Are you looking for the best long-range two-way radios? Well, you have arrived at the correct destination! In this article, I will go in detail on the best radios so that you can figure out for yourself which one radio that fits your needs and requirements!
But before we move on to the list there is one thing you need to know, and that is the difference between a walkie-talkie and a two-way radio!
The former is a portable device, almost exactly the same as the toy you had as a kid. The latter can look the same, or it can be bigger and used in different industries, not only in the military.
Your choice will depend on your needs, and which of the extras you like in today’s multi-tasking models. To ensure you make the best choice, read on for the technical aspects to know about, followed by a list of the most popular models. Remember that what you need is the longest or best range, not necessarily the gimmicks that come with it.
The radios listed below are seven of the best of the best on the market. They vary in color and price and are all available online. Whether for business or for adventures, these models come with excellent reviews.
Best long range two way radios reviewed and rated
- The Midland LXT630VP3
The Midland LXT630VP3 offers reliable communication no matter what kind of adventure you are planning. Coming in black or bold yellow and black, it is designed to stand out.
With this model, you get 22 channels and 121 privacy codes. It is water-resistant too, and is a license-free model, meaning it has free channels for you to use. Standard today is VOX technology, hands-free technology.
The range for this model is marketed as Xtreme, meaning up to 30 miles, so it is well suited for outdoor use with clear views.
What makes The Midland a good investment for your safety and your communications is that it has NOAA weather alert technology. The device will automatically scan through channels until it finds one to give you up-to-date weather news.
Even better for your safety, the NOAA will sound an alarm if dangerous conditions emerge. It’s a walkie-talkie with smart capabilities, from a well-trusted brand.
|Dimensions||1 x 2 x 7|
2. Cobra MR HH450 Dual All-Terrain Radio
- Durable - Designed for tough use on boats, ATVs,...
- Replay Missed Calls – The rewind-say-again feature...
- Maximum Coverage – Allows operation of channels in the US,...
The Cobra MR is worthy of being in a movie. It looks the part, and is what most people would think of when an adventure-ready walkie-talkie is needed.
It has all the standard features you would expect of an all-terrain radio. When it comes to batteries, it doesn’t use the standard type, but a lithium one instead, which gives it an edge on other models. These batteries are designed to be long-lasting, you see.
The Cobra MR allows Rewind-Say-Again, which allows you to replay the last line in case weather conditions prevent you from hearing at your best. Not only that but for your safety and convenience, it has low, medium and high power settings. This enables both short and long range communication.
What makes this brand and model popular is its rugged look and its usefulness on all types of terrain. Its look is not just for aesthetic purposes; it also helps it to float.
Though it’s not specified what the range is in different conditions, we do know that the Cobra can be used just about anywhere covering 15 miles. Having different power settings allows you to extend both your adventure and your battery life.
|Dimensions||2.1 X 2.7 X 4.8|
|Batteries||1 Lithium Polymer battery|
- Motorola MS350R 35-Mile Waterproof Talkabout 2 Way Radio, 2...
- Waterproof Survives Water Dunk and Heavy Downpours
- Up to 35-mile Range
The Motorola Talkabout MG 350R ranks high on our list for its light weight and its impressive 35-mile range. Looking into the details of their range claim, it is specified as 35 miles from mountain to valley, up to 6 miles when on open water, and up to 2 miles in your neighbourhood.
Featuring a vibrating call alert, this model also offers you IVOX hands-free technology. The buttons are big and easy to press when you’re wearing large gloves.
Although many models today come with multiple functions and many buttons, this model is more minimalist in its make up. That said, it has 22 channels with 121 privacy codes to choose from.
When out on your adventure, you can also check the weather in real-time, and if need be, you have a flash-light attached for the unexpected.
Motorola not only offers all the modern features you would expect, but it has dust protection and can withstand vertically falling drops of water, such as being caught in a quick downpour.
Since they’ve been in the business for nearly a century, you can trust their products to meet your needs and expectations.
|Dimensions||1.4 x 2.3 x 7.6|
|Batteries||3 AA Batteries|
4. Cobra ACXT 645 Walkie Talkies
- Up to 35 mile range -Provide extended signal range with 3124...
- 10 NOAA weather channels - Be prepared for storms and...
- Waterproof - Designed to IPX4/JIS4 waterproof standards
The Cobra markets itself as the adventure walkie-talkie maker. Coming in orange and black, the Cobra appeals to those who want high visibility.
With up to a 35-mile range, including 10 NOAA weather channels, the Cobra ACXT also has a built-in flashlight and VOX hands-free technology.
The ACXT is made for all weather conditions. The rubberized grip is one such feature that helps when you are in motion. When out with your Cobra ACXT, if it is stowed in a bag or pocket, you have VOX technology allowing for hands-free communication, but also a vibrating alert to inform you of incoming messages.
