Walkie talkies are the kind of toy that appeals to little kids and young teenagers alike (even if they are too cool to admit it!). A game of secret agents, hide and seek or even a sleepover with school friends becomes a whole lot more fun when you add a set of kid-friendly walkie talkies into the mix.
As well as providing lots of fun around the house, walkie talkies are a perfect addition to a family walk, bike ride or even a camping trip. It’s a great way to give your older children a little sense of freedom as they explore the great outdoors at a safe distance from you, while still in contact.
Today, these handheld devices offer a lot more than a simple push-and-talk function. Many of the models we tested included built-in lights, alarms, voice changers and even games, to up the enjoyment and usability.
All of the walkie talkies we tested have been designed with kids aged three to 12 (or older) in mind, so are simple to use and the right size for smaller hands. However, it’s important to be aware that, as walkie talkies operate by tuning into the same frequency as another device, other people in range may also be able to listen to the channel and try to join in. Talk to your children to make sure they know not to talk to anyone they don’t know on their walkie talkies and to come and tell you if anything like that happens. It’s also wise to explain how to switch the device off or change channels if they need to.
How we tested
Our three-year-old, five-year-old and eight-year-old have been testing these walkie talkies around the house, in the garden and on country walks, to really see which ones perform the best. We looked at how easy they were to use, how clear the reception was and how far it stretched, if they had any extra features and, crucially, how fun they were to use.
The best kids walkie talkies for 2022 are:
- Best overall – Science Mad! digital walkie talkies: £29.99, Houseoffraser.co.uk
- Best superhero walkie talkies – Batman lights and sounds walkie talkies: £24.99, Onbuy.com
- Best for extra features – Vtech kidigear walkie talkies: £36.99, Onbuy.com
- Best hands-free walkie talkies – SpyX spy wrist walkie talkies: £18.03, Amazon.co.uk
- Best character walkie talkies – L.O.L. Surprise! remix walkie talkies: £24.99, Very.co.uk
- Best outdoor walkie talkies – Kearui walkie talkies: £22.89, Amazon.co.uk
Science Mad! digital walkie talkies
Compact and lightweight, these Science Mad! walkie talkies really pack a punch for their size and were a huge hit with all of our child testers (and the grown-ups, too!). With just five buttons to contend with, our five-year-old got to grips with these in minutes and was even able to explain to our youngest tester how to use them.
The sound quality is great, offering a clear, static-free reception even when outside. These walkie talkies claim to work up 3km apart in an open area, and we were very impressed that they stood up to their claim when we split up on a family walk to really put them through their paces (the belt clips came in handy here, too). This was on a clear day – without any wind or rain to battle with – and we’re not sure the signal would have stretched quite so far with less-than-perfect conditions. That said, it’s unlikely children would be using these at such a distance very often.
Great for camping trips, thanks to the decent, built-in LED torch, these walkie talkies are ideal for trips away as well as fun games at home. There are three channels to switch between, as well as a button to send a ringing alert to the other walkie talkie to let someone know you want to talk to them. We found this feature handy to track down one half of the set when it inevitably went missing around the house, although you are relying on the walkie talkie to be turned on for this to work.
Although there’s no volume control, the walkie talkies are loud and clear, so it’s not really an issue. Well, apart from when your child sends through an ear-splitting ringing alert from their bedroom at four in the morning “just to say hello”…
Batman lights and sounds walkie talkies
Best: Superhero walkie talkie
Ask a five-year-old what’s cooler than a walkie talkie and the answer is likely to be anything related to superheroes. These Batman walkie talkies are a dream come true for DC Comics fans; complete with a Batman emblem that lights up as you talk, which even the adults thought was pretty cool.
Our testers loved pressing the button to hear different Batman phrases and some excellent fight sound effects – but, although the pack states you can send these from one walkie talkie to the other, we couldn’t work out how to do that. Still, it didn’t take away from the enjoyment.
Despite being relatively basic in design – apart from that flashy Batman symbol – we were pleasantly surprised with the sound quality when using them. With a range of around 150m, these aren’t a particularly long-range choice, but we found they were great for games of hide and seek and superheroes (naturally), while the reception stretched from inside the house out to the garden without a dip in clarity.
