The 8 Best Walkie Talkies of 2019

Communicating with friends, family or co-workers is better with walkie talkies

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Best for Overall: Midland GXT1000VP4

Midland GXT1000VP4
Courtesy of Amazon.com
4.3

These walkie talkies are ideal for any emergency situation that require a long line of communication. Midland’s GXT1000VP4 walkie talkies are capable of a 36-mile range in open areas, and include a number of features designed to help you out in dire circumstances.

The GTX1000VP4 walkie talkies measure 9.75 x 2.5 x 1.75 inches and weigh 2.15 pounds. They include up to 50 channels of crisp, uninterrupted communication, with an added 142 privacy codes. The walkie talkies also have a bright backlit LCD display, making it easy to read in dark lighting conditions.

Designed for emergencies, these walkie talkies are water resistant up to 30 minutes, and are capable of handling light rain or minor splashing. Included NOAA weather alert notifications will let you know about potential severe weather. You can also send SOS siren alerts and locator signals in case you’re lost, and turn on the vibrate mode with a whisper feature if you need to be silent. Like other high-end units, there’s a keypad lock feature and a monitor scanner to check for any activity that you might find within your channel.

Customers who bought this product love the walkie talkies for their impressive range with an affordable price point. More critical ones have mentioned that at the 36-mile range, the reception gets a little fuzzy, that the design isn’t as rugged as advertised and that the features can be a bit overwhelming. 

Colors come in black, black/yellow and camouflage, which all vary in price. Rechargeable batteries are included, and the walkie talkies come with a three-year warranty.

Not sure if this is what you need? Read the reviews in our roundup of the best CB radios.

Best Budget: Arcshell Rechargeable Long Range Radio

3.5

Solidly built, water-resistant, and light-weight, the Arcshell Long Range Walkie-Talkie is prepared for any occasion, whether it be hiking outdoors or relaying communications through a large office or commercial lot. The walkie-talkie boasts an impressive 5-mile radius, though this is heavily dependent on the terrain, so expect a lower range in congested areas. The device operates on a UHF range of 400-470MHz and comes with 16 memory channels. It holds a 1,500 mAH Li-ion battery with a 2-watt output, promising at least 8 hours of use on a 2.5-hour charge.

The Arcshell stands 4.3 inches tall (4.53 including the antenna), and weighs just 6.3 ounces, so it fits snugly in your hand or clipped onto a belt. Each radio comes with a single earpiece, a push-to-talk microphone, and a high-quality speaker. Additionally, the Arcshell includes an emergency alarm, LED flashlight, VOX function, and intelligent charging.

Best Value: Midland LXT500VP3 22-Channel GMRS

Midland LXT500VP3 22-Channel GMRS
Courtesy of Amazon.com
2.3

The Midland LXT500VP3's wide range, affordable price and charging station make it one of the best walkie talkies on the list. And on Amazon, it’s listed as the No. 1 best-seller in Portable FRS Two-Way Radios.

The walkie talkies come in black and camouflage, are water resistant and measure 1 x 2 x 6 inches. They feature 22 channels of clear communication, allowing for multiple assigned units in each transmission. Any buyer concerned with long distance communication will be happy to know that the radios offer a range of 24 miles in open areas such as forests or deserts.

One of the best features of the walkie talkies are their power conservation. The units include rechargeable batteries and dual desktop chargers. You can adjust the power settings with the included HI/LO battery life extender feature, too. Other features include a keypad lock to prevent any accidental activation, as well as an incoming call alert, roger beep, auto squelch and silent operation. These features are specifically designed to ensure that there’s not only concise communication, but also understanding.

The product has been raved for its economical price point, lasting battery charge and clear reception over 15 to 20 city blocks. Some downsides, however, may be the low maximum volume output and fuzzy reception if inside a building with thick walls.

Best for Children: Retevis RT628 Walkie Talkies

Retevis RT628 Walkie Talkies
Courtesy of Amazon.com

When you’re buying walkie talkies for small children, the two biggest things you’ll want to keep in mind are ease-of-use (because they’re kids) and price (because they might lose it). The Retevis RT628 covers both of these with no issue.

