Best Walkie Talkies 2024

Best Walkie Talkies 2024

The best walkie talkies provide reliable communications between you and your adventure buddies whether you’re hiking, skiing, paddling or traveling. Not only can the best walkie talkies be trusted in challenging situations, but they’re also good fun if the kids want to play with a set in the backyard. After putting a number of top-performing models to the test, the Midland X-Talker T71VP3 stood out for its excellent audio quality and affordability, but it wasn’t the only model to catch our eye.

The best walkie talkies make it easy to stay in touch when you’re miles apart.


We tracked down the nine more options suited for a variety of use cases, comparing one model to the next based on price, connectivity range, weight and durability. Our final list was chosen with firsthand experience in mind—several of these brands regularly come on camping, paddling and hiking trips with us—and on informed advice from several expert sources. We cross-referenced every claim made and specification cited by the brands against multiple reviews and ratings left by customers, so we can say with confidence that these are great choices. And if you’re searching for more outdoor gear, we’ve also covered the best emergency radios and binoculars.


Midland X-Talker T71VP3

Weight: 0.5 pounds | Range: 38 miles | Number of channels: 36 | Water resistance rating: Water resistant


  • Good price for high quality walkie talkies
  • Clear audio in good conditions
  • Easy to use


  • Poor range in urban environments

This is our favorite go-to walkie talkie for three reasons: First, the Midland X-Talker T71VP3 is quite affordable given the quality. Second, this is an easy-to-use walkie talkie—so much so that our kids can easily operate them whether we’re camping in the woods or playing around at home. And third, after multiple outings and more than a few drops, the pair we received still work like new. These walkie talkies make it easy to switch channels, to scan for NOAA weather information and even to use them hands-free with an eVOX mode that automatically detects talking and begins transmission, which allows for safer use while driving or riding a bike. And if you’re concerned about privacy, you can enlist up to 121 different privacy codes that keep your conversation locked between your walkie talkie and the others at the same setting.

It must be said that in our experience (and in that of many other customers we noted), the X-Talker T71VP3s have very limited range in a true urban environment, often failing to transmit clearly even over a space of a few city blocks where the buildings are tall and the streets busy. But in the woods (and in the burbs) they work like a charm, time after time.

Rocky Talkie

Rocky Talkies

Weight: 0.25 pounds | Range: 25 miles | Number of channels: 128 | Water resistance rating: Splash proof


  • Excellent battery life
  • Rugged and durable
  • Built-in carabiner loop


  • Pricey

The Rocky Talkie is a piece of tech built by people informed by their environment—namely, the outdoors. And the wild parts of the outdoors, at that, like peaks and valleys and forests and rivers and so on. Weighing a mere 0.25 pounds, it’s not only rugged enough to withstand drops and dings, but also capable of operating in temperatures down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. The miniature profile remains easy to use even when you’re wearing gloves or hanging off the side of a cliff, and it’s one of the only walkie talkies a true adventurer clips to his or her pack. And we mean clipped: Rocky Talkies feature a built-in carabiner that safely secures the device to a pack, climbing harness or belt, ensuring it won’t get lost in the snow or fall down onto your climbing buddy’s head as he belays you. With a 25-mile range under perfect conditions, these walkies stay connected for up to a mile or so even in heavily-wooded mountains.

This is expensive hardware, with a single Rocky Talkie going for $110, but when safety is on the line, price takes a backseat. And safety is very much on the line whether you’re backcountry skiing, climbing or partaking in other such adrenaline-fueled adventures.

Cobra Electronics US

Cobra ACXT1035R FLT

Weight: 0.35 pounds | Range: 37 miles | Number of channels: 22 | Water resistance rating: Waterproof


  • Completely waterproof
  • 20-second rewind function
  • Solid 37-mile range


  • Complicated interface
  • Expensive

The Cobra ACXT1035R FLT walkie talkies may have a mouthful of a name, but it’s worth noting that the “FLT” part of that name stands for “float.” These are 100% waterproof walkie talkies that can be fully submerged in water and removed without worry—they even expel water from thee speakers with a “burp” function. We’ve trusted Cobra walkies on multiple paddling trips, and because of their reliable water resistance, they’re a great choice for kayakers, rafters, anglers, boaters and all other aquatic types. The ACXT1035R FLTs have 22 channels, 121 privacy codes and a solid 37-mile range. (And you can count on that range in the conditions where these walkies are optimal, namely open water where obstructions are few and far between.)

While there are a fair amount of buttons about the walkie’s profile that make for a slight learning curve, there are also some unique features you’ll appreciate once you master them, like a “Rewind-Say-Again” tool that lets you play back the last 20 seconds of any incoming audio, NOAA weather alerts and stored channels and privacy code combinations.


