Are Expensive Walkie Talkies Always Better?

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Written By David F

Walkie talkies aren’t the first thing that pop into peoples’ minds when they think of consumer electronics. However, the companies that produce and sell these devices certainly do treat them similar to other consumer electronics.

Walkie talkies have been gaining popularity with consumers since the 1970s, and it seems many electronic companies have responded to this demand by producing their own versions of these devices.

If you’re ever browsed the selection of walkie talkies on sites like Amazon, you may have noticed that these devices vary wildly in terms of price. You can find a six-pack from brands like Cobra for around $300, or roughly $100 per pair. At the same time, you can find a pair of Topsung walkie talkies for just $40. Based on this, you might be wondering if expensive walkie talkies are always better than cheaper ones.

In this guide, we aim to answer this question and also discuss what could make a premium walkie talkie worth the price.

Why Do Some Manufacturers Charge High Prices For Their Walkie Talkies?

As with any consumer electronics device, the more expensive option isn’t necessarily the better one. So why do some manufacturers charge higher prices for their walkie talkies? Some reasons include:

Manufacturing Location

Walkie talkies are manufactured at different facilities around the globe. This is important to note because labor costs vary greatly in different countries. A company that is assembling walkie talkies in China will need to pay much lower costs than a company that is assembling similar devices in the United States.

The end product might not differ in terms of quality, but the company will pass on their labour costs to the consumer in their pricing.

Build Material

Some manufacturers may also charge higher prices based on the build material they have used. For example, a kids’ walkie talkie manufactured using colorful plastic probably didn’t cost much to produce. Other manufacturers may opt to produce premium walkie talkies with rugged metal housing. Such devices cost far more to produce than their plastic counterparts.

In this situation, the manufacturer would be justified in charging a higher price as the consumer is getting a more durable device.

Special Features

Walkie talkies aren’t exactly advanced devices, given that the technology has remained largely unchanged since they were first produced. Modern walkie talkies do pack a few extra bells and whistles such as having automatic scanning features, multiple power settings, external mic jacks, and rechargeable batteries.

Many cheap walkie talkies have the same features found on more premium devices.

While some premium walkie talkies have more features than the more-affordable devices out there, this isn’t always true. For example, a pair of Wishhouse walkie talkies retails for just $37 and includes special features such as voice-activated “open VOX” and a built-in flashlight.

So if you’re looking up two way radios for skiing, you don’t need to always go for the more expensive option if you want a device with a built-in flashlight and FM radio.


At the end of the day, a lot of walkie talkie manufacturers are able to get away with charging high prices thanks to clever marketing. Walkie talkies can seem like magic devices to people who are unfamiliar with this technology. As a result, they are likely to believe that a premium device with good marketing probably has an advanced design with better performance than the cheaper models.

This marketing often leads people to purchase an expensive device without thinking twice. Everyone deserves to get their money’s worth, so it’s worth doing your research before actually going out purchasing a “premium” walkie talkie.

How to Find Walkie Talkies That Are Worth the Cost

After learning that expensive walkie talkies aren’t always worth the price, you might be wondering to find one that offers a good performance to cost ratio. The answer is similar to how you would assess any consumer electronics device before purchasing it. Check out the tips mentioned below.

Check the Device’s Features

The first thing you should check while browsing through various walkie talkie manufacturers and models is the device’s features. As mentioned earlier, cheap walkies can be packed with the same features as their more premium counterparts.

So if you find an expensive walkie talkie with a special feature such as an FM radio, you should see if there are other models that offer the same thing.

Similarly, many people seek out a waterproof walkie talkie for boating trips. If you see an expensive device that openly flaunts its waterproofing, you shouldn’t be wooed. There are plenty of affordable devices that are just as waterproof, but don’t openly advertise this fact. For this reason, you should always read the product’s fine details to know what it actually offers.

Try Out the Device

If you’re browsing the walkie talkie selection at a retail store, you should ask to try out the device before purchasing it. This will help you understand more about the device and whether it is actually worth the cost.

For example, holding and operating the walkie talkie will tell you if the buttons seem durable and easy to press. You can also gauge how good speaker audio sounds. These are things you can’t learn by reading the device’s package.

Consider testing out a premium walkie talkie side-by-side with a cheap one. You may be surprised to find that the cheap one feels and performs just as well as the device that costs twice as much.

Read Reviews

If you’re planning to purchase a walkie talkie through online stores such as Amazon, you should consider reading customer reviews. These reviews will offer valuable insight about the device’s quality and performance. You can learn how long the device lasted users or whether components are susceptible to breaking or malfunctioning.

Some customers may also state whether they feel the device was worth the price. If it wasn’t, they may recommend a different device that offered a better bang for their buck.

Learning More About Getting the Best Value Walkie Talkies

As you can see, expensive walkie talkies aren’t always worth the price. So consider doing your research before going out and purchasing a portable two-way radio. If you want to learn more about choosing affordable ski walkie talkies, please check out the other guides over at Walkie Talkie Central.

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