Choosing the Right Two-Way Radio: Factors To Consider When Looking For A Walkie Talkie

Fact Checked By:Samuel Carter

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In the age of smartphones and instant messaging, the relevance of walkie-talkies might seem diminished. However, for many professionals, adventurers, and enthusiasts, the reliability and immediacy of two-way radios remain unparalleled. Whether you’re coordinating a large event, embarking on a hiking trip in remote terrains, or simply seeking a communication tool that doesn’t rely on cellular networks, a walkie-talkie can be indispensable. But with a myriad of options in the market, each boasting different features and capabilities, how do you pick the one that’s just right for you? This article delves into the essential factors to consider when shopping for a walkie-talkie, ensuring you make a choice that’s both informed and tailored to your needs.

Factors To Consider When Looking For A Walkie Talkie

Walkie talkies were some time back considered to be an archaic form of entertainment, and the increased popularity of smartphones made things even worse. However, the perception of walkie talkies is slowly changing as they are seen as an affordable, convenient and viable method of communication. They often are used to fast-track communication between security personnel and employees by businesses. Additionally, walkie talkies are ideal when you are planning to go for an outdoor excursion rather than depending on your smartphone. This is because they are robust enough to endure harsh conditions.


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Therefore, if you are looking for a walkie talkie, here is a compressive guide explaining some of the features you need to look for the best walkie talkies on the market.

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Factors of Walkie Talkie

When shopping for a walkie-talkie (also known as a two-way radio), several factors should be considered to ensure you pick a model that meets your specific needs. Here are some of the primary factors:


Walkie talkies make use of different kinds of batteries with the lower end devices often using AA or AAA batteries. Nevertheless, the newer models use the nickel-metal hydride battery, Nickel-Cadmium battery or lithium-ion battery. It is important you first understand the approximate time of usage on the device you plan to purchase to know if you need to carry extra batteries. Furthermore, a battery’s life is typically estimated to be five percent transmission time, five percent reception time and 90% standby time.

The number of channels

Before using a walkie talkie to communicate with your colleagues or friends, first, confirm they are tuned to the same channel or frequency band. However, you need to wait until the other individual has conveyed their message before you can transmit yours since these devices do not permit simultaneous communication.

The options you have are the GMRS model which has 30 channels or the FRS radio with two to seven channels, and this depends on the number of individuals you intend to transmit information. Typically, the higher the number of channels, the better your radio will be at versatility and privacy, but the price for such models is higher unlike to those with fewer channels.


Most manufacturers usually specify the distance which these devices can communicate with each other in case barriers like landscapes and buildings are not present. Majority of two-way radios have a range that spans anywhere between 20 to 50 miles. Walkie talkies such as kid walkie talkies typically have a range eight miles but instead only cover three to four miles. However, it is always advisable to opt for the long-range walkie talkies with this dependent on your planned usage.

Quality of audio

Having a walkie talkie that offers you great audio quality is essential as it ensures you can clearly understand what the other person is saying without the need to repeat themselves. Therefore, with such a device, you can effortlessly engage your friends or colleagues without worrying that they cannot hear clearly. Some of the reputable brands you need to consider include Midland, Cobra, Motorola and Uniden. Walkie talkies belonging to any of these brands are of high quality and are a safer bet because you can test it before buying it from the physical store. Additionally, it is advisable to check out the customer reviews to see the comments of previous buyers about a specific model you are considering especially the range and audio quality.


This indicates how far apart the two devices can be and still communicate effectively. Consider whether you need a long-range (often used in open outdoor areas) or if a shorter range will suffice (such as for indoor or urban use).

Battery Life

Look for models with long battery life if you’ll be using them for extended periods without recharging or replacing batteries.

Channels and Privacy Codes

More channels mean you have more options to find a clear signal. Privacy codes add an extra layer, allowing multiple groups to use neighboring channels without interference.


If you expect to use the walkie-talkie outdoors or in conditions where it may be exposed to water, a water-resistant or waterproof model is essential.

Size and Weight

For outdoor adventures or extended use, a lightweight and compact design can be very beneficial.


Depending on usage, you might want a rugged design that can withstand drops, knocks, and rough handling.

Clarity and Sound Quality

Look for models that provide clear sound, especially if you’ll be using them in noisy environments.

VOX (Voice Activated Transmit) Feature

This allows for hands-free operation, as the walkie-talkie transmits when it hears your voice without pressing any button.

Scanning Ability

This allows the device to scan for active channels.

Emergency Features

Some models come with built-in emergency alerts, flashlights, or even GPS functionality.

Keypad Lock

Prevents accidental changes to the settings.

Licensing Requirements

Some powerful walkie-talkies may require a license to operate in certain countries. Ensure you’re aware of any licensing or legal requirements in your region.


As with most products, there’s a range of prices based on features, brand, and quality. Determine your budget and try to get the best value within that.

Accessories Availability

Look for models that come with, or have available, useful accessories such as earpieces, multi-unit chargers, or protective cases.


A clear and backlit display can be helpful for nighttime use or in low-light conditions.

Ease of Use

Especially if the device will be used by children or in high-pressure situations, simple operation can be very beneficial.

Noise Filters or Reduction Features

These can improve clarity in windy or noisy environments.

