Handheld 2-way radios are extremely useful in emergencies especially when cell phone network is down or for some reason, you don’t have access to your mobile phone.
Clearly, only the best walkie talkies for emergencies would always guarantee that you keep in touch with either the emergency services or with friends and family.
Knowing you need the best is one thing, and actually being able to recognize one and purchasing it is an entirely different ball game. This is because of the sheer number and array of these gadgets on the market.
This buyer’s guide and review is a comprehensive tell-all on how to get the right emergency walkie talkies, where to get them, what to look for and a review of 5 of best walkie talkies for emergencies.
In simpler terms, you’re in the right place if you are looking for the best two-way handheld radio to have for any emergency.
Getting the Best Walkie Talkies for Emergencies
When looking for the most suitable units for emergencies, you should look beyond the razzmatazz of colors and blinking lights on the gadget. A simple, basic radio is usually more useful in an emergency than an expensive complicated one.
The cost should also not be a deciding factor. The most expensive is not necessarily the best while cheap doesn’t always mean crappy. The price tag should only be a decisive factor if you have to choose between two or more units with similar features. Then you must go for the model with the lower price tag.
The most important consideration when buying a walkie talkie should include all the factors or features below:
Range – A device with long range should be an important consideration because, during emergencies, you might need to make contact with somebody that is several miles away.
Though some emergencies, like a tornado in a community, might not require a very wide range to coordinate the rescue efforts, you’d need it in emergencies like a skiing accident when you could be very far away from help.
To cover both kinds of emergencies, it is safer to get one with a long range of at least 5 miles.
Read: Radio For Long Distance AM Reception
Durability – Emergency walkie talkies should be immune to all kinds of rough handling including being dropped or bumped accidentally on hard surfaces.
Emergencies require that you move around a lot and fast. The least you should expect is your device acting up on you simply because it can’t stand the rough and rumble of emergency situations.
All the models in this review comfortably passed the test of durability.
Battery life – How long the walkie talkie remains active on a single full charge is very important. Power outages or the absence of electricity are common features of emergencies.
You want a set that can run for several hours without going down. The ideal device would run on a single charge for at least 24 hours non-stop.
Closely linked to the battery life are the power options. Except in exceptional circumstances, a walkie talkie that can be powered by a rechargeable battery and an AA battery as a backup should be a priority.
That way, when you run out of battery juice and there is nowhere to recharge the radio, you could simply insert the disposable batteries.
Experts recommend that you get at least two extra AA batteries to be on the safe side.
Weather Proof – The best walkie talkies usually come with weatherproof ratings to signify how much pounding it can take during dust storms, snow, water/rain and so on.
Each gadget would have the rating written on it. The ratings, known as Ingress Protection (IP), are made of two numbers. The first refers to protection against solids, while the second refers to protection against liquids.
The first number ranges between 0 and 6, while the second ranges between 0 and 8.
For instance, a 2-way hand-held radio with a rating of IP68 means it is completely protected against solids and liquids. The higher the numbers the better the protection. Don’t settle for any walkie with less than IP54 rating.
Read: BaoFeng BF-F8HP Review (Specs, Features, Manual)
Portability – It won’t be reasonable if in an emergency you can’t carry your device around quite easily. Light non-bulky devices that sit comfortably on your palms are the preferred choice.
VOX feature – The VOX is a voice-activated feature despite that helps you to communicate without having to hold the radio. Thus hands-free feature is very important in emergencies where you might have to do some heavy lifting while talking at the same time.
Ease of use – Sophisticated or complicated radios have no place in emergencies. The least of your worries is whether your walkie talkie is packed with the latest features and so on.
You want to be able to switch it on and begin to relay and receive messages in a few seconds. And the learning curve should almost be flat that you only require a few minutes with the unit to master all the essential features.
Top 5 Best Walkie Talkies for Emergencies: Review
1. Uniden SX167- 2C
The Uniden SX167 – 2C is truly a remarkable 2-way handheld radio to keep in touch with people in all kinds of emergencies.
The GMRS/FRS walkie talkie comes with 22 Channels so you can easily pick an unoccupied channel when you wish to communicate with even models from other manufacturers.
The compact, durable radio has a range of 16 miles in ideal situations. It can be charged using a USB charger or a standard USB mini cable. You could also use ‘AA’ alkaline cells when you run out of battery juice.
You also get a gadget with the latest weather channels for weather alerts and updates which can be very important in emergencies.
- Uniden Two Way Radios keep you in touch when you are out and about with family and friends. Use them when you are camping, shopping, biking, car caravanning, and more without using your mobile phone’s minutes or data plan.
- The radio’s 22 channels let you select the channel that is right for you. Pick a channel that no one else is using for uninterrupted communications. These channels operate on industry-standard frequencies, so you can easily communicate with people using other models or brands.
- The included USB Charger lets you easily charge the radios between uses. Or, use a standard USB mini cable to charge your radios from any standard USB source, such as your mobile phone’s charger, your laptop, or PC.
2. Motorola T605 Talkabout
With an IP67 rating and other awesome features, the Motorola T605 is the perfect emergency radio you would want by your side.
The Water/weatherproof device comes with the full complement of 22 channel and 142 privacy codes to give you a channel combination of over 2,600. This gives you an almost unlimited number of channels if you want to keep sensitive messages within the group.
