What are the best CB radios? We can go back to the 1970s to remember the first CBs available. Back then, they had a rather more underground use. Before the control of radio frequencies and other legal standards, these units gained a bit of a cult following.
Movies of the time portray CB users as rebel outlaws. Able to abuse the system by channeling in with fellow truckers and other CB fans. To pull together and avert justice. Convoy and Smokey and the Bandit are two of the most high profile movies of this genre.
40 years later and the CB has lost this stigma. Now it is perceived as a must-have item in all manner of vehicles. Most certainly it is a tool for the professional trucker. RV drivers, regular highway users or even boating guys now have a need for a CB radio.
So, let’s take a look at some of the best CB radios available today and decide which one is the best one for you…
- Top 7 Best CB Radios To Buy In 2020 Reviews
- Best CB Radios Buyers Guide
- So, What To Look For In the best CB Radios?
- So, What Are The Best CB Radios?
Top 7 Best CB Radios To Buy In 2020 Reviews
1 Cobra 29 LX MAX CB radio
This Cobra CB radio offers you, as a professional driver, a legal way of communicating safely and easily through your smartphone with this Smart CB.
There is a Bluetooth feature that will allow drivers to answer, place and terminate calls just with the touch of a single button while you can still stay focused on the road ahead. Calls to your smartphone are synched into this CB radio.
A built-in noise-canceling microphone enables calls to be heard loudly and clearly even if you are in a cab-over rig or particularly noisy vehicle. Incoming audio is sent through to the radio’s speaker allowing for all voices to be crisp and clear.
A hands-free ‘rewind say again’ function will play you back the last ten seconds of any missed messages. All messages are recorded with a digital voice recorder so you will never miss important information. You can also record ten-second memos to play back at any time.
Other features include an iRadar app. You will receive and can report live police alerts. These include speed traps, red light cameras and any road hazards ahead. There is real-time alert sharing with all other iRadar users.
For external conditions, the CB radio has ten NOAA channels that will inform you of any incoming hazards or changes in the weather. Instant access to NOAA channels 24 hours a day will keep you fully up to date.
The CB is fully illuminated with a customizable 4 color LCD display. You can pick from blue, red, green and amber for that easy viewing in nighttime or day conditions.
2 Galaxy-DX-959 CB Radio
The Galaxy DX959 CB radio is designed with the needs of a serious CB operator in mind. There are features that you can appreciate, and any new user can easily master. The functions of this CB radio are clearly laid out in a driver-friendly format that makes for perfect ease of use. While keeping you focused on the road ahead.
Each button or dial controls its own task. This will minimize the need to look at displays or cycle through menus for operation. This is the top of the line CB model from Galaxy.
First, it has AN/SSB and PA modes displayed on a large easy to read meter that shows you a power output scale calibrated for both AM and SSB. A modulation percentage scale is for use on AM frequencies.
You are displayed with a signal strength scale that can indicate incoming and outgoing strengths and SWR. The frequency counter display is five large yellow dots. There is a larger channel display with two yellow digits. A dimmer control can tone the meter lamp and digit display or turn it off completely.
When speaking you have a roger beep with on/off switch. For audio to be kept as clear as can be when receiving, there is a three-tone receiver switch. A Galaxy noise filter (GNF) is able to clarify and reduce background noise, especially with weaker SSB signals.
A three position tone control switch will help with manual adjustment for getting your signal as clear as possible.
You will receive a handheld microphone with this CB radio along with the mounting brackets for the unit and the microphone. Additional power cords are supplied too.
3 Cobra 18WXSTII CB Radio
Here is a 40 channel CB radio with 10 weather channels. This CB unit is ideal for professional truckers as well as for fitting and using in smaller, more recreational type vehicles.
We have here a nicely compact CB unit that will quickly and accurately scan all 40 channels. An alert scan automatically tunes into the strongest channel for communication to fellow CB’ers.
