Devices such as walkie-talkies have been around for quite some time. If a weak signal distinguishes the first products, a lot of interference, then modern designs are compact and powerful products. With its help, it is possible to provide remote communication exactly in those areas where it is most needed, and this happens quite often. If you do not consider entertainment or amateur devices, the capabilities of compact radios are very wide. The radios are often used by employees of security organizations, intelligence officers, taxi drivers, hunters, fishers, ship captains, builders, etc.
On sale today, you can find a huge assortment of such products, so choosing the most suitable device is not as easy as it might seem at first glance. We decided to devote the rating to the best radios of 2020. Before considering specific models and analyzing their performance, let’s figure out what these devices are and what you should pay attention to when choosing them.
What factors are important when buying a walkie-talkie?
In the first stage, you should decide for what purposes this device will be used. We did not consider highly specialized equipment, having decided to turn only to the most common products. Conventionally, the products can be divided into several varieties: tourist walkie-talkies – they must have small overall dimensions and a capacious battery that allows them to do without recharging for a long time. Walkie-talkies for those who like hunting and fishing are necessarily equipped with a shock-resistant and waterproof case. Units intended for motorists in general and truckers must be powerful and reliable. Small overall dimensions are not important in this case. Security guards and builders usually use products designed for use in urban areas.
Such radio stations operate in certain bands. In our country, the most popular are CB (27 MHz), UHF (400-480 MHz), VHF (136-174 MHz). In principle, it is impossible to say which one is better or worse – here. A lot depends on the scope of use: for example, SV will show itself best in open spaces. In forest conditions, it will not work so well. Here, a device operating at the VHF frequency will be optimal.
Another important point affecting the choice of a device is the transmitter power. It might seem that the more powerful, the better, but this affects battery life. If it is possible to recharge the battery regularly, it is perfectly acceptable to purchase powerful products. Also, they pay attention to the type of battery – it can be either specialized batteries or the most ordinary AA batteries. Battery-powered walkie-talkies are best suited for camping trips; some models have a low power consumption mode, which allows you to extend the battery life. This parameter is not important for models designed for use in cars since the device is connected directly to the vehicle’s electrical network.
Portability options depend on the type of radio. For automotive products, it is important that it is convenient to install, and the tourist structure should fit comfortably in the palm of your hand and not exceed the weight of the most ordinary smartphone. Be sure to take into account the range of the radio. The communication range can vary significantly depending on the frequency at which the product operates. Also, at the moment, external factors directly affect – humidity, cloudiness, ambient temperature, relief, possible obstacles. The range of a car-type radio depends on the installed antenna; the strongest transmitters allow communication between cars located at a distance of several tens of kilometers from each other.
By current legislation, some types of radios are subject to mandatory registration. In particular, this applies to devices operating in the UHF and VHF bands. Many models have several additional features. In particular, with their help, you can select certain subscribers and conduct a dialogue directly with them, which is very convenient in case of air congestion. Active Noise Cancellation reduces channel interference and makes communication more comfortable. Many radios are equipped with a portable headset. As a rule, tourist walkie-talkies are placed in a shock-resistant and waterproof case, which will reliably protect the device from damage.
When compiling our rating of the best walkie-talkies of the year, we considered all these points. Also, we took into account the ratio of price and quality of products and user reviews. We have tried to include only products that are acceptable in cost so that each of our readers can afford to purchase the model they like.
4. ROGER KP-55
It is an ideal device for people who prefer outdoor activities such as cycling, skiing, etc. The weight of the product is only 60 grams, with the overall dimensions of 47x74x14.5 mm. The radio is placed in a case made of rubberized plastic. The assembly is excellent. No extraneous creaks, backlashes and other manufacturing defects were found. It reliably protects the internal elements from dust and moisture penetration – the assembly complies with the international IP57 standard. This can tell the user that the radio will work quietly, even in the dustiest places. It can be immersed in water to a depth of 1 meter and kept there for an hour. In urban conditions, the communication range of the device is from 500 meters to 1 km. In open areas, this figure is much higher.
A DSP processor is installed in the radio, which allows you to make the device circuit more simple and achieve minimum overall dimensions. It should be noted that such a product is susceptible to various electromagnetic interference. Speech is heard very well on the radio. The autonomy of the product is also very decent – about 15-17 hours in a 5/5/90 cycle. If you use the maximum settings with the highest power, then the battery will last about 6 hours of continuous operation. The model is charged from a power supply unit with a micro USB connector. The antenna is soft here, so it will be almost impossible to break it. Even though the device looks more like a toy, it is quite high quality and allows you to create a completely acceptable communication channel. The product operates in the 446 MHz frequency range at an ambient temperature of -20 to +55 degrees.
