Best CB Radios In 2021
Anyone who has to be out on the road knows the importance of staying informed. So, whether you’re a trucker or an off-road enthusiast, having a CB radio will come in handy. If you want a sure road map to the best CB radios on the market, take a look below.
The Best CB Radio
The Uniden PRO505XL CB Radio has bragging rights for its compact design which comes at a very affordable price to match. Altogether, the PRO505XL offers users on a budget a whopping 40 radio channels for wide range communication in addition to a channel nine feature for an emergency. That’s good news for those who spend long hours on the road and want to keep in touch with their teams. More so, at a finished weight of just two pounds, the PRO505XL also offers easy handling, so you can use it just about anywhere.
In terms of sound delivery, this CB radio is furnished with a squelch control feature that makes it possible to manually adjust the radio’s capacity to suppress not-so-strong radio signals. This makes the sound produced by the radio super clear. In addition, the PRO505XL is furnished with an LCD display screen that indicates incoming transmission strength. With its bright orange backlit, you’ll love how LCD displays light up at night, making it easy to see why you wish to set it on your device.
That’s not all, you can hook up an external laptop or outdoor speaker for a better sound output by taking advantage of the speaker jack feature. Also, there’s a microphone jack feature to connect your public address speaking unit in case you need to communicate with multiple people at the same time. Simply use the easy switch button designed to enable your usual citizen band radio frequency or the public address whenever you want. The added 2-year warranty makes the versatile yet price friendly citizen band radio great value for money.
External speaker jack
LCD display screen
- Weight2 pounds
Multiple channels of communication
Big hands might find controls too small
Orange display not very visible during the day
The President Electronic MC KINLEY USA CB radio is a versatile piece of survival gear that catches all 40 authorized channels available on the citizen band radio service. You’ll appreciate how easy it is to tune the antenna because of the inbuilt SWR. President electronics furnished the MC KINLEY with both manual and automatic squelch control. That means you don’t need to keep adjusting your squelch settings unless you want to tune out those not-so-clear sounds.
The radio’s entire construction is in the compact range, making it easy to mount it just about anywhere in your car. Furthermore, you can get more sound output by connecting it to an external speaker using the audio jack. It comes with all the extras, too, including a weather channel to keep you updated on current conditions. There’s also a front speaker, which ensures you can hear anyone who’s on air. You’ll also love the backlit display, which comes in three different colors; amber, green and blue.
Manual/ auto squelch control
Audio and mic jack
- BrandPresident Electronics
- ModelMcKinley USA
- Weight3.82 pounds
No radio frequency knob
Buttons and control knobs to close together
Big-handed folks find control somewhat clumsy
Here’s another highly economical CB radio capable of transmitting and receiving signals from miles away. The Radioddity CB-27 CB radio is one of the most portably constructed CB radios on the market. You’ll be surprised how easily the CB-27 will fit right in the palm of your hand. Yeah, it’s that small, and it weighs less than a pound. It is easy to carry, install, and fits just about anywhere in your vehicle.
This radio is simple to operate with just four buttons and a knob. The buttons are well spaced, so you won’t hit the wrong button even if you’ve got big hands. Then there’s the squelch control, which offers 29 levels of manual controls and nine levels of automatic squelch.
A dedicated button for emergency situations launches you straight to channel 9. The CB-27 comes with a built-in speaker, but also has an audio jack so you can connect an external speaker for more sound output. While the package comes with a microphone, it’s got a little downside. The radio doesn’t come with an antenna, so you need to buy one separately. For some more quality products like this, check out our buying guide on the best job-site radios on the market.
Very portable construction
3.5mm external speaker jack
Auto and manual squelch control
- Weight15.2 ounces
Can fit in very small space
Emergency channel 9/19 enabled
Speakers are not very loud
The Midland 75-822 40 CB-Radio might look small, but it delivers communication through the same number of channels as other high-end brands. It features an easy scan mode, which gives users the ability to scan through all available 40 channels. So you don’t miss any activity as it scans, the radio is programmed to stop on any active channel for some seconds before continuing the scan. The memory feature also allows you to store channels you regularly visit so you can access them with ease whenever you want.
You’ll love how this radio delivers clear sound, even from distant signals. The manufacturer built the radio with a noise-limiting device and squelch control that ensures weak signals come out strong. Furthermore, 75-822 features an impressive dual-watch function that allows you to keep tabs on two channels simultaneously, i.e., the emergency channel and any other favorites you may have.
The device offers superior versatility as it can be powered using your truck or car power port as well as six AA batteries. That’s good news for anyone who would like to use their CB radio while they are not actually in their vehicle.
