For just about any kid, boy or girl, getting your first set of walkie talkies is almost a rite of passage. Whether it is pretending that they are on a top secret mission, or simply exploring the campground, a walkie talkie is the best way to keep a child engaged with their surroundings.
Beyond this, the ability to use a walkie talkie to communicate with your child is a great way to keep them safe in public situations, like in a grocery store or on a cruise ship.
The best walkie talkies for kids are the ones that balance function with ease of use, so your kid gets a new toy that is both useful and immediately engaging. We’ve scoured the web for the best toy radios around, and narrowed it down to the 6 Best Walkie Talkies for Kids:
Usually when we see products that are marketed towards children, we also see an array of bright, cartoon colors and images of popular TV and movie characters. While this has always been an effective way to get a child’s attention, not all of them are going to respond to that kind of thing. The RT238 walkies by Retevis utilize a more grown-up style with the same easy-to-access features that make them fun for kids.
With a full 22 communication channels available, these are basically a fully functional set of walkie talkies that operate just like the real thing. This many channels also means that they can communicate with other walkie talkies that are on the same frequency.
The talk button is large and easy to find, and the channel buttons can be easily locked so that the channel does not get accidentally changed as the walkie is bouncing around in a pocket or backpack. Speaking of which, the RT628 can be assembled with a strong-holding belt clip, so that your child can keep their walkie right at the hip for even their most action-packed adventures.
It is worth mentioning that these walkies are in fact a bit more advanced that the other products on our list, so an adult will likely have to get them set up and ready for use.
- Channels: 22
- Range: Up to 9000 feet
- Battery: 3x AA (Rechargeable Battery RT628 can be purchased separately)
What We Love: “Grown-Up” style construction with kid-friendly interface and operation
What We Don’t: Perhaps too advanced for kids under 6 or 7
Now here is a set of walkie talkies that come a lot closer to matching our expectations of what a kid’s walkie should look like. With a bright and vibrant checkerboard design, these are simply begging to be played with. Nevertheless, it is not how a walkie looks that will earn it a place on our list, but rather, how it performs during playtime. We are pleased to announce that the Alapa walkies were more than up to the task.
One of the more unique features with the Alapa walkies is the voice-activated VOX system, which allows the user to bypass the push-to-talk button and allows for hands free communication between units. While VOX is an easy way to drain the batteries faster, it is also quite helpful for outdoor games and exploring when a kid is likely using their hands for all sorts of other activities.
A 22 channel one-to-many transmitter means that you could buy five or six of these 2-packs and be totally ready to go for a birthday party or family gathering, with every child able to get in on the fun.
The only thing that might hold you back is the cost of batteries. With a 4x AAA battery requirement and a pretty considerable power draw, you might finding yourself changing the batteries out more than you imagined.
- Channels: 22
- Range: Up to 3 miles
- Battery: 4x AAA
What We Love: Brightly colored and easy to use, the Alpha walkies are out-of-the-box fun for any child
What We Don’t: The VOX feature takes a lot of battery power, but is usually worth it
While Car Guidance seems to be another one of those companies that sells all sorts of products, there can be no denying that this pair of smartly-designed and easy to use walkie talkies is among the best that they have had to offer to date. With all the operational functions of real walkie talks and the simplistic controls that kids will be able to quickly understand, these just might be one of the best all-around walkies for your youngster.
A build in LED light is a nice feature, especially for those weekend camping trips or for playing inside of a newly constructed blanket fort. The light does drain the battery a lot quicker, so be sure that your kid knows not to leave it on for extended periods of time. However, if they do, a handy battery indicator on the LCD screen is an effective way to keep track of how much talk time you have left.
While the range on these bad boys is about the same as the other walkie talkies in this price class, our research showed that they had a slightly more powerful transmission capability, meaning that things like trees, walls, and hills are less of a hindrance to clear communication.
Upon unboxing, we were surprised at how small these walkies are … certainly smaller than expected, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference in how well they work.
- Channels: 22
- Range: up to 3 miles
- Battery: 3x AAA
What We Love: Great transmission power for a kid’s walkie-talkie
What We Don’t: Much smaller than expected, but not a hindrance to transmission
For the daring super-sleuth in your household, a pair of Spy Gear Video Walkie Talkies might just be the coolest present ever. With a two-way self-transmitting link that can send real-time video communication between units, this is one of the most interesting toys that we have has the pleasure to review and one that is sure to please the youngster that you are thinking of.
