Walkie-talkies review – updated for 2018 – emergency plan guide

Distances claimed by the manufacturers must have been tested in a vacuum somewhere, with no buildings, no trees, no traffic, no dust and no interference of any kind! We look at these specs for comparison purposes, but don’t believe them. When you’re considering simple walkie-talkies, you’re talking about messages traveling from less than a mile to maybe 5 miles until you’ve tested to find out what you get in your particular setting.

If you have an FRS/GMRS radio, some channels are shared. But channels 15-22 are for the exclusive use of GMRS, with its higher power rating. (Using GMRS requires an FCC license that costs $70 for five years. It’s been proposed to drop this licensing requirement but nothing has happened yet. As has been pointed out, the license may cost more than the radios . . .


so keep this in mind as you consider your purchase. And I must ask, in an emergency, who’s going to be checking whether you have a license?)

Like other electronic gadgets, the smaller the device, the more functions each button needs to be able to perform. We have found that for “more mature” team members (i.e., anyone not born with a smart phone in their hand), slightly larger radios are a heck of a lot easier to use. In particular, we look for an obvious on-off switch, easy-to-adjust volume and channels, an easy-to-open battery compartment, and a sturdy case.

We have also conducted repeated tests regarding alkaline battery reliability and life. An early test put Duracell at the top of the list; two years later, we found that Eveready batteries outperformed both Duracell and Costco’s proprietary brand. Recently we tested another private label and found no real difference between it and the brand names.

We all heard the stories about how police and fire departments couldn’t communicate during 9/11 because their radios operated on different channels. Today, they’ve made progress but some even well-known brands still do not necessarily “talk” to others. If you’re outfitting a number of teams, or replacing outdated devices, be sure they work together. 6-What sort of warranty comes with the radios?

These models have been reviewed and updated most recently as of February, 2018. If you click on the image or the link, you’ll go directly to Amazon, where you can check the current price and continue shopping. If you purchase through Amazon, EmergencyPlanGuide.org may get a commission. (They call it an Advertising Fee.) It doesn’t affect how much you pay.

In case you’ve noticed, we continue to recommend that you start your shopping at Amazon. We find it consistently has the best selection and the best prices, and the customer reviews are particularly helpful. But do take the time to shop. At the most recent update of this page, I found prices for the SAME radio varying by as much as $16! Walkie-Talkies for Emergency Teams

The body of this radio is nearly twice the size of the Uniden, and chunky. With a bigger price tag, you get more: twice the range (theoretically – Go back and read the comments about RANGE!) good weatherproofing, NOAA weather channels, and a vibrate mode. Bright back-lit face, ear plug, and a good thin flashlight beam built into the bottom, which I really like.

As you can see by the photo, this Midland package includes the radios and also charging stations, earphones for silent operation, and a charging plug for the car dashboard. Compared to the models above in our chart, it has longer range (caution, as always), more channels and more privacy options, and more emergency/safety feature including the usual weather alerts and also an SOS siren signal.

As you would expect, this radio has all the usual weather-related and emergency features. You can see animated radar on its Its screen! It can send out emergency signals that show/tell exactly where you are located. As for a compass, the radio has what they describe as a "3-axis tilt-compensated electronic compass with accelerometer and barometric altimeter sensors." (!)