Best Two-Way Radios

If you need to stay in contact with others when skiing, hiking, camping, or hunting then two-way radios, or walkie-talkies as they are sometimes called, can be extremely useful. Most models now offer the maximum 22 FRS (Family Radio Service) and GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) channels available. On top of that some offer privacy codes which further subdivides each channel to provide more private channels. There is also personal GPS navigation units with radio functions as well. Users should note that by law they are required to have a license from the FCC to broadcast on the GMRS bands.

Range claims from the manufacturer are based on optimal conditions. Those rarely exist in the real world and users should expect a range between half a mile and up to 2 miles. Some other important features you might want include tones/paging/vibrate functions, channel scanning, VOX (voice activated transmission), weather radio, noise filter, headset compatible, and different power settings or at least a low-power battery saving mode.

Below you will find our reviews and list of the best two-way radios. At the bottom of this article we also have a comparison chart to easily compare specs of each two-way radio.


Uniden SX377-2CKHS

We chose the Uniden SX377-2CKHS as the best two-way radio thanks to the prevalent number of outstanding features. Priced from around $105 it has a max range of 37 miles with 22 radio channels, plus 284 privacy codes for optimal communications. One great feature is a JIS7 waterproof rating, which means it can be submerged in water up to three feet for 30 minutes without damage, while it also is designed to float to the surface if dropped in water.

The Uniden SX377-2CKHS comes with two radios, 6 rechargeable AA NiMH batteries (3 for each radio), charging station, loop belt clips, and two earbuds. Other features include VOX operation, NOAA weather channels with alert, and emergency LED flashlight with SOS strobe.

Overall the SX377-2CKHS two way radios are small, lightweight, rugged, and waterproof which makes them perfect for any outdoor activity.


Motorola T605 Talkabout

Another excellent waterproof two-way radio is the $99 Motorola T605 Talkabout. This model is rated IP67 Waterproof which means it can survive in water up to 3 feet deep for 30 minutes and repel the heaviest rain. It has a max range of 36 miles, while in more normal conditions you can expect up to 2 miles of range.

Other features of the Motorola T605 Talkabout include 22 FRS/GMRS channels with 121 privacy codes, 11 weather channels, built-in flashlight with white and red LED to preserve night vision, and push to talk power boost. It comes with a rechargeable NiMH battery pack that is charged via micro USB that provides 9 hours of life. You can also use 3 AA batteries to go up to 23 hours of life.

Overall we would not hesitate to recommend the Motorola T605 Talkabout two-way radios to anyone.


Midland GXT1000VP4

Another highly rated FRS/GMRS two-way radio is the Midland GXT1000VP4 available for about $65. This version is weatherproof, not waterproof, that can withstand light rain or splashing water. It has 50 channels – 22 FRS/GMRS plus 28 extras that use the existing FRS/GMRS frequencies with hard coded tones – with a max 36 mile range and 142 privacy codes.

Other features include NOAA weather alert, eVox hands free operation, vibrate alert, and low/medium/high power settings. You can use either the rechargeable batteries included or 4 AA batteries. This set comes with 2 radios, 2 headsets, 2 belt clips, desktop charger, ac adapter, and dc adapter.

Overall we highly recommend this Midland model for all users.


Uniden SX329-2CKHS

A step down from the top rated Uniden walkie-talkie, the $80 Uniden SX329-2CKHS has slightly less range and is water resistant, but not waterproof. This model has a max range of 32 miles, a JIS4 water resistant rating, and uses the 22 FRS/GMRS channels with 121 privacy codes.

The Uniden SX329-2CKHS two-way radios include 2 radios, 6 AA NiMh rechargeable batteries, dual charging cradle, and 2 VOX earbud microphones. Other features include 5 call tones, vibrate alert, NOAA weather channels, and LED flashlight with SOS strobe signal.


Uniden SX307-3C

The only 3-pack of two-way radios on our list is the Uniden SX307-3C which sells for about $70. These radios are cheaper and do not have as many features as some higher rated and more expensive models. They use the standard 22 FRS/GMRS channels with 121 privacy codes.

The Uniden SX307-3C radios have a max range of 30 miles and no water resistance rating. They are powered by 3 AA NiMH batteries which recharge via micro USB. Other features include VOX operation, 5 call tones, and NOAA weather channels.

These radios are perfect if you need three instead of just two and you won’t be using them around water.


Midland LXT600VP3

Rated just outside the top 5 two-way radio is the Midland LXT600VP3 which sells for about $42. This pair of radios operate on the standard 22 FRS/GMRS plus they have an additional 14 extra channels with 121 privacy codes. It has hi/lo power settings and has a max range of 30 miles.

Other features of the Midland LXT600VP3 include NOAA weather alerts, eVOX operation, and water resistant to light rain or splashes. It is powered by the included rechargeable NiMH battery pack which lasts for about 8 hours or 3 AAA batteries.


Midland LXT500VP3

The best cheap two-way radios are the Midland LXT500VP3 which sells for less than $30. Under perfect conditions they do have a max range of up to 24 miles, but realistically the range is less than half a mile.

The LXT500VP3 includes two radios that operate on the 22 FRS/GMRS channels. However, it is lacking many features including any sort of water resistance. It is powered by 4 AA batteries or the included rechargeable NiMH battery pack.

If you are looking for a cheap walkie-talkie then the Midland LXT500VP3 is a great choice. These radios won’t work as well as more expensive units, but for close range of a few hundred feet they work tremendous.

Best Two-Way Radio Comparison Chart

Model Rating Price Max Range Channels Water Resistant Battery Weather Alerts
Uniden SX377-2CKHS 9.3 $105.89 37 miles 22 FRS/GMRS (plus 284 privacy codes/direct call codes) Yes (JIS7) 3 AA NiMH rechargeable (included) Yes
Motorola T605 Talkabout 9.3 $98.99 35 miles 22 FRS/GMRS (plus 121 privacy codes) Yes (IP67) 3 AA Batteries or Rechargeable NiMH Battery Pack (included) Yes
Midland GXT1000VP4 9.2 $64.99 36 miles 22 FRS/GMRS + 28 others (142 privacy codes) Yes 4 AA Batteries or Rechargeable NiMH Battery Pack (included) Yes
Uniden SX329-2CKHS 9.0 $79.99 32 miles 22 FRS/GMRS (121 privacy codes) Yes (JIS4) 3 AA NiMH rechargeable (included) Yes
Uniden SX307-3C 8.9 $69.99 30 miles 22 FRS/GMRS (plus 121 privacy codes) No 3 AA NiMH rechargeable (included) Yes
Midland LXT600VP3 8.8 $42.48 30 miles 22 FRS/GMRS + 14 others (121 privacy codes) Yes (JIS4) 3 AAA Batteries or Rechargeable NiMH Battery Pack (included) Yes
Midland LXT500VP3 8.6 $29.79 24 miles 22 FRS/GMRS No 4 AA Batteries or Rechargeable NiMH Battery Pack (included) No

You Might Also Be Interested In