Top 7 Best Turkey Calls For Beginners (Buying Guide 2022)

Love turkey hunting? Or perhaps, you would love to try out this fun sporting activity this spring? If yes, you’ve got to invest in the best turkey call as early as now. This way, you can practice and familiarize yourself with the best clucks, yelps, purrs, and cackles.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, turkey calls come in a wide range of styles to choose from. There are box calls, pot calls, mouth calls, locator calls, and even electric calls. Because of this, it is easy to get overwhelmed when choosing turkey callers.

But don’t worry! My team and I exhaustively tested many different types of turkey calls. In the end, I managed to narrow down the list to the 7 best options. My final list was based on features such as material construction, ease of use, and authenticity of the sound. I also did consider how weather-friendly the calls were.

Below, you can find a detailed review of what each of my top picks has to offer. But before that, let me first introduce you to the common types of turkey calls available. I will also explain how to choose the right calls for your needs.

What Is A Turkey Call?

What Is A Turkey Call?

You can look at it as an instrument or device designed to mimic the gobbling sound of a turkey. This device is common among hunters who frequently love hunting wild turkey. So, they simply use it as a decoy to locate the bird’s position.

Essentially, these calls were invented thousands of years ago by Native Americans. But over the years, they have really changed. As such, you can find them in a variety of vocalizations, including clucks, yelps, putts, purrs, cuts, and cackles.

How Many Types Of Turkey Calls Are There?

If looking for the best turkey caller, you must know the different types available. Check them out.

I. Slate/Pot Calls

Turkey Slate Calls

This type of call comprises a pot and a striker for initiating the call. The pot may be made from plastic or wood materials with a slate, glass, or metal surface. This turkey call is the easiest to use for beginners and produces a loud, lifelike turkey sound.

II. Box Calls

Turkey Box Calls

As the name suggests, this call comes in the form of a box design with a wooden lid. You can make convincing purrs, clucks, and yelps sounds by closing the box. It is perfect for both novice and veteran hunters.

III. Diaphragm or Mouth Calls

Diaphragm or Mouth Calls

This type of call comprises a horseshoe-shaped piece of plastic. You simply insert the device into your mouth for hands-free operation. However, it is not beginner-friendly.

IV. Locator Calls

Turkey Locator Calls

You use a locator call when you want to know the location of a gobbler. This is by forcing the turkey to gobble. It works best during the spring because male turkeys tend to have high testosterone levels. As such, they tend to gobble at any loud noise.

V. Electric Calls

Electric Turkey Calls

This type of call simply consists of an electronic device that is pre-loaded with different turkey calls. So, you get to play the calls with the press of a button, making them easy to use.

Key Features To Consider When Purchase A Perfect Turkey Call?

Choosing the right turkey call for your needs requires due diligence. Below, I will walk you through some of the things you must consider.

1. Types

One of the things to consider is the type of turkey call you want. Because these calls are not built the same. Some of the types of calls you might want to consider are:

  • Box calls
  • Pot/slate calls
  • Electric calls
  • Mouth calls
  • Locator calls

All the above call options have their pros and cons. For instance, as a beginner, I would recommend you go with the box, electric, locator, or slate call. These four types are easy to use. But as an avid hunter, I suggest the mouth calls.

2. Material

Another thing to look for is the type of material the caller is made of. During my research, I found that most high-quality calls are constructed from:

  • Plastic
  • Wood
  • Aluminum

For calls made of plastic, I discovered they had a slate surface. As such, I could tell they would last longer. I also loved the wooden calls, although they seemed a little delicate compared to their plastic counterparts.

Although most calls are made of either plastic or wood materials, you can also get aluminum calls. These are quite sturdy and lightweight compared to their counterparts. Even so, I would suggest choosing a plastic/slate or wooden turkey call.

3. Weather friendly

Planning to use your turkey call all season round? If yes, getting a solid call that is durable is not really enough. I suggest you get a weatherproof or waterproof device that can withstand:

  • Rain
  • Hot weather
  • High winds
  • Sleet or snow
  • Fog

Generally, some calls are only waterproof or all-weather. However, for some, they have both features. So, you can use them without worrying that they could get damaged by any kind of weather element.

