Best CB Radios

Last update March 16, 2017
What can replace a phone on the road or license two-way radio? Well, it's a CB radio. Our in-depth review of 5 best CB radios will be helpful for choosing the right model for your particular needs. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
TYPE
POWER
RANGE
SENSITIVITY
MODULATION
NUMBER OF CHANNELS
CONTROLS
POWER SOURCE
FEATURES
WARRANTY
 
PROS
A broad radius of action provides communication at long distances. The radio can work in a single sideband modulation that makes a transceiving more efficient. Advanced control capability.
CONS
A mediocre microphone. But it can be upgraded with a more powerful one.
OUR VERDICT
DX-959B is a fairly powerful radio station that has been developed for true driving lovers. Wherever you wish to drive, this CB radio will be your communicator 24 hours a day.
detailed parameters
TYPE
Mobile/Fixed-mount
POWER
AM: 4 Watts USB/LSB: 12 Watts PEP
RANGE
~ 15-20 miles
SENSITIVITY
AM: 0.5 µV USB/LSB: 0.25 µV for 10 dB (S+N)/N
MODULATION
AM/SSB (USB, LSB)
NUMBER OF CHANNELS
40
CONTROLS
ON/OFF switch, Volume control, Squelch control, MIC GAIN/R.B., RF GAIN control, Dimmer control, RF power control, Channel selector, Talkback control, Clarifier, SWR/MOD/PWR switch, NB/ANL/OFF switch, PA/GNF/CB switch, MODE switch
POWER SOURCE
13.8V DC
FEATURES
Five-digit Frequency Display, +/- 1.0 KHz Receive Clarifier, Noise Blanker and Automatic Noise Limiter, AM, SSB and PA Modes, 3-position Tone Control, Switch Green/Red LED Indicator, RX/TX LED Indicator
WARRANTY
2 years
PROS
The color backlight allows for setting one of 7 options. AUX outputs enhance the connection capabilities. The radio is connectable to a wireless mic.
CONS
Each button when pushed is accompanied by a sound signal.
OUR VERDICT
This CB radio is a bright example of a solid assembly and great customization. Uniden will provide your car with a splendid radio communication, offering a wide range of functions to stay in touch anytime.
detailed parameters
TYPE
Fixed-mount
POWER
4 Watts
RANGE
~ 1-6 miles
SENSITIVITY
0.5 µV at 10 dB (S+N)/N
MODULATION
AM
NUMBER OF CHANNELS
40
CONTROLS
Volume Control knob, Squelch knob, Talkback, MIC Gain, Weather, Day/Night, Channel Selector, S/RF/CAL/SWR, CB/PA, MEM/SCAN, 9/19/NORM, RF Gain knob, ANL, NB
POWER SOURCE
13.8V DC
FEATURES
7-color backlight, Noise Cancelling Mic, Radio Diagnostics, Wireless Mic Compatible, Weather Alert Mode, Dimmer Switch Day/Night, Extra Long Mic Cord, Laser Etched Keys, Includes 6 Pin to 4 Pin adapter
WARRANTY
1 year
PROS
A small size provides portability and convenience. A stiff build ensures a long unit life. 300 programmable channels are great for a comprehensive use. The unit can be powered from different sources and charged via a conventional USB port.
CONS
The radio exhausts AA batteries pretty fast; they should be replaced every 10 hrs.
OUR VERDICT
Uniden BC75XLT is a device that makes an impression due to its advanced abilities. Monitor a vast amount of service channels and program up to 300 channels under your priority in a single CB radio!
detailed parameters
TYPE
HandHeld
POWER
280 mA
RANGE
~1-8 miles
SENSITIVITY
AM: 0.3 µV NFM: 0.3 µV for 12 dB (S+N)/N
MODULATION
AM/NFM
NUMBER OF CHANNELS
300
CONTROLS
Hold, Scan, Srch/Svc, L/O, ON/OFF/Backlight, 1/Pri, 5/Dly, 6/PSrc, Pgm/E, Clr P, Func, Scroll control knob
POWER SOURCE
2 AA alkaline Batteries (3V DC), 2 AA rechargeable Ni-MH batteries (2.4V DC), PC through USB cable (5.0V DC 500mA)
FEATURES
Close Call RF Capture Technology, Display backlight, 10 Pre-Programmed Service Searches,10 Custom Search Ranges, Channel Priority with Do-Not-Disturb, Temporary Lockout
WARRANTY
1 year
PROS
The moderate price makes this device extremely affordable. A pretty wide operating range boosts transmitting abilities. A solid sound quality.
CONS
The radio is pretty bulky due to a large battery compartment.
OUR VERDICT
A high portability makes Midland a #1 choice for hunters, drivers, and travelers. This is a combination of reliability, cutting-edge technologies, and a wonderful communication quality.
detailed parameters
TYPE
HandHeld
POWER
4 Watts
RANGE
~1-3 miles
SENSITIVITY
1 µV for 10 dB (S+N)/N
MODULATION
AM
NUMBER OF CHANNELS
40
CONTROLS
Squelch Knob, On/Off volume control, Push to Talk button, “Channel UP” button, “Channel DOWN” button, “HI/LOW” Switch
POWER SOURCE
9 AA batteries, Rechargeable NiCad batteries, 12V DC
FEATURES
Belt Clip, “BATT. LOW” LED, “TX” LED, Removable Antenna with BNC connector, Hole for wrist strap, Automatic Gain Control, Automatic noise limiter, Jack for external power sources, VDC charger
WARRANTY
1 year
PROS
The radio can be installed both in a car and indoors. The built-in SWR meter allows quick antenna calibration, thereby saving your time for setting.
CONS
The volume knobs are rather small, so pushing may be clumsy.
OUR VERDICT
If you need a really versatile thing, Cobra 29 LX is a perfect match! This unit will excellently serve as a mobile CB radio, and can be a base station as well. A great transceiving quality and easy setting are what you get with this radio.
detailed parameters
TYPE
Mobile/Fixed-mount
POWER
4 Watts
RANGE
~ 13 miles
SENSITIVITY
1 µV for 10 dB (S+N)/N
MODULATION
AM
NUMBER OF CHANNELS
40
CONTROLS
Menu/Enter/Channel selector, RF gain, Delta tune, Talk Back control, S/RF SWR CAL button, Dim/Escape button, Channel 9/Channel 19 button, Scan/Memory scan, B/WX Weather/PA button
POWER SOURCE
120V, Cigarette lighter (adapter is optional)
FEATURES
10 NOAA Weather Channels, Emergency Weather Alert, Auto Weather Scan, Weather Alert Scan, Selectable 4 Color Display
WARRANTY
2 years