- A mode of reduced battery power consumption is provided;
- If necessary, you can instantly copy the settings from one device to another;
- Noise reduction can be adjusted manually;
- Minimum overall dimensions and weight;
- Reliability and durability;
- Waterproof case.
- Communication check system is not provided;
- Too late reports a low battery.
3. BELLSOUTH T-388
This kit is characterized by high-quality craft and low cost. With the help of these radios, it will be possible to always stay in touch on tourist and suburban trips, including where there is no mobile connection, and where it is, it will be possible to save well on these costs. In terms of overall dimensions, the devices are small. The body is made of matte plastic of medium roughness, which will never slip in your hands. Its shape is ergonomic, the radio fits comfortably in hand, the recesses for the fingers are located so that the product is very convenient to hold in both large and miniature palms. The upper part of the structure houses a rigid, rigid antenna, a high-brightness LED flashlight, and a headset jack. On the front side, there is an earpiece, which is covered with a perforated plastic plate. There are also function buttons and a backlit liquid crystal display, where all the information the user needs will be displayed.
The performance of a model in this price range is quite high. The maximum communication range reaches 5 km in open space. Each walkie-talkie operates based on 4 AA batteries. This ensures the long-term autonomy of the device. If necessary, the batteries are changed within seconds, which saves a lot of time charging the battery. The flashlight is bright enough; it will be very useful in the dark. The noise cancellation system is very reliable; it works stably; the sound is crisp and clear.
- The structure is equipped with a 2.5-inch LCD informative display;
- The product is very easy to operate;
- High-quality noise reduction system;
- Convenient ergonomic body shape;
- Acceptable cost.
- The information on the display is difficult to read under the bright sun.
2. TYT TH-UV8000D
A decent package bundle characterizes another design that is quite affordable in terms of cost. In particular, this device comes with two sets of antennas – one standard, the length of which is 17 cm, and the elongated one – 35.5 cm. The design is quite interesting. The shape is streamlined; all corners are rounded. The surface of the case will not bump into fingers or palms … The case is made of high-quality medium-density plastic. Users in their reviews regularly note the high build quality: there are no backlash and extraneous creaks, all elements are carefully fitted, the gaps between them are minimal. The design has a built-in lithium-ion battery, which has a significant service life. All controls are located very conveniently. All keys are plastic, pressed with characteristic clicks, average travel,
The radio station’s maximum power is 10 W, which allows it to be effectively used even over fairly long distances. All settings can be changed by connecting the equipment to a computer – for this, you have to download the appropriate driver and application. The walkie-talkie functions stably both in open spaces and in conditions of difficult terrain. There is a liquid crystal display with three backlight modes, which allows you to comfortably use the equipment both on sunny days and in bad weather or low light conditions. There is a monitoring function that allows you to catch and listen to even weak signals and scan all channels; there is a jack for connecting a wired headset, which is also very convenient.
- Powerful enough device;
- Long work from one battery charge;
- High-quality assembly;
- Attractive appearance;
- The convenience of use.
- Tough antenna connector.
1. Baofeng BF-888S
Among inexpensive products, this walkie-talkie is the most popular among Russian users and among many foreign fans of such equipment – this is evidenced by statistics from various electronic trading platforms. The radio is equipped with built-in memory for 16 channels, and they can be programmed only through a personal computer. The model is placed in a plastic case; the assembly is reliable; it raises no complaints. The display is not provided here, so it is impossible to access important functions such as activating the noise-canceling system. The power of the radio is 5 W. It operates at a frequency of 400-470 MHz. The device’s overall dimensions are 115x60x30 mm – it is quite comfortable to hold in both large and small hands.
This radio has a minimal set of features, but it is quite enough, especially at such a low price. The station is often purchased as a backup channel. A charger for the battery is supplied with the design, there is a clip that allows you to hang the radio on a belt, and there are also headphones. The antenna length is 11 cm. The device is also equipped with an alarm and a very powerful LED flashlight. The lithium-ion battery capacity is 1500 mAh at 3.7 V, thanks to which the model can work in autonomous mode for up to 8 hours. The battery will be fully charged within 4 hours.
- Quite decent communication quality;
- Reliable battery for long-term operation without recharging;
- Acceptable power output;
- There is everything you need for comfortable use.
- The flashlight starts flickering after a while.