What is the difference between walkie-talkies and two-way radios?


The everyday person will know them as 'Walkie Talkies' but for us and our industry, the proper technical term is 'Two-way Radios'. Even though on face value they look and mean the same thing, there are some differences despite us being guilty of using both terms in terms of our own marketing efforts.
Two-Way Radio Walkie Talkies For Education School

For starters, both are capable of sending and receiving radio transmissions and the terms are often used conversely which we know about, but let's get into the finer details below:
Two-Way Radio Transmission

1. A walkie talkie is a portable two-way radio, usually one that is hand portable. This type of radio allows users to talk on the radio while on the move, hence the name walkie talkie. These also can be either long range or short-range walkie talkies.

2. A two-way radio operates in two ways; it can transmit and receive a radio signal. A two-way radio can either operate in a half-duplex or full duplex mode. Half-duplex allows the radio to transmit or receive but not at the same time. Full duplex allows the radio to transmit and receive at the same time. A two-way radio is also commonly called a transceiver because it can both transmit and receive radio communications. In short, the radio operates two ways, it can send and receive.

From this, we can gather that walkie talkies are two-way radios but NOT ALL two-way radios are walkie talkies.

It is generally accepted in the telecommunications industry that walkie-talkies are considered to be an inferior product usually at the lower end of the market. When people usually hear the term walkie talkie, the image of children's toy gadgets come to mind.

Childrens Walkie Talkie Spiderman

These are mainly used by non-commercial organisation and are sold in street shops with bright colours to focus on their target market. On a more technical point these usually have shorter ranges, are license free and shorter battery life as well as being lower manufacturing quality.

A two-way radio on the other hand can be defined by us professionals in the industry as a high spec, premium quality product used largely in commercial businesses and industries such as education, hospitality, healthcare, security, event management, oil & gas, transport & logistics, and many more!

Professional Two-Way Radio Portable Motorola DP4801e

Professional two-way radios can withstand any work environment whereas the everyday walkie talkie would break easily say within a construction work environment.

The difference between the two is very minor and mostly depends on the search terms used as well as the overall marketing emphasis by suppliers which we believe justifies the interchangeable use of both terms.

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