Best Walkie Talkie – Top 5 Picks for 2018

This is our official list in search of the best walkie talkies on the market today. Scroll further down for full details on each product and a helpful user guide to walkie talkies.

Quick Look:

  1. Midland GXT1000VP4
  2. BaoFeng BF-888S
  3. Motorola MR350R
  4.   BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band
  5. Uniden GMR5095-2CKHS

We know time is of the essence, so the above is a cheat sheet of what’s ahead, just in case your’re in a hurry. Otherwise, keep scrolling down for more detailed and constructive info on each item.

5 Highest Reviewed Walkie Talkies to Consider

The capabilities of the latest walkie talkies make them exciting devices to use, and since the technology has been around for many years, it’s much more affordable than it was in the past. If you’d like to purchase the best radios you can afford, then it’s important to know what they are and how they work. Below are the top five choices we’ve come across, following that is a handy user guide to walkie talkies.

1.) Midland GXT1000VP4

Midland GXT1000VP4

The Midland GXT1000VP4 two-way radios offer 50 channels, and with minimal obstructions, they offer a range of up to 36 miles. The package comes with a 120V charger, and these walkie talkies can access NOAA and weather channels.

They come with 142 privacy codes, and they operate with a frequency band between 462.550 to 467.7125MHz. The Midland GXT1000VP4 radios use vibration alert, and they’re capable of nine levels of VOX. For maximum range, these walkie talkies are powered by five watts, and they deliver GMRS power.

When used in optimal conditions, they can send signals across a distance of 36 miles. Each radio is resistant to splashing water and light rainfall, and since they can access NOAA weather alerts, they have the potential to save lives. The battery life is good for up to 11 hours, and the Midland GXT1000VP4 radios offer 22 GMRS channels.

PROS

  • Unlimited people can use same channel
  • Can withstand light rain
  • Long range
  • Volume is loud enough

CONS

  • Prevents users from talking at the same time

($) Check price on Amazon

2.) BaoFeng BF-888S

BaoFeng BF-888S

The BaoFeng BF-888S is powered by two watts, and it’s designed to be used as an amateur radio. The frequency range for this walkie talkie is 400 to 520 MHz, and the programming can be customized with a PC03 FTDI programming cable.

The BaoFeng BF-888S comes with 16 selectable memories, and it allows the user to choose between wide and narrow bands. A built-in feature helps to conserve battery life, and there is even a built-in flashlight.

To program different frequencies and channels, the BaoFeng BF-888S requires a PC03 FTDI programming cable, and it comes with two 1300mAh batteries. These walkie talkies are designed for recreational use, and with bigger antennas, they offer greater range than many competing models.

PROS

  • Can be programmed
  • Great value for the money
  • Sound is very clear
  • Compact and comfortable

CONS

  • Must be programmed to work with other FRS radios

($) Check price on Amazon

3.) Motorola MR350R

Motorola MR350R

The Motorola MR350R provide access to 11 weather channels, and they also come with useful alert features and call tones. The VibraCall vibration alerts work with 20 different call tones, and the Motorola MR350R walkie talkies can be used with 22 different channels.

For superior protection against unwanted interference, these radios come with 121 privacy codes, and when used in optimal conditions, they can transmit signals across a distance of 35 miles. Each radio offers iVOX hands-free communication, and there is no need for audio accessories.

Since they can access 22 different channels and 121 privacy codes, the Motorola MR350R radios are capable of up to 2,662 combinations, and they make it easy to find an available channel.

When used on mountains, they offer a range of 35 miles, and the range on open water is six miles. Each walkie talkie also comes with a built-in LED flashlight, which can be very useful in emergency situations.

PROS

  • Can work well in malls
  • Audio is loud and clear
  • Excellent outdoor range
  • Privacy codes prevent interference

CONS

  • Not the best choice for the city

($) Check price on Amazon

4.) BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band

BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band

The BaoFeng UV-5R walkie talkie features a compact design, and with four watts of power, it can transmit signals across greater distances than some competing models.

This radio works well between 136 to 174Mhz frequencies, and it’s also compatible with frequencies between 400 to 480MHz. The BaoFeng UV-5R radio comes with settings for high and low power, and depending on the situation, it can be set for one to four watts.

Unlike some other two-way radios, this product can be programmed, and it even allows for the customization of channel names. With the help of a PC03 FTDI programming cable, several features can be customized, and the 1500mAh battery is good for several hours.