The Retevis RT628 comes with a pair of colorful lightweight (90 grams) radios that are simple to use and transmit as long as both radios are on the same frequency. With kids in mind, these radios have a small number of buttons, there’s a channel lock to keep them on the same frequency and each radio has an included belt clip to keep it on your person. The walkie talkies run on three AA batteries, which are not included, so be sure to buy some of those, too.

Overall, customers have been very happy with these walkie talkies and strongly recommend them for children.

Best for Preteens: Sokos Walkie Talkies for Kids

UOKOO’s Kids Walkie Talkies
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Affordable, beginner-friendly and easy to spot, Sokos Walkie Talkies are the best on the list for preteens and kids alike. These extremely user-friendly walkie talkies include a smart PMR system for autos-scanning and provide a clear and crisp sound quality that will mute background noise.

The Sokos Walkie Talkies offer a modern compact design measuring 5.5 x 3.3 x 2.2 inches and weighing 5.6 ounces. Their interface comes with simple and clear buttons with a push-to-talk operation. Users can broadcast to over multiple units in its 22-channel system with a signal up to three miles in range with a max of five miles in open terrain. The Sokos Walkie Talkies operate on three AAA batteries that can last 3.5 hours for continuous use or nine hours on standby. 

Best for Large Parties: Retevis H-777 Two-Way Radio Long Range

Retevis H-777 Two-Way Radio Long Range
Courtesy of Amazon.com

If you’re buying in bulk and plan to have a large family camping trip or hike, these are the walkie-talkies for you. The Retevis H-777 is a pack of 10 two-way, single-band 16-channel radios that make for an affordable bulk buy.

Easy to use and functional, the Retevis H-777 walkie talkies are programmed to use the same frequency after they’re manufactured, assuring a clear channel of communication. They feature a built-in LED torch and voice response function making them suitable for various scenarios. Included is a 1500mAH Li-on battery that can be charged in two to three hours and allows for eight to nine hours for continuous walkie talkie use.

The walkie talkies have been praised for its affordable price, long battery life and clear communication. Some negatives, however, may be that the two-mile communication distance can be spotty at times.

The walkie talkies come with a one-year warranty, and a 30-day, money-back guarantee.

You may also be interested in our roundup of the best walkie talkie apps.

Best Battery Life: Baofeng UV-5R MK5

The Baofeng UV-5R MK5 sets itself apart from the competition with an energy-efficient tri-power feature. This allows you to switch between three modes, ranging from one to eight watts. The UV-5R MK5 contains a powerful 1,800 mAH battery with 7.4 volts, promising one of the longest charges on the market. Depending on the wattage output, it offers a respectable frequency range: 65-108MHz at the lowest setting, 136-175 MHz on medium, and 400-520MHz on high-power. This model also comes with a dual band 7-inch antenna, significantly extending your walkie’s reception, and also comes with a built-in FM radio, VOX function, emergency alert, and an LED flashlight.

The UV-5R is great to have on hand, especially for blackouts, camping trips, and other scenarios involving unreliable cellular service. This particular model weighs 15.7 ounces and measures 8 x 4 x 4 inches. Baofeng also sells multiple versions of the UV-5R, with varying specs, including an older model that contains a 3,800 mAH battery.

Best for Businesses: Motorola RMU2080D

Out of the five products in the Motorola RMU series, the 2080D features the best overall specs. Its remarkable range, durability, and easy-to-operate controls make it well-suited for running communications between a large staff. The walkie-talkie holds 8 channels, including the National Weather Report, offering 24/7 forecasting for outdoor workers. It transmits laterally across 250,000 square feet, or vertically through a 20-story building, which is the longest range offered on our list. Additionally, the 2080D operates on 99 UHF business-exclusive frequencies and offers 219 PL/DPL codes, including six customizable codes to ensure stronger connectivity.