Midland T10X3M X-Talker Two-Way

Weight: 0.6 pounds | Range: 20 miles | Number of channels: 22 | Water resistance rating: Water resistant


  • Great price point
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Backed by a 25-year warranty


  • Modest range, and poor range in cities

Don’t let the bright colors and low price point fool you: These are reliable walkie talkies designed for kids—they’re not toys. Sure, they can be used that way, but they’re also reliable communication devices with a 20-mile range in optimal conditions, multiple channels, weather alerts and other features you’d expect in “adult” walkie talkies. Sure, there are only 38 privacy codes and the 20-mile range is shorter than the reach of pricier hardware, but these really are reliable walkie talkies, and we can say that from firsthand experience.

The bright colors make them harder to lose than more demurely-toned devices, and the fact that there are three different colors in a pack makes it easier to assign a walkie talkie to a kid. And the easy operation ensures kids can use them without running into high-tech complications.

Weight: 0.24 pounds | Range: 1 mile | Number of channels: 22 | Water resistance rating: N/A


  • Ultra small size
  • Good price for three walkies


  • Poor range with any obstructions

If you want a walkie talkie that can literally fit in the palm of your hand—and that can easily fit into a pocket—then the Retevis RT15 Mini is the right choice. These walkies weigh in at a mere 0.24 pounds each, and they are only 0.8 inches thick. If you need to be subtle in your communicating, that small size helps out. And with the battery at full charge, you should get up to 12 hours of active communication, subtly conducted or not.

With the shedding of all that weight comes some loss of broadcast power, unfortunately. These walkie talkies aren’t going to connect reliably over distances much greater than a mile, and if there are obstructions in the way, like mountains or buildings or such, that range gets even worse. But for closer use, they are affordable and so compact.


Topsung M880 Walkie Talkies

Weight: 0.25 pounds | Range: 16 miles | Number of channels: 22 | Water resistance rating: Water resistant


  • Very affordable
  • Available in multiple colorways
  • Easy operation


  • Moderate max range
  • Long-term reliability comes into question at this price point

While there’s surely nothing exceptional about the M880 walkie talkies from Topsung, there’s also nothing much wrong with them either, and at their low price point, that in and of itself is rather exceptional. These walkies feature the same 22 channels and 121 privacy codes of many pricier units, along with hands-free and silent mode functionality, and they’re water resistant and drop tested for durability.

The interface of the M880 is easy to navigate, so even younger users or people without much walkie talkie experience will be able to use them competently out of the box. Just note that they have the shortest maximum range of any walkies featured on this list, so if you need to communicate over notable distances, then you probably need to shop at a higher price point.


Yaesu FT-60R Dual Band Handheld Radio Transceiver

Weight: 1.9 pounds | Range: 300 miles | Number of channels: 1000 | Water resistance rating: Water resistant


  • Superlative range
  • Durable cast aluminum body
  • 1000 channels


  • Bulky
  • Use technically requires a license

If you’re going deep into the backwoods on foot, far afield in a vehicle or prepping at home for worst-case scenarios, then this is the walkie talkie for you. Or, technically, it’s the radio transceiver for you—the Yaesu FT-60R Dual Band is in fact a small ham radio. And as such, you’re supposed to obtain a license to operate it. (We’re told those are quite easy to secure, however.)

Recommended by expert outdoorsman Joe Bassett, founder of Valiant Outfitters, this is a serious piece of hardware suited to serious expeditions. He says: “The Yaesu FT-60R is capable of communicating on all VHF/UHF services (but please operate outside of ham frequencies in emergencies only) and I’ve experienced days of battery life with my FT-60R. Yaesu doesn’t list an IPX rating for the FT-60R but mine has been kicked, dropped, splashed and even grabbed and temporarily stolen by a crow all without missing a beat.”

Sounds like a pretty tough little piece of communication gear. Weighing almost two pounds and measuring 8.6 inches in height, it’s actually not that little as far as walkie talkies go, but if you want to enjoy a communication range that can reach hundreds of miles in optimal conditions and dozens of miles in less-than-ideal terrain, this is your pick.


Retevis RT22 Walkie Talkies

Weight: 0.79 pounds | Range: 2 miles | Number of channels: 16 | Water resistance rating: N/A


  • Good price for six walkie talkies
  • Easy to use


  • Limited range

If you need to keep a larger group in close contact, then this six-pack of RT22 Walkie Talkies from Retevis is a good way to do so. Affordable yet reliable at close ranges, these walkies can operate across 16 different channels, so your team will be able to find a frequency that’s all yours to use. Key functions include hands-free talking and an emergency alarm that can alert everyone at once, both of which are ideal features for a security-related application, a likely common scenario with this hardware.

Note that when we highlight close ranges, that’s because at longer range, the RT22s start to become less efficient. In fact, their working range is not much greater than two miles. But for use in a building or at an event, they’re an affordable communication solution.



Milo Action Communicator

Weight: 0.15 pounds | Range: 0.33 miles | Number of channels: N/A | Water resistance rating: Waterproof


  • Hands-free communication
  • Wind and background noise reduction
  • No interference from cellular or radio signals


  • Limited range
  • Very expensive

Let’s be clear right from the start: the Milo Action Communicator isn’t actually a walk talkie in that it doesn’t use radio waves to send audio signals. Instead, this is a powerful device that uses a secure mesh radio network. That means there’s never any interference from cell signals or radio waves because the pairing creates a closed loop between up to six devices. A set of communicators can remain connected and stay in touch at distances of one third of a mile, often working well beyond that. The lightweight and hands-free device clips onto the strap of a backpack, armband, bike mount and beyond, none of which require you to push a button to talk.

