Going off the grid and hiking are invigorating, it helps you tune in closer to nature but it does not present without any risks. It can be quite risky and unpredictable. You never know when a storm or something untoward will happen.
And the best survival walkie talkies can help you head home. It can help you get the help that you need in case you get lost, so you’ll not wait in vain. And it also helps you stay connected to your group.
Communication is king when it comes to emergencies, not just when going off the grid. We have curated a list of the best emergency walkie-talkies that can save your life. When cell phone transmissions are out, an emergency 2-way radio may only be your only source of communication to the outside world.
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Our Top Picks for the Best Survival 2 Way Radios: A Product Review
- Midland – X-TALKER T51VP3– this ticks the list of all the things you’d need and want in an emergency 2-way radio.
- MOTOROLA Talkabout T402– emergency communication devices need not be expensive, budget pick can get you the help you need at a fraction of a cost.
- Arcshell Rechargeable– These handy walkie talkies have strong signals that can bypass obstructions such as buildings.
- DeWalt DXFRS300– this is our heavy-duty option, it can survive falling from up to 2 meters.
- Retevis RT22– has features that solo travelers can find very suitable
- Cobra RX680– these walkie-talkies have a pretty long range of 35-38 miles. And it’s highly waterproof and can keep water out of the battery compartment.
- Uniden SX507-2CKHS– has a pretty long range and you can also make a direct call to someone in your group.
- BTECH DMR-6X2– this is our premium choice and is packed with tons of channels and a great set of features.
- BAOFENG BF-F8HP– has pretty long-lasting batteries that can last for 18 hours
- MOICO– it’s backed up with basic features but it is very durable and drop-proof, it’s also best for light backpacking trips.
|Brand||# of handsets||# of channels||Power||Range||Other Features||Shops|
|Midland – X-TALKER T51VP3||22 with 38 privacy codes||2||700mAh rechargeable battery packs and 1 AAA batteries||28 miles||NOAA Weather Alert, Hands free and voice sound activation, dual power- 700mAh rechargeable battery packs , micro USB charging cable , belt clips, water resistant, has an auto save power feature||Check Latest Price|
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|MOTOROLA Talkabout T402||2||22 with 121 Privacy Codes||Dual powered- 2 AA and rechargeable||1-2 miles( advertised 35 miles)||IP67 Waterproof,Advanced Built-in Flashlight with White and Red LEDs, Micro USB Charging Port, comes with 2 belt clips, iVOX hands free, NOAA weather channels and alert, dual power||Check Latest Price|
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|Arcshell Rechargeable||1||16||1500mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery||5 miles||Has a LED indicator, SIP/MIC jacks, and flashlight, comes with a removable belt clip, water prof, 2 wattage, comes with single-earbud style earpiece with foam|| Check Latest Price|
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|DeWalt DXFRS300||22||2||Lithium Polymer batteries rechargeable||Depends on the line of sight||IP67 waterproof, lifetime limited warranty, shock resistant up to 2 meter drop, VOX voice activated transmission, 360 degree swivel holster, anti squelch feature, power saver options, viber alert, anti slip design|| Check Latest Price|
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|Retevis RT22||16||4||Lithium ion batteries rechargeable||.5-2.5 miles||VOX function, belt clips, come switch 2 pack chargers,emergency alarm, Squelch function, English or Chinese voice prompt, time out timer|| Check Latest Price|
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|Cobra RX680||60 channels combinations & 121 privacy codes||2||Lithium Polymer batteries rechargeable||38 miles||NOAA weather alert, IP54 waterproof, dustproof, VOX feature, micro-USB dock charger, low battery beep tone, battery saver mode|| Check Latest Price|
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|Uniden SX507-2CKHS||22 with 142 Privacy Codes||2||2 AA batteries||50 miles||certified JIS7 and can be submerged up to in 3 ft up to 30 minutes, NOAA weather, 14 hours of battery life, charge cradle, exclusive group with direct call|| Check Latest Price|
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|BTECH DMR-6X2||4000||1||Lithium ion batteries rechargeable||5-35 miles||Front Panel Programmable Channels,Programmable Side Keys, and Upgradeable Firmware,10,000 Talk Groups, 200,000 Contacts, integrated GPS|| Check Latest Price|
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|BAOFENG BF-F8HP||128||1||2100mAh rechargeable battery||3-5 miles||Comes with 110V Adapter, Earpiece Kit, Wrist Strap, Belt Clip, hardened radio shell, dual band,|| Check Latest Price|
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|MOICO||22 with 99 privacy codes||2||4 AAA batteries||3 miles||Built-in LED torch ,3 sensitivity levels for hands-free operation, drop proof|| Check Latest Price|
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For your survival, having a form of communication is the top 3 priorities. And we have below a list of the best emergency walkie talkies that will not keep you waiting in vain nor running out the cold for help.
