Best Overall: Retevis RT-5R
This one is our absolute favorite. It has some pretty great and unique features, like a locking keypad, an alarm system, and earpieces, but what’s even better than that is that it is incredibly easy to use. Impressive 128 channels, a decent 36 mile range and a flashlight seal the deal. You can’t really go wrong here.
Budget Pick: Midland LXT500VP3
At this price, this is the cheapest walkie talkie that we’ve found that’s still long-range and high quality. It may be cheaper than the others on the list, but it also has a range of up to 24 miles, it’s completely waterproof, and has 22 channels to scan, so you’re not sacrificing any features for the lower price point. If you’re on a budget, but you still want a high quality and reliable set of walkie talkies, this is a really great option.
Best For Long Range: Uniden SX507-2CKHS FRS
If distance is the most important feature to you in your search, the Uniden SX507 is the best walkie talkie for you. Clocking in at an impressive (up to) 50 miles, this one boasts a significantly longer range than any of the others, by far. Most of the others land in the range of 30 to 37 miles. Now, it will only work at the max of 50 miles in absolutely ideal conditions, but with the added distance, it’s still more likely to continue working longer than the others, even if you’re in bad conditions.
How We Picked
Have you ever been out somewhere and then suddenly realized that you’ve lost all cell phone reception? Maybe you’re camping with friends and you’ve wandered off to explore, or your job entails being out in nature or on a job site and you need to communicate with your coworkers, but you can’t get a signal. Walkie Talkies are great for these exact situations, and many others.
With all the great things that smartphones can do now, they’re not always enough for effective communication in areas that are far from cell towers. Cell phone signals are finicky and unreliable, but there is a solution that doesn’t involve climbing to higher ground while reaching your arm and cell phone high up over your head to try to find a spot where you can make a call.
Walkie Talkies have many uses. Whether you’re looking for ones that are good just for fun, a hobby, for work, vacations, moves, emergencies, or for your kids, there are plenty of options to choose from. There are different brands, different distances, different prices and battery life and so on. So, which one do you choose when you need a reliable long-range walkie talkie?
Today, we are going to show you the ten best long-range walkie talkies that we found for 2019. We’ll provide you with all of the information that we’ve gathered that will help you make the best decision for your individual needs, and explain why they’re our favorites. We will also provide you with our top picks from the list, and a handy buyer’s guide.
#1 Olympia R100
- Range: up to 37 miles
- Durability: waterproof, dust protected, and splash-proof
- Channels: 50
- Size: 2.6 x 1.3 x 7.7 inches / 4.8 ounces (0.3 pounds)
First on our list is the Olympia R100 Long Range Radio. Olympia has been around for a while and is known to provide quality, durable products to their customers. The average range of a standard walkie talkie is one mile, so the R100’s range of 37 miles (in optimum conditions) makes it a really great long-range option. This is a powerful tool that fits right into the palm of your hand. The waterproof and dust protection features make it a durable, rugged option for indoor or outdoor use.
The next feature that makes this one of our favorites is that it you get 50 preset channels, plus seven NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) channels so that you can get local weather alerts whenever you need them. This high number of channels gives you a great amount of options to communicate without dealing with a ton of noise interference, which is pretty important.
And finally, what’s included: in the Olympia R100 kit, you get two radios, two belt clips, one charging adaptor with dual connectors, two rechargeable battery packs, and an owner’s manual.
What We Like
This is one of the best long-range walkie talkies that we’ve found in our search. The range makes it ideal for most outdoor situations, it’s durable, and it’s a great size if you only have one hand available. It is also compatible with most headsets if you have no hands available, which is really convenient, and one of our favorite features.
For those looking for durable, long-range outdoor communication, this is a great option. It’s on the smaller side, so it’s great if you want to keep your bags light or you only have one free hand, but may not be the best option if you’re prone to dropping things and you’re looking for something with a little more heft. It’s strong enough not to break, but it’s something to consider. It is also a bit more expensive than some of the others, but you really get what you’re paying for here. Finally, the 37-mile range is on the higher side, and it will give you more freedom than some of your other options.