The battery will last for 24 hours at a full charge, so you can keep in contact for an entire day of adventures, and wind and background noise reduction technology keeps the communication clear in all conditions. Perfect for groups of skiers, mountain bikers, hikers, climbers and more, the Milo Action Communicator is a great choice for those separated by smaller distances.

Why Trust Forbes Vetted

I have three different walkie talkie sets at home, all of which are on this list. Do I need three different walkie talkie sets? Not really, but I came to this project with a solid baseline understanding of this hardware category.

Of course I wanted to go deeper, so I reached out to some next-level walkie talkie experts like Joe Bassett, founder of Valiant Outfitters, a company that provides backpacking, backcountry adventure and wilderness survival guide services—Bassett is also a ham radio operator and training officer for the Clay County, Florida Amateur Radio Emergency Service who has deployed to provide emergency communication for six hurricanes. Long story short, he knows his communication hardware.

I also connected with Allen Baler, CEO and co-founder of 4Patriots, one of the fastest-growing emergency preparedness providers in the country, who specifically recommends having a walkie talkie on hand for any and all outdoor adventures even if you expect to have a phone handy.

Besides myself and the experts I consulted, gear editor Cam Vigliotta has spent years covering all things camping and hiking. He oversees this guide and has authored several related guides on outdoor essentials like the best pocket knives and trail cameras.

How We Chose The Best Walkie Talkies

  • Along with the Forbes Vetted team, I sought out the most highly-rated walkie talkies from reputable brands like Midland, Cobra, Milo and other.
  • I then compared each model by certain performance and durability factors, including, but not limited to, connectivity, range, weight, channels and water resistance rating.
  • Out of the nine options on this list, I currently own three of them. I do use each differently, and I did choose them with care for specific applications, such as camping, paddling and for the kids.
  • Every walkie talkie needed to have outstanding customer reviews, no less than four out of five stars, to make our final cut.

What To Consider When Buying Walkie Talkies

Your walkie talkies may be just for fun, or they may be lifesaving tools. Given their versatility, it’s worth considering the many features that differentiate one pair from the next.


Most walkie talkies cannot transmit and receive signals at their stated maximum range except for in ideal conditions, like open plains or open water. It’s important to keep this in mind as you shop for the perfect set. Allen Baler says: “Walkie talkies come in various ranges, from short-range models for close-quarters communication to long-range models for more extensive coverage. This flexibility makes them versatile for different situations.” Most of the units featured here should work well up to around 20 miles except in urban conditions or mountainous regions, with the lower-priced models offering less range.

Battery Life

“Many walkie talkies have impressive battery life, making them suitable for extended outdoor trips or protracted emergency situations,” Baler says. “Some models even support multiple power sources, including rechargeable batteries and solar charging.” That said, there’s also a place for disposable batteries here, as they can be swapped out in mere seconds, so consider walkie talkies that operate using those—many model use both rechargeable and disposable batteries.


A tough walkie talkie is a good walkie talkie. Joe Bassett says he expects his walkies to endure drops, splashes, bumps and temperature highs and lows without any loss in efficacy. We’ve included nothing but tough hardware on our rundown, but note that a few of the units, like the Rocky Talkie and the Yaesu FT-60R, are next-level tough.


Most of the walkie talkies featured here have 22 channels and 121 privacy codes. (Some have more, some fewer, but that’s the standard.) All have volume controls. All have LCD screens. Other features to look for, according to Baler, include: “SOS signals, built-in emergency sirens and compatibility with emergency channels.” You can also consider things like hands-free use and audio playback.

What Is The Most Reliable Walkie Talkie Brand?

Although any of the brands on our list are a safe choice, Midland stands out as the most reliable walkie talkie brand. Midland consistently produces walkie talkies that excel in connectivity and range, including our overall pick, the Midland X-Talker T71VP3. After multiple uses and drops, it continues to work as it did on day one.

What Walkie Talkies Have The Longest Range?

A walkie talkie’s range, also known as its coverage distance, is influenced by factors such as terrain, obstacles and the specific radio frequency used. In optimal conditions with no obstructions, many high-powered walkie talkies can communicate up to 30 miles apart. However, in real-world scenarios with buildings, trees or other obstacles, the effective range is considerably shorter. For these reasons, you should consider the practical limitations of walkie talkies and choose models suitable for your intended use and the likely operating environment.

What Walkie Talkies Do The Military Use?

The U.S. military employs a range of communication equipment, including advanced tactical radios, to ensure secure and reliable communication in various operational environments. These radios are designed to meet strict military standards for durability, clear communication and interference resistance. Brands such as Harris Corporation (now L3Harris) and Thales have been suppliers of military communication systems.

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