Walkie-talkies or two-way radios are handheld devices essential for the security of any business. This tool is used by security personnel to send out transmissions and information to others to respond quickly and ensure that the security won’t be compromised.
Using walkie-talkies enable people to communicate even in places where cellular network and coverage is not available. Here in this article, I am providing you the top 5 models you can buy ideal to use for security purposes. The following are reviewed according to factors like design, functions, range, channels, frequency, and other features that make them stand out.
5 best Walkie Talkies for Security
#1 Motorola Talkabout MR350R
Motorola Talkabout MR350R is your optimum two-way radio for long-range transmission. Its range can cover up to 35 miles and operates on over 22 channels and 121 privacy codes, making the communication clear and high-quality. This two-way radio is equipped with dual bands, both FRS and GMFRS, giving the user more channels to program. You can also receive weather updates through 11 NOAA channels you can connect to. It utilizes a Ni-MH battery that can last for about 8 hrs. The device comes with an adapter and two rechargeable aa battery packs.
- Brand: Motorola
- Range: 35 miles
- Power output: 0.5-1.5 watts
- Frequency ranges: 462-467 MHz (FRS/GMRS)
- Battery: NiMH rechargeable battery or 3 AA Alkaline batteries
- Size: 7.6 x 2.3 x 1.4 inches
- Weight: 0.32 lb
- Waterproof: yes (IP51)
- License needed: yes, if GMRS channels will be used (FCC license)
Pros of the Motorola Talkabout MR350R
- The Motorola MR350R has a built-in LED flashlight.
- Large Buttons allow using the device with gloves.
- Up to 23 hours of battery life.
- The walkie-talkie withstands the weather to an extent rating of (IP51).
- With 11 Weather channel integration and efficient emergency signal features.
The overall design and build of Motorola Talkabout MR350R make it an outstanding choice. IT has an ergonomic design for convenient and more comfortable handling. Motorola Talkabout MR350R is pocket-sized and lightweight that you can bring anywhere without any hassle. The build is sturdy and water-resistant that can withstand environmental impediments.
Cons of the Motorola Talkabout MR350R
- Motorola has stopped the production of the MR350R 2-way radio.
- The belt clips of this radio set are rather fragile and can break easily.
#2 Midland GXT1000VP4
The Midland GXT1000VP4 set is a lightweight, pocket-sized, two-way radio marketed to those who engage in outdoor activities, rescue, and emergency operations. This device has 50 channels and has a long range that can have a clear transmission as far as 36 miles. With its 284 privacy codes, expect low interference and clear transmission. Midland GXT1000VP4 walkie-talkie also has VOX technology that has a sensitivity that even a whisper can easily be detected and be heard clearly.
The kit comes with a rechargeable battery that lasts for 8 hours with one car charger and an A/C adapter.
- Brand: Midland
- Range: 36 miles
- Power output: 5 watts
- Frequency ranges: 462-467 MHz (FRS/GMRS)
- Battery: NiMH rechargeable battery or 4 AA Alkaline batteries
- Size: 7.9 x 2.5 x 1.5 inches
- Weight: 0.3 lb
- Waterproof: yes (JIS4)
- License needed: yes, if GMRS channels will be used (FCC license)
Pros of the Midland GXT1000VP4
- The audio quality is clear.
- The range of the walkie-talkie is outstanding.
- It has an SOS siren that broadcasts a spot.
- The GXT1000VP4 has quiet features such as a whisper mode and vibration function.
- The NOAA weather channels and updates can be accessed via the radio.
Midland GXT1000VP4 is waterproof and ideal for extreme weather conditions, helpful in emergency and rescue operations. With its built-in NOAA receiver, you can receive automatic updates of weather alerts, forecasts and hazards. In times of distress, you can send out locator signals using the SOS siren feature. Not only are you able to send alerts, but your location can also be traced easily with this function.
Cons of the Midland GXT1000VP4
- It is not convenient to use.
- The battery life of the walkie-talkie is just average.
- As compared to other similar radios, this model is too pricey.
