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These walkie-talkies connect to your phone and even offer weather alerts

The best walkie-talkies can now sync with a smartphone app, have privacy codes, NOAA alerts, and ranges up to 35 miles. With this in mind, ZDNET found the top options to stay in communication. For Halloween activities especially, walkie-talkies are great for kids.
Written by Allison Murray, Staff Writer
Motorola Talkabout T800 Two-Way Radios | Best walkie-talkies overall
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MOICO Walkie-Talkies | Best budget walkie-talkies
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You may think walkie-talkies are a thing of the past since we have smartphones, but there are always situations where cellular connectivity is limited, or you may not want to buy your kid a smartphone just yet.

Walkie-talkies are great for communicating within a specific mile range, and while their primary function is just that, modern-day walkie-talkies have features like smartphone apps, severe weather alerts, flashlights, and more.

We've rounded up the best walkie-talkies to help you communicate from anywhere easier. 

Must read:

Pros & Cons
  • Great range
  • Connects to a smartphone app for more features
  • Access to offline maps
  • Takes a long time to charge
More Details

Specs: Range: Up to 35 miles | Waterproof: IPX4 | Channels: 22 | Privacy codes: 121 | Battery: 14 hours

The Motorola Talkabout two-way radios are a top pick thanks to their unique features. Along with up to 35 miles of communication range and a long battery life of 14 hours, these walkie-talkies also connect to the Motorola Talkabout smartphone app to enable communication options beyond push-to-talk. Connecting your device to the app allows you to send messages, locations, and more over the radio frequencies.

These walkie-talkies also have weather alerts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with the ability to use offline maps. 

Pros & Cons
  • Comes in a four-pack
  • Affordable
  • Hands-free option
  • Lower range
  • Battery life could be better
More Details

Specs: Range: Up to 3 miles | Waterproof: N/A | Channels: 22 | Privacy codes: 99 | Battery: N/A

With this budget option, you'll get a pack of four walkie-talkies for less than the average price of two from MOICO. These walkie-talkies have a hands-free operation, thanks to voice-operated transmit (VOX) technology. This allows you to use these devices to communicate even if you're busy hiking or carrying something.

These walkie-talkies have six adjustable volumes and 10 call settings so that you can customize the sound to your liking. In addition, they have a built-in backlit LED display and a flashlight to provide better visibility at night. 

Pros & Cons
  • Multiple charging options
  • Wearable lanyard and belt clip
  • Seven color set options
  • Changing the channels can be hard
  • Limited range
More Details

Specs: Range: Up to 20 miles | Waterproof: N/A | Channels: 22 | Privacy codes: 121 | Battery: 7 days

If you want to stay in touch with your little ones, these walkie-talkies for kids are a great option with kid-friendly and safety features. They come with a built-in flashlight and a wearable lanyard and belt clip, so your kids have less chance of losing them.

You can also charge these walkie-talkies in different ways to ensure they are always powered: either rechargeable AA batteries or through the included USB charger. Plus, you can set up separate privacy channels for your family.

Pros & Cons
  • Whisper mode
  • NOAA weather alerts
  • Impressive battery life
  • Takes a long time to charge
  • Range limits seem to differ a lot
More Details

Specs: Range: Up to 36 miles | Waterproof: JIS-4 | Channels: 50 | Privacy codes: 142 | Battery: Up to 24 hours

These walkie-talkies from Midland are a durable and rugged option for those who need walkie-talkies for more intense situations or outdoor activities. They are splash-resistant, have a long-lasting battery life, an SOS siren, and NOAA weather scan and alerts so you can be alerted when severe weather is approaching.

Their range is also impressive: you can get up to 36 miles total; otherwise, you can get 6-10 miles with partial obstructions and 1-5 miles in more urban areas. In addition, a handy whisper mode picks up your voice even if you speak quietly and alerts you to incoming calls with vibrations.

Pros & Cons
  • Come with an ear piece and mic set
  • Fast charging
  • Weather alerts
  • Range varies between the walkie-talkies in the pack
More Details

Specs: Range: Up to 20 miles | Waterproof: N/A | Channels: 22 | Privacy codes: 121 | Battery: N/A 

Those who need multiple walkie-talkies should consider this four-pack. They come with NOAA weather alerts and have drop protection making them a durable option. These walkie-talkies charge super-fast (three hours for a full charge) and have overcharge, over-voltage, and short circuit protection in the included USB charger. 

Other features include an auto scan function, VOX technology, a keypad lock, a backlit LCD screen, and more. 

What is the best walkie-talkie?

In our opinion, the best walkie-talkie is the Motorola Talkabout two-way radio since it has a great range and battery life and can even be connected to a smartphone app for special features.





Motorola Talkabout T800


Up to 35 miles


MOICO Walkie-Talkies 


Up to 3 miles


Wishouse Kids Walkie-Talkies


Up to 20 miles 


Midland 50 Channel GMRS Two-Way Radios


Up to 36 miles


Topsung Walkie-Talkies


Up to 20 miles


Which walkie-talkie is right for you?

While any of these walkie-talkies make great communicating devices, it ultimately comes down to how you plan to use them, if you need them to have durability, how far of a range you're looking for, and what price you're willing to spend.

Choose this walkie-talkie...

If you want...

Motorola Talkabout T800

The best overall option. 

MOICO Walkie-Talkies

Budget-friendly walkie-talkies. 

Wishouse Kids Walkie-Talkies

Walkie-talkies to keep tabs on little ones.

Midland 50 Channel GMRS Two-Way Radios

Rugged walkie-talkies with severe weather alerts. 

Topsung Walkie-Talkies

A four-pack of walkie-talkies that charge fast.

How did we choose these walkie-talkies?

We know there are a lot of walkie-talkies to choose from, so we combed through popular sites reading reviews (both good and bad) and noting the top-rated walkie-talkies for different categories/needs. We considered price, size, and special features when making our final picks.

What is walkie-talkie range?

The range of a walkie-talkie is the distance that two walkie-talkies can work between each other. The range varies considerably based on obstructions. For example, if you're in a heavily wooded area or an urban area with lots of buildings, the range will be less than if you were in an open field.

The maximum range listed on most walkie-talkies is the number if there were no obstructions, so expect less range than this number when using your walkie-talkie in an average setting. 

Are there alternative walkie-talkies worth considering?

Here are a few other options to look into: 

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