I hope that many of you might stick to my inference that choosing the best CB radio is not a smooth business.
There are a lot of parameters to look for and you might not even know which parameter is more critical. I know it very well that you’ve wondered about trading off the parameters like NOAA Weather Channels, Mods, etc. But, most of us will still find it a bit hard to finalize the CB.
Moreover, the availability of thousands of high-performance CB radios has made it a daunting task to choose a nice CB radio that works great for our need.
But, I can ensure that this article is going to help you to find a good and high-performance CB radio for you.
I have been a regular user of CB radio for the last 18 years. It has been indeed a great pleasure doing extensive research in this field.
The top 10 CB radios I’m going to list ahead is not a random selection. It is the result of examining more than 13500 reviews of various CB radios, conducting market surveys and interviewing the hardcore CB users.
This extensive work has helped me in finding the most powerful CB radios in the market for you!
If you’re in a hurry, you can check out our top two picks below and save your time of reading the whole article.
|COBRA 29LX: Our Best Pick||UNIDEN PRO510XL: Most Affordable|
|Cobra 29LX stands out as a peak selling product in the CB radio market with its dazzling multi-colored display and greater transmission capacity. In fact, nothing can match cobra in its amazing talk-back facility and aesthetic appeal.||One of the most powerful CB radio, Uniden PRO510XL proves to be a treasured asset for your regular use with its high performance and ultra-compact appearance. Though it hardly explores the visual possibilities, it is a highly strong device recommended for heavy duty.|
Before we start, I would like to grab your attention to a common misconception most of the new CB users have.
What are the criteria for buying the perfect CB radio?. What are the features that make a high-performance CB radio?
Let me tell you, IT’S NOT THE RANGE!!
I swear that it is just a myth.
This is because the CB radio range is immensely dependent upon the power output of the device. Most CBs deliver the same power output of 4Watts. SSB CB radios offer power out of 12 Watts.
Therefore it is pointless to regard range as the prime factor for your purchase. In this regard, the other features that mold a CB radio is worth inquiry. However, the make quality might affect the range to an extent. Moreover, the range also depends very much on the antenna you’re using. This is why we always ask CB users to get the best CB antenna for their radio.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a CB Radio?
- 2 Why Have a High-Performance CB Radio in 2019?
- 3 Top 10 CB Radio Reviews
- 3.1 1. Cobra 29LX – Best High Range Multicolor CB Radio
- 3.2 2. Uniden BEARCAT 980 – Best SSB Radio
- 3.3 3. Uniden BEARCAT 880 – Best Flashy Radio
- 3.4 4. Galaxy DX959- Long Range SSB with High-Quality Features
- 3.5 5.Midland 75-822 – Best Mobility Assured
- 3.6 6. Cobra 18 WXSTII – Best Dual Watch Radio
- 3.7 7. Uniden PRO510XL – Leading Heavy Duty Radio and Affordable
- 3.8 8. Midland 5001Z
- 3.9 9. Cobra 29NW
- 3.10 10. Uniden PC78LTX
- 4 How to buy a Powerful CB Radio?
What is a CB Radio?
A CB radio is a two-way radio like HAM (aka Amateur CB radio). CB stands for Citizen Band. The explanations behind the name are explained in our article: What does CB mean in CB Radio
CB radios came into the limelight in the later part of the 1940s.
The popularity of CB radios are due to the following factors:
- They don’t need licensing
- They are low cost
- Easy to set up and communicate
CB radio works on the selection of 40 channels. Some of these channels are dedicated to weather/emergency updates.
CB radios were a very popular couple of decades ago. They were used extensively by drivers and common public alike. Although these devices don’t enjoy the same popularity nowadays, they are still the favorite of many, like us!
Citizens Band Radio is indeed remarkable equipment that marked an era’s craze for short distance two-way radio communication. Even though the cell phone wave has taken over the initial buzz of CB radios, they still seem to be a valid choice for many.
Why Have a High-Performance CB Radio in 2019?
It’s 2019 and do you really need a CB radio in this modern technological era?
Of course, you need it.
These devices are the handiest tool for all types of users including truck drivers, farmers, motorists and other individuals. They provide instant services such as passing information, business messages, giving directions, reporting road accidents and chatting.