01. Midland – X-TALKER T51VP3- Best Overall
Midland walkie talkies best ticks all the features you’d need for a survival 2 way radio.
Another feature that we loved is that it has a VOX feature with 3 sensitivity levels. Same with the MOTOROLA Talkabout T402, you can also use this hands free. It can detect voices before activating the transmission.
It has great features that you’ll also find with the MOTOROLA Talkabout T402. It has a NOAA weather alert and the unit will prompt you if there is an upcoming adverse weather so you can plan your course differently if needed.
These are also dual peppered,so even if you don’t have a power source or a power bank , you can use it with alkaline batteries.
Also, you can communicate with other groups without giving away your location. And it also has a pretty good range so if you’d get lost in the midst of the wilderness, this is one unit you’d wish you had taken with you.
- The audio is very clear and the mic is very loud, so it still works great even in very noisy environments, the reception is great
- These are dual powered so you don’t need a power source, so they are very handy when going off the grid
- It can be used hands free and has a NOAA alert, so you can change your destination in case of weather disturbances.
- These are quite easy to use
- These charge very fast
- The batteries drain quite fast
02. MOTOROLA Talkabout T402- Best Budget Option
These dual power walkie talkies have features that you pay for half the price.
If you are in dire need of walkie talkies but don’t have too much money to shell out, this is the solution to your problem. It also comes in sets 2 so more bang for your buck.
These are dual powered devices. So if you run out of charge and do not have any access to any power outlets, you can use 2 AA batteries to power them up.
Everybody can use it. It doesn’t have a learning curve,these are very easy to use walkie talkies. Even beginners will not have a hard time tinkering through them. You can easily hover through the features and use them on the spot.
You can also enjoy a decent 22 channels. It also has privacy codes. Does not need complicated programming so you can use it right out of the box.
And though they are affordable units, they do not feel cheap and flimsy. These walkie talkies have quite an ergonomic design. And though it’s made of plastic, it has a nice feel to it. From the button, case, to the display screen, you will not think that it cost as less as it did. Though they are not premium looking, the unit looks more of a mid priced walkie talkie.
- These have a very affordable price but they don’t look or feel cheap, they even have an ergonomic design
- These walkie talkies are certified waterproof
- They are dual powered and you can feel them up with 2 AA batteries or via charge
- It has a 22 channels with more privacy codes, and all are very easy to tinker through
- These are very user friendly and very easy to use that even your kids will find it easy.
- A lot of people complained about the unit not having the range as advertised, it has an actual lower range. Thus, we see that it will not be best for commercial use.
03. Arcshell Rechargeable- Best Compact
These are very handy and sturdy emergency 2 way radio.
If you need something that you can easily slip into your pocket, this is it. Arcshell is a very handy 2 way radio that also comes with a belt. But make no mistake, these are equally sturdy and have a nice feel and heft to it. Not heavy, not light, but you can easily see that it’s not flimsy.
We also love the voice prompt function. Whenever you turn the unit on or switch channels, you will hear the voice prompt. The unit will also remind you if it’s time to change the batteries.
And since these are rechargeable, you don’t need to buy tons of alkaline batteries. But you do need to ensure that you have a standby power source to plug it in.
The range is 5 miles, which is pretty decent. But we do find that beyond that, you can still use this even in areas with obstructions or buildings.
And it’s very handy that it’s easy to sync with other walkie talkies, that’s why it’s ideal for big groups.
- These are very handy walkie talkies that you can easily slip in your pocket
- The unit is quite sturdy, feels nice on the hands, but it also has a reasonable cost.
- The sounds are clear and crisp
- Signal will not be affected even in the presence of obstructions
- It’s very to sync to other units, making it ideal for large groups
- They are rechargeable but you need a power outlet, so might not be a good choice when going off the grid for more than a day, unless you have a power bank.
04. DeWalt DXFRS300- Best Heavy Duty
This emergency 2 way radio is pretty solid and can withstand dropping.
It can withstand dropping from 2 meter. Also it is IP67 waterproof, so it will stay useful even if you’re drenched in rain.
