If you are shopping for two-way radios for a remote worksite, resort, or other location, you need a set of business two-way radios. Why not simply purchase consumer two-way radios? While business two-way radios may seem similar to their consumer counterparts, they feature much higher quality. In terms of durability, battery life, and accessories selection, they cannot be beat. Even though they may be more expensive initially, over the long run they are a better investment. They will stand the test of time and offer you greater functionality than consumer two-way radios.
Not sure where to begin your search for business two-way radios? Check the table below to see prices and features for top-selling models on Amazon.com.
If you still are not ready to pick out the best business walkie talkies, read on to learn all about their features as well as important questions you should ask during the buying process.
What is a Business Two-Way Radio?
If you know much about consumer two-way radios, you probably are aware that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has 22 UHF frequencies available for consumer use. Other frequencies have been set aside for business use. A business two-way radio allows you to communicate on these frequencies, which are relatively free of chatter since the general public is prohibited from using them. You can even operate on VHF frequencies for superior transmission indoors and outdoors.
Questions to Ask When Shopping for a Business Two-Way Radio
Do you need a business two-way radio?
Not every business needs business radios, but many do. If you will be using your two-way radios every day, the higher quality and longer battery life may be very useful, as well as the added privacy of being able to use business frequencies.
What accessories do you need?
There are some accessories like rapid chargers and multi-unit chargers which are only available for business two-way radios (not consumer radios). You will also find a wider selection of headsets and earpieces to use. Always check to make sure that the radios you are thinking of buying will support the accessories you need.
Will you be using your radios indoors or outdoors?
If you will be using your radios indoors, UHF or 900Mhz radios are ideal. Their signals do a better job penetrating walls. If you will be using your radios outdoors, VHF radios will give you the best obstruction-free range. If your radios will be used both indoors and outdoors, UHF or 900Mhz are the best choices overall.
Features and Add-Ons to Look For When Shopping for a Business Two-Way Radio
Usually with a consumer radio, you are limited to around eight hours of battery time. But with a high-quality two-way business radio, you can get 12 hours of battery life or more. For long work days, this is a must. Purchase some multi-chargers and rapid chargers and you will have radios ready to go around the clock.
With a consumer radio, you are limited to half a watt of power for your transmissions; this is why the range on consumer radios is so low. You can operate at a higher wattage with a business radio. The higher the wattage, the higher the range. Some radios also allow you to temporarily boost your wattage when you need some extra reach. You can then power back down to a minimal wattage to conserve your batteries.
Channels and security codes
If you are operating in an area where a lot of other people are using two-way radios for business, a large selection of business-exclusive frequencies and security codes may be important. Separate frequencies will also help to reduce interference and keep communications clear for different departments within your organization.
Advanced settings control
Many business radios include advanced control over numerous different settings, and even the ability to lock those settings so they do not accidentally change, or transfer them from radio to radio. Some radios will even allow you to select from a list of pre-recorded work functions.
Business two-way radios are usually much more solidly-built than their consumer counterparts. This is essential as they are typically subjected to a lot more wear and tear while employees go about their daily business.
Employees often have their hands full and cannot constantly be pushing buttons to talk. VOX, headsets, and other hands-free features allow employees to communicate seamlessly while they juggle other tasks.
This is a feature where you can press a button and a distress call will be sent out to any other radios which are within receiving range. After the emergency alert is sent out, the radio will switch automatically over to hands-free operation mode for a few seconds in case its user cannot operate it by hand. This may be a helpful safety feature if you are purchasing radios for a hazardous work environment.
If you are buying the business radios for work in a remote location, pay close attention to the range while you are shopping. Despite their higher wattage, even business 2-way radios can have severe limitations with range. As such, you may want to look for a range extender feature. Switching this on can help you to pick up distant, weak transmissions. Oftentimes there is more noise while trying to pick up these signals, but at least you can receive them. Also make sure that the radios you are buying are compatible with aftermarket antennas. That way you can boost the range even more.
Now you know the difference between business two-way radios and consumer radios, and why a set of business radios makes such a great purchase for your personnel. Ready to shop? Scroll back up to the top of this page to view our comparison chart for business two-way radios. There you can compare prices and features for top products!
Motorola RDU4100: a “No-Frills” Communication Solution
This two-way radio isn’t fancy, but it gets the job done. If all you need is an inexpensive two-way radio that broadcasts and receives crystal clear audio, get the RDU4100.
