If you’re thinking about organizing an outdoor excursion, camping or hiking trip, you’ll want to consider how you’ll communicate. If you’re outdoors or in remote areas, it’s wise not to rely on cellphones to retain a signal. Instead, you need a reliable tool for communication with others, especially if you’re taking responsibility for groups of people.
Long range two-way radios—or walkie talkies—offer the perfect way to stay in touch with others while outdoors. So, let’s take a look at some of the best long-range two-way radios that are currently available to buy.
The Best Long Range Two Way Radio Reviews 2020
1. Midland GXT1000VP4 Long Range Two-Way Radio
- 2-WAY RADIOS - These walkie-talkies feature 50 GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) channels, along with channel scan to check for activity. The JIS4 Waterproof Protection prevents splashing water from having any harmful effect on it (splash resistant).
- 36-MILE RANGE - Longer range communication in open areas with little or no obstruction. Easy Voice and Sound Activation Transmission (eVOX) with 9 sensitivity levels for hands-free operation.
- 142 CTCSS/DCS PRIVACY CODES - The privacy codes give you up to 3,124 channel options to block other conversations.
Midland’s 50 channel GMRS two-way radios offer a range of up to 36 miles. There are some great features, like privacy codes, weather alerts and an SOS siren. They come with battery packs, mic headsets, belt clips, a desktop charger and adapters.
Sound quality on this is one of the best features. It’s super clear and crisp when listening to others and sounded the best we’d heard. The speaker is very loud which is a bonus.
These can also cover a really impressive distance. We tested these over 5 miles and the reception came through perfectly. This was on a flat terrain though.
A feature we really like with these is being able to monitor two channels at the same time. We invited some others to use these and could easily track both channels which were great.
These radios are really well designed and super durable. We loved the vibrate feature, which is actually really helpful if you’re surrounded by noise and may not pick up the audio.
This set comes with a pack of AA rechargeable batteries, but we found this didn’t keep them charged for long enough. Purchasing additional long-lasting AA batteries kept them going for a week, with daily use.
A minor complaint would be that the microphones on earpiece didn’t stay put on our ears for long. Of course, not everyone will want to use these!
Overall, this is a well-designed and durable set of two-way radios that offer excellent sound quality and long-range connectivity. They come packed with lots of features for use in a versatile way – a top feature is the vibrate function. They also come with a great range of accessories and run well on strong AA batteries.
- Well designed and durable two-way radios
- Excellent sound quality
- Great long-range connectivity
- Plenty of features including vibrate function and NOAA alerts
- Runs well on AA batteries
- Some issues with the accessories
- May need to purchase additional batteries
2. DEWALT DXFRS800 Heavy Duty Long Range Two Way Radio
- LIMITED LIFETIME WARRANTY: Warranty only valid by authorized resellers.
- LONGER RANGE COMMUNICATION: Two watts of power provide up to 300,000 sq. ft. / 25 floors of long distance signal range with 2,662 channel combinations.
- 22 PRESET CHANNELS: Channels are preset with privacy codes to minimize unwanted interference from others.
These are classic, heavy duty, rugged and shock-resistant two-way walkie talkies that offer a very long range of communication. They come with a 180-degree swivel holster and rechargeable batteries.
The great thing about these radios is the long range – up to 300,000 sq. ft of signal. We tested these across 15 floors of a high-rise block and had no problems connecting. They also have 22 channels to tune in from, although we found connection easy with just one.
These are also very sturdy items, with rubberized edges, so feel like they can withstand a few knocks or drops. It’s reassuring to know they’re a durable and weather resistant product, which could be good for any mountain climbs. We loved how perfectly sized they were for our pockets too.
Because they have a simple design, the usability of these is also excellent. They basically have a large call button that is not at all easy to press by accident. This is great if you’re moving around a lot. No extraneous buttons or fiddling around which we loved.
