You rarely need a high-end walkie-talkie if you are not into adventure activities. Even the most basic and budget walkie-talkies are sufficient for most people in an emergency or weekend dwells. But there is a trap; the low budget means there can be crap products. You should choose the best ones that are well worth the money. What if I told you there are walkie-talkies for $50 that have just the right amount of features and performance you need?
This article explores the best cheap walkie talkies of 2023. Let’s have a look at our top choices:
|BaoFeng BF-888S||2-4 km range|
Compact and comfortable to use
Recommended for security guards
|Rivins T5||Up to 5 miles range with UHF band|
Customizable and programmable
Hands-free operation using VOX
Compact and lightweight
|KOMVOX B07HK5JMBH||Up to 10 miles range|
VOX with 3 sensitivity levels
Digital volume control
Supports USB charging
|Rivins RV-7||Boasts pre-set |
22 GMRS/FRS channels
Up to 5-miles coverage in open spaces
Includes VOX, keypad lock, call tones, and roger beep
|Topsung M880||Auto-squelch and auto-monitor|
Palm-size unit with durable construction
Easy to operate, even for kids
Up to 16 miles range in unobstructed areas
|MOICO||High visibility at night with backlit display|
24-months quality assurance
Loud and clear sound with adjustable volume
Up to 5-miles range
|Motorola T260||Up to 25 miles|
Lightweight, compact, and durable
11 weather channels
Are Budget Walkie talkies worth?
Walkie talkies are considered a pivotal tool for communication amongst all walks of life. Here’s why you should consider investing in a cheap two-way radio:
- Beginners looking to expand their radio skills can look into the inexpensive ones as they have minimal features. They can build on their knowledge and work their way up to high-end devices eventually.
- Recreational walkie talkies have fewer features than the standard radios and are also priced relatively lower. They’re perfect for infrequent, outdoor use.
- Professionals such as security guards, construction workers, and plant workers use radios to communicate on sites. When looking for a large quantity, it’s best to stick to lower-priced ones.
- Moreover, using walkie talkies in harsh conditions makes them prone to damage. In that case, replacing high-end or standard walkie talkies can be quite hefty on the pocket. Users can instead invest in budget-friendly devices that are easily replaceable.
Best Budget Walkie Talkie Reviews
#1. BaoFeng BF-888S
The BaoFeng BF-888S is, quite frankly, the cheapest walkie-talkie that offers decent performance. It’s worth pointing out that this BaoFeng radio is remarkably brilliant at the basics.
|Easy to program||No automatic roger beep|
|Zero static with crystal-clear sound|
|These stay charged for a long time|
We love the rugged appeal of these radios. It feels comfortable and light in hand, and is a breeze to use, too!
Additionally, the BaoFeng BF-888S performs straight out of the box. However, the pre-programmed frequencies may be illegal for use in the USA. That is why we recommend programming them to legal frequencies. However, this requires a programming cable that needs to be purchased separately.
I’ve compared the BF-888S audio to several other models, and none come close to the clarity it has to offer. There is no static whatsoever, and the transmission is crystal clear. However, one slight issue is the lack of an automatic roger beep. You can take care of this by getting used to saying “over” yourself!
Overall, BaoFeng BF-888S is worth every penny spent. It’s got all the bells and whistles you can expect from a budget radio. I think this walkie talkie offers supreme value compared to what you pay!
#2. Rivins T5 – Best Cheap Long Range Walkie talkie
This Rivins walkie talkie has a whole range of features that can make every day a bit of an adventure. It’s best suited for professionals looking for a balance of power and price.
|Available in various colors||The hand straps are fragile|
|Good-quality and loud sound|
Rivins T5 is proof that you don’t need to spend a fortune to get long-range communication.
If you scan through walkie talkies available in the market, you’ll most definitely notice the disparity in prices. Several high-end radios end up having flaws and limited features. But here’s a device that’s got the decent range and modern specs at a lower cost.
- LCD with battery status, volume level, and channel number displayed
- Keypad lock and VOX
- UHF to support up to 5-miles communication
- Pre-set FRS/GMRS channels
- Roger beep and channel scan supported
After using these for a few weeks, I was more than satisfied with my purchase. The customer support seemed to be the cherry on top!
