After comparing 10 of the best CB radios available on the market, we have found that the versatility and functionality of Cobra 19DXIV make it the top choice for anyone who needs a CB radio.
We have spent many hours collecting feedback from the internet and testing to bring you this unbiased review to help you make the right purchase decision.
In this top 10 review, we took into account factors that might influence your buying decisions, such as squelch, automatic noise limiter (ANL), RF gain, and display.
Public Address / NOAA Weather / SSB / SWR
Cobra HHRT50 is designed for road trips for all vehicles – RVs, cars, trucks, and even motorcycles.
This is largely due to its compatibility with a wide range of accessories.
It comes with an external magnetic mount antenna for you to set it on your dashboard.
Alternatively, if you ride a motorcycle, it can be connected to your helmet headset for safe communication.
You can charge it with the included DC cigarette lighter power cord.
Cobra’s patented SoundTracker cuts the background and static noise down to up to 90%, giving you crystal-clear transmission. It has a bright LCD screen and ‘scan and dual watch’, a feature that allows you to monitor two channels at once.
However, this mobile CB radio sometimes falls short when competing with other electronics for the frequency. To counter this, you should minimize the use of your gadgets in the car.
Designed for road trips, Cobra HHRT50 can be mounted in your car, connected to helmet headphones, or used as a handheld radio. Although other gadgets in the car might disrupt its reception, it delivers clear and loud audio with its patented noise reduction system and packs many easy-to-use features that greatly enhance your user experience.
|Scan and dual watch|
|Supports wide range of accessories|
|Noise Reduction technology|
|Weak reception in the car|
Measuring at just 6.5” x 4.5” x 2”, Cobra 19DXIV delivers beyond basic functionalities in a small and compact package.
It comes with the standard 40 channels, including an instant access button to channels 9/19 for emergency transmissions.
With adjustable squelch and RF gain, you can get the clearest transmission from this small radio.
Besides, it is very easy to use. The bright LCD displays your settings and channel information like frequency and name. All the knobs and buttons are well-placed and clearly-marked, so even novices can figure it out in a jiffy.
Made of flimsy plastic, its build quality left a lot to be desired. However, this is outweighed by its inexpensive price tag and impressive functionality, making it one of the best value-for-money CB radios.
An affordable compact CB radio, Cobra 19DXIV comes with features found on more expensive alternatives – PA capabilities, instant emergency channel access, squelch, and RF gain. Although it is a bit flimsy compared to other radios, it is one of the best compact CB radios on the market.
|Instant channel 9/19 access|
|Easy to use and mount|
|Can be used as a PA system|
|Mediocre build quality|
Cobra 29LTD is well-known for being a reliable performer throughout the decades, so we were pretty excited to give this new and improved beast a whirl.
Right out of the box, this Cobra CB radio is sleek and stylish sticking to its original looks with its built-in chrome cabinet.
Using the FCC-approved 4W power output, 40 CB channels, and a designated button for emergency channels, you can easily get in touch with other truckers on the road.
Armed with multiple features like RD gain, delta tune, and SWR meter calibration, you receive and transmit clear messages with minimal distortion. You can also use this radio as a public address system to relay important announcements.
Besides that, it is also incredibly easy to use. The front-panel microphone connector makes in-dash installation much easier than its competitors. Accurate and textile controls allow you to quickly make the changes you need without taking your eyes off the road. It even comes with a warning light to indicate antenna problems.
With multiple features aimed to reduce noise and a sturdy built-in microphone, Cobra 29LTD proved to be a solid all-around performer that stood the test of time. Despite its lack of Bluetooth support, it is extremely easy to operate without taking your eyes off the road, making it the best CB radio for truckers.
|Economical and reliable|
|Loud and clear audio|
|Antenna warning indicator|
|Sophisticated and well-designed|
|No Bluetooth support|
Galaxy offers a wide range of CB radios with SSB, of which Galaxy DX-959 is the top choice.
It has a user-focused design that makes it extremely easy to use.
For example, it features a large, easy-to-read S/RF meter with power output, modulation, SWR meter, and incoming signal that allows you to get more accurate readings.
All the clearly-labeled knobs and buttons and the backlit LED light also add to the convenience of using this CB radio.