We also loved that they have a USB charging port. They charged up quickly overnight and lasted a full day the next day.
There is a small problem that the belt clip on the holster is not a robust as the rest of the product. It almost came loose a couple of times and looked like it could break easily on any drops.
This is a pretty straight-ahead set of two-way radios, so you won’t get any weather scans or NOAA features. Not a big problem if you just want a job done well!
This product offers a durable design that’s easy to use and gets up to pretty good distances. It’s a solid and reliable two-way that retains its battery life all day after a night of recharging.
- Connects at long-range distances
- Sturdy, rugged, durable
- Weather resistant and pocket sized
- Simple to use
- Reliable battery life
- Holster clip not as reliable as the radios themselves
- Lacks additional features for outdoor activities, i.e. weather updates
3. Arcshell Rechargeable Long Range Two-Way Radio
- Small and convenient size;it easily fits on your hand;it measures 4.53 inches in height without antenna(antenna length:4.3 inches);1.30 inches thick;2.36 inches in width;6.3 oz light-weighted;solid built;water-resistant;easy to operate for all ages;2 Wattage power output; each radio has a removable belt clip
- Frequency range is UHF 400-470MHz;16 pre-programmed channels;each radio has identical frequency on each of the 16 channels out of the box;16 position mechanical rotary switch channel selector;when you turn the knob to change the channel,a synthesized voice will tell you the channel number;channel frequency is programmable within the frequency range;you can program any of 50 CTCSS tones and 105 CDCSS tones on each programmed channel
- Each radio comes with a 1500mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery and a charging dock; the charger comes with an AC wall-wart Type A plug and works in 110v-240v; it takes about 2.5 hours to fully charge; battery life is determined by transmit time;it lasts around 8 to 96 hours on a single charge depending on how much you transmit;you can charge the battery alone or charge the radio with battery installed
These lightweight UHF walkie-talkies from Archshell run on a single band and single frequency. They offer 16 channels and claim to be able to penetrate wood, steel and concrete.
What we loved about these is that they’re good quality but at a very reasonable price. They’re small enough to fit neatly in your hand and have a solid antenna. They reminded us of the classic walkie-talkie we had as kids! They feel lightweight for sure.
They do warn you that the range on these depends on the terrain. On flat terrain, we found the signal only started to break up after two miles away. We did try this in wooded areas and found it wasn’t quite as strong.
Generally, the battery life on these was good. The manual suggests you should only expect 5 hours to begin with, but after only 1 hour of charging, we got more than that.
For an inexpensive and fairly basic type of two-way radio, we found the sound quality was extremely good. It had a solid, natural tone that didn’t have too much distortion or crackling.
This set of walkies aren’t FCC approved, which may be why they’re less expensive than others. This may be something to note in case you happen to pick up any licensed frequencies.
We also noticed that these may not be very versatile handsets. Because they’re inexpensive, they’re probably good for casual use
In short, these are lightweight and effective, classic-style walkie talkies that offer great sound and connectivity. They’re inexpensive but offer a great experience. Because they’re not FCC approved, these could be good for casual use around the home or as a play set.
- Fantastic value for an all-round two-way walkie-talkie
- Classic look and lightweight feel
- Great sound
- Reliable long-range connectivity
- Battery life was good
- Not FCC approved
- Generally suitable for casual use
4. SANZUCO UHF Long Range 2 Way Radio
- [Two-Way Radios for Adults and Kids]: 7.2 x 2 x 1.3 inches and 16 pre-programmed channels,small but suitable for adults and children,easy to use.You can have an indoor and outdoor conversation with your parents, or share your ideas with your little neighbors any time.
- [Programmable 2 Way Radios]: Communication range up to 30 miles on the sea with no interference, it usually reach 0.5-2 miles in built-up areas. And you can program it within 400-470MHz,there is one of 50 QT / CTCSS tones or 105 DQT/ CDCSS tones is set for one channel, it can protect you from the interference of other people who are using the same frequency, but not the person you are talking to.
