The 5 best Walkie-Talkie for City-Use

Walkie-talkies are devices that use radio frequencies as a means of communication. They are made for short-range use because of certain limitations. Hence it is ideal as an emergency or backup communication device since, first of all, they’re not that expensive, and they can be kept for a long time without maintenance.

In this article, I will focus on models dedicated to city use. They are by no means limited to this setting, and you may still use them however and whenever you like. I’ll be including walkie-talkies that are performing well even when used in dense environments with many obstructions along the way. Generally, walkie-talkies have a fair range, often reaching up to 30 miles. However, when used anywhere in a city, the range decreases to only 500m.

 

5 best Walkie-Talkie for City-Use

#1 Motorola T600

Motorola T600

Range

36 miles

Power Output

0.5-2 watts

Frequency Ranges

462-467 MHz (FRS/GMRS)

License needed

 yes, if GMRS channels will be used (FCC license)

Waterproof

yes (IP67)

VOX

Emergency Alert

Auto Squelch

LED Flashlight

Keypad Lock

Weather Channels

11 NOAA weather channels

Call Tones

20

Power Source

NiMH rechargeable batterie or 3 AA Alkaline batteries

Size

7.78" x 2.4" x 1.5" /

19.76 x 6.10 x 3.81 cm

Weight

0.4 lbs / 180 g

(without battery)

Scope of Delivery

  • 2 radios

  • 2 NiMH rechargeable batteries

  • 2 belt clips

  • Y cable charging adapter with dual Micro-USB connectors

  • user manual

  • accessory sheet

 

First on our walkie-talkie list is the Motorola T600. We all know and love the Motorola brand for its great and durable releases, and the T600 model is one of those that I recommend. The product is designed for outdoor use, obvious by its design and color choices.

What makes the Motorola T600 stand out from the rest is its ability to light up when submerged underwater. Worry not, though, since it is entirely waterproof and will float immediately.

It has a range of 36 miles, which is situational since it would suffer a range decrease when used in rough terrains and an environment with many obstructions. Still, it functions well and is an ideal device to take when walking.

Its power source can function with just 2 NiMH rechargeable batteries. If you’re in a hurry and don’t have that much time to wait for the charge to be replenished, you may use three triple A batteries instead. With the 2 NiMH rechargeable batteries, you’re guaranteed to get up to 8 hours of battery life. However, if you opt-in the triple-A batteries, you’re looking at at least a day of usage of this walkie-talkie.

The Motorola T600 isn’t by any means perfect, but it is a capable device that I would recommend to my friends and families. It functions well for city use, and it’s also an excellent walkie-talkie in emergencies.

Main Plus: User-friendly and Efficient

The Motorola T600’s crowning feature is scanning for group channels. It has a good range, many channels to choose from, and is also efficient because of its large buttons, meaning that even those that wear gloves can operate this device.


 

#2 Midland GXT1000VP4

Midland GXT1000VP4

Range

36 miles

Power Output

5 watts

Frequency Ranges

462-467 MHz (FRS/GMRS)

License needed

yes,  if GMRS channels will be used (FCC license)

Waterproof

yes (JIS4)

VOX

Emergency Alert

Auto Squelch

LED Flashlight

Keypad Lock

Weather Channels

10 NOAA weather channels

Call Tones

5

Power Source

NiMH rechargeable battery or 4 AA Alkaline batteries

Size

7.9 x 2.5 x 1.5 inches

Weight

0.30 lb

Scope of Delivery

  • 2 radios

  • 2 belt clips

  • 2 headsets

  • 2 rechargeable battery packs

  • desktop charger

  • AC adapter

  • DC adapter

  • user manual

 

Midland, one of my trusted brands, delivers the GXT1000VP4, a fantastic model boasting outstanding audio quality and an above-average range. The package contains everything that is needed to set up the device. The GXT1000VP4 is tiny and can easily rest on my hands upon closer inspection.

It has a good range of 36 miles, but it is to be used within a clear line of sight for that range to be possible. Still, it’s a great city walkie-talkie that doesn’t require that many conditions to work, and even if the range is decreased, what matters most is that the audio is clear.

The Midland GXT1000VP4 is ideal for groups that require walkie-talkies, let’s say cops or organizations that are continually operating in close proximity. You can freely communicate with one or more people using the group feature.