#3 Cobra RX680
Loved by those with an outdoor lifestyle, Cobra RX680 boasts long-range transmissions for up to 38 miles. Expect crystal-clear audio quality in any outdoor setting. This assures you that you are in contact with other security personnel even when far away. The main unit came with two belt clips making it convenient to carry, which you can latch on your bag or belt. It also came with a dock charger, lithium-ion batteries, and a micro USB cable. Maneuvering is pretty easy compared to the ones I tested, but the manual is always handy if it’s hard for you.
First, let’s look into its frequency. It is standard with its 3 watts power and has a frequency within 462.550-467.7125 MHz. The channels you can program can reach up to 60 channels. For this, you don’t need to get a license before programming because it is already compliant with ISEDC. You can access up to 121 privacy codes making the transmission better with less interference. As for its power sauce and battery life, it is pretty standard to last for 18 hours on a full battery charge, and when the battery level is low, you can use the rechargeable battery that is part of the kit.
One feature I find convenient in Cobra RX680 is its VOX feature or Voice Activated transmission. You can communicate with other security personnel hands-free, which makes things easier for you. The walkie-talkie also has a microphone and speaker jack so you can better audio transmission quality.
Cobra RX680 has emergency call and VibrAlert capabilities. You can put the walkie-talkie on vibrate or silent mode and have you alerted with an incoming call with your option of call tone. The emergency call capability is one feature that is very useful when you need urgent assistance. You can push the emergency button for about 3 seconds long to signal other personnel. It also comes with an LED flashlight beneficial for power outages, asking for help, or during rescue operations.
- Brand: Cobra
- Range: 38 miles
- Power output: 2 watts
- Frequency ranges: 462.550-467.7125 MHz
- Battery: 2 Lithium-Polymer Batteries
- Size: 15 x 2.4 x 3.2 Inches
- Weight: 0.76 lb
- Waterproof: yes (IP54)
- License needed: no
Pros of the Cobra RX680
- The Cobra RX680 has a small size.
- It does not need a license to use.
- The walkie-talkie has a built-in LED flashlight and an ultra-clear reception.
Cobra RX680 is a good one for security purposes and the best one for outdoor activities. It is built to last and still efficiently function under extreme environments with its durable, sturdy built. This walkie-talkie is water and dust resistant and comes with a full rubber casing. With this two-way-radio, you can stay updated with up to 10 weather channels made possible with its built-in NOAA radio receiver.
Cons of the Cobra RX680
- It can be a bit pricey for some
- The complexity of setting personalization if you wish to customize the device.
#4 Baofeng BF-F8HP
Baofeng BF-F8HP is the updated model of the UV-5r powered by a brand-new chipset that gives it a significant change in its performance and transmission quality. When I received my package, the main unit came with a lengthy manual guide, desk charger, antenna, SMA connector, belt clip, earpiece, straps for the wrist, and a big lithium-ion battery. Knowing and getting to work with the device is not that easy, but with its 76-page guide, all the things you’re confused about are undoubtedly answered.
For its frequencies and channels, Baofeng BF-F8HP stands out with its 128-memory channel that you can program from 2.5 kHz to 50.0kHz. This model has VHF and UHF and has three frequency ranges. The range of this radio can cover up to 25 miles, given that it is within 8 watts, its highest level of power.
Now let’s look into its power and battery. I like its battery-saving function, where the walkie-talkie still works fine even when the battery is low. This model utilizes a 2000mAh, 7.4v, Lithium-ion battery, a reasonably big capacity compared to other walkie-talkies. For my test, it did last for around one day, which is outstanding. You may even use the device while the battery charges with the desk charger that comes with the whole package.
This model requires licensing, which many would find a tedious task but certainly needed, especially for security purposes. Do know that without proper licensing, it is illegal to program channels or frequency signals. Thus, the need to get a license or face jail time or costly penalties.
