Two-Way Radio Reviews: Best 10 Two-Way Radios in 2020

Best 2 Way Radio Reviews 2020


Best Two-Way Radios Review


Best 2 Way Radio Reviews 2020

We often use  a two-way radio when we can’t use our cellphones, so we may find ourselves completely dependent on them for communication. That’s why it’s so important to find the right one. A good handheld two-way radio is durable, has a long battery life, and has a long range of reception for communication.

We’ve dug deep into the hundreds of Amazon reviews of  2 way radios (sometimes called Walkie Talkies) and picked out the radios with the highest number of stars and the most positive feedback so you can figure out which is the best two-way radio for you. We have been very exhaustive into this two-way radio comparison.


Our picks

Mike’s Top Pick & Premium Pick:

Uniden GMR5089-2CKHS Submersible 50 Mile FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radios

Uniden

The Uniden GMR5089 review is Mike’s Gear Reviews’ Top and Premium Pick for the most durable and reliable two-way radio. This two-way radio had some of the same features as other radios, but its unique features stood out the most.

Why it’s our Top Pick:

  • Can be submerged in 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes
  • Clear and loud communication at a maximum distance of 50 miles on flat land
  • Floats so it can be easily retrieved if dropped in water

Button to Buy Uniden GMR5089-2CKHS Submersible 50 Mile FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radios


Value Pick:

Arcshell Rechargeable Long Range Two-Way Radios (2 Pack)

ArcShell

The Arcshell two-way radio review is a good option if you’re not looking to spend much money, and are looking for a short-range radio.

Why it’s our Value Pick:

  • Inexpensive, easy-to-use, works at short distances

Button Arcshell Rechargeable Long Range Two-Way Radios (2 Pack)


 Contents

Introduction

Table of Contents

Comparison Charts

Product Reviews

Our picks

What to know before buying a two-way radio

Radio frequency types

Radio Services Types

Conclusion


Comparison Chart

PLAN - PRICE

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NOAA Weather scan

Long battery life

Unobstructed range of 50 miles

FRS and GMRS

Water resistant

Rechargeable battery only

VOX(Voice Operated)

License needed

NOAA Weather scan

Long battery life

Unobstructed range of 36 miles

GMRS

Water resistant

AA and rechargeable battery

VOX(Voice Operated)

License needed

NOAA Weather scan

-

Unobstructed range of 25 miles

FRS and GMRS

Not water resistant

AA and rechargeable battery

VOX(Voice Operated)

License needed

PLAN - PRICE

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2 Ways Radio Long Range Samcom FPCN10A (Pack of 3)

-

Long battery life

Unobstructed range of 2.5 miles

GMRS

Not water resistant

Rechargeable battery only

VOX(Voice Operated)

License needed

Motorola MR350R 35-Mile Range 220Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio (Pair)

NOAA Weather scan

-

Long battery life

Unobstructed range of 25 miles

FRS and GMRS

Water resistant

AA and Rechargeable battery

VOX(Voice Operated)

License needed

Arcshell Rechargeable Long Range Two-Way Radios (2 Pack)

-

-

Unobstructed range of 2.5 miles

FRS

 Water resistant

Rechargeable battery only

VOX(Voice Operated)

Does not need license

Cobra ACXT545 Walkie Talkie

NOAA Weather scan


Long battery life

Unobstructed range of 28 miles

FRS

Water resistant

AAA batteries only

VOX(Voice Operated)

Does not need license


Product Reviews

Midland GXT1000VP4, 50 Channel GMRS Two-Way Radio

Midland

This radio has a lots of great features including a three-year warranty, water protection, clear and loud sound, and up to a 36-mile range of communication. One downside to this 2 way radio review is that, since it uses GMRS frequency you will need to obtain a GMRS license in the US.

