*Pshhht* breaker breaker four-niner over *Pshhht*
Listen up. It’s time to slow your roll and check out this guide to the best long-range walkie-talkie two-way radios of 2022. Why? Because when it comes to these high-tech gadgets, it can get downright confusing considering all the technical specs and information you need to absorb.
So listen closely, and Big Josh will point you in the right direction.
If you need to communicate over long distances without a cell signal, a high-quality set of long-range walkie-talkies or two-way radios is necessary (unless you’ve mastered smoke signals). I’ve used long-range communication devices for years in the military, working security, hotel operations, and also in the mountains while camping and hunting.
It’s pretty simple: two-way radios are a must when you need rapid communication, whether covering long ranges or short distances.
No matter your application — whether it be outdoors, recreation, commercial or professional — we hope you come across a product that’ll hit the mark.
To cover all bases, we’ve included both long-range General Mobile Radio Service (GRMS) and Family Radio Service (FRS) options and some more affordable short-range devices, as well.
No, these long-range walkie-talkies aren’t going to cover 100, 200, 500, or 1,000 miles like some of the more powerful radio frequencies, but they can reach up to 50 miles depending on your surroundings.
It’s also worth noting that we’ve opted to recommend only portable walkie-talkie-style two-way radios instead of the more bulky rectangular versions meant for dashboards and desktops.
Let’s dive into the best long-range walkie-talkie two-way radios of 2022.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
BEST LONG RANGE WALKIE TALKIES & TWO-WAY RADIOS
- Explaining Technical Terms
- Best GMRS Long-Range Walkie Talkie Two-Way Radios
- Best FRS Long-Range Walkie Talkie Two-Way Radios
- Factors We Consider When Analyzing Walkie Talkies
- Final Thoughts: Best Walkie Talkies & Two Way Radios
- More Hunting Gear & Resources
If your knowledge of walkie-talkies starts and stops with being able to press a button and talk, the information below is for you. Not all two-way radios and walkie-talkies are the same, so you’ll need to know what you’re searching for before making a purchase. Here are some general definitions of the terms you will run across in this post.
Click the ‘+’ sign to the right of the term to learn more.
The FRS radio debuted in 1996 and was billed as an ultra-high frequency (UHF) radio for families or groups that need a reliable way to communicate over relatively short distances. They’re limited to 22 channels in the 462 and 467 frequencies. Limited to two watts, they have a maximum effective range of 37 miles of direct sight. When you factor in blocked lines of sight, a reasonable distance to use is between one and three miles. These are the most common store-bought radios for personal use and recreation.
GMRS radios use the UHF band for small businesses, public service, and personal needs like FRS. The significant difference is that these radios require users to possess a valid GMRS license to operate, which covers the primary user and their immediate family members. The range for these radios is about the same as the FRS but can extend significantly with a repeater to reach 20+ miles. The higher wattage (5-50W) doesn’t provide much more range but allows for a better signal inside 5 miles.
Initially reserved for video television transmission, VHF is now used for higher power line-of-sight radios. These radio signals can go through small buildings and trees but aren’t advisable for mountain or urban settings. For this reason, they’re common for use in marine applications like ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore. They can be used at distances of up to 100 miles. Like GMRS, you must have a license from the FCC to operate these radios.
UHF radios are increasing in popularity among the backcountry and 4WD overland community. Why? Well, they work great at penetrating foliage, walls, and buildings and are perfect for convoys and those that need to communicate when they can’t see each other. Use UHF instead of VHF if you anticipate a frequently obstructed line of sight. Again, you must obtain a license to operate UHF radios.
The FCC is charged with managing the use of radios, as they are an essential piece of infrastructure in the United States. Police, fire, ambulances, airplanes, you name it, all use radios. However, there are strict guidelines for their use, and you must obtain an FCC license to use many of these radios in addition to a registered call sign. Visit this link to learn more.
You may be familiar with Push-to-Talk (PTT) radios where you press a button, talk, then release the button. However, VOX radios begin transmitting when they hear a specific frequency (your voice) and stop sharing when the user stops talking. For this reason, they can be a bit annoying, as they may transmit background noise from time to time.
Unlicensed walkie-talkies use a standard set of frequencies, so your communications are not private. Without a privacy code, others won’t be able to communicate with you on the same channel. But keep in mind these signals are not encrypted, so they’re never truly private.
