Cobra Floating Walkie Talkie Review

We needed to purchase a couple long distance walkie talkies for our 650 mile drive to Idaho. We didn’t want to rely on our cell phones as cell service would be intermittent. We picked up couple Corbra Floating Walkie Talkies and put them to the test!


A week or so before our 650 mile drive to Idaho to live on our land, we were getting all of our ducks in a row. We bought a used pickup truck, bought a 19’ trailer to live in while we build our house, and the last thing we needed to do was make the drive safely. There were a number of things that could go wrong on the drive and as there would not be a strong cell phone signal (if any) for most of the drive, it was critical that we would be able to communicate with one another.

We took a trip to Walmart to pick up a couple of walkie talkies. We were looking for something fairly high-quality, durable and even something that would work around the homestead later on down the road. After comparing the different options, we decided go with the Cobra Floating Walkie Talkies.

All said and done they worked out well, so we thought we’d do a short review of the product. To be fair, we haven’t used a large number of walkie talkies in recent history so we don’t know what to compare them to, but they worked for us nonetheless.

Sound Quality

First and foremost, the sound quality of the Cobra walkie talkies was awesome. Some radios sound very muffled, but not these. They were a bit quit to start but once we started experimenting, we realized that we had to talk with the walkie talkie right up to our mouths rather than a foot or 6” away. Everything was loud and clear with the volume on its highest setting (8).

Battery Life

The battery life on these walkie talkies was okay. I believe both days of travel we had the walkie talkeis die on us. We believe that may be because there is an LED light on the bottom of the radios and the button to turn the light on is right by the ‘talk’ button. Once it’s been pressed, it needs to be pressed again to turn the light off. This could have come on by accident. If you buy these walkie talkies this is something to be aware of.

The floating walkie talkies do come with a battery charger, and the batteries are renewable. We had no problem charging them up after a day of travel. To be fair, we were on the road for really long periods of time each day (12+ hours). We also never turned them off, so I’d say we pushed them to the limits.

Signal Quality

Compared to walkie talkies we’ve used in the past, the signal quality is not bad. Don’t confuse these with CB radios! They are not a replacement for that. When one of us would get a mile or so ahead in rural areas we had no problem communicating. However, when we were driving through larger cities such as Spokane, it was hard to communicate with one another even if there was only a car length between us due to the interference common in cities. For what they are, I’d say it doesn’t get much better for a walkie talkie.

Durability

These things seem durable as heck! Between two long days of travel, backing up the trailer multiple times, and getting situated, a lot was tossed around in the car, including the walkie talkies, and they held up just fine. All parts on them seem sturdy and not easily breakable.

Weather Resistance

We did not have an opportunity to test the weather resistance. It did rain a bit on the way up but for the most part, these were used in the car. It does seem that they are built to be resistant to water and harsh weather. I’m sure we’ll get the opportunity to test it out in the near future as we have a lot of work to do on our land.

Other Features

There are a few other noteworthy features of the Cobra floating walkie talkies. Some we used and some we didn’t but they are as follows:

Belt clip: The belt clip on these walkie talkies is nerdy, but very practical. There were many times we were walking around and appreciated having an easy way to attach the radio to our pants to free up our hands.

Color: We don’t often buy things strictly for their color, but in this case, we did. We already have so many black gadgets floating around our car, we were all about the bright orange. Due to their bright color they were really easy to keep track of. Never did we have to hunt for the walkie talkie when we needed it, the obnoxious color made it obvious.

Roger beep: These walkie talkies give a ‘roger beep’ that indicates when one party is finished speaking. We loved this feature because if we had trouble hearing one another due to interference, getting too far behind, or having low batteries, the roger beep would let us know that the other was trying to speak. If it was important, we would then flag the other down so that we could communicate. Without the roger beep, we would have no way of knowing that were trying to be reached.

Lock: These walkie talkies have a lock feature so that you can’t mess with volume or channels. We didn’t use this but I could see that it could come in handy at some point.

National weather service: This feature scans the frequencies for the national weather service, looking for the broadcast of the local weather. It receives any emergency weather forecasts. We didn’t use this feature but it could be great for travel.

