In life, it’s essential to keep in touch with others. While mobiles have come to dominate the way we communicate, 2-way radios are still incredibly useful in certain situations. What’s more, they are also highly cost-effective, and tend to be more reliable than mobiles while out in the wilderness. Whether you intend to use two-way radios for a skiing holiday, camping trip, at an event, or as a present for your children, this guide will help you to find the right model.
In general, two-way radios are incredibly user-friendly. However, there are a few features to bear in mind when choosing a new set of walkie talkies. Here are five things you’ll want to consider:
One of the most important factors to consider when deciding what 2-way radio to buy is the range you need them to cover. The maximum range capable on consumer 2-way radios using the PMR446 frequency on a transmit power of 0.5W is up to 10km. However, that could only be achieved in ideal conditions: at a high altitude with no obstacles between the two radios. Unless you are using your walkie talkies to communicate between two mountain tops, it’s unlikely that you will achieve this sort of range. In a built-up urban environment, the maximum range is likely going to be a lot lower. However, a good quality radio should provide adequate range for the vast majority of users. If you need anything over and above that, then you will need to consider a more powerful two-way radio. These require a license, though, and are much more expensive than license-free models.
When purchasing a set of two-way radios, you will also need to think about the number of handsets you need. A twin set may be enough for a camping trip, but busy warehouses will likely need a lot more so that everyone can stay connected. Thankfully, though, the price of each handset comes down when you buy in bulk. We offer a wide range of two-way radio bundles to cater to every customer's needs. We also stock single handsets if you want to expand your setup at a later date.
License-free two-way radios have a fixed frequency that they can transmit on: PMR446 Most license-free two-way radios have either 8 or 16 channels, which tune the frequency on which the handsets communicate with one another. In addition to the channels, there are typically a number of privacy codes. Contrary to what the name suggests, these do not guarantee the privacy of your transmissions. Rather, they allow users to chat freely without interference from others, which can be a problem if you are using them in an area like a ski resort where a lot of other two-way radios may be in use.
Some two radios are powered by regular alkaline batteries, whilst others come with rechargeable batteries (some of which include a charging dock). If you intend to use your two-way radios for more than a few days and won't have regular access to a power outlet (eg. on a camping trip) then a model which takes regular batteries or both would be a better choice. On the other hand, we would recommend rechargeable 2-way radios for regular use. That’s because the cost of replacement batteries can quickly add up, and used batteries can be bad for the environment if not disposed properly.
Voice Activated Transmit, or VOX, allows you to use your two-way radios hands-free, If you are mountain climbing, or part of a motorbike convoy, then this can be an extremely useful feature. With this mode activated, the radio’s microphone remains on at all times. When it picks up the sound of your voice, it will automatically start transmitting, and switch off when you stop speaking. These models will also come with a socket for a headset or throat mic. Not all two-way radios come with VOX, so be sure to check the product specs if this is something you’re looking for.
Two-way radios are a fairly niche product, and many people won’t be familiar with the various brands out there. To help narrow down your options a little, we’ve compiled the following list of the best two-way radio brands:
Motorola are by far the best brand for two-way radios. With an enormous amount of experience in telecoms, and a wide range of different models to choose from, they offer something for everyone. All of their models are well designed, incredibly easy to use, and offer fantastic value for money. Shop for all Motorola 2-Way Radios.
Binatone two-way radios are excellent if you're looking for something reliable and are on a tight budget. Shop for all Binatone 2-Way Radios.
Cobra are an American company who have been manufacturing two-way radio products for decades. Their MT range offers something for everyone. Shop for all Cobra 2-Way Radios.
Doro are a Swedish manufacturer who specialise in communication products. Their 2-way radios offer reliably long range, excellent sound quality & durable build.
Choosing a new two-way radio isn’t a decision to take lightly. You’ll want to think carefully about your specific needs, and then choose a model which offers the right set of features for you. We hope that this buying guide has helped give you a clear starting point on how to find the right Two Way Radio for you. If you need any more help or advice, then our customer service team will be more than happy to assist. Get in touch via phone, email, or livechat, and we can help you to make a fully informed decision. Alternatively, for more information on specific Walkie Talkie models, start shopping for Two Way Radios now.