Walkie-talkies can be activated by voice or with the push of a button. Small walkie-talkies are easy to grasp. Conserve battery power when not in use. 22 channels and 99 sub-channels.
Voice activation doesn't work consistently. Batteries tend to come out easily.
Offers two-mile range and 22 channels in casing design that is easy for little hands to grip. A good choice for a group of kids, as you get three walkie-talkies in this set. We also love the bright, fun colors. Customer service is prompt if issues occur.
Occasional defective units have been reported. Some walkie-talkies arrived with missing pieces, but the company sent replacements.
Deliver hi-fi acoustics for pristine sound quality and to protect kids' hearing. Allows kids to mute background noise. Four-mile range in open areas. 22 channels for long-distance play. Low-battery alert. 100% money-back guarantee.
Poor construction compared to similar walkie-talkies. Talk button tends to stick.
Each walkie-talkie can be used as external microphone and earpiece. Include 2.5 mm charge jack. Flashlight and backlit LED display for use in the dark. 22 channels. Built-in clip for carrying.
Batteries wear down quickly. Low volume even at the highest volume setting.
Push-to-talk operation is easy for kids to use. Work beautifully in crowded spaces. Range of up to 3.7 miles. Made of environmentally safe materials. LCD display ideal for night use.
Can be hard for child to hold down transmission button. Sometimes difficult for kids to get both walkie-talkies on same channel.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Before kids had phones, they had walkie-talkies. Even in a world of texts and tablets, walkie-talkies still capture the imagination with an element of adventure. They let kids talk with the push of a button. They work in areas cellular signals can’t reach. They work for bike rides, for hide-and-seek games, and for whispering after the lights go out at night.
On a basic level, walkie-talkies are little more than two-way radios that can send and receive audio signals. Most sets have multiple channel settings, so you can keep searching until you find one that’s free. In fact, multiple units can be set to the same channel, so you can add handsets as more children join the fun.
There are hundreds of kids’ walkie-talkies on the market, and wading through them can be a challenge. Let us help you cut through the cute characters, bright colors, and gimmicky features to find a set that your children will love and is worth your money.
Toy or real
When push comes to shove, any walkie-talkies that are used by children can be classified as “kids’ walkie-talkies.” So the first question to answer is, are you looking for toy walkie-talkies designed for children or real walkie-talkies that happen to be used by children?
Unless you are shopping for young children, we recommend avoiding toy walkie-talkies. These are usually poorly made, have a very short range, and break easily. They’re nearly impossible to use in situations where a child would actually need a walkie-talkie. However, toy walkie-talkies have their place with younger children. If you must get them, go into the purchase with realistic expectations. If you’re buying for children that are in higher elementary grades or middle school, we recommend spending a few extra dollars and buying something a little higher in quality.
More than just toys
Little Pretender offers real walkie-talkies that are clearly designed for kids. Their size makes them ideal for small hands, and the push-to-talk button is easy for little fingers to keep pressed while speaking. Durable and lightweight, this set offers great sound quality, a belt clip for easy storage, and a built-in flashlight. We wish it had more than three channels, but this does keep kids from getting “lost” if they accidentally press the wrong button. Few seemed to have tested its full two-mile range, but it definitely works well across several city blocks.
Once you’ve decided to invest in something better than a toy, you’ll need to consider which options are worth your money. Consider when and where your children are likely to use the walkie-talkies when deciding which features are worthwhile.
Range: Most walkie-talkies appropriate for children have a range between one and five miles. Think about where your child is likely to use the walkie-talkies – across the park or across the campground? Walkie-talkies with a longer range can even be useful on family hikes or between cars during road trips.
Audio quality: A long range doesn’t matter if you can’t understand the person at the other end. Some walkie-talkies offer crystal-clear high-fidelity sound quality. Others focus on protecting your child’s hearing. Be sure the set you choose provides high-quality, low-static transmissions.
Channel selection: Walkie-talkie users must be on the same channel in order to communicate between handsets. If someone is already using a specific channel within your range, you’ll need to select another channel. Look for walkie-talkies that work on multiple channels. Some offer two or three channels, while others can handle as many as 22. You’ll need to decide whether having a variety of channels or easier operation is more important for your child.
Display: Since two-way radios only work if you’re on the same channel, look for simple displays with large numbers that are easy for children to read. Handsets with backlighting can be helpful for nighttime use.
Power source: Since they’re designed specifically to be portable, walkie-talkies require batteries. Some use internal batteries that are recharged from an external source, while others run on disposable batteries. Disposable batteries will cost more over time, but they can be replaced quickly. Rechargeable batteries will save you money, but once they’re discharged, they’re out of commission until you have a power source and time for recharging. Consider which type will work best for your budget and circumstances.