By keeping these factors in mind, you’ll be better equipped to find the right walkie-talkie for your needs, whether for recreational, professional, or emergency use.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Common Questions and Answers on Factors to Consider When Looking for a Walkie Talkie

Q. How do walkie-talkies exchange information with one another?

A. Your voice is picked up by a microphone, encoded into a radio frequency, and sent using the antenna when you speak into a Walkie-Talkie. Another walkie-antenna talkie’s can pick up the broadcast, your speech can be decoded from the radio signal, and the walkie-talkie can drive a speaker.

Q: Why is range important when selecting a walkie-talkie?

A: The range determines how far apart two devices can communicate. Depending on your activities, such as hiking in vast terrains or coordinating a small event, you’ll require different range capabilities.

Q: Are all walkie-talkies waterproof?

A: No, not all walkie-talkies are waterproof. Some are merely water-resistant, which can handle light splashes. If you anticipate exposure to significant water, look for models specifically labeled as waterproof.

Q: What’s the difference between channels and privacy codes?

A: Channels are separate communication paths, while privacy codes offer a sub-layer within those channels to reduce interference from other users.

Q: Do I always need a license to operate a walkie-talkie?

A: Not always, but powerful models might require licensing in some countries. Always check local regulations before purchasing.

Q: Why would I need a walkie-talkie with an emergency feature?

A: Emergency features, like alerts or GPS functionality, can be crucial for those in remote areas or involved in adventurous activities, ensuring safety by signaling for help when needed.

Q: Can I use regular batteries for all walkie-talkies?

A: It depends on the model. Some walkie-talkies use rechargeable batteries, while others might use standard AA or AAA batteries. Check the product specifications.

Q: How important is the weight and size of a walkie-talkie?

A: For activities like hiking or where the device will be carried for extended periods, a lightweight and compact design can significantly enhance convenience and comfort.

Q: Do all walkie-talkies come with a display?

A: No, some basic models might not have a display. However, a display can be useful for checking settings, battery life, and the active channel, especially in low-light conditions.

Q: Why would I need a walkie-talkie with noise reduction features?

A: If you’re in a windy environment or places with a lot of background noise, noise reduction can ensure clearer communication by filtering out unwanted sounds.

Q: Are there walkie-talkies specifically designed for children?

A: Yes, there are models tailored for kids, often featuring simpler controls, fun designs, and a more compact build suitable for smaller hands.

Q: What will you be using the walkie talkie for?

A: This is the most important question to ask yourself, as it will determine the type of walkie talkie you need. If you are using it for recreational purposes, such as hiking or camping, you will need a different type of walkie talkie than if you are using it for professional purposes, such as construction or security.

Q: What is your budget?

A: Walkie talkies can range in price from a few dollars to several hundred dollars. It is important to set a budget before you start shopping so that you don’t overspend.

Q: How far do you need the walkie talkie to transmit?

A: Walkie talkies have different ranges, depending on the power output and the terrain. If you need to communicate over long distances, you will need a walkie talkie with a higher power output.

Q: What type of battery does the walkie talkie use?

A: Walkie talkies use a variety of battery types, including AA, AAA, NiMH, and lithium-ion. Lithium-ion batteries are the most popular type of battery for walkie talkies, as they have a long battery life and can be recharged quickly.


The walkie-talkie, despite its age-old design, remains a resilient and vital communication tool in various scenarios where modern gadgets might fall short. Its power lies not just in its ability to offer immediate, clear communication but also in its adaptability to diverse environments. As with any piece of technology, the key to making the most of it lies in understanding one’s unique needs and aligning them with the device’s features. By keeping in mind the factors highlighted in this article, potential buyers can navigate the bustling market of two-way radios with clarity and confidence. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a casual user, the right walkie-talkie awaits, ready to keep you connected when it matters most.

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Samuel Carter

This is Samuel Carter. I have been online product reviewing for the last 7 years and owns many product samples from different companies. I love online product reviewing and reviewing is my hobby. I know, choosing a product is very difficult for newbies and that is why I have created this blog to help the newbies. I think might be useful for you. Thanks - Carter

4 thoughts on “Choosing the Right Two-Way Radio: Factors To Consider When Looking For A Walkie Talkie”

  1. These radios have been a great success for us. After trying a number of less expensive options, we decided to fork out the money for them. Battery life is decent and may last for a few days on a single charge (with light use). Our requirements may be met by the available selection. No idea how far it will go, but for now it’s more than enough to cover our woodland area. A flashlight, privacy channels, and weather channels are just a few of the many useful components.

    A few drawbacks, however, must be considered. The first thing that needs to be improved is the belt clip. Pulls or snags may easily bend or break the tabs that keep it in place, making it more vulnerable to damage. Replacement clips are available, however they are somewhat pricey. Second, a docking station would be ideal. Chargers and cables are provided, however a docking station would be much more handy. It does feature a micro USB connector for charging. The product itself is still excellent in my opinion.

  2. Walkies that look great, However, I haven’t received the operator’s manual yet! How long do you keep the charger on the first time it’s recharged? It’s imperative that you read this because it’s critical.

  3. On a recent vacation, the two got along like a house on fire. Even though the producers say that these radios have a range of many miles, they only converse for a mile or two. My expectations were met, and I was pleased with the results.

  4. Disappointingly, this Walkie Talkie does not operate with rechargeable batteries. This item only works on new AAA Alkaline batteries, which Motorola confirmed to me when I phoned them. Flatly lying, the range is not 16 miles. It’s best used within a half-mile radius.

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