Whether a busy hotel, a shuttle service, or a group of hunters in the woods, a high-quality GMRS radio will offer a reliable way to communicate. These are the best bang for your buck options when it comes to receiving a reliable signal and transmitting from one person to another on a walkie-talkie.
Keep in mind, you’ll need to obtain a license from the FCC to access GMRS channels on your radio. That said, you’ll still have access to FRS channels, which can be used with or without a license.
Best GMRS for the Money
Midland 50 Channel GMRS
The rechargeable Midland 50 Channel GMRS is easily one of the best long-range walkie-talkie two-way radios of 2022, and for good reason. This set can send and receive transmissions in open areas as far as 36 miles, which provides a massive advantage for those in open areas that need to communicate effectively.
They work great even when obstructed, but bear in mind the range will shorten. Expect about a mile of coverage in obstructed terrain and five miles in semi-obstructed landscape. Midland priced these babies to sell, so they’re an excellent value when considering their range.
These feature a VOX setting and whisper mode, which is great for hunters or security personnel who need to speak quietly into their walkie-talkie and still be heard. I found this feature particularly useful on my 2021 elk hunt.
Midland 50 channel GMRS radios also have 143 different privacy codes giving you 3,000+ channel options to keep your conversations private. They also feature NOAA weather alerts for those who need an incoming warning of inclement weather.
- Pros: Great price, whisper mode, weather alerts
- Cons: Consumes battery faster than other two-ways on this list, not great in the mountains
- Best for: Recreation, business, security, line of sight, and flat land applications
Best GMRS on a Budget
Even though these LUITONs represent a budget long-range walkie-talkies option, they are not cheap in quality. They feature excellent audio quality and have a reasonably decent range compared to FRS radios for how small they are.
One thing people seem to love about them is their thin and simple design. Their sleekness makes them great for applications where you don’t want a big cumbersome radio but still need to communicate effectively.
These affordable long-range two-way radios are not as powerful as the Midlands I recommended earlier (2-2,5W). Still, they are reliable and easy to use if you don’t anticipate needing them for over a mile of an obstructed range.
Ultimately, you’ll have to tinker a bit by programming them to GMRS/FRS frequencies to maximize their functionality. If you need to know what this entails, please check the owner’s manual or visit LUITON’s website to learn more.
- Pros: Affordable, sleek and thin, good sound quality
- Cons: Lower power than allowed by law, less-range, have to program
- Best for: Businesses and security, those who want to hide their walkie or have it tucked away on their belt
GMRS for Hunting, Mountains & Outdoors
Midland 50 Channel GRMS Mossy Oak
This is more or less the same long-range walkie-talkie as our #1 overall recommendation, but with a better set of features geared towards hunters and outdoorsmen.
For example, they can vibrate to silence tones and include five animal call sound noise alerts. These two additional features will help you stay undetected in the field.
They also sport a mossy oak break-up camo pattern, you know, so you don’t spook all of those elk and deer away with bright colors.
One of the most valuable functions for hunters is the weather scan alert. This will let you know if there is any inclement weather in your area, which can be a lifesaver in the backcountry.
Its boom mics allow for extra crisp audio quality. The added belt clip holds it securely to your pack, jacket, or belt, so it doesn’t fall off as you trudge up and down the trail. Pair this with long-lasting batteries, and you’re going to be sitting pretty on your next hunt.
- Pros: Animal call sounds, silent vibrate, weather alerts
- Cons: Better for a line of sight application, not that great in-between two valleys.
- Best for: Hunting, fishing, outdoors, flatter areas
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High-End GMRS + GPS Hybrid for Outdoors
Garmin Rino 755t
Since we’re hunters and outdoorsmen, we’d be remiss if we didn’t recommend an outdoor two-way radio and GPS navigator combo for life in the rugged backcountry. With a preloaded TOPO and 5-watt GMRS radio with a 20-mile range, this bad boy is perfect for the open frontier.
On top of its radio features, the Rino features a 3-inch color touchscreen and an 8 MP camera to boot. Also, if you’re in the backcountry with others and need reliable position tracking, you can link with other Rino users. This feature is handy to help loved ones keep tabs on each other.