- [Dual PTT Handheld Radio]: In addition to the normal side PTT(One-to-One),there is a special blue group talk button(One-to- All).One button can notify everyone at the same time, communicating recent news and reporting emergencies.Ii's also a durable walkie talkies for outdoor camping, hiking and hunting.
These are two-way, walkie-talkie radios designed for adults and children. Range of communication is up to 30 miles, with 16 pre-programmed channels for use indoors or outdoors. They offer great functions that are worth considering.
A feature we loved is the group talk function. This gives you the chance to invite multiple users and is fairly unique as a feature. Just hit the blue button to move from one-to-one to one-to-all, which is pretty easy!
Another fantastic aspect about these is that the battery life is extremely good. Once fully charged, we found these could last for almost 2 days with fairly constant use. Plus, the power saving feature lets you feel in control of managing the power.
These radios are small enough to fit in your hand but also aren’t super flimsy. They feel solid and very well made. We couldn’t find much to fault with the general manufacture.
They come with a great set of accessories including earpieces, belt clip, USB adapter.
Voices came through nice and clear. The sound quality is pretty good.
A concern of ours with these was the distance they could connect at. After getting around half a mile away from each other, the connection dropped. This was on flat terrain too. In general, connectivity was probably not the strongest.
We also found that a channel knob had slipped after sitting in a pocket a few times. This may just be a clumsy move from us though!
In short, these are solid, great value walkie-talkies for use in fairly close range. They’re well designed and built, and have a great group talk feature. The battery life is amazing and the sound quality they offer is good.
- Well designed and manufactured handheld walkie-talkies
- Group-talk feature is unique to most two-way radios
- Amazing battery life and power saving feature
- Clear sound
- Good set of additional accessories supplied
- Lost connectivity at longer distances
- Channel knobs may slip
5. Retevis H-777 Long Range Two Way Radio
- Easy to use; 2 pack walkie talkies have been set to same frequency out of the box and just on the same channel can communicate; voice prompt tells you the channel you are on automatically
- Built in bright LED flashlight not only suitable for emergency using but also keep your safety when camping or outdoor using
- Long battery life; large capacity battery allows you charge 2-3 hours then use it for 8-9 hours continuous use
These walkie talkies from Retevis also have 16 channels and are great for outdoor or indoor use. They’re inexpensive, easy to operate straight out of the box and are designed for casual use among the family. They also have great features.
To us, these seem like very well made, good quality two-way radios. You could drop them and they’d remain pretty solid and durable. They’re also compact and lightweight. They’re also really simple and easy to use, straight out of the box.
A really nice feature is the mini-LED flashlight. Obviously, this comes in handy for nighttime use. We found it did a very good job of lighting up our path whenever we needed it to.
Very large battery capacity and come with a rechargeable set. This is a great bonus as it means you won’t need to purchase additional sets of batteries. You can simply hook it up to a USB charger, and an adapter is included.
These are also a pretty good option for close range activity. They’re advertised as good for use with the family, and this holds up based on our experience with them.
This is another where an FCC license may be required, where the frequencies could interfere with other services.
We found the sound quality to not be very reliable. It was sometimes quite a tinny tone and there was some static at times. However, if you’re using these at home, in close range they seem to work pretty well.
Overall, these are great value walkie-talkies that are simple to use and have nice features for the price. In particular, the LED flashlight is a great addition. They also have a very strong battery life, which is worth considering if you plan to use these on a regular basis.
