8 Best Long Range Walkie Talkies

Most walkie talkies on the market today are poorly engineered and have extremely limited range. Buildings, topography, forests and other obstructions can also get in the way and wreak havoc with weak signals from these poorly designed units. The best walkie talkies by contrast have the engineering and power behind their signal to provide true long range capabilities, even under less than ideal circumstances. It’s these units rescue crews and emergency responders rely on for clear, reliable communication. And it’s just those kinds of units we’ll be looking at here.

This look at our 8 favorite long range walkie talkie models will begin with 2 that we consider to be above and beyond the rest and then move on to others that are outstanding in their own right but perhaps just half a rung below the top of the ladder. Let’s begin.

Hall of Fame: Our Top 2 Picks for Best Long Range Walkie Talkie

It’s not easy to find a real long range walkie talkie out there, but driven by a desire to provide our readers with the best, most relevant information we’ve managed to dig up 8. And here they are, starting with our 2 favorites. Keep in mind the opinions expressed here are those of our review panel. Your opinion may vary.

● Effective range of up to 23 miles under most circumstances.
● 8 hours of rechargeable battery life or 10 hours of life on alkaline batteries.
● Finding a channel is easy with more than 2,500 channel/code combinations.
● 7 NOAA channels and 11 weather channels total.

The Motorola MH230R provides clear communication over hill and dale up to 23 miles. While that distance will vary as it does with all walkie talkies, the MH230R holds up its end of the bargain far better than most. You don’t need to be on the Bonneville Salt Flats on a clear day to achieve long range effective communications. And it performs just as well in short range situations that overwhelm many a lesser walkie talkie like crowded malls and amusement parks.

The Motorola MH230R is an outstanding long range walkie talkie that’s surprisingly powerful and clear even over great distances. If you plan on going camping or backpacking you should have a pair of these with you so no individual or group is ever out of range of the others. Just make sure you bring along plenty of alkaline backups and you’ll be good to go for a long weekend.

● Theoretical range of up to 50 miles.
● Waterproof walkie talkie. Will stay afloat if you drop it in the ocean or river.
● Built in strobe light for emergency situations.
● Keys glow at night so you never have to seek a supplemental light.
● VOX headset for trouble free, hands free operation.

While the Uniden Submersible is an outstanding walkie talkie that will provide you excellent range in less than perfect conditions, 50 miles is probably pushing it a bit. 25 miles in open country though is not and that’s about 23 more miles than you’ll get out of poorly engineered units. The Uniden Submersible is a great looking unit that’s a treat to hold and all readouts are clear as day.

There were times we were able to get 20+ miles out of these units and other times, particularly in the city, when effective range was reduced to about a mile. All in all this walkie talkie is very easy to operate. The buttons are clearly marked, well laid out and easy to use and we appreciate that you can completely submerge these units and they’ll pop straight back up ready to go. Range and submersibility alone make these an excellent value.

Honorable Mentions

● Lithium ion battery included.
● 8 hours of usage from a single battery charge.
● Power saving mode extends battery life and provides peace of mind when you need it.
● Moderately powered flashlight built in for emergencies.
● Extremely durable construction both outside and in.

BaoFeng may not be a name familiar to many but they’ve been rising steadily through the ranks of quality walkie talkie manufacturers in recent years. Their BF-888S is a prime example of how far they’ve come and a fine indication that with a few additional years under their belt we may be talking about them as one of the outstanding walkie talkie makers out there. This unit is compact and comfortable, has plenty of range and, considering you get 6 units, is extremely affordable.

Outstanding small touches like the emergency flashlight demonstrate that the engineers at BaoFeng are thinking on their feet. It’s the kind of thing that augurs well for the rest of the walkie talkie. Overall the unit is tough as nails and really easy to hold firmly. The most serious drawback is the controls layout, which almost seem like an afterthought. Beyond that the BaoFeng BF-888S is well worth the investment.

● Outstanding battery life performance with as much as double that of standard rechargeable batteries.
● Potential range of up to 35 miles under ideal conditions.
● Vibrating ringer for noisy outdoor locations or indoor locations where quiet is called for.
● Triple pack includes 3 radios, 3 rechargeable batteries, 3 earbuds and PTT microphones.

