The Best Motorola Two-Way Radios And Walkie Talkies
If you are looking for absolute best Motorola two-way radios your hard-earned money can buy, look no further than the MU350R Talkabout Radio. With tons of features and a price tag of just over $100, this radio stands head-and-shoulders above the rest. I didn’t come to this conclusion lightly, either. I used five different radios for dozens of hours in different environments and conditions. The MU350R shined in every scenario and situation I could throw it, so it really was a no-brainer choice.
Although all of the Motorola Two-Way Radios I looked at provide great quality for your money, the MU350R just outshined the rest of the field. With Bluetooth compatibility, a range of up to 35 miles and some of the best battery life I’ve seen in a two-way radio, the MU350R ran away with the top award.
This radio also has some other great features, like a NOAA weather channel, extended life batteries and several innovations designed to help in an emergency, this is definitely the two-way radio you want to take on your next outdoor adventure. Whether you are camping, hiking, boating or even just out in the yard, you will want this radio clipped to your belt or in your backpack.
Coming in at a close second, but still far enough away to be our second choice, is the Talkabout T465. This radio has some of the same features as our top choice, such as range and emergency features, but it does fall short in a few areas. It is about $20 cheaper though, which isn’t a whole lot of money. So, if you can manage to find an extra $20, I still recommend going with our top choice.
For some of you though, budget might be one of your top criteria, and with good reason. No one wants to spend more of their hard-earned money than they have to, right? If you want the peace of mind of having a two-way radio in case of emergency, or just to be able to communicate, but don’t want to spend the money for one of our top two choices, take a look at the Talkabout T480. It comes in at just under $60 from digitalnerds and other online sites and will still give you plenty of communication options during your next outdoor trek.
Table of Contents
• Why does our opinion matter?
• Who else likes our #1 pick?
• Who should read this article?
• Great second option
• How we picked the radios
• Our pick if budget is top concern
• How we tested the radios
• Our #1 pick
• What other brands are out there?
• Bringing it all together
Why Does Our Opinion Matter?
This is absolutely a fair question and I have a pretty straight forward answer – because I’ve been in your shoes. I’ve spent countless hours trying different radios in different situations. I’m an avid outdoorsman, so many of my weekends are spent camping or hiking. I also like to spend time on a boat, fishing or just enjoying the breeze off a lake or the ocean.
I also have a family, including a couple kids. It’s important to me to know where my kids are and what they are doing, as well as having the ability to reach out and instantly communicate with them. I’ve found two-way radios to be a great, economical way to do this. I don’t need an expensive cell phone or data plan and the kids can clip the radio to their clothes or backpack. It makes communicating with the as simple as a push of a button!
Who Should Read This Article?
One of the great things about two-way radios is that they are useful in a host of different situations. So, this article is really intended for anyone that wants the ability to immediately communicate with someone else, regardless of where you are or what you are doing. But, there are some people that could definitely benefit from a Motorola two-way radio.
Anyone that likes to spend time outdoors will find the Motorola Two-Way Radios we reviewed and tested to be useful. Whether camping, hiking, boating or hunting – a two-way radio can be a very beneficial tool to have on hand. Having the ability to talk to friends on shore while you are on the water or keeping track of you and your hunting buddy’s location are useful, and in some instances, vitally important.
If you are like me and have kids with friends all over the neighborhood, you know it can be a challenge to keep track of them as they bounce from house to house. One very convenient way to do this is with a two-way radio from Motorola. The batteries can be recharged and you don’t have to worry about adding them to your cell phone plan. Trust me, it is extremely comforting to know you can reach out and talk to your kids with a push of a button.
These Motorola Two-Way Radios are also handy as part of an emergency preparedness kit or bug-out bag. You can keep radios in each person’s bag, making sure you charge the batteries regularly of course, and in the event of a natural disaster or bug out situation, you’ll be able to make contact with your family. This could be extremely useful in the event of a mass disaster when cell phone towers are done or saturated with other people trying to frantically make phone calls. Instead, you just turn your radio on, push the talk button, and you are instantly communicating with a loved one or friend.
How We Picked the Motorola Two-Way Radios
Deciding to review two-way radios wasn’t a hard decision because I have found them to be so helpful in different situations. But, narrowing down which radios to test and review turned out to be a bit of a daunting task at first.
Go ahead and do a Google search for two-way radios. You will get thousands and thousands of results. The search might just seem daunting and overwhelming at first, because it kind of is. But, then I sat back and started thinking about two-way radios in general and which companies would produce quality products. The first company that came to mind was one that is well known for making top quality communication devices – Motorola.
