Last Updated on by
I hope that many of you might stick to my inference that choosing the best CB radio on the market is not an easy task.
- Firstly, the market is flooded with thousands of high performance and powerful CB radios. Hence, you should have a strong understanding of the CB radio market to pick a good CB radio.
- Secondly, you should be technically strong to choose the right parameter that works best for you. This is again difficult, considering numerous specs(NOAA, SWR, Weather Channels, Mods, etc.) that contribute to the performance of a CB radio. Remind you, this will get harder if you are a newbie in the world of CB devices.
But, you don’t have to be disheartened. We have done the hard work for you.
We have researched and found out the top 10 high-performance CB radios which are worth the bucks you spend.
Tell you what, this final list is based on our experience in the CB industry, market surveys, product reviews and lengthy discussions with the professional truck drivers.
If you are eager to grab the perfect CB for your vehicle or base station, here is an overview of our top picks:
Table of Contents
- 1 Recommended Top CB Radios of 2019
- 2 What is a CB Radio?
- 3 Why Buy a High-Performance CB in 2019?
- 4 Top 10 CB Radio Reviews
- 4.1 1. Cobra 29LX – Best High Range Multicolor CB Radio
- 4.2 2. Uniden BEARCAT 980 – Best SSB Radio
- 4.3 3. Uniden BEARCAT 880 – Best Flashy Radio
- 4.4 4. Galaxy DX959- Long Range SSB with High-Quality Features
- 4.5 5.Midland 75-822 – Best Mobility Assured
- 4.6 6. Cobra 18 WXSTII – Best Dual Watch Radio
- 4.7 7. Uniden PRO510XL – Leading Heavy Duty Radio and Affordable
- 4.8 8. Midland 5001Z
- 4.9 9. Cobra 29NW
- 4.10 10. Uniden PC78LTX
- 5 How to buy a Powerful CB Radio- Buying Guide
- 6 Frequently Asked Questions
Recommended Top CB Radios of 2019
|CB Radio||What Our Experts Say|
Our Top Pick: Best & Feature-rich: Cobra 29 LX
|Best Long Range SSB Radio: Uniden BEARCAT 980|
|Best Flashy CB: Uniden BEARCAT 880|
|Best Long Range Mobile CB: Galaxy DX959|
|Best Portable CB: Midland 75-822|
|Best Dual watch CB Radio: Cobra 18 WXSSTII|
|Best Entry Level CB: Uniden PRO510XL|
What is a CB Radio?
Citizens Band Radio is indeed remarkable equipment that marked an era’s craze for short-distance two-way radio communication. It is a two-way radio like HAM (aka Amateur CB radio).
CB radios came into the limelight in the latter part of the 1940s.
The popularity of CB radios are due to the following factors:
- They don’t need licensing
- Very cheap
- 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.
These devices were used extensively by drivers and common public alike a few decades ago. Although these devices don’t enjoy the same popularity nowadays, they are still the favorite of many, like us!
Why Buy a High-Performance CB in 2019?
It’s 2019 and you might be wondering whether you really need a CB radio in this modern technological era.
Of course, you need it.
Here is why:
- CB radios are very cheap to buy and use. Once set up, they don’t charge for further communication.
- If you wish to keep your communication minimal, then CB radios prove to be a sensible investment. This works well for truckers.
- CB radios can always update you regarding the traffic conditions on the road especially highways.
- CB radios allow the users to explore the weather conditions on a frequent basis.
- At times of emergency, channel 9 is always available for help.
- A CB radio does not require a license unlike other radio services such as GMRS and Ham radio.
Top 10 CB Radio Reviews
Let me tell you that finding the best and most powerful CB radios was definitely a heavy task.
But I have done the extra mile to find the top ones in the market.
Here is how we did it.
We started filtering out the vital features that contribute to the performance of a CB radio. 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
The next step was to analyze other factors like performance, value for the money and interface.
Based on all these, we have tested and came out with the top 10 CBs.
Let’s dive in:
1. Cobra 29LX – Best High Range Multicolor CB Radio
Cobra 29LX is undoubtedly the best you can get. I vouch for this matchless device with marvelous design and a remarkable multicolor display system. This is the most feature-rich CB radio on the planet.
