When you are out on an adventure into remote places where cell signal is not easy to get, a two-way radio can be your best friend. It may be when you are out hunting in thick forests, when you are hiking in the backcountry or when you are managing a lodge in the wilderness.
Two-way radios will help you to stay connected and communicate with an individual that is miles away. It is a potential life saver for hunters and adventure seekers. They are more suitable for rural settings where there are little interference. They have incredible range, however, and most are easy to use.
Here, we’ve researched extensively to put together the best two-way radios rated according to key features that determine their performance. Check them out.
Top 10 Best Two-Way Radios
1. Midland GXT1050VP4
This is one of the most impressive two-way radios for hunting. It is packed with lots of features that will ensure that while you are out there in the field, you can easily keep in touch with people. It features up to 50 GMRS channels as well as channel scan to check for activity. It also features 5 animal call alerts (turkey, crow, couger, duck and wolf), making it the ideal radio for hunters.
With the Midland GXT1050VP4 two-channel radio, you will get 142 CTCSS/DCS privacy codes that make communication smoother. For range, you can expect as impressive 36 miles coverage in most terrains. In open areas with very little or no interference, the range will definitely improve. The walkie talkie is also waterproof, meaning you don’t have to bother about rain while you are out there. It uses rechargeable battery packs that can provide 11 hours of battery life when fully charged. It also has an impressive three-year warranty.
2. Motorola MT350R
This is another impressive two-way radio that will let you enjoy your adventure while having strong connection with people on the other side. It boasts of several impressive features including NOAA Weather Channels and Alert and iVOX/VOX hands-free operation. It equally has built-in flashlight as well as PTT Power boost.
The MT350R two-way radio comes with 22 channels with each of them having 121 privacy codes. With a range of up to 35 miles, this can be considered as a long range two-way radio. It is well-suited for excursions and other outdoor adventures including hunting. With the IP54 weatherproof design, you won’t have to worry about adverse weather conditions. You have the option of either using the alkaline batteries which can offer up to 10 hours or NiMH battery that can offer up to 10 hours of battery life.
3. Midland LXT630VP3
This is an FRS two-way radio that provides clear point-to-point communication with superior reception, transmission, and sound quality. It features 36 FRS channel in addition to channel scan to check for activities. Each of the 36 channels has 121 CTCSS PRIVACY CODES that gives you up to 2,662 channel options to help block other conversations and make communication smooth.
The LXT630VP3 has an impressive 30-mile range in an open area with little or no obstacle. This can be the perfect choice if you are looking for two way radios for mountains. It also comes with NOAA weather Scan and Alert that will keep you updated about severe weather conditions and help you stay safe. It can be powered with 2 AAA batteries and the rechargeable battery packs.
4. Midland LXT600VP3
Like other Midland products, this is a well-built radio that functions exceptionally. It can be your perfect choice when you are looking for two-way radios for hunting. It is water resistant and will provide clear point-to-point communication with superior sound quality. It comes with 36 scannable channels (14 additional channels to the standard 22). It also features 121 Privacy codes and 3 levels of eVOX- hands-free operation.
The communication range of the LXT600VP3 is 30 miles. It has dual power option; you can either use the rechargeable battery packs that are included in the package or 3 AAA alkaline batteries that are not included.
5. Motorola Talkabout Radios MH230R
This is a high-quality two-way radio that is packed with too many features. It can be used in different scenarios as a long-range walkie talkie that will enhance communication in a convenient manner. It offers hands-free iVOX/VOX as well as NOAA Weather Channels and Alerts. It is a 22 channels radio and each of the channels boats of 121 privacy codes for clear communication.
When it comes to the range it can cover, the Motorola MH230R performs well at 23 miles. The package comes with 2 radios, 2 belts, 1 dual charger, 1 charger adapter, 2 AAA NiMH Rechargeable battery packs and user guide. You can power your radio with the NiMH rechargeable battery for up to 10 hours or use the alkaline battery for up to 26 hours of adventure.
6. Backcountry Access BC Link Radio System
This is an innovative product that has the capacity to redefine the way you communicate with friends during adventures. It is a group communication system that is perfectly built to makes transmission and receiving of information via radio signals easier. Using the radio is so easy thanks to the smart Mic User interface that is located at your fingertip; there won’t be any need to fetch the radio from your pack to change settings. It is also IP56, dust resistant, and water resistant too.
For range, the BC Link Two Way radio system can cover up to 20 miles. It operates on 22 FRS/GMRS channels and each has 121 CTCSS PRIVACY CODES that ensures minimal interference. The radio also includes option for preset channel selection. It uses only Lithium ion rechargeable battery.
7. Cobra CXT1045R-FLY-CAMO
This is arguably the best two way radio from Cobra. It is among the best products you can get when you are looking for versatile long range walkie talkies. It will be incredibly useful for hiking, camping trips, hunting and any other outdoor adventure you fancy.
The CXT1045R radio has a maximum communication range of 37 miles which is impressive for long range two way radios. It also features 22 channels which are combined with the 121 privacy codes (38 CTCSS/83 DCS) to block interference from other radios and enjoy smooth communication. There are 10 NOAA weather channels to keep you updated about inclement weather.