Yes, it is very much true that they have lost much of their charm in the 70s. However, their significance continues and they still attract the customers as they constitute a cradle of multifarious features and attributes.
An overview of the advantages of CB radios may help to wipe off the shopping concerns of the customers.
- The first and foremost advantage of a CB radio over a cell phone is in terms of the cost. It seems to be an easy option on the pocketbook as it is a basic setup. Moreover, it does not charge for further communication, unlike a cell phone which makes you spend a few bucks on texting and making calls.
- If you wish to keep your communication minimal, then CB radios prove to be a sensible investment. You can get rid of the extremely sophisticated attributes and just convey the message to the destination with so much ease and comfort.
- CB radios prove to be an extremely sensible choice for the drivers as they are capable of delivering accurate directions. If you have lost the direction and stuck on a particular stretch of road, you can contact other drivers in the locality and pick up the right track easily.
- CB radios can always update you regarding the traffic conditions on the road especially highways. It helps to report accidents, traffic jams, and climatic conditions and warn the drivers on the far side in advance.
- CB radios allow the users to explore the weather conditions on a frequent basis. They are equipped with an advanced weather scan technology so that the drivers can make a note of the heavy rain or fog in advance.
- A CB radio is a friend in need for many users especially truck and cab drivers. At times of emergency, channel 9 is always available for help. It not only offers help in case of threatening hazards on the way but also offers travel assistance in any manner.
- A CB radio does not require a license unlike other radio services such as GMRS and Ham radio. It is to be noted that although it is license free, the user has to abide by the rules and regulations of FCC.
- The frequent updates on the CB radio keep the driver alert while driving and make the situation free of dangers. It reduces the risk of drowsy driving especially during late night and long distance treks.
Top 10 CB Radio Reviews
As I said in the initial part when the CB radio world is crowded with an array of styles and models, picking a good CB radio can be a chore.
It is always hard to be thoroughly updated on all the new arrivals on the CB radio market. You need to have at least some experience using CBs or somebody to guide you to pick a good CB radio.
Moreover, detailed scrutiny of the market surveys, product reviews and lengthy discussions with the professional truck drivers can fetch you a thoroughly outstanding and top performing CB radio.
The task is heavy but I have done the extra miles to find the top ones in the market.
Here is how we did it.
We started filtering out the vital factors which smoothen the CB radio communication. These critical factors are:
- Size and weight
- Voice clarity
- Weather Scanning
- Nature of the Antenna
- Public Address Capability
- Backlit Display
- Ease of Installation
- Automatic Noise Limiter (ANL)
- RF Gain Control
It’s not everything. These are just the specifications of CB radios.
Next step is to analyze other factors like performance, value for the money and interface.
Based on all these, we have tested and came out with the best 10 CB radios.
You can grab one of them with full confidence. We have spent not hours, fifty plus days in completing the task
Now, let us have a closer look at our best CB radio picks:
1. Cobra 29LX – Best High Range Multicolor CB Radio
Cobra 29LX is the best CB radio you can get in the market. I vouch for this matchless device with marvelous design and a remarkable multicolor display system.
One of the alluring features of the product is its selectable four colors (red, blue, green and amber) display system. In my opinion, this is the most feature-rich CB radio on the planet.
The dimmer helps to adjust the brightness during the dark especially when you are on a night drive.
It is amazing that it automatically locks into 10 NOAA Weather Channels to provide an emergency weather alert and warn the driver at times of severe climatic conditions efficiently. The additional clock/alarm facility comes extremely handy for professional drivers.
The CB radio is destined to give you the best performance. In fact, that’s the main reason apart from a stylish interface forced us to make it as our best pick. In short, Cobra 29 LX is quality assured weather channel CB radio for your truck or car.
- High-quality performance
- Excellent multi-colored display
- Enhanced voice quality
- Good incoming signal clarity
- Easy installation
- Oversize can cause inconvenience for radio placement in small space
2. Uniden BEARCAT 980 – Best SSB Radio
I went for Uniden BEARCAT 980 as it is a popular name on the list of highly advanced CB radios available on the market.