- Well-made, lightweight and durable
- Easy to use
- Mini-LED flashlight a great feature
- Very solid battery life
- Great for use in closer proximity
- Sound wasn’t always reliable
- Check any additional license requirements
6. COBRA ACXT1035R FLT Floating Long Range Two Way Radio
- LONG RANGE UP TO 37 MILES: Provides an extended long range signal up to 37 miles with 2662 channel combinations & 121 privacy codes to minimize unwanted interference
- NOAA WEATHER & ALERT: Be prepared for storms and emergencies with built-in NOAA radio receiver and alert in the event of weather or other emergencies
- VOX - VOICE-ACTIVATED TRANSMISSION: The user's voice is detected and the radio transmits without the need to press any buttons, freeing hands for other tasks
These two-way radios are super stylish, fully waterproof long-range walkie talkies with NOAA weather alert features. They offer a long range of up to 37 mills with 2662 channel combinations and 121 privacy codes.
First off, these have been designed for excellent protection during wet weather and storms. We love the floating feature, where they’ve been manufactured with airtight seals. You can drop them in a lake and they’ll float on the surface without permanent damage.
They have a unique orange look. The buttons are orange, the backlight is orange. This makes them pretty visible and stylish, if you’re either struggling in wet weather or hanging at the beach. The surrounding orange rubber also acts as a good grip, helping you to avoid dropping them.
They come with rechargeable AA batteries, which for us lasted for almost 3 days while in the standby mode. They also come with USB charging base stations which we liked.
We tried these out to around a 2-mile range. Although it wasn’t an entirely flat surface, they managed pretty well.
You do also get the addition of a flashlight which is worth considering if you need to navigate stormy weather. Or for improved use if you’re planning to use them at nighttime.
One little snag with these is the microphone volume, which wasn’t the best. This may be because they have the waterproof feature though.
These also aren’t the smallest walkie-talkies available. They seemed on the larger side when we took them out of their packaging.
This could be a great set of walkie-talkies if you’re planning on taking them on outdoor adventures. Canoeing, sailing or mountain climbing—during the daytime or at night—could be well serviced with this set. The battery life is strong too!
- Fully waterproof two-way radios with floating feature
- Stylish look, with rubber grips to support slippage
- Comes with rechargeable batteries, solid battery life
- Great sound within a 1-2 mile range
- Flashlight and weather alerts support all-weather use
- Not the longest range available
- May not be small enough to fit all pocket sizes
7. Motorola T260TP Talkabout Long Range Two Way Radio
- Power through Your Adventures: There are two ways to power your radio: use the included NiMH rechargeable batteries for up to 10 hours or use 3 AA batteries for up to 29 hours.
- Know the Weather In Advance: Keep updated with real-time weather conditions by turning on one of 11 weather channels or initiating weather alerts. NOAA radio service may not be available in all areas.
- Quickly Find a Channel: Use the scanning feature to see which channels are currently in use. Low Battery Alert: Low battery alert reminds you when batteries are running low.Frequency Band:FRS/GMRS 462 - 467 MHz in the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Band
The Motorola T260TP is a stylish, durable outdoor two-way ‘talkabout’ radio. It’s lightweight, compact and includes outdoor features like NOAA weather channels and alerts, and a hands-free function.
The great thing about this model is how it is so easy to use. The functionality is set up very well. The design is kind of unique and they’re more attractive than your standard walkie-talkie. They have a firm, rubber grip coating to avoid slippage or dropping them. They’re very lightweight, sturdy and the buttons are set up nicely.
They’re also advertised as good for camping, which makes sense as we found they work well in close range.
For a reasonable price these performed well. The sound quality at close range was pretty good – voices came through very clear. This was a strong feature of this model. Also, we didn’t experience any static or distortion in using them. They have an iVOX hands-free feature, if you prefer not to hold it for long periods, which we liked.
A good feature of this model is the dual-power function. You can use 3 store-bought AA batteries. However, the rechargeable battery had quite a low capacity. This meant it took a lot longer to than we expected to get up to a full charge.
We also expected the range to have been a little better than was. We tried these at 1 mile and couldn’t connect. This was surprising for Motorola.
