Best CB Radio – Buying Guide & Reviews

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With the advent of smartphones, you might think that the CB radio is already a thing of the past. Well, you better think again! These radios are still being used nowadays. For instance, truck drivers still rely on this device to communicate with fellow drivers.

In fact, police officers, firefighters, and paramedics rely on CB radios to carry out their day-to-day tasks! Indeed, this device is very useful for local communication and can be used by pretty much anyone, regardless of your profession.

If you find it necessary to use a CB radio, whether for your business, profession, or personal use, you’d be glad to know that the best CB radio can now be bought online. But before you start shopping for one, it may be worth it to read this guide first so you will know exactly what to buy.

How Do CB Radios Work?

Sure, CB radios are useful. But do you know exactly how this thing works? Basically, the radio works with the help of radio waves, similar to televisions and AM/FM radios. It comes with an antenna that’s usually around 10 feet long.

If you’ve noticed, some of those cars driven by police officers have an antenna mounted at the back. This is actually the antenna of the CB radio and it is responsible for capturing signals and then transforming them to audio, which is what you would hear from the speakers of your radio.

The radio is actually a type of transceiver and what this means is that it works both as a receiver and a transmitter. Whenever you need to send a message, simply use the microphone and start talking.

All those words that you transmit to the radio will be converted to electrical signals and transmitted by an antenna. These words would be sent through the air with the help of radio waves and are then picked by the antenna of the other radios.

A Brief History

Citizen Band radios were invented back in 1945 for the main purpose of providing small businesses and individuals with a reliable and easy way to communicate with each other. Around the 1960s and 1970s, the CB radio soared in popularity. Thanks to the advances in technology, the cost of producing these devices dropped significantly.

During the oil crisis that took place in 1973, the US government decided to impose a speed limit of 55 mph all over the country. Because of this, drivers found the need to have their own CB radio in order to communicate with other drivers and be warned about the presence of police cars in a certain area.

Eventually, CB radio clubs were formed and created their own special jargon to communicate with each other while driving down the road. In fact, those anonymous chat rooms on the Internet were inspired by the CB radio. But when the Internet increased in popularity, along with the FRS radio, the use of CB radio greatly declined.

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Description

AnyTone AT-5555N

ECHO function


USB, LSB, FM, AM, and PA modes


Features a BEEP voice prompt


Flexible menu functionalities


Wide LCD display

Midland 1001Z CB Radio

Come with a built-in speaker


Equipped with a locking microphone connector at the front


Has a switch for Public Address (PA)


Includes a push-to-talk microphone

Uniden Bearcat 680

Uniden Bearcat 680 allow for 40-channel operation


Features a wide digital display


PA/CB switch


Compatible with a wireless mic


Instant Channel 9/19

Cobra 29LX CB Radio

Cobra 29LX CB Radio has a Beautiful multi-colored display


The Cobra 29LX gives excellent performance


Voice quality of the Cobra 29LX is very good


Now redesigned with better features

Galaxy-DX-959 CB Radio

Galaxy-DX-959 CB Radio features a long-range SSB performance


The Galaxy-DX-959 comes with a Favorable signal reception


The design of the Galaxy-DX-959 is visually appealing & reasonably priced

Mobile vs. Handheld

Although there’s a type of CB radio that can be installed at home, most users would rather go for those that they can use while traveling along the road. When buying CB radios, you’ll find that they are available in two types:

Mobile

Mobile CB radios are compact although they are not really as small as those handheld models. Still, a mobile CB radio allows you to mount it to the dashboard of your vehicle or in your car’s transmission hump. But in order to avoid static and get a clearer coverage, it’s best to wire it directly to the battery, away from the spark plugs.

Handheld

Handheld CB radios are more compact compared to the mobile ones. As the name suggests, you can simply hold on to the device as you walk and talk. Yet, it’s not really as powerful compared to the base units or the mobile CB radios. However, when it comes to portability, this type is a sure winner.

Features to Look for When Shopping for the Best CB Radio

Most of the CB radios come with similar range and wattage. The distinction between them lies mainly on the value and the cost.

When looking for the best CB radio to buy, here are some of the features that are worth checking out:

A) Backlit Display

As the name suggests, this is a feature that gives the radio a backlit, allowing for nighttime use. This is very useful for truckers who need to drive at night. While this feature is very useful, it can also cost you more since it’s considered an extra feature of the CB radio.

