Best Walkie-Talkies 2018 – Buyer’s Guide & Reviews

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Last updated: Sep. 13, 2018

Best Walkie Talkie - Midland GXT1000VP4

Are you thinking about buying a walkie-talkie but you are not sure which would be the perfect model for you?

Shopping for the right thing for yourself can be pretty tough. There are numerous factors you need to consider for something as small as a walkie-talkie. There are several models available in the market and obviously you don’t want to waste money on an item that doesn’t fit your requirements. And you also don’t want to buy an over-priced device with features that you will never use.

This is why you need to do some market analysis before you head out to buy a walkie-talkie for yourself. With so many models available, anyone can get confused. If you are worried whether or not you will find the right piece, then read on, because this guide and the best walkie-talkie reviews will tell you everything you need to know to buy the perfect walkie-talkie for yourself.

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The Best Walkie-Talkies Of 2018

Walkie Talkie
Features
Our Rating
Midland GXT1000VP4
[ Our #1 Choice ]


Read Our Review

  • A range of 36 miles.
  • Nice ergonomic design.
  • Battery backup of 6-8 hours.
  • Great sound quality.


Uniden MHS75


Read Our Review

  • A solid waterproof rating IPX8 allowing it to stay submerged for 30 minutes.
  • Solid build quality makes it ideal for rough use.
  • Long lasting battery that gives a 12 hour charge.


Motorola MR350R


Read Our Review

  • Long range of 35 miles.
  • Good battery life of up to 8 hours.
  • Superb ergonomic design, making the radio easy to use and hold.


Midland LXT630VP3


Read Our Review

  • Great coverage for a beginner device.
  • This device is completely waterproof.
  • Hands-free operation.
  • Small, lightweight, and compact.


BaoFeng UV-8R


Read Our Review

  • 128 programmable channels.
  • Choice of power options.
  • Great reception ability.


Walkie Talkie
Range
Our Rating
Cobra CXT 1035R
[ Our #1 Choice ]

Up to 37-Mile Range.

Uniden GMR5095

Up to 50-Mile Range.


Midland GXT1050VP4

Up to 36-Mile Range


Motorola MS350R


Up to 35-Mile Range.


Motorola MU350R

35-Mile Range.


Motorola MR350R

Up to 35 mile range.


Midland LXT600VP3

Up to 26 Mile Range.


Cobra ACXT545

Up to 28 mile range.


Cobra ACXT390

Up to 23 mile range.


Midland GXT1000VP4

Up to 36-Mile range.


Walkie-Talkie Reviews

If you are planning a family trip, or a backpacking tour with friends, what you need is a good and reliable set of walkie-talkies. These small devices can not only save your life in times of crisis, but they can also help you out in the areas where there is no mobile phone reception. You can also get alerts and warnings on your walkie-talkie and stay in contact with your friends while you are on a tour. If you want to buy a decent two-way radio, then check out our walkie-talkie reviews of the best rated walkie-talkies on the market.

Midland GXT1000VP4

Midland GXT1000VP4

The Midland GXT1000VP4 is a very sturdy, feature-rich, and versatile two-way walkie talkie radio.

It is an ideal companion for camping trips and long-distance travel owing to availability of 50 channels, ability to communicate as far as 36 miles, ability to block other conversations, and water resistance.

Technology-wise also, the device is way ahead of others. The eVox technology allows the radio to transmit signal on its own without the need for any input from the user. The amazing sound quality ensures that the even your whisper is audible on the other side as well as your ability to hear others crystal clear.

When you are out on a camping trip and the weather is unpredictable, the radio can receive weather warnings, forecasts to alert you. The SOS Siren function allows the radio to send out distress or emergency signals if you are stuck in a precarious situation.

Design, weight and ergonomics of the Midland GXT1000VP4 radio are spot on. The radio is light, can be hooked up to your belt or simply put in your pocket due to its small size. The battery life is above average with the rechargeable batteries providing a backup of 6-8 hours.

Things we liked:

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    A range of 36 miles
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    Nice ergonomic design
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    Battery backup of 6-8 hours
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    Automatic weather warning and other emergency alerts
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    Great sound quality

Things we didn't like:

  • Not waterproof

Uniden MHS75

Uniden MHS75

The Uniden MHS75 is one tough-looking and acting radio that leaves a lasting impression when you first look at it. Made from a tough die-cast aluminum metal, the radio looks like it can definitely take a few falls.

Besides that, this radio is the only fully certified submersible radio in our lineup that can stay submerged in the 1.5 meters deep water for 30 minutes due to waterproof rating of IPX8.

