10 Best CB Radio Reviews 2020 – Beginners Buying Guide

Back in the day, CB radios were specifically used by professionals for emergency services. Nevertheless, things have changed so far, and anyone in need of one can easily buy one and install it in their vehicle.

In most cases, these radios are used by professional truckers, RV drivers, or any regular highway user. So yes, you want the best CB radio on the market, but how to go about it is the problem.

Herein, we will be exploring some of the best CB radios you should consider buying. We’ll also share with you some factors to consider when choosing one.

Types of CB Radios

Before we dive into the products that made the cut on our list, let us explore some of the common types of CB radios out there. Keep in mind that the type of CB radio is among the factors you need to consider when choosing one.

There are generally 4 major types of CB radios, and they include the following;

Base Station CB Radio

This is a unit that’s mostly used indoors, and they come with an inbuilt power supply. The power will come directly from a wall outlet. Therefore, they are not suitable to use in vehicles.

Furthermore, you will need to install them high up for you to get excellent performance and reception.

Handheld CB Radio

These radios are more like walkie-talkies, and they run on either rechargeable or non-rechargeable batteries. This way, you can use them while on the road without any problem.

They can even be carried around if you want to keep communications alive while away from the vehicle. The handheld CB radios will have cigarette cords and also jacks for antennas and adapters. This way, you can use them on your vehicle or motorbike.

Mobile CB Radio

These are the most common types of CB radio that are used in vehicles. They come in different sizes, but they mostly look like a small box with controls on the front and a mic attached to it. The radio will come with different features based on the model and brand.

All-In-One CR Radio

This one is a CR radio that looks like a handset. They come in a compact size, and they are generally easy to operate. Most people with a small vehicle like a pickup truck will go for this type of CB radio.

They are usually the best choice for such. However, they may not be the best choice for a large vehicle with a big space in the dash.

It is always important to choose the right type of radio based on what you want, and the type of vehicle you have.

10 Best CB Radio Reviews

So, now you know what type of CB radio you should be going for. But which are the best CB radios out there? Here is a look at 10 models we think are worth the purchase.

1. Uniden PRO505XL 

Our first contender is this top unit from Uniden. This would be a good CB radio for truckers those looking for a reliable piece to serve them while on the road.

The radio comes with a compact size for easy handling, and it is also made to last for a long time. If you were worried about the durability, this one is meant to serve you for a while. Best of all, it will fit in just about any vehicle out there.

Plus, the radio is user-friendly, even to a beginner. With this radio, you will get 40 complete range CB channels that let you communicate with other truckers around you.

What about when there is an emergency, and you need help pronto? Easy stuff. The radio comes with an instant Channel 9 emergency button that is reliable enough in times of an emergency. Besides that, the radio comes with some PA functionality, and there is an inbuilt external speaker jack.

There is a signal/RF indicator that lets you monitor the transmit power and check the relative strength of incoming transmissions. You can also hook up a microphone to the radio if you need one, thanks to the mic jack onboard.

Even when it gets dark, the radio allows for easy visibility with the orange backlit LCD. Plus, it is optimized for day or night viewing, so you are fully covered no matter the time of day.

What We Loved

  • Compact design for easy handling
  • Sturdy and durable construction
  • Orange backlit LCD
  • Inbuilt speaker jack, PA jack, and microphone jack
  • Comes at an affordable price
  • Comes with an instant channel 8 emergency button
  • Easy and user-friendly interface and layout

What Could Be Better

  • The stock mic is somewhat of low quality

2. Cobra 29LTD Pro 

Moving on with the list, we usher you to this advanced CB radio for truckers. If you love wireless connectivity, you would love working with this radio.

The radio is Bluetooth compatible, which means you can hook it up to any other Bluetooth device with ease. Even a Bluetooth headset can be connected to this radio. Besides the Bluetooth compatibility, this radio still offers you a whole lot of features. You get 40 CB channels to let you communicate while on the road with ease.

