Best CB Radios – 2019 Ultimate Review

Listening to music while being on the road or going on a long journey is usually on everyone's to-do list; however, learning about different cultures, conversing with other travelers, and storytelling can provide the ultimate fun on a trip for drivers.

This is primarily why CB radios were created. Another reason for the manufacturing of these devices is to call out when you're in trouble.

To find out more about CB radios, how they work, and which one to buy, here's our complete guide!

Comparison Chart of the Best CB Radios

Product

Rating

Price

Uniden BEARCAT 40- Channel SSB CB Radio

Uniden BEARCAT 980SSB 40- Channel SSB CB Radio with Sideband NOAA WeatherBand,7- Color Digital Display PA/CB Switch and Noise Cancelling Mic, Wireless Mic Compatible

Best Overall

Midland 40 Channel CB-Way Radio

Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB-Way Radio

Runner-up

Uniden PRO505XL 40-Channel CB Radio

Uniden PRO505XL 40-Channel CB Radio. Pro-Series, Compact Design. Public Address (PA) Function. Instant Emergency Channel 9, External Speaker Jack, Large Easy to Read Display.

Best for the Money

Cobra 18WXSTII CB Radio

Best Handheld CB Radio

Cobra Road Trip CB Radio

Cobra HHRT50 Road Trip Cb Radio,2-Way Handheld Cb Radio with Rooftop Magnet Mount Antenna, NOAA Channels, Dual Watch, 40 Channel, Black

Best Portable CB Radio

President McKinley USA 40 Channel CB Radio SSB 12/24V

President McKinley USA 40 Channel CB Radio SSB 12/24V

Best SSB CB Radio

Uniden PC78LTX 40-Channel Trucker's CB Radio

Uniden PC78LTX 40-Channel Trucker's CB Radio with Integrated SWR Meter, PA Function, Hi Cut, Mic/RF Gain, and Instant Channel 9

Best CB Radio for Truckers

Cobra 29LTD Professional CB Radio

Best CB Radio for Jeep

What is a CB Radio?

CB radios are radios that were created in the year 1945 by the FCC, and their name stands for "Citizens Band radio." They were designed to be very easy to use so that ordinary individuals and small business owners would be able to communicate effectively using them. They are cost-effective, reliable, powerful, and, best of all, do not require any license to use.

There are 40 channels present on these radios, and a number of them are designed especially for unofficial use. An example of this is channel 19, which is created for use by travelers and truckers only. Even though CB radios are more powerful than FRS radios, they are created for short-distance communication only.

How Does ​a CB Radio Work?

CB radios operate through radio waves, just like cell phones, VHF radios, AM/FM radios, and televisions. Each one comes equipped with an antenna that is around 10 feet long, and if you are using it in the car or your vehicle, then the antenna gets mounted and fixed at the back of the vehicle.

This antenna has the ability to capture signals and transform them into audio, which you can hear through your vehicle's speakers. A CB radio is also a transceiver, which means that it is both a receiver and a transmitter. If you plan on sending out any communication, then simply key into the microphone and say what you want. Your words will be changed into electric signals and then will be transmitted via the antenna. They also travel through the air as radio waves and are then picked up by plenty of other CB radios present within a certain distance.

How Many Miles Can a CB Radio Transmit?

This is a very open question; however, keeping every other factor the same, you can expect a CB radio to transmit signals anywhere between a radius of one and fifteen miles between mobile units. There are different kinds of variables that can can alter this distance, such as terrain, the number of buildings present around receiving and transmitting unit, their types, and how crowded it is in the area.

Base units can expect ten to thirty miles, whereas base stations have five to ten miles between the mobile and base.

What Makes a Great CB Radio?

If you are shopping for the best CB radio for the first time and do not know what many of the words stand for, then don't worry; we will explain everything you should know. Some features to look for when buying the best CB radio include:

Squelch Control

The squelch control feature sets the breaking point at which your CB radio outputs the signal. In effect, this feature helps in keeping the operator away from constantly listening to ongoing static and makes sure that it activates the speaker only when a transmission is to be received. This is an exceptional feature and has since been added into almost every unit on the market.

PA Capability

PA stands for Public Addressing, which allows the CB radio and its microphone to act as a transmitter in a public address system. All this requires is PA horns that are not included usually, to be mounted on top of the vehicle or under the hood.

RF Gain

RF gain allows the operator to filter out the type of transmission being received on the CB radio based entirely on the strength of the signal. It is used to block out faint transmissions to eliminate background noises when you are talking to someone who has a strong signal. RF gain can also be used to hear weak signals better.

Automatic Noise Limited

ANL or Automatic Noise Limited is a feature that helps in filtering out static and other engine noises and interference from the receiving signal in order to improve the quality of sound.