It is a normal sized walkie-talkie radio that fits almost anywhere you keep it and provides a huge battery backup of 12 hours when charged fully. This is in part to its large 1040 lithium ion battery that also takes a while to fully charge (about 3-4 hours). You also get a very reasonable I year warranty on the batteries and a 3 year warranty on the radio.

With the Uniden MHS75, you can listen to US, Canadian, and leading international marine channels and also 10 weather channels. With an excellent sound quality, affordable, rate, and a bright display, you just cannot go wrong with the Uniden MHS75.

Things we liked:

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    A solid waterproof rating IPX8 allowing it to stay submerged for 30 minutes
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    Solid build quality makes it ideal for rough use
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    Large and bright display
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    Great voice quality
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    Long lasting battery that gives a 12 hour charge
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    3-year warranty on the radio and 1 year warranty on the battery

Things we didn't like:

  • The charging station is not waterproof
  • Big bulky design may be a tad inconvenient

Motorola MR350R

Motorola MR350R

If long range communication is your idea of a walkie talkie, the Motorola MR350R is a top contender to be named the best walkie-talkie. It operates on 22 channels and can help you communicate over an area of 35 miles. However, at $279.99, it is also way expensive than others.

The radio is dual band which means that it can broadcast over both GMRS and FRS bands. With over 121 privacy codes, you can literally create a bunch of many private channels.

While the design is a bit unconventional, the ergonomics are spot on, the buttons are a tad bigger, and the device feels built to last. The radio fits well in your hand and due to its small size; it fits in anywhere, including the regular pockets of your trousers.

The batteries provide a charge of about 8 hours and it can handle light rain and water without any problems. However, it is not water-resistant in the strictest sense and you should not allow it to get submerged in water.

Things we liked:

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    Long range of 35 miles
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    Good battery life of up to 8 hours
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    Superb ergonomic design, making the radio easy to use and hold
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    Great voice quality
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    22 channels and privacy codes for private communication

Things we didn't like:

  • Too expensive when compared to the competition
  • Not waterproof in the strictest sense

Midland LXT630VP3

Midland LXT630VP3

The Midland LXT630VP3 is a very affordable radio set that provides everything needed by an amateur radio listener or broadcaster who is just beginning to explore the form and functions of a two-way radio.

The most striking part of this radio is the range of distance on offer; an impressive 30 miles. In addition, with support for 36 channels and a small but adequately bright LCD screen, you can be sure that you don’t miss on any broadcast in your vicinity.

Another unique feature of this compact radio set is that it offers a hands-free operation which is not generally found in even high-end sets. You get a pair of walkie talkies, a charging station, and a charger along with removable battery packs.

Midland LXT630VP3 is your best bet if you are just beginning your journey into the world of walkie talkie radios.

Things we liked:

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    Great coverage for a beginner device
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    Hands-free operation
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    Small, lightweight, and compact
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    36 built-in channels

Things we didn't like:

  • The radio has no memory to store your settings. They must be reprogrammed every time the radio is turned on.

BaoFeng UV-8R

Baofeng UV-8R

The BaoFeng UV-8R is an advanced radio that provides more functions and power than a conventional two-way radio. It operates on VHF, UHF, and FM frequencies and hence, gives you more options and controls.

However, that also means that this radio is a little more cumbersome to operate than a normal radio. You will frequently need to consult the manual and while it does take some times getting used to, it is completely worth it. You can program up to 128 channels in the BaoFeng UV-8R.

There is also a great deal of flexibility with the power output options. You can choose between 1, 5, and 8 watts which means that you can use the extra power only when you need it. Else, simply use low power option and conserve the battery.

It comes with its own charging station, a wrist strap, 7 inch antenna, and a belt clip. The BaoFeng UV-8R is a great choice for power users like security teams but equally good for enthusiasts who want a little more than a normal radio.

Things we liked:

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    128 programmable channels
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    Choice of power options
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    Great reception ability

Things we didn't like:

  • The range of coverage is not high

Buying Guide

Finding the best walkie-talkie for the occasion at hand requires some research. Some of the most important considerations for anyone looking to purchase a quality walkie-talkie are covered here. This guide will help you decide what features you need in your walkie-talkie.

VHF vs UHF: What Frequency Type Do I Need?

When it comes to frequency, there are two basic options UHF (ultra high frequency) or VHF (very high frequency). While somewhat similar in composition, these frequencies are never compatible with one another. So when buying in bulk, it is important to make sure all of your walkie-talkies are of the same frequency, to make sure they will work together.