PROS

  • Programming is easy
  • Sound quality is high
  • Antenna is powerful
  • Perfect for recreational purposes

CONS

  • Requires a license

($) Check price on Amazon

5.) Uniden GMR5095-2CKHS

Uniden GMR5095-2CKHS

The Uniden GMR5095-2CKHS are popular walkie talkies, and for maximum versatility, they can be submerged in up to three feet of water. When used in optimal conditions, these products can transmit signals across a distance of 50 miles, and they come with 22 channels.

They also have a Direct Call feature, and the package comes with two radios. Most other products cannot be submerged in water, which is what makes the Uniden GMR5095-2CKHS radios great for hiking and similar purposes. These radios offer 121 privacy codes, and they make it easy to access NOAA weather alerts.

PROS

  • Range is great
  • Perfect for use on open waters
  • Commonly used for remote camping
  • Comes with built-in strobe light

CONS

  • Battery life could be better

($) Check price on Amazon


Brief Guide to Choosing a Walkie Talkie

Walkie talkies are designed to extend communication over long distances, and they’re great for camping trips or other adventures. Many hiking trails are in remote locations, and there is a good chance the phone service won’t be great in these areas.

When the phone service fails, the best walkie talkie will make it easy to communicate over large distances, and with such a wide range of features, many of the latest products can even work great during emergencies.

Some walkie talkies have a range of two miles, but it’s also possible to find several products that allow for communication over greater distances and staying in touch with friends or family.

What Are They?

Walkie talkies are handheld devices, and they’re designed for maximum portability. The first prototypes were created during the Second World War, and they were used by infantry. Although the design has changed over time, most walkie talkies still consist of a simple microphone, speaker and antenna.

To use these devices, the button must be pressed, and the user must talk into the microphone. The walkie talkie transmits this signal to the other device, which is set to the same radio frequency. These products make it possible to communicate wirelessly, and they use radio waves.

Each unit has a receiver and transmitter, so it can send and receive messages. At its core, the technology is quite simple, and it’s great for communicating over long distances.

Today, there are several types of walkie talkies available, and many products can access up to 50 channels. In fact, some of the best products allow for communication across distances of over 30 miles.

What Types Are There?

When shopping for the best walkie talkies, it’s useful to know about the different types of products that are available. The best product for one situation might not be the best choice for another. To narrow down the search, consumers need to know that there are two main types of walkie talkies.

The first type of a professional business radio, and the second type of designed for families and consumers. Professional devices tend to have more features that are suitable for large events, and they’re the types of products that are commonly used by security personnel.

To break down the categories even further, consumers can choose between licensed and unlicensed band radios. Unlicensed radios have less power, and they’re great for casual users and enthusiasts. Licensed radios can handle 5W frequency transmissions, and they can cover much larger distances.

However, to operate licensed radios, a yearly free is required. The next step involves deciding between an analog or digital walkie talkie. Most businesses use radio equipment that works well in risky areas, and some of the best products for these situations are products that carry the ATEX or FM certification.

Who Can Benefit?

Walkie talkies are great for anyone, and they can be used for a variety of purposes. A lot of people use them while on camping trips because they make it easier to communicate over long distances. The problem with cellphones is that they don’t always get service in remote locations, which is why they aren’t the best form of communication on many hiking trails.

Walkie talkies are also commonly used by young children, and they can be even more useful for businesses. It’s quite common for employees to use these products to communicate during large events, and most people who work in security know how to communicate with a walkie talkie.

One of the greatest benefits of using walkie talkies is the lack of monthly fees, and unlike cell phones, they don’t require a subscription. These devices are also very convenient, and they can be easily attached to a belt or shirt.

Some people use them for educational purposes, and others use them for business, security or fun. With such a large range, modern walkie talkies are great for a variety of situations, and they’re perfect for areas where cell service is terrible.

These devices are commonly used for emergency situations because they deliver excellent sound quality and don’t depend on cellphone towers. In fact, walkie talkies are some of the best products to use for emergencies because they work in any conditions.

If the power grid is down, two-way radios will still work, and they allow for direct communication with friends and loved ones. The latest walkie talkies can transmit signals across distances over 30 miles, and since they run on batteries, they can be used almost anywhere on the planet.

The best walkie talkies offer several great features, and they can send SOS signals, provide weather alerts and eliminate interference.

What to Look for In a Good One

With hundreds of different walkie talkies to choose from, it’s important to know what to look for. Some products are great for camping but don’t work well for business purposes. There are also many features to choose from, and it’s useful to know what features are best for certain situations.