You can use the built-in speakers, or you can take advantage of the headset jack and enjoy your CB radio hands-free. In case you find yourself in a situation where it might take some time to get to your car and power the emergency radio, the manufacturer furnished the device with a high and low operation option.
So it can either run on four-watt (high transmission) or one-watt power (low transmission), and you can get the best of your battery. As if that’s not enough, you’ll also get a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Noise limiting tech
LCD display screen
- Weight6.4 ounces
Dual power source
Battery saver mode
Battery cost money to replace
LCD screen too small
No RF gain
If you want some style added to your CB radio, the Stryker SR-497-HPC Radio is what you need, one look at this radio, and you’ll love it right away. Featuring a seven-color LED-backlit screen, the SR-497-HPC lights up when in use operation. The device also has an IRF-520 MOSFET transistor that gives the user access to 100 watt Peak Envelope Power (PEP). A little heads up, right out of the box, the ST-497-HPC comes with a PEP of 90 Watts. You will need to take your device to a CB radio store to have it converted and peaked to 100 watts before you can get the best out of it.
This radio isn’t one of those devices that deliver screeching and rumbling sounds, all thanks to the advance noise limiting tech, which eliminates all interferences to the incoming signal. The radio comes with a dedicated switch to add roger-beeps to indicate that users have concluded a broadcast session. This feature is pretty unique for CB radios.
Unlike some CB radios with the microphone jack located at the back of the device frame, the SR-497-HPC has its jack positioned in front of the panel for added convenience. The device is a little pricy, but it’s still a great value. Our buying guide on best long-range walkie talkies features some more awesome gear you might like, so make sure to check it out.
Seven-color LED backlight
Noise limiting tech
Convenient microphone jack
- Weight6.7 pounds
Variable talkback controls
Backlit brightness can be customized
Peak envelope power is tunable
Requires additional conversion/peaking for maximum power
The Cobra is one of the most well-known names in the CB radio market. They make excellent professional CB radios that deliver durability and easy operation. The Cobra 29Lx Professional CB Radio features a 4-color LCD display light. You can engage in different lighting settings as desired or convenient.
The Cobra 29Lx is furnished with a talkback feature, which makes it easy for you to control the amount of modulation during a transmission. There’s another unique feature on this CB radio that can’t be found in many other CB radios. You can run a diagnostic check on your device to ensure all is set before launching out on that long interstate journey. The SWR tuning makes antenna calibration easy so that signals can be received clearly.
The radio comes with a robust memory capability, which gives users the option of storing up to ten of your favorite channels for easy access whenever you are on the go. The LCD also shows a clock, alarm, and timer feature in addition to the channel and signal. It’s equally furnished with a microphone jack and a nine-foot microphone cord, making it easy to use from a distance. The device also gives you access to the NOAA weather channel so you can monitor the weather in real-time. The NOAA alarm will even give you a notification if a storm is headed your way, cool, right? With all of the above, the manufacturer still threw in mounting hardware for easy installation, although you will need to purchase an antenna before you start enjoying your CB radio. If you are a true adventurer, check out these top firestarters that are also a must-have.
four-color LCD display
Robust LCD screen
- Model29 LX
- Weight3.53 pounds
Adjustable antenna power
Accommodate storage of 10 favorite channels
Need to purchase antenna before use
Display light prone to damage
Power shunt may be needed for some vehicle
The Uniden PRO510XL Pro Series CB Radio is another compact CB radio design from Uniden. The makers of this radio are known for quality CB radios for entry-level users and veterans on a budget. It comes in at less than $40, yet it is packed with all the features you’ll need on the go.
The radio can communicate with and receive signals from all 40 authorized CB channels. The sound output is super clear thanks to the combination of squelch control and advanced noise-canceling system (including noise from your own vehicle). It even comes with a radio frequency meter giving users the liberty to adjust incoming signal levels.
The microphone jack is engineered into the front of the panel for convenience. As with most Uniden’s CN radio series, this one also comes with a generous two-year warranty so you can rest easy as you buy. For some more essential gear, browse our list of top paracord survival bracelets.
- Weight2.34 pounds
Background noise limiting
No RF control knob
No audio jack for external speaker
The Midland 1001LWX Mobile CB radio is a perfect mobile communication unit when you’re navigating those non-cellular network zones. The 1001LWX features a built-in weather scanner that instantly scans and connects with local weather channels to keep you abreast of local conditions while you are on the move.
The midland 1001LWX also comes with a dedicated radio frequency gain knob giving you the power to adjust your device’s sensitivity manually. This CB radio is furnished with an automatic background noise limiter, so even if your incoming signal is weak, you’ll hear it loud and clear.