What is a Cb Radio

CB radios are currently used in many spheres including taxi services, long-haul traffic, sailing, construction, warehousing, fishing, and hunting. Such a wide application of CB radios is explained by a simple way of connection without cell towers, satellites, and other communication facilities. The CB radio stations provide a free communication for 2 or more people, yet their radius of action is limited by the power of receivers or transmitters. We will consider different CB radios and tell you how to choose a device suitable for your needs.

If you need a more portable appliance for a free group communication, we advise you to consider our walkie talkies, as well as parking sensors and car backup cameras for confident and safe driving.

What To Look For

Type and Range

When you choose a CB radio, you should be guided by your needs. So, pay attention to the type and radius of action. All CB radios can be divided into 3 types:

  • Portable (handheld) CB radios are the best option if a mobile phone can’t be used or is unfit under specific circumstances.
  • Base station radios feature a wide range of functions and are used indoors as home units.
  • Mobile models are usually mounted into car dashboards, they have a simpler design and don’t need a precise adjustment.

The range of a CB radio depends on a few parameters such as transmitter power, sensitivity, and modulation. The higher the power is, the wider the CB radio range is. 1W of transmitted power is equal to about 0.5 mile. This equation is very relative, and the distance depends on terrain, power, antenna, amplifier, and other conditions. The distance between 2 CB radios may vary depending on different factors. Regrettably, most of these factors can’t be controlled. The range also depends on the modulation type. Commonly CB radios maintain the amplitude modulation (AM) and frequency modulation (FM), but some models feature both types. The modulation is important for radios working at 27 MHz. The FM modulation provides fidelity of a signal and good protection from unwanted noise. The long-haul drivers usually communicate via AM modulation, but use radios that maintain both AM and FM modulation. This is explained by the fact that a traffic message channel and safety channels are usually transmitted through FM modulation. The receiver sensitivity is also important. The more sensitive the receiver is, the better it recognizes and reproduces weak signals. The receiver sensitivity is measured in microvolts/millivolts (μV/mV). The signal-to-noise ratio (measured in dB) is also important. Accordingly, the less this figure is, the better CB radio works. 

