1. Frequency Range
Walkie talkies operate through frequencies much like radios and Wi-Fi devices. You will want the walkie talkie to have at least a frequency range of 400-470 MHz to ensure good sound quality and a secure channel for your family.
Not all walkie talkies are built with durability in mind. You will want a device that is made of high-quality materials, water-resistant, and a reliable method to grip and attach it to your person.
3. Battery life
Outside of the frequency range, a good walkie talkie should also have long battery life and fast recharging. This is so you can reliably use the device for the duration of your trip and after without having to worry about recharging them all of the time.
A good battery type to look for is a 1500mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery and it never hurts to get a walkie talkie that only takes 2.5 hours to fully charge.
4. Size and Weight
Since children and elderly will be using these devices you will want a walkie talkie that is compact and lightweight. Look for a set that is at least 4.5 inches long with antenna and 2.36 inches width. The best weight is at least 6 ounces.
5. Speaker Quality
Being on a crowded cruise ship means a lot of background noise. This can be bad for children and those who are hard of hearing. To help alleviate this issue look for walkie talkies that have noise reduction features and include a headset. A built-in radio will ensure you get a loud and clear sound the moment you push to talk and receive incoming transmissions.
6. Long Range
Not all walkie talkies offer a long range. Some will work within a very limited radius between walkie talkies. While cruise ships aren’t often very long, make sure you have a walkie talkie set that can work within 2 – 5 miles radius at least.
7. Channel Capacity
Many walkie talkies either make you search the channels or come with maybe a couple of pre-programmed channels. To ensure you get the maximum privacy and avoid the snafu of another family owning the same walkie talkies, look for a set that offers at least 16 different channels along with the option to program more channels.
Weight and size aren’t the only features to consider when looking at the usability of these devices. You will want a walkie talkie that offers push-to-talk function, built-in microphone, ear-buds to help hear the transmissions, channel time-out timer, a scanning function, emergency alarms, battery alerts, overcharge protection and more.
9. Number of Adjustable Settings
When it comes to ensuring a private channel for your family’s communications, you will want to make sure you can program the walkie talkies to your specifics. Not all walkie talkies will come with adjustable settings, so look for ones that offer you PC programmability and 50 CTCSS tones, and at least 105 CDCSS tones on each channel.
10. Additional Sets
Some walkie talkies only allow you to use four in a network while others allow you to use more. Since not all families are small, look for a set that allows additional sets to work within the same channel range.