Pros:
-3 year warranty
-Has both AA battery and rechargeable NiMH battery
-Clear and loud sound with a maximum 36-mile range of communication
-Ensure safety with a weather alert radio and SOS Siren
-Small size and lightweight make this radio very portable
-Water resistant

Cons:
-Rechargeable battery drains quite quickly
-GMRS license required
-Complicated Group Mode setup

Other specs:

  • Price: 2 units for budget price
  • Voice-operated
  • NOAA Weather scan available
  • Frequency: GMRS
  • 50 channels with 142 privacy codes

Button to Buy Midland GXT1000VP4, 50 Channel GMRS Two-Way Radio


Uniden GMR5089-2CKHS Submersible 50 Mile FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radios

Uniden

This 2 way radio is extremely durable: it can be completely submerged in 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes.

Pros:
-Clear and loud sound with a 50-mile range of communication and direct calling feature
-Great in water: floats and can be submerged to a depth of 3 feet for 30 minutes
-Long battery life: Rechargeable battery lasts for days

Cons:
-Unlike most 2 way radios, standard batteries can’t be used as backup
-GMRS License required

Other specs:

  • Price: 2 units for mid-price
  • Voice-operated
  • NOAA weather scan available
  • Frequency: FRS and GMRS
  • 22 channels with 142 privacy codes

Button to Buy Uniden GMR5089-2CKHS Submersible 50 Mile FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radios


Motorola T260TP Talkabout Radio, 3 Pack

Motorola-t260

With a maximum 25 mile communication range, dual power source and weather alerts, this is a great entry-level 2 way radio. However, there are some downsides.

Pros:
-Clear audio at a range of up to 25 miles
-Weather channels and alerts
-Has both AA battery and rechargeable battery

Cons:
-Rechargeable battery drains fast
-Not water resistant

Other specs:

  • Price: 2 units for higher-tier price and top quality
  • Voice-operated
  • NOAA weather scan available
  • Frequency: FRS and GMRS (license required)
  • 22 channels with 121 privacy codes

Button to Buy Motorola T260TP Talkabout Radio, 3 Pack


2 Ways Radio Long Range Samcom FPCN10A (Pack of 3)

2Ways

This radio is dual purpose: it works outdoors as a standard 2 way radio and indoors as an intercom. It has clear communication for up to 2.5 miles.

Pros:
-Lifetime quality warranty
-Easy to use to use
-Can be used as an intercom and can be synced to work with other intercoms

Cons:
-No access to NOAA weather channel
-Not waterproof

Other specs:

  • Price: 3 units for mid price
  • Voice-operated
  • Frequency: GMRS (license required)
  • 20 channels

Button to Buy 2 Ways Radio Long Range Samcom FPCN10A (Pack of 3)


Motorola MR350R 35-Mile Range 22 Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio (Pair)

MotorolaMR350

Another entry-level 2 way radio from Motorola, the MR250R is the best two-way radio for emergencies.

Pros:
-Great for emergencies: has built-in flashlight and emergency alert feature
-Emergency alert feature
-Lightweight
-Good battery life

Cons:
-Not waterproof

Other specs:

  • Price: 2 units for mid price
  • Voice-operated
  • NOAA weather scan available
  • Frequency: FRS and GMRS
  • 22 channels with 121 privacy codes

Button to Buy Motorola MR350R 35-Mile Range 22 Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio (Pair)


Arcshell Rechargeable Long Range Two-Way Radios (2 Pack)

ArcShell

While not one of the most durable two-way radios, this is a less expensive option that can be used effectively for short ranges.

Pros:
-One of the most affordable quality 2 way radios
-Loud, clear sound, lightweight and easy to use

Cons:
-Battery life is not long lasting: needs frequent charging
-No access to NOAA weather scan

Other specs:

  • Price: 2 units for budget price
  • Voice-operated
  • Frequency: FRS
  • 16 channels

Button to Buy Arcshell Rechargeable Long Range Two-Way Radios (2 Pack)


Cobra ACXT545 Walkie Talkie

Cobra ACXT545 Walkie Talkie

This two-way radio is good for extreme weather conditions: it has a built-in flashlight and is water resistant. However, 28 mile communication range is very dependent on terrain being clear.  