Durability: Walkie-talkies practically invite adventure. To get the most for your money, you’ll want a set that can withstand use and abuse. Look for rugged handsets that can survive bumps, scrapes, and drops. Rubberized grips can help prevent units from slipping out of hands, and soften the blow when they do fall. Water resistance isn’t a bad idea, depending on your climate.
Color: Since most quality kids walkie-talkies don’t feature beloved TV characters, choosing a pair in a favorite color can be a good consolation prize. Many higher-quality walkie-talkie manufacturers offer sets in a variety of colors. If you’re buying handsets for multiple children, consider buying pairs in different colors so there’s no squabbling about which handsets belong to whom.
Look for a set with adjustable settings if you want to eliminate the loud notification beep that precedes a transmission. Some like this classic feature, but others say it ruins stealthy games like hide-and-seek.
Extra tools like flashlights can be fun but can drain your batteries, so use with care.
When it comes to walkie-talkies, rechargeable batteries have advantages and disadvantages. If you’re likely to use them enough to drain a set of batteries in a single trip, opt for disposable batteries that can be quickly replaced.
While you can find kids’ walkie-talkie sets for less than $10, most in this price range are considered toys. You can expect to pay $15 to $20 for a lower-end set that works well for children. Walkie-talkies in this price range operate on a handful of channels and feature acceptable sound quality with limited volume control. Range varies, although some may reach two miles with reasonably good sound quality. The handsets may or may not survive a drop, depending on the design.
Walkie-talkies in the $20 to $30 range have more channel options and higher sound quality. Most should have backlit screens, which makes them more practical at night. Many have a range of two to four miles.
Sets that cost more than $30 should have up to 22 channels, and possibly even subchannels, clearly displayed on a backlit screen. Many have hi-fi sound with a range around five miles. Some offer water resistance, while others may have exciting features like a built-in flashlight or compass.
Feature-packed set for older kids
This durable set gives you a backlit LCD, convenient belt clip, and 22 channel choices, and the sound quality isn’t damaged by bumps and drops. No range is listed clearly, but most say they get about a half-mile range in urban areas and three times that out in the open. The channel is relatively easy to change when trying to use other functions, so younger kids might switch accidentally. These walkie-talkies comes in several colors, so you can get different colors for different children if necessary.
Make sure the set you choose fits comfortably in smaller hands. Some walkie-talkies may not be specifically designed for children.
Choose a set with belt clips. Walkie-talkies with belt clips give your child a place to put the handset when it’s not in use, reducing the chance of it being misplaced.
Help younger children keep track of their radios with lanyards. Just make sure the lanyards have a breakaway/quick-release mechanism to avoid strangulation hazards.
Know that a set’s range may be shorter than that listed in the description. In urban areas, a set’s range can be limited by obstacles like buildings, vehicles, and trees.
With so many options on the market, other sets also landed near the top of our short list. The smallest of hands will do well with this inviting pair from Retevis. The set comes in three child-pleasing colors, but the blue handsets are a real steal. The range varies from a half mile to a mile, depending on terrain, and they feature 22 channels with a channel lock. This pack of FLOUREON walkie-talkies gives you four receivers at a price only slightly higher than some manufacturers charge for two. With a range of almost two miles, backlit display, and choice of 22 channels, they’re a good option for larger families or situations where you need more than two radios.
Q. How long of a range do I need?
A. It depends where you live and how your children will use the walkie-talkies. A pair with a half-mile range should be fine for paging your child at a friend’s house or a neighborhood game of hide-and-seek. If you’re buying them for rural use, hiking, or camping, a longer range might be better. Remember that obstructions like tall buildings can interfere with reception. So even pairs designed for long distances will not reach their full range in some urban areas.
Q. Can I use my old walkie-talkies to talk to my kids?
A. Probably. walkie-talkies connect according to broadcast frequency, not according to brand. While different sets may have different features and range limits, they should be able to connect if they’re in close enough range. As long as your handset can connect to one of the same channels as your child’s, it should work just fine.
Q. Can strangers contact my children on their walkie-talkies?
A. In theory, yes. Most kids walkie-talkies aren’t advanced or expensive enough to include encryption technology. So, technically, any person who gets on the same channel as your children within the set’s distance range could talk to them. Chances are slim that another person within range will find your child’s channel and stay on it once he finds it’s in use, but it could happen – hence the need for receivers with multiple channels. If this concerns you, talk to your children about the dangers of disclosing names and locations to strangers. Most pediatricians recommend having similar conversations with your child about internet safety in upper elementary grades anyway.
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