The brilliant backlit keys and illuminating and colorful display offer high visibility and visual appeal.
The most ravishing feature of the item is the unique Single Side Band and weather capability which offers high performance even at long distances. This is the top-rated SSB CB radio you can ever get.
The advanced weather scan technology warns the drivers of the impending weather conditions on the way. The weather push button gives you an update of the weather condition in your area. It is an impressive feature for truck drivers.
The CB radio offers an advanced feature set for an impressively low price. If you check out the catalog of the CB radio, there won’t be any CB features missing that list.
Another great feature to mention is its compatibility with wireless mics. This will help you using the CB radio even without using your hands; may be the best thing Uniden did for truck drivers.
In short, this is a great CB radio in the market for long range and it fulfills the utilitarian ends of the users to the maximum extent.
- Large display
- SSB driven high performance
- Extra-long mic cord
- Easy adjustment
- Advanced weather band alert
- High signal transmission even at long distance
- Adjustable backlit display
- High visibility
- Rough use may loosen the knobs
3. Uniden BEARCAT 880 – Best Flashy Radio
Uniden BEARCAT 880 offers a unique visual experience to the customers with its brilliant seven color backlighting and a large easy-to-read display. I had been a regular user of this device as it assured clear reception and transmission of signals.
I found it very convenient during the late night trips as the dimmer allows the user to adjust the brightness during day and night.
If you’re like me who hates wired connections, then this radio is worth trying. Uniden 880 is compatible with Uniden’s CB microphone which works on the wireless. Most of the truck drivers know how clumsy it is to have lots of wiring in their truck. But with this CB, there won’t be much chaos.
You will easily get the range up to 10 miles with this killer CB radio. The weather option is outstanding and is very easy to use too.
You will have to replace the stock mic with an external mic for most of the CBs. But not for this one. The noise canceling mic clears off the noise obstructions in the surroundings and offers a clear voice service. Extra-long mic cord becomes handy for professional truck drivers.
The amazing display and sound quality make the product worth flaunting.
- Large display
- Seven color backlighting
- Laser etched easy-to-read choice
- Instant weather update
- Enhanced weather scan facility
- Not recommended for users who dislike super bright flashy display
4. Galaxy DX959- Long Range SSB with High-Quality Features
Galaxy DX 959 is indeed a treat for the customers as it is loaded with highly advanced features.
The first and foremost highlight of the product is its unique SSB feature that gets you a long range and high performance. Moreover, with the full spectrum, you can modify the color setting of the device so easily.
It is a widely acknowledged fact that Galaxy is a dignified brand that puts forth quality products for the customers. This Galaxy 959 is one of the top-rated long range CB radio which is known for great signal reception. You can easily talk up to 15 miles with some customization. Yeah, it can be a great custom CB radio.
If you’re a truck driver, you will love using it. Thanks to the best voice clarity and the stylish but easy interface. The stock mic that comes along with the CB does a good job.
From my deep association with the device for years, I can assert that this CB radio has done full justice to its brand name. We recommend it for truck drivers and cars. Yeah, 959 has been one of the top-selling CB radios from Galaxy for the last 16 years.
- High visual appeal
- Long range SSB performance
- Good signal reception
- Outstanding Voice clarity
- Easy-to-read display
- Not suitable for the highly rough terrain.
5.Midland 75-822 – Best Mobility Assured
Midland 75-822 is one of the most advanced portable CB radios available on the market at present. Compact and stylish, this one will really steal your heart.
The dual watch feature facilitates the user to use two preferred channels simultaneously. The enhanced weather radio delivers weather reports on a frequent basis. It doesn’t lack the normal features that come with all the top rated CBs nowadays.
I have noted that its construction is so unique that you can perfectly slip it into the car docking base. Moreover, the backlit function facilitates the user to operate the device at any time- day or night.
The alluring package also includes AC wall adapter, rechargeable, and alkaline battery compartment, mobile adapter and antenna.
In fact, this is an excellent product that shows an upward market trend at present. We will never recommend this for regular CB users. But if you’re an occasional user, this is the best one you can get!
