Best 2 Way Radios

It may seem strange that handheld transceivers are still as popular as ever, especially with the range of cellphones available.

Handheld transceivers offer a very different range of uses compared to that of their cellphone counterparts.

Back in World War II, Motorola supplied their American troops with walkie-talkies – convenient backpack sized radio systems that were for portable use.

Compare that to the handheld transceivers of today and we have something that is much smaller and much more versatile. 

If you’re interested in purchasing your own two-way radios, then this guide will help you find the best one for you.

We have compiled a list of the best two-way handheld radios as well as a buyer’s guide so that you can really find a radio that works for you. 


When walkie-talkies were first distributed users would be required to have the exact same radio as everyone else and everyone needed to be tuned in to the same channel.

On these channels, only one person was able to speak at a time by using a talk button. When one user uses this talk button, the other users would be able to hear them through their own speakers. 

For these reasons, users needed to say ‘over’ once they finished a conversation to indicate that the channel was then free for other users to speak.

If converstations were going to take place over a longer stretch of time then they would need to be assigned to a spare channel so that other users could speak if they needed to. 

In the US there are two channels that are used for transceivers. These are the GMRS and FRS channels. The former channel requires one to purchase a user license that lasts for 10 years.

Most of the time it doesn’t matter which channel your transceiver operates on, you should be able to get two of them to work together. However, you are usually able to buy two transceivers on a special two for deal. 

The Best Handheld Transceivers

Without further ado, let’s take a deep dive into the best two-way radios available on the market today. These transceivers vary in price and capabilities, so use this list to determine what properties you would like your transceiver to have. 

Best Budget – BF-F8HP Dual Band Two-Way Radio by BAOFENG

This handset is a great affordable way for people to start to explore tha ways that GMRS communication works as long as you don’t mind having to get the license required to do so.

This two-way radio is as close to a traditional walkie-talkie as you can get. It is able to function on VHF and UHF frequencies as well as having an FM radio tuner

You can improve the radio’s performance significantly by adding your own replaced antenna. 

This radio also has built in VOX making it entirely hands free for those that need it to be. It has an LCD backlit display to make it usable in the dark as well as a backlit keypad.

Lastly, all of the channels included on this radio are supported to be able to transmit and receive signals. You are also able to monitor two channels at once by using the PTT button.


  • Channels, 128
  • Tuner, GMRS
  • Power, 8w
  • Range, at least 15mi


  • Great LCD display
  • Dual scanning capabilities
  • FM radio tuner included
  • Able to rename programmed channels 


  • Needs a license to use

Best Outdoor – BC Link 2.0 Handheld Transceiver By Backcountry Access

This Backcountry Access two-way radio has a combination of a traditional walkie-talkie handheld transceiver and a handheld microphone that you would usually find as part of a CB radio.

The reason for this is because the microphone is able to be used even in the most terrible of weather conditions, including in heavy snow.

Even though the radio itself is a lot heavier than most traditional radios, it can be kept in a backpack whilst the microphone is clipped to your belt or backpack strap. 

This radio is also drop resistant because of its rubber casing. This two-way radio is perfect for people looking to hike in areas with difficult terrain and weather conditions such as national parks.

There are privacy codes featured within the default channels. It has a significantly impressive battery life (up to 22hrs) and comes with a MicroUSB charging wire to keep the battery topped up. 


  • Channel, 22 FRS channels, 121 sub-channels
  • Power, 2w
  • Range, 40mi
  • Battery life, up to 40hrs (standby), 6hrs (talking)
  • Water resistant, IP56


  • Snow protected casing
  • Lost lasting battery
  • Great signal range
  • Clear sound 
  • Drop resistant 


  • Heavy 

Best For Camping – T200TP Talkabout Radio By Motorola

If you have a family that enjoys plenty of camping trips the you may find that this set of three handheld transceivers are perfect for you.

This Motorola series is the best value for money as well as providing you with plenty of modern two-way radio features. 

Motorola pride themselves on their products’ durability and versatility.

