We are going to start off by confusing you a little bit. Sorry! It is just that when it comes to a two way radio vs walkie talkie comparison, there is some overlap. Technically, a walkie talkie is a two-way radio. However, even the best two way radio doesn’t necessarily mean it could be considered a walkie talkie.
For the purposes of this page, we are mostly going to be assuming that a two way radio is something very specific.
What’s the Difference Between a Two Way Radio vs A Walkie Talkie?
As we said, walkie talkies can be two-way radios. In fact, they are. So, just to make it doubly clear, this is the definition that we are going to use on this page. It is not the ‘strict’ definition, but it is the one we must go by if we want to do a proper two way radio vs walkie talkie comparison:
- Two way radios can be stationary
- Typically more expensive
- Better security, range and features overall
- Walkie talkies are always portable
- Commonly cheaper
- Unsecure and not as well made
Simple, right? Both of them are similar in other ways e.g. they are both able to send and receive communications. They both operate on radio waves. If you’re looking for the best two way radios for security or a retail store outlet, you’ll quickly see that walkie talkies lack in these use cases. So, let’s give a proper comparison so we can help you to determine which one is the perfect option for you.
If you all you care about is having radio that is portable at a great price, then you’ll want to look at the different walkie talkies. These handheld units can be taken just about anywhere. It is pretty much a cellphone in that regard, you just do not have to wait to be in the range of a cellphone tower if you want to make a call to somebody. Now if you’re searching for a specific use case, such as mountain biking, you’ll probably want to check out our article on the best two-way radio for cycling. However, when it comes to general portability, walkie talkies will always be easy to transport but with two-way radios, it can depend.
On the other hand, a two-way radio has the option of being completely stationary. It can sit in a vehicle. It can sit in your home. On the other hand, it can also be as portable as a walkie talkie. Two-way radios typically come with a higher range distance and increased build quality. When it comes to portability, not all of the best 2-way radios function on a battery, so it may need to be plugged in somewhere. So having an internal battery or the ability to be powered by AA batteries you can purchase off the shelf, is important.
In our opinion, the sound quality on a two way radio is going to be a lot better than a walkie talkie. There are several reasons for this.
First and foremost, you are going to be able to get a larger antenna on a wired-in antenna. This means that you will be able to pick up far clearer signals as opposed to bits and pieces of other signals. In addition to this, the technology packed into a two-way radio tends to be a bit more sophisticated. The microphone will be better. The speakers will be better. You can also pick up a whole host of accessories if you want to improve all of this.
That being said, a quality walkie talkie is going to be decent enough to send and receive audio. If you go down the route of an analog walkie talkie (which can be difficult to find nowadays as most rely on digital processing), you will have fantastic sound quality. You may just find it a little bit more difficult to get in a range of quality signals.
The costs of the two are going to vary quite widely. It is all going to be dependent on the brand of radio that you purchase. That being said, for the most part, walkie talkies are going to be considerably cheaper than two-way radios, assuming that you are looking for something of high quality. However, do bear in mind that you may need to purchase multiple sets of walkie talkies to ensure that everybody you want to talk to is able to communicate with you.
If you are going to be purchasing a radio, whether it is a two-way or a walkie talkie, you should always make sure that you read through as many reviews as you possibly can. This way you can be sure that you will be ending up with something of ridiculously high quality! You can read a few reviews on this website.
This is where a lot of people will make their decision. Some walkie talkies on the market are programmed to only talk to walkie talkies on the same channel. You won’t have the ability to switch between channels. Granted, these ones are going to be on the cheaper end of the market. However, most people will notice that the number of channels is greatly limited on walkie talkies. It is notable that neither of them require any FCC certification.
With a quality two-way radio, you will have more of an opportunity to tune into exactly who you want. However, this is all going to be dependent on the type of radio that you purchase. This means, once again, it is probably going to be worth reading through as many reviews as you possibly can in order to know exactly what you are getting for your money.
While there are some walkie talkies that will communicate over a longer range, you must be aware that they do have smaller antennas. This means that it is going to struggle over longer distances. If you want a radio that is able to communicate over tens of miles, then a quality two-way radio is absolutely the best route to go down for you. However, once again, read through reviews so you can have a decent idea about the range you are able to expect from what you are purchasing. Remember; the further away the transmission, the lower the sound quality no matter which type of radio you end up purchasing.
So, there you have it. If you want to go down the route of cost and portability, a walkie talkie is your answer. However, if quality, range and options matter most be sure to checkout our other reviews.