- Dual watch monitor
- Enhanced weather scan facility
- Instant channels, simple and user-friendly
- Mostly preferred for occasional use
6. Cobra 18 WXSTII – Best Dual Watch Radio
- Extra-long Mic
- 10 NOAA Weather Channels
- Instant Channel
- Dual Watch
- LED Indicator
- PA Switch
- Instant 9./19 channels
- Last Channel Retention
If you go through the market surveys, you can infer that Cobra 18WXSTII is one of the fast selling CB radio on the market that offers all the 40 CB channels. Although it is not that fancy, this one is a great choice for those who are looking for compact and simple CB radio.
The in-built weather scan technology facilitates the user to be aware of the imminent dangers on the way. The dual watch facility allows the user to watch two preferred channels simultaneously. It also facilitates last channel retention for your convenience.
The user-friendly CB Radio offers a large and easy-to-read display for the users. Moreover, the PA switching sounds to be beneficial for professional truck drivers to make a public address in an emergency. It has a long microphone cord of approximately 9 foot.
Another striking feature about this Cobra CB radio is it will easily mount in in-dash installations! We have seen that this one works great with Jeeps.
In short, this product offers all the basic requirements of the users in a tremendous way.
- Excellent display
- Dual watch facility
- Easy-to-read facility
- Retains the last channel
- Dynamic microphone
- Immediate emergency service
- Compact design
- In-line fuse requires proper maintenance
7. Uniden PRO510XL – Leading Heavy Duty Radio and Affordable
If you are tired of browsing through affordable CB radios available on the market at present with the advanced CB features, then I guarantee you that Uniden is an excellent brand worth considering.
Uniden PRO510XL is an ultra-compact CB radio that offers impressive mobility and works absolutely well in rough conditions. For the convenience, the microphone is front-positioned with an extra-long coiled cord.
The device has a striking RF Gain that offers striking voice clarity in a noisy environment. With its limited number of knobs and dials, it offers smooth operation.
Moreover, high-quality CB radio offers a good range when tuned properly. The transmissions are crisp and clear and the package includes a microphone, mounting bracket, and mounting hardware.
It lacks some of the key features like Instant Channel 9/19, Weather channels, Public Addressing, etc. But this one is not meant for hardcore CB enthusiasts. This an affordable CB radio that is intended at occasional users. This is one of the best entry level CB radios you can have.
In short, it is a wonderful product worth investing.
- Ultra-compact CB radio
- Best choice for rough conditions
- Excellent transmission of signals
- Assured voice clarity
- Accurate frequency control
- Limited number of knobs and dials- easy to use
- Can function in full-fledged only with an external antenna
- Not recommended for flashy radio lovers
8. Midland 5001Z
Along with the acclaimed 75-822, we have one more member from the Midland family.
If you are looking for a solid and simple communication device, then this is it. Midland 5001Z is a quality CB radio that is very simple and to the point. It’s small in size, but will not fail you when it comes to performance.
The solid controls and the great price might be what attracts you towards this CB. The noise r
You can easily talk within 5 miles range. However, if you’re a CB geek, you can peak and tune this CB to get at least 10 miles range.
The only downside of the modern CB radio is it’s PA system. If you’re in a crowded area, there are chances that you might not properly hear what the other person says. Otherwise, Midland 5001Z is the right investment.
9. Cobra 29NW
The old school look of this CB radio was more than enough to make the ex-truckers we had interviewed to fall in love with this CB. If you’re an ex-truck driver, this is the piece you’re looking for.
It’s just the look that is old. Cobra 29NW is well equipped with an array of stunning features that will tempt any hardcore CB lover. The Nightwatch is one such feature. It will keep you from turning the wrong knobs in the dark. Thanks to the full illumination in the front panel display.
The CB comes with an inbuilt SWR mater. Instant Channel 9 and 19 are other features you will get.
In a nutshell, this CB offers one of the best deals for the money when it comes to CB radio.
10. Uniden PC78LTX
Uniden PC78LTX is another small unit that has just taken one of the top 10 spots in our CB radio reviews.
The radio has been given an excellent rating by most of the customers who have used it. People are very happy using this device and we didn’t find any reason to omit this one from our list.
Although the device is priced less than $100, it still has a top notch built quality. The radio comes with amazing features like Integrated SWR meter, PA function, Instant channel 9 etc.