- Brand: Baofeng
- Range: 25 miles
- Power output: 8 Watts
- Frequency ranges: 65-108 MHz (FM radio reception), VHF: 136-174 MHz (Rx/TX), UHF: 400-520 MHz (Rx/TX)
- Battery: 2,000 mAh Li-ion Battery
- Size: 3.75 (+ 6.5 inches with the antenna) x 2 x 1.25 inches
- Weight: 0.49 lb
- Waterproof: no information
- License needed: yes (amateur / FCC license)
Pros of the Baofeng BF-F8HP
- Great value for your money; affordable price for a high-quality device.
- Easy setup: It comes with a well-detailed user manual.
- The radio has many features that make the device a powerful tool to use.
- The Baofeng BF-F8HP has excellent sound quality and a reliable battery.
- It has commendable transmitting power and wide coverage.
- You can select multiple power levels.
- It is built with a voice command for easy and convenient usage.
This is a higher-end type of walkie-talkie, but it is already affordable and worth the money with a price point of about $70. The range is wide, especially if the property being secured is large scale and involves the outdoors. Its best feature is its reception and adequate coverage.
Cons of the Baofeng BF-F8HP
- It may not be waterproof
- Complicated use, especially for beginners.
- Software is needed to configure and program the device.
#5 Motorola CLS1110
This model is one of the CLS series of two-way radios released by Motorola. CLS means clear, light, and simple. CLS1110 is highly popular here in the United States and a preferable choice by small to midsize businesses like retail stores, hospitals, offices, schools, and more. It may seem expensive, but I guarantee you that it is worth your money. When it comes to audio quality, the message’s transmission is clear and concise and has an excellent range. It works better in urban zones and when communicating within the building or business is secured.
The CLS1110 is a 1-channel walkie-talkie with 56 frequency choices. When it comes to channels, you have 38 analog sub-channels and 83 digital subchannel options. The battery of this two-way radio uses a lithium-ion one, and all I can say is it is remarkable. When I tested them with frequent use, the battery lasted for about 20 hours, and you will also be notified through alerts when the battery level is critical. It also comes with a dock where you can charge the battery with the spare battery to have a backup on hand if needed.
There are 122 privacy codes to ensure no communication hindrances and unwanted feedback from other businesses within proximity. Licensing is required and mandatory by FCC for this walkie-talkie since it uses UHF or Ultra High Frequency. This is important for you to acquire and avoid penalties that can rake up to $5000 per walkie-talkie.
Now let’s go to the screen or display. Useful information displayed includes the battery level, indicators for the lock, channel, sub-channel, and signal strength. Sound alerts for incoming transmission received transmission and confirmation beeps are also available. You may also switch the keypad tones and lock the keypad as needed.
- Brand: Motorola
- Range: 5 miles
- Power output: 1 watt
- Frequency ranges: 461-470 MHz (UHF)
- Battery: Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery
- Size: 3.5 x 7.63 x 12 inches
- Weight: 0.29 lb
- Waterproof: no
- License needed: yes
Pros of the Motorola CLS1110
- Lightweight and durable
- Ideal for labor-intensive businesses
- Effective device for restaurants, hotels, schools, and retail stores
- Reliable coverage
- Rechargeable battery and long battery life
- Convenient battery charging
- Features cloning mode
- Compatible with disposable batteries as a backup power source
Motorola CLS1110 is widely known for its sturdiness, given its compact and lightweight features. It can withstand an impact from a 5-foot drop on hard surfaces. Apart from that, it is made with an antimicrobial casing. This model is weather and waterproof with a push-to-talk button feature.
Cons of the Motorola CLS1110
- Not waterproof
- Only one channel
- No VOX
- Not compatible with an earpiece
- Can’t take for outdoor adventures
How to choose the Best Walkie Talkie for Security
Investing in two-way radios involves many factors before you can come up with the best one to purchase. Price should not only be your concern when your purchasing; you must look into their features, capability, and functions. Here’s a guide you must follow on how to choose the best two-way radio for security. Each factor below must be part of your research and decision-making to know which suits your needs.
