Walkie Talkies: They are considered ideal for hunters. These gadgets come with boom microphones, car chargers and headsets so that hunters can have their pick of choices.
- Waterproof Walkie Talkies:They can be used in all weather conditions and guaranteed to last long. Waterproof two-way radios are ideal an important accessory for nature walkers, mountain climbers and camping fans. They are reliable, high quality products that outmatch mobile phones in terms of reception and sturdiness.
Top Factors When Choosing the Best Walkie Talkie
Now that you know the different types of walkie talkies, you need to be sure that you are choosing the best gadget. Here are the top factors to consider when making your selection.
VHF versus UHF
When buying walkie talkies, you might want to pay attention to whether you are buying a Very High Frequency (VHR) radio or an Ultra High Frequency (UHR) radio. VHF radios operate at 126 to 174 MHz. They work well over long distances where there is very little interference from buildings and landscapes. They usually have longer antennas than UHF radios and are good for penetrating foliage and trees.
UHF radios operate at 400 to 512 MHz. They are more versatile than VHF radios as they can penetrate through building walls. UHFs have shorter waves and are ideal for carrying around due to their ability to get through interference. UHF and VHF radios are not compatible. Therefore, if you are buying more than one pair of walkie talkies, ensure they are all of the same kind.
In most cases, walkie talkie manufacturers will specify the specific distance walkies can be able to communicate with each other if there are no barriers, such as buildings and landscapes between them. A walkie talkie with a range of 8miles may only have coverage of about 3 to 4 miles. Depending on what you need a walkie talkies, consider choosing a device with a bigger range. Most two-way radios will come with a range of anywhere between 20 to 50 miles.
When buying your two-way, it is important to look for additional features, such as a hands-free gear, headset and other accompanying equipment. Some gadgets also come with privacy codes and noise cancelling features. If you are going hunting, then you should go for a radio that has a vibration feature. Additionally, you should make sure not to press the talk button by mistake, thus you should choose a radio with a keypad lock or a keystroke alert. Other important features include:
- Backlit LCD screen and keypad so you can see and use the gadget in the dark. An LCD screen allows you to see how much battery life you have left, display a compass, provide alarms and timers.
- Jack for microphone or speaker: Helps you to keep your device hands free
- Income alerts: so you can know when there’s an incoming transmission
- Talk confirmation: This signals the start and end of transmissions so that you know when its safe to reply the transmissions rather than being cut off.
- Channel saver: Allows you to save certain channels
- Weather radio:Allows you to choose weather reports
Batteries: Walkie talkies run on different types of batteries. Lower end gadgets tend to use AA or AAA batteries, but the most current radios use a lithium-ion battery, a nickel-metal hydride battery or a Nickel-Cadmium battery. It is important to know the estimated time of usage on the radios you want to buy, so you can figure out if you need to carry some spare batteries. The life of the battery is usually estimated to be 90 percent standby time, 5 percent reception time and 5 percent transmission time.
Channels: Walkie talkies have different channels for various reasons. Knowing what these are will help you determine what kind of walkie talkie will match your needs. There are twenty channels in total. The more channels a radio offers, the higher the prices, thus it’s is essential to know how you will use your radio for before making your purchase. Having a radio with more channels makes it easier for you to communicate.
Top 10 Walkie Talkies for 2020
1. Midland GXT1000VP4 36-Mile 50-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio
The Midland GXT1000VP4 36-Mile 50-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio set is ideal for outdoor camping or trips to the river or desert. This two-way radio comes with 50 channels and automatically checks for activity on any channel. These radio handsets can communicate as far as 36 miles depending on the environment. The handset also offers you 284 privacy codes to help you block other conversations. With the eVOX technology, this modern walkie talkie transmits signal automatically when the voice of user is detected without having to press any button. The 9-VOX sensitivity levels allow you to choose the point the radio will detect your voice.