Full disclosure: I’ve had my eye on this thing for a little while now and think this may finally be the season that I pull the trigger. My grand-pappy used to say that you can never be too prepared when headed out into the wilderness. I don’t think he could have ever imagined how prepared a gadget like the Garmin RINO 755t could make me.
- Pros: TOPO, nav, GPS, messaging, camera, 5-watt GMRS, position tracking
- Cons: A little pricey if you only need the radio
- Best for: Outdoors, bad service areas, hunting, backpacking
Long-Range GMRS Walkie Talkie Four-Pack
Motorola Talkabout T800
When I think of quality long-range two-ways, I think of Motorola walkie talkies. They’re the gold standard in the professional world, and I’ve used them while working in security, the military, and hotel management. The GMRS Talkabout T800 builds on Motorola’s hallmark quality and makes for an exceptional unit.
Not only are these 5-watt, UHF, two-way radios extremely reliable, but they also have Bluetooth capabilities which boost their abilities. Much like the Garmin Rino, you can do live position tracking with others who have the Talkabout App. In addition, you can message others with the app, even when there’s no cell service. You can also send voice messages and much more.
These features make the Motorola Talkabout T800 my go-to for small-group handheld communication. Besides outdoor use, I could imagine using these at music festivals or sporting events where cell signals can get jammed up.
- Pros: Motorola Quality, 30-mile voice range, long-lasting batteries, can integrate with a phone app to send messages over the radio
- Cons: None to report
- Best for: Group communication, position rracking, outdoors, events
Affordable GMRS Eight-Pack
Surprise, surprise. We’re again recommending a Midland device — well, eight of them. For medium-to-large groups, we believe this 8-pack of Midland GTX1000VP4s presents a great value.
That’s because they’re durable, weather-resistant, and waterproof, so you can feel good using them in various situations. In addition, they feature a variety of standard features relatable to the other Midlands we recommended on this list, such as SOS siren, weather scan, and ten call alerts.
Plus, they have a maximum line of sight range of 36 miles, but if you have obstacles like mountains, its signal won’t reach nearly that far. However, I’ve used these in an urban setting, and they performed up to 5 miles. They’re pretty powerful that they ring in around 50 bucks a pop.
- Pros: Inexpensive, great range, powerful, decent battery life
- Cons: Some users report the sound is not as great when you extend it to its maximum range
- Best for: Medium and large groups of 8+, business operations
FRS radios are perfect for those people who want a no-fuss, no-license way to communicate with their team. They don’t come with all the bells and whistles of a GRMS, but with privacy codes, you can still get a similar two-way function from them. FRS walkie talkies have less range but are still very useful within 1-3 miles.
Our Favorite FRS Two-Way Radio
For our money, FRS radios don’t get better than the compact and rugged Rocky Talkie. We’ve spent much of our lives exploring Colorado’s untamed backcountry, so we really appreciate a radio that can stand up to our high-intensity demands.
Speaking of Colorado, that’s exactly where the Rocky Talkie was founded. With skiing, climbing, and mountaineering in mind, these rough-and-tumble two-way radios were built to thrive in just about any outdoor conditions. They’re weatherproof, shatterproof, ergonomic, easy to use, and have exceptional battery life.
We haven’t put a ton of miles on our Rocky Talkies yet, but we’re over the moon with their performance thus far. When tested in Oregon’s thick woods, they’ve given us crystal clear communication for up to two miles. We’ve dropped, splashed, smushed, and sat on these bad boys (on purpose), and they still work as well as the day they arrived.
- Pros: Compact and rugged, built to last, great battery life, more weatherproof than most options on this list, USB-C rechargeable
- Cons: None yet; stay tuned for a full review and updates
- Best for: No-frills communicators, outdoorsmen who beat up their gear, small business supporters
Well-Known & Widely-Used
The Motorola T402 is one of the best long-range walkie-talkies for those who don’t need the ridiculous range of a GMRS two-way radio. It has a range of two miles inside an urban area, six miles at sea, and up to an incredible 35 miles from the mountain to valley with a direct line of sight.
This model is weather-resistant, making it great in various conditions and for use outdoors. The T402, like many others on this list, has a micro USB rechargeable battery pack that lasts 12+ hours between charges. Its built-in flashlight is another nice feature we appreciate.