When purchasing the highest quality walkie-talkies, it is vital to recognize the range of the product. Two-way radios rely on frequencies that are bound to the ultra-high frequency spectrum of 400-512 MHz. The best two-way radios can still work efficiently when all other choices of communication are not working. For most manufacturers, the range they put in is under conditions where there are no hindrances in the environment; hence there’s a difference when you use it in conditions where there are impediments in the environment. Obstructions can cause interference in the communication and quality of the transmission. Examples of these are weather conditions, concrete walls, buildings, trees, houses, etc. In my experience, digital walkie-talkies seem to have optimal range.
VHF and UHF Choices
When purchasing two-way radios, know if it’s VHF (Very High Frequency) walkie-talkie or UHF (Ultra High Frequency). VHR radios can still be efficiently used outdoors over king distances, while UHF performs well with no interference within the property or indoors. The waves can penetrate concrete walls in the building. UHF has shorter antennas compared to VHF two-way radios.
Walkie-talkies that enable you to switch between different channels would give you more advantage to avoid interference among some channels. Having over 99 channels that come with distinct tones for each channel is your best choice when buying.
Power and Battery Life
The rule for walkie-talkies is that the higher the wattage, the more comprehensive the range, usually at the ratio of 1 mile of coverage per 1 watt of power. Though for some, the range can be lower because of weather conditions and hindrances. Compared to cell phones, two-way radios have longer battery life. Look for those brands that at least can last for 8-12 hours and a long-lasting backup once the battery is depleted. Having a good battery life allows longer communication within the security team or any person within the organization.
Apart from this, check the kind of batteries used in the two-way radios. More recent and updated walkie-talkies are equipped with Li-ion (lithium-ion) batteries, which have longer battery life. Some are made with NiMH (Nickel-Metal Hydride), which is more expensive but preferred by many since it’s shock-resistant, durable, and charges faster. The only downside is their sensitivity to high temperatures, diminishing the battery life with continuous use.
Always look at the durability and sturdiness of the materials used in making the walkie-talkies. Make sure that it is shock-proof and damage-resistant. Radios made with materials that are water and dustproof are essential. Look for walkie-talkies made to last so you won’t have to encounter communication problems, especially in emergencies where there are impediments in the environment or place like flooding, construction sites, and challenging terrains.
Additional Features to Look For
From my experience of purchasing and reviewing products, it’s essential to look at features that make the item more useful and valuable. For walkie talkies, some of which I deem necessary and beneficial are the following:
- Noise-canceling feature
- Vibration feature
- Two-way radios that come with privacy codes
- Walkie talkies with keystroke alert or lock to avoid typing in mistakes
- Microphone jack for speaker or microphone
- LCD screen that is backlit for more straightforward navigation in areas with no light
- Notification or incoming transmission alerts
- Walkie-talkies allow you to save frequently-used channels
Why should I use a Walkie Talkie as a Security Guard?
Many types of businesses hire security personnel as part of their company’s security framework. Security guards mainly do round-the-clock patrols, monitor surveillance systems, address security disturbances, secure and inspect the property, employees, clients, and the public. For them to execute their duties efficiently, a sound communication system must be established.
One proven and tested way is the use of walkie-talkies. Two-way radios are practical tools for the security staff to do their duties and responsibilities in securing the property and the people within. Using these handy devices enables security officers to be called when their assistance is required and lets them interact with each other as they perform their regular activities. Not only can you have effective communication within the department, but you can also take and use it in areas with low or zero mobile network coverage. The use of walkie-talkies allows security guards to respond to emergency cases in real-time, making the response rapid and accurate.
Conclusion – The 5 best Walkie Talkies for Security
Security is a crucial factor for any business or industry, where the property, assets, customers, and worker’s well-being are given protection. For greater security, one must have reliable means of communication. Many businesses widely use two-way radios or walkie-talkies. They are handy, and you can take them to places where cell phone reception is unavailable. The best two-way radios I have given above have several features that make them efficient for communications for any industry, commercial business, or personal use. Keep this as your guide whenever you are planning to invest in one.