There is an SWR calibration that helps you to have maximum performance with your antenna system. Furthermore, there is an antenna warning indicator that will alert you whenever you need to check the antenna system. In other words, there is no more guesswork with this one. The reception is automatically enhanced.

The 4-watt output assures you of the best range of communication with the maximum power that is legal. You also get instant access to emergency channel 9 to help you stay safe as you drive out on the road.

If you love the bright displays in a CB radio, you might be a little disappointed in this one. Here, you get a small display showing the channel number, which is still visible in the dark. The turn knobs are also easy to control and well-spaced to give you an easy time as you drive out there.

What We Loved

  • Strong and durable construction
  • Well-spaced and driver-friendly control panel
  • Comes with an antenna warning indictor with SWR calibration
  • RF gain and Dynamike boost for clear communication
  • It is Bluetooth compatible
  • You can route your phone through the radio speaker

What Could Be Better

  • Some knobs might be slippery if your hand gets sweaty

3. Galaxy DX-959 Mobile

This unit could also be the best CB radio for truckers or any serious CB operator. It comes with some amazing features that will generally give you an easy operation time.

Working with it is easy, and one of the things that make that possible is the driver-friendly format of the controls. You can easily control the radio while focusing ahead on the road.

In other words, each dial or button on the control panel has a specific function. Here, you won’t have to look at the display or browser through the menu to operate the radio.

A five-digit frequency counter is onboard with large yellow digits and a two-digit channel display too. Besides that, there is a variable power output control, along with a variable talkback circuit with an on/off switch.

We also loved the variable dimmer control that comes with a push switch to turn off the meter lamp and display digits. Furthermore, there is a 3-position tone switch that helps to better the reception further.

What’s more, the radio comes with a proprietary Galaxy Noise Filter (GNF) circuit that is meant to cut down the noise as it strengthens any weak SSB signal. You also get a handheld microphone when you purchase this radio. Luckily, the mic comes with mounting brackets to hang it up when not in use.

What We Loved

  • Driver-friendly control panel
  • Five-digit frequency counter for easy viewing
  • Comes with a handheld microphone with mounting bracket
  • Features a galaxy noise filter (GNF) circuit for reducing noise while strengthening SSB signals
  • Roger beep with on/off switch
  • Three-position tone control switch for manual adjustment

What Could Be Better

  • The dials and knobs are close together

4. Uniden BEARCAT 880 

Uniden Store BEARCAT 880

This third contender is considered a good long-range CB radio, which also performs quite decently. The BEARCAT 880 will keep you connected as you cruise the road out there.

Here, you get a radio that has 4 watts of transmit power with 40 full channels. Also, there are NOAA weather channels on board, along with an instant channel 9 for an emergency. Besides that, the radio comes with a sturdy and rugged design to keep it strong enough while out on the road.

It also has some advanced features and settings that will be suitable for any CB user. For instance, there is a dynamic squelch control to cut down the noise and interference, a memory channel for your favorite channels, and the ANL noise filter to eliminate the background noise.

Even better, you get a noise-canceling mic with an extra-long cord for easy operation.

One unique feature about this unit is that it comes with a large and easy to read backlit display. Yes, having a backlit LED display is normal among CB radios. However, what sets this unit aside is the fact that you have an option of 7 backlight colors that let you choose the one that pleases you.

There is a microphone, along with a microphone adapter to help you deliver clear communication. A CB/PA switch is there if you want to use a public address speaker. We loved that you can even connect a wireless microphone to this radio. You don’t find that common among many units out there.

What We Loved

  • An excellent choice for long-range coverage
  • Wireless mic compatible
  • Rugged design for durability
  • Comes with seven-color backlighting
  • Features a large display for easy viewing
  • Satisfying noise-canceling features for eliminating background noises

What Could Be Better

  • The LED display might be too bright and flashy to some users

5. Cobra 29Lx Pro 

Cobra 	29 LX

This one stands as one of the best CB radios you can consider getting for your vehicle. The features onboard also give you an easy time when working with it.

