If you’re looking for a way to stay in touch with your loved ones in case of an emergency, then you probably already know what two-way radios can do for you. They’re not just for emergencies, they’re also great for camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities.
And when it comes to choosing the right two-way radio for your needs, there are a lot of different things to consider. So, what do you need? What features should you look for? How do you determine which one meets your needs the best? So, I’ve put together this list of 6 of the best handheld 2 way radios on the market today so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for your situation.
In this article, we will go in depth of each product and learn about their pros and cons. This will narrow down your search further in finding the best handheld 2 way radio according to your needs. However, before we jump straight into the reviews, let’s look at a brief buying guide to finding the best handheld two-way radios! For those that want to jump directly to my suggested radios, you can do so by clicking HERE.!
Buying Guide to the Best Handheld 2 Way Radios!
When looking for the best handheld two-way radios, there are a lot of important factors to consider. Let’s discuss a few of them in greater detail below!
When choosing a two-way radio, one of the most important considerations is maximum range. Generally, the PMR446 consumer frequency has a maximum range of 10 km on a transmit power of 0.5 W, but this is only under ideal conditions.
In the real world, obstacles such as buildings and terrain can significantly reduce your range. However, a good quality radio should provide an adequate range for most users in most situations.
2. Number of Handsets
The important consideration is the number of handsets. The reason for this is that the more handsets you have, the more people can communicate with each other at once. This is especially important in emergency situations where quick and effective communication is essential.
Another benefit of having multiple handsets is that it allows for different groups of people to communicate on separate channels. This can be useful if you need to coordinate different teams or departments within your organization. It also helps to reduce interference between conversations, making it easier to hear what others are saying.
Finally, having additional handsets simply provides more flexibility and convenience overall. If you have a large group or family, then being able to split up into smaller sub-groups can make things much easier (and less chaotic)!
3. Channels and Privacy Codes
When you are looking for a two-way radio, it is important to consider the channels and privacy codes that each radio has. Most radios have either 8 or 16 channels which help you chat freely without interference from other radios.
However, when there are lot of 2-way radios around, having more channels can be beneficial so that you can still communicate without interruption. In addition to the number of channels, another important consideration is the privacy codes.
These codes help to reduce interference by allowing only those with the same code to hear your conversation. Privacy codes can be especially helpful in crowded areas where there may be many different types of two-way radios being used at once!
4. Battery Type
The battery type is the next most important consideration on our buying guide to two-way radios! There are three main types of batteries: alkaline, lithium ion, and nickel metal hydride. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks.
Alkaline batteries are the most common type of battery used in two way radios. They are inexpensive and have a long shelf life. However, they do not perform well in cold weather and can leak if left unused for too long.
On the other hand, Lithium-ion batteries are more expensive than alkaline batteries, but they last longer and perform better in cold weather conditions. Furthermore, you can even opt for re-chargeable options if you go for Li-ion batteries!
5. VOX and Hands-Free
The VOX feature is another important consideration while choosing a two-way radio! This is because it allows for easy, convenient communication without the need to fiddle with buttons.
This can be extremely useful in situations where you need to keep your hands free, such as when you’re driving or working on something else. Additionally, VOX can help conserve battery life by only activating the radio when it detects sound, which is ideal for long days out or extended use!
Do you require a government license for using a two-way radio?
Two-way radios can be a life saver in certain challenging situations, but did you know that you require a license to use them? Well, not all two-way radios require a license, yet some do! The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is responsible for providing you with a proper license for your two-way radio (FCC is in the United States).
However, whether or not you need a license, that completely depends on your intended use, power of the radio, area of use and the frequency bands and emissions. So, below I have mentioned a list of businesses/services that are mandated to apply for an FCC license.
- Emergency services and public safety operations
- Private building management or company operations
- Schools’ communication and operations
- Hospital management
- Private day care facilities
- Transportation companies
However, even if you don’t intend to use your two-way radio for any of the above-mentioned businesses or services, the radio type may require an FCC approval.
Especially if you are buying a two-way radio for communication when you go camping, hiking or other outdoor activities, you must go through the list below. It mentions what type of radio require and do not require an FCC license!
- LMR (Land Mobile Radio)- Yes
- MURS (Multi-Use Radio Service)- No
- Ham Radio (Amateur Radio)- Yes
- CB (Citizens Band)- No
- GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service)- No
- FRS (Family Radio Service)- No
So, before buying a two-way radio, make sure to verify with your country’s government on the licensing terms!