The Motorola Talkabout series, including this MT352TPR, all provide outstanding battery performance and that’s what you want from a walkie talkie. The battery here uses a handy USB charger and also has a mini USB charger for those times you’re on the road. While not completely waterproof the units are water resistant and dust resistant so there should be no problems with outdoor operation. We never achieved 35 miles but on a clear day in the open country we did manage just over 18 which in itself is pretty outstanding.

The Motorola MT352TPR Weatherproof walkie talkie is more weather resistant than weatherproof. Still, you won’t have any trouble with it on rainy days in the woods when you want to stay in touch with everyone. Battery performance alone is almost worth the price of admission but build quality, design and toughness are also first rate and argue in favor of this walkie talkie.

● Stout design is durable as the day is long.
● Switch between high and low power modes to save energy in emergency situations.
● Emergency flashlight feature for additional operator safety.
● VOX hands free functionality.
● Automatic face button lock prevents mistakes and accidental cutoffs.

The Luiton LT-188H 10 watt walkie talkie is a model of efficiency that’s well designed and well-balanced with plenty of power to achieve its advertised 10 mile effective range. That may actually be the most accurate range assessment of any long range walkie talkie on the market and is certainly achievable in open country in good weather

The LT-188H walkie talkie is that rare piece of tech that does just about everything it says it will. It is a genuine long range walkie talkie, has many desirable, convenient features and is a steal at the cost of 2 large pizzas. Features like the built in flashlight, power saving mode and button lock are things we look for in a walkie talkie and we’re happy to say the Luiton has them all. If not for the lack of an illuminated display it would be in our Hall of Fame.

● Effective range of up to 35 miles.
● 22 channels with more than 100 privacy codes.
● Built in emergency flashlight is a life saver.
● Numerous NOAA channels for weather updates and alerts.
● Power with the rechargeable battery that’s included or use 3 AA alkaline batteries.
● VOX hands-free operation is simple and reliable.

While you’d be hard-pressed to actually achieve 35 mile communication with this MR350TPR walkie talkie, you’ll get 20+ in open country on good days and that’s nothing to sneeze at. The practical range within busy city limits is considerably shorter and depends largely on where the communicants are located. That said this is a great walkie talkie for camping trips and the built in flashlight always comes in handy in the tent after dark.

While this walkie talkie has some minor build flaws that can’t be ignored, such as the fairly fragile belt clips, other features like the easy to read illuminated display and built in flashlight offset any downside. The fact that you can expect to get 10+ miles under normal (not ideal) conditions in open country is a major plus and the sound quality is typically excellent most of the time. An ideal walkie talkie for campers and hikers, but mountain rescue teams may want something with a stronger clip.

Best Bang For Your Buck

● An upgrade, or modification of the 888S walkie talkie.
● 5 mile effective communication range.
● 16 preset channels.
● Fabricated using high grade plastics and moisture resistant sealing.
● Outstanding battery endurance.
● Thoughtfully designed, fits comfortably in the palm.

The BF-888S Plus is that most curious of tech objects that is intended as an upgrade to an earlier product but not a replacement. That said, this 888S Plus is an outstanding walkie talkie in its own right and worthy of inclusion in our Best Bang for your Buck section. You’re not going to get 20+ miles out of it but you will get 5 on a good day in open country which is typically all the average person would ever need and then some.

Technically the BF-888S Plus marks an advance over earlier models of the 888S, but aesthetically the unit has taken a major step backward. We’re also not sure what BaoFeng has against illuminated displays but it’s a bit annoying. That said the walkie talkie delivers from the point of functionality and that’s what really matters. For the price of an extra-large deluxe pizza you can have this high quality walkie talkie that will likely last you for years.

● Battery Save Circuit allow you to switch between high and low power settings to conserve energy.
● Rechargeable or alkaline power options.
● Roger beep and keypad lock.
● Incoming call alert feature.
● Effective range up to 24 miles.
● Dual desktop charger included.

The LXT500VP3 from Midland is a true long range walkie talkie which, under ideal circumstances, will provide an effective range of more than 20 miles. Under less than ideal circumstances in the open country you can expect perhaps 1/2 that range and in the city center it will be reduced to 1 or 2 miles. The LXT500VP3 fits neatly into the palm of your hand and operation is a cinch.