Another plus point of the T5 is battery life, which was adequate for my use. I also found the radio to be easy to operate for users of all age-group.
It doesn’t have any significant cons to it, although I’d like to mention that the hand straps aren’t the best at strength. I recommend using belt-clips instead.
#3. KOMVOX B07HK5JMBH
KOVMOX is going to give you the best radio experience with its pair of walkie talkies at a reasonable price point. It features brilliant design and specs that will put all other radios in the market to shame.
|Perfect size to handle||You need to purchase rechargeable batteries separately|
|Excellent reception for the price|
|Impressive voice quality|
|Lightweight device with an intuitive interface|
The KOVMOX walkie talkies are the right place to get started with. It offers plenty of specs for a low price. Its bright-colored design instantly makes it stand out among many of those radios features in our list.
This ultralight radio is easy to use and carry outdoors. Additionally, the batteries on this walkie talkies are incredible. I highly recommend purchasing high-capacity rechargeable batteries so that it goes a couple of days without a charge.
Overall, these KOVMOX walkie talkies are a wise purchase for outdoor and professional use. The sound clarity and overall performance of the radio made the investment worthwhile.
#4. Rivins RV-7
Leading the way again is Rivins with its RV-7 set of four handsets. It’s the perfect deal to invest in to get just the right range, performance, and value for money!
|Handy and easy-to-use||Distance between units affects performance|
|Long battery life|
|Outstanding signal strength with clear audio|
|Excellent value for money|
The Rivins R7 delivers excellent performance on a lower budget.
- Available in different colors
- Built-in flashlight
- VOX supported
- 22 channels with 99 privacy codes
- Headset jack
Most importantly, these radios are pretty straightforward and easy to operate. All you need is to pop in the batteries, tune in to the channel, and you’re good to go.
If four devices seem insufficient for your needs, you can also opt for the pack of six walkie talkies.
Another outstanding feature is the VOX with multiple sensitivity levels. This feature is handy for when you’re in crowded areas. Overall, these Rivins devices seem well-designed and work well in all circumstances.
However, if the distance between the two radios increases, you can expect static and distortion.
#5. Topsung M880 – Long-range radio for budget-buyers
The Topsung M880 is an excellent option for beginners keen to try their radio skills for the first time. As a budget walkie talkie, it does what it says and is packed with all the features you’d expect!
|Quite sturdy and well-made||The instructions are difficult to read|
|Exceptional battery life|
|Superb customer service|
The Topsung M880 is a great cheap walkie talkie for learning two-way communication skills. Thanks to its intuitive and uncomplicated interface, the radio is perfect for all age-group.
If you’re a small plant worker or security personnel, this is a noteworthy budget walkie talkie. Despite its lower price, it has got auto-squelch, auto-scan, auto-memory, and auto-power saving functions.
The best part? It is available in nine lush colors!
Despite everyday use, the batteries on these radios last two weeks. They’re also well-made and are certainly not toy-like.
For 20 bucks, you really can’t go wrong with the Topsung M880!
The MOICO handsets are undoubtedly worth putting on the list. The decent range, array of features, and incredibly cheap price coupled with 24-month quality assurance are unbeatable!
|Outstanding range coverage for the price||The belt clip is not very flexible|
|Crisp and loud audio at medium distances||Doesn’t include rechargeable batteries|
|Remarkable signal and clarity|
|Easy to operate, even for kids|
The MOICO handsets are quite popular among beginners. It’s got everything that a standard walkie talkie offers at a criminally low price!
- 2178 channel combinations
- Back-lit LCD and LED flashlight
- VOX supported
- Earphone jack
- Max 5-mile range in the open field
One of the coolest picks in this radio is its super vibrant appearance. The design will surely appeal to the young ones. Additionally, the audio on these MOICO units is loud, crisp, and clear! You will have absolutely no trouble with noise while transmitting.
I haven’t even used these much, and I’m already impressed by these two-way radios.
The only downside to these radios, however, is that the batteries need to be purchased separately. Besides that, it’s an affordable device with decent signal and clarity.
A critical factor to remember is that these units perform like any cheap walkie talkie. The MOICO radios may not live up to your expectations if you’re looking for exceptional performance!