While the range on this set of walkies is significantly reduced compared to the other products on our list, the fact that they can operate with video just like a Face Time call makes it somewhat irrelevant. The real strength of these walkies is for playing around the house or campsite, when two kids aren’t going to be that distant from one another.
Inserting a pair of headphones into the walkie talkie allows the user to communicate without pressing the button … a valuable feature for the secret-agent who is trying to keep their mission fully under wraps.
The only thing these walkies lack is the ability to link more than two units together. As it stands, the 2-way communication transmission cannot be modified to allow for more than 2 kids to transmit at the same time.
- Channels: 1x (2-way link)
- Range: Video – 160 ft.
- Battery: 3x AAA
What We Love: The only walkie talkies on our list with Video Communication
What We Don’t: Can’t link up more than two units at a time
The Selieve Walkie Talkie might just be our favorite when it comes to pleasing design. The colors are calming and the grip is comfortable and secure. A well-lit LCD screen is easy to read and the buttons have great feedback, as opposed to some other models where the buttons are really hard to push.
These incorporate most of the features that we have seen so far in various other models, such as a built-in LED flashlight, a secure belt clip, and a hands-free VOX function. What is has that the other walkie talkies don’t is a surprising durability. Holding one of these in your hands gives you the immediate feeling that they are pretty much indestructible, which is a good thing when you consider what kind of damage a toddler or growing child can do to their electronic toys.
One of the more common things mentioned in reviews of the Selieve walkies is how much battery power they can eat up, and from what we can tell this seems to be true. While you are getting a long-range, crystal clear sound quality every time, you will likely find yourself swapping out batteries somewhat often. It’s a fair trade off for the transmission quality though.
- Channels: 22
- Range: < 3 miles
- Battery: 4x AAA
What We Love: Great durability and very clear voice transmission
What We Don’t: These powerful walkie talkies need a lot of battery power to do their thing
While these Sokos Walkie Talkies are very similar to many of the other walkie talkies on the market, offering things like 22 channel communication and about a 2 mile range, there is one unique feature that sets them apart, and is the reason that these cool walkies have earned a spot on our list.
The feature that we speak of is the PMR auto-scan function. In this case, PMR stands for Professional Mobile Radio, which is precisely what you are getting with the Sokos walkies, except a bit smaller and simpler. What the auto-scan function does is roam the 22 channels for incoming signals. This is an important safety function that allows the user to find out if anyone is trying to reach them on a different channel. It is one of the features that separate toy walkie talkies from professional radios, so seeing it on a more affordable child-oriented product was a welcome surprise.
This is another set of walkie talkies that are a lot smaller than you might think from looking at the picture. Even for a child they are somewhat miniature in build, but it doesn’t seem to affect the transmission performance.
- Channels: 22x
- Range: ~ 2 miles
- Battery: 3x AAA
What We Love: A great all-around walkie talkie with a helpful channel-scan feature
What We Don’t: They are quite small, even in a child’s hands
Buyer’s Guide: What To Look For In Walkie Talkies For Kids
There is a lot more to walkie talkies than there is to a lot of other toys. They are actually pretty incredible little devices, complete with some of the same features that make “grown up” walkie talkies so useful in the real world. For this reason it is necessary to educate yourself with some of the basic knowledge points related to toy walkie talkies.
Afterwards, we are going to reveal what we think could be the best toy walkies of the year.
Range & Distance
This is one of the first specifications that you will see when shopping for walkie talkies. The range of a walkie is simply how far it can transmit while keeping the signal clear enough to understand the signal. In other words, it is how far apart each of the walkie talkies can be before they stop “working.”
The large majority of walkie talkies for kids have an effective range of about 2 to 3 miles, though this kind of average is based on a flat and clear distance.
What is important to remember is that range is greatly affected by terrain. If the walkie talkies are three miles apart on a flat field, they might transmit a lot better than if they were a half a mile apart on different sides of a hill. Physical obstructions like hills, trees, and houses can have a significant negative effect on how far a walkie talkie can transmit.
Battery Power: Rechargeable vs. Disposable
Most of the walkie talkies on our list utilize either AA or AAA batteries, though some models, like the Retevis RT628, can be outfitted with a special rechargeable battery that is sold separately. In fact, no matter what brand of toy walkie talkies you go with, you can safely assume that there aren’t going to be any batteries in the package.