The device makes use of NiMH rechargeable batteries to function, but it can also be used using double-A batteries, which prolongs the usage time of the walkie-talkie for almost a day. Despite being easy to hold because of its size, the Midland GXT1000VP4 is not advisable to use for prolonged hours because it can get comfortable as time passes by. You may use it together with a clip, or equip it in a belt, or somewhere near where it can catch everything you say.

Main Plus: Small but Terrible

When traveling around the city, you won’t have to worry about the weather since there are many ways to avoid the sunlight or take shelter when it rains. However, the Midland GXT1000VP4 makes it so that you’ll know when to do these because of its NOAA weather report integration. It also has a group feature that is becoming a recurring feature for newly released walkie-talkies.

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#3 DeWalt DXFRS300

DeWalt DXFRS300

Range

up to 250,000 sq. ft.

Power Output

1 watt

Frequency Ranges

462-467 MHz (FRS)

License needed

no (exclusive for FRS use only)

Waterproof

yes (IP67)

VOX

Emergency Alert

Auto Squelch

LED Flashlight

Keypad Lock

Weather Channels

Call Tones

1

Power Source

1,000 mAH rechargeable Lithium Polymer Battery

Size

6.22 x 2.37 x 2.15 inches

Weight

0.66 lb (without batteries)

Scope of Delivery

  • 6 radios

  • 6 NiMH rechargeable batteries

  • gang charger for all 6 radios

  • user manual

 

DeWalt DXFRS300 is an exceptional model that is best purchased in a set. The most common package you can find in the market is a group of 6 and is perhaps the only variant. Knowing DeWalt, they might add some options for this model, but for now, this will do. What makes the DXFRS300 good for city use is the included clip and also strap, making hands-free communication easier and faster.

The device can range up to 250,000 sq. ft, but it will still vary depending on the environment you are in. DXFRS300 is also meant to operate even in the harshest conditions, let’s say, even when submerged underwater since it is labeled as water-resistant.

With this walkie-talkie, you don’t have to worry about running out of power since it’s powered with a 1,000 mAH battery that can last for up to 18 hours of continuous usage. The only drawback is that there’s no backup power source like a double-A or triple-A battery. Still, the DXFRS300 is a top-notch device because its features significantly compensate for the lack of an alternate power source.

It has VOX functionality that allows you to do other tasks without pressing buttons before speaking. The DXFRS300 is also intelligent enough to silence weak connections, a brilliant power-saving feature that modern walkie-talkies should have.

Main Plus: Budget-friendly

The DXFRS300 is a fantastic model despite its rugged appearance. You don’t have to worry about spending more to keep the device functioning since no license or subscription is involved. You may also use this as much as you want while outdoors since it’s capable of running non-stop for up to 18 hours.

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#4 Arcshell Rechargeable Long Range Two-Way Radios

Arcshell Rechargeable Long Range Two-Way Radios

Range

5 miles

Power Output

2 watts

Frequency Ranges

400-470 MHz

License needed

 yes, if GMRS channels will be used (FCC license)

Waterproof

not stated

VOX

Emergency Alert

Auto Squelch

LED Flashlight

Keypad Lock

Weather Channels

Call Tones

20

Power Source

1500mAh Rechargeble Li-ion Battery

Size

 4.53 x 1.30 x 2.36 inches

Weight

0.39 lb

Scope of Delivery

  • 6 Arcshell AR-5 Two-way Radios

  • 6 1500mAh High Capability Li-ion Batteries

  • 6 Chargers

  • 6 Belt Clips

  • 6 Handstraps

  • 6 Earphones

  • 6 User's Manuals

 

Arcshell is another manufacturer that I fancy, mainly because they approach design and combine it with efficiency. It can be significantly seen in this model, utilizing SMA-female antennas for improved walkie-talkie distance and also accuracy. It’s rare to see antennas these days, as most manufacturers make sure they’re small.

This product can be operated within 5 miles of range. Even if it is shorter than the ones I have already reviewed, this model uses UHF waves, which are known to penetrate certain obstructions better like steel, wood, and even concrete which are primarily seen in urban areas.

Despite not having waterproof functionality, this release from Arcshell is still valuable for its power source. It operates with the help of 1500mAh Li-ion batteries that are stored inside a battery pack. They’re rechargeable and would only require several hours to have a full charge.

