Best Walkie Talkie
Best pick walkie talkie for sale in the UK (October 2020).
#1 Choice: My Review Score = 93%
#2: Best Alternative
#3: Top User Review Scores
Walkie Talkies: A Buyer’s Guide
It’s probably easy to think that walkie talkies are just ‘kids’ stuff’. After all, how many of us used walkies when speaking to friends during our youth? Before smartphones came along, it was the best way to keep in touch. Popular TV shows such as Stranger Things in the past few years, too, have helped to reignite interest in this technology. However, there’s more to walkie talkies than meets the eye.
The best walkie talkies can be used in a variety of dangerous situations. They are also useful when you don’t want to have to pay out for data connections or calls. You can buy walkie talkies which are perfect for leisure use, as well as two-way radios which you can use in working situations. For example, they are popularly used in retail management, as well as in situations where people are working off-site. In fact, we recently ran a buying guide looking at two-way radios you can use at sea.
However, in this guide, we will be looking at simple walkie talkies – why you may need them, what you should look for, and what other shoppers are likely to ask. We’ll take you through the basics, the essentials and more. At the end of the guide, we will also look at what other shoppers are asking online.
Why Buy Walkie Talkies?
As mentioned, walkie talkies are great for a variety of situations. If you’re out and about with friends, such as if you’re in a foreign country or are sailing on the water, they can be a real boon. What’s more, they are generally good to have on your person if you are going walking or exploring new and potentially dangerous places. Plenty of people use smartphones for these situations, but more often than not, walkie talkies are built to withstand more intense conditions, and what’s more, they work out a lot cheaper to run.
Plenty of commercial and industrial situations make use of walkie talkies, too. Shop floors and retail operations may use them so that front of house staff can talk to warehouse teams. Construction workers and those working off-site on oil rigs, for example, will also use them. These systems built for commercial use will often have a range of safety features, too, so that you can raise an alarm if you need help from your crew at any given moment. More often than not, they are a real asset!
However, there’s plenty for you to compare between. Different walkie talkies are built for different purposes. You need to think about where you’re going to use them. Consider ranges, channels options, durability and more. Even the situations you use walkie talkies in may dictate what you pay, and the models you shop for.
Therefore, never go ahead and just buy a simple pair of walkie talkies. It’s important to narrow down the search so you have a system you can rely on in all that you do.
Things You Should Consider
Therefore, let’s think about what you should compare when shopping for walkie talkies. Ultimately, you’re going to need a system that’s reliable, long-lasting, and which is likely to keep you and your team, or friends, connected. That might sound simple, but there are plenty of different variables. Let’s take a closer look – don’t buy any walkie talkies until you read what we have to say!
One of the biggest factors you need to keep in mind is licencing for your walkie talkies. If you are using them for commercial purposes, you will need to buy a commercial licence. If you’re just using them for leisure, and for holidays, then there’s no need for you to worry. OFCOM, who oversees all of the country’s communications, make sure to cover walkie talkies – not just TV advertising. For example, if you are likely to use walkie talkies in retail, hospitality or in dangerous industrial environments, you’re going to need licensed radios.
Range and Scope
You should also look carefully at how far you can communicate between walkie talkies. On the whole, licenced radios will give you wider ranges to talk over. Therefore, when you are using leisure walkie talkies, remember that you will generally only expect a range of up to 2km. With licenced commercial walkie talkies, you can expect up to five times this range. Of course, this may vary from model to model and from brand to brand. Therefore, as always, compare carefully.
Depending on where you are likely to go with your walkie talkies, proofing and protection is a must. It is very easy for you to judge how proofed walkie talkies are. You can check their IPX rating. An IPX rating will tell you how likely your radios are to withstand water, splashing, dust and even chemical damage. Commercial walkie talkies will, naturally, be more resistant on the whole. However, you can find maritime walkie talkies for leisure use which have incredible depth resistance. Therefore, again, don’t be afraid to get shopping.
Battery and Power
All walkie talkies will, of course, need a portable source of power. Naturally, this will be a battery. Most walkie talkies these days have rechargeable batteries. Therefore, you should look carefully at these specifics while shopping around.
How long will you need your walkie talkies to power up for? How much time do you have to charge them for? It’s worth looking at walkie talkies which require little charge time but will last for long periods. Some of the longest-lasting walkie talkies will likely last up to 20-24 hours per charge. This is a good measure to look for.
You might also find that some walkie talkies have USB connectivity, which means it may be as easy as plugging your radios into PCs or Macs for juice.
How Many Devices?
It’s simple to think that you can only ever buy walkie talkies in batches of two. However, you can actually purchase them in huge fleets. This, of course, is ideal for commercial and industrial use. You can purchase some walkie talkies in batches of 20-30. However, most leisure radios will likely come in packs of 4-6. It’s worth comparing packages and looking for deals which are genuine value for money. How much can you expect to spend per radio?
There’s probably not a buying guide out there long enough to cover all of the various features and facilities walkie talkies offer. However, it’s worth us considering the most common variables. For example, plenty of walkie talkies come with VOX mode, which means you can activate them without having to touch a button. This is a great asset if you need two hands free.
You should also look for smart scanning. Different walkie talkies will have different channel ranges, which means that you will be able to communicate with more devices on wider frequencies. Smart scanning will allow you to leap onto the best channels and frequencies without having to do much fiddling around.
You should also consider looking for walkie talkies which have Bluetooth! Yes – some modern radios will let you connect Bluetooth earpieces and more besides. It’s a fantastic, flexible and modern way to stay in touch.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still have a few questions to ask about walkie talkies? No problem. Let’s take a look at what other buyers have to say, and what shoppers are generally looking for.
How Far Can Walkie Talkies Connect?
This varies from system to system. It will also vary in terms of licence, too. As mentioned, commercial licences tend to give you wider ranges, up to 10km. However, you need to make sure you are using specific walkie talkies and licences for their specific purposes.
Why Are Walkie Talkies Preferable to Phones?
Many people prefer walkie talkies for a variety of reasons. For one, smartphones – for all they are amazing in terms of modern tech – can drop signal very easily. Modern walkie talkies and two-way radios are much more reliable on the whole. Therefore, if you are running a commercial operation, you might well benefit from a system that is less likely to drop out. Walkie talkies also come with safety features and may work out cheaper, as licencing can be more cost-effective than multiple phone contracts.
How Much Do Walkie Talkies Cost?
At the lowest end, you can expect to pay as little as £15 for a reasonable pair. However, for more reliability and durability, you might want to invest as much as £70-£100. This will go up depending on your licence, and in terms of the standards of tech you invest in. Make sure to keep your specific needs in mind!
Buying walkie talkies is no longer a kids’ game! While you can still buy walkie talkies for children, they are relied on by professionals and hobbyists all over the world. Take a look at our picks, the advice we have to offer, and do read up on a few reviews. Be sure to do your homework before you buy any walkie talkies!