The 8 Best Walkie Talkies to Buy in 2018

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

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You may have thought that the smartphone killed the walkie talkie, but there’s still considerable demand for these gadgets from both business and personal customers. With a large number of walkie talkies still available on the market, we sent our researchers out to compile a list of the best. We even sent one home with our testers to try it out and see how it fared in the wild. From staying in communication on a construction site to ensuring a family stays connected on a hike, here are some of the best options to help you keep in touch via walkie talkie.

Our Top Picks

Best for Overall: Midland GXT1000VP4

Midland GXT1000VP4
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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.

Some Amazon users love the walkie talkies for their impressive range with an affordable price point. More critical reviewers 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.

Best Value: Midland LXT500VP3 22-Channel GMRS

Midland LXT500VP3 22-Channel GMRS
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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.

Some Amazon users rave about the economical price point, lasting battery charge and clear reception over 15 to 20 city blocks. More critical Amazon buyers mention the low maximum volume output and fuzzy reception if inside a building with thick walls.

Best Budget: BaoFeng BF-888S Walkie Talkie

You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a decent pair of walkie-talkies, and the BaoFeng BF-888S is a versatile, affordable option. With a range of up to about two miles, it offers 16 memory channels and frequency mode between 400 and 700 MHz. Though this can be considered an amateur device (not ideal for hardcore campers or someone seeking advanced functionality), it can be used as a budget alternative to cell phones when communicating between coworkers or as a backup when you're outside the range of cell service. The devices also include an emergency alarm and a flashlight. Other features include VOX functions, voice prompt, and intelligent charging.

The low price does come with one major drawback for those less technologically inclined: they must be programmed to operate on US frequencies. However, they do offer an affordable, efficient alternative to more expensive options, boasting crystal-clear sound and an array of accessories like rechargeable batteries, chargers, belt clips, and lanyards.

Best for Children: Retevis RT628 Walkie Talkies

Retevis RT628 Walkie Talkies
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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.

Amazon reviewers have been very happy with these walkie talkies and strongly recommend them for children. One great idea suggested by a reviewer: let your kid hold onto one walkie talkie whenever they go to a neighbor friend’s house and you’ll still be able to get in touch via the second radio as long as they aren’t more than a mile away.

Best for Preteens: Sokos Walkie Talkies for Kids

UOKOO’s Kids Walkie Talkies
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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
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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.

Multiple Amazon users are happy with the walkie talkies' affordable price, long battery life and clear communication. More critical reviewers have stated 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.

Best Battery Life: Baofeng BF-F9 V2+

Baofeng BF-F9 V2+
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For those demanding one of the highest standards of walkie talkie battery life, this one is for you. Baofeng’s BF-F9 V2+ provides an 8-watt, tri-power battery life that makes for long lasting energy.

The Baofeng BF-F9 V2+ has a tri-power feature, which allows for an adjustment for wattage use based on low (1 watt), medium (4 watts) and high (8 watts) energy consumption rates. It features a 7.4 volt 1800 mAh Li-ion battery that can be recharged with the product’s included charging dock. Though not included, it’s compatible with larger batteries like a 3800 maH Li-Ion, more than doubling the standard battery life.

Colors come in black, blue, red, yellow, green/camo and standard camo. The walkie talkies come with a one-year domestic warranty.

Best for Businesses: Motorola Professional CLS1410

Motorola is a trusted name in the wireless communication industry, creating some of the most innovative and durable cell phones and walkie talkies on the market. The CLS1410 is Motorola at the top of their walkie talkie game; a professional product with quality and durability that serves some of the biggest professional brands in the restaurant, retail and hospitality fields.

CLS radios require almost no training to use, instantly connecting new employees in a large operation or a troop of scouts out in the field. It comes with enhanced security including a keypad lock and 56 private customizable business channels so that sensitive communications will not be intercepted.

The one-watt ultra high-frequency device has dependable coverage with clear voice relay at the touch of button or voice command. It has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that lasts up to 18 hours or two full work days. The broadcast can cover up to 200,000 square feet, or 15 floors of a building. Whether your purposes are personal or professional, this is a great option.

Tested by

How We Tested

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)


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.