Design-wise, the 2080D is built to last, meeting military standards for wind, dust, and shock resistance. The walkie-talkie also comes equipped with a 1,500-mW speaker, delivering strong audio without distracting feedback or background noise. For construction sites, multi-level corporate buildings, and large-scale events, the 2080D’s hefty price tag is worth the investment, as it guarantees reliable communication across long distances.

Looking for more handheld electronics? Check out our picks for the best ham radios on the market this year.

Tested by

How We Tested

We bought three top-read walkie talkies and our reviewers spent 21 hours testing one of the most popular walkie-talkies available. To really get the full experience, we asked them to consider the most important features when using this walkie-talkie—from its battery life to its range—and we've outlined them here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Walkie-Talkie

Range - The most essential feature to consider when purchasing a walkie-talkie is the device’s range of communication. While some models can communicate over 24 miles, others are only able to make it to the other side of a family house. Make sure when selecting your device to choose a model that can support the range you need.

Battery Life - Nothing could be more dangerous than having a walkie-talkie’s battery die in the middle of an emergency operation. Depending on your needs, be sure to check what type of batteries your device needs and how long they are rated to last. Rechargeable lithium batteries might sound great, but in the middle of the woods, a pack of AA batteries might be the best bet.

Durability: When purchasing a walkie-talkie be sure to consider its overall durability. Some options might be designed with children in mind (with thin plastic exteriors), while others will be covered in thicker materials (even rubber) to ensure that they keep working even after a nasty fall.

Test Results: Midland GXT1000VP4 (Best Overall)

4.3

What We Like

  • Good reception

  • Can switch to vibrate mode

  • 24-hour battery life

What We Don't Like

  • More complex setup

  • Headset feels too old school

One of our testers found that this walkie talkie’s reception was “very clear.” Although our reviewers thought that the learning curve was a bit steep, it got easier quickly: “Each button has more than one use, and it isn't necessarily clear which one does what due to the use of abbreviations,” one person wrote. “But after messing around with them and maybe referencing the manual once or twice, it becomes intuitive.” Overall, our testers thought this walkie talkie worked very well.

Test Results: Arcshell Rechargeable Long Range Radio (Best Budget)

3.5

What We Like

  • Good audio quality

  • Inexpensive

  • Secure belt clip

What We Don't Like

  • No display

  • Poor battery life

  • Some assembly required

  • Many non-functional extra features

Arcshell Rechargeable Long Range Radio
Lifewire
Arcshell Rechargeable Long Range Radio
Lifewire 
Arcshell Rechargeable Long Range Radio
Lifewire

“This walkie talkie is inexpensive yet provides great performance,” raved our tester, “making it an excellent value.” Highlights were its sound quality and signal strength: “The radio can transmit and receive a signal through significant obstacles including small hills,” he explained. He also liked that its belt clip felt very secure. In terms of downsides, he noted that there was no display, “which limits visibility of the selected channel, and prevents the radio from offering extra features.” He also reported that its battery life was poor and that it requires proprietary rechargeable batteries: “This means you can't replace the battery in the field with widely available AAA or AA batteries,” he said.

Test Results: Midland LXT500VP3 22-Channel GMRS (Best Value)

2.3

What We Like

  • Useful features

  • Small and pocketable

What We Don't Like

  • Poor sound quality

  • Inconsistent reception

  • Unresponsive buttons

Midland LXT500VP3 22-Channel GMRS
 Lifewire
Midland LXT500VP3 22-Channel GMRS
 Lifewire
Midland LXT500VP3 22-Channel GMRS
Lifewire 
Midland LXT500VP3 22-Channel GMRS
Lifewire 

Our tester felt that the value in this device was in its useful features, “including 22 available channels, automatic channel scanning, silent operation, and auto squelch.” He also liked that it was “very small and pocketable, which means that you can carry it around or store it in an emergency kit much more easily than a larger radio.” Unfortunately, however, its sound quality wasn’t up to par: “The poor sound quality makes communication difficult under all but ideal conditions,” he said. “The radio does not emit a strong signal, nor does it have good reception. Even a small amount of intervening terrain will interrupt transmission.” He also felt that the buttons weren’t very tactile.