B) Built-In SWR Meter

SWR means Standing Wave Ratio and if your CB radio comes with a built-in SWR meter, you’d be able to effectively measure the signal that your device is emanating as it moves through the antenna. The SWR meter is useful for when you need to properly adjust your CB radio or in order to achieve maximum effectiveness.

C) Channel Scanning

With the channel scanning, you will be able to automatically set up your radio to scan through channels on a loop. Once it detects a conversation, it’s going to pause so you are able to listen.

D) Delta Tune

The Delta Tune is another useful feature to reduce static during communication. It’s also sometimes known as the “clarifier control.” When you adjust this feature, you’ll notice that the voice pitch of the person you are communicating with will change.

This feature comes in handy if the person to whom you are communicating with is sounding very squeaky and you want to reduce this effect so you are able to communicate more clearly with each other.

E) Instant Channel

With this feature, you’d be able to access a popular channel directly. For instance, it takes you directly to channel 9 in case of emergencies or channel 19 for truckers.

F) Power and Range

It is the FCC that sets power limitations for all kinds of radio communications, and for CB radios, the maximum power allowed is 4 watts. However, there’s an exception to this and it’s known as the SSB radio, which is capable of transmitting on 12 watts.

Generally, most of the CB radios have a maximum transmission range of 10 miles. This is pretty much the range that allows you to enjoy a clear and unobstructed path when using two radios for communication.

G) PA Capability

The PA capability is very useful if you’ve got a PA horn. With this feature, you’d be able to use your CB radio as a public address system.

H) RF Gain

This feature is responsible for blocking weak signals so you will only receive strong signals instead. It’s basically the kind of feature that you need if you want to filter out any background noise. It’s also possible to use this feature as a way to boost the strength of weak signals.

I) Squelch Control

The squelch control is a standard feature for all CB radios and its role is to reduce static on an incoming transmission. Almost all CB radios in the market have a squelch control.

J) SSB

SSB refers to Single Side Band. These are the type of radios that could transmit up to 12 watts instead of a maximum of 4 watts. Thus, the effective range of the radio will be tripled. But it should be noted that this could only work if you’re also communicating with another SSB radio. If not, then you’ll have to settle only with 4 watts when communicating with other users of CB radios.

K) ANL

The ANL is another feature that you can use to filter out static. This feature is capable of blocking engine noise out and all the other types of noise that could cause interference.

L) Weather

If you want to receive weather updates on your CB radio, then this is the feature that can make it possible. This is also very helpful if you’re going to use your CB radio when traveling.

Reviews of Some of The Best CB Radios Ever Made

Now that you’re already familiar with the different features of a CB radio, it’s time to start shopping for the best CB radio in the market. Given the many choices, you might ask yourself what is the best CB radio out of all these choices.

To help you out, we have narrowed down a list of the best CB radios, along with a review of each of them so you will know exactly what they are and why we consider them to be the best.

1 – AnyTone AT-5555N

One of the first things that you’ll notice in the AnyTone AT-5555N radio is its stylish design. It’s a 28 Mhz export receiver loaded with several great features. Still, this CB radio is not really that complicated to use and is easy enough to operate even for those who have not tried using this device in the past.

As an expert receiver, it’s somewhat different from a typical CB radio since it did not meet the standards set by the FCC. Yet, it has more features and has more power compared to a standard CB radio.

The AnyTone AT-5555N is equipped with the SSB (Single Side Band), as well as AM and FM. Its frequency range is from 28.000 to 29.700 MHz. In addition, this radio comes equipped with a Frequency Control Phase Locked Loop Synthesizer.

Plus, there’s a microphone that you can push when talking and it comes attached with a coiled cord. Speaking of coiled cord, it may be best to find out if it’s legal in your country because export receivers like this may not be allowed to ship outside of the United States.

If you read the CB radio reviews, one of the things that customers love most about the AnyTone AT-5555N is that it has a wide LCD display that allows you to be able to easily see the controls under dim light. Furthermore, it comes with USB, LSB, FM, AM, and PA modes.

In terms of usability, you’ll appreciate the fact that the menu functions and software are very flexible and are extremely easy to use. This particular model of CB radio is equipped with a programmable RB function as well as an NB/ANL feature.

