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We have all been fascinated with walkie-talkies as children, and secretly wished for a walkie-talkie of our own. It seemed fun to talk into the portable device and hear the person on the other end answer.
But did you know that walkie-talkies are actually handheld two-way radios, which are an essential survival tool? Also called a transreceiver, a two-way radio can both transmit and receive signals.
In addition, you don’t always have to be a camper or hiker in order to use a two-way radio. You can use this handy device for several other reasons too, including communicating with the others if you’re out in a large group. You can even use it at home if you have a large home or if you have several acres, these radios are amazing.
Factory operators, farmers, and so many others need and want vital gadgets like this. Unlike something annoying and extraneous like a digital home assistance that Google and Amazon are trying to sell us, two-way radios can actually save your life.
Two-way radios are a set of two a battery powering units, with a rechargeable battery. Both the volume and the power buttons are located on the face of the device that is operated via a transmission button. The user has to press the button and then speak into the microphone. Releasing the button allows others to communicate with the device.
A two-way radio isn’t just a cool thing to have. It is also a handy tool during an emergency and helps keep communication intact among people in a certain area. However, not many people know what to look for in a two-way radio before purchasing one. In the next section, we discuss the factors that make a tremendous two-way radio.
At a Glance: Our Choices for The 8 Best Two Way Radios
Click on one of the links to go directly to our overview, opinion, and features of each radio.
What to Consider When Choosing a Two Way Radio
All two-way radios work the same way, and this makes differentiating one from the other very difficult. However, there are a lot of factors that go into making a two-way radio stand out in a saturated market. Let’s look at the top factors to consider when buying a two-way radio.
Purpose: The very first question you must ask is what your purpose is for buying a two-way radio? This is because a radio meant for short range use is different from a radio that is meant for long range use. For instance, a radio that has a one or two-mile range is great for camping purposes. For other uses, you need to find one that works well for a longer range.
Price: Radios vary greatly in price, but remember that more expensive radios aren’t necessarily the best. Quality doesn’t always equate to a higher price, therefore, when choosing a two-way radio, the focus should be on the quality, not the price. A quality radio can often come for an affordable price, while some may be more expensive. This is mostly dependent upon brand and manufacturer.
Frequency: Radios either use Very High Frequency or Ultra High Frequency. Radio using VHF are great for outdoor use because they stay closer to the ground and are able to travel through open areas better. Radios using UHF are good for both indoor and outdoor use because of their higher potency and stronger ability to travel through obstructions.
Range: The range of two-way radios is often much shorter than what manufacturers claim. Even though the UHF radios are better than the VHF ones, the range, in reality, is usually much shorter than what is advertised. Obstructions and weather conditions play a big role in the actual distance that the frequency can travel. In most cases, a radio range is never greater than two miles.
Configuration: There are two main configurations of radios – Family Radio Service (FRS) and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS). The former is a low-power unit which transmits on around seven FRS channels and seven shared channels, totaling to 14 channels. The former is higher powered, usually used for outdoor activities, and have a total of 22 channels. Most modern two way radios have 22 channels (no, none of these channels are Fox News or Discovery).
Weight: The weight of the radio is highly important in an outdoor situation because you don’t want excess baggage. For long distance outdoor purposes, a lightweight radio is the best option.
Wattage: The higher the wattage used by a radio, the better its ability to transmit over a long distance. An FRS radio is generally a shorter distance than GMRS, and they also use less power to transmit. Transmission over a longer distance requires a GMRS radio.
Now that we know of the top factors to help in choosing a two-way radio, let’s now look at the best radios available today for a variety of purposes.
Top 8 Two Way Radios
We all know good things about Motorola, because of the quality phones it has always manufactured. Coming from this household brand, the Motorola MS350R two way radio is designed to deliver a solid performance in any situation.
It goes without saying that people generally use walkie-talkies in emergency or outdoor situations. Therefore, the device needs to be strong and durable.
What is the most remarkable feature about the Motorola MS350R two way radio? It has a 35-mile range! As advertised by the manufacturer, the device can work up to a 35-mile range. Even if this is an exaggeration, the device will definitely give you far greater range than an ordinary two miles. Besides, the device is waterproof.