The scanner also ensures that you will not miss any important information or news with instant access to 10 NOAA weather channels, 24 hours a day. You also have instant emergency channel 9 access for incoming news or announcements.
The sound tracker system that is fitted is able to cut 90% of all static and other interference noise for much clearer communication. When there is no signal at all a squelch control will eliminate all background noises completely.
A dual watch system is in place that allows for two selected channels to be constantly monitored simultaneously. And an all 40 channel scan will allow for you to keep your ear open for any incoming transmissions.
The display is easy to read and shows you your channel number, incoming signal strength, and the RE power output. However, due to its compact size, we feel it could take longer than just a passing scan to find your specific knob or dial.
A heavy duty microphone has nine feet of extension lead. This allows for use not just when driving but when docked and outside your vehicle. Or if fitted into an RV then it can easily be used well into the living quarters.
4 Midland 5001Z CB radio
This is a 40 channel CB radio that is loaded with features.
But, before we take a more detailed look at the Midland CB, the first thing that strikes us is the classic silver face and retro design of this unit. It would not look out of place in an old classic Peterbilt or Kenworth big rig from 40 years ago. It has that real funky 1970s look about it.
The 5001z features a Midland X-TRA talk microphone gain control. Which in layman’s terms means it will boost transmitted audio sensitivity, that in turn will increase voice clarity.
With four watts of output, you will get the maximum power for the widest communication and signal range. An RF gain control can adjust the reception sensitivity and that, in turn, will give you the clearest reception on the channel you are using. Both for sending and receiving conversations.
Additional features included are an instant Channel 9 button. Push this, and you will get instant access to the emergency services channel for both giving or receiving critical information.
A switchable noise blanker circuit will aid in reducing background noises and any interference. This CB radio also has a PA function. There is a dimmer switch for the digital channel display and the analog power meter dial on the face of the unit.
5 Uniden PC78LTX CB radio
We have here another cool, retro designed CB radio. this time from Uniden that really looks seriously ‘old skool.’ Once again it has the legal maximum of 4 watts of power. It has 40 channels you can connect to, with a SWR meter.
The radio’s multiple adjustments allow you to precisely fine-tune the signal and the sound quality, to receive excellent clarity through to your cockpit speakers.
For even extra clarity you can change the squelch control settings as well as the ANL/noise blanker. This will really reduce any static feed so you can have a very clear sound.
A public address system is in place. When you switch to the speakers for this function, it is very loud indeed. There is also a button for instant channel 9 emergency channel for either to receive or give information.
The microphone gain can be adjusted to control the sensitivity of what the microphone will pick up. This means it can aid in reducing background engine or other cabin noise while chatting.
A red digital display informs you of your tuned channel, and a dimmer knob will tone up or down its brightness. A powerage dial is illuminated to show wattage use. We would comment though that this is rather a small dial so visually is not quickly readable.
The whole unit is actually smaller than others in this review so may need more concentration if you are on the move while using it. We feel this unit would be more suitable for the recreational CB radio user. Such as for an RV, day van or even a boat.
6 Uniden PRO510XL CB radio
This is a second CB radio offered by Uniden and is a part of their professional series. And, it has reception for 40 AM channels. This unit offers high-performance operations in a very compact, mobile 2-way radio.
It can operate on any of the 40 AM radio frequencies that are authorized by the FCC. An S/RF meter and a red-lit LED display indicates to you your monitor activity at just a glance.
As a part of Uniden’s professional series, a built-in ANL (automatic noise limiter) helps to eliminate any background noises such as your vehicle’s engine or extra cabin sounds.
The Squelch control will aid in the fine-tuning performance and which will eliminate interference from the channel you are tuned into. It allows you to set a threshold level that is of below which any noise will be heard.
Its front positioned microphone has an extra long coiled cord for convenient use. Microelectronics are integrated into this Euro-style 2-way radio. A superheterodyne circuit or phase locked loop technology assures a very precise communication frequency control. To boost your signal level, you can adjust the gain and get a visual readout from the RF meter dial.