One of the alluring features of the product is its selectable four colors (red, blue, green and amber) display system. It has a dimmer which helps to adjust the brightness during the dark especially when you are on a night drive.
One of the most amazing features of the CB is 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.
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 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.
The most ravishing feature of the CB is the unique Single Side Band and weather capability which offers high performance even at long distances.
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.
Another great feature to mention is its compatibility with wireless mics. This will help you using the Uniden Bearcat 980 even without using your hands. This may be the best thing Uniden did for truck drivers.
This is a great CB radio 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. The device assures 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.
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.
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 known for its 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.
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 radios on the market. 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 feet.
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.
Cobra 18WXSTII 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.
- 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
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 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- Buying Guide
Since a CB radio carries plenty of technical attributes that are not familiar to the common people, the new users usually find the buying session quite perplexing.
Let’s check out the top factors:
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 buying CB radio for your vehicle:
- Large-sized CB radios consume a great deal of space. These are best for heavy vehicles like trucks.
- You can use compact CB radios for light motor vehicles including Jeeps.
- If you look for greater mobility, then go for an all- in- one ultra-compact CB for handy operation.
- A base station CB radio is best for the home station(industrial uses)
- 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||Best Choice||Recommendations|
(Click Here for Jeep CB radios)
|Small-sized CB radio|
|Trucks and Pickups|
(Find best CBs for trucks here: https://cbradioguru.com/mount-and-cb-radio-for-truckers/)
|Large-sized/ Small-sized CB radio|
(Here is a list of top motorcycle CB radios)
|Handheld CB radio|
(Click here for CB Radio for Cars)
|Large-sized/ small-sized CB Radio|
(Find home base CB radios here)
|Base station / Handheld/Mobile CB Radio|
CB Radio Buying Checklist
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.
Higher the Power, Higher the Range
Most CB radios transmit standard power output of 4 watts. However, SSB CB radios 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. Check our reviews of best CB radio antennas here
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.
Multicolor displays add vigor and enthusiasm to 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 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 Features/Specifications to Look for in a CB Radio
The following table gives an overview of the popular specifications of a CB radio.
|SSB (Single Side Band)||A mode capability that offers increased CB radio range and low noise interference. It works at 12W(compared to regular 4W) and uses bandwidth more efficiently.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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
|Accessory||Why do You Need?|
|CB Radio Microphone||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.|
|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||Get a nice CB Amplifier to amplify the voice signals to hear better.|
|External CB Speaker||External CB speakers give great sound output, making it very easy to listen to your peers and all the channels.|
|SWR Meter||If you’re someone who wants to tune your CB radio often, find the best SWR meters of CB radios here|
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Typical Range of CB Radio?
You can easily get range up to 10 miles if you use an AM CB Radio. With SSB CB radio, range up to 2 miles are easily achievable”
Do people still invest in CB radios?
Yes, of course. Truck drivers still love using CB radios on long trips. It’s both fun and very helpful too.”
Can I communicate with other radios/mobile using CB radio?
No, it’s not possible
Do I need to know CB radio codes?
Knowing CB radio codes will make your life easier. It’s okay if you don’t know these codes. But, we recommend you to learn some of the most used ones to enjoy the CB communication
Found the Perfect CB for You?
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.
Before I wind up this article, here is a comparison of our best CB picks:
|CB Radio||Type||Instant Channel 9/19||PA Function||Rating|
|Cobra 29 LX||AM||Yes||Yes||9.9|
|Uniden BEARCAT 980||AM/SSB Handheld||Yes||Yes||9.8|
|Uniden BEARCAT 880||AM/SSB Handheld||Yes||Yes||9.7|
|Galaxy DX959||AM/SSB Mobile||Yes||Yes||9.6|
|Midland 75-822||Portable AM||Yes||No||9.5|
|Cobra 18 WXSSTII:||Mobile AM||Yes||Yes||9.5|
|Uniden PRO510XL||Mobile AM||NO||NO||9.4|
With their advanced features, these CB radios 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.
Enjoy using your CB!