The GXT1000VP4 is fully waterproof, thus it is ideal for any weather conditions. The sound quality is fantastic, since you can whisper into the receiver and be heard by the receiver on the other end. The radio receives warnings, forecasts, watches and other weather hazard info from NWR (NOAA weather radio, and automatically alerts you for hazards or bad weather information. In case of an emergency, this two-way radio will send out distress or locator signals via its SOS Siren function.
The GXT1000VP4 two-way radio is lightweight, making it easy to carry around. You can clip your radio on the belt or carry it your pocket since it just size of your phone. The radio comes with a rechargeable battery pack which can power the unit for about eight hours. The set also comes with a car adapter and a desktop charger. There are two radios per set.
Pros of the Midland GXT1000VP4 36-Mile 50-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio Set
- Long range 36 miles communication
- Good batter performance: Battery last for 8 to hours
- Two chargers: A/C adapter and car charger
- Automatic alerts in case of hazards and severe weather
- Comes with two headsets
- Privacy codes to allow to communicate privately
- Powerful microphone with whisper mode on
Cons of the Midland GXT1000VP4 36-Mile 50-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio
- It’s not waterproof
- The rechargeable batteries wear out quickly due to design flaw
Find The Midland GXT1000VP4 36-Mile 50-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio Here!
2. BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio
Made in China, the BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio is VHF/UHF receiver. The radio comes with two power levels, 4 watts and 1 watt in the frequency range of 136 – 174 MHz and 400- 480MHz. . The UV-5R is economical and compact and features special VHF receive band from 65-108MHz, which include the regular FM broadcast band. It boasts 128 memories for programming repeaters and simplex frequencies. The gadget supports dual reception and dual watch. Dual watch allows you to tune two frequencies and monitor them at same time.
The BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio runs on a BL-5Li-ion battery (7.4V 1500mAh) that is guaranteed to last. It comes with a discreet size and is lightweight, making it easy to carry around. It also features a wrist strap and belt clip so you can securely carry it with you wherever you go. Other amazing aspects of this walkie talkie include a battery save function, built-in flash in, key lock, VOX, DCS/CTCSS encode.
The UV-5R not only receives the normal VHF and UHF frequencies, but also has the ability to receive and transmit MURS, GMRS and FRS frequencies too. Though these radio bands can be used by the public, they have their own operating rules. Therefore, ensure you check their regulations before transmitting.
Pros of the BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio
- 128 channels
- Long lasting BL-5Li-ion battery (7.4V 1500mAh)
- Large LCD display and a built-in LED flashlight
- Great reception and even works where your mobile phone won’t.
- Frequency Range: 136-174 / 400-520 MHz.
- Dual reception and dual watch
Cons of the BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio
- It is not waterproof and hence cannot be used for all weather conditions
- Low range of coverage
Find The BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio Here!
3. Motorola MR350R 35-Mile Range 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio
When long range communications in any given environment are needed, then the Motorola MR350R 35-Mile Range 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio is a perfect option. This walkie talkie operates using 22 channels and offers communications over a distance of up to 35 miles. The gadget comes with a superb ergonomic design, making it very easy to use and even easier to hold. It is dual band enabled, meaning it can broadcast over both GMRS and FRS bands, offering more channel combinations.
The MR35OR is lightweight, making it easy to carry around. It comes with extra large buttons so you can operate it even with gloves on. The build quality of this walkie talkie is excellent. The manufacturer says it can withstand any challenge without affecting its performance. The device is sturdy and waterproof (though you can’t submerge it) it can handle light rain and splashes, making ideal for camping and hiking. The device uses a Ni-MH battery, which has a lifetime of 8 hours.
This was walkie talkie has hands-free operation features. You can clip it onto your belt or carry them around in your pocket because of their discreet size and lightweight. There are 121 different privacy codes to allow you to crate thousand private channels. The product comes with a 1 user’s guide, 1 emergency preparedness checklist, 1 charging adapter, 2 rechargeable AA battery packs and 2 belt clips.