Capabilities

Capabilities are the next important factor in choosing a CB radio. Capabilities include the number of channels, number of memory cells, receiving of NOAA channels, and quick setting for emergency signals. Every frequency range is divided into frequency channels for radio broadcasting. The more channels are available, the simpler it is to find a free frequency. And the coding system allows several users to occupy the same channel. The great number of channels is peculiar to high-power and wide-range CB radios. As for the low-power models, they generally feature a small number of available channels. The memory cells contain combinations of channels and subcodes that are frequently used. Subcodes are used in coding systems to divide users into groups within the frequency channel. The subcodes embedded into memory cells facilitate the use of CB radio. Choosing a proper channel or/and switching between channels is easy and creates no nuisance. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration maintains the broadcasting of weather satellite system. The NOAA weather channels provide users with weather forecasts for local areas. The CB radios receiving NOAA channels usually have memorized channels that are switched by pressing a relevant button. The safety channel of a radio is needed for receiving messages from emergency services. The CB radios are commonly equipped with individual buttons for switching to emergency channels.

Controls and Usability 

Controls and usability of CB radios are parameters of no small importance. Here we consider display, backlight, power source, controls, and functions. Many CB radios feature displays for showing subcode numbers, channels, frequency, and other useful info. But the simple models and professional radio stations usually come without displays. Besides, professional radios have metal cases that provide reliable protection of all the wiring. The radio stations usually need to be connected to PCs for tuning. The display backlight comes in handy if CB radio is used in the dark hours of a day. The controls allow for easy and customized radio setting. As for the power source, mobile CB radios get power from a power network while handheld models are powered by АА or ААА batteries. Mobile CB radios can also get power from the vehicles where they have been mounted in. This type of powering is convenient as there’s no need to replace batteries; the radio works until there is the voltage in the vehicle network. Besides, in-vehicle CB radios need no motor running; they can get the power directly from car batteries. The base station CB radios are powered by local power networks. For that reason, these models usually have no autonomous power sources.

...Read more ...Read less
Review of Galaxy Radios DX-959B Mobile CB Radio, Blue Frequency

Galaxy Radios DX-959B Mobile CB Radio, Blue Frequency

Galaxy Radios DX-959B Mobile CB Radio, Blue Frequency

Always In Touch

If you are often at the wheel and wish to stay in touch with other drivers, pay your attention to Galaxy Radios DX-959B. The range was the first thing that attracted our attention. Of course, we can't specify an accurate value since it depends on multiple conditions including terrain and weather. Simply stated, this CB radio will provide a communication in the range from 15 to 20 miles. This is achievable thanks to the regular antenna. If you attach a more powerful accessory antenna, the radio's transmitting and receiving abilities will considerably expand. This became possible due to a high-power receiver of 4 Watts. The radio is mounted into the dashboard and is powered from the in-vehicle network. What is more, this CB radio is designed in a way to provide a minimum distraction from driving and allow an easy setting. It's remarkable that the radio's backlight has a neutral color which won't be dazzling even in the dark.

Review of Galaxy Radios DX-959B Mobile CB Radio, Blue Frequency

Modulation for Quality Communication

To get the whole picture what exactly Galaxy Radios DX-959B is, you should pay attention to the technical features that define its transceiving qualities. The operation in both AM and SSB modulations is an important aspect that provides a great performance for short and long distances. It should be noted that the voices of your interlocutors may sound somewhat unnatural in SSB modulation, but this is a peculiarity of the modulation, not the radio.

Galaxy Radios DX-959B Mobile CB Radio, Blue Frequency in the use

Interesting Fact

Mahlon Loomis, an American dentist, conducted the experiments that foreran the invention of the radio. He implemented a wireless communication by using kites carrying 2 wires in the air. He succeeded to transfer the signals wirelessly for more than 12 miles in 1868. So, all dentists may be proud of what Loomis did.

More Products to Consider

Consider buying K40 K-30 35" 300 Watts Stainless Steel Magnet Mount CB Antenna if you want to substantially expand the range of your CB radio.