Vtech kidigear walkie talkies
Best: For extra features
These may be the priciest walkie talkies in our round-up, but they are packed with features to hold your child’s attention and keep them entertained.
As well as the standard chat function, these walkie talkies can send picture messages (like a thumbs up and ‘bye!’) from one to the other and have choice of four different games you can play against each other. These were all pretty straightforward and our five and eight-year-old testers had no issues working out how to play them on their own after a little trial and error. The favourite was the motorbike racing game, where you use the arrow buttons on the walkie talkie to help your rider avoid the obstacles – strangely addictive even for a 40-year-old…
By far the biggest hit was the voice changer, where you can pick from four different voice effects as you chat. We really rated the robot and mouse effects, that worked so well and left our testers in hysterics.
Parents will appreciate the secure digital connection, meaning these can only connect to other Vtech kidigear walkie talkies – a thoughtful safety feature we would have appreciated on the other devices we tested.
Although reception was OK, we did experience some quiet background static when using these and struggled to get a decent signal at the suggested maximum of 200m. Instead, we think these are best suited to indoor use – a great way to pass the time on a rainy day.
SpyX spy wrist walkie talkies
Best: Hands-free walkie talkies
Walkie talkies come into their own when playing secret agents, and these hands-free devices have lots of clever extras that our testers loved.
“Disguised as a real working digital watch”, these are designed to be worn on your wrist, and although pretty bulky and a bit tricky to do up on your own (our testers definitely needed a bit of help), they were lightweight enough for our five-year-old and eight-year-old to wear without any complaints.
Our testers had a great time discovering all the added extras here; the flip-up bezel doubles as a magnifying glass, there’s a tiny mirror for keeping an eye on any rogue spies over your shoulder, and a built-in light for sending Morse code in the dark. We also liked the little capsules that came in the set, which include rolls of paper to write out secret messages or clues, that slide into a holder on the watch for excellent spy games.
The walkie talkies come with a fixed antenna, which is meant to give a 60m range when in use. The instructions recommend using these outdoors when in sight of each other, for the clearest reception, and although our testers were able to hear each other well, there was a faint, high-pitch whistle in the background when we tested these out. However, we felt the added extras and fun spy-theme more than made up for this issue.
L.O.L. Surprise! remix walkie talkies
Best: Character walkie talkies
L.O.L Surprise! fans will love these cute walkie talkies, featuring the L.O.L. logo, heart emblem and vinyl record motif.
Incredibly lightweight and with a large push-to-talk button, these are great for younger kids, although we did find our three-year-old struggled to get the whole of her little hand around the square device.
They are pretty simple, with no flashing lights or extra features, but therein lies the appeal. The pared-back design made it so easy for our testers to get stuck into play straight away.
The walkie talkies have a maximum range of around 150m, like the Batman model, and we were really impressed with the sound quality. Clear and static-free, even at 150m, these definitely delivered on the basics. We think they’d make an excellent addition to at-home play, hide and seek and kids’ sleepovers.
Kearui walkie talkies
Best: Outdoor walkie talkies
The perfect size for our testers’ hands, these compact walkie talkies had instant appeal thanks to their vibrant, contrasting colourway. Our testers loved the bright colours – and we were pleased to see this model available in a wide choice of colours, if lime green and turquoise don’t appeal.
Small but mighty, these walkie talkies boast the longest range of just under 5km. In all honesty, we struggled to test them at this long distance, but when we tried them at a 3km range the reception was crystal clear.
The light-up screen shows the level of reception, volume and battery life – especially handy when using these outside – and our testers loved taking the Kearui’s out with them on bike rides and walks, where they performed really well.
We think these are ideal for family camping trips – especially with the built-in torch and the headphone socket, which means the kids can chat away happily (and quietly) without creating too much disturbance at night. A great buy at a very decent price.
The verdict: Kids’ walkie talkies
The Science Mad! walkie talkies take some beating, with excellent usability, long-range performance and kid-friendly extras. Perfect for games at home or on outdoor adventures, we think they offer everything a child needs to be entertained for hours. For a more budget buy, the Kearui walkie talkies are a fantastic quality pick, at a very reasonable price.
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