Pros:
-Great for extreme weather: built-in flashlight, water-resistant
-Clear sound and good battery life
-Vibrating feedback notifies user of incoming transmissions

Cons:
-Only one power source

Other specs:

  • Price: 2 units for budget – mid price
  • Voice-operated
  • NOAA weather scan available
  • Frequency: FRS
  • 22 channels with 121 privacy codes

Button to Buy Cobra ACXT545 Walkie Talkie


Retevis RT628 Kids Walkie Talkies 22 Channel FRS Toy for Kids 

Retevis RT628 Kids Walkie Talkies 22 Channel FRS Toy for Kids 

Looking for the best walkie talkies for kids? Try RT628 from Retevis. Retevis is a global and well-known China-based manufacturer for wireless communication tools. The global brand is most popular for its two-way radios, offering its products in more than 180 countries all over the globe.

Retevis RT628 is one of their most popular low-range models for kids. The walkie talkie allows both one-to-one and one-to-more communication, enabling kids even to enjoy a group call with friends.

The model is designed to feel more like a mobile phone as it features VOX function, provides hands-free experience, and comes with an LCD display.

Available in 4 different colors, Retevis RT628 is among the best walkie talkies for kids. As the walkie talkie comes with clips and belts, it’s really easy for kids to carry and clip them to their pockets and backpacks.

The walkie talkie is rechargeable and uses a 1000 mAh battery. However, it comes with a long battery life, so you don’t have to charge it every single day. As it comes with a Micro-USB jack, charging is similar to your phone. The LCD display also indicates battery status, so you know when to recharge.

The automatic squelch function ranks it among the best walkie talkies for kids as it can wipe out all the background sounds, allowing kids to chit chat even in crowded places. The buttons are also big and visible, making it easier for even younger kids to use this model.

Pros

-Lightweight, portable, and easy to carry for your kids as weighs only 90 g.

-You can set caller ringtone and buttons sounds according to your kid’s     liking.

-Offers you an option to choose between rechargeable batteries and normal   battery cells.

-The hidden button to take out the battery is really difficult for kids to   locate. With RT628, you don’t have to worry about your kids losing the   batteries again and again.

-Includes locks to refrain kids from clicking unnecessary buttons.

Cons

-The 3 AA batteries are not included as you have to purchase them       separately.

-Limited range.

Other specs

  • Price: Two units for a low price.
  • Ensures safe communication through 22 FRS channels and 99 CTCSS.
  • Works for a mile on average.
  • Features a voice that tells the user which channel they are using.
  • It comes with a 12-month warranty.

Button to Buy Retevis RT628 Kids Walkie Talkies 22 Channel FRS Toy for Kids 

Midland GXT1050VP4 50 Channel GMRS Two-Way Radio

Midland GXT1050VP4 50 Channel GMRS Two-Way RadioNext on our list is GXT1050VP4 from Midland Radios. Also known as Midland Radio Corporation, Midland Radios is a famous US-based brand known for its best two way radios for mountains. Known as the oldest manufacturer of CB Radios in the US, the brand now offers an impressive range of products, including mountain radios.

The Midland GXT1050VP4 is specifically designed as a hiking radio. The radio features 50 GMRS (general mobile radio service) channels, an impressive range of 36 miles, waterproof design, and built-in animal call alerts, making it the best two way radios for mountains and hunting.

Moreover, the model comes with multiple power settings: low, medium, and high, allowing you to adjust and save battery when required.

To ensure privacy, Midland GXT1050VP4 also features privacy codes, allowing the user to block unwanted conversations. The product comes with two rechargeable batteries, charger, adapter, mic headsets, clips, and a manual. You can also use 8 AA batteries that come along with the set.