From there, it wasn’t too hard to narrow the field down to five different radios. The Talkabout line of radios provide great quality for the price, so that was the perfect place to start.
I started with what is generally viewed as one of the best two-way radios on the market, and for good reason, the MU350R. This radio pushed the boundaries of two-way communication with new technology and features, and the end result is the best radio available from Motorola.
I also wanted to look at comparable radios that were very high quality but didn’t quite match was the MUR350R has to offer. Enter the T460 and T465 radios. Both are very viable options and provide some great features.
The T460 is a nice option for anyone that likes to spend time outdoors. It is great for camping, hiking or hitting the slopes for an afternoon ski. Like the other radios we looked at, the range of the T460 can extend as far as 35 miles, depending on the terrain and environment. It is also weatherproof, so you don’t need to worry about the weather when you head outside. Thanks to several channels and privacy codes, it isn’t hard to find an available channel with almost 2,700 possibilities.
Motorola also knew the T460 would be handy in emergency situations. With a built-in LED flashlight, this radio is also very useful at night or if the power is out. The battery is rechargeable and will last up to 10 hours, which makes it easy to use and keep it powered up. But, if you are out on the trail for days or just want backup power, you can also use three AA batteries for almost 30 hours of use.
Another nifty feature of this, and other Motorola, radios is it is compatible with any radio that uses the standard Family Radio Service/General Mobile Radio Service (FRS/GMRS) communication protocols. Taking the family to a resort or amusement park? Motorola developed a technology called Quiet Talk, which filters out unwanted transmissions in areas with a lot of people.
We also looked at another radio in the Talkabout family, the T400. It is similar to the T460, but an older generation of technology. Because it isn’t quite as new as the T460, the battery life isn’t quite as good at a little over 8 hours. You still have the option to use 3 AA batteries though, which is nice. Battery life with AAs is just over 21 hours, though, so it is still less than the more capable T460.
The range of the T400 is as capable as other Motorola radios, depending on the terrain around you. On the open water the radio works up to 6 miles and can operate up to 2 miles in an urban environment like a neighborhood. This makes it a good option if you like to go boating or are like me and you want to keep track of yours as they are playing with friends around the neighborhood.
The T400 is also weatherproof, so it works in just about any weather conditions you will encounter. It also has the ability to receive National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) transmissions. Just turn the weather channel on, and as long as there is NOAA radio service in your area, you will get weather alerts. This is a great feature if you are going hiking for the day, or even spending a day on the lake fishing, to make sure you don’t get surprised by a sudden change in the weather.
Now that you know more about the radios we picked, and why we chose them, let’s go into how we tested each of the radios.
How We Tested the Radios
This was actually the best part of this process, because I got to try out each of the radios to see how well they worked and how they stacked up against each other.
The first test consisted of packing the family up for a weekend family trip. We took several of the radios with us to try out and see how they worked. We even rented a boat for a few hours to try them out on a lake and see how well they worked.
I made sure it wasn’t only me using the radios, too. I got the whole family involved. I wanted to make sure more than one opinion was taken into account to give a more unbiased and accurate review of what everyone thought of each radio.
We used the radios on different settings, tried out the different features and even got to use them in a little bit of rain. All in all, we gave the different radios a good solid test in different situations, environments and terrain.
I also let my kids use the radios after we got home. Anytime they would go over to a friend’s house, I’d have them take one of the radios with them. I found each of the radios to be very capable, and useful, in this situation. I was able to get a hold of my child immediately, every single time I needed, or wanted, to talk to them.
Of course, the kids probably got tired of being my guinea pigs, but that’s okay. I kept telling them it was all for a good cause, to help you – the reader – pick the best Motorola two-way radio for your specific needs.
Our #1 Pick
That’s enough about why and how we tested the different Motorola radios, let’s get into our choice as the king of the hill – the Motorola Talkabout MU350R.
There are a lot of reasons why the MU350R topped the list as the best Motorola two-way radio. To begin with, this is one of the only radios that integrates Bluetooth technology. Thanks to this feature, you can sync the radio with a compatible Bluetooth headset and completely ditch the wires.
This is incredibly useful in a wide range of uses. For example, if you are hunting with a buddy, just put the radio in a bag or clip it on your best and forget about it. You can communicate easily, and hands free, through your Bluetooth headset. I can’t overstate how useful, and cool, this feature is.
