The Best Waterproof Two-Way Radios Of 2018

Walkie Talkies were first used during World War II. The invention of this handheld transceiver has been credited to Donald L. Hings and Alfred J. Gross.

After the war, walkie talkies spread to job site work and then trickled down to recreational uses such as hunting, fishing, camping, geocaching, kayaking, triathlons and more.

2-way radios are a versatile and indispensable tool in ensuring effective communications in certain situations. In a kayaking group, waterproof walkie talkies let you check in with each person in the group to make sure no one is struggling with the pace.

It also lets you point out potential obstacles ahead such as low head dams or fast-moving water. In some cases, having a walkie talkie can be the difference between life and death.

To help you choose the right model for your needs, we've put together this buying guide to let you know what features you need to look for. Then read on for our top 7 picks of waterproof walkie talkies on the market.

Waterproofing

There are various reasons why you might need waterproof walkie talkies. If you are on the water in a kayak or on a rugged mountain terrain in the rain require different amounts of waterproofing.

The term "waterproof" is a loose term that is often applied to electronics. There is a huge range that falls into that keyword. It can mean anything from full submersion to withstand light rain.

The best way to understand the grade of waterproofing a specific unit has is to find out the IPX code for that device.

If you are looking for a truly waterproof 2-way radio, look for one that is labeled IPX7. This rating means the unit can withstand being submerged in water as deep as one meter for up to half an hour.

Another feature to look for is floatation. Many walkie-talkie manufacturers offer this so that if your radio goes overboard, it will be easier to retrieve.

Range

The range of your waterproof walkie talkie is important for certain activities. For example, if you need to check in with a base camp.

Otherwise, most walkies are going to give you enough range for your needs. There are 2 types of radios FRS and GMRS. The first has a range of up to 6 miles and the second can reach up to 50 miles.

Keep in mind that factors such as weather conditions and the topography of the area you are in will affect the range.

Weight and Size

Like any item of gear, you are planning to take on your outdoor adventures, you need to consider both the size and weight of your waterproof 2-way radio.

The waterproofing element adds some weight and bulk to the unit. Same goes for rugged models that can withstand drops, bumps and more.

Walkie talkies aren't large to begin with, but the ones designed for outdoors are bulkier than the standard models. So keep that in mind.

Privacy Codes

Two-way radios come with 22 standard channels. If you are in an urban setting or in an area with a lot of people, there is a chance that all 22 channels are being used.

The privacy code function lets you tune out other conversations so that you can have an uninterrupted chat with your own group.

Be aware that with walkie talkies, there is no such thing as privacy. Anyone on that channel with the monitor function will be able to hear your conversation.

Think of privacy codes as a way to filter out other's conversations from the channel you and your group decide to use.

Emergency Features

Many waterproof 2 way radios offer helpful emergency features.

The device might transmit an SOS in Morse code on all available channels if you are in distress. Or it may broadcast a loud noise to help people locate you.

Even a built-in LED flashlight is a feature that might be extremely helpful at some point.

If you plan to engage in any activities that have a risk of being hazardous, good safety features might be worth the price.

Battery Life and Power

Pay attention to the run life of the model you are interested in. Some can go for over 10 hours between charges.

For multi-day excursions, consider a walkie talkie that allows you to use Lithium-ion or alkaline batteries so that you can have power if you can't recharge the unit.

Consider also how the device recharges and how long it takes. A docking station that charges both walkies at the same time trumps a cigarette DC charger that can only charge one at a time. The docking station can charge the units at a fraction of the time.

Compass or GPS Features

When researching waterproof 2-way radios, always keep in mind possible uses. If you plan to camp, hike or kayak, a compass or a GPS might be worth considering.

Even a simple compass can help you avoid getting lost out in the woods or on the water. A GPS will use data from satellites to give you exact coordinates and locations.

Color

Granted, this spec isn't as important as some of the other considerations but we feel it is worth mentioning.

If you are hunting and in head to toe camo, a bright red radio is not what you want to bring with you. On the other hand, if you are hiking or paddling through the water at dusk, you'll want a bright unit that you can find easily if you drop it.

Keep color options in mind as you review our top picks later on.

Warranty

An excellent warranty is something to always consider. After all, these units are not indestructible! Even if you buy a waterproof 2-way radio with a high waterproof rating.

There is a chance that the unit could not handle the level of exposure you needed it to or that it has a malfunction. Read the warranty of any device you are considering carefully to make sure that there won't be any unpleasant surprises down the road if something goes wrong.

Now that you know what features to look for depending on your needs, here is a list of our top 5 waterproof 2-way radio picks of 2018.

1. Midland GXT1000VP4

The GXT1000 has a max range of 32-miles in the great outdoors, 8 miles over open water, and 2 miles in an urban setting.