8. BaoFeng UV-5R
This is one of the most valuable products in the list. It is compact two way radio that is also economical. The sort of performance it offers, however, is top of the class. It features 128 channels, 50 CTCSS and 104 DCS. With the radio, you have the option of high/low power settings (4W/1W). It is equally a programmable amateur radio with option for commercial FM radio reception. It also gives you the ability to customize channel names.
Other important features of the BaoFeng UV 5R Dual Band radio include Auto Keypad Lock, Dual Display and Dual Standby. It is powered by two 1500 Mah Lithium Polymer batteries that are included in the package.
9. BaoFeng BF-888S
This is a valuable pack of 20 pieces of two way radios that will be very helpful when you enjoy outdoor adventure with your friends. It doesn’t matter what kind of outdoor adventure you are engaged in, this radio will make sure that you have clear communication while you are in remote environments.
It is a moderate 16 channel radio with 50 CTCSS/105 CDCSS for better communication .There are numerous other impressive features including VOX function, Voice Prompt, PC Programming, Emergency Alarms, Intelligent charging, Low Voltage alert and flashlight. It is powered by 1 Lithium ion battery that is included in the package. Considering that the package comes with 20 different Radios and sells for a budget price, it is a valuable pack you must consider adding to your collection.
10. Arcshell AR-5
This is a valuable long range two way radios that can be very useful in different kinds of outdoor adventures. Whether you are looking for two ways radios for mountains or serious walkie talkies for hunting, you will find this budget device very helpful.
The RF Power Output of the device is 3 watts. Range is dependent on terrain but you can get clear sounds from 5 miles away. It also comes with 16 pre-programmed channels with additional 50 CTCSS tones and 105 CDCSS tones on each programmed channel. It is powered by strong 1500mAh researchable Li-ion battery. The package comes with several accessories like 4 antennas, 4 chargers, 4 Li-ion batteries, 4 belt clips, 4 handstraps, 4 earphones, and 4 user’s manuals.
Knowing about two-way radios and how they work will not be enough to make the right decision when buying. There are other relevant information you need to know and we will summarize the most important ones below.
Two-way radios are configured in two major ways namely, General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) and Family Radio Service (FRS). The first type (GMRS) comprises of high-power models that can use up to 22 different channels and operate on 1-2 watts. In the past, they were exclusively available for commercial use but have since been made available for recreational uses even though you may need license to operate them in certain places. The second one (FRS) are not as powerful. Even though 22 channels are available, they mostly transmit on a total of 14 channels. They also operate on half watt.
Two-way radios can also be classified as standard walkie talkies, handheld radios, vehicle mounted mobiles, and desktop base stations.
What are two-way radios?
Two-way radios are handheld devices that transmit and receive radio signals for short-range communications. They are also called walkie-talkies by many people and are useful for several activities that involve spending time where there are no radio signals. There are long-range two way radios that will let you keep in touch with family, friends, and employees when you are somewhere where there are no cell services. These long range walkie talkies should be among the first things you should check when heading out to secluded places.
How do they work?
These devices send and receive information using radio signals. They rely majorly on line-of-sight so they are more likely to work best when you are in large open place. This, however, does not mean that they cannot work when there are walls and obstacles. Their efficiencies will be hampered by the obstacles but they can still transmit and receive information.
Factors to consider when choosing two-way radios
After deciding on the type of two-way radios you want to buy, there are a number of other factors you need to consider in order to make the right choice. We will briefly discuss these important factors here:
The range of the device is one of the first things you will want to consider when you are looking for radio devices. Whether you are searching for two-way radios for hunting or two-way radios for mountains, you need to make sure the range is adequate to enable communication between where you plan to reach and where you will likely send information or receive signals from.
The power output of your two-way radio plays a significant role in the range you can obtain while using them. This means you will have to go for radios with higher wattage if you hope to get more range. Devices with higher power are also needed if you are going to be using the radio in an urban area or thick forests with several huge trees that can interfere with signal.
It often follows that the bigger the antenna of a two-way radio, the better it will be. This is because the bigger antennas have higher effective radiated power that play significant role in the range you will obtain with any radio. Small antennas can only be beneficial if you do not go too far and your most desired quality is portability.
Most two-way radios come with 22 channels that have up to 121 privacy codes each. For FRS users, 14 channels are available for use: 7 FRS channels and 7 channels shared with GMRS users. Those with GMRS radios can access the 14 channels as well as 8 others made exclusively for GMRS users.
You also need to get a two-way radio with strong batteries that will serve you for as long as possible. There are some that run on traditional AA or AAA batteries and others that use rechargeable batteries. The best thing is to have a radio with strong batteries that can last as long as possible while you are out there hunting, skiing and doing any other things when there are no cell networks.
There are some other factors you have to consider like IP, Noise filter, waterproof, keypad lock, headset jack and others. We don’t have enough space to cover all but we considered all of them in picking the products featured in this top ten two-way radios.