Together, these features make the Motorola MS350R ideal for any outdoor activity, whether you take it to camping or hiking.
This lightweight device weighs only 6.4 ounces, which means it won’t increase the weight of your bag. It is IP67 rated waterproof, which means it can survive splashes, heavy downpours, and even dunking in water.
This set of two walkie talkies comes with two removable and rechargeable batteries, radio cable, and a stand. It uses both FRS and GMRS frequencies, with 22 channels and eight repeaters. With the PTT Power Boost Feature, this device is built for heavy-duty performance, and also boasts of an attractive design.
Conclusion on the Motorola MS350R: For $250, this is a solid set of walkie-talkies that not only look good but also delivers heavy duty performance. Even though the range may vary depending on the place, you are sure to get dependable service from this two-way radio.
Just don’t give one to your mother in law, you probably hear her enough!
When you’re outdoors, or in a survival situation, you cannot depend on your mobile phone. This is when you need something more reliable, like a two-way radio. They are meant for heavy-duty performance, even in situations where the mobile phone isn’t dependable.
The Midland GXT1000VP4 two way radio is one such capable device that will see you through the toughest of outdoor situations. One of the most remarkable features of this walkie talkie is the amazing 36-mile range.
For instance, if you go camping in the woods, you will never have to remain out of contact with the rest of your group, thanks to the exceptional range. It is also water resistant, which means it can survive occasional splashes and light rainfall.
When out in the open, such as a field or mountain or valley, the device has a maximum range of 36 miles. In cities, that range comes down to two to eight miles. The devices are both FMS and GMRS, with all 22 channels, and 28 extra channels.
This handy two-way radio has 142 privacy codes. What’s more, you get live weather updates from NOAA channels, which the device can automatically locate.
On a full charge, battery life lasts up to 11 hours. The radio comes with a three-year warranty against manufacturing defects. The package includes belt clips, headsets, rechargeable battery packs, desktop charger, AC adapter, DC adapter and owner’s manual.
Conclusion on the Midland GXT1000VP4: At less than $100, this is a handy device to own. Water-resistant, durable, and lightweight, the radio also gets live weather updates and has 28 extra channels.
This has nothing to do with the action-packed Stallone movie in the 80s (called Cobra) where he took down that psychotic cult biker gang.
Cobra Electronics is a leading American mobile communications brand, credited with the creation of the world’s first CB radio more than fifty years ago. Over the years, Cobra has held on to its standard and quality. Thanks to technological innovations, today’s two-way radios are more superior than those available a few decades ago.
Whether you want to keep one handy for emergencies or want to take it to remote adventures, Cobra walkie talkies are built to last and deliver solid performance. The Cobra ACXT545 walkie talkie is one of the highest standard products from the company.
It has a 30-mile range in open spaces, and can also alert you of storms and other weather updates because of the built-in NOAA radio receiver. The device is waterproof and can survive occasional splashes and light rain. These features make the device outdoor-ready at all times.
When the 22 channels are combined with the 121 privacy codes, a total of 2662 channel combinations are available. The built-in LED flashlight and rubberized grips provide better functionality to keep you on the go. Incoming transmissions are notified with the VibrAlert feature. There also voice-activated transmission for hands-free use.
All this comes for less than $50, making the Cobra one of the most affordable radios on the market today. The two set radio comes with two rechargeable NiMH batteries and a two-port charging dock. The device can also be used with AA alkaline batteries.
Conclusion on the Cobra ACXT545: At a little over two ounces, this is one of the lightest radios available today. It is waterproof, durable, capable, and does the job well.
Midland makes dependable walkie talkies for all purposes. We are so used to our mobile phones these days that we usually never think of using another mobile device for communication.
But in remote areas where mobile signals fail to reach or during an emergency when mobile phones won’t work, radios form the best portable communication device. The Midland LXT600VP3 has a 30-mile range in places where there is little obstruction.