In addition to being incompatible, there are also a few other marked differences which are covered below;

Radio spectrum

VHF Radios

Very High Frequency radios operate on frequencies between 136-174 megahertz with corresponding wavelengths of ten to one meters. Essentially this means the wave lengths are longer and closer to the ground than that of UHF, enabling them to cover a great distance with a small amount of power.

Because of this, these radios are a natural fit for open areas with little to no visible obstructions such as the sky, open bodies of water, or flat land masses such as golf courses. This frequency is well-suited for those who are working on or around large bodies of water, which is why VHF radios tend to be used exclusively for aviation and nautical communications.

However, it is important to keep in mind that because the transmission has to cover a greater distance, VHF walkie-talkies require a longer built-in antenna.

UHF Radios

Ultra High Frequency radios operate on frequencies between 400 to 512 megahertz, which in layman’s terms means they are more powerful. Because the waves of a UHF radio are much shorter than that of a VHF radio, the waves can penetrate through wooded areas, steel doors, or even concrete structures without interference, making them the best two-way radios for walkie-talkie users.

Without a doubt, if you intend on using walkie-talkies indoors or combining indoor and outdoor usage, a UHF radio is definitely the best option.

For more information on VHF and UHF check out this excellent video:​

FRS vs GMRS: What Service Do I Need?

Another important consideration for any prospective buyer is the service that the walkie-talkie provides. When it comes to walkie-talkies, there are two basic services available. So what is the difference between FRS and GMRS?

FRS

Family Radio Service radios have set a legal limitation of 500 milliwatts and will cover up to a quarter of a mile, possibly two miles with an antenna, but the coverage is still relatively short in distance as compared with other two-way radios.

However, if you are simply looking for a walkie-talkie for the occasional recreational outing with only a short range of coverage needs, these devices might be suitable. The selling points for FRS walkie-talkies are that they are inexpensive and do not require a license of any kind.

GMRS

General Mobile Radio Service radios come standard with 15 channels and tend to be more expensive than FRS radios, but they realistically cover up to five miles of distance and tend to be more reliable. Some packages will state up to 30 miles of coverage, but this is only if conditions are absolutely favorable and the person is directly in your line of sight such as staring down from a mountain on a perfectly clear day.

Logo of the FCC

GMRS radios do require a license, which can be a turn off to some buyers. In order to obtain a license to operate a GMRS radio, an individual must be 18 years of age and apply for a permit with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). No exam is required, but it does take a little time to obtain a license. However, the benefits are well worth the wait as these devices are much more durable and effective than the standard walkie-talkie you might find in an ordinary electronics store.

Durability: Under Which Conditions Will The Walkie-Talkie Be Used?

Durability becomes an important factor when the job at hand is one that requires a certain level of toughness. For forklift operators, construction workers, or linemen, a walkie-talkie can be easily dropped from a distance that would crush any cell phone on the market. In these instances, a brick format is usually the most practical choice, as these radios tend to be conducive for being treated roughly. In addition, they are simpler in nature allowing a user the ability to continue working with the convenience of immediate communication.

Belt holster for a walkie-talkie

Other radios, specifically military ones, are built to withstand dust, shock, moisture, and harsh weather conditions. Similarly, walkie-talkies that are rated intrinsically safe can withstand combustible environments.

Regardless of the design, there are some precautions that users can take to increase the longevity of these devices. For example, most walkie-talkies come standard equipped with a belt holster that helps prevent drops. Protective cases can also provide an added layer of protection.

Size And Weight: Bigger Is Not Always Better

Walkie-talkies of the World War II era may have been chunky and heavy, but today’s technology has made it possible to pack a ton of power into a small space, which is what walkie-talkie users are most often looking for when it comes to the convenience of staying in touch without the hassle of bulk.

Motorola CLP series

As such, most traditional two-ways radios can come in a size as small as six inches and a weight below five ounces. Some radios such as the Motorola CLP series are even below three ounces and stand at just over three inches. In these small walkie-talkies, the antenna tends to be retractable.

However, it is important to keep in mind that with a smaller-sized device often comes a compromise in range.

Transmission Power: How Many Watts Do I Need?

Depending on the model, a business radio tends to run between one to five watts. Obviously, the higher the wattage of the radio, the greater the range will be, as well as the price.

A one watt walkie-talkie with some obstructions will realistically cover up to approximately one mile, so a general rule of thumb is to think of each watt as being a mile per coverage. So if your device ranges upwards to 5 watts, you can expect it to reasonably cover roughly five miles of distance.

For ​more comprehensive information about transmission power, range and other things you can take a look at the following video:

Battery Life: What Type Of Battery To Choose?