Pros

-Water-resistant as it comes with JIS4 water protection.

-Consists of animal alerts, making it an ideal gadget for hunting.

-NOAA Weather Scan with quick weather updates and alerts, informing the   user about poor weather conditions in advance.

-Call alerts.

-Hands-free operation with eVOX.

-Lightweight (weighs only 4.8 ounces)

Cons

-Easy to lose as they’re relatively small in size.

-Need a license for GMRS.

Other specs:

  • Price: Two units for affordable price with accessories.
  • The whole set consists of a 120V dual desktop charger, AC adapter, DC adapter, making it the best walkie talkie for hiking.
  • Three-year warranty for radio and 90 days warranty for the accessories.

Button to Buy Midland GXT1050VP4 50 Channel GMRS Two-Way Radio

Uniden SX507-2CKHS Up to 50 Mile Range FRS Two-Way Radio Walkie Talkies W/Dual Charging Cradle

Uniden SX507-2CKHS Up to 50 Mile Range FRS Two-Way Radio Walkie Talkies W/Dual Charging Cradle

Let’s move onto the long range two way radios review of Uniden-SX507. Uniden is a Japanese brand known for its easy-to-use long range walkie talkies. Founded in 1966, the global brand offers a wide range of electronic communication devices to choose from, including long range two way radios.

If you’re looking for an impressive range for your radio, Uniden-SX507 can make a perfect option. Easily one of the best long range walkie talkies out there, it offers a 50-mile range, allowing long-distance communication.

As Uniden-SX507 is waterproof, long-range, and comes with NOAA Weather Scan + Alert and an impressive battery life of 14 hours, it’s perfect for hiking, biking, and camping on difficult terrains. Available in 6 different range options, from 16 to 50 miles, this model is rated as the most powerful two way radio available in the market.

Along with call alerts, the long range two way radio also features vibration alerts. The model also allows you to choose from 10 caller tones. The feasible USB charging jack makes it convenient for you to charge batteries.

Pros

-JS17 certified, the waterproof radio can stay in water for 30 minutes.

-The material used allows the radios to float easily, eliminating the need to   dive in and search for the walkie talkie in case you drop one.

-Enables communication with people using different radios of different     models and brands.

-NOAA Weather alerts keep you aware of the poor weather conditions.

-Easy to carry with belt clips.

-Features 22 channels and 142 codes for privacy, enabling smooth   communication without any interruptions.

Cons

-The price range is slightly high compared to some other options on our list.

-Heavy

Other specs

  • Price: 2 Units for a higher price, mostly due to the long-range.
  • Long-range two way radio features 142 direct call codes.
  • It has dual charging cradles.
  • The whole set includes two radios, belt clips, six rechargeable batteries, dual charging cradle, two hands-free earbuds, and a USB adapter.

Button to Buy Uniden SX507-2CKHS Up to 50 Mile Range FRS Two-Way Radio Walkie Talkies W/Dual Charging Cradle

BaoFeng BF-F8HP 8-Watt Dual Band Two-Way Radio

BaoFeng BF-F8HP 8-Watt Dual Band Two-Way Radio

The best walkie talkie for overall features and value offered against money comes from BaoFeng Tech, a well-established US-brand. BaoFeng is known for its cheap walkie talkies without compromising on quality. One of their best-rated walkie talkies, the BF-F8HP, is a prime example of the quality they offer.

The latest model is an upgrade of their previous popular UV-5R radio and comes with more battery life (uses 2000 mAh battery), more power, better features, extra protection, and durability. With a high setting, you can use it for 20 hours with a single charge.

Pros

-It comes with V-85 High Gain Antenna to enhance performance.

-Allows you to adjust battery settings: high, medium, and low.

-It comes with a built-in flashlight and FM radio.

-30% larger battery, making it the best walkie talkie to use for long periods.