This CB radio will come supplied with the micro
7 Midland 75-822 CB radio
So, we come to the last CB radio in this review, which is another from Midland. This is a portable unit, walkie talkie style. It operates on 40 channels and can still have 4 watts of output power.
Rather than being a wired in radio, power is supplied with six AA batteries. Also included is a cigarette lighter adapter for any battery-free mobile use.
To have the Midland portable CB radio when traveling can be the most invaluable tool for communication between fellow road users. You will be able to keep up with general road conditions or any approaching hazards, and it will prove very much an advantage to your journey.
Using the channel scan on this mobile CB, you can automatically check all stations for any activity. It will stop for five seconds on any active channel for you to decide if you want to stay on that particular frequency.
You can also store and instantly access five channels in the radio’s memory. When you turn on the device, a channel memory feature will return you to the last channel you were on before powering off.
An ANL (automatic noise limiter) and a squelch control are both fitted functions for improving reception while reducing interference and background noise from your reception. You have instant access to NOAA weather radio channels, and the dual watch will monitor emergency channels 9 and 19.
This unit is ideal if you are in need of a handheld CB that can link up to communications while allowing you to move about as well as while in the driver’s seat.
A backlit LCD display with a day/night feature tells you your channel. There is a ‘lock-in’ feature to store your preferred settings. The flexible antenna has a BNC connector and is easily removable for transportation. For hands-free use, there is an external headset jack provided.
For maximum battery power, the six AA batteries have a battery life extender feature. This allows you to set high/low power settings from one to four watts for even more battery life.
Best CB Radios Buyers Guide
Well, there we have it. A quick look at some of the best CB radios out there today.
For the professional trucker hauling goods 24/7 a need to know of oncoming weather conditions, any hazards ahead or quicker routes are all essential information for safe, easy and rapid travel.
Likewise, for any long journey, you may be taking in whatever kind of vehicle, traffic and travel news can make your trip all the easier. What better way to find out all of this than with a CB radio unit. It will provide you instant communication with fellow road users within your vicinity.
So, What To Look For In the best CB Radios?
Well, most importantly is the reception. Most CB radios will have 40 channels to use. If you are in conversation, you can tune in to a vacant channel to continue.
This can be a major annoyance. Thankfully, modern units come with some kind of noise filter fitted, and most will have an added squelch reducer.
Long gone are the days of continual tune adjusting and that raspy background noise. Of course, there may still be some noise, but with good clear speakers, you will be OK.
Up to ten channels will tune to NOAA weather stations across the country which will inform you of the conditions ahead. You can also relay messages yourself to advise fellow drivers.
Instant Channel 9 access is a very important aid too. This can tell you of any accidents, tailbacks or hazards ahead. You can also use it to contact the emergency services if necessary.
If you have an RV or a boat and you don’t want to be limited to just using your CB from the driver’s seat, then some of the Radios we have looked at here have long coil cords for extra movement around your vehicle.
Ease of using the controls is a must, simply for the safety of driving, without being distracted trying to find a specific knob or dial. Most of these CB radios have a power outage dial, and all have an LED channel display. These can be noted with just a one-second glance.
Knobs and dials may take longer to find and use, so they need to be spaced well and found quickly. We felt with a couple of these units reviewed that they were not sufficiently spaced. If that is the case, we have mentioned it in the reviews.
So, What Are The Best CB Radios?
There we are then ‘big buddies.’ We’ve come to the end of our informative review of some of the best CB radios out there today.
For all you truckers out there in ‘CB land’ we think the model that would suit you best is the…
It has a very clear display with easy to use functions. The 40 channels include 10 NOAA weather channels as well as instant Channel 9 access. We also like the fact that this has a Bluetooth mode, so you have the added bonus of connecting your mobile phone to the unit.
For use in an RV, boat or other smaller vehicle the best CB radio is the…
It is a nice smaller unit that has a very long microphone cord so you can have mobility around your vehicle.
For now, then, it is a ‘big 10-4, over and out’.