It offers 22 total channels with 121 privacy codes, giving you over 2,500 combinations with which to find a channel and have a conversation. Some users report that this model is not remarkably durable to drops, so if you’re tough on your gear like I am, I’d consider something a little more rugged.
- Pros: Relatively inexpensive, Weather alerts, decent range
- Cons: Kinda flimsy, the battery compartment is hard to open
- Best for: Great all-around two way radios for a variety of uses
Durable High-End FRS
These are my favorite FRS radios for those that need an extremely durable, weather-resistant, and reliable solution for the most demanding conditions. I’ve seen these used on construction job sites for years, and they sure can take a beating.
Not only are they tough, but they can transmit a signal through floors and floors of concrete. This makes them great not only for construction but businesses that occupy multi-story buildings.
One of my favorite attributes about the DEWALT brand is they offer a limited lifetime warranty, so you can rest assured that they will stand behind their products. But, from what I’ve seen, this won’t be a bother, and you likely won’t have any issues with them in the first place.
- Pros: Extreme durability, rugged grip, can be used on 25+ floor buildings
- Cons: Slightly more costly than less durable options on this list
- Best for: Construction sites, multi-story buildings, people who are rough on their gear
Budget FRS-Only Radio
Motorola T100 Talkabout
I’m not going to lie to you and tell you this is the best long-range walkie-talkie on this list. (It’s not even close.) But, I will tell you that the T100 Talkabout is a solid, reliable budget two-way radio that makes for an excellent entry-level option.
The T100 Talkabout is a simple 22-channel walkie perfect for basic communication. These are great options for families and kids who move fast and need to stay in touch. They also don’t cost a whole lot compared to a few others on this list, so if you lose or break one, it’s not that big of a deal.
They claim to have a 16-mile line of sight range, but I doubt these are very reliable, much past a mile or two since they’re limited to the FRS 0.5-watt power. Powered by 3 AAA batteries that last 18 hours, the T100 Talkabouts offer decent power and battery life for a set of two-way radios that ring in under $30.
- Pros: Cheap, easy to use, great for shorter-range communication
- Cons: Not very durable, not very long-range, not rechargeable
- Best for: Families and kids, as well as those who need a simple communication solution
FRS for Hunting, Mountains & Outdoors
Wowee, can you believe I am recommending yet another set from Midland? Well, I couldn’t help adding the robust LXT600VP3 set of two-way radios. They’re rugged, built for the mountains and outdoors, boast up to a 30-mile range with no obstructions, and are reasonably priced when you consider their reliability and usefulness.
These UHF radios can scan through weather band channels for alerts for severe weather, much like their GMRS counterparts. So if you don’t want to hassle with obtaining a GMRS license and compliance, these FRS radios are the way to go.
As with all the Midlands on this list, we love the price point of this set. At about $30 a pop, you can use and abuse these and not worry about breaking or losing one in the field. Because if you’re anything like me, you can be pretty hard on your hunting or outdoor gear.
- Pros: Inexpensive, no GMRS license needed
- Cons: Not very good valley to valley or around too many obstructions
- Best for: Outdoors, hunting, mountains
Long-Range FRS Radio for Commercial Indoor Use
I included this robust Motorola FRS radio because I’ve used it in the hotel industry for several years. These little beasts are incredibly reliable for office use, have a powerful speaker with crystal clear audio, and are weather-sealed to stand up to long workdays with any weather condition.
My hotel used the Motorola RMM2050s for about three years but eventually sent them in to rebuild the antennas. At $50 per device, this wasn’t a cheap repair for our hotel, but considering that we went through several sets of cheap two-ways in the same period, these provide excellent value for high-use applications.
Want to maintain a professional appearance? Well, that’s easy with these Motorolas because they have superb hands-free capabilities and work incredibly well when paired with a headset. With these, you can also create custom channels for different functions, which helps business operations that require separate lines of communications.
For these reasons, this is our favorite option for high-use professionals who require the strongest and most reliable FRS communications on the market.
- Pros: Great audio, extreme reliability, outstanding for business and hotel operations
- Cons: A little pricey
- Best for: Professionals, those who want GMRS audio quality without the license
Reliable FRS Walkie-Talkie Six-Pack
At four ounces a pop, the Retevis RT22s are a very lightweight and compact solution for those looking to purchase an affordable six-pack of radios. Many users report loving these radios, and the internet is flush with 5-star reviews on this multi-unit pack.