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
Galaxy DX959 AM SSB sideband CB radio
Galaxy Radios DX-959B Mobile CB Radio, Blue Frequency
Galaxy Radios DX-959B Mobile CB Radio, Blue Frequency
 
Review of Uniden Bearcat 880 CB Radio

Uniden Bearcat 880 CB Radio

Uniden Bearcat 880 CB Radio

A Striking Novelty

The brand-new CB radio by Uniden - BEARCAT 880 represents a bunch of developments and innovative solutions. Still, the big display that covers almost entire faceplate is the distinctive feature of this radio. It represents all the data in every detail. We need to highlight the multicolor backlight; you can choose of 7 different color options. In addition, the radio features the Day/Night function that makes the display clear in the daytime and soothes the backlight at night. Furthermore, the 6-pin adapter for microphone will allow using the modern wireless microphones. No wires - no mess. Meanwhile, the included microphone features the noise blocking ability that favorably affects the quality of the signal transmitted.

Review of Uniden Bearcat 880 CB Radio

Transceiving Capabilities

It's worth discovering the technical aspects. On buying any radio, it is important to find out how good its performance is and what transceiving range to expect. BEARCAT 880 is designed for broadcasting across 1-6 miles. The radio supports amplitude modulation and hence, suits best over-the-road truckers who need AM frequency range to be able to communicate on the road. Among the channels the radio includes are emergency channels and weather forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Uniden CB radio is also known for clear sound perception and high sensitivity (5 µV at 10 dB (S+N)/N) that strengthens even weakest signals to enable better communication quality and clarity of the speech under harsh weather conditions and rumbling background noises.

Uniden Bearcat 880 CB Radio in the use

It's Interesting

You may be interested to hear of the story that took place in Scotland during a derby football match between Hibernian and Hearts in 1940. The teams played in the dense fog and the commentator could see nothing from his place. He knew that the German army monitored the broadcasting and would start attacking if he mentioned the fog. As a result, he fabricated the game events, relying on the crowd roar.

More Products to Consider

If you want to improve the sound quality of your CB radio, we advise buying Uniden Communication Speaker (BC7).

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
Uniden BC880 Review(1/2)
Uniden Bearcat 880 CB Radio
Uniden Bearcat 880 CB Radio
 
Review of Uniden BC75XLT Handheld Scanner CB Radio

Uniden BC75XLT Handheld Scanner CB Radio

Uniden BC75XLT Handheld Scanner CB Radio

Mobile Solution for Every Occasion

Uniden BC75XLT is a versatile handheld CB radio designed for communication and monitoring various channels. This device is universal in everything from transceiving to power supply. So, let's take a closer look at its key features. Uniden BC75XLT can be powered by AA batteries or rechargeable Ni-MH accumulators as well as from PC via a USB cable. The radio can handle signals in AM and NFM modulation types, what definitely stands it apart from most other models with the same price tag. Uniden CB radio can also memorize up to 300 channels. Astonishing, isn't it? What's more, all channels can be configured in PC, introducing to you new opportunities and giving more comfort of use. Using the radio, you can monitor police and fire departments (including rescue and paramedics), marine and amateur (ham radio) bands, and even air band transmissions. In addition, you'll be able to get weather forecasts from the NOAA weather center.

Review of Uniden BC75XLT Handheld Scanner CB Radio

Reliable Design and Functionality

When it comes to Uniden BC75XLT, we can say that the engineers have designed this radio with practicality in mind and considered a lot of factors. First of all, the manufacturer provided excellent radio rigidity and high protection level and yet, didn't make a lot of change to the interface, leaving it pretty handy. The unit is fitted with a large and readable display with orange backlighting so that it is comfortable to read the data from it even in complete darkness. The control buttons are marked with distinct abbreviations that will help you grasp the settings quickly.

Uniden BC75XLT Handheld Scanner CB Radio in the use

Interesting Facts

The citizens of Brazil contrive to speak on the cell phones at the expense of the U. S. Navy. Conventional CB radios with a couple of homebrew gears can be connected to FLTSATCOM satellites, so cunning Brazilian residents can call anywhere for free.

More Products to Consider

Consider buying additional AmazonBasics AA High-Capacity Rechargeable Batteries (8-Pack) to reduce the future expenses on batteries for your handheld radio.

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
Uniden Bearcat BC75XLT Scanner Review!
Uniden BC75XLT Handheld Scanner CB Radio
Uniden BC75XLT Handheld Scanner CB Radio
 
Review of Midland 75-785 HandHeld CB Radio

Midland 75-785 HandHeld CB Radio

Midland 75-785 HandHeld CB Radio

Type and Range

Midland 75-785 is a portable handheld CB radio that you can take on any trip. The radio is designed for transceiving in the radius of 3 miles. Here we should dwell on one of the peculiarities - the radio is equipped with HI/LOW power switch to change the power consumption. Thus, you can pick a low mode to save the battery charge or high mode to boost the power for a wider communication range. The radio setting is pretty simple thanks to the user-friendly interface. Also, the radio features one more extra function that we'd like to pinpoint. This is the special antenna that can be replaced with a more powerful one through the NFC connector to boost the radio operating range. The automatic noise limiter is one more thing that makes us happy as it provides an excellent sound quality, eliminating the background noises.