The device is also equipped with a beep voice prompt, as well as an SWR protection. Indeed, this CB radio system has everything you need and is no doubt one of the best CB radio ever made in the market.

Pros:

ECHO function
USB, LSB, FM, AM, and PA modes
Features a BEEP voice prompt
Flexible menu functionalities
Wide LCD display

Cons:

It’s not really a true CB radio

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2 – Midland 1001Z

If you’re looking for the best compact CB radio, the Midland 1001Z would be a great choice. This 40-channel transceiver is equipped with standard features that are absolutely easy to use.

As such, it’s a great entry-level CB radio that can be used by anyone, including those who have no knowledge about CB radios. Furthermore, the unit is highly reliable and durable and it’s one of the most affordable CB radios in the market.

For this CB radio, the frequency range is between 26.965 and 27.405 MHz. There are 40 channels and the radio has an AM modulation type. Furthermore, its antenna impedance is 50 ohms, while the microphone is 1000 ohms and the loudspeaker is 8 ohms.

One of the first things that you’ll notice in the Midland 1001Z transceiver is the lock-in microphone connector. You’ll also easily notice the power on and off-channel and some other buttons that you can use to change channels.

This radio is also equipped with squelch control, which is what you need in order to adjust to control the amount of noise in the background. Featuring an LED display for the channel indicator, you will be able to clearly see your current channel number, while the TX LED indicator light is going to alert you when the unit starts transmitting.

The controls that you’ll find at the front face of this transceiver radio include CH9/Normal Switch, CB/PA switch, S/RF display, as well as the Channel Display. You’ll also find a locking microphone socket, squelch knob, and channel selector.

At the back of the transceiver, you’ll find the antenna corrector, external speaker jack, PA jack, as well as a power cord. This CB radio system also includes a microphone-mounting bracket, as well as radio mounting bracket and mounting hardware. Above all, it’s covered by a 3-year warranty.

Pros:

Come with a built-in speaker
Equipped with a locking microphone connector at the front
Has a switch for Public Address (PA)
Includes a push-to-talk microphone
Includes Squelch and RF Control

Cons:

Very basic model with basic features

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3 – Uniden Bearcat 680

A good CB radio is one that has easy to use features and when it comes to this, the Uniden Bearcat 680 is highly recommended. Its features might be basic but it’s very powerful, offering clear reception and has a wide range that can access up to 40 channels.

Above all, it has a wide display making it extremely easy to read. Equipped with an ergonomically designed microphone that features a pistol grip, this CB radio helps to reduce hand fatigue.

The Bearcat 680’s microphone has a long cord and has a noise-canceling ability, so the other party will be able to hear you clearly. It’s also static free and comes with the option to use a wireless microphone. In addition, the radio can update you with the weather and traffic warnings as you travel along the road.

Thus, this device is the best CB radio for truckers who travel long distances several times a week. Other features that this device is equipped with are squelch control and a noise blanker, which offer extraordinary audio clarity.

The radio’s CB control has contributed to the excellent sound quality. You simply have to turn the squelch knob and the weak radio signals will be suppressed, allowing for clearer sound quality.

Pros:

40-channel operation
Features a wide digital display
PA/CB switch
Compatible with a wireless mic
Instant Channel 9/19

Cons:

Some customers have complained that the radio’s connection have problems sometimes

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4 – Cobra 29LX

It’s easy to tell that the Cobra 29 LX is really impressive just by looking at it. Indeed, it’s not your ordinary CB radio since it features a contemporary and stylish design. The radio’s front face has a knob for volume and squelch feature.

There’s also a button for the channel selector, microphone gain, menu control, delta tune, RF gain, as well as talk balk calibration. The device’s expansive display has four different colors; blue, amber, green, and red.

The Cobra 29 LX can automatically scan up to 40 channels when looking for a signal. It will automatically stop the moment it captures an incoming transmission. Perhaps one of the best features that this device has is the Radio Check Diagnostic.

This feature is responsible for notifying the user on the radio’s operating status, including the RF power, battery voltage, and the condition of the antenna. The radio’s clock and timer feature also function as an alarm, which comes in handy for drivers who need to follow a strict schedule.

This CB radio system comes with a PA system that allows you to do a shootout whenever you need to. It comes equipped with a PA speaker so you can use it for delivering a public announcement. The radio is also capable of performing an automatic scanning of up to 10 NOAA weather channels to warn you of any bad weather.

