As a kid walkie talkies made you feel like a spy, potentially deep undercover. Of course, they’re a great asset to the imagination and any child’s game. But, the best walkie talkie is much more than a toy.
In fact, in many areas of life, it is the most important companion. Whether you love hunting and need to communicate with other hunters or prefer hiking alone, a walkie talkie is going to ensure you have the help and advice you need, when you need it.
For example, if you’re hiking and have an accident, you’ll probably assume that you can use your cell phone to call for help. But, what if there’s no signal? The best walkie talkie will give you the means to contact a friend or the local rescue services, even when your cell phone doesn’t have a signal.
Of course, that’s not the only way a walkie talkie can be useful. If you’re into skiing, staying in touch on a cruise, or even just want to keep an eye on your children, the walkie talkie could be the perfect solution for you. Walkie talkies can also play an essential role in the business environment. Whether you’re on a building site or working in security, it can be the most effective way for everyone to stay in touch. That will improve safety in the workplace.
Don’t forget, a walkie talkie is simply a 2-way radio. Providing it works on the license-free frequencies then there is no need to register the 2-way radios or license them.
10 Best Walkie Talkie to Buy in 2020
Let’s take a look at the top 10 best walkie talkies currently available, there is certain to be something on this list that will appeal to you and your budget. Just make sure you read our essential buying guide before you pick the best walkie talkie for your needs.
1. Midland GXT – Best Long Range Walkie Talkie
This walkie talkie from Midland has an impressive 36-mile radius. But, more importantly, it’s incredibly easy to use. In fact, you can use the Midland GXT straight from the box and you don’t have to buy a pair of them. In other words, if you need three walkie talkies you can purchase a set of two and an individual one. That saves money.
This is one of the best walkie talkie options currently available with an array of channel options and privacy codes, as well as regular weather updates.
- Voice operated function with 9 sensitivity levels
- 142 CTCSS/DCS privacy codes & 50 channels
- NOAA weather scan and alert, it does this automatically
- Attractive price and you can purchase as many or as few as you need
- 36-mile radius, more if the area is flat
- Comes with car charger and earbuds
- Splashproof not waterproof. You’ll have to proceed with caution!
2. Baofeng BF-F8HP – Best Walkie Talkie For Hiking
This looks like an extremely complicated and hi-tech walkie talkie.
The Baofeng offers low, medium, and high power settings with a frequency range covering FM65-108Mhz. There are also VHF options, 136-174 MHz and a UHF of 400-520.
Despite the confusing look of this bit of kit, it is actually very easy to use and there are helpful guides and programming tips at BaoFengTech.com.
The function menu is easy to read and you can lock the walkie talkie with the channel lock, BCLO. You’ll also appreciate the simple display LCD that helps you to know everything you need to know.
In addition, this walkie talkie can provide 1, 5, and even 8 watts of power, ensuring you have all the power you need, while not wasting battery power.
- Good for up to 30 miles
- As much as 8watts of power
- Rechargeable 2,000 mAh battery
- Easy to add accessories
- Attractive price
- HAM Radio
It’s worth noting that this is technically a HAM radio which uses FM, VHF, and UHF frequencies. You’ll need a license to operate it legally.
3. Midland GXT1000VP4/GMRS – Best Walkie Talkie For Hunting
The second offering from Midland is attractive, affordable, and directed at people wanting to use walkie talkies for recreational use. Thanks to this focus these are some of the most affordable walkie talkies on the market at the moment.
There’s an array of features on each walkie talkie but the real beauty is that you can start using it straight away. The basic instructions are simple and you should be able to start using the walkie talkie within a few moments.
- Ease of use. Whether turning on, off or setting the channel, you’ll find the controls on this are intuitive
- Automatically NOAA weather scanning
- Comes with charging dock for rechargeable battery pack
- 36-mile radius
- 142 privacy codes and 50 channels to ensure privacy
- Car charger and headphones included
- Rechargeable battery
Although you can carry a rechargeable battery with you they are generally inconvenient, you may prefer just to keep the walkie talkies charged., which can be done easily with the included charging unit.
4. Motorola Talkabout Radio T631 – Best Walkie Talkie For Cruise
This walkie talkie from Motorola is actually designed for rugged outdoor use. It has an array of features and a tough case, ensuring it’s waterproof and durable, even when dropped.
Despite being created for the great outdoors, this is one of the best walkie talkie options if you’re going on a cruise. The reason isn’t just it’s ruggedness.
Put simply, it’s yellow, that’s going to make it pretty hard to lose or leave it behind on your cruise. Of course, this also makes them a popular choice for first-responders.
