If you’re in the market for an inexpensive and reliable way to communicate with members of your household, colleagues at work, or keep in touch with a large group during a trip, walkie-talkies are a fun and functional piece of technology that can eliminate the need for expensive cell phone bills and a constant line of sight.
Walkie-talkies are a great way to stay connected to friends and family when cell phones aren’t an option. Many purchase walkie-talkies for trips on cruises or camping when cell phones are either too expensive to use with roaming charges or there aren’t any nearby cell towers. Walkie-talkies are also an easy way to maintain contact when on a road trip with a large group, with each car having their own walkie-talkie and eliminating the need to use cell phones.
Two terms to look out for when shopping for two-way radio are FRS and GMRS, which stand for Family Radio Service and General Mobile Radio Service, respectively. For casual use, whether that’s communicating with your family while hiking or checking in with another car on a group road trip, FRS will be the best option. GMRS is more powerful and has a greater range, but that means a license is required to operate on these channels.
A longstanding favorite toy with kids, walkie-talkies aren’t just great for little ones to use with one another, they’re also a cost-effective way for parents to stay in contact with their children. Rather than purchasing a cell phone and data plan for your child, stay in touch with them while they play at the nearby park or a friend’s house thanks to inexpensive and reliable walkie-talkies.
In professional settings, walkie-talkies are ideal for security personnel, construction workers, farmworkers and members of the military.
Whether you’re preparing to hike the great outdoors with a large group, want to keep an eye on your kids or need to add extra security measures to your workplace, we’ve got a walkie-talkie that fits your lifestyle.
1. Midland 50 Channel Two-Way Radio
Whether you’re taking part in military exercises, camping in the great outdoors, or working in a remote area, the Midland can handle just about any setting. The two-way splash resistant walkie-talkies (six are included) can reach up to a 36-mile range in areas with little obstruction. The Midland has access to 50 GSMR channels and privacy codes with 3,124 channel options to ensure no one can hear your conversation. Ideal for outdoor use, the Midland has a NOAA Weather Scan that can alert users of inclement weather in their area. The Midland has handy shortcuts, like direct calls to instantly contact members of your group and different ring tones for different members. It also features a dual watch to allow you to monitor two channels at once and safety measures like quiet vibrate alerts and an SOS siren. The walkie-talkies come with two boom mic headsets and belt clips for easy use.
Pros: The Midland 50 Channel Two-Way Radio has an impressive 36-mile range and voice and sound activation for hands-free use. A pioneer in two-way radio technology with 50 years of experience, Midland is an ideal choice for those who need a walkie-talkie that can literally go the distance.
Cons: Only comes in multi-pack options.
2. DEWALT 2 Watt Heavy Duty Walkie Talkies
Construction sites rely heavily on walkie-talkies for pretty obvious reasons, which is why it’s no surprise that power tool brand DeWalt makes their own walkie-talkies. These are ideal for business and worksite settings, and they have up to 300,000 square feet of range and 2,622 channel combinations. They can be set to voice-activated mode, meaning you can use them hands-free as well. And since they’re built for work, they have a rugged exterior that’s drop-resistant.
Pros: Durable build, waterproof, dust proof and drop resistant. Rechargeable battery.
Cons: Belt clip could be better.
3. Motorola T100 Talkabout Radio
For a walkie-talkie that the whole family can use, we recommend the small but powerful Motorola T100 Talkabout Radio. Available in bright blue or pink, the T100 has up to 22 channels and can reach a maximum distance of 16 miles without any obstructions in between. The straightforward design of the radios makes them easy to use with clearly marked buttons for sound and menu. The small display tells users which channel they’re using, how much battery life they have left and their volume level. Both radios come with a convenient belt clip and instructions.
Pros: The T100 is a great basic radio that can be used by both children and adults and features an extended 18-hour battery life and up to 22 channels.
Cons: The radios do not have an automatic shut off and if users forget to turn them off, the battery will be drained. The alkaline batteries must be removed and recharged in a separate recharger, which can be cumbersome.
4. Retevis Walkie-Talkies
The Retevis has a durable body that can withstand use by small children. With 22 channels, an easy to read LCD screen, and smart buttons with a favorite function, these are a great item for family use. The Retevis come in a pair and additional walkie-talkies can be purchased and paired for large group use.
Pros: Lightweight and easy enough for kids to use, the Retevis Walkie-Talkies feature secret buttons for the battery compartment and the ability to lock the keypad to ensure users don’t change the channel.
Cons: The Retevis has a much shorter range than the first two options and only has a limited number of channels.
5. COBRA ACXT390 Walkie Talkies
These walkie-talkies from Cobra use rechargeable batteries, which can be recharged using a regular micro USB cable. That way, you don’t need to carry around a special kind of charger just for your walkie-talkies. Voice-activated transmission makes it easy to keep in touch even when your hands are occupied. The walkie-talkies have a range of up to 23 miles. The NOAA receiver allows you to get necessary weather alerts.
Pros: Recharges using micro-USB, eliminating the need for a special adapter or cable. Receives NOAA channels. Voice-activated operation.
Cons: Belt clip could be better.
6. Topsung Two Way Radios for Adults
For a basic, everyday option, these walkie talkies from Topsung are a simple and dependable option. Auto-scan and auto-power saving modes help you find a channel easier while preserving battery. Voice-activated communication also make this a great option for driving — you can communicate with another car if you’re traveling in a group without having to hold the unit. The compact and lightweight size also makes them easier to pack and carry.
Pros: Compact size. Features voice-activated communication.
Cons: Volume control is lacking.
7. Motorola T200TP Talkabout Radio
These radios from Motorola come in a pack of three, so you stock up to keep your entire party or group in touch. There are 22 channels with 121 privacy codes, giving you 2,622 possible combinations, and the scan feature makes it easier to find an open channel. The radios can be used with either rechargeable batteries or AA batteries, making it easier to ensure your radios are powered up.
Pros: 2,622 possible channel/privacy combinations. 20 call tones. Can be powered with AA batteries or the rechargeable battery.
Cons: Included charging cable could be better.
8. Retevis RT22 Walkie-Talkies
For a walkie-talkie that can work in hands-free mode, we recommend the Retevis RT22 Walkie-Talkies. The set of six walkie-talkies feature 16 channels and have a voice activation hands-free mode that makes them an excellent option for security guards, first responders or people with mobility issues. Each walkie-talkie has an emergency alarm that will instantly alert other users of danger. The slim design and custom clip makes these walkie-talkies convenient to carry. A large charging station recharges the walkie-talkies quickly and each walkie-talkie can also be recharged individually using their unique USB ports.
Pros: Unlike many other walkie-talkies, the Retevis are adept at pushing their signal through walls and buildings.
Cons: The Retevis have a shorter range than other walkie-talkies.
9. Selieve Toys for 3-14 Year Old Children’s, Walkie Talkies for Kids
If you’re looking for a fun option for children, these colorful walkie talkies are available in a range of vibrant colors that kids will enjoy using. There are pink, red, blue and purple color options. But just because they’re for kids, doesn’t mean they’re not actually functional walkie-talkies — they have 22 channels and a flashlight function. They allow you to keep in touch with your kids without them needing a cellphone; let them know it’s homework time while they’re in the neighbor’s yard, without needing to run after them.
Pros: Fun, colorful options for kids. 22 channels and a decent range, so they’re actually functional. Comes with flashlight.
Cons: Since they use have multiple channels, kids may try to turn to radio channels, you have to ensure your kids don’t end up on someone else’s channel.