Cons

-Requires PC03 FTDI Programming Cable.

-Only available in black color.

Other Specs

  • Tri-color display.
  • It comes with the latest N5R-340A firmware that is not present in most other walkie talkies.
  • Usually, two way radio walkie talkies don’t have any user manual, but this one comes with an in-depth user manual, explaining every detail on how to use this walkie talkie.

In case you are confused between the traditional radios, two-way radios, and walkie talkies, keep in mind, they’re not the same. A two-way radio can send and receive radio signals and acts as an audio transceiver. A typical radio can only receive radio signals.

On the other hand, a two-way walkie talkie also acts as a two-way radio, but usually comes with limited features, and is lightweight and portable compared to two-way radios.

Button to Buy BaoFeng BF-F8HP 8-Watt Dual Band Two-Way Radio


What to know before buying a two-way radio

Two-Way Radios Review

Two-way radios (a.k.a. walkie talkies), are handheld portable electronic devices that transmit and receive radio signals. 2 way radios are a reliable form of communication, especially in areas where there is no cellphone signal.

When selecting the best two-way radios for our top picks, we took into consideration the following criteria, as well as the positive review feedback:

  • Range: distance of communication allowed by radio (usually around 2 to 3 miles in a forested setting)
  • Frequency radio operates on (some require specific licenses)
  • Battery life and backup power source
  • Size and weight determines how easily portable the radio will be
  • Antenna length indicates how good the radio’s reception will be; the longer antenna, the better the reception
  • Channels allow for communication and privacy codes allow for private communication
  • Waterproof or resistant radios are good for durability, as two-way radios are often used outside
  • Other features:
      • NOAA Weather Alerts  give alerts to the two-way radio if severe weather is close by
      • VOX: Voice-activated talking is a hands-free feature that enables the radio to respond to voice commands
      • GPS indicates location
      • Headset jack allows radio to be hands-free

Here’s some more information about what you might want to consider when buying a 2 way radio.

Radio frequency types

Radio frequency determines the strength of the signal of the radio and the clearness and distance of communication. The higher the frequency, the stronger the signal.

  • UHF: Ultra High Frequency
    • Ranges between 300 megahertz and 3 gigahertz
  • VHF: Very High Frequency
    •  Ranges between 30 and 300 megahertz
  • HF: High Frequency
    • Ranges between 3 and 30 megahertz. These radio spectrums determine which signal can find its way through buildings or open spaces.

Radio Services Types

Two-way radios will operate on one of or a hybrid of radio services. The performance of your radio also depends on the type or the combo of radio services used.

  • Ham Radio (Amateur Radio Service)

    • Personal use
    • License required to use in the US
    • Uses all frequencies: HF, VHF and UHF
    • Suggested for: Hobbyists
    • Functions: global communication via data, images, texts, video, and Morse code
  • GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service)

    GMRS is another popular radio service that is commonly used for short-distance communication, mostly by two way radios and walkie talkies. Unlike FRS, you need a license for GMRS in the US (No license in Canada), which is a land-mobile Fm UHF radio service.

    The best GMRS radio looks similar to FRS radio, as they both shared the same frequency range between 462 MHz and 467 MHz. You can find both portable as well as GMRS base station radios in the market.

    GMRS radios are good for short-distance communication, mostly around 2 to 5 miles. However, more powerful radio like 50 watt GMRS radio with high antenna can extend the reach.

    If you want a GMRS radio for your family, one license is sufficient. However, to use for a business, you need a separate license for each employee.

    Key Features:

    • Personal and business use
    • License required in the US
    • 15 channels allowed, 7 shared by Family Radio Service (FRS) and 8 dedicated GMRS channels
    • Suggested for: anyone
    • Functions: short-distance communication (within two miles)
  • FRS (Family Radio Service)

    Even though FRS is in use in the United States since 1996, most of us still wonder what is FRS? In simple words, To be honest, it is a radio service designed to facilitate two-way communication through radio or walkie talkies. FRS is mostly rated as a better option than other services like CB as it experiences less interference. This is why we recommend buying the best FRS radio. You don’t even need license to use FRS radio.