And it has other features that the competition lacks. One, it has auto squelch features. So it can block off unwanted frequencies or prevent the weak ones. Two, it has a distinct tone that signals the transmission. So you know if it is already okay to talk. This will relay your message to another line more clearly.
It also has VOX features. But what sets it apart is that it has more sensitivity levels. It offers 5 insead of the standard 3 sensitivity levels of most survival walkie talkie brands.
- It has a rugged design that complement your off the grid look
- It is heavy duty and can withstand falling from 2 meters, it is also waterproof
- The VOX feature has 5 levels of sensitivity
- It has convenient features other units do not have
- It offers limited lifetime warranty, you’re sure this unit means serious business
- The range is not really specified, it’s more of depends on the line of sight
05. Retevis RT22- Best for Solo Travelers
If you’re going off the grid solo, this is the most suitable emergency walkie talkie.
It has features that you’ll find very useful ocne you need help and you’re stuck somewhere alone. One, it has an emergency alarm, so it can send off signals to ask for help. Two, this is a very lightweight, compact yet decently durable emergency 2 way radio.
The RF range is also pretty good. And the channels are pre programmed so you can use these straight from the box
It also has a squelch feature, but you can fine tune it to your needs and adjust it on the noise of the environment.
- These are quite hady, light, and compact
- These have an emergency alarm solo travelers will find very useful
- The RF signal is good and the sounds are pretty loud
- These are are very easy to use
- The controls are very simple, however, it lacks a programming keypad for radio T
- Battery life is quite short and these are not dual powered
06. Cobra RX680- Best Waterproof
This COBRA emergency walkie talkie has quite a long range, a robust and strong body, and can help you get more value for your money.
This 2 way radio is quite heavy duty. It is encased in a high quality frame. And you’re sure that the batteries will get wet since the battery compartment has an IP54 approved water seal. And If water gets in the speaker grill, the unit kind of takes care of it. It gives off this burp sound that pushes water out.
The sound is also very clear and has a noise suppression for calls.
It is also very easy to hold and feels nice on the hands. The buttons and the entire unit fels nice and strong, there’s nothing flimsy about it. But it doesn’t have a premium price.
- These are compact and have a nice ergonomic design, even the knobs feels strong and nice
- The sound is clear and has noise suppression for voice calls
- The range is pretty long at 35-38 miles
- It is waterproof and dustproof, and if a little water gets into the speaker grill,the unit will take care of it
- The body is high quality and feels strong
- As much this is among the long range walkie talkies, it may not be that powerful to overcome some obstacles such as buildings
07. Uniden SX507-2CKHS- Best Long Range
Uniden SX507-2CKHS can work up to 50 mile range.
But do take note that the range may also be affected by weather conditions and the terrain. So whilst hiking, it might present a lower range than advertised. But it still works better in terms of range than other devices.
Now one of our favorite features is the escape call or direct call. You will be able to call one person in your group without anyone listening on the convo. It’s like entering a private chat box. And it;s easy to do so. Just type in the 4 letter name of the person and their unit will ring. So albeit, using the unit in a larger group, you can make a direct call to a single person.
- You can make direct calls to anyone in a group
- Thes have a pretty long range
- Feels nice the hand and looks more expensive
- These are not dual powered
- Range can be affected by weather and terrain conditions
08. BTECH DMR-6X2- Best Premium
This 2 way emergency radio has the bells and whistle, at a premium price.
The premium price was justified. The unit seems of pretty good quality. And it has more features than the competition. One, it has a total of 4000 channels, both in UHF and VHF.
Moreover, you have the liberty to program the keypad. It also has a software that you can use to maximize the features of this walkie talkie.
The audio is very clear and loud too. But the best feature that can serve you well in emergencies is its integrated GPS features. So you can easily send off your location to ask for help.
- This unit has a longer battery life
- The audio is very clear and it’s a high quality survival walkie talkie
- The GPS feature can send your location in case of emergencies
- It has a lot of channels, more than the other options on our ist
- It has a large memory bank
- One of the best units with DMR option
- Some find it challenging to edit n the software
- Not that waterproof
09. BAOFENG BF-F8HP- Best Weather Proof
This is a durable 2 way radio suitable for backcountry use.
It can survive extreme weather conditions. It’s waterproof, snowproof, and dustproof. But it’s not suitable for urban use or anywhere that has lots of cell towers nearby. It might result in lots of interference.