Pros:

Beautiful multi-colored display
Excellent performance
Superior voice quality

Cons:

The radio’s expansive size is a bit inconvenient, especially during placement

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5 – Galaxy-DX-959

Whether you’re looking for a CB radio that’s suitable for entry-level users or for expert ones, the Galaxy-DX-959 is worth checking out. In fact, if you’re wondering what is the best galaxy CB radio, this device is actually the answer.

What’s great about this device is that each knob controls just a single task so you won’t have to spend a lot of time juggling through the display menus just to figure out the right setting.

Having been around for almost 15 years now, the Galaxy-DX-959 definitely deserves to be on this list of the best CB radios. If you have read some of the CB radio reviews online, you’ll understand why many customers are attracted to this device. For one, its meter is wide and can be read easily.

This comes in handy for when you need to check the scales for modulation, power output etc. Furthermore, this radio features a 5-digit frequency counter as well as 2-digit channel display, both printed in large and easy-to-read texts. And if you find that the display is just too bright, simply adjust the dim through its dimmer switch.

Another great feature that this CB radio is equipped with is the adjustable talkback circuit that’s capable of controlling the volume of your talkback. In addition, the device’s variable power output control allows you to adjust the dead key power, while Roger Beep produces a beep sound after every transmission.

Another notable feature that this CB radio has is the Galaxy Noise Filter, also known as GNF. It works really well on weak signals. Plus, its high SWR alert circuit will immediately inform you if you’ve got a high SWR reading.

Pros:

Features a long-range SSB performance
Favorable signal reception
Visually appealing

Cons:

Not ideal for use on rough terrains

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6 – Uniden Bearcat 980 SSB

When looking for the best handheld CB radio that can keep you connected with your comrades while driving on the road, the Uniden Bearcat 980 SSB is highly recommended.

This handheld radio is loaded with features, such as the AM/SSB sideband and weather band. It offers excellent overall reach and great quality audio. Thus, you will be able to enjoy uninterrupted radio communication while driving down the road.

This handheld radio can also be installed in a car and has a stylish compact design. Weighing 4 pounds and with dimensions of 3.5 x 15 x 8.5 inches, this device is great for those who are in need of the best compact CB radio.

One of the reasons why many customers love this radio is because it gives the user the freedom to customize and control the display. Its color-changing LCD display allows the user to view the display better with only a few adjustments.

Furthermore, its backlight is designed to be easily adjustable so you can easily control the brightness through its dimmer switch. With this feature, you will be able to easily transition the display intensity from night mode to day mode or vice versa.

Among the operational buttons that are in the Uniden Bearcat 980 SSB is the talkback, a feature that allows you to easily monitor yourself as you talk on the radio.

It also comes with an RF gain, which allows for the easy adjustment of signal sensitivity. Other features are Automatic Noise Limiter or ANL and Noise Blanker or NB.

Pros:

Can be easily adjusted
The cord for the mic is extra long
Expansive display
SSB-driven excellent performance

Cons:

The knobs could eventually get loose during rough use

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7 – Cobra 29LTD

When it comes to great design and excellent engineering, the Cobra 29 LTD is the perfect example. This CB radio model has been around for more than 50 years, which is a testament of its great quality.

As a matter of fact, a lot of customers have stated that they would still go for this model despite the fact that there are now several new designs with more innovative features.

The Cobra 29 LTD is not only easy to install, but it’s also easy to use. It’s loaded with convenient features and it’s highly durable. Of all the AM transceivers in the market, this model is one of the most advanced.

It has a superior Phase Lock Loop circuitry offering excellent coverage consisting of up to 40 channels!

The radio’s receiver includes a noise blanker circuitry as well as an automatic noise limiter. It’s designed to prevent cross modulation as well as that of the adjacent channel signals.

Furthermore, the radio’s Delta Tune is a nifty feature that’s perfect for clarifying any signals including all incoming signals to the radio. You’ll also love the fact that the controls of this radio system are laid out nicely in the front.

Pros:

The Delta Tune feature clarifies any incoming signals
Equipped with adjustable Dynamike Boost resulting in clear transmission
Features SWR Calibration for the antenna
40-channel coverage
There’s an Antenna Warning Indicator light that alerts you when there’s a need to check the antenna

Cons:

The screws are cheaply made

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8 – Stryker SR-655

If you’re in need of a CB radio that can give you more than 70 watts PEP, then the Stryker SR-655 may just be what you need. With this unit, you can be sure that you’ll get the results you’ve been looking for.

