How To Choose The Best Walkie Talkies For Church Security

Despite the rise of increasingly advanced smartphones, walkie talkies are still the best way for security teams to communicate.

Two-way radios, as they are also called, allow for instant and clear communication over a wide area.

Knowing how quickly things can get out of control when dealing with crowds, investing in good quality walkie talkies can help churches maintain order and control.

But they are not just for the church security team. Ushers, attendants and other members of church staff can also use two-way radios to make sure everything goes smoothly.

In this buying guide, we review the best walkie talkies for church security. We’ve picked five radios that meet most of the requirements we were looking for including license free, good range, easy to use and long battery life.

What to Consider when Choosing Walkie Talkies for Church Security

a) License Free

For churches, PMR446 walkie talkies are more than enough to meet their communication needs. PMR446 walkie talkies are the only license-free two-way radios in Europe.

These walkie talkies do not require any subscriptions, licensing fees or airtime.

b) Range

You don’t have much choice here. Because they are limited to 0.5W of power, they have a max range between 8km and 12km in open areas and 1-4km in urban settings.

This is plenty of range for a church, even with the reduced range caused by communicating through walls.

If you need more range than this, you’ll have to buy more powerful professional grade radios that require a license.

c) Number of Channels

Some years back, the number of channels on PMR446 walkie talkies was 8. But that has now been raised to 16.

You’ll still find several PMR446 walkie talkies with 8 channels. But 16-channel models are just as easy to find.

The ideal number of channels depends on the size of your security team. Communication among more people requires more channels.

d) Privacy Codes

Privacy codes, also known as CTCSS and DCS codes, provide a way to prevent interference from people who may be using the same channel.

This ensures you do not accidentally receive a call from someone outside your team or make a call to someone not in your team.

Walkie talkies come with a number of privacy codes. The more they are, the lesser the chances that you’ll pick the same code as someone else outside your team (e.g. nearby construction workers using the same channel).

To prevent interference, set the same CTCSS or DCS code for all your team’s walkie talkies. Your walkie talkie will not receive any call that comes in with a different code or no code.

Note: Despite the term ‘privacy codes’, CTCSS and DCS codes do not provide any privacy. They only allow you to ignore calls from users outside your team. If someone is in the same channel as the one you are using, they can still listen to your call, even if they have a different or no privacy code.

e) Headset

Check if the walkie talkies come with headsets or earpieces. A headset allows hands free operation. You can carry the walkie talkie in your pocket while still staying in touch with other team members.

But don’t fret if the walkie talkies you want don’t come with earpieces. Walkie talkie headsets are easy to find online. So you can buy one later.

f) VOX Hands Free Operation

If you get a walkie talkie with a headset, make sure the walkie talkie offers VOX hands free operation. You don’t want to keep taking the walkie talkie out of your pocket to push the PTT (push to talk) button.

Many walkie talkies offer VOX or voice activated transmission.

With VOX on, you don’t need to press the PTT button to transmit your voice to a team member. The walkie talkie keeps the microphone on and will automatically start broadcasting when it detects your voice.

So you can just talk and your team members will hear you loud and clear.

Note that VOX is sound, not just voice, activated. So a loud sound nearby will activate the walkie talkie. But most walkie talkies are designed with specific sensitivity settings to avoid picking up background sounds.

Otherwise, the walkie talkie would broadcast constantly, which will drain the battery (and annoy team members).

g) Weather Protection

Check what level of weather protection the walkie talkie has.

Most churches can do with IPX2-rated walkie talkies. These are safe from an accidental splash of water or a light rain shower.

At the highest rating – IP68 – the walkie talkie can be immersed in water without any damage. But you’ll probably not find any use for such weather proofing. Furthermore, a higher IP rating can raise the costs.

h) Portability

All walkie talkies are portable but ease of portability varies. Look for the following features to ensure the walkie talkies will be easy to carry around:

  • Side grips to make the walkie talkies easy to hold even when sweaty.
  • Belt clip for when you need to carry the walkie talkie on your waist.

i) Battery Life

Finally, check the runtime of the walkie talkies.

With a full battery, most walkie talkies can last through the entire church service.

With normal use (most of the time on standby), a good quality walkie talkie should last between 8 and 16 hours before needing a recharge.

The Best Walkie Talkies for Church Security

Note that all the following are PMR446 license-free walkie talkies. You don’t need to pay anything to use them.

1. Motorola”XAP0085BDGAA” XT180 2-Way PMR446 Walkie Talkie Radio

Motorola"XAP0085BDGAA" XT180 2-Way PMR446 Walkie Talkie Radio - Black with Yellow Trim (Pack of 2)

The Motorola XT180 walkie talkies are a bit more expensive than most of our picks but they are some of the best quality PMR446 two-way radios you’ll find.

They are well built with IPX2 weather protection. A dash through a light shower while holding the radios won’t do any damage.