With a finished weight of 16 ounces and a dimension of 9.8 x 9.2 x 2.5 inches, this radio can fit almost anywhere in your vehicle or your tactical backpack. The microphone cable here is conveniently long. Surprisingly given this unit’s size, the LCD screen is wide enough for easy viewing.
40 channel communication
RF gain control
- Weight16 ounces
It is lightweight
Noise limiting qualities
It offers weather channel scanning
No squelch control
Can not connect an external speaker
While the Galaxy-DX-959 CB Radio looks quite complex with all the knobs required for operation, it’s a brilliantly designed radio ideal for both professional and entry-level CB radio operators. Don’t let the price of the DX-959 fool you into thinking it’s not on the very high end of the market. Though less than $200, the CB radio features communication on all 40 channels in AM and SBB. You can also use the public address feature if you want to talk to lots of people at the same time.
The DXB-959 also features an automatic SWR system for tuning and calibration of your antenna. There is also a talkback feature and variable power control. A lot of work went into this device to ensure your sound output is super clear. Noise blanking tech, an auto noise-limiter, and a noise filter all ensure weak signals come out clear to the human ear. If you want a roger-beep after the broadcast, then you are in luck as this radio comes with an on/off Roger-beep button. It comes with all the needed jacks for robust user experience. A unique feature on the Galaxy DX-959 is a dedicated switch that turns off all the backlights. If you want to be prepared for any situation, make sure to also have a reliable LED flashlight at hand.
Variable dimmer control
Noise blanking tech
RF gain control
- BrandGalaxy Audio
- Weight4.4 pounds
Versatile transmission (AM and SSB)
Easy to use
It has no squelch control
New CB user may find it challenging
The Uniden BEARCAT 980 CB Radio features all you need in a CB radio. It is relatively pricey compared to some high-end brands, but still very affordable. It is also equipped with a seven-color display option, 40-channel communication, and emergency channel 9. With the push of a button, you can switch over to the NOAA weather channel to monitor local weather conditions as it changes.
Although this radio has an audio jack, Uniden also made this one compatible with a wireless microphone. Take advantage of the SWR to easily tune your antenna power so that you can get the best of your CB radio. Additionally, it comes with a dedicated button for almost every feature: RF gain, noise limiting, and a noise blanker. Add the bright LCD screen, and tuning and customizing your CB radio easy. For more awesome gear, browse our choice of the best survival watches.
7 color display option
- ModelBEARCAT 980
- Weight4 pounds
Long microphone cord
Wireless mic enabled
Emergency channel 9
Might be a handful for new user
Some user complained it arrived used/refurbished
Not your regular lightweight CB radio
CB Radio Buying Guide & FAQ
Features To Look For In CB Radios
Size - CB radios come in varying sizes, but they are usually small enough to fit inside of vehicles. If you want to use yours on your dashboard, it shouldn’t be too bulky; otherwise, it’ll give your car a clumsy look. Smaller radios often have smaller built-in speakers. So if you go small, you might need to spend extra on external speakers.
Feature Set - If you are an entry-level user of the CB radio, some features might not seem important until you get down to using your device. Some features are basic, such as 40-channel communication, speakers, or an audio jack. An LCD screen has recently become a feature found in most CB radios. Low-end CB radios offer communication on 40 channels on the AM mode only. Expensive units offer both AM and SSB. Squelch control and SWR are other features to consider.
Other features are solely for your convenience, such as the position of the audio or microphone jack, length of microphone cord, etc. They might not be deal-breakers for some users, while others, especially professionals, find these features crucial.
Radio Range - The range of the radio is the capacity at which it can transmit and receive signals. One feature that affects range is the SWR, which makes it easy to tune or calibrate the anthem for better signal strength.
CB Radio FAQ
Q: What is a CB radio?
A: A Citizens Band radio (CB radio) is a personal radio device used by individuals for communicating. It has fantastic applications in areas without cell coverage and can be a useful search-and-rescue tool. It doesn’t require a license to own or use; however, if you want to operate a CB radio where the Federal Communications Commission regulates communication over the radio, you might require a certification. A citizen band radio is capable of scanning all 40 channels on the citizen band service either in AM or SSB mode.
Q: What is the range of CB radio?
A: The range is the capacity with which a CB radio can transmit or receive signals. Range largely depends on antenna power and location. The range of a CB radio might cover as much as ten miles; it could be less though. If you are on flat terrain or open country, the range may be longer. Many users have customized their device, fine-tuning it to make the range of operation greater.
Q: What is the most commonly used CB channel?
A: CB radio use is quite common among truck drivers. The most commonly used citizens band channel 19. It’s so common that CB radio manufacturers furnish them with dedicated buttons or knobs for quick access to channel 19.