Do All Walkie Talkies Work Together?

by Martin C | Last Updated: January 20, 2021

New walkie talkie owners often ask “Do all walkie talkies work together?” For example, people want to know if walkie talkies of different models or different brands will work together. I will discuss that question in this article. 

The short answer is yes, all walkie talkies can work together if they are on the same frequency, regardless of the brand or design.

Before giving you an answer to this question you should have a basic understanding of how walkie talkies communicate with each other. Walkie talkies transmit radio signals on a specific frequency, and if you want to communicate with another walkie talkie your both devices should be tuned to the same frequency.

In the United States, consumers can use Family Radio Service (FRS) and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS). These services operate in the 460MHz range. There is also a separate business band for corporate users, which operates in the 450 to 470 MHz range. And finally, there are specially reserved frequencies for law enforcement agencies such as police to prevent overlap with the public space. These law enforcement frequencies are protected and should not / can not be accessed by ordinary walkie talkies. You should be careful to only use approved channels, though this is easy to do with FRS and GMRS walkie talkies as they cannot access these restricted ones no matter what

Do all walkie talkies work together?

In theory, all walkie talkies can communicate with each other if they operate on the same frequency, so the answer is YES. That is to say that model and brand should not matter. This holds true for walkie talkies targeted at consumers, but you should not expect this to be the case for business radios or certain emergency radios.

Walkie talkies targeted at consumers use a standard set of frequencies, either FRS, GMRS or a combination of both. All radios that support FRS and/or GMRS use the same frequencies, so they are compatible with each other. If you use the same channel and privacy code on your devices you should be able to communicate with each other very easily.

Do walkie talkies need to be the same brand?

In almost all cases, we would maintain that they do not need to be the same brand. That said, there is an advantage to buying the same brand both in saving money from a bulk buy, and also from being familiar with the set-up, maintenance, and use of each brand’s walkie talkies.  For example, while you will be able to communicate across a Motorola and Cobra brand walkie talkie, it might be easier for you to buy only Motorola or only Cobra walkie talkies because then you keep consistent expectations for how to change channels, use privacy codes, and more.

How can I get my walkie talkies to work together? Can you connect two different walkie talkies?

You should first ensure that all your walkie talkies are on the same channel. This can be tuned on each walkie talkie individually, and this should allow you to communicate across different models and brands of walkie talkies. Sometimes different features like a DCS or a CCTCSS can be activated which might block communication between your different walkies. If you run into issues, you can go ahead and turn those features off. Also make sure you are aligned across frequency and channel – sometimes different walkie talkies list the channels differently. So yes, you can connect two different walkie talkies fairly easily.

Can two way radios / walkie talkies communicate with CB radios? Can I connect a walkie talkie with a CB radio?

FRS/GMRS consumer  walkie talkies operate on different bands from CB radios. You cannot use most consumer walkie talkies to communicate or talk with a CB radio. That said, there are a growing number of hybrid devices on the market which will allow you to have a unique mix of capabilities and the opportunity to communicate across several mediums. You can find our full review of one such device here: Midland MicroMobile MXT400 Review.

How to connect Motorola, Midland, Cobra, and other different walkie talkies?

You can easily connect your walkie talkies of different brands or models by aligning them on the same channel. If you are within range, you will find it quite easy to begin communication across your different walkie talkie radios. Sometimes, brands have different channel numbers or orders, so it may take some adjustment, but given most FRS / GMRS radios operate on a limited number of channels, it is fairly straight forward.

Will Cobra walkie talkies work with Motorola?

If you have Cobra walkie talkies and are wondering if you can connect them with Motorola walkie talkies, you are in luck as it is possible. Assuming you have standard Cobra FRS walkie talkies, which are the ones you can buy on Amazon or in a retail shop, you can communicate with Motorola walkie talkies by simply aligning your channel selection and beginning to talk. Make sure you are within range initially to test the connection, and follow our above advice for making this connection work.

Can UHF and VHF radios work together?

No, you generally cannot expect UHF and VHF radios to easily communicate with one another. They use different frequency, ultra vs. very high frequency, which means they are not aligned. Some walkie talkies may have dual-function or have alternative communication options. That said, if you currently have UHF or VHF, you should plan to stay with the current type to avoid any headache.

What about business radios?

For business radios, it’s not so simple. For a start, business radios usually use different types of frequencies, for example, VHF, UHF or the 800/900 MHz range. So the first thing you have to check if you want to use business radios of a different model and/or brand with each other is if they operate on the same type of frequency. If not, you will not be able to use them together.

Furthermore, business radios also often support the programming of custom frequencies. So even in the case your radios use the same frequency type, it is still possible that you cannot communicate with these radios because they have different frequencies programmed.

So if you want to buy a new business radio to use with radios you already own but you are not sure if they will work together you should really ask some advice from an expert to prevent surprises.

I've been passionate about radio communication for as long as I can remember. From walkie-talkies to CB and ham radio I've tried them all and still use the radio on a day-to-day basis to communicate with family and friends. If you have any questions or need any advice, please feel free to email me at martin@walkietalkiecentral.com