4. Realistic sound

The turkey caller you choose must be able to produce realistic sounds. By this, I mean the sound should be like that of a real hen. Because if not, it will definitely not bring in any turkey.

So, I recommend you choose a caller that offers a range of realistic turkey sounds. This way, you will have the freedom to try out different tones just in case one does not work. Based on data from the National Wild Turkey Federation, these devices offer various sounds, including:

  • Raspy/lost/tree/plain yelps
  • Crow/owl sounds
  • Kee-kees
  • Soft purrs and sharp cuts
  • Smooth clucks

5. Design/ How easy to use?

Turkey calls come in different designs. However, some designs are easier to use than others. So, I suggest you consider your skill level when buying a turkey caller. It could be that you are a:

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Professional/expert

As a beginner, I recommend you go with an electric turkey call. This is because it comes with preset sounds. So, you just need to select your preferred call. You can also go with a slate, the best turkey locator, or a pot call. But this is as long as there is no tuning or adjustment needed.

But what if you’re an intermediate hunter? I suggest choosing a slate, box, electric, diaphragm (mouth), and locator call. Meanwhile, if you’ve mastered turkey calling, you can choose any type of call that beginners and intermediates can use.

6. Warranty/Guarantee

For your peace of mind, I suggest you choose a turkey call that is covered by a warranty. A warranty serves as proof that the calling device is made with quality in mind. This means that the longer the warranty period, the better the caller.

While a warranty alone is enough, you could also consider getting a turkey call backed by a money-back guarantee. It gives you even more peace of mind while making your purchase.

7. Price

Last but not least, I urge you to pay attention to the price of the calling device. After all, these units come in different price ranges, including:

  • Low-end
  • Mid-range
  • High-range

Generally, most types of turkey callers fall in the mid-range and high-range categories. You can expect to part away at least 40 bucks. However, if you are looking for inexpensive or low-end calls, I suggest you go with mouth or locator options. You can find these callers for less than 20 bucks.

Our Top 7 Best Turkey Calls Review

Now you know what to look for in the best turkey caller. So, it should be easy to choose the right device, right? Well, I suggest you take a look at our top-rated callers.

#1. Editor’s Pick: ESH Turkey Mouth Calls with Realistic Turkey Sounds

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Why It Stands Out to Us

This best turkey call is our top pick because it comes as a combo pack. What I mean is that it includes a box call, mouth call, and plastic pot call. And each call is designed to mimic the sound of a real hen. Even better, it is backed by a 100% money-back guarantee.

My Experience with It

One of the things I loved about this combo is that we could use it in all weather conditions. This is because the box call has a unique coating that makes it waterproof. I also discovered the mouth call was foolproof. So, you can safely use it without any risk.

Made in the USA, I did feel each of these calls was made with durability in mind. This is judging by the materials they are made of. For instance, the mouth call boasts natural latex construction. Meanwhile, the pot turkey calls are built from slate and plastic materials.

What I Didn’t Like

While using the pot call, I noticed that the plastic section surrounding the metal frame was not firmly attached.

Who Is It Great for

Because the pack comprises three custom turkey calls, it is ideal for both beginner and experienced hunters.

What Could Be Improved

I feel the plastic construction of the pot call should be reinforced for enhanced durability.

HIGHLIGHTED FEATURES

  • Handcrafted and assembled in the USA
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Durable all-weather wooden strikers
  • Produces realistic hen sounds like yelp and cut
  • Foolproof diaphragm calls
Pros
  • Custom made with precision
  • Easy to master the most effective strike
  • Each call sounds like a real hen
  • It makes yelp, tree call, cut, and kee-kee run sounds
  • Excellent starter kit for beginners
Cons
  • Mouth calls are not beginner-friendly
  • Choking hazard for small kids

#2. Woodhaven Custom Calls Legend Series Turkey Call

51D2bGCpFuL. SL500

Why It Stands Out to Us

Perhaps the best feature of this call is the fact that it is made with the highest-grade slate. In return, you get the best quality and most realistic turkey sound. The sounds range from double note yelps to soft cluck and purr.