The CB radio comes with different channels, including NOAA weather channels. This way, you will know about the incoming hazards or any changing weather instantly. Best of all, you can access these channels 24/7.

There is also weather and alert scan for easy operation. With this, the radio will automatically tune into the strongest weather channel. Plus, it comes with an alert tone to catch every relevant weather notice.

Besides that, the radio can automatically run diagnostics for voltage and RF output. Luckily, there is an antenna to strengthen the signal and ensure the channels are clear enough. Best of all, the interface is generally user-friendly, and you will have an easy time changing channels or operating it in general.

If you are the kind of person that prefers a flashy display, this radio will suit you perfectly. This one comes with 4 colors that you can choose according to your preference. It comes in amber, green, red, or blue. You can adjust both the color and brightness to meet your preference and also allow you to drive comfortably.

This fella allows you to reduce the amount of static or any unwanted electrical interference that is caused by the engine of your vehicle. A switchable noise blanker is there to help you with that. In other words, all the channels will be transmitted clearly with limited noise and interference.

What We Loved

  • It performs decently
  • Easy to install it
  • Comes with a switchable noise blanker to control the noise and interference
  • 4-color LCD with color and brightness controller
  • Allows you to access channel 9 instantly in times of emergency
  • Easy to read display

What Could Be Better

  • Might be too big for a small space

6. Cobra 29NW Professional 

Cobra 29 NW

If you love old-school look, you’d want to have this one in your vehicle. This one also ranks among the top CB radios as it comes with plenty of channels for communication and even for emergencies.

The classic look is elegant enough, but it also has some stunning features for easy operation. Generally, this radio would satisfy any hardcore CB lover. Here, you get a fully illuminated front panel display. That way, you can easily view the readings in day or night time.

Better yet, there is an SWR calibration that will ensure your antenna system functions perfectly at full strength. You also get an antenna warning indicator that will eliminate any guesswork when fixing the antenna. This indicator will flash a red light in case your antenna needs to be calibrated or checked.

If you are in an emergency, there is an instant Channel 9 access, whereas the Channel 19 instant access is ideal for information needed as you drive on the road. This means that you will stay safe and well-informed all along the road from start to finish.

Don’t forget that this radio also comes with 40 channels to allow you for easy communication. By the way, if you think the LCD backlit display is too bright, you can easily adjust that with the dimmer. This lets you set the perfect brightness to meet your comfort.

Above all, we thought this was the best CB radio for the money.

What We Loved

  • Comes with a cool, classic look
  • SWR calibration and antenna warning indicator
  • 40 channels with instant channel 9 for emergency
  • Very affordable
  • Nightwatch feature to use easily in the dark
  • The display comes with a dimmer
  • Tactile dials and knobs

What Could Be Better

  • The mic performance could be better

7. Stryker SR-955HPC Radio

STRYKER Sr-955hpc

The power delivery of this radio makes it feature in our 10 top CB radio reviews. It is strong enough to offer a good range on all the channels.

This one comes with four FQP13N10 MOSFETs that will deliver a total of 70W PEP for excellent delivery. Even if you are a beginner, you will have an easy time scanning channels and frequencies on this unit. It is generally very easy to use.

You get an LED-backlit faceplate that has interchangeable colors. In other words, you can choose from 7 colors with push buttons, which lets the radio to scan through the colors automatically. Also, there is a dimmer control of 32 positions. This way, you get to choose how bright or dim you prefer the LED backlight to be.

The radio also comes with digital echo with dual front-mounted controls, along with six roger beeps for extra convenience. We loved the up-armored receiver that is specifically meant to receive protection works under the harshest conditions.

In other words, the radio will comfortably work even when at a truck stop with multiple high-powered radios around. A receiver filter is also there to give you clear channels at all times.

