Extremely durable. Maximum range of 1,000 feet. Belt clips. Simple on-off slider. Morse code button. Cool Nerf blue and orange colors. Grippy handle.
Does not include 2 9-volt batteries.
Maximum range of 500 feet. Simple push-to-talk control button. Cute Pikachu design. Works just as well indoors our outside. Includes 8 AAA batteries.
Not the most rugged model available.
Optimized for little hands. Maximum range of 1,000 feet. Easy to use. No static interference. Sturdy plastic shell. Compatible with other e-Kids models. Cute puppy designs.
A volume control option would have been a nice touch.
Maximum range of 500 feet. Light-up Frozen characters and power indicator. Button sends sounds and voice clips from Frozen 2. Push-to-talk button. Made for little hands.
Does not include 6 AAA batteries.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.