My Suggested 6 Best Handheld Two Way Radios
1. WokTok VOX 2 Way Radio
The WokTok VOX 2 Way Radio is one of the most popular radios on the market. It is operated by 3 1500mAh rechargeable AA batteries and can work up to 48-72 hours.
This radio features 22 main channels and 121 privacy codes, making it perfect for indoor as well as outdoor use. With a maximum range of up to 3 miles, this radio is perfect for anyone who wants to stay connected while out and about.
Additionally, this two-way radio comes with VOX and NOAA Weather Alert so you can always be prepared for whatever mother nature throws your way. Furthermore, it’s also FCC and CPC certified, so there’s no need to hesitate before using it!
- It comes in 2 options: 3 packs (which has 3 radios) and 4 packs (which has 4 radios)
- The radio has 22 main channels and 121 privacy codes
- The maximum range is quite adequate at 3 miles
- Comes with features such as VOX and NOAA Weather Alert
- You don’t need any license to operate this two-way radio
- The maximum range could have been a tad better!
1. What is the maximum battery life you can get with these radios?
The maximum battery life under ideal usage should be around 48-72 hours!
2. How many channels does this come with?
It comes with 22 channels and around 121 privacy codes!
3. Do you need an FCC license for using this radio?
No! An FCC license is not required.
The WokTok VOX 2 Way Radio is an excellent choice for anyone in need of a reliable and affordable two-way radio. It comes in 2 options: 3 packs (which has 3 radios) and 4 packs (which has 4 radios).
Also, the radio has 22 main channels and 121 privacy codes and what’s even better is you don’t need any license to operate this two-way radio!
2. Retevis RT29 Two Way Radio
When you are looking for a powerful and reliable two-way radio, the Retevis RT29 is an excellent option. With its high-power output and strong penetration capabilities, it can easily reach other radios in your group even in challenging environments. The included high gain antenna also helps to extend the range of this radio.
Additionally, the battery capacity is impressive at 3200 mAh which means it can sustain up to 25 hours of use on a single charge – perfect for long days out hunting or camping. Plus, the rugged design of this radio makes it durable enough to withstand tough conditions like dust or shocks making it ideal for outdoor adventures.
It also features 16 channels with VOX function as well as an IP67 waterproof rating so you can rest assured that it will perform even in wet weather conditions.
- The battery capacity is quite impressive at 3200 mAh
- It also features a high gain antenna for enhancing the signal transmission
- The radio has a sturdy, dust proof and shock proof design
- It is IP67 rated and is waterproof
- Ideal for all sorts of outdoor activities and adventures
- There are no such major cons with the product! (Yes, it is the truth)
1. Is this in the VHF band?
These RT29 two-way radios operate on the UHF band, not the VHF band!
2. Is the radio itself waterproof?
The shoulder mic is waterproof, but the radio body isn’t!
3. Is it possible to set these to 5 watts?
Yes, the radio has a 10w/5w/1w output. A software can be used to modify the power!
If you’re looking for a two-way radio that can go the distance, the Retevis RT29 is a great option. With a 3200 mAh battery, it has plenty of power to keep you going all day long. Plus, the high gain antenna means you’ll always have a strong signal.
And the rugged, dust proof and shock proof design means it can handle anything you throw at it. So, whether you’re hiking, camping, or just exploring the great outdoors, the Retevis RT29 is a great choice.
3. Midland GMRS Two-Way Radio
If you’re looking for a high-quality, reliable two-way radio, then you should definitely check out the Midland GMRS. It features 50 GMRS channels and is splash resistant, making it perfect for outdoor use.
With a 36 mile range and Easy Voice and Sound Activation Transmission (Evox), this radio is perfect for staying in touch with friends or family while hiking or camping. Plus, with 142 privacy codes, you can be sure that your conversations are private.
And if weather conditions are a concern, the NOAA Weather Scan + Alert feature will keep you informed of any potential danger!
- It has up to 50 GMRS channels
- The radios are splash proof
- Has a long range of 36 miles
- Features NOAA weather can + alerts
- Come in three options: Single pack, Pair pack and 3 Pack
- The instruction manual is not that easy to interpret!
1. Can these radios be powered by AA batteries as well?
Yes, but the output power will drop dramatically (from 5 to, I believe, 2W) with no indication on the display!