#7. Motorola T260
For sound quality and range, the Motorola T260 is our favorite! It’s our second favorite on the list for long-range walkie-talkies you can get for under $50!
|Rubber coating maintains a non-slip grip||Range may fall drastically in average terrains|
|Pretty straightforward interface||Battery life could be better|
|Easy to program|
|It can be recharged using a car charger|
You’ll be surprised by T260’s remarkable long-range broadcast capability. Despite the lower price, it has a whole lot to offer.
If you plan on using these in dense areas with obstructions, you may expect the range to fall to a few miles. With minimal obstacles, the sound fares well, with zero static. The overall audio quality is pretty fantastic.
The walkie talkies are also compact and sturdy. They seem to be very well-made and come in an appealing milky-white design.
Motorola T260 comes with a low-capacity rechargeable battery that takes a few days to charge fully. That’s the only disappointment we had on the radio.
On the whole, these Motorola walkie talkies seem quite promising and deliver great bang for the buck. We highly recommend these radios for professionals looking for inexpensive long-range radios.
Cheap Walkie Talkie Buying Guide
When you have a restricted budget at hand, it often results in a trade-off between price and quality or features. To find the best walkie talkies, you must take into consideration the following aspects:
Walkie talkies can differ in terms of their price owing to various factors. The higher and more advanced the specs, the higher the price will be.
If you’re looking to purchase a device that fits your budget, you can look into recreational radios with fewer features. The radios listed in this review range around $20-50. You can also find pairs or deals of four within this budget.
Another critical point to consider is the construction quality. You must look for a device that is tough and long-lasting. Although cheap, the radios must be fairly light-duty to withstand indoor and outdoor circumstances.
Apart from the construction, you must also look into the audio quality. Regardless of the conditions, you should be able to communicate with the utmost clarity and minimal distortion.
Another factor that may determine the price is the range of the walkie talkie. Long-range devices are typically priced higher than short-range ones. If you plan on going to the field, you may need a walkie talkie that picks signals further away.
However, you can do with a standard walkie talkie having up to 5-miles of coverage for recreational or everyday use.
Most walkie talkies are dual-powered and use Alkaline and rechargeable batteries. Different brands and models use different batteries. Some of them include the battery packs within the package, while others require you to buy them separately.
You may also want to find devices that support Micro-USB charging, which may be convenient for those using the radios outdoors.
All in all, you must also consider the radio’s type of battery and battery life.
Where can I buy cheap walkie talkies?
When purchasing two-way radios at a bargain price point, we recommend looking for authorized sellers. Buying walkie talkies from reputable sellers guarantees authentic equipment and saves you from knockoffs and fake radios.
One way is to buy directly from brands through their official websites. You can also search for authorized sellers on e-commerce websites such as Amazon or eBay.
Besides, you can also look for radio clubs in your locality to connect with experts and to find the best deals on radio gear.
Can I get cheap, yet long distance walkie talkies?
The range doesn’t seem to have a connection with price, as proved by Motorola. The Talkabout T260 series walkie talkies are capable of covering up to 25 miles of range.
The distance your device covers is highly dependent on factors such as power and environmental conditions. Most brands advertise their radios as having an extensive range. However, the reality is that coverage like that is only achievable in ideal circumstances.
Most long-range devices are unable to reach even 5-miles in city centers. Hence, you can get the maximum out of a cheap radio if you’re in open lands with no obstructions.
In short, there are endless possibilities when it comes to long-range walkie talkies at a lower price point.
Should I buy two-way radios or rent them?
A not-so-known yet cost-effective method used by several professionals involves renting radio gear. Although some walkie talkies are priced low, their maintenance can be slightly costly.
Moreover, professionals working in harsh conditions such as construction sites, need to be extra careful with their units. Replacing them after damages can be inconvenient and costly. That is why many operators in professional settings prefer to hire walkie talkies as per their requirements.
Choosing a walkie-talkie has a lot to do with the budget. It’s really about what trade-offs you’re willing to accept.
In a nutshell, budget walkie talkies typically don’t feature weather channels or protection against water. However, you can expect voice-activation, which is becoming more common in inexpensive, two-way radios.
As for range and power, we suggest you look at these two aspects regardless of price. In general, up to 5-miles of coverage is preferred in ideal conditions. Do not expect exceptionally long-range communication on devices under $50!
All the devices listed above seem to fall perfectly in the category of budget walkie talkies without compromising on quality or specs!