#2 Midland LXT500VP3
- Range: up to 24 miles
- Durability: water resistant
- Channels: 22 channels
- Size: 1 x 2 x 6 inches / 1 pound
Next up, we have the Midland LXT500VP3. The range isn’t as high as the Olympia R100, but when you consider the fact that the average range of walkie talkies is actually just one mile, this is still a great option. When you’re making your final decision, ask yourself if those extra few miles are a deal breaker or not.
This one is water resistant, rather than full-on waterproof, so it may be slightly less durable if you’re spending time near a lake, pond, or stream, but in all other conditions, it will be durable enough for general use.
With the Midland, you have 22 channel options to choose from, so if you run into any static or casual banter, or other interruptions, you can easily switch to another channel for long-range, clear communication with your intended party.
This kit comes with two radios, two rechargeable battery packs, one desktop charger, one AC wall adapter, two belt clips, and an owner’s manual.
Lastly, the size is one of the best features of this product. It’s still small enough to fit in the palm of one hand, but it weighs a little more than some of the others, which may make it feel a bit sturdier, while still being light enough to carry and small enough to stow.
What We Like
This radio is a great price compared to most of the others. It’s an Amazon’s Choice product, has multiple color options, and it’s sturdy while still carrying some heft. One thing that makes this radio unique is the keypad control. The keypad comes with a lock to prevent accidental transmissions or activations, and it also has an option that provides audible sounds when you press each key so that you know that it’s working. But if you’d rather operate in silence, this feature can easily be turned off again.
For anyone looking for a reliable, cost-efficient, long-range option, the Midland LXT500VP3 covers all the bases.
#3 Motorola Talkabout Radio MH230R
- Range: 23 miles
- Durability: dust protection and dripping water protection
- Channels: 22
- Size: 2.14 x 1.15 x 6.21 inches / 1.3 pounds
This radio’s range is 23 miles, which is about where we’d expect it to land for a long-range option. Of course, this can change depending on the weather and other external factors, but that’s true for all long-range communication options, and the promise of 23 miles is always a pretty intriguing feature.
In terms of durability, the Motorola Talkabout offers dust protection, shock resistance, and vertically dripping water protection, which should be sufficient for most situations. The product isn’t described as “waterproof” or “water resistant”, so if that’s important to you, this may be something to keep in mind when making your purchase. But otherwise, this is a great option.
The radio offers 22 channels, so it’s easy to bounce around until you find one that’s quiet and free from outside interference. It also comes with 11 weather channels that will send you local weather alerts as they occur.
This one comes with two radios, two belt clips, one dual charger, one charging adaptor, and two rechargeable battery packs. Recharged batteries in this radio will last about eight hours at a time. The radios weigh 1.3 pounds each, so they’re the heaviest so far, but still very light-weight and portable.
What We Like
Motorola has been making consumer products for nearly one hundred years. The fact that they’ve managed to stay relevant in today’s constantly changing technological world says good things about the way they conduct business and serve their customers. Plus, their small black and yellow radio sparks some nostalgia and reminds us of Motorola’s super sturdy, old cell phones.
This is a reliable, sturdy, and moderately priced long-range option. If you’re nostalgic or looking to spend a little less, and you don’t care about it being waterproof or water resistant, this is likely to be your best bet.
#4 Luiton LT-188H VHF 10W Walkie Talkie
- Range: Up to 10 miles
- Durability: No protection features
- Channels: 16
- Size: 2.3 x 1.7 x 4.7 inches / 10.4 ounces (0.65 pounds)
Now, this may be the radio with the lowest range on the list, but it also offers quite a few more features than most of its competitors do. 10 miles is more than most of us would need, so it should still be sufficient in most cases, especially if we consider the average one-mile range of regular walkie talkies, but if you need more, another option from our list would be better for you.
The Luiton LT-188H VHF is not waterproof, water resistant, or dust proof, but it comes with a belt clip and a wrist strap to minimize the chance of damage from being dropped. If you’re a casual user and you’re not worried about damaging your walkie talkie, this shouldn’t be a problem.
You can only scan through 16 channels with this one, but it offers powerful transmitting that outranks most others. It also offers some pretty interesting features that aren’t available with many others, like the ability to choose between high or low power in order to increase the available range or to save the battery. This radio will also alert you when channels are busy or your batteries are low.