Pros of the Motorola MR350R 35-Mile Range 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio
- Weatherproof, connect to any of the 11 NOAA channels and receive emergency alerts
- Range of up to 35 miles
- Two AA batteries with a great battery life of up to 8 hours
- Superb ergonomic design, making the gadget easy to use and hold
- 22 channels, each with 121 Privacy codes
- Silent vibrating ringer, idea for places where ringing can be intrusive
Cons of the MR350R 35-Mile Range 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio
- While water-resistant, this model is not waterproof as you cannot submerge it in water
4. Cobra Walkie-Talkie microTalk CXR925 35-Mile 22-Channel Two-Way Radio
The Cobra CXR925 is an ideal option for anyone looking for a good way of communicating when out for on a hike. The unit has 22 channels available in the GMRS and FRS ranges. Additionally, both units have 142 privacy codes and a SOS signal. The range on these units is similar to that of the Motorola MR350R, a nominal 35 miles, which is completely dependent on terrains. The CXR925 uses rechargeable AA lithium batteries, which are more convenient than having a proprietary battery pack.
The CXR925 walkie talkie has a great look. It is made of black hard plastic and is tall and slim. The unit comes complete with NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration weather and alerts so you can know when storms and emergencies are heading your way. These alerts are specific to your location, meaning you do not need to change channels so as to receive them. This makes it easy for you to make prior preparations so you are not trapped in unexpected circumstances.
The Cobra CXR925 walkie talkies are well built. They come in a discreet size and a lightweight. The units are weatherproof and feature a rugged design and a comfortable grip. Cobra offers a unique feature with the CXR925 called the Rewind Say Again Digital voice recorder. This feature allows you to playback the last 20 seconds of your audio, record messages yourself as well as transmit saved messages. Other top features of the CXR925 include a key lock, LCD display, keystroke Tone signal, belt clip, VOX and 10 channel memory.
Pros of the Cobra CXR925 Two-Way Radio
- Communicates up to 35 mile range, depending on condition and terrain
- NOAA weather and emergency alerts
- VOX feature helps to detect the user’s voice so you can transmit fast
- Long battery life
- Security feature on keypad
- 10 channel memory so you can program channels for easy retrieval
- Auto squelch feature to remove unwanted noise and shut off weak transmissions
- Digital voice recorder included.
Cons of the Cobra CXR925 Two-Way Radio
- Though batteries have a long life, they cannot be replaced with loose batteries in the field
- Have a range of less than 35 miles, though that what is advertised
Find The Cobra Walkie-Talkie microTalk CXR925 Two-Way Radio Here!
5. Proster Walkie Talkies Rechargeable 16 Channel 2-Way Radios
The Proster 16 channel two-way radio is specially designed for people looking to stay in touch over short distances. These walkie talkies are ideal for businesses, such as construction and supermarkets, security officers and recreational activities, such as field survival, camping, hiking and biking. They have ergonomic design and are very light and easy to carry around. The radios can be used both outdoors and indoors.
Proster walkie talkies work with UHF 400-475 MHz and support up to 16 channels. They can communicate up to a distance of about 2 miles. These units are rugged and maintain their shape and integrity even if they are dropped many times. Since they are used over short distances, they have a very good and clear communication. This is also due to the Proster CTCSS and DCS Function that reduces unwanted noises and blocks interference signal.
Another amazing feature of the Proster 16 Channel two-way radio is the rechargeable 1500mAh battery that lasts for up to 8 hours. The units also come with USB chargers so you can recharge the batteries conveniently. You can charge the battery from your PC or in your car. The earpiece allows you to enjoy a clear vocal transmission and guarantees private communication in any kind of environment.
Pros of the Proster 16 Channel Two –Way Radio
- Lightweight and easy to carry around
- UHF 400-457 MHz
- Supports 16 channels to a range of 2 miles
- Built-in flashlight for use during nocturnal activates
- DCS and CTCSS Function minimizes noise and blocks signal interference
- Excellent build quality
Cons of the Proster 16 Channel Two –Way Radio
- The walkie talkies cannot be used over long distances
- Fewer channels with no privacy codes
- These radio handsets are not waterproof
6. Retevis H-777 2 Way Radios USB Chargeable UHF Radio 400-470MHz 16CH Walkie Talkies
Perfect for parents who want to stay in touch with their kids outdoors, the Retevis H-777 is one the best short range walkie talkies on the market today. Available as a pair of walkie talkies to 20 walkie talkies, it comes with an affordable price.
