DeWalt DXFRS800 Walkie Talkie Review (As Tough As They Say?)

DeWalt DXFRS800 walkie talkie in hand with mountain lake in background

With its iconic yellow and black color scheme, DeWalt is well-known for making high-end power tools. It also boasts an increasing list of electronics, including lights, Bluetooth speakers, radios, and the DXFRS800 walkie talkie.

It’s obvious that these walkie talkies are made for the job site, with range specifications given in square feet and floors. But they are also tough and waterproof. With this in mind, I have been using the DeWalt walkie talkies for several weeks to see if they would be a good fit for outdoor adventures.

DeWalt DXFRS800 at a Glance

The DeWalt DXFRS800 is tough and waterproof down to 1 meter, making it an excellent choice for water-related adventures or if you, or your kids, are tough on gear. Its solid feel inspires confidence. While it offers range and clarity that are standard for its class, it’s particularly easy to use and program.

DEWALT DXFRS800 Heavy Duty Walkie Talkies
$144.07
  • $149.99 for a pair
  • License-free FRS two-way radio
  • 8.3 ounces (as measured on my scale)
  • IP67 (dust and water proof)
  • Rechargeable with USB-C cable
  • 2 meter drop-resistant
Outdoor Empire Score:
3.8
View on Amazon
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. We may earn a commission if you click on our link, at no additional cost to you.
02/28/2024 12:25 pm GMT

It’s a great radio with a fatal flaw, and I’m not talking about its dumb name. Its biggest weakness lies in the holster and belt clip. They are the worst I have encountered. The first time I used this two-way radio, it fell off as I was getting out of my truck, and it didn’t improve from there. Another downside is that, while waterproof, the walkie-talkie sinks like a rock. And it’s on the higher end of the price spectrum.

Best For

  • Easy hikes
  • Construction workers
  • People who are hard on gear

Not For

  • People who don’t like to lose their equipment
  • Budget-minded folks

Is the DeWalt DXFRS800 Worth It for Outdoor Activities?

Woman on a stand up paddle board with sawtooth mountains of idaho in background
Testing the DeWalt DXFRS800 on Little Redfish Lake, Idaho.

While the DeWalt DXFRS800 is indeed a tough and waterproof radio, there are several reasons why I wouldn’t recommend it as the best option for outdoor activities. First, it has a tendency to fall off with alarming frequency. Second, there’s no way to tether the radio to yourself, and third, it sinks surprisingly fast.

If you’re looking for a waterproof walkie talkie for your adventures, I would suggest considering the Motorola Talkabout T600 H2O. It boasts the same IP rating as the DeWalt model but is more affordable, floats, offers additional features, and has a more reliable clip. However, if a waterproof radio isn’t a necessity, my top choice for an all-around outdoor radio is the Rocky Talkie.

For more worthy alternatives, check out our list of the best walkie talkies based on our firsthand experience.

Pros

  • Waterproof and dust proof
  • Rugged and built to be dropped
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • The clip does a poor job at securing it to anything
  • No place to attach a leash for backup
  • Not the cheapest walkie talkie option
  • Sinks in water

What is the Range on the DeWalt DXFRS800

Range Score: 4/5

DeWalt utilizes the maximum allowed 2 watts for transmission power. This theoretically enables communication over ranges of up to 30 miles, provided there is a direct line of sight and conditions are optimal.

Real Life Range

In real-life testing of the DeWalt DXFRS800, I found the reliable communication distance varied between 0.5 miles to 2 miles, depending on the terrain and level of tree cover. This performance is very much in line with other radios in its class.

So it does about as well as you would expect for a license-free FRS radio. But if you’re looking for a more powerful walkie talkie, you might consider the Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Radio.

Clarity

The DeWalt walkie talkies offer middle-of-the-road clarity. They are easy to hear with very little static, although the Rocky Talkie and BC Link perform just a bit better in this aspect.

Side of dewalt dxfrs800 walkie talkie
There are minimal buttons and no complicated controls making this an easy radio to operate.

The DeWalt DXFRS800 was Easy to Use and Set Up

Ease of Use (Ease of Loss?) Score: 3/5

I was easily able to set up and use the DeWalt Walkie Talkie without having to dig into the owner’s manual or watch any YouTube videos.

Buttons

The DeWalt walkie talkie doesn’t have an overwhelming number of buttons or dials, which I appreciate. All the buttons are well-labeled and their functions easy to decipher.