My Experience with It

This call is designed to mimic the sound of a real hen, thanks to its slate surface. And true to this, I really did experience the most realistic cackles and yelps with this call. Best of all, the calls sounded high-pitched. This means the sound could travel very far.

Another thing I liked about this call is its all-weather strikers. As such, I got to use the strikers in wet and dry weather conditions. Even better, I discovered the surface of the saver lid the call came with was waterproof.

What I Didn’t Like

I really did not find this call beginner-friendly. It took me some time to learn how to use the pot without it sounding too raspy.

The manufacturer is not clear whether this call is backed by a money-back guarantee or warranty. 

Who Is It Great for

This best turkey pot call will be a favorite of many fanatic hunters. I'm talking about hunters that rely on the ‘nasty’ rasp sound to catch their prey. It is also easy to use for pros.

What Could Be Improved

It needs to be easier to use for both beginners and pros.

HIGHLIGHTED FEATURES

  • The surface is made of solid premium grade slate
  • 2 matched strikers for various sounds
  • Hand-assembled, tuned, & made in the USA
  • Sanded to ensure the precise thickness
  • The friction conditioning kit included
Pros
  • Low maintenance
  • Produces ultra-rich sound
  • Offers the best double note yelps
  • Delivers 100% quality hen turkey sound
  • Foolproof construction
Cons
  • Poor customer service
  • It’s not for the average hunter

#3. Zink Wicked Series Slate Acrylic Pot Calls

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Why It Stands Out to Us

Made in the USA, this best weatherproof turkey call stands out because of its unique construction. Simply, it is made of impregnated wood comprising Brazilian Cherry pan and acrylic. As a result, what you get is an all-weather striker and pot with unmatched sound quality.

My Experience with It

This call looked and even felt great out of the box. But what I loved, even more, is the striker conditioner it came with. The striker also had a non-slip grip. As such, even after using it a couple of times, it did not slip out of my hands.

Being a weatherproof call, it was easy to use it to mimic the sound of a real hen throughout the season. So, I did not have to worry about it getting damaged by weather elements. I also found it foolproof, which made it easier to use for the beginners in my research team.

What I Didn’t Like

While this is an all-weather call, I really did not find it waterproof. So, I had to be careful not to get it wet.

Who Is It Great for

There is really no learning curve with this call. So, I found it easy to use for both beginners and pros.

What Could Be Improved

The manufacturer should also offer the instructions in read-only format.

My wish is that the call could be made 100% waterproof.

HIGHLIGHTED FEATURES

  • Made of durable impregnated wood
  • Integrated ‘sweet spot’ for soft calling
  • One-size fits all
  • Non-slip and all-weather striker
  • Produces excellent low volume yelps and tree calls
Pros
  • Easy to condition the sweet spot
  • Backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Makes great-sounding cuts and purrs
  • Clear instructions
  • Durably made
Cons
  • Not covered by a warranty
  • It’s not 100% waterproof

#4. Hunters Specialties H.S. Strut Turkey Locator Call

31mX6gEwoJL. SL500

Why It Stands Out to Us

This is a simple and the best inexpensive turkey locator call. Even so, it stands out because it delivers authentic crow sounds. You can make distress cries, come here calls, and even fight calls. This makes it easy to locate a gobbler from a few hundred yards away.

My Experience with It

This is a plastic locator call. But you don’t need to get alarmed. After all, I did find the plastic construction very durable and foolproof. Besides, the call is waterproof. So, even after using it in the rain, it did not crack. More so, its sound quality did not change.

Another thing I loved about this device is its raspier-sounding reed. Thanks to this feature, I got to experience more authentic sounding tones. These tones mimic the sound of a real hen.

What I Didn’t Like

I discovered from the instructions that I needed to tune this crow call. However, there were no instructions available on how to do it.

You don’t get an all-weather striker even if the call is water-resistant.

Who Is It Great for

This is a unisex device pretty easy to use for beginners and professionals. So, if you love the authenticity of crow sounds, you can get this turkey call.

What Could Be Improved

I hope the manufacturer could make this device easy to open for tuning. And most importantly, provide instructions on how to tune it.

