clock menu more-arrow no yes

The 5 Best Walkie Talkies (2021 Review)

Walkie talkies can be a useful method of communication when cell phone service is spotty, such as on a camping or hiking trip. In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the five best walkie talkies on Amazon to help you find the product that’s right for you. The products included in this article are available at various retail stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.

Walkie Talkie Courtesy Midland

Cell phones are the easiest way to touch base with your family and friends when you’re on the go, but they’re not always an option. Walkie talkies are a backup option to ensure that you stay in constant communication with loved ones even when you’re in remote areas. To help you select the two-way radio that’s right for you, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the best walkie talkies on Amazon. Here are our top five recommendations.

Best Basic Walkie Talkie: Motorola T100 Talkabout Radio

This device has a simple-to-use interface and convenient features, such as specialized call, keypad, and talk tones, that make communicating a breeze. It also has 22 channels to choose from, a battery life of up to 18 hours, and a range of up to 16 miles.

Key Features

  • Comes with two radios
  • Uses three AAA batteries each
  • Has an 18-hour battery life
  • Can be used up to 16 miles away
  • Offers 22 channels
  • Includes a one-year warranty

What Customers Are Saying

This product has over 12,000 reviews on Amazon and holds an overall rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars. Among reviewers, 87% left a 4- or 5-star rating, while 7% left a 1- or 2-star rating.

Those who were happy with this walkie talkie said that it was easy to use, had high sound quality, and could withstand extreme weather and drops. Those who were unhappy with it said that the battery compartment was difficult to open and that the range wasn’t as long as advertised.

Best For Kids: Retevis RT628 Walkie Talkies for Kids

This walkie talkie teaches kids how to play and communicate with friends. It has multiple color choices for customization and a compact, lightweight design for easy handling. It also comes with 10 call tones and eight volume levels.

Key Features

  • Comes with two radios
  • Uses three AA batteries each
  • Offers 22 channels

What Customers Are Saying

Out of over 8,800 reviews, this product holds an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars. Reviewers on Amazon left 4- or 5-star reviews 87% of the time and 1- or 2-star reviews 6% of the time.

Those who were satisfied with this walkie talkie said that it had simple volume control, was easy for kids to understand, and provided clear audio from far away. However, those who were unsatisfied said that the batteries drained quickly.

Best For Hiking: Midland 50-Channel Waterproof GMRS Two-Way Radio

If you’re looking for a walkie talkie that will give you peace of mind on a remote hike or camping trip, this is the product for you. With its 36-mile range, you can keep in touch with far-away friends and family members. Additionally, it can scan 10 weather channels and alert you of extreme weather in the forecast.

Key Features

  • Comes with two radios
  • Uses one lithium battery each
  • Has an 11-hour battery life
  • Can be used up to 36 miles away
  • Offers 50 channels
  • Includes a three-year warranty

What Customers Are Saying

This product has over 8,000 reviews on Amazon with an overall rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars. It received 4- or 5-star reviews 87% of the time and 1- or 2-star reviews 7% of the time.

Those who liked this walkie talkie said that it withstood harsh weather conditions, had clear sound quality, and was lightweight and durable. However, those who didn’t enjoy this product claimed that it had a short range and insufficient volume levels.

Best Battery Life: Topsung M880 FRS Walkie Talkie

This walkie talkie comes with several automatic features, including squelch, monitor, memory, scan, and power-saving, for maximum convenience. In its standby mode, its batteries can last three to four days.

Key Features

  • Comes with two radios
  • Uses three AA batteries each
  • Has a four-day battery life
  • Can be used up to 16 miles away
  • Offers 22 channels
  • Includes a 30-day replacement warranty

What Customers Are Saying

This device has nearly 5,000 reviews with an overall rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 stars on Amazon. Eighty-three percent of customers left 4- or 5-star reviews, while 8% of reviewers gave 1- or 2-star ratings.

Those who were pleased with this product said that it worked well for both indoor and outdoor use, provided clear audio, and was simple to operate. However, those who weren’t happy with this walkie talkie said that its body was made from cheap material and that its instructions were difficult to follow.

Best On-the-Job Walkie Talkie: Retevis H-777 Two-Way Radios

These 10 hands-free walkie talkies use a lithium battery that can last 10–12 hours, making them a great choice for teams who need to be in constant communication with each other on the job. They have a rugged design that can withstand harsh conditions, ensuring that they last through even the toughest of environments.

Key Features

  • Comes with 10 radios
  • Uses one lithium battery each
  • Has a 12-hour battery life
  • Offers 16 channels

What Customers Are Saying

This walkie talkie has an overall rating of 4.3 stars out of 5 stars from over 1,000 Amazon reviews. Reviewers rated this product 4 or 5 stars 83% of the time and 1 or 2 stars 10% of the time.

Those who were satisfied with this walkie talkie said that it had clear audio, was durable, and provided a means of communication on worksites. However, dissatisfied customers claimed that this product stopped working properly after minimal use and that it was hard to program it to the right channel.

Buyer’s Guide

Here are some of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a walkie talkie.

Range

If you and your family only plan on using walkie talkies at home or in the yard, you can likely get away with a shorter range. However, those who plan on using the device on hiking trips or worksites will need to find walkie talkies with a longer range.

Remember that the listed range for a walkie talkie may not always be exact. Obstructions, such as buildings and trees, can decrease the range. Range can also be affected by other factors, such as altitude and weather conditions.

Type

Walkie talkies are typically divided into two types: business and consumer.

Business

Business radios typically have either a Ultra High Frequency (UHF) or Very High Frequency (VHF) designation. These devices are heavy-duty, working best for construction, police, security, warehouse, and military work. They have a larger range than consumer devices, but they’re more expensive.

Consumer

Consumer radios are most typically used for hiking and camping. These devices will have lower frequency levels, shorter ranges, and fewer features than business radios, but they’re less expensive and sufficient for recreational use.

Battery

Most consumer walkie talkies are battery-operated, but the type of battery that’s needed varies from model to model. Some devices accept standard AA or AAA batteries, while others require lithium or nickel batteries.

In addition to considering battery type, consider battery life. The life of most batteries is estimated to be 90% standby time, 5% reception time, and 5% transmission time. Consumer walkie talkies usually last at least 10 hours and have an indicator to alert you when your batteries are running low.

Channels

The more channels that a walkie talkie provides, the easier it will be to communicate with a large group or multiple groups at once. Family Radio Service (FRS) and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) radios typically have around 22 available channels.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you use walkie talkies?

You can use a walkie talkie by setting the channel and pressing the push-to-talk (PTT) button to speak into the device. This will transmit your message to others who are using the same channel.

Are walkie talkies waterproof?

Unless they’re specifically advertised as waterproof or water-resistant, most walkie talkies can be damaged by water. You can purchase a waterproof case or bag to store your walkie talkie in if you’re worried about water damage.

Can walkie talkies pick up police traffic?

Walkie talkies won’t pick up traffic on police radios, as officers use their own frequencies that are outside of the civilian band. To hear police, fire, EMS, or air traffic channels, you need a police scanner.

Should I have a walkie talkie for emergency use?

It’s smart to have fully charged walkie talkies at home for emergencies. This can be useful if the power goes out from a storm, and you don’t want to drain your cell phone battery.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.