2. How many of these can we use at the same time?
You can be connected to as many as you want. The only limitation is the number of people who can speak at the same time!
3. Do these receive marine band?
No, FRS/GMRS radios are not the same as “marine band” radios and are governed differently.
If you’re looking for a reliable and affordable two-way radio, the Midland GMRS is a great option. With up to 50 channels and a range of 36 miles, it’s perfect for staying in touch with friends or family while out on your adventures.
And if you need to stay updated on the latest weather conditions, the NOAA weather can + alerts feature has got you covered.
4. Midland LXT600VP3 FRS Two-Way Radio
If you’re looking for a great two-way radio to use without having to get a license, the Midland LXT600VP3 FRS Two-Way Radio is perfect for you! It comes with 36 different FRS channels and has an impressive 30 mile range.
Plus, it has 121 CTCSS privacy codes which will keep your conversations private. And if you need to be aware of any severe weather conditions, the NOAA Weather Scan + Alert feature will let you know.
The Midland LXT600VP3 also comes with 2 belt clips and 2 rechargeable battery packs, so you can stay connected even when on the go!
- It comes in various pack options: Single, Pair, 3 Pack and 8 Pack and some of these even come with headset options
- It comes with up to 36 FRS channels
- These two way radios also feature 121 privacy codes
- Comes with NOAA Weather Scan + Alert feature
- All radios are sturdy and built to last
- The range varies a lot, and it does not quite reach the ideal range of 30 miles!
1. Are these ready to function immediately when bought?
Yes, it works out of the box. I’d charge it first, as directed in the instructions. No need for a programming cable!
2. Can just one radio be charged at a time?
Both can be charged at the same time!
3. Can I use rechargeable AAA batteries and charge them in the cradle if the battery pack dies?
Yes, but I recommend that you use rechargeable lithium batteries!
When it comes to two-way radios, the Midland LXT600VP3 is one of the best on the market. It comes in various pack options and features up to 36 FRS channels and 121 privacy codes.
The NOAA Weather Scan + Alert feature is also a great addition, making this an ideal radio for use in all types of weather conditions!
5. Midland X-TALKER T77VP3 FRS Two-Way Radio
The Midland X-TALKER T75VP3 FRS Two-Way Radio is a great choice for those in need of a reliable and affordable radio. With up to 36 FRS channels, this radio provides ample options for communications.
The 36 mile range ensures that you will be able to stay in touch with others even when they are far away. Additionally, the 121 CTCSS Privacy Codes provide an extra layer of security and privacy for your conversations.
The NOAA Weather Scan + Alert feature keeps you informed of any severe weather conditions in your area so that you can stay safe. Lastly, the eVOX feature allows for easy hands-free operation which is convenient when you are on the go.
- It comes in various options: Pair, 4 Pack, 6 Pack and even 10 Pack
- It comes with up to 36 FRS channels
- These two-way radios also feature 121 privacy codes
- Comes with NOAA Weather Scan + Alert feature
- Feature easy hands-free operation with eVOX
- The built quality feels a bit on the cheaper side!
1. Do they require an FCC license?
No! Since it’s an FRS radio, it does not require one.
2. How many channels does this come with?
It comes with 36 FRS channels with up to 121 CTCSS Privacy Codes!
3. What is the maximum range?
38 miles (under ideal conditions)!
The Midland X-TALKER T75VP3 FRS Two-Way Radio is a great choice for those who are looking for an affordable and reliable two-way radio. It comes in various options, including pairs, 4 packs, 6 packs, and even 10 packs.
It also features up to 36 FRS channels, as well as 121 privacy codes. Additionally, it comes with the NOAA Weather Scan + Alert feature, which makes it easy to stay informed about the weather conditions in your area.
6. SAMCOM FPCN30AA Two Way Radio
The SAMCOM FPCN30AA Two Way Radio is a great way to stay connected with family and friends, especially during outdoor activities. Its rugged design ensures durability, while the large LCD display makes it easy to see what’s going on around you.
The radio also comes with high-gain long antennas for better reception in areas with weak signals. Additionally, the 1500mAh rechargeable battery provides 8-10 hours of use, so you can stay connected all day long. Plus, the dual channel feature (single or group) allows you to communicate with multiple people at once.
And finally, the 20 channels and CTCSS Privacy Codes give you plenty of options for staying in touch without having your conversations interrupted by others nearby.
