Cell phones have sure come a long way from the 10-lb boxes you’d have to lug around in the ”80s. Nowadays, we have them practically glued to our hands, and they can pretty much do anything.
But…what if you’re somewhere without cell service? How do you stay in touch?
The answer is to use a two-way radio. Still used by many outdoor enthusiasts, law enforcement officials, and construction workers, walkie-talkies are still a powerful tool for real-time communication.
Today I’ll go through the three Best Two Way Radios of 2022 I recommend that work well for outdoor excursions and day-to-day work.
At this point, you might be ready to own a two-way radio. However, you’re still on the verge of indecisiveness when it comes to actually pulling the trigger. You might want to avoid making a big mistake and regretting your decision later on – and trust me, I speak from personal experience.
If that’s you, this guide will show you exactly what to look for to gain confidence in your decision.
Read on to find out exactly what to consider when choosing the right walkie-talkie for you.
This should be the first thing you should consider when buying 2 way radios. Depending on your use case, a model’s range could be the limiting factor dictating what you end up purchasing.
A walkie’s range is crucial as a low-range radio will be unable to transmit far distances or when obstacles are in your way. It also needs to withstand poor weather, which your basic Wal-mart walkie might not be able to handle.
If the range is a top priority, splurge on a higher-end walkie, or even consider adding an antenna to your radio.
Also remember, that radio range will be correlated with call clarity. The higher the comms field, the usually better the sound will be, so keep that in mind.
Aside from range and clarity, you need a walkie that’s easy to use. If your radio takes a Ph.D. to operate, it’s unlikely you’ll use it much. On the other hand, most of the high-performance radios require programming, so balancing the two is essential.
I started this article by suggesting a programmable HAM radio for those who want peak performance. If reading that description makes you start doubting your education, don’t fret, and just buy one of the later suggestions. That way, you won’t have to go through training, programming, or licensing.
Newbies should buy a more affordable (and thus, lower performance) radio. That way, you don’t buy something you don’t end up using, and you can ease into the world of radio communications. More on price later.
In addition to the ease of use, weather resistance and durability also need to be considered when buying two-way radios. Your walkie needs to withstand extreme stormy conditions and have a rugged casing to prevent water from entering (and breaking) the device.
Some two-way radios claim to be water-resistant, but that label is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Many are only water-resistant for a certain amount of time or depth. So, it’s possible your walkie is “water-resistant” but will still break if you go scuba diving with it.
Material is also a crucial factor to consider in regards to durability. Plastic might all look the same on the outside, but it’s essential to put your hands on the radio to feel if it’ll stand being dropped on a rocky trail.
The best radios to choose are those that are lightweight but made of strong materials. These indeed are the best of both worlds, so I tried to find suggestions that match these criteria.
Lastly, consider how long you’ll be out in the woods before buying your radio, as battery life is crucial. Some walkies are powered by alkaline batteries, while others have rechargeable ones. Your specific application dictates which one you’ll want to decide on.
If you’re going on a trip without any power plugs, regular alkaline batteries might be the best option. Or, make sure you pack a portable battery pack to recharge your lithium batteries. Either way, consider your goal before buying.
Whew! That’s a lot of information.
To cut to the chase, my #1 two-way radio recommendation is the BaoFeng BF-F8HP. Its features and capabilities are top of the line, but this set won’t hurt your wallet.
Its sleek and intelligent design and the easy CHIRP software make graduating into professional radios elementary. These features help you understand the functions of a two-way radio faster than anything else. This is an ideal radio for radio enthusiasts and ham radio operators working on busy workstations.
That being said, if you’re looking for a radio that doesn’t require licensing or programming, the Cobra ACXT145 is the perfect radio for you. Its size comes in handy if you don’t want bulky radio weighing you down while hiking. Plus, its simple functionality means you can unbox it and be communicating in seconds.
At the end of the day, choose any of the five options in this article, and I’m sure you’ll be well cared for. These options are all high quality, top performers that’ll last you years without draining your savings account.