How Far Can Two Way Radios Actually Communicate?

The Actual Distance of Two Way Radio Communication

Knowing how far specific two way radios can actually communicate can be difficult. Some packaging says one mile while other advertising may suggest 20 or even 30 miles, but the reality is closer to 2-5 miles with a hand held two way radio. While the range of walkie talkies can vary greatly depending on environment and the type of radio, this article will give a basic outline of what to expect with most two way radios.

Consumer Walkie Talkie Range

Typical walkie talkies that are used for camping trips or cruises often advertise 20-30 miles in range. This may be true in very rare cases, such as communicating from peak to valley with no trees or obstructions, but you shouldn’t expect that kind of range in most circumstances. These walkie talkies, also known as Talkabouts, will typically reach around a mile outdoors, but can still vary depending on how many buildings, trees, or other objects are in your immediate area.

Business Radio Range

Hand held business radios and commercial-tier radios range from one-watt of power up to five-watts of power. As a general rule of thumb, you can expect about a mile of range per watt of power. One-watt radios like the CLS1110 and CLS1410 will get about a mile outdoors or up to 200,000 square feet indoors under most circumstances. Two-watt radios, such as the Motorola RMU2040, will get one or two miles outdoors depending on the surroundings or up to 250,000 square feet indoors. Higher powered radios such as the four-watt RDU4100 or the five-watt CP200d should communicate anywhere from two to five miles outdoors.


If you need more range than what a hand held two way radio can provide, it is recommended that you install a repeater. Repeaters will typically be set up in a central location as high as possible in your area. Once installed, your two way radios will communicate to the repeater and then the repeater will “repeat” the message to the other two way radios. Ideally, the repeater should double your range.

While the range of two way radios can vary greatly depending on environment, power output, and other factors, you should be able to get a pretty good idea of how far they will communicate based on the type of radio that you have. If you aren’t sure which two way radio is best for you, feel free to give us a call at 888-560-0758 or read more about different types of radios on our website here.

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