There is an advanced NB/ANL circuit that will reduce interference, along with a clarifier for excellent reception and transmission. A variable talkback control onboard also proves helpful enough.

We think this is supposedly the most powerful CB radio on the market or at least one of them.

What We Loved

  • Comes with multiple color display
  • A dimmer control lets you control the brightness of the display
  • Hi-cut noise filter for excellent reception and transmission
  • High-power delivery
  • Works well even in the harshest conditions

What Could Be Better

  • You cannot set a custom roger beep

8. Midland 1001LWX Mobile CB

Midland 1001LWX

For those that prefer portable ones, here is a good pick for you. It is not only portable, but this can also be a good budget CB radio. The performance is satisfying enough, and you won’t have to break the bank to own it.

The design is simple but sturdy enough to serve you for a long time. It is also compact to give you an easy time when handling it. Besides that, the radio comes with some excellent features that make communication swift and easy in general.

This radio has all the 40 standard CB channels, along with weather channels too. The best part is that the unit comes with an inbuilt weather scan.

With this scanning system, you can be sure of finding weather channels that will keep track of all the current conditions. You will also adjust the route as you wish without any limitations.

Also onboard is the adjustable RF gain control that will adjust the sensitivity range. You won’t have to worry about the interference and noise since the radio features the automatic noise limiter. This will help to enhance the reception for any weak signal.

There is a large backlit LCD screen that is easy to read even during the day. By the way, this unit comes with a channel locking system that will let you stick specific channels for emergency notifications and any other weather alerts.

And, as you would expect, this radio will also double as a PC system. Switching between the PA and radio is also a walk in the park.

What We Loved

  • Compact and lightweight for easy handling
  • Good value for the money
  • Clear speaker sound
  • Features weather scanning system
  • Auto-noise limiter enhances the reception
  • Ideal for both professionals and beginners

What Could Be Better

  • It isn’t as sturdy and rugged as some units out there

9. President Andy AM 12/24V

President 4333168210

This might be the last product on the list, but it still ranks among the best CB radios out there. Compared to most units on the list, this one might be slightly less favorable, but that shouldn’t fool you. It still delivers accordingly as it serves you while driving on the road.

The radio comes with 40 CB channels, and it can work on both 12VDC and 24VDC power sources. But the most important thing is that the radio is very easy to use. There is an up/down channel selector to help you choose the ideal channel for you.

Other features that will help you have an easy operation with the CB radio include the multi-functional LCD, ANL and NB filters, S-Meter, F-function key, EMG programmable, beep function, as well as talkback function. Here, you can be confident of having clear communications with limited noise and interference.

This radio is compact and lightweight, which assures you of easy handling. There is a multi-color faceplate that allows you to choose the desired color of the display. A front microphone plug is there for you to hook up your mic with ease. If you want to connect it to an external speaker, a jack is there to help you with that.

A manual squelch and ASC are also onboard to help you cut down the interferences and noises from the engine of your vehicle. By the way, operating this one is very straightforward.

What We Loved

  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Roger beep function featured
  • Easy to use and operate
  • Multi-color faceplate
  • Noise-filtering
  • Decent price tag
  • EMG programmable
  • Weather channel with an alert

What Could Be Better

  • Doesn’t feature a dedicated weather button

10. Midland 75-882 CB-Way Radio

Midland Store

If you are looking for a good CB radio that is also portable enough, this one would be a good pick for you. This portable piece comes with some of the best features to help you achieve the best communication when out on the road.

As portable as it is, this radio still comes with 40 CB channels, 10 NOAA weather channels, and it delivers 4-watts of output power. It is a battery-powered CB radio that will require six AA batteries to run. But you can also use the cigarette lighter adapter when using it in the vehicle.

There is instant access to NOAA radio, including the channels 9 and 19. Plus, a Dual Watch is there to monitor channel 9 for you. The radio comes with a channel scan that will automatically check all the channels for activity.