Just like Proster 16 Channel Two-Way radio, this walkie talkie features 16 channels and uses the UHF 400-475 MHz. It also features the CTCSS and DCS Function that reduces unwanted noises and blocks interference signal. These walkie talkies feature an original earpiece for improved communication as well as a hands free experience.
The Retevis H-777 16 Channel Two Way Radios have a solid construction and can withstand everyday use, falls, and exposure to elements. Each unit has a built-in LED torch that improves visibility in the dark and LCD screen that is very clear and visible. The unit is very easy to use and is extremely lightweight, making it easy to carry around.
Overall, the unit feels very smooth to touch and is attractive to the eye. With its decent power output of 3W and its TOT, scanning as well as monitoring function, this unit brings some quality asset to the table. Compared to other similar walkie talkies, the Retevis H-777 Two-Way Radio has many reliable features and a high quality sound. You also get a one-year warranty for all accessories.
Pros of the Retevis H-777 16 Channel Two Way Radios
- Long lasting 1500mAh Li-ion battery
- UHF 400-475 MHz
- Supports up to 16 channels
- Belt clip makes the units easy to carry around
- CTCSS and DCS Function that reduces unwanted noises and blocks interference signal
- Built-in LED torch that improves visibility in the dark
- Power output of 3W
- Original earphones for a hands free experience
- Heavy-duty plastic cases
- VOX function
Cons of the Retevis H-777 16 Channel Two Way Radios
- Flimsy antenna
- Coverage is poor indoors
7. Swiftion Rechargeable Kids Walkie Talkies 22 Channel 0.5W FRS/GMRS 2 Way Radios
Swiftion 22 channel kids walkie talkies are very stylish and trendy, making them a perfect gift for kids. The units come with a user-friendly design for easy and quick communication. They have a solid construction, making them perfect for regular use. The Swiftion walkie talkies operate on 462 – 467 FRS/GMRS band and support up to 22 channels to a range of approximately 9000 feet. These gadgets are easy to operate and will certainly bring a lot of fun to your kids.
The Swiftion 22 channels Two Way Radios have a good sound quality. They create a very reliable connection without comprising on flexibility. They boast the CTCSS/DCS feature that enhances the privacy of the user by blocking signals and minimizing noise. By setting the same CTCSS and same channel, you are able to link more than two walkie talkies thereby extending the fun the whole family.
Another amazing function of these walkie talkies is the VOX, which allows users to active transmissions without having to press the PTT button. Each unit is powered by three AA batteries which have a long life. The units are very lightweight and portable, making them ideal for kids to carry around. The built-in torch makes it possible to use the unit in the dark. You can easily lock the device to keep your children from accidently changing the channel. During the lock mode, you can change the volume, transmit, receive and monitor channels.
Pros of the Swiftion 22 channel Two Way Radios
- Built-in flashlight
- CTCSS/ DCS function to minimize noise and enhance privacy
- Very lightweight and highly portable
- Good battery life
- VOX function
- 22 channels 462-467 mhz FRS/GMRS
- Wireless communication up to 9000 feet depending on environment and terrain
Cons of the Swiftion 22 channel Two Way Radios
- They are not waterproof and cannot be submerged in water
- Low range of coverage
- There are no privacy codes
Find Swiftion Rechargeable Kids Walkie Talkies Here!
8. FLOUREON Two Pack 22 Channel Walkie Talkies for Kids
If you are looking for a professional grade two-way radio with a good sound quality and multiple channels, then the Floureon 2-way radio is the best option. Floureon walkie talkies produce smooth and crisp sound without unwanted noises. These gadgets have high quality speakers that filter annoying crackling sounds that sounds found in some low grade models. The walkie talkies offer a 22 channel PMR system that is very easy to use.