One of the most consistent frustrations with a walkie-talkie is the battery life. Almost everyone can recall the days of being a child and using a walkie-talkie only to discover ten minutes later that the battery was dead. In a grown up world, a dead battery is not just a disappointment, but can often lead to a very dangerous situation, which is why being familiar with the various types of batteries is vitally important for a walkie-talkie user.

Lower end walkie-talkies tend to use AA or AAA batteries, but most two-way radios use either a Nickel-Cadmium, a Nickel-Metal Hydride or a Lithium-Ion battery.

Nickel-Cadmium batteries

Nickel-Cadmium (NiCad) Battery

Nickel-Cadmium batteries tend to have a long life and don’t have issues with overcharging. They are the cheapest and have been around the longest, but they are also the heaviest and can have issues with memory burn.

Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries

Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) Battery

Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries are less susceptible to memory burn but can have issues with overcharging. They also tend to be more expensive. However, the investment is typically worth it, as they can last up to two years and are much smaller and lighter than a NiCad battery.

Lithium-Ion battery

Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) Battery

Lithium-Ion batteries are not prone to memory burn or overcharging, as they will not take another charge after they have reached a certain charging cycle. They also require a special charger and are the most expensive battery on the market. These batteries are ideal for devices with a high number of watts, as the power tends to drain more quickly the higher the wattage.

Channels: How Many Channels Do I Need?

If you want to use walkie-talkies to communicate with each other, you all have to tune into the same frequency band, which is called a channel. With a walkie-talkie you can send and receive on a channel, but the major drawback is that the same frequency channel is used for both things, so only one person can talk at a time.

More channels essentially provide more versatility and privacy. Depending on the type of radio, the number of channels can range from as low as two channels to seven channels with FRS radios and up to 30 or more with some GMRS radios.

However, most walkie-talkies on the market nowadays have a privacy codes feature, which will essentially let you subdivide the available channels on your device. The number of channels you might need all depends on the number of individuals who will be communicating at any given time. If you are going to use your walkie-talkies for hunting you can probably suffice with a few channels, but a police station with over 500 servicemen on staff may need a radio with over 200 channels.

Other Features To Consider

While all the factors considered above are enough to help you choose the perfect walkie-talkie for yourself there are some more features that you might find interesting. Here is a list of some of the most common features that the latest walkie-talkies have:

  • Display Screens (may include timers, alarms, weather alerts, and other notifications)
  • Voice Activated Transmit (VOX)
  • Clones (allows you to manage your device from a computer)
  • Multiple Channels
  • Silencers
  • Key Pad Locks
  • Weather Channels and Weather Alerts
  • ​Animal Alerts
  • Ring Tones and Silencers
  • Out of Range Alerts
  • Vibration
  • Illumination
  • Eavesdrop Reducers
  • Antennas
  • Holsters and Belt Clips
  • Battery Types and Chargers
  • Headsets and Earpieces

And if you want to take your walkie-talkie with you on a holiday abroad don't forget to check if you need a power plug adapter to be able to charge your device.

Brands

While there are various companies that produce great walkie-talkies, some brands have established their reputation for producing the best two-way radios. If you want to buy a good walkie-talkie then you should check out the devices produced by the brands that we have discussed below.

Cobra

Cobra CXT 1035R

One of the biggest names in the world of walkie-talkies is Cobra. This brand produces great quality devices that have various incredible features. The company is known for producing all kinds of top walkie-talkies.

You can find Cobra walkie-talkies that are long range, have water resistance and are long lasting with different power options. These walkie-talkies are great for cruise ships, long trips and can work perfectly both indoors and outdoors.

There are different models produced by the company and you will definitely fall in love with their products. The Cobra walkie-talkies are reliable and powerful. If you are looking for a good companion for your trip, then you should definitely check out these models from Cobra, such as the CXT 1035R.

Motorola

Motorola MS350R

The brand Motorola is known around the world for producing high quality electronic products. The Motorola products include mobile phones, walkie-talkies and several other devices that not only have amazing features but are also long lasting.

Motorola produces various series of walkie-talkies, and there are numerous great models available in the market, such as the MS series, the MU series and the MR series.

The walkie-talkies from Motorola are not only durable, but they have some amazing specs such as long distance range, water proof and tough exterior, reasonably priced and get NOAA alerts. You can use Motorola walkie-talkies to communicate with the world and these devices are perfect for hunting trips or camping. The Motorola walkie-talkies are an excellent option if you are looking for a good set to buy.

Midland

Another amazing brand that produces walkie-talkies is Midland. There are various incredible models available in the market from this company, such as the GXT1050VP4 and the LXT600VP3. People all over the world use and trust this brand.

