Knowledge base What is the difference between a walkie talkie and a walkie-talkie?

What is the difference between a walkie talkie and a walkie-talkie?



If you are looking for a suitable means of communication for your holiday, motorcycle trip, company communication or for consultation between, for example, emergency response officers, you will often come across the two terms 'walkie talkie' and 'walkie-talkie'. In essence, these two terms are often used interchangeably, but there is definitely a difference between them. How do you know which one to choose? And what are the benefits of both devices? In this article we would like to explain the differences between the walkie-talkie and the two-way radio.

The difference between the walkie talkie and walkie-talkie

In popular parlance both means of communication are seen as the same and therefore neither term is wrong. However, in our field we use the term walkie-talkie for a professional transmitter receiver that is used by, for example, the police, fire brigade, security or company emergency services. With a walkie-talkie we mean a means of communication for recreational or private use. Think of a skiing holiday where you can discuss where you are on the slopes or during a motorcycle holiday where you can consult with the other riders. In practice, of course, both means of communication can be used for both private and business purposes, but you should take into account the following aspects described below.

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The benefits at a glance

When buying a walkie talkie or a walkie-talkie, you can expect a difference in functions and quality.
We list these briefly:

A walkie talkie:

                1. Cheap to buy;


                1. No license required for use;


                1. Can be used for short distances.

A walkie-talkie:

                1. Can be used for long distances up to tens of kilometers;


                1. Private network on own frequency (apart from exceptions);


                1. Broadcasting license required (with the exception of one).

A walkie-talkie does not always have a private network on its own frequency. That depends on the transmission power and whether someone needs a broadcasting license for this.

The TK3401, PKT-23e are also called walkie-talkies, but do not communicate over a private network on its own frequency, unless an undertone has been programmed into it.

Now ask yourself the question 'what is a walkie talkie?', then we wrote a blog about it.

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When do you use a walkie talkie and when a walkie-talkie?

When you have to go for a walkie talkie or choose a walkie-talkie is not an exact science. Both devices can indeed be used for many situations imaginable. However, it can sometimes be more convenient to choose a walkie-talkie or vice versa, especially for a walkie talkie.

A walkie-talkie is ideal for business use. A large event requires setting up a private network so that conversations between security guards cannot be overheard. Or is the crisis communication between EROs so essential that noise from other frequencies is not welcome.

For private use, setting up a private network has no added value and the convenience of license-free use of a walkie-talkie weighs more heavily. In many cases, a walkie-talkie is cheaper than a walkie-talkie and this is the right choice for communicating on, for example, a camper holiday.

The extra functions and quality can play an important role for companies and a walkie-talkie is more suitable.

What do the words 'walkie talkie' and 'walkie talkie' stand for?

After the invention it was time to make it smaller and more manageable. There is some disagreement when the radio with transmission and reception capabilities changed into a walkie-talkie, but what we do know is that in 1937 Canadian Donald Hings was the first to build a wireless radio weighing 5,5 kg. The device was the size of a toaster, but because you could communicate with it, 'talkie', while walking with it, 'walkie', this term was created. The device proved to be extremely useful for the soldiers in the field, because they could communicate with each other.

After the Second World War, the development of the device continued rapidly and the engineer Marten Jan Kingma, who works at Philips, coined the term walkie-talkie. This was derived from the English words 'portable telephone' and because of this the name radio is actually just a more professional wording for walkie talkie.