Weighing in at 1.2 pounds, the size is pretty average: nothing to be excited or alarmed about. It will fit in one hand, clip neatly into your belt, sit comfortably in a backpack pocket, or dangle casually from your wrist with no issues.
This radio kit comes with one radio, one battery pack, one power adapter, one antenna, one belt clip, one wrist strap, one programming cable, one software CD, and a user’s manual. It’s offered on Amazon for a great price, so even if you have to buy two, it’s still a pretty good deal.
What We Like
This option comes with a lot of extras. One of our favorites is the squelch adjustment feature, which suppresses the sounds of annoying background channel noises that occur when the radio isn’t receiving an active transmission. It’s very small, but packs a powerful, efficient punch.
With programing software, powerful transmission, high/low power options, and alerts for busy channels and low battery, this is a professional grade walkie talkie.
#5 Motorola MS350R
- Range: up to 35 miles
- Durability: completely waterproof
- Channels: 22
- Size: 1.5 x 2.4 x 8.36 inches / 6.4 ounces (0.4 pounds)
Next up is number five, and Motorola makes the cut again. We’re not sure if anyone has talked this much about Motorola since the 90s, but they’re back and better than ever. This is the beefy big brother of the Motorola Talkabout Radio MH230R that we covered earlier.
The 35-mile range makes it one of the longest of all of the high range walkie talkie options that we’ve come across. The Olympia R100 beats it by just two miles. If the range is the most important feature for you, both of these walkie talkies rank extremely high in that category.
This radio is designed with harsh, rugged conditions in mind. It’s very durable, and completely waterproof. It can survive heavy downpours and water dunks, unlike many other walkie talkies. This is probably your best option if you or the conditions are rough, as there’s not much it can’t handle.
Clocking in at 22 channels to scan through, it ranks pretty high in that aspect, too. And weighing only a measly 6.4 ounces, it’s pretty impressive that something so small can be so strong.
This kit comes with two walkie talkies, rechargeable batteries, two belt clips, and two charging docks.
What We Like
The Motorola MS350R isn’t just water resistant or splash proof or vertically dripping water proof, it is completely waterproof, making it one of (if not THE most) the most sturdy and durable options we could find in today’s market. Its ergonomic design makes it easier to hold on to, and overall, it’s very easy to use.
If you need a product that is built for the extreme outdoors, this is it. This radio is perfect for kayaking, hiking, biking, fishing, and all other outdoor activities that may otherwise be damaging to a regular walkie talkie.
#6 Midland GXT1000VP4 GMRS
- Range: up to 36 miles
- Durability: waterproof
- Channels: 50
- Size: 4 x 2.4 x 1.4 inches / 4.8 ounces (0.3 pounds)
This is another one with great long-distance range, but what’s special about this walkie talkie is that it comes with two headsets for hands-free use, and a voice activation option. It also offers nine sensitivity level options so that you can find the setting that works best for communication in the exact type of area you’re in. The best part is that you can use this walkie talkie to broadcast an SOS signal in an emergency.
The product description tells us that this product is waterproof, but then it also says that it is splash resistant in the same line, so proceed with caution. It’s hard to tell if it’s completely waterproof or if you can wipe it down and continue use if it gets splashed while you’re traipsing through a stream.
Here we have 50 general channels to choose from, channel scan so you can check for activity before you choose one, and 10 weather band channels. The NOAA weather alert will set off an alarm if there is severe weather coming your way, and the walkie will automatically scan through the weather channels and lock onto the strongest one for you.
At less than half a pound, this is a great option if you’re limited on space or as excited about hands-free operation as we are. The kit comes with two radios, two rechargeable battery packs, two boom mic headsets, two belt clips, one dual desktop charger, one AC adapter, one DC adapter, and an owner’s manual.
What We Like
With the SOS signal option and the weather alerts, this walkie talkie would be extremely valuable to have in an emergency situation.
This is a great choice for professional use, extreme outdoor adventures, and any situation that requires you to have both hands free or may benefit from emergency alerts.
#7 Retevis RT-5R Two-Way Radio 128CH
- Range: up to 30 miles
- Durability: not waterproof
- Channels: 128
- Size: 4.3 x 2.3 x 1.3 inches / 6.6 ounces (0.5 pounds)
This one not only has a great range and high transmission power, but it also offers some bonus features. There is a high/low switch that you can use to increase your range or save battery power, an emergency beacon that you can use as a flashlight under normal circumstances, a locking keypad, an alarm system, earpieces, and voice prompts to help you setup and operate the walkie talkies.