What also makes the Cobra special and worthy of being on this list is that it can offer over 2000 channels when you combine the 22 channels with its 121 privacy codes.
This is why it is not just made for business or for hospitality. A construction site would be well suited to it, but its natural home is out on a rugged adventure with open space surrounding you.
|Dimensions||1.7 x 2.5 x 6.7|
|Batteries||6 x AAA NiMH (3 per radio)|
5. Retevis RT1 2 Way Radios
- High-power design; UHF frequency; can penetrate complex...
- The body is made of durable materials; enough to withstand...
- Built-in 3000 mAh rechargeable lithium battery; support...
Minimalist in its look, the Retevis is certainly not minimal in its functionality. Included is a loudspeaker, up to 24 hours’ battery, and a very strong shell.
It has 16 channels available, and a busy channel lock-out, which stops your transmission if it notices the channel being used for another conversation.
What makes this model onto our best buy list is that it boasts the best audio quality, with the crispness of sound that allows you to hear it even in the noisiest of environments. This model has up to 4 miles of range. If not in a city, this could give you much more freedom in your adventures.
With the Retevis, you also get a lengthy two-year warranty, especially good for those who only use their radio occasionally. If you’re buying yours for business, it is great for construction sites as it has a battery life of up to 24 hours when charged for 3 to 4 hours.
When you buy this package, you also get a speaker mic, which is how you can switch from walkie-talkie mode to hands-free using the VOX function.
The Retevis can also scan channels for you, and offers a busy channel lock-out, meaning that if it detects that someone is having a conversation on that channel, it can prevent transmission on it, saving you time.
|Dimensions||5.2 x 2.3 x 1.4|
|Batteries||2 Lithium ion batteries|
6. Kenwood TK – 3402U16P
- 16 Total channels
- More or less 300000 square feet/30 floor/7 mile range
- 5.0 Watt output power
Kenwood offers a 16 channel model, also ultra-portable, that is perfect for both business as well as your hobbies that need battery-operated radio communication.
As with most of the walkie-talkies on the market, Kenwood’s best bet is both water and dust resistant, useful in all-terrain environments.
This is a powerful device and its price tag is modest for what you get. Being under $300 means that the Kenwood is the norm in the business world, even though there are many more economical models out there.
What makes the Kenwood model ideal for business and pleasure is that it has a longer battery life than other models. At around 17 hours, this could save you in emergency situations.
If not bought for construction sites or for adventures, the Kenwood is a professional option for events where communication with security and catering is essential and not limited to cell phone towers. It works well in buildings across floors too.
|Dimensions||2.13 x 4.8 x 1.32|
|Batteries||1 Lithium ion battery|
7. Midland – X-Talker T20X4
- 2-WAY RADIOS - These license-free walkie-talkies feature the...
- 38 CTCSS PRIVACY CODES - The Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch...
- HANDS-FREE - Easy Voice and Sound Activated Transmission...
The Midland X-Talker T20X4 is one of the brighter best-sellers. Coming in four colors – red, orange, lime green, and bright blue – it has an in-built aerial as part of its shape and design.
With this walkie-talkie, you have a license free device that has 22 channels for you to access. Not only do you have free license codes, but you also have access to 38 privacy codes.
Even though it is smaller than other walkie-talkies, it does have the most common features that other walkie-talkies have, like VOX and NOAA weather reports for life-saving weather warnings.
The range of this device is 16 miles, which again is quite standard for budget models that have modern perks. Again, it would work better in open spaces, but the same can be said for other models.
Another reason for its popularity is that it has good audio, even in very noisy environments.
|Dimensions||1 x 6.5 x 7.9|
|Batteries||16 AAA batteries required|
The Difference between a Walkie-Talkie and a Two-Way Radio
A two-way radio is also known as a transceiver. It is able to both transmit and receive over a number of channels, some of which you have to pay to access.
Half duplex radios allow the user to transmit and receive, but not at the same time. Only one signal can be sent. Full Duplex mode, on the other hand, means that your radio can send and receive radio communications at the same time.
The walkie talkie usually works in half-duplex, mode where you push a button to talk, then push another to receive.
When you look for a walkie-talkie or two-way radio these days, you’ll have the choice between either the half or full-duplex mode. Even the simplest models on the market can be of the full duplex type, so it just depends on what you need.
Your mobile phone is an example of a sophisticated device with full-duplex mode, meaning two-way reception and transmission is possible. So you see, a two-way radio can function in different industries in multiple jobs.
Did you know that a Walkie-talkie gets its name from its original name, the handheld transceiver? There was a company that had a Handie-Talkie as its trademark, back in the 1940s, but since being renamed Motorola, it is mostly linked to phones.