HIGHLIGHTED FEATURES

  • Covered by a 1-year limited warranty
  • Compact enough to fit into your turkey vest or pocket
  • Resistant to water
  • Produces authentic raspy crow sounds
  • Made of durable plastic materials
Pros
  • Light in weight for ease of carrying
  • Affordable
  • Great play toy for kids
  • Excellent beginner starter kit
  • Made in the USA
Cons
  • It’s a bit of work to tune the reed
  • No money-back guarantee

#5. Primos Hunting Hook-Up Magnetic Box Call

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Why It Stands Out to Us

This is not your typical box call. Do you know why? Well, it’s because the box features a strong magnetic hinge that holds the paddle at the best angle. So, you don’t have to do much just to get the most realistic sounds out of this call.

My Experience with It

Every time I played this best turkey box call, I could get the perfect crisp cuts. This is because it was easy to apply the right pressure to the box thanks to its magnetic hinge. And after using the Gobble band, I was quick to notice the box could mimic the sound of a real hen better.

Although this box call is not all-weather or waterproof, I felt it could withstand the test of time. This is because it is made from incredibly strong wood.

What I Didn’t Like

Although the box seemed well-made, I felt like the magnet could not stand the test of time. But I could perhaps be wrong. So, only time can tell.

Who Is It Great for

This box call is a must-have for both beginners and professionals as it’s easy to use. Even recreational users will love it because it is fun to run.

What Could Be Improved

It’s very high-pitched. So, I hope there was a way to fine-tune the box call for low volume sounds.

I also wish it could be at least waterproof or all-weather.

HIGHLIGHTED FEATURES

  • Foolproof and patented magnet
  • Detachable paddle for ease of carrying
  • Gobble band included for more realistic turkey tones
  • Covered by a limited manufacturer warranty
  • No tuning or any adjustment needed
Pros
  • Makes soft to loud yelps and smooth purrs
  • Easy to use for beginners
  • Handcrafted and made in the USA
  • Includes a gobble strap
  • Can produce quiet and subtle sounds with practice
Cons
  • Can be really loud
  • It’s not backed by a money-back guarantee

#6. Maestro Game Calls 25 Electronic Turkey Call

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Why It Stands Out to Us

Being an electronic call, there is no technique to master here when it comes to using this device. This is because it comes already programmed with various enticing turkey sounds. Even better, the sounds recorded come from a 6-time US Open Turkey Calling winner, Maestro.

My Experience with It

Having used a box, slate, mouth, and turkey locator call, I found this electric call very easy to use. And the 4-way keypad it came with? It only made it easier for me to choose the most realistic sounds. From the 25 pre-set calls, I could feel that each was designed to mimic the sound of a real hen.

When looking at this best electric turkey call, it seemed to be durably made and foolproof. Even the control buttons seemed very sturdy and could withstand all-weather conditions.

What I Didn’t Like

Compared to what it offers, I felt the price of this call was a little on the higher side.

Who Is It Great for

This device is the easiest to use for beginners and pros alike. Of course, when I compare it with other calls in this review. Or I could say, it’s ideal for any hunter looking for an easy to control call.

What Could Be Improved

Personally, I wish they could make this device waterproof.

Also, I hope they could add more sounds. I feel 25 sounds are on the lower side given its price.

HIGHLIGHTED FEATURES

  • Easy to use and durable 4-way keypad
  • Built-in convenient sound activation button
  • Backlit LCD screen for easy navigation
  • Quite loud with up to 105dB sound output
  • Covered by a one-year warranty
Pros
  • Easy to read LCD screen
  • Up to 300-yard range transmission
  • Comfortable to hold
  • Simple to use buttons
  • Manufactured in the USA by GSM Outdoors
Cons
  • It’s not waterproof
  • Not covered by a money-back guarantee

#7. icotec Outlaw Programmable Game Call/Decoy Combo

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Why It Stands Out to Us

If you are a big fan of electric turkey calls, you will definitely love this device. Do you know why? First, it’s because it comes with up to 240 sounds to choose from. Best of all, the decoy boasts professional-grade sound quality, which makes it stand out even more.

