We had walkie talkie toys when growing up, and I’d like to give my kids the same experience. But, there’s a problem – which ones to get?
I saw Cobra-branded basic-function walkie talkies at the home center during the holiday season, where 2-packs of police and army-themed walkie talkies were $20. I passed on it due to the prominent Prop 65 cancer and “wash hands after touching” warning.
I gave up on finding anything suitable for kids until I came across Nerf walkie talkies yesterday, priced at $15 on Amazon. But, looking at the reviews, there are common complaints about loud static and cheap build quality.
Looking online for help brings up page after page of “best walkie talkies for kids in 2021” listings where there’s not a single ounce of useful information.
This is a recurring frustration every time I try to research products outside of my familiarity – endless “best of” posts where the writers don’t have any experience with anything they’re writing about, they just pick some products off Amazon’s bestseller’s list.
I’d rather stick with a children’s toy brand or real-world name brand, rather than all the generic straight-to-Amazon import brands that I’ve never heard about.
These Motorola T100 Talkabout radios look like they could be decent, although at $30 they’re priced a little higher than the kids’ models I was looking for. Plus, added buttons might lead to frustrations if they press the wrong one.
None of Motorola’s T100 spec sheets or datasheets mention the wattage at all, only the theoretical maximum range.
Something like this could be used for practical purposes as well, although I don’t have specific uses in mind. If we’re ever at a public place or theme park, all the grownups have cell phones.
But, I’d rather buy something better-made from the start, rather than something like an owl-faced radio that they’ll quickly outgrow.
Motorola’s marketing images show small kids using these at the beach, and they also describe the radios as being family friendly.
Users on Amazon complain about the battery compartment door being hard to remove in order to swap the AAA-sized batteries.
This seems like a low-risk choice, but might be “too much radio” for my kids.
There’s also the Retevis RT628 walkie talkies, which seem to be popular on Amazon. They’re advertised as being suitable for kids ages 3-14, and the price is under $20 on Amazon after clippable coupon.
Retevis actually has a website and seems to be a radio-specialized brand based in Shenzhen, China. Because of this, I’d take them more seriously than brands such as Obuby, Looikoos, Selieve, Hauker, and other brands that don’t seem to exist outside of Amazon.
On their website, Retevis says the RT628 is intended for kids 7+. They have other models that are also said to be aimed at kids, and it’s hard to differentiate between all of them.
The RT38 and RT388 models also look interesting. I’d use rechargeable Eneloops, but it’s good to know some of these models feature built-in NiMH charging.
The RT628 is powered by 3x AA batteries, rather than 4x AAA for some of the other Retevis models I’m looking at, which I would hope means longer runtime.
The Retevis RT388 looks interesting and popular enough for there are clones of it, but look how many buttons there are! I can hear it now… “daaaaaaaad, it’s not working!”
This definitely seems to be “too much radio” as well, but I haven’t ruled it out yet.
Finally, that brings me to the Retevis RT628B. This is the one I’m leaning more towards right now.
The RT628B is similar to the RT628, but with only 3 channels and fewer buttons. The “B” in the model number seems to be mean “basic.”
Price-wise, the regular RT628 radios are less expensive than the RT628B, and there aren’t any color options outside of red, but I imagine these are more kid-friendly.
If this is more kid-friendly but robustly built, I’m fine upgrading in a few years if/when my kids are less prone to mashing buttons.
This is the one I’m leaning towards right now. Despite being kid-friendly, it’s something I might be able – and willing – to use too.
There’s also the Nerf walkie talkies, but the user reviews suggest they’re utter junk.
I’m hoping some of you can steer me in the right direction. As of now, I’m between the Motorola and Retevis models shown here, although I’m also open to suggestions and recommendations.
$15-$30 doesn’t seem like a lot of money for something that might see use throughout the years, first as toys and then as practical communication devices for the kids to use outdoors.
They have a lot more “toy” models out there, but nothing appealing that I can find so far.
When I give my kids projects to work on this spring, it will be with real tools, not “kids” tools. This is the same kind of product which I feel should offer real functionality for play, but without compromised quality.
On the other hand, I’m also looking for something more kid-friendly and hopefully without Prop 65 warnings due to the materials used.
I’m also curious – two-way radios are commonly used in certain professional spaces and commercial jobsites. Do any of you use them for residential work?
For example, I’ve seen electricians use smartphones and non-electronic signaling techniques (such as stomping on the floor) when trying to identify when the correct breaker has turned off a circuit that’s to be worked on.
That is, do any of you use two-way radios out of convenience, rather than necessity or in the context of recreational outdoors activities?