How to buy a Powerful CB Radio?
Since a CB radio carries plenty of technical attributes which are not familiar to the common people, the new users usually find the buying session quite perplexing.
So, here are some tips to get the best CB for you:
Recommendations for Vehicles
The truth is that not all CB radios are everyone’s cup of tea.
Here are some vital points you need to understand before picking CB radio for your vehicle:
- Large-sized CB radios consume a great deal of space. Heavy vehicles like trucks will have the best usage of these types of radios.
- On the other hand, compact CB radios are advisable for light motor vehicles including Jeeps.
- If you look for greater mobility, then go for an all- in- one ultra-compact CB for a handy operation. In fact, the user can simply control it with one hand.
- A base station CB radio is always advisable for operating the device from a home station. It is commonly used for industrial purposes.
- If you prefer to use the CB radio as a walkie-talkie, it is better to opt for a handheld CB radio with rechargeable batteries. It is often recommended for motorcyclists.
|Vehicle Type||Affordable CB Radio||Recommended Products||Reviews|
|Jeeps||Small sized CB radio||Cobra 75, Undien PRO510||Click Here for Jeep CB radios|
|Trucks and Pickups||Large sized/ Small sized CB radio||Cobra 29 LX, Cobra 29 LTD||Find best CBs for trucks here: https://cbradioguru.com/mount-and-cb-radio-for-truckers/|
|Motorcycle||Handheld CB radio||Cobra 18 WX ST II||Here is a list of top motorcycle CB radios|
|Cars/SUV||Large sized/ small sized CB Radio||Midland 75-822||Click here for CB Radio for Cars|
|Industry/Home||Base station / Handheld/Mobile CB Radio||Midland GXT 1000VP4, Uniden Pro510||Find home base CB radios here|
Here are some of the important considerations you should look for before delving into the selection process.
If You Don’t get the Dimensions Right, Your CB will Suck
While choosing the CB radio, make sure that it rightly slips into your vehicle. If you do not have enough space to mount the CB radio in your vehicle, go for a compact sized one.
Making a note of the size is an important consideration before dashing into the shop.
It is highly recommended to have a fair idea of the space you have in your vehicle/home for CB radio installation before purchasing one. This will save a lot of time and will be more than helpful to you.
Higher the Power, Higher the Range
Most CB radios transmit standard power output of 4 watts. However, a few of them that offer SSB (Single Side Band) capability transmit power output of 12 Watts. The standard power output can be increased with the help of specific antennas.
But remember, you can always modify your CB radios.
Remember; Geography Plays a Crucial Role, Don’t Neglect it
CB radio signal transmission is a lot dependent on the typographical factors of the region. The signal range is high in the areas which have fewer obstructions. The range is likely to fall in the countryside with dense forest or a city with more packed streets.
Don’t Compromise on the Material Quality
If you are going to be a regular user of CB radio, always look for a brand that offers high quality. Chrome-based CB radios are the best in terms of durability and strength. However, if you are opting for a plastic based brand, then go for a durable plastic.
Speed up Your Device with a Good Antenna
Antenna plays a vital role in boosting the performance of the CB radio. Longer the antenna, greater the range. If you are a regular long distance driver, then Dual Centre Load antennas offer the best possible range.
Fiberglass antennas are known for durability and I recommend you to use them if you’re serious about using CB radios.
Larger the Display, Easier the Reading
If easy reading is one of your priorities on the list, then opt for a CB radio that offers a large display. Considering the fact that many drivers find the small display annoying while driving, a larger display is always recommended for the users.