But, perhaps best of all, these walkie talkies are designed to float! That may not help if you’re cruising across the Atlantic, but if you drop them getting in and out of port, you’ve got a good chance of getting them back! The fact that a locator beacon light illuminates when they touch the water will make it easier to find the walkie talkie!
- Impressive 35-mile radius
- IP67 rating for complete submersion
- Floating walkie talkies!
- Bright yellow to aid finding them
- Come with a padded case for when they’re not needed
- 22 Channels with 121 privacy codes each
- NOAA weather alerts
- Micro-USB charging
In general, this is a good point. But, having to charge your walkie talkie does mean you could be left without it when you need it the most.
5. Cobra ACXT645 – Best Walkie Talkie for Skiing
These walkie talkies are red and black which will help them to stand out against the snow, thereby almost ensuring you’ll find it again if you do drop them.
But, they’re much more than easy to spot! They are also weatherproof. The Cobra ACXT645 has a waterproof rating of IPX4, which means it can survive in almost any weather.
If that wasn’t enough, you’ll also be impressed by the fact that it can scan up to 10 NOAA weather bands. This will help to make sure you’re always aware of changes in the weather and how they may affect your plans.
Cobra is a well-established firm that has created a reputation for making high-quality products, these walkie talkies are an addition to their illustrious list.
As with most walkie talkies, they have voice-operated capabilities and can transmit on multiple frequencies.
- Impressive 35 Mile Range
- 3124 different channel combinations, you’re certain to find one free
- IPX4 waterproof rating
- Built-in Light
- Uses Rechargeable 11 batteries, meaning you can carry spares
- Attractive and affordable price
- Lack Of Accessories
It’s a little disappointing to note that these walkie talkies don’t come with a headset or microphone. This will make it difficult to use them without your hands. Of course, accessories can be purchased.
6. Motorola MR350R – Best Walkie Talkie Overall
Motorola has the experience needed to create some of the best walkie talkies currently available. This is the best walkie talkie overall because Motorola has been developing walkie talkies for years and have some of the best products on the market, this is a particularly good example.
It has an array of features, including 121 privacy codes for each of the 22 channels, giving a huge number of channels (2,622), to choose from. You’ll always find one that is available.
They also borrow technology from your cell phone. You’ll find vibration alerts and a choice of ringtones. Of course, voice-operated is included, this is fairly standard with modern walkie talkies.
In short, it’s a powerful walkie talkie, with an array of features, and an affordable price tag.
- 35-mile radius
- 11 Weather channels – 7 of which are NOAA
- A large number of channel options to guarantee privacy
- iVOX – hands-free usage system
- Not Waterproof
Despite being well put together, this walkie talkie is not designed to be used in the rain or to be submerged. That may persuade you to try one of the other options currently available.
7. ArcShell AR-5 – Best On A Budget
There is no doubt that there are better-looking walkie talkies available, in fact, you’ll be pushed to find one that looks worse! But, this is a budget offering that works surprisingly well.
It’s also a great option if you need several walkie talkies as for under $100 you’ll get 6 walkie talkies, allowing you to create a group event. You can buy just 2 walkie talkies for substantially less.
There are just 16 channels, all within 400-470MHz but you’ll be pleased to note that custom channels are possible, assuring your privacy when using these radios.
They have voice activation, and although the speaker is loud, you’ll appreciate the included headphones when you’re in a noisy environment.
- 16 channels with 50CTCSS & 105 CDCSS tones on each channel, giving you a huge range of channels
- Rechargeable 1,500mAh takes 2.5 hours to recharge but are interchangeable
- A high-quality speaker built-in
- Comes with headphones
Most walkie talkies don’t work effectively at the maximum distance the manufacturer says unless you have completely clear terrain. But, they should get close. The ArcShell AR-5 is only good for a 5-mile radius, which may not make it the right choice for you.
In a relatively short space of time, Baofeng has become a respected manufacturer of walkie talkies, hence their appearance twice on this best walkie talkie list.
This is a cheaper version of the BF-F8HP but it actually shares many of the same features. There are 128 channels, 50CTCSS, and 104 CDCSS; providing an impressive array of channel options. If privacy is a concern you can use the ‘busy channel lockout’ feature to keep your channel, and conversation, private.
The voice-operated controls can be adjusted, depending on the sensitivity that you’d like it to respond to. It also has a three-colored background to ensure you can see it well in any light.
It also offers a keypad lock and an emergency alert on 25KHz.