    FRS uses ultra-high frequency (UHF), from 462 MHz to 467. It’s seen as a low-cost alternative to other radio services, specifically designed to cater to the needs of walkie talkie users.

    Modern walkie talkies or the best FRS radios can use FRS to communicate privately within a limited range using privacy codes and channels. If looking for the best FRS radios, you can choose between radios with an attached antenna or table-top FRS radio base station with whip antennas.

    Key Features:

    • Personal use
    • No license required in the US
    • 14 FRS channels, 7 shared with GMRS
    • Suggested for: outdoor enthusiasts
    • Functions: short-distance communication (within two miles)
  • CB (Citizens Band Radio Service)

    • Business and personal and professional use
    • No license required in the US
    • 40 channels
    • 27 MHz HF band
    • Suggested for: truckers, on-the-road usage in the US-only
  • MURS (Multi-Use Radio Service)

    • Business or personal use
    • No license required in the US
    • 5 VHF channels, only 2 watts of power
  • Marine Band (Marine Radio Service)

    • Business use
    • No license required in the US, but international license required
    • Suggested for: ship-to-ship or ship-to-shore communication
    • 80 VHF channels from 156 to 174 MHz from 1 to 25 watts of power
  • Air Band  (Aviation Radio Service)

    • Business use
    • No license required in the US
    • Suggested for: aircraft communication
    • VHF frequency from 5 to 8 watts of power
  • PLMRS (Private Land Mobile Radio Service, or Business Radio Service)

    • Business use
    • License required in the US
    • Suggested for: business usage
    • VHF frequency from 1 to 5 watts, with desktop-based option with more power

Conclusion

When looking for the absolute best two-way radio, there are many criteria to consider. MikesGearReviews has done that for you! We compared how each rates based on criteria that included, among other things, durability, battery life, and communication range. We hope that these product reviews and explanation of some of the important criteria can help you make a decision about which 2 way radio to buy for yourself.


Are you getting ready to start a new adventure? Mike’sGearReviews will help you with your check list: Do you have a trail camera? Did you get your new tactical watch?

PLAN - PRICE

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NOAA Weather scan

Long battery life

Unobstructed range of 50 miles

FRS and GMRS

Water resistant

Rechargeable battery only

VOX(Voice Operated)

License needed

NOAA Weather scan

Long battery life

Unobstructed range of 36 miles

GMRS

Water resistant

AA and rechargeable battery

VOX(Voice Operated)

License needed

NOAA Weather scan

-

Unobstructed range of 25 miles

FRS and GMRS

Not water resistant

AA and rechargeable battery

VOX(Voice Operated)

License needed

PLAN - PRICE

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2 Ways Radio Long Range Samcom FPCN10A (Pack of 3)

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Long battery life

Unobstructed range of 2.5 miles

GMRS

Not water resistant

Rechargeable battery only

VOX(Voice Operated)

License needed

Motorola MR350R 35-Mile Range 220Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio (Pair)

NOAA Weather scan

-

Long battery life

Unobstructed range of 25 miles

FRS and GMRS

Water resistant

AA and Rechargeable battery

VOX(Voice Operated)

License needed

Arcshell Rechargeable Long Range Two-Way Radios (2 Pack)

-

-

Unobstructed range of 2.5 miles

FRS

 Water resistant

Rechargeable battery only

VOX(Voice Operated)

Does not need license

Cobra ACXT545 Walkie Talkie

NOAA Weather scan


Long battery life

Unobstructed range of 28 miles

FRS

Water resistant

AAA batteries only

VOX(Voice Operated)

Does not need license

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Uniden GMR5089-2CKHS Submersible 50 Mile FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radios
Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star

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