- Rugged construction. This rubberized two-way radio doesn’t chip or bust apart if you accidently drop it.
- Simple interface. Some two-ways force you to flip through hard-to-navigate menus, but the RDU4100 is very easy to use.
- Free software. If you don’t want to program the RDU4100 by hand, just get the software and download your settings via USB.
- Clear communication. Choose from over 89 high fidelity UHF frequencies.
- Long range. The average two-way radio has a practical range of about 2 or 3 miles, but with this one you can easily communicate from up to 7 miles away.
- Loud volume. Speak and be heard in even the noisiest environmental conditions.
- Compatible with other radios. If you have broken an expensive 2-way radio and you need an inexpensive replacement, pick up a RDU4100.
- The RDU4100 has a nice range and good quality speakers, but it doesn’t have as many features as most other modern two-way radios.
- It is difficult to use the RDU4100 in the dark because it doesn’t have a backlit display.
Motorola RMU2080D: a Heavy Duty, All-Purpose Two-Way Radio
The two-way is yet another all-around solid walkie talkie from Motorola. The RMU2080D is incredibly tough, plus it’s got a nice little display and is very energy efficient.
- Difficult to break. It’ll take more than just a single accident to put the RMU2080D out of commission.
- Good battery life. The RMU2080D will keep you talking continuously for about 12 hours before it starts to give out on you.
- It has a display. Unlike the Motorola RDU4100, the RMU2080D features a small but useful backlit display.
- Receives weather alerts. Stay ahead of foul weather by listening to NOAA weather broadcasts.
- Programmable buttons. You can customize any of the 4 programmable buttons on this walkie talkie.
- Easy-to-use software. If you don’t want to program the RMU2080D manually, just download the free Motorola software and plug it into your computer.
- Broadcasts come in loud and clear. The RMU2080D features a powerful 1500mW speaker.
- The earphone that comes with the RMU2080D could use some improvement. Transmissions sound a bit staticy coming through it.
- The RMU2080D’s buttons are built to last, but they are also a bit stiff.
Kenwood TK-3402U16P: Feels Good In Your Hand
When most people hear the name Kenwood, they think about car stereos. However, in its early days Kenwood Corporation was a ham radio equipment manufacturer. Later on, it branched out into other electronics products. Kenwood went back to its roots with its new portable TK-3402U16P ham radio, which both sounds amazing and feels great in your hand.
- Ergonomic design. Out of all the business two way radios on the market today, the Kenwood TK-3402U16P could very well be the most comfortable option.
- Small and compact. Most walkie talkies are bulky and shaped like a brick, but this one has smooth corners and a slim profile.
- Kenwood quality audio. Kenwood tapped into its extensive audio research and development experience to make this walkie talkie sound great.
- Compatible with other brands. Because it comes with pre-stored frequencies and QT/DQT codes, you can easily plug this walkie talkie into your existing two way communication system.
- Private communication. To stop eavesdropping, you can assign up to 16 of 2097 possible inversion frequencies to any communication channel.
- Water resistant. The Kenwood TK-3402U16P is IP55 compliant, meaning that it can survive rainy weather conditions.
- Customizable. This two way comes with two fully customizable built-in function keys.
- Though this walkie talkie is well-built and has impressive features, it’s also expensive compared to competing portable ham radios.
Motorola CLS1110: the Ultimate Business Walkie Talkie
The Motorola CLS1110 is the perfect two-way radio for service oriented businesses like retail outlets, restaurants, bars, schools and hotels. It’s powerful transmitter allows your employees to communicate well in indoor environments, even when they are 15 floors away from each other. Also, its encrypted business frequencies ensure secure communication.
- Super long range. Communicate from up to 5 miles away in optimal conditions.
- Extra secure. Use the CLS111056’s 56 business-exclusive frequencies and 121 encryption codes to keep your communications private.
- Strong battery. Get 12 hours of continuous use out of a single charge.
- Multi-floor communication. Come in loud and clear from up to 15 floors away.
- Drop-in charger. Just drop this walkie talkie into its charging station when it’s time to power it back up again.
- Easy cloning. With the multi-unit charger, copying settings from one two way radio to another can be done with the touch of a button.
- Perfect for businesses. The CLS1110 is a smart short range communication solution for service oriented businesses.
- The CLS1110 is sturdy enough for ordinary business use, but it won’t last long in a warehouse, construction site or factory.