Weather Capabilities

Units that come with this feature allow you to gain access to the local NOAA radio station for proper weather reports and updates.

Instant Channel 19 and 9

Many CB radios have the ability to jump through two of the popular channels, such as Channel 9 in cases of emergency, or Channel 19, which is ideal for truckers and highway vehicles.

Quick Take: 
Our Top 3 Choices

In a hurry? Here's a snapshot of the best CB radios:

Review of the Best CB Radios

When finding the Best CB radios for yourself, you will have to do extensive research and search through plenty of options. Doing this can consume a lot of your time, and as a newbie, this task can be a difficult one. In order to help you find the radio for you, we have compiled a list of the top units present on the market.

We have pointed out their best features, pros, and cons, and also which radio is best for whom. Read on below to find out which is the one for you and make your shopping easier.

Uniden BEARCAT 980SSB 40- Channel SSB CB Radio with Sideband NOAA WeatherBand,7- Color Digital Display PA/CB Switch and Noise Cancelling Mic, Wireless Mic Compatible

Pros

  • Compact and is easy to mount on any vehicle
  • Compatible with Bluetooth wireless microphone
  • Easily readable due to seven color backlight it comes with
  • Noise-canceling microphones increase transmission clarity
  • Provides you with live updates of the varying weather conditions

Cons

  • Produces a loud beep sound when you switch between channels

What Recent Buyers Report

According to recent buyers, this is the best CB radio on the market, as it is very easy to set it up. It is a reasonable product; if the system has been installed correctly with quality components, then you can get perfect SWR reading. It is a full-size unit and can take some space, but with its quick functioning, you shouldn't hesitate to invest in it.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This CB radio stands out due to its good ability to work for long-distance communication easily. This is a very powerful unit that comes with exceptional features, such as a built-in SWR, noise deduction, a dynamic boost, and instant access to emergency channels. Also, the great LCD display makes it worth every penny.

Who Will Use This Most

As mentioned earlier, a striking feature of this radio is the display it comes with; if you are a truck driver, you will love this product, as the display makes it easy to read. During the sunlight-peak times, reading even your mobile screen can be a difficult task, but this is not the case with this unit. The backdrop illumination allows you to brighten the display and even diminish it whenever you want.

Bottom Line

In short, this is a superbly designed CB radio for truckers and people who like to roam and travel around. It has RF gain, noise cancellation, and SSB capability features that make this radio easy to use. You will not regret buying this long-distance product and will love to use it due to its easy-to-use features.

Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB-Way Radio

Pros

  • Compatible with all vehicles and motorcycles
  • Easy to use, making it perfect for beginners
  • Solid build allows you to use it without any worry
  • Ultra-compact, allowing you to use it on motorcycles
  • Has good reception and can work in harsh weather conditions

Cons

  • Doesn't work properly when attached to a battery adapter

What Recent Buyers Report

The small size of this radio is what made recent buyers fall in love with it. This is a very versatile item and its compact design makes it easy for you to carry around. Also, the full power of 40 channels is an added advantage that it comes with. It is well-designed and can be used as a walkie-talkie with many useful features.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This product stands out due to the squelch control it comes with. Some radios can gather a lot of static, which makes them difficult to use. However, Midland has made use of ANL (Automatic Noise Limiter) in order to eliminate this problem and provide clear sound to you at all times.

Who Will Use This Most

This device is perfect for all kinds of vehicles and even motorcycles. Its small size allows you to travel with it easily. Since it has a large LCD display, using this in broad daylight would not be an issue. Furthermore, it comes with a keypad lock feature that allows you to store the settings that you prefer in the memory, making it ideal for beginners and experts both.

Bottom Line

This Midland radio is satisfactory for communicating your needs while you are on the road. If you need a compact and simple unit that you can put in your truck, motorcycle, and RV, then this unit is an ideal one. It is easy to use and provides you access to emergency channels immediately. It has basic features needed by a beginner and the professional both, which makes it a good pick to invest in.

Uniden PRO505XL 40-Channel CB Radio. Pro-Series, Compact Design. Public Address (PA) Function. Instant Emergency Channel 9, External Speaker Jack, Large Easy to Read Display.

Pros

  • Provides you with ideal sound and performance
  • Affordable amongst other radios with such features
  • Small and compact, which makes it perfect for traveling with
  • Provides you with 40 channels; channel 9 is set up for emergency
  • External jack can connect to a PA speaker for public announcements

Cons

  • Not made for rough use as it can loosen the knots present

What Recent Buyers Report

According to recent buyers, this CB radio is an ideal product to buy at the price point it is available. Users loved the features it comes with, along with the tough build of this product, which ensures that it doesn't get damaged easily. In addition, users state that its superior sound quality, along with the forty channels it comes with, makes it ideal for buying.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This CB Radio stands out due to the digital display it provides. It offers TX (transmit) and RX indicators. It also has a four-bar graph that presents the signal strength when in transmitting and receiving modes. This feature makes it easy for beginners to use it, and the volume control on this device acts as an on/off switch, which makes it simpler to set up.