Overall, these are a solid choice for outdoor use. They offer more than a standard two-way walkie talkie in terms of style, handling, ease of use and quality of sound. They could be a good option for taking on camping trips or festivals and work well in a constrained range.
- Stylish and lightweight, built for outdoor use
- Great functionality and easy to use
- Sound quality is strong and clear
- Hands free function adds style
- Dual-power battery function
- Rechargeable batteries didn’t have a big capacity
- Range wasn’t the best of those we reviewed
How To Choose A Long Range Two Way Radio: A Buyer’s Guide
Despite the many advancements of digital cellphone technology, long-range two-way radios remain a reliable and instant communication tool. Some years ago, these radios were given a nickname of ‘walkie-talkies’. This was for the simple reason that it was easy to walk long distances while talking.
One person can speak into the radio to transmit their voice, and the other can listen and plan their reply. While the range is often advertised as many miles apart, most of the time connectivity is only possible at much shorter distances. This is because, usually, the range is affected by various obstructions or uneven terrain.
If you are considering what could be the best long-range two-way radios, it’s best to start by planning how you’ll use them:
Do you need a reliable way to communicate with staff who work on site? Think about scale and how many people may be using your system. Are they working far away from each other, outdoors or indoors? Look for a durable system and the right functionality. Your teams may also be more likely to use the equipment if it’s easy to use. You don’t want to add too much extra stress to their day.
Maybe you’re planning an outdoor trip – hiking, camping or canoeing by the lakes. Do some research on the more robust system. Also, think about whether you need features that support the right weather conditions. Do you need your radios to travel easily, or be durable enough to withstand a few knocks? Keep these things in mind during your selection.
You could be looking for a simple, family set of walkie-talkies. These are a great idea for big families, or young and older kids who you need to stay connected to. Look for something that’s easy to use and lightweight. There are plenty of options to consider.
Next, give some thought to the key features that may be the most appropriate to your setting:
You’ll find most two-radios advertise a number of channels. In order to communicate, your two-way radios need to be on the same channels.
Generally, there are two types of channels to consider:
- Family Service Radio (FSR): This is a personal radio service in the ultra-high frequencies (UHF), around 462 and 367 MHz. Generally, these are free for the public to use. Expect around 8-16 channels, however, they are not usually not completely private. This is where privacy codes can be helpful, so check if these are a feature of your model.
- General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS): These channels are for short-distance two way communicate and do require an approved license. Check with the manufacturer whether a license is included.
FSR radios will generally have a shorter range than GMRS. If you do want a range longer than 6 miles, you’ll need to obtain an FCC license.
The range is also affected by obstructions, so consider if you’ll have an open terrain where the connection may be better.
Signals between two-way radios usually run in a straight line. Very often this means the length of the antenna will dictate the quality of the reception.
You’ll want to think about how easy it is to charge and for how long the power will last. Rechargeable battery packs or USB port facilities are worth considering for longer usage. Usually, the best two-radios tend to come with a lithium-ion battery.
Additional features to consider
- Voice Operated Transmission (VOX): This is a hands-free option that’s worth considering. It’s sensitive enough to pick up activation from just your voice, saving you the need to press any buttons.
- Water resistance: Even if you’re not planning on taking your two-way radios on a canoe ride, you want them protected while outside.
- Weather features: Some two-way radios can be used for emergencies signals. NOAA weather channels are also useful to check for the latest alerts.
- Flashlight: Two-way radios with a flashbulb can help out in situations where space is limited.
And the winner is…
After much deliberation, we agreed there was an undisputed winner. Without doubt, the overall best long-range two-way radio is the Midland GXT1000VP4 Long Range Two-Way Radio.
When considering a multi-purpose two-way radio, this model ticks all the boxes.
There are plenty of channels, with 22 standard and 28 private ones. Also, we tested this over a range of 5 miles and it retained an excellent reception. This is also a very well-designed model that’s small in size but highly durable.
Where it also beat the rest on the number of additional features, it’s our top pick.