No matter how you shake it, radio transmissions eat up a lot of battery power. Professional walkie talkies utilize high-capacity rechargeable batteries to keep them going, which is one reason why they are so big a bulky.
Because toy walkie talkies operate on simple disposable batteries, their operating battery life is significantly reduced compared to professional models. The best walkie talkies for kids can offer of about 5 hours of battery life before they need to be replaced. The lower end of battery life for these toys clocks in at ab out 3 hours, which is still plenty of time for your kid to enjoy a high-thrills adventure with their best friend / spy partner.
Pro Tip: Remember to buy a few packs of extra batteries to go with your walkie talkies. They stop working pretty quickly once the batteries get low, so having some spares around is a great way to ensure that the fun doesn’t have to stop early.
Number of Channels
22 channels is pretty impressive for a kid’s walkie talkie, and with only a few exceptions, that is how many you are going to get no matter which model you decide to go with.
The reason that walkie talkies have exactly 22 channels and not some other random number is because every one of them operates on a system that is called the Family Radio Service, or FRS. This is a system that has been around since 1996, and since then has offered channelized operating frequencies in the UHF band. In other words, it is a set of frequencies that radios can use in order to communicate with one another.
This shared utilization of the FRS is why so many walkie talkies, whether they are designed strictly for kids or for adults as well, can communicate with one another even if they are made my different manufacturers and companies.
In addition to the stuff that we talked about above, individual models of kids’ walkie talkies might have a number of other special features that aren’t always available. Be sure to compare the product you are interested in with this list to see how good of a value it is:
- Interchangeable belt clip
- Rechargeable battery pack (usually sold separately)
- LED flashlight
- Channel-lock feature
- Channel Scan
- Video transmission
- Headphone jack
- VOX hands-free transmission option
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: How many kids can play at one time with walkie talkies?
A: The number of walkie talkies that can communicate with one another has no theoretical limit, but is in fact constrained by the frequency on which the radio is broadcasting. When it comes to walkie talkies intended for kids, there is a good chance that they are operating on the FRS set of frequencies.
If this is the case, then as long as they are all on the same FRS channel, you can have as many walkie talkies communicating with each other as you’d like. This is one reason that toy walkie talkies are so popular for birthday parties and larger group get-togethers.
It is worth noting that not all toy walkies operate on the FRS frequency channels. The Spy Gear Video Walkie Talkies, for instance, utilize their own proprietary broadcasting technology that won’t be able to communicate with FRS walkies.
Q: If they all use the same FRS frequency, then what’s the difference between a $20 walkie talkie and a $100 walkie talkie?
A: While there are a lot of technological differences between expensive models and more affordable ones, not many of these differences come into play when talking about walkie talkies that are designed for children. Because toy walkies are more of a novelty than a tool, they don’t require the extensive battery life or transmission distance of professional radios.
For this reason, even a $20 set of walkie talkies is usually more than enough to keep just about any kid happy. With an effective range of a couple of miles, they are almost as good as the more expensive models, if not a bit weaker when it comes to things like walls and trees.
Q: Are walkie talkies safe for children to use on their own?
A: If your child is using a walkie talkie that operates on the FRS system of channels, then you might want to communicate to them that there might be other people using those channels. While this is not inherently dangerous, it is generally not a good idea for your child to communicate with strangers via radio unless it is an emergency situation.
The best way to deal with this aspect of walkie talkies is to talk to your kid about how to stay safe with radio communication, as well as how best to use it in the case they ever get lost or need to call for help.
Remember, toy walkie talkies are designed to provide fun and entertainment, but they are also communication devices.
The Wrap-Up: Best Walkie Talkie For Kids In 2020
One of the best things about getting a pair of walkie talkies for your child or youngster is that they are much more than just a toy. While the entertainment value of walkies is undisputed, they are also important tools that can do a lot more than just assist with a morning of make-believe adventures.
The best walkies for kids offer the performance of a “real” walkie with the low price and easy operation of a kid’s toy. For this reason, we think that the Sokos Walkie Talkies For Kids takes the cake in terms of overall great value. It’s a smartly designed product that kids can use right out of the box, and the channel scan feature is a big plus.
However we can’t help but give a shout out to the most innovative product on our list, the Spy Gear Video Walkie Talkies. This is the kind of toy that we wish we’d had when we were young. The very least we could do is recommend it to a new generation of children who are looking for the coolest way to communicate.
Over & out!