Stay Connected Anywhere With The 7 Best Walkie Talkies Of 2024

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Video best walkie talkie for work

With a pair of the best walkie talkies split between you and your hiking-skiing-paddling-traveling buddy, you can be miles apart but stay in close communication at the push of a button. And unlike a cellphone, a set of walkie talkies work just fine even in areas with limited (or zero) cellular coverage, or in the event of a power outage that brings the grid down. The best walkie talkies can be relied upon when times get tough, but they’re also good fun if the kids want to play with a set in the backyard. After testing a number of top-performing models, the Midland X-Talker T71VP3 earned high marks for its audio quality and affordability, but several other models also caught our eye.

The best walkie talkies make it easy to stay in touch across various distances and terrains.

Illustration: Forbes / Photo: Retailers

We chose the best walkie talkies for various use cases, comparing one model to the next based on factors that include price, connectivity range, weight and durability. They were chosen based on our own firsthand experience—several of these brands regularly come on camping, paddling and hiking trips with us—and on informed advice from several expert sources. And we cross-referenced every claim made and specification cited by the brands against multiple reviews and ratings left by customers, so we can say with confidence that these are great choices whether you’re hunting, skiing, playing in the neighborhood or waiting out a storm.

  • Best Walkie Talkies Overall: Midland X-Talker T71VP3
  • Best Walkie Talkies For The Backcountry: Rocky Talkie
  • Best Waterproof Walkie Talkies: Cobra ACXT1035R FLT
  • Best Walkie Talkies For Kids: Midland T10X3M X-Talker Two-Way
  • Best Budget Walkie Talkies: Topsung M880 Walkie Talkies
  • Best Walkie Talkies For Long Range: Yaesu FT-60R Dual Band Handheld Radio Transceiver
  • Best Walkie Talkies For Close Range: Milo Action Communicator

How We Chose The Best Walkie Talkies

At present, I have three different walkie talkie sets at home, all of which are on this list. Do I need three different walkie talkie sets? Not really, but I do use each differently, and I did choose them with care for specific applications, such as camping, paddling and for the kids. Needless to say, I came to this project with a solid baseline understanding of this hardware category.

But I wanted to go deeper, of course, so I reached out to some next-level walkie talkie experts like Joe Bassett, founder of Valiant Outfitters, a company that provides backpacking, backcountry adventure and wilderness survival guide services—Bassett is also a ham radio operator and training officer for the Clay County, Florida Amateur Radio Emergency Service who has deployed to provide emergency communication for six hurricanes. Long story short, he knows his communication hardware.

I also connected with Allen Baler, CEO and Co-founder of 4Patriots, one of the fastest-growing emergency preparedness providers in the country, who specifically recommends having a walkie talkie on hand for any and all outdoor adventures even if you expect to have a phone handy. A walkie talkie’s superior battery life, ability to function without cell connectivity and durable construction make it a great choice for different endeavors.

Thanks to expert input, my own experience and lots of research, this list contains the best of the best.

What To Consider When Buying Walkie Talkies

Your walkie talkies may be just for fun, or they may be lifesaving tools. Given their versatility, it’s worth considering the many features that differentiate one pair from the next.

Range

Most walkie talkies cannot transmit and receive signals at their stated maximum range except for in ideal conditions, like open plains or open water. It’s important to keep this in mind as you shop for the perfect set. Allen Baler says: “Walkie talkies come in various ranges, from short-range models for close-quarters communication to long-range models for more extensive coverage. This flexibility makes them versatile for different situations.” Most of the units featured here should work well up to around 20 miles except in urban conditions or mountainous regions, with the lower-priced models offering less range.

Battery Life

“Many walkie talkies have impressive battery life, making them suitable for extended outdoor trips or protracted emergency situations,” Baler says. “Some models even support multiple power sources, including rechargeable batteries and solar charging.” That said, there’s also a place for disposable batteries here, as they can be swapped out in mere seconds, so consider walkie talkies that operate using those—many model use both rechargeable and disposable batteries.

Durability

A tough walkie talkie is a good walkie talkie. Joe Bassett says he expects his walkies to endure drops, splashes, bumps and temperature highs and lows without any loss in efficacy. We’ve included nothing but tough hardware on our rundown, but note that a few of the units, like the Rocky Talkie and the Yaesu FT-60R, are next-level tough.

Features

Most of the walkie talkies featured here have 22 channels and 121 privacy codes. (Some have more, some fewer, but that’s the standard.) All have volume controls. All have LCD screens. Other features to look for, according to Baler, include: “SOS signals, built-in emergency sirens and compatibility with emergency channels.” You can also consider things like hands-free use and audio playback.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>