- Dual-frequency monitoring
- An emergency alert system built-in
- Frequencies between 136-174 MHz and 400-520 MHz with 5 watts of power
- Excellent Price
There are still plenty of examples of this radio around. But, BaoFeng has discontinued it, meaning that support may not be as good as it was originally.
9. Diliss Walkie Talkie – Best For Sound
These walkie talkies are bright yellow, ensuring they stand out. But, once you’ve used them once what will really stand out is the quality of the sound. You’ll be impressed by how crisp voices sound from the small speaker.
In addition, the auto squelch function doe s a great job of blocking out background noises.
The walkie talkie is backlit, ensuring you can still read the screen after dark. There are 22 channels with 121 privacy codes, giving you a good number of channel options. It also has the standard hands free option, allowing you to control the walkie talkie with your voice. This works surprisingly well.
- 22 channels with 121 privacy codes
- A flashlight built into the walkie talkie
- Easy communication with all FRS/GMRS based radios
- Loses signal easily
Despite being well-built you’ll find these walkie talkies are only good for approximately a mile. After this voices will become distorted.
10. Midland X-Talker T20X4 – Best For Kids
These walkie talkies come in a four-pack, each of the walkie talkies is a different color, red, orange, green, and blue. They are designed this way to make them more fun for children.
The Midland X-Talker is rugged and designed to accommodate being handled by children. There are 22 channels, as is standard with most walkie talkies. Each of the channels can be customized with CTCSS which will ensure you have privacy on the channel.
Children will also love the fact that you don’t need to push the button to talk, these walkie talkies can be voice-activated and are surprisingly responsive.
- Offers NOAA weather alert
- Voice Activated
- 22 channels with 38 CTCSS function
- 5 mile Range
- Attractive Price
- Not Waterproof
These walkie talkies are designed for children but they are not waterproof, which could be an issue if your child is out in the rain. Especially as children don’t generally think about the effect of rain on electronic products.
The Ultimate Walkie Talkie Buying Guide
Of course, as with any purchase, you need to make sure you really are getting the best possible product for the right price. Fortunately, choosing the best walkie talkie 2020 is easy, just follow this buying guide:
Know The Rules
Walkie talkies are 2-way radios. It’s important to be aware of the rules regarding their usage. The abbreviated version is that anything operating on the GMRS channels will need you to have a license. If you’re on the standard UHF channels between 400-520 then you won’t need a license.
Of course, licensed 2-way radios tend to be more powerful and can be used over greater distances. The license is actually surprisingly affordable and lasts for several years.
You can check the rules in your area with your local state department before you invest in the best walkie talkie possible.
Don’t forget, VHF walkie talkies are good for long-distance providing you’re in an obstruction-free area. UHF is better if you need the radio waves to go through buildings.
A walkie talkie that is needed for work use is probably going to have to be significantly more powerful than one for at home. It will need a more powerful, longer-lasting, battery. It will also need to be good at blocking out background noise.
Set A Budget
The price of the best walkie talkie can range from just a few dollars to a three-figure option. That’s a substantial difference and makes it imperative that you know which type of walkie talkie you need, and how much you’re able to spend.
Decide your budget before you start looking and this will make it easier to find the right walkie talkie.
Walkie talkies often work over distances as great as 35 miles. However, this range can be quickly reduced by buildings and other obstructions. In short, you need to consider what and where you’re likely to be using the walkie talkies. This will help to ensure you purchase the right one for your needs and one that does the job you need it to do.
Not all walkie talkies are waterproof. You’ll need to consider what you’re singing the walkie talkies for and whether it’s important for it to be waterproof. This will help to guide your decision regarding the best walkie talkie.
Perhaps the most important part of choosing the best walkie talkie is to look at the reputation of the manufacturer and reviews of specific products. Even the best manufacturers can make a bad product.
The reputation of the manufacturer should be easy to check, you’ve probably heard of them and already have your own opinion of how reputable they are.
To check the specific product it’s a good idea to look at social media sites and online forums. This will provide you with honest feedback from others that have used the walkie talkies.
You can then assess their experience and decide if it’s the right one for you. Don’t forget that it’s unlikely that every review will be positive. But, the majority should be and you can tell a lot about a company by how unhappy customers were dealt with by the company.
You’ll find that most walkie talkies on the market will do an adequate job of allowing you to stay in contact with your friends, loved ones, or even business colleagues. But, while adequate is acceptable in some circumstances, sometimes you need something a little better.
That’s why we’ve taken the time to find the best walkie talkie options currently available. Choose the one that best suits your needs and order it today. This is one piece of equipment you’ll wonder how you ever managed without.