Most walkie talkies are available with UHF or VHF frequencies, and for the best results, it’s important to understand the differences between these options.

UHF is short for ultra-high frequency, and VHF is short for very high frequency, and although these options have some similarities, they’re aren’t compatible. Some consumers need to purchase a large number of walkie talkies, and when buying these products in bulk, it’s important to make sure they all match the same frequencies.

There are also some other differences between these two products, and before deciding on a product, it’s a good idea to understand these differences and how they affect performance.

VHF Radios

A standard VHF radio operates between the frequencies of 136 to 174 megahertz, and the corresponding wavelengths are ten to one meters. Put simply, VHF radios use wavelengths that are closer to the ground and longer than UHF, and with this technology, they’re able to use less power and cover greater distances.

VHF walkie talkies tend to work best in large, open areas, and for maximum performance, there should be minimal obstructions in the area. The best performance from VHF radios can be obtained on flat land masses and open bodies of water.

VHF radios are commonly used on large golf courses, and they’re also very useful for nautical and aviation communications. Before purchasing VHF walkie talkies, it’s important to know that they require a longer antenna.

UHF Radios

Although VHF radios are popular, many consumers prefer UHF radios, which operate between 400 to 512 megahertz. A standard UHF radio is much more powerful than a VHF radio, and it produces shorter radio waves.

Since UHF walkie talkies use a shorter wavelength, they’re much better at penetrating concrete structures, steel doors and wooded areas, and they don’t suffer from the same interference problems that can disrupt VHF products. UHF radios work best for talking indoors, but they can be just as useful when used outdoors.

Walkie Talkie Services

Many two-way radios are available with GMRS or FRS services, and before choosing a particular product, it’s useful to understand the differences between these services. FRS is short for family service radio, and the legal limitation for FRS walkie talkies is 500 milliwatts.

With this level of power, walkie talkies can transmit signals across a quarter mile. However, an antenna can be used to increase this distance to about two miles. When compared to GMRS radios, this range is poor. Most FRS radios are suitable for occasional recreational trips, and since they’re very affordable and don’t require a license, they serve as great products for most people.

General mobile radio service walkie talkies are different, and they come with 15 different channels. Although they tend to be much more expensive than FRS radios, they can transmit a signal across a much larger distance.

It’s important to know that some walkie talkies are advertised as being able to work across a distance of 30 miles, but these products only work this well when environmental conditions are perfect.

The major difference between FRS and GMRS radios is that GMRS products require a license, and to acquire the license, the user must be at least 18 and obtain a permit from the FCC.

Durability

Before choosing a product, the durability should be considered, and some applications require much more durability than others.

For example, the highest durability is needed for linemen, construction workers and forklift operators. The size and weight of the product are also important, and in many cases, bigger isn’t better.

Not too long ago, walkie talkies were much bigger, but they couldn’t provide nearly as much power as you’d get from modern device. Today, some of the best two-way radios are small, lightweight and powerful.

Transmission Power

A final feature to consider is the transmission power, and most business radios run on one to five watts. With a higher wattage, radios can work over larger distances, which is great for long-range applications.

Many modern walkie talkies are powered with a single watt, and they can cover about one mile. As a general rule of thumb, each extra watt of power will increase the range by about one mile. For example, a five-watt radio should be able to transmit a signal across a distance of five miles.

What to Avoid

With hundreds of products to choose from, it’s easy to make mistakes and choose a bad product. One of the major mistakes that people make is choosing the wrong type of battery. Since two-way radios are commonly used in remote location, they require powerful batteries.

There is no reason to own a walkie talkie that only stays on for 10 minutes because the battery is too weak. Most two-way radios are designed to use NiCad, NiMH, lithium-ion batteries. NiCad batteries can last longer than other options, and they rarely suffer from problems with overcharging.

However, they’re also very heavy and can suffer from memory burn. NiMH batteries have overcharging problems, but they’re smaller and lighter than NiCad batteries.

The best batteries for walkie talkies are made with lithium-ion, but they also happen to be the most expensive. To avoid the mistake of choosing the wrong battery type, consider what you’ll be using your walkie talkies for.

Wrapping Up

With the best walkie talkie, it’s easy to communicate across long distances, and two-way radios are great for business events, camping, hiking and more.

Walkie talkies can be extremely useful in areas where there is no cellphone service, and they provide a convenient, affordable way to communicate with friends and family.

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Written by Chris Crisostomo

Chris is a straight up lifelong self-described tech nerd. He's one of e-Ranker's technology and electronics experts.