The only drawback for me was the placement of the push-to-talk button on the front of the radio, rather than on the side as is traditional. This is only a minor issue for me stemming from 20 years of muscle memory telling me it’s in the wrong place. But the button is large and easy to locate and press.

I never accidentally changed channels, but there is a lock function for those who might prefer it.

Clip

Backside of dewalt dxfrs800 two-way radio and it's separate belt clip next to it
The holster felt cheap compared to the radio and the clip did not work very well.

As mentioned earlier, the clip is a downside of the DeWalt. The two-way radio itself is clipless and sits in a holster with a clip. The radio can be detached from the holster for use and replaced when not in use. The clip rotates 180 degrees for adjustable angling. However, the holster feels cheap and plasticky compared to the robustness of the radio itself.

The clip has a spring, making it easy to open and close, which is a plus. However, the radio tends to fall off frequently, which was frustrating. I’m surprised I didn’t lose the DeWalt DXFRS800 during this review due to this issue. And I would imagine that even construction workers, for whom this walkie talkie was originally designed, would be frustrated when the device falls off their belt when they bump it with their hammer while on a ladder.

Display

The DeWalt features an easy-to-read, always-on display with a backlight when necessary. While the display is small, it shows all the essential information, allowing me to see everything I need at a glance.

Can I Really Throw it in the Lake?

Durability/Water Resistant Score: 5/5

Dewalt dxfrs800 walkie talkie under water
It’s a good thing it’s bright yellow or I wouldn’t be able to find it on the bottom of the lake.

The DeWalt walkie-talkie has an IP67 rating, indicating it’s waterproof down to 3 feet for up to 30 minutes. While not made to withstand scuba diving, it’s perfectly fine for accidental drops in a lake. In fact, I tested this by throwing it into a lake several times, and it continued to work just fine. However, it’s important to mention here is that the DeWalt will not float. It sinks like a rock. If you drop it in the middle of the lake it will be gone unless you have the reflexes of a ninja.  

How Tough is the DeWalt Walkie Talkie

The walkie-talkie is also dustproof and drop-resistant up to 6 feet. In my testing for this DeWalt DXFRS800 review, it proved to be solid and reliable. While I wouldn’t intentionally throw it against a wall to test its durability, it withstood all accidental drops. I would also trust my accident-prone and negligent kids with this radio.

How Long Does the Battery Last?

Battery Life Score: 4/5

The DeWalt comes with a rechargeable Li-polymer battery that can be recharged with a USB-C cable or a charging dock that you can buy separately. It will last for up to 18 hours of use but that assumes it’s mostly in standby mode.

In real world testing, it easily lasted a full day of light to moderate use. If you need to use it several days in a row, however, then you’ll want to charge it each night.

Does it Have Any Extra Features?

Extra Features Score: 3/5

The DeWalt walkie-talkies’ strength lies in their toughness and waterproofing, not in extra features. The only significant extra feature is iVox/Vox.

iVox/Vox

Vox is a voice-activated system. While it’s easy to think of Vox as an open mic, that’s not exactly the way it works. It activates the microphone when it detects speech instead of just being open all the time like a phone. The sensitivity can be adjusted to trigger the mic for loud noises or even whispers.

The biggest problem I had with the system is that it wouldn’t activate until I was halfway through my first word. Cut-off words made it hard to understand what I was trying to say.

Final Thoughts

Man wearing life vest with dewalt dxfrs800 walkie talkie clipped on vest
At least it’s easy to see!

The DeWalt DXFRS800 is a robust, waterproof walkie-talkie that stands out for its durability and basic functionality. Its straightforward design, solid build, and IP67 rating make it a reliable choice for harsh environments, although it lacks in floating capability and has a belt clip prone to detachment. This makes it slightly less desirable for outdoor activities with a lot of movement like skiing, running, or motorcycling, unless you come up with your own way to secure it to your gear.

The bulkiness of the DeWalt is fine for use on a construction site or even if you’re looking for a walkie talkie for hunting, but backpackers probably won’t appreciate the extra weight.

While not packed with advanced features, it excels in essential communication needs, making it a suitable option for those prioritizing toughness over extra functionalities. For more feature-rich or floating alternatives, you might consider one of our top walkie talkie picks like the Motorola Talkabout T600 H2O or the Rocky Talkie.

Photo credit: Alex Marshall, Author