The device can scan the environment for possible channels that are active or are currently being occupied. Once two or more channels are detected, the scan will come to a stop and will let you decide on what to do next. If you’re going out and you want to have a channel for your own, the busy channel lock-out is a handy feature that you may use to drive away any unwanted connections.

Main Plus: Beefy Cost-efficient Buy

Arcshell is known as a high-quality manufacturer. It is extensively represented with this model’s impressive speaker that you can also rely on, even if you’re outside in a busy and noisy environment. The battery on this walkie-talkie is said to last for up to 96 hours, which I haven’t tried myself yet because it’s a very long time, but knowing Arcshell and their reputation, it’s probably true.

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#5 Retevis RT81

Retevis RT81

Range

not stated

Power Output

10 watts

Frequency Ranges

400-470MHz

License needed

 yes, if GMRS channels will be used (FCC license)

Waterproof

 yes (IP67)

VOX

Emergency Alert

Auto Squelch

LED Flashlight

Keypad Lock

Weather Channels

Call Tones

1

Power Source

Rechargeable 2200mAh Lithium-ion battery

Size

4.72 x 2.28 x 1.5 inches

Weight

3.45 lb

Scope of Delivery

  • 2 RT81 DMR Walkie Talkie

  • 2 Antenna

  • 2 Charger with Plug

  • 2 Belt Clip

  • 2 Lanyard

  • 2 User Manual

 

The Retevis RT81 is another device that utilizes antennas to deliver better performance in terms of audio quality and also range. Retevis is well-known for manufacturing walkie-talkies that can easily handle water, and this one is no exception. According to their website, the RT81 can withstand being underwater for less than an hour.

What I like most about the RT81 are its packaging and all its contents. You won’t have to scramble looking for walkie-talkie battery chargers online since Retevis understands the inconvenience of searching through hundreds of different products. The 2200mAh Li-ion battery can last for a whole day if it is fully charged.

I went out and tested how the RT81 would function in a city setting, and I’m surprised how it worked well on ranges of up to 500 meters. While relatively shorter than the other products in this article, I’m still satisfied with its performance since people who use walkie-talkies in the city aren’t that far from each other anyway.

Lastly, you may take advantage of RT81’s group call functionality, along with other communication methods that you can later discover by simply just using the device. For collaboration efforts and activities that require organization, the RT81 is an excellent way to communicate with multiple people simultaneously.

Main Plus: Ideal City Walkie Talkie

If I choose only one among all the devices I have reviewed, it would be the Retevis RT81 for its ability to deliver high-quality audio despite being used inside a city. It has everything you could ask for, from group calls, good battery life, resistance to accidental shocks, and waterproofing; the Retevis RT81 is a must-buy if you want to try using walkie-talkies as a backup form of communication.

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How to choose the best Walkie Talkie for City Use

 

Range

Unlike activities like hiking or simply going on a trip, you don’t need to have a walkie-talkie that can reach ranges of up to 30 miles for just being in the city. Five hundred meters is more like an average when dealing with environments with many obstacles, and in this case, we’re talking about walls upon walls that are mostly made of concrete.

There are two-way radios specifically built to penetrate these said obstacles, and they mostly do it by changing the waves they use. Try looking for a device that uses UHF waves as it does well on penetrating walls of different materials.

 

Functionality

When looking for a walkie-talkie that you’ll primarily use for the city, always go for something capable of doing group calls and communication. It is essential, especially if you’re running a big event that requires constant organization and communication of an entire team.

Two-way radios are also meant for these types of scenarios as they strive to function even when there’s loud background noise. Noise cancellation might not be perfectly implemented on these devices, but they’re more than enough to help you deliver your message without confusing the receiving end.

 

Battery life

Before purchasing a walkie-talkie, always keep in mind that you have to ensure that the power source it offers matches your lifestyle and preferred usage. In this case, we’re looking for perfect devices for outdoor use, in a city to be exact. You don’t need a ridiculous amount of uptime unless you’re partaking if it would take place for a whole day.

Rechargeable batteries are always better, and as much as possible, it is recommended that you have a spare in case of emergency sparks out of nowhere. Most walkie-talkies nowadays use rechargeable Li-On batteries, but because of cost issues, they might have to cut the ability to use another power source. Devices like these are still viable, but I prefer walkie-talkies that can still use and process triple-A and double-A batteries since you won’t know when your juice will run out.