- Based on UHF tuner
- Comes with up to 20 channels
- Each channel can be set to a single/group mode
- It features VOX option for easy hands-free use
- The design and build feel extremely rugged and is built to last
- Although the range is great (around 2-3 miles), but it’s not that great as advertised (5-6 miles)!
1. Can they be programmed to operate on CB radio frequencies?
The Citizen’s Band Radio Service (CBRS) operates on HF rather than UHF frequencies. It is not compatible with any UHF radio.
2. How do you activate the high-power mode?
If you hold down the triangle button for 5 seconds, a H or L will appear in the display. You are free to swap!
3. Where are these manufactured?
The SAMCOM FPCN30A two-way radio is manufactured in China.
The SAMCOM FPCN30AA Two Way Radio is a great choice for anyone looking for a reliable and durable two way radio. It features up to 20 channels, each of which can be set to either single or group mode.
Additionally, the VOX option allows for easy hands-free use. The design and build feel extremely rugged, and it is clear that this radio was built to last!
1. What type of two-way radios do Preppers use?
Preppers use a variety of two way radios to stay in communication with each other during an emergency situation. The most popular types of radios used by preppers are handheld CB (Citizen’s Band) radios and FRS (Family Radio Service) walkie-talkies.
CB radios have been around for decades and are a staple in many prepper households. They offer long range communications capabilities, making them ideal for staying in touch with others when cell phone service is down or unavailable. CB radio signals can also be picked up by nearby vehicles, so they can be used to flag down help if needed.
FRS walkie-talkies are another popular option among preppers. These small, portable radios offer great portability and ease of use, making them perfect for keeping in your bug out bag or glove compartment. FRS walkie-talkies typically have shorter range than CB radios but still provide good coverage for communicating within a group or between close proximity buildings/houses!
2. What is the best brand of two-way radios?
When it comes to two-way radios, there are a few different brands that stand out from the rest. In my opinion, Midland and Motorola are two of the best brands on the market. Both companies offer durable products of superior quality.
Midland has been making two-way radios for over 50 years, so they definitely know a thing or two about the business. Their GXT1000VP4 model is one of our favourites, as it offers an impressive range of up to 36 miles (in ideal conditions). It also features 22 channels and 121 privacy codes, which makes it perfect for staying in touch with family or friends while you’re out exploring nature.
Motorola is another trusted name when it comes to two-way radios. The company has been around since 1928 and their experience shows in their product offerings. The Talkabout T460 is one of our top picks from Motorola – it boasts a whopping 35 mile range (again, under ideal conditions) and has 26 different channels available to help you avoid interference from other users!
3. What is the longest distance for a two-way radio?
The longest distance for a two-way radio is 4-6 miles. This range can be affected by many factors, such as terrain, weather conditions, and the type of radio you are using. In general, however, you can expect a two-way radio to have a maximum range of about 6 miles under ideal conditions.
Of course, in real-world scenarios your actual range may be much less than this. If you’re trying to communicate over long distances across rugged terrain or through dense urban areas, your signal will likely be attenuated significantly.
And if there’s interference from other radios or sources of electromagnetic radiation (such as power lines), your effective range will also be reduced!
4. Is VHF or UHF better?
There are a few key factors to consider when trying to decide whether VHF or UHF is the better option for you. One of the most important things to think about is range. VHF signals travel farther than UHF signals, so if you need long-range communication, VHF is probably your best bet.
However, UHF signals are less likely to be interrupted by obstacles like buildings or mountains, so if you need clear communication in an urban environment, UFH might be a better choice.
Another thing to keep in mind is that VHF radios are typically cheaper than UHF radios. So, if cost is a factor in your decision making process, VHF may be the way to go!
If you are looking for more tutorials, walkthroughs and troubleshooting about camping and enjoying the outdoors, here are some additional posts to check out:
The Bottom Line
So, there you have it, 6 best handheld two-way radios on the market. If you’re looking for a way to stay in touch with your friends and family while you’re out exploring, or if you want to be able to communicate with your fellow campers in case something goes wrong, these are all great options.
However, don’t take our word for it; try them for yourself! You can find all of these products online on retail channels like Amazon. All of these two-way radios come from reputed brands are used by professionals worldwide, so you can choose anyone! Thanks for reading, if you think I forgot something or if you simply want to share a story or any advice, feel free to leave a comment below. Be Safe and Have Fun.!