That makes this 2-way radio an excellent choice for tri-athlete teams, hiking or camping. In addition, you get a bunch of great features including 50 channels, 142 privacy codes, NOAA and hazardous weather warning channels, and an SOS siren that will broadcast a distress call plus a locator signal in case of an emergency.

The battery on this device gives you 11 hours on a full charge for a full day of fishing or hiking. You can also use AA batteries as a second power source if you can't recharge right away.

This walkie is water resistant so don't plan to throw this in the lake. The headset and belt clips aren't the most comfortable according to some reviewers and the menus are not super intuitive.

2. Motorola MS350R 35-Mile Talkabout Waterproof

If you want a truly water-proof walkie, this Motorola Talkabout is the one you want. It has a waterproof rating of IP-67 which means heavy rain and a fall in the lake are no obstacle for this one. If it does fall in water, it floats so you won't have to dive down to try to find it.

The range is 35-miles which makes this model a smart choice for dirt bike enthusiasts, hunters, and boaters. You get 22 channels with 121 privacy codes to ensure your conversations are private.

The dock lets you charge both radios at the same time and lets you use AA batteries if you really want to explore a little longer.

It's durable to withstand falls, drops and rough handling although the belt clip tends to snap according to some reviewers.

3. Uniden MHS75 Handheld Submersible 2-Way 5W VHF Marine Radio

Like the name implies, the Uniden MHS75 can handle being submerged. It will float so you don't have to search the bottom of the lake.

You can select 1, 2.5, or 5-watt of variable transmission power. The MHS75 comes preprogrammed with USA, Canada, and international marine channels making this a boaters top choice.

It lets you monitor 2 channels at the same time and supports NOAA weather channels with 12 hours of battery life per charge. Instead of a docking station, you charge this walkie with a DC connection (cigarette lighter).

Users will like the easy to read display and the LCD backlight on the screen and keyboard so you can use it day or night.

4. Midland LXT630VP3 36-Channel GMRS

The Midland LXT630 can be used in a light rain. Submersion in water voids the warranty so this model is best for non-water adventures. This model is a budget-friendly model that has several great features.

The bright yellow color means you won't lose it in tall grass or at sunset. You'll get 30 miles of range in direct sight or just one mile in rocky or less direct conditions. It's nice and lightweight and user-friendly.

The silent mode is great for hunting trips (or just an awesome game of manhunt). You can recharge the battery of use AAA batteries in a pinch.

Though it boasts 36 channels, 22 are standard and the rest are just sub-channels of the standard ones. You do get 121privact codes, which is great for privacy.

This walkie talkie automatically detects the local NOAA and weather hazard stations so you will be well aware of what's going on in emergency situations.

We like that the LXT630 is hands-free VOX compatible so that you can hook up a headset. With the headset, you can activate transmission with your voice, which means your hands are free to do anything else.

5. Cobra CXT1045R-FLT

The CXT1045 waterproof 2-way radio has an IP-X7 waterproof rating. This means that it can fully submerge in water without letting in any water. It will float at the surface of the water to prevent losing it.

You'll get the standard 22 channels with 121 privacy codes per channel. This gives you plenty of options for setting up a line of communication.

It comes with 10 NOAA and weather alert stations to keep you updated. Plus a built-in LED flashlight.

The best feature of this waterproof walkie talkie is that it automatically records the latest 20-seconds of communication. That way, you can make sure you heard the most recent info. This is excellent in the event of an emergency.

One con is that the audio can be hard to hear because of the thick casing. This is an unavoidable trait in waterproof walkie talkies and a fair tradeoff overall.

6. Baofeng Waterproof IP-67

This waterproof 2-way radio is a good quality, budget-friendly option. This radio uses two types of frequency ranges to give you a consistently reliable signal.

It is palm size which makes this a perfect option for kids or walkie newbies.

It has the max IP-67 water rating so it's OK when it falls in the pond. Plus, it has a seal against dust and dirt, making it truly accident-proof.

The only con is there is no backlight so this limits your use to daylight hours.

 

7. Olympia R100 Rugged Waterproof

The Olympia R100 is one of the best introductory, inexpensive walkie talkies. It is simple to use by anyone in the family. Plus it is sturdy and built to last.

The signal is decent but not in line with some of the bigger brands on the market. The volume is good and the speaker can be heard even with loud background noises.

This model ranks at an IP-54 waterproof rating. That means it is sealed to prevent up to medium-heavy rainfall as well as dust. However, it can't handle falling into a river or lake so keep it away from water.

Be prepared for recharging. This unit's battery life is half of what others have. Overall, a great starter waterproof 2-way radio that is inexpensive enough to let the kids use.

Final Thoughts on Waterproof Walkie Talkies

We hope this guide on waterproof walkie talkies has given you all the info you need to make an educated decision on what unit to purchase.

You know how to look for the waterproof rating, the range, the battery life and charge method, the warranty and emergency features.

You're all set for whatever outdoor adventure awaits you!

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