Another area this radio stands apart from the rest is battery life. Motorola boasts the battery life is twice that of standard rechargeable batteries. That alone makes it this a great battery. But, it can also be powered by using three AA batteries. Unlike other radios though, even Motorola radios, the MU350R is so power efficient it can last up to 15 hours with the AA batteries. I found the battery to be very dependable and it will last well over a full day without needing a charge. In short, the battery life is awesome.
Naturally though, it will need to be charged up at some point. This brings us to the next advantage this radio had over the others. You can charge this radio four different ways. First, you can use the included wall charger. You can also purchase an optional charger that allows you to charge it in your vehicle, by hooking it up to a computer or via a desktop charger. The car charger is a really nice option, and it uses mini-USB, which is common enough that you probably have at least one charger already in your home or car.
Like other Motorola radios, this one is also weatherproof. It is built to IP-54 standards, which means it is dust proof and splash proof from any direction. With this level of protection, you don’t have to worry about dust getting inside the radio and corroding the internal components. You also don’t have to worry about taking it out in the rain or snow. Basically, this radio works great in pretty much any weather conditions.
Another thing I really liked about the radio is the clarity of the transmissions. Motorola was able to integrate Digital Signal Processing (DSP) to make incoming and outgoing transmissions extremely clear. After a little research, I found the MU350R to be one of the very few radios to have DSP capability. There is also a highly efficient amplifier inside the radio, which helps the audio stay clear, especially at high volumes. Each time I used it, and no matter what the volume, I could easily understand the person on the other radio and they could understand me just as well.
In addition to enjoying all kinds of outdoor activities, I’m also a bit of an emergency preparedness nut. I have go-bags for all my family members, extra food and water in case we need it, alternative means of heat and cooking, etc. Because of my emergency preparedness side, I liked several other features on this radio.
One neat little capability is the emergency alert feature. If you push the alert button, the radio transmits a siren followed by transmissions of voice or other sounds. This is a very handy way of sending an alert about dangerous conditions to other people with a radio.
The radio also has a built-in LED flashlight, similar to some of the other radios we looked at. Granted, the LED light isn’t going to provide a ton of light. But, it does light up enough to allow you to carry out simple tasks in the dark. Plus, it’s always nice to have a tool that serves more than one purpose since you save weight and space with a multi-purpose tool.
Another nice feature is the silent signals to tell you of an incoming call. Basically, the radio vibrates with the silent ringer enabled. This would probably come in really handle while hunting, since you don’t want to start blaring transmissions and scare off the wildlife.
I also found it useful while boating. When the engine is at full throttle it can be heard to hear the radio, even on full volume. But, with the silent alert on, I just clipped the radio to my belt and whenever my wife or kids called me, the phone would vibrate to let me know.
Hopefully you can tell by now this radio has a lot to offer. It is a little pricey at just over $100 from Amazon.com. But, I feel it is well worth the money. The extra battery life, built-in emergency features and Bluetooth capability are things I didn’t find in the other radios. That’s why I feel the MU350R is the best two-way radio from Motorola.
Who Else Likes Our #1 Pick
It is listed as the second best-selling two-way radio on Amazon with almost three quarters of the reviews rated as 4 or 5 stars. The overall rating from Amazon is a solid 4.0 based on almost 2,200 reviews.
TopTenReviews has the MU350R as the fourth best two-way radio compared to all brands and it is the top Motorola brand. They have it rated as a 9.48 out of 10. It is the only model that has Bluetooth capability and it is also one of the lightest. It also scored a perfect 10 out of 10 for convenience.
That should put your mind at ease that I’m not the only person out there that found the MU350R to be at the top of the list for Motorola radios.
Great Second Option
The Motorola T465 is a great second alternative if you want to save a little money. You won’t get the Bluetooth capability of my #1 choice or the same great battery life, but the T465 still has a lot of great selling points and features.
The T465 is designed especially for hunters with the included earbuds and push to talk microphone. You can just place the earbud in your ear, which allows you to communicate with your hunting buddies without broadcasting too loudly and scaring off whatever you are hunting. We tried this out while using the radio and it works really well. The audio is still very clear and it is nice to limit how much, and sometimes the content, of what others can hear.
The range of these radios is very similar to other Motorola radios, with up to 35 miles in hills and valleys, 6 miles on the open water and 2 miles around the neighborhood. Motorola is very consistent and accurate with the range of their radios, as they all were basically the same. As with other radios, though, keep in mind the terrain around you can always impact the range.