It will stop on any active channel for five seconds while scanning. Besides that, the radio allows you to store or access up top five of your favorite channels in the memory with ease.

Are you concerned about the engine noise when the radio is running? Well, no need to worry about that because this one comes with an automatic noise limiter (ANL) and squelch control. These two features help to enhance reception and cut down the noise in any channel that is active.

The backlit display is multi-functional, and it is generally easy to read, whether during the day or at night. There is a keypad lock feature that will lock in your preferred settings. This way, the setting will not be changed accidentally.

What We Loved

  • Portable for extra convenience
  • Runs on battery or through cigarette lighter adapter
  • Hands-free function onboard
  • Features all 40 CB channels, along with 10 weather channels
  • A Dual Watch feature monitors channel 9 and any other preferred channel
  • Easy to use

What Could Be Better

  • The transmission receiver is sold separately

What Makes the Perfect CB Radio?

Most likely, you want the best CB radio ever made, which is why you read through the top 10 units. However, it is not easy or right to point out a specific pick as the best of all the rest.

Generally, the best CB radio is that which meets your needs accordingly and one that will fit your vehicle properly too. That being said, here are some of the factors you need to consider when you are looking for the ideal one.

Size of the Radio

We like to start by considering the size of the radio before picking one. The size will always matter when choosing a CB radio. Usually, big radios with multiple features are great since they help to offer better and clear sound quality compared to smaller units.

Nevertheless, there might not be enough space in the vehicle. Here, a large unit will do you no good.

We can’t choose the size that you should choose for the vehicle, but we can tell you to choose the one that fits perfectly in your vehicle without being too big or too small.

Features Onboard

The features of the radio are more important, possibly than the size of the radio. Even if the radio is small, what matters is the features onboard and if they will enhance the performance and delivery or not. Here are some of the features you should consider when choosing a CB radio.

Automatic Noise Limiter (ANL)

This is a feature that will clip an audio signal to cut down the amplitude of impulse noise. The feature will help to prevent waveform from going beyond a specific level.

Supported Channels

This is another important thing to consider as you select the CB radio of your choice. It must come with all the 40 CB channels and should have the weather channels onboard as well.

CAL/SWR Calibration

You can get radios that let you calibrate the antenna during the antenna tuning system. Therefore, check the CAL and SWL features on the radio to be sure of getting a good unit.

Bluetooth Connectivity

This is a feature that will only be found in advanced units. You will rarely find an old radio with Bluetooth connectivity. Plus, you should only choose the BT connectivity feature if you need it.

Clarifier

What does this feature do? It helps to adjust the frequency up or down up to 1 kHz for fine-tuned reception.

Channel Scan

This feature allows you to scan through all the available CB channels, and it should give you an easy time while at it.

Backlit Display Panel

The radio you choose must come with a display panel that is well-backlit. This way, you can easily view it even in the dark or during the day. Some will have multiple colors for you to choose the one that pleases you. Whichever you choose, make sure that it is visible enough even in broad daylight.

Dimmer

Also related to the previous point, the dimmer will help you to regulate the brightness of the LED display accordingly. During the day, you can set it to be as bright as you wish to view it without straining. However, you can reduce the dimmer to be less bright at night.

Delta Time

If you get a radio with the Delta Time feature, you can easily fine-tune the frequency that is coming in. However, this feature is common among the old units, and not modern radios.

Dynamic/Mic Gain

This feature lets you adjust the CB radio modulation. With it, you can adjust the voice output transmission on the mic. It is a must-have feature that will be helpful to the user that talks soft or loud.

Digital Selective Calling (DSC)

This is a VHF radio standard that is ideal for communicating among boats and for sending automated distress calls. It is not a must-have feature for truckers.

External Speaker or PA connection

Maybe you want to use the radio with an external speaker or use it as a PA system. Here, it should have the necessary ports for connecting the external speaker or a PA system accordingly.