The dual band radio easily communicates with other models as long as they have the right frequency. It has a range of up to 35 miles in ideal conditions and up to 2 miles in crowded cities.
Other features include the PTT power boost so you can easily ask for help in emergencies; VOX hands-free capability; water-activated built-in flashlight; NOAA channels so you can get constant weather reports; dual power source and much more.
- IP67 Waterproof: Count on the T605 H2O two-way waterproof radio to keep you connected whether on land or at sea. With its IP67 standard, the T605 H2O withstands constant submersion of up to 1m for 30 minutes and repels the heaviest rain.
- Advanced Built-in Flashlight with White and Red LEDs: Select the white LED setting on the built-in flashlight to light your way during evening activities, unexpected emergencies or power outages.
- Know the Weather In Advance: Keep updated with real-time weather conditions by turning on one of 11 weather channels or initiating weather alerts. NOAA radio service may not be available in all areas.
3. Woosheep T13 Ultra Slim Two Way RadioNo products found.
Woosheep’s T13 is just the walkie talkie you need for dealing with emergencies in urban areas. It is UHF radio capable of penetrating concrete, wood, and steel. The waves also easily go around buildings to give unimpeded access to other radios within range and in the same frequency.
The small, slim built means you could move around with it fitting conveniently into a pouch or your pocket. And with the VOX feature, a pouch or a pocket could be where it would remain for a long time if you have to use your hands for other important stuff during an emergency.
Sold in a pack of two, each radio has a 1500mAh battery capable of going 96 hours on a single full charge depending on how much you use it.
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It comes with a maximum power output of 3 watts; high-quality speaker for crystal clear sound; 16 major changes with 155 privacy channels to increase your channel options to over 1000 for private communication; low power alert function to help you monitor battery usage; etc.
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4. Radioddity R2 Long Range Walkie Talkie
So many things make Radioddity’s R2 device an awesome communication device for serious crisis and emergencies.
First off, the radio is designed with a very friendly learning curve. People of all ages can learn to use it in no time at all. And you’d love that it is specifically made for radio messages in crowded urban areas as the UHF waves can handle the obstacles found there.
Solidly constructed and durable, it comes with a USB charging port so that the battery can be recharged with laptops, power banks, and car charger. The battery itself is an 1100mAh affair with an active time up to 4 days on a single charge. , of course, depends on how much you use it.
Other important features include the low power prompt; auto scan function; busy channel lock; squelch function; battery save function; and support for CHIRP programming.
5. Midland X-Talker T75VP3
The Midland X-Talker T75VP3 long range walkie talkie is compact, durable, easy-to-use, and packed with great features. In other words, it is an ideal piece of hardware to have around during an emergency.
The dual-band FRS/GMRS handheld two-way radio has 36 channels available to users combined with 121 privacy codes. That gives a whopping 2,662 possible channels combination to help you have a private chat if you want to.
Under ideal conditions, it has a range of about 38 miles. You also get auto scan feature able to look for a lock into the nearest NOAA weather station for real-time updates.
Other features include VOX for hands-free operations; crispy clear audio; and dual power options of 1000mAh rechargeable battery or 3 ‘AA’ alkaline batteries.
There are other wonderful features you would discover when you purchase it. And it doesn’t even cost much for the two units on offer.
- 2-WAY RADIOS - These license-free walkie-talkies feature 36 FRS (Family Radio Service) channels, along with channel scan to check for activity. Uses Easy Voice and Sound Activated Transmission (eVOX) for hands-free operation.
- IDEAL FOR HUNTING - 5 Animal Call Alerts (turkey, duck, crow, cougar and wolf), a Vibrate feature to silence all tones, and the Mossy Oak Break-Up Country Camouflage pattern make this an ideal walkie-talkie for hunters.
- 121 CTCSS PRIVACY CODES - The Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System gives you up to 2,662 channel options to help block other conversations. 38-MILE RANGE - Longer range communication in open areas with little or no obstruction.
Important Pro tips for Emergency Walkie Talkies
- Store the walkie talkies in a very convenient location that are easy to access. Depending on the emergency, you or others may need to access it as fast as possible.
- Ensure your family or organization is trained on how to use the sets. Trial runs should be carried out to make sure everybody is up to speed on how to use them, what to say in various scenarios, and what not to do.
- The gadgets must be inspected at regular intervals to make sure they are all working.
The most important factor during this insertion is the battery. Check that they are still in good condition and are ready to go. Do not leave the batteries inside the 2-way portable radio when they are in storage.
Leaving them in could result in the acid leaking out of the battery and corroding the battery terminals. Change old batteries immediately.
- Make sure there is a communication strategy in place. With a communication plan, anybody can relay important messages without having to waste time asking for guidance.
- During emergencies, communication using emergency walkie talkie is done over open channels making it accessible to anybody. Keep your language professional without the use of profanities no matter the stress or aggravation you have to deal with.
The 5 gadgets in this review are the perfect example of the best walkie talkies for emergencies. They are very practical, durable, and you don’t have to break the bank to get one.
Your personal preference though might be the deciding factor in what you purchase. That is why 5 different products from different manufacturers were reviewed to give you a wider range of options.
Whichever model you decide to choose, be rest assured it would deliver the expected results when you have an emergency to deal with.