Now, this walkie talkie is not waterproof, but it’s built well and is very sturdy otherwise, so if you’re not planning on being near the water, this is a really great option considering all of its other features.
With 128 channel options to scan through, this one lands on the top of the list in that aspect. This is the highest number of channels that we’ve found, which makes it easier to find one that isn’t full of traffic from other users.
At half a pound, this product is easy to strap into your belt clip and forget about until you need it. The kit comes with four radios, four antenna, four earpieces, four speak mics, four AC adapters and DC charger bases, four battery pack, four belt clips and hand strips, and four users’ manuals.
What We Like
The toggle between settings is great for saving battery when you need it, the flashlight is incredibly useful if you’ll be out in the dark (intentionally or accidentally), and the earpieces make it great for hands-free use. It’s also great if you need a kit that comes with more than two walkie talkies.
The list of extra features for this one is really impressive. This is a great walkie talkie for beginners who need to be walked through the setup and general use.
#8 Midland LXT630VP3 FRS
- Range: up to 30 miles
- Durability: waterproof
- Channels: 36
- Size: 1 x 2 x 7 inches / 1 pound
Midland has really taken over this list. At a range of up to 30 miles, this is another great option for long-range communication. It also offers hands-free voice activation, which can really come in handy when you’re out in the woods and need both hands.
This one is waterproof, sturdy, and overall very durable. The bright yellow color is also great because it provides high visibility if you’re with other people or you drop your walkie talkie somewhere.
36 channels is about average here, so you should be able to find a number of available channels to use. It also automatically scans through the 10 available weather channels to give you updates and alerts.
It’s slightly bigger than some of the others, but the added weight makes it feel sturdier, and it’s still not too heavy to carry in your hand if you decide not to use the voice activation option.
What We Like
Hands-free operation is always a plus, in our opinion. We also like the weather scan and alerts and the squelch option to block out other conversations.
This is a great, affordable walkie talkie with long-range, weather alerts, and voice activation options.
#9 Uniden SX507-2CKHS FRS
- Range: up to 50 miles
- Durability: waterproof, float
- Channels: 22
- Size: 7 x 4 x 3.5 inches / 1.92 pounds
A range of 50 miles makes this one of the highest quality professional options we could find. The actual range will vary depending on the terrain, but you can use it to communicate at 50 miles under ideal conditions (clear view, no large hills, buildings, or other obstructions).
This one is not only waterproof, but it will also float if you drop it in a lake or river. They can be submerged for up to 30 minutes under three feet of water and still work, which is very impressive.
The number of channels is slightly on the lower side (only when compared to a few of the others), but we think that the other features and benefits outweigh any perks you’d get from a few extra channels. You should still be able to find a number of available channels at this amount. You will also get NOAA weather alerts.
This is the heaviest walkie talkie on the list, but still a great size. It will fit in your bag, your hand, or clip easily to your belt. The kit comes with two radios, two belt clips, six rechargeable batteries, one USB to micro USB charging cable, and a user’s manual.
What We Like
Our favorite feature is its durability. If you’re going somewhere that puts you near water, having a walkie talkie that floats and can be submerged in water could prove to be very useful.
This is a high-quality, professional grade, durable option.
#10 Retevis RT1 High Power UHF
- Range: up to 4 miles
- Durability: shatter resistant
- Channels: 22
- Size: 5.24 x 2.32 x 1.42 inches / 7 ounces
Now, this one has the lowest range on our list, by far, but hear us out: this walkie talkie is proven to work at up to four miles even in a heavily wooded area, which may decrease the effectiveness of communication in the others. The industry standard is one mile, so this is still considered a long-range walkie talkie, and it is really ideal for construction or other work sites, and other harsh conditions with slightly shorter distances.
This walkie talkie is not waterproof, but it is shatter resistant, lightweight, and exceptionally durable. If you’re working on a job site or anywhere that’s not near water, it may be better to choose one that’s shatter resistant rather than waterproof, as it’s more likely to get dropped on the ground than to get wet under those conditions.