Cheer up Your Trips with Multicolored Display
Some of the CB radios offer a multi-color bright display for the users who wish to add vigor and enthusiasm to their late night trips. The illuminating colors create a rejuvenating ambiance in the surrounding. The brightness can be adjusted during the daytime. You can easily switch to your preferred color of light that matches with the accessories in the surrounding.
|Before pressing the button for your purchase, prioritize your requirements on the basis of power output, terrain, material quality, antenna, size, nature of the display and your aesthetic ends.|
The Parameters to Look for
Most of the customers have little awareness of the technical features of the device. The following table gives an overview of the popular features of a CB radio.
|SSB (Single Side Band)||A mode capability that offers increased CB radio range and low noise interference. By switching to SSB mode, you get an increased transmission range of 12 watts instead of 4 watts. Moreover, it uses bandwidth more efficiently than the regular AM mode.|
|ANL (Automatic Noise Limited)||It offers a clear and loud voice service by filtering out noise interference and obstruction such as engine and traffic noise.|
|Instant Channels (9 & 19)||It helps to switch to widely used channels- Channel 9|
(Emergency) and Channel 19 (Highway).
|Weather Capabilities||Alerts the driver by reporting frequent weather updates. Some of them are installed with enhanced weather scan technology to inform the drivers in advance.|
|Backlit Display||It facilitates the user to operate the device even in the dark and keeps the user alert all day round.|
|Squelch Control||This function allows the suppression of channel noises when the radio does not receive the transmission. Hence by turning on the squelch, the user can get rid of the annoying noises in the background.|
|PA Capabilities||With a PA speaker, the CB radio can be used as a public address system.|
|RF Gain||It does a similar function of a squelch. It reduces noise interference from the surroundings and facilitates a clear and loud radio service.|
|Talk-back Feature||Some of the CB radios are equipped with a talk-back feature facilitates to hear yourself through the speaker of a CB radio.|
Must Have CB Radio Accessories
|CB Radio Microphone||If you are a regular CB radio user, buying an external microphone with good quality may help to transmit your voice clearly and loudly. You can find some of the best CB mics here: https://cbradioguru.com/best-cb-radio-mics/|
|CB Radio Antenna||Sometimes the existing antenna may not offer an impressive range especially when it is short and made of rubber. In such cases, an external antenna with good quality offers greater transmitting power.|
|CB Radio Adapter||With a cigarette power adapter, you can charge the CB radio from the cigarette port of your vehicle so easily. It also helps to connect the CB radio to a mobile antenna for greater range and performance.|
|CB Amplifier||Most of the cases, the CB radio won’t have enough strength to hear what other persons say. So it is always a good idea to get a nice CB Amplifier to amplify the voice signals to hear better.|
|External CB Speaker||Most of the CB radios come with a not-so-great speaker. But with good external CB speakers, you will get good sound output, making it very easy to listen to your peers and all the channels.|
Found the Perfect B for You?
Before we finish this one off, let me give you a comparison table of our top picks in CB radios:
|Ranking||CB Radio||Type||Instant Channel 9/19||PA Function||Rating|
|1||Cobra 29 LX :Our Top Pick : Best & Feature-rich||AM||Yes||Yes||9.9|
|2||Uniden BEARCAT 980 :Best Long Range SSB||AM/SSB Handheld||Yes||Yes||9.8|
|3||Uniden BEARCAT 880 :Best Flashy CB||AM/SSB Handheld||Yes||Yes||9.7|
|4||Galaxy DX959 :Best Long Range Mobile CB||AM/SSB Mobile||Yes||Yes||9.6|
|5||Midland 75-822 : Best Portable CB||Portable AM||Yes||No||9.5|
|6||Cobra 18 WXSSTII :Best Dual watch CB Radio||Mobile AM||Yes||Yes||9.5|
|7||Uniden PRO510XL : Best Entry Level CB||Mobile AM||NO||NO||9.4|
After delving into the top seven most powerful CB radios and their astonishing feature sets, I hope you might have got away with your dilemma and arrived at the one that works best in accordance with your terms and conditions. I really hope the CB Radio reviews has helped you in choosing a good companion for your fun activities or rides.
These CB Radios mentioned above not only live up to the utilitarian ends of the customers but also create a brilliant aesthetic ambiance through their multicolored bright light and sound effect.
With their advanced features, they meet the most pressing demands of the customers in a remarkable manner. Being compact and handy, these modern CB radios offer greater mobility in comparison to the conventional models.
In toto, CB radios prove to be a wise investment worth flaunting for being a 24 hours-companion in a dynamic way and investing in a good CB radio is not at all a bad option. We hope that we have succeeded in helping you to find a good CB radio to buy.
Thank you CB Radio Guru for giving me this opportunity!
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