Midland is known to be one of the most successful companies that produce electronic devices. The walkie-talkies from this brand have various remarkable features which would be perfect for taking them on long trips. You can use these devices for all kinds of purposes and you would not be disappointed in their quality.

Midland walkie-talkies have some old and some unique features and these devices would last you for years because of their tough body and rechargeable batteries. With multiple power options, and incredible specs, a Midland walkie-talkie will be perfect for you and you will not regret investing in them.

Uniden

Uniden GMR5095

If you search for the world’s leading companies that produce communication devices, you will definitely come across the name Uniden. The products from this company can easily be found in any market and are immensely popular around the globe.

Uniden walkie-talkies have some amazing features that will be perfect for you. These devices can be used for all kinds of purposes and there are some high end models which have remarkable reception and keep you updated with news and alerts no matter where you are located. Not only can you communicate with people you are traveling with but these devices can even be used to connect with the other people.

So if you want one of the best two-way radio that is also reasonably priced and durable then you should definitely take a look at Uniden devices, for example the GMR5095.

​Types Of Walkie-Talkies

Knowing there are various kinds of walkie-talkies available in the market, choosing the right one can be rather difficult. To do so, the first you have to decide which type of model you want. There are different types of walkie-talkies depending on the purpose, let discuss these types in further detail.

Walkie-Talkies For Kids​

Kids around the world love to play with walkie-talkies and so it makes for a good gift for children. If you have a child at home and want to gift them a good pair of walkie-talkies you can easily find various models in the markets. Kids can take these walkie-talkies to camping and other trips as well and use it for fun.

Spy Gear Ultra Range Walkie-Talkies

The best walkie-talkies for kids are made with lightweight plastic and the models are brightly colored to make them attractive for children. The batteries are not as powerful as the bigger models, but they can still make playtime fun for your child.

The range is not very far, but there are certain models that have numerous other features which cover up for the short range. A great set to check out are the ones from Spy Gear.

Long Range Walkie-Talkies​

Walkie-talkies are good for communication and receiving weather alerts on long trips. And if you love taking hiking trips, and long trips through tough areas, you will need a device that has a good range so you can stay connected with the world even in those areas where your cellphone fails you.

There are some very good long range walkie-talkies available on the market with different ranges. The range usually increases with the watts that the walkie-talkie uses to power up. You can find walkie-talkies with diverse ranges, starting from 8 miles and reaching up to 30 miles or more.

If you are on the market for a long distance walkie-talkie ​you should definitely check out the Midland GXT1050VP4.

Waterproof Walkie-Talkies​

While you are on a camping trip or going for hiking, you need a device that is able to withstand tough conditions and doesn’t get damaged if it falls in water or when it rains. There are various good waterproof walkie-talkies available on the market that have been made durable to withstand the harsh weather conditions.

Cobra CXT 1035R

Walkie-talkies provide you with the way of communication even in those areas where your cellphone doesn’t get any reception. So if you want to stay in touch with the world on your long trip, then get a walkie-talkie that not only has a good range but is also durable.

Walkie-talkies are made water resistant by covering the body with a surface that prevents water from seeping into the inner machinery. There are some models that are able to float on the surface, such as the Cobra CXT 1035R. Get yourself a durable walkie-talkie to take on your next trip.

Conclusion​

While there are thousands of walkie-talkie models available in the market, you need to do a little research before buying one. There are some really good models available that are worth investing in, and there are certain brands that produce the best walkie-talkies in the world.

In our walkie-talkie reviews top 5, the Midland GXT1000VP4 impressed us the most with its design, build quality and an array of features and functions for a very affordable price. You get weather alerts, can send an SOS in emergency, and transmit signal without pressing a button. The sound quality is an icing on the cake.

The other contender that comes very close is the Uniden MHS75. This device also has some great features. It is very well built, is waterproof (can stay fully submerged for 30 minutes), and last upto 12 hours due to its large 1040 lithium ion battery.

However, if we were to pick one out of these two, it would have to be the Midland GXT1000VP4 with its overall value-for-money quotient. Though slightly more expensive than the Uniden MHS75, it more than makes up for it with its useful features.

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About the Author

Brian Wallace decided to put his fascination with radio devices to good use and started WalkieTalkieCentral.com, hoping that his knowledge on the topic will be helpful to others.

Leave a Comment:

(1) comment

Tony April 3, 2018

Since AAA don’t run radios very long, i’ve found that only those using AA batteries give me enough run time.
The rechargeable lithium ion radios are fine but those that use older nicads or nimh go bad just setting around.

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