For professional use, 22 channels should be plenty to scan through, and the speaker mic allows you to operate it hands-free when you need to.
The size is great whether you need to hold it in your hand all day or stash it in a pocket or a belt clip. This one is a bit pricier than many of the other options, but Retevis offers a two-year warranty on the radios (not all of the other components), so it may be worth trying.
What We Like
This walkie talkie is designed with work sites in mind, so it’s built to be durable, crisp and clear, and easy to use without hands.
Retevis makes great, high-quality walkie talkies that are ideal for professional use. The powerful speaker supports clear communication in areas where there may be other noises, and the hands-free communication is ideal in many situations.
Buyer’s Guide to Finding the Best Walkie Talkie
With so many options to choose from, even with the best laid out in front of you it can be really hard to decide which walkie talkie is the right one for you and your individual needs. So now we’ll break down the most important features of these walkie talkies to make it easier to pick.
Before you decide on a walkie talkie, you’ll have to determine how long you need the range to be. Are you taking them a cruise with your family and you’ll only need them from a few rooms down the hall, or are you embarking on a 50-mile hike around Mount Rainier with other people that you need to keep in contact with for safety reasons? This is arguably the most important feature for a long-range walkie talkie, so be sure to calculate the distance you need so you know you’re getting the right one.
This is another important feature. No one wants to replace a walkie talkie that they bought to use on a beach trip because it fell in the water and wasn’t waterproof. Are you going to be somewhere near a lake, ocean, or pond? If so, you should choose one that is waterproof. If not, is there a chance you’ll get caught in a heavy rain? Maybe you should choose one that is at least water resistant then. If there’s no chance of water coming into play, are you facing other elements? Some are shatter-proof, which may be enough for anyone using these for professional reasons or away from bodies of water.
Having multiple channel options is really important because there are other people out there using walkie talkies that you probably don’t want to listen to or communicate with. If you’re going to be in a heavily populated area that you know may experience some interference, pick a walkie talkie with more channel options so you can scan through and find one that offers privacy to you and others in your party. The addition of weather channels is also really helpful if you’re going to be outside somewhere and your phone won’t have enough reception to receive weather alerts.
Wear and tear are guaranteed to happen, and sometimes things just flat-out break. Warranty information isn’t always easy to find at first glance, so be sure to take a look at the fine print and extra product details to see if your walkie talkie is covered by a warranty. Make sure you also check to see how long the warranty lasts, and which components of the kit it will cover. Sometimes the radios are covered, but not the chargers, battery packs, or headsets. If you’re someone who will use your walkie talkies frequently, in intense conditions, or around water, it would be good for you to choose one with a warranty, preferably one that lasts for more than a year because we’re always skeptical of companies who will only warranty that their product will last for six months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the difference between standard walkie talkies and long range walkie talkies?
A: The standard, average walkie talkies will allow you to communicate up to one mile apart. If you’re buying walkie talkies for kids or a short distance trip like a walk to the beach from your cabin, this is usually a sufficient distance. However, if you’re doing something a little more intense or at a greater distance like hiking, biking, camping, cruising, etc., you’ll probably need them to work farther apart. You’ll probably also need the increased durability that comes with long range walkie talkies.
Q: Are all walkie talkies waterproof?
A: The short answer is a resounding “no”. Some are waterproof, some are water resistant, some are splash proof, others offer protection from vertically falling moisture, and others offer none of these features at all. This is an important feature to take into consideration if you’re planning on using your walkie talkies anywhere near a lake, pond, stream, or other body of water, but even if this is not a part of your plan, you should also consider if you’ll be in an area that is prone to severe downpours.
Q: What is the benefit of using a walkie talkie instead of a traditional cell phone?
A: Walkie talkies are easy to use and offer the convenient “push to talk” feature, which allows you to instantly communicate with anyone in your party that’s using the same network. Walkie Talkies are built for use in extreme conditions and they typically come with rugged, dependable features, which is not usually the case for regular cell phones. Another perk of using walkie talkies instead of cell phones when you’re on a trip, outdoor adventure, or work site is that you don’t have to repeatedly pay for your walkie talkie the way you do with your cell phone. There aren’t any monthly fees or pay as you go minutes, regardless of how much you’re using them. You pay for your walkie talkies once, and then that’s it (until you need new batteries or want to upgrade, of course.)