USB charger: ‘Nuff said. Good stuff!

Cobra Floating Walkie Talkies in Summary

All said and done, we are happy with this purchase. It was a small price to pay to have reliable communication while on the road. We still used our cell phones a couple times, but on a trip such as this, it seems that walkie talkie communication is critical, especially as cell phones won’t always work. The two should cover all of your basis.

Pros: The pros we loved include the color, the durability, the signal quality, the volume, the way it felt in our hands, and the ease of charging.

Cons: The only things we don’t like about the radio are that the LED light is too close to the talk button. If you aren’t careful, it could drain your battery. We also don’t like that the belt clip gets in the way of replacing the batteries and has to be removed. A small price to pay, but annoying nonetheless.

If you want to check these out in-person they can be purchased at Walmart at the time of this blog post (September 2015). You probably won’t be able to play with them as Walmart keeps these as secure as gold, but you can look at the box and what not. The other option is to buy them on Amazon where they are $69.99.

We give them a thumbs up!

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I am an aspiring homesteader on a journey to become self-sustainable and free. In my past, I've worked corporate jobs to make ends meet and get ahead a little; it didn't make me happy or confident in my future. Since taking the leap to self-employment and living a more simple life, my happiness levels have increased greatly and I've never felt more alive. I finally understand what I want in life and how to get there, and that is what this blog is all about.

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Comments

  1. Plinker says

    I find your blog very interesting and your drive to experience life in its basic and true form refreshing. One comment in regards to to the walkie talkies, they consume very little power on standby but lots on transmit, generally have small battery capacity due to there size and this is why they don’t last very long. My suggestion is a 12 vdc car power supply and battery charger that would allow freedom from them running down when you need them. The led light actually takes very little power and its mainly the small battery capacity due to trying to make the units smaller to have more sales appeal. Cobra have always been very good radio’s.

    In respect of CB I would suggest as an alternative a sideband either mobile or base unit for the trailer or house powered from a car battery, using a large UPS like the APC units and hooking this up to a small solar panel would give power for the base unit or other small things like cellphones.

    For the vehicles a mobile sideband unit and topload fiberglass antenna might be permanent or magnetic but make sure the SWR or standing wave ratio (amount of radio signal RF reflected back to the unit) should be close to 1:1 for best communication and life of the radio.

    A well set up .64 wavelength antenna on a guyed pop up 30~40 will give more range than you would ever imagine, again setup is critical as you want the RF to be radiated by the antenna not coax or other things. Older 40 channel ssb radio’s are easy to used !!

    Ground wave or location to location base to mobile can easily be 50 miles when the sunspot cycle is low….

    Best wishes,

    Plinker

    • Jesse says

      That’s some great info Plinker! Thanks for stopping by and shedding more light on radios. We agree that a good radio with solid power source charged w solar is very ideal. It’s a bit overkill for our immediate needs but something we want to explore in the future to enhance communications not just here on the property but in emergencies. Do you have a particular base unit or mobile unit you like? My dad and brother have used quite a variety with good success. I know that handhelds are always going to suffer from battery longevity issues. Ideally a base unit in our trailer/home and mobile units in vehicles would be a good spot but since we are so mobile around the property we are likely better off with smaller portable radios for short jaunts hither and thither. Thanks for your feedback and input!

  2. says

    You two remind me of my kids with the silly way you have fun. It is neat.

    Lori the boys and I have wanted walki talkies for some time. That set here in Chile would be $200.00 us. Anything tech is expensive here.

    That said it sure is nice to have a way to communicate on the farm.

    Thanks for the vid and review.

    Jim

  3. says

    Hi. I have a pair of these radios and I am trying to get a PTT to work with them with no luck at all. The system I am using is an eBay special, military style headset with the oversized 4 way plug and a PTT button with a 2.5m plug for the radio end. The speaker works fine but the PTT either doesn’t work at all or will activate the mic for a second and then it shuts off. Any tips would be appreciated, I am having a real hard time finding anything useful (read very ammature level) for this.

    • Ty Tower says

      Most PTT systems use an adjustment screw on the device to dictate the hold in length. Read the manual or ask on a radio site for where to adjust

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