My Experience with It

From the 240 sounds available, I found a couple of realistic turkey calls to use. However, I only tried the yelps, gobbles, and distress sounds, which I loved. This is because I felt they mimicked the sound of a real hen.

Another thing I loved about this device is its all-weather and rock-solid construction. Therefore, while using the call, I did not have to worry about rain or snow damaging the device. However, it is impossible to submerge it in water since its internal components are not waterproof.

What I Didn’t Like

The device only allows you to save up to 20 of your favorite sounds. This is a small number considering its high price tag.

Compared to other best electric turkey calls, this unit is quite bulky. It can’t comfortably fit in the pocket.

Who Is It Great for

This decoy is made with professional predator hunters in mind. But even so, beginners can use it as it is easy to operate.

What Could Be Improved

You can only save 20 sounds for instant access. I wish it was possible to save up more.

HIGHLIGHTED FEATURES

  • Easy to play two sounds simultaneously
  • Remote control offers a 300-yard range
  • Backed by a 5-year factory warranty
  • Crystal clear turkey sounds
  • Built-in large and easy-to-read screen display
Pros
  • Long-lasting batteries
  • Easy to use for beginners and pros
  • Built-in screen settings for day and night usage
  • Coax button for sound presetting
  • Offers unlimited sound library for free
Cons
  • Uses too many batteries
  • No money-back guarantee

FAQs Regarding Turkey Calls

Still not sure which turkey caller to choose? Check out these frequently asked questions before making your final buying decision.

Q. What is the easiest turkey call to use?

Are you new to hunting? If yes, the easiest turkey call to use is the box call and the push-button call. This is because, for the box call, you just strike the side surface with the lid to produce sound. As for the push-button call, you just tap the dial. And just like that, the call will cluck.

Q. What time of day is best to hunt turkey?

Early in the morning before the sun rises is the best time. And it does not matter whether it is in the early or late season. This is because wild turkeys tend to be more active during this time than in the afternoon. However, if hunting in the spring all day long, the best time is in the afternoon.

Q. How do you call in a gobbler?

You simply use a turkey call. Depending on which device you are using, you can make a loud but short burst of owl or crow calls. Then, stay put and listen for gobbles. If there is no response, you can walk up to 100 yards and make the call again.

Q. How do you use a beginner turkey call?

You hold your box call vertically. Then, slowly move the weight of its lid back and forth across the striking surface. But if you want to produce a cackle, I suggest you move the lid faster.

Q. Which is better, a glass or slate turkey call?

Both turkey calls are fantastic options because they make a loud and soft sound. However, a glass turkey call offers a higher pitch and tone than a slate call. The downside is that you need to do a lot of resurfacing to enhance its friction.

Meanwhile, a slate call is very easy to use and creates realistic tones. So, which is better between these two calls depends on your preferences.

Conclusion

The first step to choosing the best turkey call is determining what type of device you want. Ask yourself, do I want a pot call, box call, electric call, mouth call, or a locator call? Once you have made your decision, the next step is to look for the right device.

But of course, you have to watch out for a couple of things. For instance, you have to consider what material the call is made of. You could choose a wooden, plastic/slate, or aluminum. Also, you have to take into account if the caller is weather friendly or not. 

I also suggest choosing a call covered by a warranty or money-back guarantee. This way, you can be sure its quality is guaranteed. Once you have this information, it should be easy to select the right product.

All of the calls we have reviewed in this article satisfy all or most of the conditions above. However, I would highly recommend the ESH Turkey Mouth Calls with Realistic Turkey Sounds like our best choice.

Do you know why? First, it’s because the kit includes a box, pot, and mouth call. Secondly, it is backed by a full money-back guarantee and lifetime warranty.

Alternatively, you could pick the Woodhaven Custom Calls Legend Series Turkey Call. It offers the most realistic turkey calls on the market. The reason being it is constructed from the highest-quality slate.

That said, for a more successful hunting expedition, I suggest investing in at least 3 calls. You could get one box call, a pot turkey call, and a mouth call.

Helen Jenkins
 

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