Q: Is the voice activation option a necessity?
A: Voice activation is great for any situation where you may need both of your hands to be available to you. If you’re fishing, hunting, biking, traveling with children, on a job site, or performing other such physically demanding activities, a walkie talkie that is voice activated provides a highly appreciated level of convenience. It’s not absolutely necessary to have this feature if you can juggle multiple things at the same time or if you have a free hand, but it is really great to have in all other situations.
Q: What are ideal conditions for achieving optimal range?
A: Ideal conditions for the longest walkie talkie communication range are areas free from interference. Interference can be caused by large twisting hills, tall buildings, and sometimes extreme weather. These obstructions make it harder for the signal to get from one walkie talkie to the other. A clear, straight path between the two walkie talkies (like mountaintop to a valley directly below) will provide the best available range. It’s not likely that you’ll always be operating your walkie talkies in ideal, unobstructed conditions, so it’s important to take this into consideration when looking at the range for any given walkie talkie.
Q: How long do the batteries usually last in a long range walkie talkie?
A: Most walkie talkies, including the ones on this list, should last between eight and twelve hours per charge. Thankfully, most of the ones on this list also come with rechargeable battery packs, so you won’t have to replace them each time they get low. The battery life will vary depending on how much you’re using them. What’s great about the high/low toggle feature offered by some of the walkie talkies we reviewed is that you can switch settings to preserve the battery life and improve the range, so if you’re planning some really long days or don’t have anywhere to recharge your batteries once they die, one with this feature could be really useful.
Q: Can other people hear us when we talk on our walkie talkies?
A: Only people who are tuned into the same channel that you’re on can hear what you’re saying. If you’re scanning through channels and you hear chatter and keep moving until you find one that’s silent, this one is free for you and your party to use privately. This is where it comes in handy to have multiple channel options, so you can scan until you find one that’s free of interference from other scanners.
Q: Can I use my old walkie talkie charger for my new walkie talkie once I get it?
A: Unless you’re buying the same walkie talkie as your last one, it’s not likely to work on the new one. There may be some exceptions, and you can probably figure out if it will work by looking at the charger details in the kit before you purchase it, but generally, chargers aren’t interchangeable. Many walkie talkies use different batteries, which have different chemistries, different sizes, different capacities, and different builds.
Q: Can I buy headsets, earpieces, and carrying cases for my walkie talkie?
A: Even if your walkie talkie kit just comes with the radios, chargers, and adapters, you can most likely buy other accessories to use with it. Many standard headsets and earpieces are designed to fit a wide range of walkie talkies and two-way radios, it will just be a matter of determining which ones are compatible with the ones that you’ve purchased. As for the carrying case, these should be easy to find, too, and you will just need to check the dimensions of both the case and the radios and accessories to make sure that it will all fit. Most kits will come with a belt clip and/or a wrist strap. We haven’t found many that come with a carrying case, but they’re not hard to find on your own later if you need one.
Q: How do you clean your walkie talkie?
A: It’s easy for walkie talkies to end up being really dirty after a weekend in the woods or another outdoor adventure. They get dropped, kicked around, or land in puddles or mud, but they keep trucking on so long as you get a durable model. This durability is one of the greatest things about these walkie talkies that we have covered here today, but you’ll still want to clean it up after a while. Luckily, they’re relatively easy to clean. First, make sure that the radio is switched off. Never wipe them with industrial cleaners, which are known to damage the plastics that are typically used to make walkie talkies. Instead, wipe them down with a slightly damp microfiber cloth. But always be careful of how much water you’re using to clean them off, don’t overdo it, especially if they are not waterproof or water resistant.
With so many walkie talkie options to choose from, it can be a daunting task trying to find the perfect one for your individual needs or your family’s needs. We went through tons of options before we created this list, and we hope that it will help you sort through them all and come to the decision that is best for you.
The walkie talkies that we picked for our top ten are all long range, durable, and received positive feedback from real users. If you have other walkie talkies in mind or you aren’t sure which features you really need, we hope that our buyer’s guide helped you navigate through the features and options that are available to you, and how they are applied.
Product Boxes: Last updated on 2019-08-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API