For most ‘short distance’ communications, many people default to a walkie talkie. They feel as if it is going to satisfy their needs. It probably isn’t. In many cases, a CB radio would actually be a far, far better solution.
On this page, we are going to compare the walkie talkie vs CB radio, similar to the way we did the two way radio vs walkie talkie discussion. This way you will be able to get an idea as to which option is going to be the best option for your needs.
CB Radio and Walkie Talkies Are Not the Same
Contrary to popular belief, a CB radio is different from a walkie talkie. Perhaps you’ve wondered if anyone even use CB radios anymore? Folks do, and both are considered two way radios. However, they operate on completely different frequencies. A walkie talkie tends to have fewer channels you can connect to. In fact, in many cases, you may actually only be able to connect to the walkie talkie that has been paired with the unit that you are using. This can be a bit inconvenient, depending on how you plan to use the radio.
Walkie talkies and CB radios can vary a lot in price.
Generally speaking, once you factor in the cost of buying all the additional gear (SWR meter, power supply, antenna etc.), a walkie talkie will be a lot cheaper. This is because everything is included in the unit. There is nothing else on top of this that you will need to buy.
If you are looking for an option that gives you range, then you need to opt for a CB radio.
A CB radio is going to give you a range of 20-miles, while a walkie talkie is probably going to give you about 2-miles at the most.
Yes. There are situations where a 2-mile range will be more than enough. For example; if you and your family want to do your ‘own thing’ at a theme park and start to wander around individually. However, if you are out hunting, then 2-miles probably won’t be enough. You want something that has far greater range.
A lot of people will say that a walkie talkie will provide better audio quality and, to be fair, it does.
Walkie talkies are often equipped with a lot of features that can clean up the incoming signal. The smaller maximum range also means that the radio waves need to travel a smaller distance, which means audio quality is improved.
That being said, if you own a CB radio, you can also see the same benefits. Yeah. The audio may be a bit muddier at times, but modern radios are equipped with squelch adjustment knobs. You can also tune your antenna a little bit to ensure the clearest audio quality. It will probably never have the same audio quality that a walkie talkie has, but it is going to get pretty close.
This is where the CB radio is going to win hands down.
The CB radio will provide you with access to 40 different radio channels. 39 of which you are (technically) free to broadcast on. You can tune in to these stations, and broadcast on them, the second that you turn on your CB radio. It doesn’t require you to do anything but switch on then CB radio. There can be an unlimited number of people tuned into the station.
The walkie talkie will operate on two frequencies. But, here is the catch. It is likely that you will need to pair another walkie talkie with the one you are using. If it is not paired, then it doesn’t matter how many channels are available, you simply will not be able to communicate with one another. A lot of the time, there will be a limit on the number of walkie talkies that can be paired with one another too.
CB radio is completely open. If you broadcast on CB radio, then anybody listening to that station will be able to hear your communications. Granted, many radio stations will not have anybody tuned into them. However, you should try to avoid sharing private information over CB radio.
Walkie talkies, on the other hand, are a bit more private. As we said; they do need to be paired with one another to work. It takes a great deal more effort to listen in on the communications. It can happen, though.
Both options can be portable. In fact, a walkie talkie has been built from the ground-up to be portable. You can hold it in your hand, just like a cellphone. You will not be able to get a ‘fixed’ walkie talkie.
That being said, you can get CB radios that you can carry about in exactly the same way as a walkie talkie. However, do bear in mind that you will never be able to get the same signal quality as if you wired it into your vehicle. It works, but nowhere near as effective as something like a 20 mile radius walkie talkie, if you were walking around outside.
CB radio is great if you are driving along the road, or just want a conversation with some random people in the local area. It is incredibly active and takes minimal set up. The range is fantastic, and can really help to improve your life on the road.
Walkie talkies are more for private conversations over shorter distances. They can be used to communicate with your children and organize events. However, unless you are communicating with people in the immediate vicinity, they can become a little bit useless.
Which Option Is Right for You?
In most cases, it is probably going to be better to opt for a CB radio. Yes. There are going to be pros to owning a walkie talkie. However, the use is going to be fairly limited. If you want a way to communicate with as many people as possible and ensure the greatest range while doing so, then you have no option but to opt for a CB radio. Just make sure that you pick up a high-quality one for the best audio and signal quality.