In city spaces with homes and trees, the range comes down to three or four miles, but even that is impressive. The radio is water resistant, which means it can survive light drizzle and splashes, but not being dunked in water. The radio comes with a rechargeable battery pack but also works on AAA batteries.
The radio is both FMS and GMRS, with all 22 channels, and 28 extra channels. This handy two-way radio has 142 privacy codes. You also get live weather updates from NOAA channels, keeping you abreast of all weather changes. On a full charge, battery life lasts up to 12 hours. The radio is hand free transmission enabled and comes with a three-year warranty against manufacturing defects.
Conclusion on the Midland LXT600VP3: If you’re looking for an affordable two-way radio for any purpose, the Midland LXT600VP3 should be on the top of the list. Despite being priced under $50, the radio delivers a powerful performance and is handy enough for all kinds of indoor and outdoor situations.
Yes, you can use this in the middle of Avengers III since there is about 45 minutes of dull activity, no one in the theater would mind that much.
This is another solid radio coming from the household brand Motorola. The MS350R two-way radio is meant for use in any situation. It is strong and durable and has a 23-mile range in open spaces without obstruction. Even in city spaces, the radio will perform better than just two miles.
The device is water resistant and dustproof (IP50), and can survive a fall. All these features make the Motorola MH230R ideal for any outdoor activity, whether you take it to hiking or skiing.
This lightweight device weighs only 6 ounces, which means it won’t add unnecessary weight to your bag. This set of two walkie talkies comes with two removable and rechargeable batteries, radio cable, and a stand. It uses both FRS and GMRS frequencies, with 22 channels and 121 privacy codes.
On a full charge, the battery should last for 14 hours for alkaline (3 AAA) batteries and 12 hours for NiMH14 battery. The package contains two radios, two belt clips, one dual charger, one charging adapter, two NiMH rechargeable battery packs, and one user guide.
Conclusion on the Motorola MH230R: For $125, this is a solid set of radios that look good and also deliver a solid performance. With all the built-in features, this walkie talkie from Motorola is one of the most popular options in the market.
No, your cat does not need one of these. Your cat only wants some milk and cheese and would be good to go. Perhaps some tuna too!
(+) Lightweight and durable
(+) Up to 37-mile range
(+) 22 channels
(+) NOAA channels
(-) Actual range far less than 37 miles
(-) Battery drains quickly
This Uniden two-way radio is lightweight, modern, and tough, and comes equipped with features such as dual charging stand and weather resistant exterior. It has a 37-mile range, 22 channels, NOAA weather channels, and 121 privacy codes. The radio can be used for all purposes, from family outdoor activities, hiking, camping, neighborhood watch, or in emergencies.
Conclusion on the Uniden GMR3740-3CK: For under $150, this is a capable sturdy walkie-talkie that does the job well, although the range can be terrible but not as bad as knowing the Patriots cheated themselves to win another Super Bowl.
This 1.5 Watts UHF radio from Kenwood comes with several modern features, including Wireless Cloning, Super Lock, timer, LCD backlight, privacy talk and scan function, hands-free voice-activated transmission, tone alert, key lock, and fast charge.
The radio uses a Li-On battery and lasts up to 14 hours on a full charge. The device comes preprogrammed so users don’t have to go through that hassle.
Conclusion on the Kenwood TK-3230: If you’re looking for a radio that consumes very little power and is handy enough for everyday use, the Kenwood TK-3230 is the one. It comes with a wide range of features and also comes preprogrammed.
This two-way radio from Olympia has a 40 miles range in places with the least obstruction. The IP-54 waterproof rating means it can survive occasional splashes and drizzles. There’s an emergency alert button, and a power save feature, besides seven NOAA channels, 50 preset channels, and 121 privacy codes. This highly rated radio comes for under $60.
Conclusion on the Olympia R300: This is a basic consumer radio that has some serious range. Although expensive, the variety of features it comes with makes it worth the price.
Now that you know of the benefits of a two-way radio, why wait any longer? Simply get one of these products, and stay connected no matter where you are.
Just don’t get one for your annoying neighbor. Is he still complaining about those birds that sing in the morning?