You might also want to consider whether it is for indoor use or outdoor use. They are such versatile gadgets that they can be used for construction, schools and colleges, healthcare services, manufacturing, transport and logistics, as well as in hospitality.
They are perfect for adventures where there may be no cell phone coverage. What’s interesting is that, though walkie-talkies or two-way radios are very similar to cell phones, cell phones can’t be used in remote areas because they need towers to relay the signal..
Knowing what you need is the first step in finding the right product for you.
Size and Portability
As we are reviewing the walkie-talkie variety of two-way radios, you will find they do not vary too much in size. Some are lighter than others, with fewer functions, while others are rugged and weighty, fully capable of floating in emergencies.
Design can differ, too, depending on how many other functions the device has.
The reason they are called walkie-talkies is that they are portable, and used for communication while you are out and about.
Many two-way radios claim to have ranges of up to 50 miles. Though this is true of the models reviewed here today, range can vary significantly depending on the weather and other factors. Different terrains, for instance, change the range at which your device can send and receive.
The most common range you can find is 30 miles, but always check the models for specifics. Some can go up to 50 miles in clear areas and conditions, while others work best in a radius of just a few miles.
Receiving and transmitting radio signals is what a two-way radio does. To do so, they use frequencies to transmit information. It is these frequencies that become channels when you choose one to send information.
In the hospitality business, for instance, you could have 4 channels used for different functions. Waiting staff could use channel 1, with the kitchen staff on channel 2, and the maintenance staff on channel 3, while the cleaning team uses channel 4. Only the channels that need to be linked can hear each other, but the manager of the business would tune in to all 4.
A walkie-talkie used for hiking may only need one or two channels, compared to the police, who may use hundreds. Thus, deciding on how many channels you need is an important part of the process of shopping for a two-way radio .
The channels can be used by everyone within a certain range, but it is possible to partition them for more privacy.
As we know that receiving transmissions is open to anyone in the same range, if you would like to make your line private, you can use interference elimination to help you.
Eliminating interference is what happens when you use privacy codes.
To have a private line, you would be using the same frequency as the receiver and you would have to use the same privacy code too. The walkie-talkie or two-way radio you buy will have a number of privacy codes for you to choose from.
One thing that is important to clarify is that privacy is a relative concept when using frequencies. If someone hiking near you is using the same channel and the same privacy code, you’ll be able to hear the conversation, and they would be able to hear you if you joined in.
The more channels and privacy codes you have, the less chance there is of someone receiving your information.
When Walkie-Talkies came out, about 80 years ago, they were hand-held devices. Since then, technology has developed to allow for hands-free walkie-talkies. Climbers are among those who need such help, but it also works well for difficult conditions when you want to have both hands free and communicate at the same time.
VOX stands for Voice Activated Transmit. Using microphones that monitor for any speech, they automatically start transmitting when you speak.
Not all walkie-talkies have VOX technology, and it’s only usually found in higher-end models. Some budget models, however, do have this technology as standard.
The Top Seven
As the technology has been around for almost a century, there are many options for you when you go walkie-talkie shopping.
As you know, range and the number of channels are important, but after that, it is up to you to decide which of the features are important to you, and which long-range two-way radio best meets your needs.
Though many budget two-way radios are available, if the longest range is what you are after, then it’s best to invest as much as you can.
Your walkie-talkie will have more functions too if you choose a higher end model. That said, for around $50, you can get a decent two-way radio that will allow you to have the modern world around you even when you’ve gotten away from it.
Commercial ventures might need a higher investment, into the $200-$300 range, as you’d be using them daily on-site. In this case, durability is key, and faster-charging models are vital.
When shopping online, always check the reviews at the bottom of the page you’re browsing. It’s these that can help you if you are stuck trying to choose between two models. The COBRA ACXT, for example, is beloved by hikers, but The Midland and the Kenwood are usually seen on construction sites or in the hospitality industry.
We should also remember that our modern cellphones are highly sophisticated devices, which also function as two-way radios. As stated, it is the cell-phone towers that don’t appear in many remote areas that make a Walkie-Talkie necessary.
Another reason to use a walkie-talkie and not rely on your phone is that battery life can be lower on a cellphone.
If you like going on outdoor adventures, or fancy going exploring a natural area near your home alone, be safe by having a way to call for help.
In the world of business, on sites and in hospitality, two-way radios/walkie-talkies have long held their place as functional and irreplaceable, even with the advent of smartphones.
Walkie-talkies are here to stay, and long-range two way radios these days are as effective as they were in the past, with the added benefit of some improved features, and certainly more color options for those who want to be seen.
With this review to help you, deciding on the best long-range two way radio should be simple. If you enjoyed this guide make sure to check out our latest guide on Best hunting binoculars and best crossbow scope.