Its backlit display consists of up to 7 different LED colors that are absolutely brilliant. In fact, some customers have said that they find it hard to choose one because all of the colors look great.

When doing a selection, all you need to do is to push a button or leave it to run through the various colors so you’ll be able to choose the right one.

With this CB radio, the power control as well as the talkback control can be controlled through your PC. There’s also a VFO as well as an advanced clarifier.

It has a digital echo and a double control system that’s mounted right in front. This CB radio system is also equipped with something known as the up-armored receiver.

Despite the numerous radios that could be looking for channels and signals near you, you can be sure that yours will prevail. This is because the filtering for the receiver will block any of the adjacent channels.

Pros:

Excellent backlit
The radio’s receiving filtering will remove any unwanted channel
The radio’s up-armored receiver makes the radio to work great even in harsh conditions

Cons:

Doesn’t come with a sideband
Won’t provide NOAA weather channel

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9 – Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB-Way Radio

Are you looking for the best portable CB radio that you can carry with you along the road? Then look no further. The Midland 75-822 is the latest CB radio in the market that has been constantly receiving positive feedback among its loyal and satisfied users.

One of the reasons why customers love this CB radio a lot is because of the various installation options. Indeed, it’s very versatile and can work great for emergency responders and truckers.

What’s even more interesting is the fact that this portable radio looks like your typical walkie-talkie. However, its functionality is topnotch! One of its great features is the illuminated backlit display that offers clear visibility in all lighting conditions.

It also comes with a 40-channel range of frequency and 10 NOAA channels. Above all, its impressive compact design makes it the best portable CB radio in the market.

Pros:

1-year warranty
Equipped with an automatic noise limiter
Features 40 CB channels and 10 NOAA channels

Cons:

It looks like a toy

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10 – Uniden PC787 – (Best CB Radio for Truckers)

The Uniden PC787 deserves to be on this list of the best CB radio systems because it comes with a few nice features. For a start, you’ll be treated to a clean and well setup layout at the front, which displays exactly what each knob and button does.

It features an attractive blue backlit color and includes other important features such as the integrated SWR meter. It also comes equipped with automatic noise limiter, noise blanker, instant channel access, and 40 channels.

The radio’s expansive display on both ends allows you to easily view the signal strength that you are receiving from the radio. Furthermore, the bottom buttons make it easy for you to adjust the tone volume, squelch volume, microphone gain, and most especially the main volume.

Pros:

Equipped with a large S/RF/SWR meter
Comes with a built-in SWR, which is great for antenna matching
Tone Control adjusts the audio to provide the best sound quality
NOAA weather through alerts

Cons:

The beep it produces is somewhat annoying

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Conclusion

PLAN - PRICE

Description

Uniden Bearcat 980 SSB

Can be easily adjusted


The cord for the mic is extra long


Uniden 980 SSB has an expansive display


SSB-driven excellent performance

Cobra 29LTD CB Radio

Delta Tune feature clarifies any incoming signals


Equipped with adjustable Dynamike Boost


Features SWR Calibration for the antenna


40-channel coverage

Stryker SR-655 CB Radio

Stryker SR-655 CB Radio has excellent backlit


The radio's receiving filtering will remove any unwanted channel


The radio's up-armored receiver makes the radio to work great

Midland 75-822 CB Radio

Midland 75-822 CB-Way Radio comes with a 1-year warranty


Equipped with an automatic noise limiter


Midland 75-822 features 40 CB channels and 10 NOAA channels

Uniden PC787 CB Radio

Equipped with a large S/RF/SWR meter


Comes with a built-in SWR, which is great for antenna matching


Tone Control for audio


Get NOAA weather

All of the radios mentioned above are highly recommended. But of all these, it is the Galaxy-DX-959 that really caught our attention.

As such, when it comes to the best CB radio, this is the model that we would highly recommend. This device is equipped with all the features that you need in a reliable CB radio system.

What’s more, the design is visually appealing, which will surely stand out if you install it in your vehicle. This CB radio is perfect for all kinds of users, whether you’re a beginner, expert, a trucker, or pretty much anyone that needs a reliable CB radio system.

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