The battery life is somewhat less than the MU350R, but it is better than the other radios I looked at. Motorola says the battery will last up to 10 hours, which is pretty accurate. As with other Motorola radios, you can also pop in three AA batteries, which should last around 25 hours or so, depending on the batteries of course.
The T465 also features some of the same capabilities found in other Motorola radios. You will find things like low battery alerts, the ability to lock the keypad so no one messes up your preferred settings and the Quiet Talk feature that is really nice at places with a lot of people.
All in all, this is a very solid radio that would be great for camping, hunting or emergency situations. In fact, it really only comes in second because it does not have Bluetooth or the extended battery life of my #1 pick.
It is less expensive than my #1 pick, but still comes in at almost $100 if you buy it from Amazon.com. So, let’s talk about a good option if you are on a tighter budget.
Our Pick if Budget is Top Concern
For the budget minded, we give you the Motorola T480. A single radio costs just under $60, so this is a great option to add a radio to ones you already have or to communicate with friends and family in an emergency situation.
This radio had pretty much the same range as the others, especially in neighborhood environments. I used this radio quite a few times to communicate with my kids when they were out and about with the other radios, and it worked great every time.
One nice feature of this radio that I didn’t see in the others, was a built in FM radio. Although it might not be extremely useful in emergency situations, it was pretty cool to be able to dial up my favorite radio station and rock out to some good tunes.
The radio has a built-in LED flashlight, just like the other radios I looked at. One thing I didn’t notice in the others, is the light on this radio will automatically turn on during a blackout. Although I wasn’t able to test that feature, Motorola does make a point to note the feature in the information about the radio.
You can also communicate with other FRS/GMRS radios, which I was able to do with ease. It will even communicate with radios not made by Motorola, as long as the support the FRS/GMRS communication protocols.
It is also weatherproof, can be used hands-free and gives low battery alerts. Do not expect to get many of those alerts, though. The battery life on the T480 is really nice. The included battery lasted nearly 10 hours when I was using it and it can also be powered with three AA batteries, just like the other radios I tested.
So, this is a great option if you don’t want to shell out over a hundred dollars for my #1 choice. Of course, you only get a single radio for the savings. But, that might be okay for your situation. If you already have radios and want a spare, or you just need one radio because everyone else you would communicate with already has their own. Either way, the T480 is well worth the money.
We also like Motorola Talkabout MS Series MS350R .It has a maximum coverage of 35 miles, the Motorola Talkabout MS350R is a great walkie talkie for camping and hiking.The Motorola Talkabout can broadcast NOAA weather channels, and if there is a local emergency, your radio will alert you.
What Other Brands are Out There?
For example, Midland is a popular and well-respected two-way radio company. Many of their radios feature the same capabilities as the Motorola radios I looked at, with the exception of Bluetooth capabilities. But, they have weather alerts, hands-free capability and some level of weatherproofing.
Uniden is another well-known brand for two-way radios. They make several different models with a variety of options and pretty decent prices. The prices are a little lower than some of the Motorola models out there, but you will have a hard time matching the range and battery life of the radios I tested.
You should have a great foundation of knowledge about two-way radios and what to look for, so do some research on your own if it will make you feel better about purchasing something. There are plenty of other brands out there, like BaoFeng, Cobra and Amcrest. A little knowledge goes a long way, so put what you know to good use to help make the best decision for you.
Bringing It All Together
Well, there you have it, my thoughts on the best Motorola two-way radio. I tested several different Motorola Two-Way Radios in different environments and conditions. I even enlisted the help of my family to make sure to get more than one opinion.
After testing out the different Motorola Two-Way Radios, I’m firmly convinced the MU350R is the best Motorola two-way radio for my money. I absolutely love the Bluetooth capability, especially when hunting or in situations where I want both of my hands free, and I was also very impressed with the battery life.
Of course, the T465 is also a great radio. Plus, it is a little less expensive than the MU350R. Although it is designed for wilderness and hunting environments, I think it works just as well as the others on the open water and around the neighborhood.
I also liked the idea of saving a little money and purchasing a single radio, like the T480. Everyone in my family already has a radio, so I can purchase a spare and save a little money at the same time. This radio is great for emergency situations thanks to the weather alerts and built-in LED flashlight. I also liked the FM tuner, although it isn’t a necessity. But, it is nice to know I can dial up some tunes the next time we’re camping or out on a trail.
I hope my tests and information gives you some great information about what Motorola has to offer in their two-way radios. I also hope it gives you a good idea of what you should look for and expect if you decide to purchase your own radios. Good luck with your search if you are looking to buy. Have fun using them while camping, boating or in any situation!
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