The Problem with FRS Radios

The Problem with FRS Radios

Picture this. You are on a family camping trip to Yosemite National Park. Your kids and significant others are pumped. Before heading off on the adventure you purchase a brand new pair of FRS radios as a way to stay connected without cell service. That way, you can break away from the crowds, or each other for a few hours. 

The FRS radios you decide to buy have a 10-mile range – great! But, when you descend away from one another about 3 miles out, they seem like a flop. Luckily the radios were only used as a fun way to communicate, and not for an actual emergency.

Why FRS Radios Don’t Cut It

Why you ask? Well, the truth is, FRS radios are unreliable. Industry experts recognize the blatant false advertising on radio packaging and are speaking out. In an interview, Ben Burns, CEO of Discount Two Way Radio, specializing in radios for police, fire, and commercial purposes stated, “The box that the radios come in often shows them in the forest, or for emergency communications – all the uses which you cannot possibly rely on them to deliver”.

It makes you wonder, if in an actual emergency would you really want to be dependant upon devices that will inevitably fail you? Think about the ways in which FRS radios fall:

  • Spotty service
  • Cumbersome and high maintenance
  • They don’t leverage existing infrastructure
  • You may not know if a person receives a message or they can be intercepted by an incoming message
  • If a message miss a message you cannot replay it
  • Expensive, you will need to replace the battery, have access to a charging station or buy a new one every few years

The Case for a Digital Walkie Talkie App

Walkie talkie apps show significant improvements from traditional FRS radios. Rather than carrying another device on your hip, you can utilize a device you already know and love – your smartphone. Just think, you can go the distance with effortless and effective communication. Cutting-edge technology is a superior option to FRS radios and here is why:




Infinite range: works on WiFi or cellular connection. Better yet, if there is no cell signal, Voxer messages wait on your phone until you pick up a connection again. They will immediately send, ensuring that your messages never fail.

Listen and Repeat: Voxer records all of your messages. So, if you aren’t available to hear the message or if you don’t have reception, you can go back and listen to the message later.

Large group chats: you can add family members to your chat as opposed to who is in the area

Check Out the Complete Guide to Better Team Communication 

Extreme Notifications: for emergency situations – when you want to ensure the individual on the other end receives the message. Loud, repetitive notifications that will go off continuously until the message is received.

GPS Tracking: great if you are out in the woods and want family members to have an idea of your location. Location sharing allows people to know where you sent your last message from. And unlike walkie-talkies, if a real emergency were to arise, and you were deep in the woods, a phone signal is traceable by local law enforcement, a walkie-talkie is not.

Cost-effective: only maintenance required is an app update!

If we still haven’t persuaded you that switching over to a walkie talkie app instead of an FRS radio is the right move, then you should give it a try. You might be surprised how easy it is to navigate. Best of all, it is already on a device you know, love and use every day – your smartphone.


Updated: October 8, 2019


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54 thoughts on “The Problem with FRS Radios

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