Overall a quality product that delivers on more of its promise than most walkie talkies on the market. It’s beautifully built, tough as nails, provides reliable communication even under difficult circumstances and the energy conservation feature is one all walkie talkies should adopt. For the price you can do no wrong with this outstanding Midland walkie talkie.

Buyer Questions:

What are the Best Walkie Talkies?

This is a question that will have as many different answers as there are people to answer it. In general, however, Motorola seem to have mastered walkie talkie tech and make some of the best performing models you’ll find anywhere. Still, there are other companies like BaoFeng whose products may overtake Motorola walkie talkies if they ever learn the value of illuminated displays and proper placement of the control buttons.

What are the Most Popular Walkie Talkie Brands?

The 8 amazing long distance walkie talkie models featured above are from what have to be considered to top consumer brands currently on the market.

Things to Consider When Buying a Long Range Walkie Talkie

It may seem like purchasing a walkie talkie is just a matter of finding one made by a reputable company and buying it. If that were the case everyone would be happy with their walkie talkie and you’d never read a word of dissent on Amazon or any other site. The fact is, people most often have issues with the walkie talkie they buy because they don’t research them first. With that in mind the following are a number of things you’ll want to consider before purchasing a walkie talkie for personal or business use.

Where You Will Use Them – This will play a large part in determining which model of walkie talkie you purchase. If you plan to use them camping you’ll definitely want one with an illuminated display so you can see what you’re doing at night in the woods. A walkie talkie with a built in flashlight is also handy in such circumstances. If you’ll just be using it around the factory during the day such features are not so important.

What Range You Can Realistically Expect – The only way to tell is to buy the unit and test it yourself, or else let someone else do the work for you (like us) and report what they find. Keep in mind though that your results are unlikely to ever match anyone else’s perfectly. Landscapes are different, so is building density, flora and weather; all of which can impact performance. Still if a majority of reputable critics are saying the range is no good you can probably believe it.

The Number of Channels – Privacy channels are not such a big deal unless you’re using your walkie talkie on a cruise ship or a major construction site where others are likely to be using walkie talkies as well. And speaking of channels… you may not need 2 dozen NOAA channels but you’ll want a few so you can keep up with weather updates especially if you’re camping. NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) issues regular bulletins when threatening weather develops.

VOX – VOX allows you to operate your walkie talkie hands free using only voice commands. Not every walkie talkie has the VOX feature, so if you think you might need hands free operation at some point you’ll want to be sure the walkie talkie you purchase is so equipped.

Power Options – Power is another of those core issues when it comes to the walkie talkie. After all they aren’t much good if you get lost in the mountains and your battery dies. You’ll want a walkie talkie that can be powered by both a rechargeable battery (like a Lithium ion battery) and standard alkaline batteries. This way you stock up on alkaline batteries before you hit the trail and you can be sure you’ll have power. Regardless, you’ll still want to get at least 8 hours out of your rechargeable battery.

Out-of-Range Alert – You purchase a long range walkie talkie so that you’re only out of range in the most extreme cases, but it still pays to have an ‘out of range’ alert feature on your walkie talkie. This feature basically keeps tabs on your other radio by doing the walkie talkie equivalent of “pinging” it. If the other radio is in range you’ll receive a confirmation code back indicating you can talk.

Price – While most every modern walkie talkie is reasonably priced there is a fairly significant difference between those at the low end of the spectrum and those at the high end. While you’ll likely get a well-made unit with all the bells and whistles, if you pay top dollar you may also wind up with far more walkie talkie than you actually need for your camping weekend. Good walkie talkies are often more than adequate to fit the bill and you can let the pros drop serious cake on the high end models.

Conclusion

Whether you call them walkie talkies, 2 way radios or even walky talky these personal radio transmitters/receivers can be an invaluable addition to your collection of camping equipment, farm equipment, factory equipment or rescue equipment. The walkie talkie of today is more than a fancy kids’ toy. It’s an invaluable safety tool for outdoor enthusiasts, emergency workers and first responders of all types. We hope you found these walkie talkie reviews helpful and be sure to keep checking back for the latest product reviews and more.