They include a convenient charging dock and feature great audio and battery life for the price. I would purchase this six-pack if I had a family outing in a crowded area or wanted to stay in touch with others in a group at a festival.
The Retevis brand may not stand out as an example of extreme durability and quality like others on this list, but they’ll do what you ask of them, all without breaking the bank. Pull the trigger on these if you don’t plan on relying on these radios in rugged outdoor situations like hunting, hiking, or camping.
- Pros: Inexpensive, excellent audio for the price, super compact and lightweight
- Cons: No bells-and-whistles, plain jane, not extremely durable
- Best for: Outdoors events, group events, keeping in touch with children in a crowded environment
We are a lot like you; we love to pore over reviews and online blogs when making gear purchases. I mean, why wouldn’t we? Nobody wants to light their money on fire by purchasing a less-than-desirable product that won’t get the job done.
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to long-range radios, so we did tons of research for you to make an informed decision.
Here are eight of the most important factors we considered when writing this post:
FRS vs. GMRS Capabilities
FRS is a perfect solution for those who don’t need crystal-clear quality within the 1-3 mile range. However, some prefer better audio quality and more extended range peak-to-peak than FRS can offer. For those, we recommend purchasing a GMRS unit.
But the upgrade from FRS to GMRS comes with a price, as you must also purchase a GMRS license from the FCC if you want to utilize one fully.
All of the radios on this list have varying ranges, so pick a range that suits your needs and then work backward from there.
For most applications in a business environment between 1-5 miles, most selections on this list will get the job done. If you need your two-way radio to perform over longer distances — think 10+ miles — then be sure to check the capabilities of your radio and opt for a higher-end GMRS radio.
Battery life was an essential consideration for us when writing this buyer’s guide. The last thing you want is a ready and capable radio when you need it most, only to find that its battery is dead. For this reason, we only consider products that have reliable, long-lasting batteries that won’t leave you high and dry.
Was that a “niner” I heard there? Or did he say minor? Crap. I can’t hear what they’re saying.
Don’t let this be you. By purchasing a sub-par pair of two-way radios, you’re setting yourself up for future miscommunication. That’s why we’ve done our best to make suggestions for products with clear and reliable sound quality.
Are you the type of person who bends over to flush and accidentally drops your phone into the toilet? I sure am. I use my radios outdoors while on adventures, and my clumsiness always has a way of rearing its ugly head. That’s why I always opt for water-resistant electronics. Besides accidentally dropping my radio in a stream, it’s nice to have two-ways that perform in rain, snow, and other dicey weather situations.
I like to push myself and my gear to its limits. For this reason, I’ve done my best to make suggestions that are tough, sturdy, and can hold up to big, dumb oafs like me.
Don’t fall victim to cheap gear that will break down and fail you when you need it most.
From weather alerts to privacy codes to GPS tracking, a large number of the products in this buyer’s guide feature plenty of extra accouterment. Some of our selections lack bells and whistles, typically reflected in the price. The more you spend, the more features you’ll (usually) enjoy.
If you’re Elon Musk, skip this section. However, if you are like the rest of us, pay heed. Most selections on this list are affordable for the most part, and only a couple of these selections will break the bank. However, as mentioned above, the more you spend, the more features you can expect. We’ve done our best to include products across a range of manageable price points with varying features.
I see what you did there. You Googled “best long-range walkie-talkies and two-way radios of 2022” and stumbled upon this page. Well, good for you! You’re more intelligent than the average person and made the right choice by reading our comprehensive buyers guide.
If you need to communicate over long distances in the mountains while hiking, hunting, or for any recreation outdoors for that matter, then there are several FRS and GMRS selections on this list that will work well for you.
Or maybe you’re a professional who needs a highly reliable commercial communications solution that works well no matter what obstacles are in the way. Luckily, we’ve made several suggestions to that end, too.
No, these walkie-talkies aren’t going to cover 100, 200, 500, or 1,000 miles like some of the more powerful radio frequencies, but some of the higher-end can cover up to 50 miles in certain situations. That’s typically plenty of range for most users!
You arrived here searching for the best long-range walkie-talkie two-way radios of 2022, and hopefully, you’re leaving with some answers. After all, that’s what we’re here for: to help provide you with the best advice for you to make an informed choice. We hope we hit the mark.
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