Who Will Use This Most

Since this product is only 6.75 inches long and 4.75 inches wide, it is a very small radio and ideal for those with limited space. Its layout is also very basic with one switch, three buttons, and two knob controls that make it easy and basic to use. All of this makes it perfect for beginners and people who have small cars or motorbikes.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a CB radio that provides you with the basic function only, one that is compact in size, easy to use, simple to install, and offered at an affordable price range, then this Uniden 40 Channel CB radio is highly recommended for you. It has a well-built design and will meet your needs easily.

Best Handheld CB Radio:
Cobra 18WXSTII CB Radio

Pros

  • Front-mounted speaker is present for clear reception
  • Sound tracker system makes it easy for the reduction of noise
  • Electronic tuning allows you to tune the channels easily and quickly
  • Heavy-duty microphone and 9-foot long cord is ideal for speaking in it
  • Dual watch allows you to monitor two pre-selected channels at the same time

Cons

  • Glare on the display screen makes it difficult to read

What Recent Buyers Report

According to recent buyers, this CB radio was an ideal choice as their first radio since it's very easy to install and worked incredibly well. The controls on this product were spot on, and its compact size made it easy for hiding it inside your dashboard.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This product stands out due to the CB channel scanner. This feature allows you to find channels without wasting any time or energy. Rather than you searching for the channels manually, it will do the entire work for you. You can choose between ten different channels for your ease and even monitor two channels at the same time due to the dual watch feature.

Who Will Use This Most

The Cobra CB Radio is an ideal choice for people with RVs, trucks, SUVs, and other vehicles. Every vehicle that comes with a single DIN radio slot is perfect for this unit. Moreover, a simple U bracket is needed to mount this device anywhere you want, making this radio perfect for everyone.

Bottom Line

This CB radio is outstanding in terms of performance and design. It is a premium-class product and has a front-firing speaker that helps in enhancing its overall performance. With easy mounting options and a sleek and compact design, it is perfect for your vehicle.

Best Portable CB Radio:
Cobra Road Trip CB Radio

Cobra HHRT50 Road Trip Cb Radio,2-Way Handheld Cb Radio with Rooftop Magnet Mount Antenna, NOAA Channels, Dual Watch, 40 Channel, Black

Pros

  • Does not screech due to the squelch control
  • Increases the range when the antenna is connected
  • Dual watch allows you to monitor two channels together
  • You can pick the channels easily on your own with the wide range it provides
  • Can be operated easily from the vehicle due to the magnetic mount mobile antenna

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a wall charger

What Recent Buyers Report

This is a complete CB radio and comes with everything that you will need. The display on this product allows you to keep track of how many watts it is putting out, and since it is small, it can be mounted onto any vehicle of your choosing. Also, it has simple features, making it perfect for beginners to use.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This CB radio stands out from others because it comes with a speaker and microphone jack. Therefore, you can connect it to the right kind of equipment. This also allows the owner to turn it into a full car CB radio using the right equipment. The omnidirectional microphone is also a good feature for buyers who want to use this as a handheld device or a device fitted in the vehicle.

Who Will Use This Most

This CB radio is ideal for beginners and professionals both. It can fit right into any vehicle, SUV, or RV and can even be carried around when leaving the vehicle. Its handheld portability makes it perfect for use on the go. Since it provides 40 different channels of communication, it minimizes interference and works perfectly wherever you are.

Bottom Line

This is an ideal radio to invest in because not only is it a good option for your vehicle, but it is also good for taking on camping and hiking trips. You can clip it on your belt and do what you want without any worry. So, you won't have to fret about leaving this radio behind, and since it comes with high power settings, you can extend your range easily when you need good results.

President McKinley USA 40 Channel CB Radio SSB 12/24V

Pros

  • Bright display allows visibility even in the brightest sun
  • Very durable and doesn’t get damaged with beatings and jerks
  • Comes with long-lasting warranty, making sure the radio lasts longer
  • High power output allows you to get a premium quality transmission
  • Has a VOX feature, allowing you to lab back and talk to the radio without holding the mic

Cons

  • Low weight gives it a slightly cheap feel and touch

What Recent Buyers Report

According to recent buyers, this CB radio is ready to use right out of the box, which means it doesn’t require any tuning and peaking. Its compact size makes it ideal for traveling with it. It also comes with a weather update and scan feature, which allows you to scan all channels. Users also state that the beep function makes it simpler for tuning the antenna in.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This radio stands out due to the advanced technology of the VOX feature integrated into it. This technology allows you to sit back, relax, put the mic down, and talk to the radio. If you pause, then this device will wait for a specific time period, depending on the specification you have set in, and then it will go on to the receiving mode.