 

Pricing

Most “city” walkie-talkies come in sets because they’re entirely meant to be used by five or more people. In that case, the price would be high, so you might have to make an adjustment and concentrate a lot on selecting what manufacturer to patronize. Since you’re investing at this point, ensure that you have considered every factor from durability, resistance, range, and even appearance.

Individual walkie-talkies are available from $200 to $1,500, so we could assume that the price of a set is five times that given range. In some cases, you have to concede the idea of buying a set if you don’t have a team of more than 5, so in this case, I advise that you purchase individual ones, and while you’re at it, don’t be afraid to mix things up and buy from different manufacturers. Just make sure that they function well, and it has everything you may use while you’re outside the city.

 

Portability

Walkie-talkies used for cities should be portable and small so that they can be carried using only one hand. It should also have some features that would allow anyone to carry it hands-free, like, for instance, a clip or a magnet system that can be configured and attached to metallic surfaces.


Why should I have a Walkie Talkie for City Use?

There are a ton of sectors and industries I can think of that would be able to utilize walkie-talkies. Smartphones may be a more precise and much faster form of communication, but the problem with them is that they are expensive and prone to accidental falls. Given that they’re fragile devices, it’s not ideal for industries that deal with hard labor, such as construction sites. Walkie-talkies are also handy as they are manufactured to be operated with just a single hand. Some are even receiving features of hands-free operation known as VOX or iVOX.

The security industry is the first thing that crossed my mind when thinking about walkie-talkies and city life. Malls, offices, and commercial buildings are mostly guarded by plenty of security guards. They are deployed far from each other, so communication might be challenging for them to do, and coordination would be a big problem. It is where walkie-talkies come into action as they can easily be active all of the time, streaming information in a single channel where all the security staffers are connected.

Restaurant managers may also use walkie-talkies to talk to the employees under their command. The only difference with our first example is that they’re inside a building or a compound, which means walkie-talkies would function well since the distance between the devices is very small. However, this form of communication in restaurants and fast-food chains is considered rare since companies are starting to modernize their communication systems by giving their employees advanced wireless communication devices that may use Bluetooth or even Wifi.

If you’re an ordinary citizen, you won’t find the walkie-talkie useful since you need to have another person to communicate with. They should always be near your vicinity to have value for the walkie-talkie. That’s why I don’t recommend getting one if you’re not working in an industry dependent on organization and coordination.

However, if you want to use it as an emergency device, that’s a good reason to purchase it. Walkie-talkies have long lifespans, and there are even models that you may buy that come with a lifetime warranty. That way, even if your walkie-talkie malfunctions, you can easily have it repaired right away so that it’s ready for use in case of emergencies.


Can Walkie Talkies communicate through Walls?

Walkies talkies use radio waves to communicate with one another. They can be used through walls, all thanks to radiofrequency. However, it isn’t always the case since thicker walls are much more difficult to penetrate, and in this case, the radio waves will try to travel in different means, perhaps finding gaps along the way to try and finish the transmission. It is where you’ll experience audio stuttering and also unclear reception.


How far do Walkie Talkies work in Cities?

Walkie-talkies are best used in open areas and are primarily built to accompany people hiking or traversing into forests and jungles. Still, some devices are capable of being used inside a city. You can expect a device to perform reasonably up to 500 meters at max. Above that, you’ll experience a signal loss, or if you’re lucky, you’ll only encounter a bit of audio stuttering.


Conclusion – The 5 best Walkie Talkies for City Use

It’s not every day that I can talk about walkie-talkies that will be used for an urban environment, and I had fun compiling some of the best devices from my favorite brands. It is hard work to find the perfect walkie-talkie for you, especially when we know that their range significantly decreases when used in the city because of many obstructions like thick concrete walls. There’s also the fact that the outdoors is always busy and noisy, so you’ll have a hard time understanding what the other person on the line is talking about.

Most of the models I have included are priced reasonably because I always think about budget first. Some might be expensive upfront, but worry not since they’re sold as a set, and if you truly need more than four walkie-talkies, then it’s not a bad deal after all.

Marcel

Founder of TechVert.com. Tech enthusiast. Interested in gaming, computers, and walkie-talkies.

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