How to choose the best walkie-talkie for your needs

Published June 1, 2023

If you are backpacking outdoors, then it is imperative you stay in touch with your friends and partners in case any emergency situations crop up. Most of the time, a walkie-talkie is often the best option after a mobile phone. Not only can you communicate with a large group of people instantly, but a walkie-talkie also lets you communicate in areas that have little to no mobile network coverage. From construction workers to campers, using a walkie-talkie is often the preferred method of communicating.

Currently, there are plenty of walkie-talkies on the market – each with its own unique features and blind spots – leaving potential buyers spoiled for choice. In this article, we look at how you can choose the best walkie-talkies for your needs. If you are considering purchasing one, there is a wide selection of walkie-talkies at RS Components.

What is a walkie-talkie?

A walkie-talkie is a handheld, portable two-way radio that allows two or more people to communicate while using the same radio frequency. Each battery-powered handset has a transmitter which also works as a receiver, an antenna for sending and receiving radio waves, a loudspeaker that functions as a microphone, and a push-to-talk button. Most walkie-talkies also have a small display to show the frequency, signal strength and other readings to make sure the unit is functioning properly.

How does a walkie-talkie work?

A walkie-talkie functions via a frequency band, which transmits sounds over radio waves to another walkie-talkie. There are many frequency bands available, which are also known as channels. This allows users to set the frequency or channel to help them communicate with their intended receiver. To communicate, users must hold the push-to-talk button, which switches the unit’s loudspeaker to the microphone.

Factors to consider

Purchasing a walkie-talkie is more complex than it appears to be. This is because there is a large variety of two-way radios being produced by different manufacturers. Providers who offer walkie-talkies can have products that differ in price, features, capabilities, and functions. Here, we look at some features to consider when picking a walkie-talkie best suited to your needs.


One thing a person needs to determine is the range they need for their communication. Consider the distance the walkie-talkies need to cover, and then pick a model with a range that comfortably covers that distance. People should also keep in mind that obstacles such as buildings, trees, and terrain can affect the range of the walkie-talkie.

Frequency and channels

Individuals should aim to look for walkie-talkies that offer multiple channels and frequencies. This is because having access to multiple channels reduces interference from other users. It also allows for clearer communication. People should therefore consider models that offer privacy codes or sub-channels for added privacy.

Power options

Think about the various power options available for walkie-talkies. Some allow for rechargeable batteries, while others run on disposable batteries. Rechargeable batteries tend to be more cost-effective in the long run, but they require access to electricity for recharging. On the other hand, disposable batteries generally offer users more convenience, but they may end up increasing operating costs in the long run.


Consider the durability of the walkie-talkie model. This is especially if an individual is planning to use it in rugged or outdoor environments, as weather conditions can affect how well a walkie-talkie functions. As such, users are advised to look for models that are waterproof, weather resistant, and built to withstand impact and rough handling.

Size and weight

With so many walkie-talkies on the market, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with some being lighter or heavier than others. Make sure to evaluate the size and weight of the walkie-talkie, particularly if it must be carried for extended periods – especially during outdoor activities. In this case, it is recommended that users pick a lightweight and more compact model that is comfortable to hold and easy to carry.

Ease of use

It is best you opt for walkie-talkies that are user-friendly and have intuitive controls and buttons. This is especially recommended if you have never used a walkie-talkie before. Features should include a clear display, large buttons, and a simple menu interface to make operating the tool easier, especially if an urgent situation comes up.

Audio quality

Make sure users check the audio quality of the walkie-talkie. Look for models that tend to provide clear and crisp audio transmissions, even in noisy environments. In fact, some walkie-talkie models offer noise-cancelling or voice-activated features to improve communication between users.


Another thing you need to concern yourself with is your budget. Ensure that you have set a budget for your walkie-talkie purchase and consider whether you are getting the best value for your money. Always compare different models within your price range and pick the one that best meets your requirements while at the same time still offering good quality and features.

Bottom line

Overall, by considering all the above factors, you can better pick the walkie-talkie that suits your communication needs. The walkie-talkie that you choose will depend on the activity you are doing – whether it’s for outdoor adventures, work environments, or personal use.