Who Will Use This Most
Its durability and advanced technology feature make it the perfect buy for beginners as well as professionals. It has what you need and can be traveled easily. Since it is ready to use as soon as you get it out of the box, it is perfect for newbies wanting to invest in a CB radio.

Bottom Line

President McKinley is the ideal CB radio to buy since it is known for investing in the squelch control. Unlike the previous option, it is compact and has streamlined functions present in. It comes with high technology that makes it worth every penny.

Uniden PC78LTX 40-Channel Trucker's CB Radio with Integrated SWR Meter, PA Function, Hi Cut, Mic/RF Gain, and Instant Channel 9

Pros

  • Affordable price and many features
  • Premium quality product with a sturdy design
  • Automatic noise limited to reduce any static
  • Powerful output that can produce a signal from a wide range
  • Large channel selector dial makes it easy for you to switch between channels

Cons

  • Bulky design doesn’t allow it to fit into dashboard easily

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers state that this CB radio is the perfect buy due to its premium quality and affordable price. It allows you to set the channels yourself easily, and with the one year warranty, you can use this product comfortably without any worry. It also has an ANL (automatic noise limiter) that reduces static, making your channels sound clearer.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Durability is the key in these CB radios, and this one is a very durable option that is created to last for a long period of time. It doesn’t show wear and tear signs easily due to its ability to be tuned in easily. This is the perfect product to use on the road and during emergencies. Not to mention, its impressive use right out of the box makes it good for anyone wanting to set this radio up in a hurry.

Who Will Use This Most

This product is ideal for truck drivers and tractor owners. The reason for this is the powerful four-watt output it produces that can create a signal from two to seven miles easily. Also, the good sound quality makes it the perfect option for them, and since it has a bulky design, it can fit inside the truck easily.

Bottom Line

This unit is on the bulkier side, but it can sustain and work easily through any condition and last for a long time. The easy-to-use design is perfect for emergencies, and with the squelch control setting, you can remove any unwanted noise easily, making it the perfect buy for you.

Best CB Radio for Jeep:
Cobra 29LTD Professional CB Radio

Pros

  • With easy controls and connectors, it is simple to use
  • Helps in canceling out any additional noise and static
  • Antenna warning light prepares you beforehand to get the antenna checked
  • SWR calibration allows you to calibrate the antenna to get the best signal around
  • Two colored displays allow you to focus on the current channel and meter readings both

Cons

  • LCD light is too bright even when dimmed at night time

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyer reports suggest the sound quality of this CB radio is mind-blowing. They claim that even in places where there is a lot of outside noise, it worked perfectly and had no static in it. Also, at this price range, they loved the features present on it.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This product stands out because it comes with Bluetooth, which allows the radio to be synchronized with your cell phone, allowing you to make calls as you drive from the road. It is simple to use and install and comes with a talkback feature that allows you to adjust this product to your desired modulation.

Who Will Use This Most

This CB radio is the perfect buy for professional drivers and jeep owners. It has all the features needed by experts and is also simple enough to be used by beginners. It is also a good investment for truck drivers, looking for a single communication device.

Bottom Line

This CB radio comes with a dynamite boost and RF gain, making it perfect for clear and loud communications. Since it is easy to use, it is worth buying for a newbie, and the SWR calibration makes setting it up easy for professionals as well as beginners.

What Do I Need to Know Before Buying a CB Radio?

There are some features that you need to know about before buying these CB radios, which include:

Single Side Band

SSB-equipped CB radios allow you to transmit up to 12 watts of power instead of simply four watts and provide you with a transmission range, which is three times more than the normal range present in non-SSB radios. However, for others to hear your transmissions easily and reply back to it, they will need an SSB equipped radio as well, so communicating with everyone at this range can be difficult to do. Also, these work on four watts so you can talk to people with this range.

Channel Scanning

A CB scanner works very similarly to how a radio scanner works. It scans all the channels available for activity. When it finds a channel where communication is taking place, it stops scanning and allows you to listen to it. This makes it easier to tune into discussions without having to flip through the channels manually.

Nightwatch and Backlit Display

Nowadays, many high priced models come with a backlit radio display for easy and move convenient operation at night time. This is a very valuable feature, especially if you will be using your CB radio at night.

Conclusion

A CB radio is a crucial companion that you will love to have with you on the road as it allows you to connect to the other cabbies and truckers. These transceivers are portable, and even though they can seem outdated in today’s world of smartphones, they do remain necessary and act as travel companions for many drivers. How else do you plan on learning about the truck shops present in your region and the weather with poor internet connectivity? Therefore, choosing the best one is essential, and we hope that our in-depth reviews will help you do exactly that.

Leave a Comment