You can rest easy knowing that the quality assurance team at Motorola have their own advanced drop-testing techniques that ensure your device is going to be free of any damage if you accidentally drop your radio.

These devices use MicroUSB wires in order to charge, this is fantastic as it is an economical advancement for these devices as they no longer rely on batteries to function.

However, the option is there to use AA batteries if you have no means of charging them via the use of a cable.

If you have a larger family, then you are able to buy more handheld transceivers and they will still be compatible with each other due to the fact that they function on FRS frequencies.

It also doesn’t have to be Motorola branded, as long as they function on the same frequencies they will be compatible. 


  • Channel, 22 FRS channels, 121 sub-channels 
  • Power, 2w
  • Range, 20mi
  • Battery life, up to 29hrs (standby)
  • Water resistant, IP67


  • Light and durable 
  • Three pack
  • Compatible with other FRS two-way radios 
  • Long battery life 
  • Drop-tested
  • MicroUSB charging


  • Range could be larger 

Best For Wet Weather – TLKR T92 H20 Walkie-Talkies By Motorola

This is another Motorola branded two-way radio. Motorola is a great brand when it comes to handheld transceivers due to the fact that they popularized them in the first place.

Because of this, their technology has only improved over the years. This particular radio is great for wet weather.

If this radio is dropped in water or is rained on, it is built with technology that allows it to fix itself, keeping water out of the speakers. It also has a flashlight that is activated when it’s submerged in water. 

You can also use the flashlight for purposes outside of the water as well. The device has red and white LEDs allowing you the choice of either white light or red light (better for use with night vision).

They come with rechargeable batteries, all you need to do is place them in the dock to keep their battery life up.

If you are in an area that doesn’t have electricity don’t worry, you can use normal AA batteries as well.

Lastly, this two-way radio comes with a whistle as part of the accompanies belt clip as well as an emergency alert on the radio.


  • Channel, 16 channels, 121 sub-channels 
  • Power, 2w
  • Range, 6mi
  • Battery life, up to 23hrs (standby)
  • Water resistant, IP67


  • Can be submerged for around 90 seconds
  • Floats in water
  • Torch included
  • Safety whistle and emergency alert included 


  • Range is small  

Best Underwater – MR HH500 FLT Submersible Two-Way Radio by Cobra

If you tend to go out boating often or like to explore the underwater world, then this two-way radio is a great option to bring with you on these adventures.

You may find that it isn’t the best radio to use on a commercial fishing boat, but it does offer rechargeable batteries meaning that you can get a long-lasting charge for up to 7 days.

It doesn’t matter if you accidentally drop it, or if you bring it into the sea with you on purpose.

This walkie-talkie is submersible and the best option for you if you think it may end up in the water. On top of this, the two-way radio floats, so you won’t be able to lose it. 

Sometimes we miss important information that is sent to us through our handheld transceiver. If this happens to you, worry not.

This radio comes with the function to rewind and loop a section of a transmission so you’re not missing anything that you need to hear.

It also comes with a function to tune into important weather informations, suitable for those at sea. 

Lastly, this radio has Bluetooth, meaning you can connect it safely to your cellphone including the ability to make phone calls whilst keeping your actual cellphone safe. 


  • Channel, 88 VHF channels 
  • Power, 6w
  • Range, 20mi
  • Battery life, 5 days (standby), 8hrs (talking) 
  • Water resistant, IP67


  • Light, small and durable 
  • Submersible 
  • USB charge
  • Customizable call tones
  • Bluetooth 


  • Range could be larger 

Best Children’s – Kids Walkie-Talkies 3 Pack by Huaker 

These children’s walkie-talkies are a fantastic option for your little ones. As long as your children can agree on a channel to share, then there are no issues with these handheld radios. =

Adults can also help to set up a channel for the children to use. This product has 22 channels as well as 99 sub-channels to choose from. =

This means that your children won’t have any issues findinf a place to speak to their friends nearby. =

The sound clarity is excellent for a child’s handheld transceiver and so there won’t be any issues with being able to hear each other or shouting down the microphone. =

As well as this, there is a function for children to be able to speak without having to press a button, this is much easier for younger kids. 