The walkie talkies have 8 channels. This is half the number of modern radios but plenty enough for most church security teams.

The XT180 walkie talkies have auto scanning, which automatically picks up transmissions from different channels. This makes it easy to communicate with your team on multiple channels.

To eliminate interference from people outside your team, the radios come with 121 privacy codes.

The walkie talkies come with VOX functionality in case you want to wear a headset.

The range is about 8km. But this is on an open area. It going to be less within a church, especially if it is in an urban area.

But even with reduced range, you should be able to reach all team members within the church compound with ease.

The Motorolla XT180 walkie talkies come with a NiMH rechargeable battery for each radio. The battery is good for about 14 hours of continuous operation. The radios can last several services before you need to recharge the batteries.

What we like about it:

  • Weather protection.
  • Good sound quality.
  • VOX hands free functionality.
  • Belt clip for easy portability.

2. Retevis RT24 Walkie Talkie

Retevis RT24 Walkie Talkie License Free Professional PMR446 16 Channels with Earpieces(Black,2Pair)

If you are on a budget, we recommend the Retevis RT24 walkie talkies. Despite their affordable price range, they are well made and are packed with helpful features.

The reason they are cheaper is their reduced range. Compared to the 8-12km you get from most PMR446 two-way radios, Retevis RT24 walkie talkies have a range of just 2-3km in the open and 1-2km in urban areas.

But even a 1km range is plenty for most churches.

As for built quality, the walkie talkie is resistant to water, dust and shock. An alloy metal frame provides shock protection in case of an accidental fall while a rubber ring provide water and dust proofing to the battery.

The 2-year warranty accompanying the Retevis walkie talkies should give you some assurance about their build quality and durability.

The Retevis RT24 radios have 16 channels, a plus for large security teams. You also get 50 CTCSS and 210 DCS codes to prevent interference.

During normal use, the 1,100mAh battery lasts for 8-12 hours. When in standby mode, it can last up to 74 hours.

To recharge the battery, use the included USB cable or place the walkie talkie into the charging base.

What we like about it:

  • Budget pricing.
  • Plenty of channels.
  • Long lasting battery.

3. Cobra PU880 Pro Business Radio Walkie Takie

Cobra PU880 Pro Business Radio Walkie Takie with 10km Range and Long runtime

The Cobra PU880 Pro walkie talkie is our top recommendation for large churches. It has a range of about 10km.

Of course, the range reduces within the church. But the PU880 Pro walkie talkie still delivers an impressive range, allowing you to communicate across a large church compound or multiple floors with ease.

The Cobra walkie talkie comes with 16 pre-set channels plus 121 privacy codes to keep out interference.

It also comes with VOX hands free functionality, allowing you to use only a headset to communicate with team members.

The headset is included; no need to get one separately. You can access both the PTT button and the VOX switch on the headset.

One feature we love, and which is not available in most walkie talkies, is Vibralert. The walkie talkie will vibrate when you have an incoming transmission. This can be helpful if you’ve placed the walkie talkie at a distance or you are in a noisy place.

Battery life is about 16 hours, if the walkie talkie is on standby 90% of the time. You can recharge both walkie talkies at the same time using the included charging base.

What we like about it:

  • Long range.
  • Hands free operation.
  • Vibration alert.
  • Swivel belt clip.

4. Midland G18 Portable Radio

Midland Portable Radio PMR446 G18 Waterproof IP67 Code C1145

If, for some reason, your church needs weatherproof walkie talkies, we recommend the MidlandG18 Portable Radio.

It has the highest IP rating among our picks – IP67. This means it is designed to resistant intrusion from dust and water.

You can submerge it in 1m of water for 30 minutes and it will be fine.

The Midland G18 walkie talkie comes with 8 channels plus 50 CTCSS tones and 105 DCS codes for interference prevention.

The range is impressive – 10-12km when in the open. Within the church, the range will be 1-4km.

Battery life is equally impressive. The 1600mAh Li-ion battery lasts about 19 hours with normal use.

Other features available in the Midland G18 two-way radio include VOX for hands free communications, voice menus and automatic channel scanning.

What we like about it:

  • Long range.
  • Long battery life.
  • Dust and waterproof.
  • VOX.

5. Motorola Talker T60 2 Way Walkie Talkie Radio

Motorola Talker T60 2 Way Walkie Talkie Radio - Black (Pack of 2)

The Motorola Talker T60 is another good choice if you are looking for a budget but good quality walkie talkie.

The radio comes with eight channels plus 121 privacy codes.

The range is about 8km when in the open but much shorter within a building. But you can still communicate across a large church building or even across multiple floors.

For its price, it’s nice that the T60 comes with VOX functionality. It makes it much easier to use with a headset. Other features include channel scanning, auto power-off to conserve battery and five selectable tones.

The radio uses a rechargeable NiMH battery that stores enough charge to last 2-3 services.

What we like about it:

  • Affordable.
  • VOX.
  • Long battery life.

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