Roger Beep

This is a feature that is mostly found on the top CB radio units. When talking through the radio, it will emit an audible beep over the air whenever you release the microphone key. Some will have different roger beeps, but one beep is still good enough.

Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS)

These are a set of location codes that are roughly equivalent to the codes of your state. You will need to understand these codes for you to use the radio swiftly.

Hi-Cut Filter

This feature will cut down the high frequencies to enhance the overall quality of the audio.

Instant Emergency Channels

Now, this is a must-have feature, especially for truckers that spend many hours on the road. They should come with the instant Channel 9 switch for those emergency dials.

Additional Features

Other features that should be considered on a CB radio include the noise blanker, squelch for tuning out the static and weak signals, RF gain for quieting the radio without using the squelch control, sound filters, S/RF meter, SSB operation, talkback, and more.

Ease of Use 

Above all, choose a CB radio that comes with a user-friendly interface and control panel. This should give you an easy time when operating it. Even with all these features on the CB radio, the important part is that they should be easy to control and access as well.

Remember that the radio you choose should be well suited for your vehicle and experience. If you are a beginner driver, you should go for a simple unit that is generally easy to use.

But for the professional truckers, going for an advanced unit wouldn’t be that bad. But, ensure that you already have some experience in handling the radio.

With the type of vehicle, choose one that is best made for it. Whether it is an 18-wheeler, a semi-truck, RV, pickup truck, motorbike, or any other type of vehicle, ensure that the CB radio is suited for it.

How Far Can You Talk on a CB Radio? 

That will depend on the range of the radio and the antenna installed. Nevertheless, the transmitter power of is limited to 4 watts in the country. Generally, CB radios come with a range of around 3 to 20 miles. But this will depend on several factors.

The terrain is one factor that will affect the range of the radio. In a hilly place or where there are a lot of mountains, the range will be affected than where there is a lot of empty land pieces.

The radio antenna you install will also determine the range, but it will range between the 3 and 20 miles. Keep in mind that some radio propagation conditions will help to boost the range in general.

What CB Channel Do Police Use?

The police or any other authority can be reached through specific authorized CB radiofrequency. You should also remember that any authorized frequency is open to all.

However, for special purposes, like emergencies, you will need to tune in to specific channels. For example, Channel 9 is commonly known to be an emergency channel, which can be used to reach the police on a CB radio.

In this case, ensure that the radio you choose has a quick-dial button for Channel 9. This way, you can easily get to the police without much problem.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I use a linear amplifier with my radio?

Generally, CB radios are only allowed to work at 5 watts input that translates to 4-watt output. Therefore, using the extra power is considered illegal, and it can also cause some interference with the electronic appliances around. In other words, you should not use a linear amplifier with the CB.

2. How far can my mobile CB radio transmit?

If you have the right single antenna setup, you should be getting 1 mile per watt of output power. Since most radios come with a 4-watt output rating, it means the mobile CB radio can reach around 4 miles.

3. Which is the best antenna for my RV CB radio?

Suppose the RV is fiberglass, it is recommended to go for an (NGP) no-ground plane antenna system. The NGP antenna systems come with a special coaxial cable, along with special antennas that are meant to work with vehicles with limited reflection surfaces.

4. What are weather channels?

These are a list of channels from NOAA, which will constantly report local weather conditions or any other emergency weather. You can get radios that will alert you of any harsh weather conditions, even when the radio is off.

5. Can CB radios be used for business purposes?

Yes, you can freely use it to handle your business operations. There are no restrictions on it.

Conclusion

So, now you have the top 10 CB radio reviews, along with a buyers’ guide that will help you choose the right unit for your vehicle. Remember to consider the features, along with the user experience before you pick one.

Above all, understand the CB radio rules and regulations for the specific area. Don’t forget to go for one from a reputable brand.

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