Hence, this is best used in the backcountry and suitable for going off the grid. It has a pretty long range. And though it is not dual powered, it has a longer battery life of 18 hours.
- Long lasting batteries with 18 hours run time
- It runs in both UHF and VHF frequencies
- Waterproof, snow proof, dustproof and fall proof
- You can experience interference if there are a lot of cell towers nearby
- The setup can be challenging
10. MOICO- Best for Light Backpacking Trips
These are easy to use 2 way radios perfect for light backpacking trips.
These are very easy to operate too. Even kids will find it easy to use. The VOX function also features 3 levels of sensitivity. And the volume is pretty loud and clear oto. You even have options to adjust them.
MOICO is encased in a durable shell. So even if you drop it,it will not get damaged easily.
The small built-in flashlight also comes in handy when you’ve lost yours or it ran out of batteries. Though not enough to illuminate a path very clearly, it can be used in emergencies.
- Sound Is pretty loud and has an adjustment level
- The unit is drop proof and it is encased in a hardshell casing
- Has a small built in flashlight
- It’s compact and lightweight
- UHF only
- Does not come with batteries and not rechargeable
What to Look for in the Best Survival Walkie Talkie
Not all walkie talkies can help you in dire situations. To make sure that you will not be left in dismay in the midst of an emergency, here are what you should look for when buying emergency 2 way radios.
The maximum range:
Do you need walkie talkies that reach 10 miles? Not always. While more is better, it does not always mean that a 2 way radio with only 5 range is not useful anymore.
Also, even if a walkie talkie is advertised to have 10 mile range, weather conditions and terrains can change that. Obstacles such as hills and buildings may also affect the range.
Our top choices are also license free radios with decent range.
However, if you need something more, you have to purchase more expensive units with a license.
Some walkie talkies are rechargeable while others work with alkaline batteries only. Dual units can work with a rechargeable battery or alkaline batteries.
Rechargeable batteries need a power source or a power bank so you can refuel them. So if you don’t have any, make sure that you only intend to use them for a day,
That’s wh dual powered units are the most efficient. It gives you the liberty to choose the fuel source. You can have it charged prior to leaving and have a set of alkaline batteries on hand for replacement.
These are the type of 2 way radios that are more suitable for longer use.
Hands free features:
VOX or hands free features allows you to use the unit well, without your hands. This is very convenient and you can make calls even if the walkie talkie is clipped to your belt. It uses voice recognition to activate a call. So if you find yourself stuck somewhere and your hands can’t access the unit, you’ll be glad you bought one with this feature.
Most of our top picks are IP67 waterproof and dustproof. These can function even if drenched in rain or if they accidentally submerged in a puddle. So if going off the grid, this feature is very essential.
Channels and privacy codes:
Basic units usually come with 22 channels. But also go for one with more privacy codes than the channels so you can have your own frequency.
Weight matters a lot especially if you are trekking or hiking. You do not want to carry a walkie talkie hat;stoot heavy or eat a chunk of space in our bag.
It should also be easy to hold, one with an ergonomic design will feel very nice on the hands.
These features may or may not be present in some units. If you happen to need one with extra features, be sure to check out with the manufacturer.
NOAA radio feature:
NOAA will let you know of incoming weather disturbances. So you can plan ahead or change your course if needed. These are essential for hiking, training, or going off the grid.
Build in flashlight:
Built-in flashlights may not be that illuminating, but it can be a backup in case you lost your flashlight. These are useful for going off the grid, construction sites, or even touring in big edifices.
This is a convenient feature that can send off our locations to your friends and families so you can easily ask for help.
This can send off emergency signals, it’s very useful when going solo . You’ll never know when you’ll need back up, right?
Are walkie talkies good for emergencies?
Yes they are, especially if you were able to make the right choice. These can help you get help or send off your location so people can easily find you. It also helps keep communication within a group of hikers and travelers.
Even in the urban setting, it can keep communication between groups for easy relaying of information and coordination.
Can walkie talkies be traced?
In most cases no, it might be nearly impossible unless you mount on a different GPS tracker chip to the unit.
Why do you need a survival walkie talkie?
This can keep communication within a group. Aside from going off the grid, this can serve as a means of communication for people planning a big event, a group of people touring the city or a big establishment and so on.
Cell capabilities are limited, and when power is cut, these emergency communication devices may only be your only means of communication.
The best survival walkie talkie is not just limited to hiring or trekking. It can also be used in the urban setting, especially when groups of people are involved.
When cell signals are down, these emergency communication devices may be the only functional one.