Review of Midland 75-785 HandHeld CB Radio

All-purpose Reliability

Of course, one can hardly call this radio small, at least for 9 AA batteries that enlarge the unit size. Still, there's a compromise. The radio has a stiff body and reliable assembly that make it highly durable. Besides that, the radio is fitted with some extra accessories for easy carrying. In particular, that's a special belt clip and a charge jack for recharging NiCad batteries without removing. Finally, the radio features the "BATT. LOW" indicator that reports on the battery charge status. Pretty convenient. 

Midland 75-785 HandHeld CB Radio in the use

Controls and Usability

Radio has saved the Eiffel Tower from demolition. The tower was built as the opener for Exposition Universelle in 1889. The structure was meant to be disassembled after 15-20 years. However, the radio communications have begun to grow and the tower became the place for broadcasting aerials.

More Products to Consider

You may be interested in buying Midland 22540 Headset Speaker with Boom Microphone additionally to keep your hands free.

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
midland 75-785 handheld cb
Midland 75-785 HandHeld CB Radio
Midland 75-785 HandHeld CB Radio
 
Review of Cobra 29 LX CB Radio with Instant Access Weather Stations

Cobra 29 LX CB Radio with Instant Access Weather Stations

Cobra 29 LX CB Radio with Instant Access Weather Stations

Versatility and Usability

Cobra 29 LX is designed to serve as a base station or a mobile radio. Now, to be able to communicate with your friends during trips, you don't need to buy a car radio; Cobra has deployed a great CB radio with versatile mounting options. The only thing you'd need to get, though, is a special cigarette lighter plug (not included in the kit). A precise setting and tuning are important aspects that make this radio highly usable. The radio has a pretty large display for showing the info that can be backlit in either of four available colors for convenient use in the dark. That’s handy for drivers who spend most of the time at the wheel and travel at night. Another thing designed for convenience is a microphone cord. Such a small detail but extremely helpful, for its length reaches 9 feet, giving you more freedom and flexibility for conversations. When compared to most other CB radios, that’s pretty long too, and drivers aren’t bound to the dashboard, bending over to answer the call or receive a notification.

Review of Cobra 29 LX CB Radio with Instant Access Weather Stations

Working Modes and Emergency Alerts

This CB radio is able to transfer signals up to 13 miles, taking into account the terrain and conditions. Moreover, the radio range can be increased up to 25-30 miles through installing a more powerful antenna. The radio power makes 4 Watts. As for the modulation, Cobra works only in AM modulation that limits the antenna's transceiving capabilities, yet provides a pretty good signal transferring. This type of modulation is commonly used by long-haul truckers for interlocution. We'd like to draw your attention to 10 channels that allow getting the weather info from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. What is more, the radio features emergency weather alert for communicating the rescue services in emergency situations.

Cobra 29 LX CB Radio with Instant Access Weather Stations in the use

Interesting Fact

The U.S. army employed Native Americans as radio operators during World War II. They used their native language to convey the messages, so even if German or Japanese radiomen had succeeded to intercept these messages, they wouldn't have interpreted them.

More Products to Consider

Having determined the place for your CB radio, you should install it properly, and Rugged Ridge 11503.95 CB Radio Mount will help you do that.

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
New Cobra 29 LX CB Radio - Digital Display 40 Channel AM
Cobra 29 LX CB Radio with Instant Access Weather Stations
Cobra 29 LX CB Radio with Instant Access Weather Stations
 
Sources:

1. Andrew Youderian How to Pick a CB Radio, RoadTrip America

2. How to Choose the Right CB Radio for Your NeedseBay. March 3, 2016.

3. Monica Wachman How to Choose a CB Radio HandleOur Everyday Life.

4. William Lynch How To Choose a Good CB AntennaOur Everyday Life.

5. Robert Richardson Survival Communications – The C.B. Radio, Off Grid Survival.

6. CB (Citizen's Band) Radio Answers, RadioShack.

7. Citizens band radio, Wikipedia. September 1, 2016.

8. Marcelo Soares The Great Brazilian Sat-Hack Crackdown, Wired