First off, let us start by saying that no, manufacturers are not lying to you when they advertise their long distance walkie-talkies as being capable of transmitting to distances such as 15, 20, or even 35 miles. A quality long range walkie-talkie is indeed capable of carrying a signal that far, possibly even further. If your device is anything over 1.5 watts and has a solidly built antenna you can expect it to perform just as it says on the box, provided you have near to perfect conditions at play.
And that is where the snag is. It is tiny, but it is there. Did you notice how all of those claims come accompanied with the term ‘in near perfect conditions’? Or, ‘when you have a clear line of sight between you and the person you are communicating with’. That is exactly what they mean. For long range walkie-talkies to work the way they are advertised you have to mimic those conditions.
|Image||Long Range Walkie-Talkie||Price||Our Rating|
|Motorola MH230R 23-mile range||$$|
|Midland GXT1000VP436-mile range||$$|
|Uniden GMR5095-2CKHS50-mile range||$$|
|Motorola MR350R35-mile range||$$|
|Olympia R30040-mile range||$$|
They are basically tested in a way that someone gets to the top of a mountain, and another person goes to another mountain peak 30 miles away and guess what; they can communicate! If you are buying a walkie-talkie so you can talk to your pal in a neighboring city while you are both standing on the top of the highest building in your respected areas, then you are set to go – check out our walkie-talkie reviews. Because believe us, that is the only way when you can expect your devices to live up to the claims on the packaging.
We try to review exclusively models that have been thoroughly tested and whose manufacturers do not engage in any sort of misleading advertising. Although we can’t guarantee anything, and let alone guarantee that they will work as per manufacturer specs completely, we are confident that you will be able to get decent range with these devices.
But, we are guessing that is not the main reason you have decided to invest in a decent set of walkie-talkies. If it is, here is a tip that will hopefully drag you into the 21st century; buy a smartphone and you will be able to talk to your friend from the comfort of your house instead of being on the rooftops!
So, if it is not that, why is it that people decide to buy long range walkie-talkies anyway? Well, here are some common situations in which a good long distance walkie-talkie solution comes in handy:
- Camping trip – If you are an outdoorsy type of person, then you know that having a walkie-talkie set in the wild is sometimes the only way of communication. A lot of those wild areas do not receive a cell phone signal so if you are not packing alternative communication gear, you might not be able to communicate with the rest of your party. Should an emergency occur, walkie-talkies that you have packed might be the only thing you can rely on to call for help or coordinate with your team.
- Event organization – Organizing stuff is a difficult and demanding job, and a one that requires perfect coordination, planning, and communication. Smartphones are usually not the greatest solution since you have to communicate with a team of people, some of which might be a long way away – so yelling at the top of your lungs is also out of the question!
- Construction sites – A lot of construction workers have company issued walkie-talkies that they use while on the site so they can communicate with their colleagues. This is practical as some devices record all communication so it is easy for the company to deduce what happen in the case of an accident.
- Hunting trips – Hunting buffs often need long range devices because they are wondering around the wild for long periods of time tracking game. In case they get separated from the rest of the hunting party they need a reliable means of communication.
- Emergency situations – During large-scale emergency situations, government officials and first responders are often equipped with walkie-talkies as a primary means of communication because it is difficult to rely on modern technology when all hell is breaking loose around you. Since these situations often happen in countries where the Internet signal is not the greatest even at the best of times, these devices become a necessity.
So you can see uses for long distance walkie-talkies are numerous and various. You can bet your bottom dollar that experienced users know the limitations of such devices. As we’ve said, the manufacturers are not lying. They are simply framing their statements very carefully so they are not liable for a lawsuit.
5-watt walkie-talkies are usually advertised to achieve the ranges of around 35 miles in perfect conditions. The truth is that they can probably do around 10 to 15 miles in not so perfect conditions. What you need to keep in mind is that radio waves are not gamma rays; they can’t go through everything that stands in their path.
Trees, buildings, walls, concrete, even other radio waves; these all interfere with your walkie-talkies, messing up their range. If you have a great device that has 5 watts and a perfect antenna you might hope for 20 miles of range if the line of sight is not overly cluttered. If you are in the woods, you might hope for it, perhaps. However, if you are in the city, you can forget about it. There is simply too much interference in the way.
Keep in mind that not all manufacturers follow this line of reasoning. For the most part, our reviews include only the models that have been thoroughly tested and do not engage in this sort of shabby advertising. Also, this goes for consumer-grade radios that you can buy anywhere. Law enforcement, firefighters, and other emergency personnel usually have much better equipment.
Always check the reviews of the models and do your best to do some preliminary research, especially if you are going to use these devices in emergency situations where their range is of critical value. You do not want to get stuck somewhere in the woods with a half-baked walkie-talkie that can’t reach people that are a mere mile away from your location. And buy quality equipment. It is better to dish out a bit more cash in the beginning then regret it later on.