Unlike most walkie talkies, the Floureon come with an ergonomic design and attractive colors, making them ideal for kids. Their unique design makes them easy to grip firmly and comfortably. These units have a beautiful LCD backlit display that show the battery level. With these devices, you can remain in contact up to range of 3 to 5 km.
Pros of the FLOUREON Two Pack 22 Channel Walkie Talkies for Kids
- Range of coverage of up to 3km
- UHF462-467MHz supports 22 channels
- Good sound quality and adjustable volume
- Ergonomic design makes the unit comfortable to hold
- LCD backlit display
Cons of the FLOUREON Two Pack 22 Channel Walkie Talkies for Kids
- They are not waterproof
- Low range of coverage
9. ESYNiC Long Range Two-Way Radio USB Cable Charging UHF 400- 470MHz Walky Talky
ESYNiC Two-Way Radios are ideal for people who are not familiar with the complicated specs of walkie talkies. These radio handsets are simple to use and practical in many situations. They operate on UHF frequency range 400-467 MHz and support 16 channels. These walkie talkies can connect with each other up to a range of about 5 km.
The ESYNiC two way radios come with a LED light making them easy to use in the dark. They also feature the CTCSS and CDCSS function that helps to minimize noise and block signal interference. A built-in clip helps to keep the unit secured to your waist making it much easier to carry. These units are powered using rechargeable 1500mAh batteries that have a long life.
Other handy features of the ESYNiC Walkie Talkies 2 pcs Long Range Two-Way Radios include the monitoring and scanning functions, the English voice prompt. The gadgets are designed with portability in mind. They come with an ergonomic design that makes it easy to hold the unit in your hands and feels comfortable.
The units come in a discreet size and are lightweight so you can carry it around easily. The earpieces allow for private communication and hands free use while the two antennas help to improve the range of coverage.
Pros of the ESYNiC Two Way Radios
- UHF frequency range, supports 16 channels
- Long range of up to 5 kilometers
- CTCSS/DCS function enhances the privacy and minimizes unwanted noises
- Built LED torch
- Powered by a long lasting 1500 Li-ion battery
- PC programmable
- Light and portable designs
Cons of the ESYNiC Two Way Radios
- No privacy codes
- Limited channels for the user
10. Uniden MHS75 Submersible Two Way Marine Radio
The Uniden MHS75 submersible two way marine radio is one of the top-rated submersible walkie talkies available on the market today. With a waterproofing rating of IPX8, this two way radio can withstand submersion up to a depth of 1.5 meters for 30 minutes. The Uniden MHS75 is made from a tough die cast aluminum metal. It weighs 10.5 ounces and measures 2.5 inches wide, 4.6 inches tall and 1.5 inches. Unlike most 2-way radios, this walkie talkie comes with a 1-year warranty on the battery and a 3-year warranty on the radio.
The gadget is powered by a 1040 lithium ion battery, which takes 4 hours to be fully charged. The batter can last up to 12 hours when fully charged. The transmitter output power can be set to 1, 2.5 or 5 watts. The radio is designed for all US, Canadian and international marine channels as well as 10 weather channels. The radio has a very good sound quality and a large bright display. It retails at a very affordable price.
Pros of the Uniden MHS75 Marine Radio
- Waterproof rating IPX8
- Solid construction making it withstand harsh environment and everyday use
- Large Display so you can use it the dark
- Good sound quality
- Long lasting battery
- 3-year warranty on the radio
- 1 year warranty on the battery
- Retails at an affordable price
Cons of the Uniden MHS75 Marine Radio
- The device itself is waterproof, but the charging cradle is not.
- This radio is lightweight, but it’s also large and bulky.
Final Walkie Talkie Thoughts
Here at Talkie Spy, we do our best to test out walkie talkies from from all brands and provide you with the best knowledge and resources to help you make the right decision when it comes time to buy a walkie talkie or two way radio. We have big plans in 2020 to further help you make informed decisions and appreciate your support.