These features are already excellent, but alongside this, the walkie-talkies also come with an LED torch that kids can use for their explorer games. =

There are 3 handheld transceivers that come in this pack and at a reasonable price, so that means there’s room for everyone to join in. With a choice of three fun designs and colors, your kids are bound to be impressed by these. 


  • Channel, 22 FRS
  • Range, 3mi
  • Battery life, 4 days


  • All necessary features included
  • LCD display screen
  • Great sound quality
  • Comes with three handsets


  • Sub-channels can be confusing

Thing To Consider 

It is useful to know what things you need to look for specifically when it comes to  buying a two-way radio. No matter what the use may be, these things are generally what you want to keep your eyes out for. 

The Range Of The Radio

Manufacturers of handheld transceivers often advertise the range at which these two-way radios will be able to function.

However, sometimes this isn’t entirely accurate. This is due to the fact that most radios aren’t able to adhere to this maximum range because of a number of outside factors.

Trouble with range can come down to the terrain you’re on and even the weather conditions you’re experiencing at the time.

It is important to note that when you purchase a handheld transceiver that natural occurrences can affect how far the range reaches. 

Types Of Batteries And Charging Methods

Newer two-way radios are able to offer a range of power options.

A choice of how to power your radio at any given time is an important one, especially if you’re considering taking the radio with you to a place that has no accessible electricity.

If this is something that you’re considering, then you need to make sure that you are purchasing a handheld transceiver that is able to be powered without electricity.

So, for some radios they are able to accept AA batteries as well as coming with a rechargeable battery as well. On top of this, there are two-way radios that offer solar charging as an option. 

Voice-Activated Transmission (VOX)

If you’re looking for a two-way radio that is able to be used hands free, then making sure you have a radio that has voice-activated transmission (VOX) may be an important thing for you to consider.

This means that you will be able to speak and broadcast your voice across the radio system without pressing any buttons. This may be handy for those of you looking to use a two-way radio whilst boating, for example. 

The Categories Of Two-Way Radios

As well as keeping in mind what to look for when it comes to choosing a two-way radio, it’s also helpful to know the different types of two-way radios that are available in order to determine what’s right for you. 

Digital And Analog

Digital and Analog two-way radios are capable of sending signals that are VHF (Very High Frequncy) or UHF (Ultra High Frequency). But, there are still some differences between the two. 

Digital two-way radios use newer advanced feature and software applications.

Because of this, you may find that digital handheld transceivers take a little longer to get used to due to the more complicated technological factors. 

Analog two-way radios are a little easier to use as they have been used for so many years across many different walks of life.

You will often find that analog handheld transceivers come with a wide variety of accessories to choose from. However, newer technological advancements aren’t supported on these. 

Duplex And Simplex Channels 

You will often find that simplex channels are used for emergency handheld receivers, this is because you can transmit and receive data on one frequency.

However, a lot of newer handheld transceivers use full-duplex or half-duplex channels. These channels are able to transmit and receive data signals over two different channels. 

Trunked And Conventional 

Handheld transceivers that use a trunked system are used most often by large organizations and other multi-agency systems because they are able to function with a plethora of users.

These trunked systems are quite expensive to run and so if you’re looking to get a transceiver for your own personal use, then it may be worth buying conventional radios instead. 

Conventional two-way radios are able to be used by up to 70 users at one time. Family Radio Service (FRS) handheld transceivers are a common example of a type of conventional two-way radio. 


Two-way radios have many different uses. You may want to use them on your boat, underwater, for camping, or maybe you’re just looking for good ones for your kids.

Make sure to keep in mind everything you need to consider when it comes to purchasing a two-way radio. This article has everything you need to know to be able to make an informed decision. 

Whatever the use may be, we hope that this list has helped you determine which two-way radio is best for you. Have fun! 

Matthew Osborn

Matt is an entrepreneur who has created and successfully exited multiple companies and brands. Now, he dedicates his time to Legionary, where he produces content on guns, family, and freedom.

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