Which walkie-talkie is best?
Walkie-talkies are invaluable tools for communicating on camping trips, hikes or even in the comfort of your backyard. They provide an essential connection between you and your close friends or coworkers in even the harshest of environments.
With so many options of walkie-talkies to choose from, it can quickly become overwhelming when deciding which ones would be best for you. However, with a few considerations in mind, there are walkie-talkie options that will suit everyone, from novice hikers to even the most experienced campers. The Motorola T600 Talkabout Radio is a top choice for its floatable, waterproof design made for durability and suitable for water sports like kayaking and boating.
What to know before you buy a walkie-talkie
There are a few different types of walkie-talkies. Perhaps the most accessible type of walkie-talkie is the FRS walkie-talkie which stands for Family Radio Service and is for short-range and recreational use. These are excellent options because they do not require a license to operate and are often the most inexpensive walkie-talkie option. Another type of walkie-talkie is the GMRS radio, which stands for General Mobile Radio Service. These walkie-talkies are for long-range and commercial use, often capable of operating with up to five watts of power.
Understanding the correct walkie-talkie terminology can be the difference between life and death in the wilderness. A few phrases that can be important to know include “affirmative” and “negative” to refer to yes and no, “do you copy” and “copy that” to acknowledge messages and “10-4” to mean message received.
Walkie-talkies can operate on either Very High Frequency or Ultra High Frequency. The primary difference is that VHF utilizes frequencies between 136 and 174 MHz, allowing them to cover long distances without using a lot of power. UHF use frequencies between 400 and 512 MHz, making them more powerful than VHF radios.
What to look for in a quality walkie-talkie
Size and weight
The size and weight of a walkie-talkie can vary depending on the type you are seeking. Some are small and lightweight, making them perfect for hiking or carrying with you. Others can be heavier and more durable, making them great for campgrounds or spending time in a single place for more extended periods.
Number of channels
As anyone with walkie-talkie experience can tell you, it’s that walkie-talkie channels are public frequencies that anyone with a radio can access. To combat this issue, walkie-talkies have several dozen channels that help ensure more privacy. FRS walkie-talkies tend to have between two and seven channels, while GMRS ones can have thirty or more. For most recreational use walkie-talkies, it will be good to have at least a few channels.
Deciding on how durable you’d like your walkie-talkies depends on their intended use. Durability may not be an essential aspect if you plan on using them primarily in the safety of your backyard. However, suppose you are an avid hiker and camper who desires to experience the most challenging trailheads. In that case, it will be essential to prepare yourself by having a durable quality walkie-talkie in case something happens that you’d need to use it.
How much you can expect to spend on a walkie-talkie
A set of quality walkie-talkies will cost $50-$200. The significant factors in walkie-talkie price will include the number of channels, frequency distance, durability and other extra features. The most inexpensive walkie-talkies will cost less than $50 and have bare-bones features. Most mid-tier walkie-talkies cost under $150 and come with varying features, such as access to multiple frequencies, good talking range and extra strong durability like having a waterproof case. The most expensive walkie-talkies cost more than $150. These walkie-talkies will be the most powerful of the bunch and include all the mid-tier features and then some.
What is the deal with walkie-talkie licenses?
A. At the moment, purchasing a walkie-talkie license is required with most quality, licensed walkie-talkies. These licenses will cost around $70 and be valid for use for five years.
What are the differences between walkie-talkies and two-way radios?
A. These names are interchangeable for describing the same equipment.
What’s the best walkie-talkie to buy?
What you need to know: The Motorola T600 walkie-talkies have a floatable, waterproof design made for durability and suitable for water sports like kayaking and boating.
What you’ll love: These walkie-talkies can withstand up to one meter of water immersion for 30 minutes. It also features two-color white/red LED emergency lights for emergencies.
What you should consider: Some users noted that they drain batteries quickly.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top walkie-talkie for the money
What you need to know: The Midland two-way radios are reliable radios with a wide frequency range.
What you’ll love: It features GMRS frequency options for those in need of higher-power transmissions. It also features rechargeable batteries.
What you should consider: A few users have reported these radios failing after a few months of use and a dislike of the included earpieces.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: The Retevis two-way radios are great for groups, thanks to the number of radios included.
What you’ll love: These radios work exceptionally well and provide clear reception. It also includes a comfortable earpiece.
What you should consider: Some users have reported that the antennas may detach after several months of intense use.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Jared Lindsay writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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