To optimize its audio, it combines the volume control and automatic squelch control into one convenient knob. In addition, it doubles down with the Galaxy noise filter to pick up weak Single Side Band (SSB) signals and automatic noise limiter to deliver static-free transmissions. You can also use the variable talkback feature to judge your transmission quality.
However, it lacks basic features that should be a no-brainer for a premium AM/SSB CB radio. For example, the frequency counter lacks a 6th digit, which would make operating SSB a lot easier.
Galaxy DX-959 delivers clear communication in a driver-friendly package with an easy-to-read display and designated knobs for each function. It ensures a clear single side band and the AM transmission with multiple noise reduction systems. Featuring AM, SSB, and PA modes, this is the best SSB CB radio on the market.
|Outstanding voice clarity|
|Easy-to-read display and frequency counter|
|Long-range SSB performance|
|Variable dimmer control|
|Only 5 digits on the frequency counter|
At just 0.97 x 4 x 3.86 inches, CMX760 is perfect for you if you own a vehicle with limited space.
This Uniden radio has 40 channels and NOAA weather alerts. With the instant emergency channel 9/19 access, you can tune into emergencies and roadblocks around you with a press of a button.
Performance-wise, it comes with noise reduction features like ANL and squelch control, which reduces static noise for better reception.
Its backlit display and illuminated keys make it extremely easy to operate in low light. You can also choose from 7 display colors to avoid straining your eyes in a night drive.
Made for off-road vehicles, Uniden CMX760 executes its compact and convenient design without compromising much on basic CB features. With ANL and squelch, it maintains a high level of audio clarity. However, we would recommend using an external speaker for detailed listening as the built-in speaker may deliver scratchy audio.
|Ultra-compact for easy mounting|
|7-color backlit display|
|Memory channel scanning|
|Instant channel 9/19|
If you need a straightforward and budget-friendly radio, look no further than Uniden PRO505XL.
Pros and beginners alike are attracted to its minimalistic design – it sports a clean faceplate that only has a switch, two knobs, and three buttons.
The simple up/down channel selection button stands out in the design as it eliminates the need for cycling through menus. Besides that, with the PA/CB switch, you can easily toggle between two modes.
Although its features are great for the price, we wished that it came with weather channels.
Uniden PRO505XL features a simple but effective interface that doesn’t distract you from the road. Although it doesn’t support weather channels, it offers decent transmission quality, PA/CB capabilities, and a bright LCD screen. Overall, it is one of the best CB radios for budget hunters.
|Simple and intuitive design|
|Backlit LCD display|
|Sturdy and reliable|
|Decent audio quality|
|No weather channels|
Featuring a large, easy-to-read LED display, Uniden Bearcat 880 is easily one of the best CB radios of the series.
With 7 different backlight options, you can look at the screen without straining your eyes no matter the conditions.
It comes with 10 NOAA weather channels and alerts to keep you informed about the weather alongside the standard 40 CB channels.
Not only that, but it includes a memory channel scan system to help keep your eyes on the road while operating it.
To help decrease unwanted background noise, this Uniden radio features an effective dynamic squelch control. You can also use a wireless mic with this device to avoid tangled wires in your car.
The trade-off for the easy-to-read screen is the power drain – it uses up a lot of power. But if you keep the radio plugged into your car with the included DC adapter, you don’t have to be concerned about this.
Uniden Bearcat 880 does not disappoint with its large easy-to-read display and advanced weather/ channel scanner. Compatible with a wireless mic, it uses dynamic squelch control and ANL to deliver static-free transmissions. With the radio/antenna combo, it is one of the best 10-meter CB radios on the market as it features advanced functions for a fraction of the price.
|Large display with 7-color backlight option|
|Enhanced NOAA weather channels scan|
|Instant emergency channel 9 access|
|Wireless microphone compatible|
|Battery drains quickly|
Complete with 40 CB channels (including NOAA weather channels) and access to the National Scanner Database, Uniden BearTracker 885 keeps you up-to-date with national safety announcements while communicating with your fellow drivers.
It features a Digital Trunk Tracking System, allowing you to listen in to when the police or fire departments are dispatched.
Besides that, it also alerts you when it detects public safety radio traffic with its BearTracker system. The included GPS automatically selects a known nearby national database – all you need to do is tune in and drive. You can also select channel 9 at the press of a button.
With SWR meter for precision antenna tuning, RF gain, and talkback, you can be sure to receive clear transmissions, no matter how noisy your environment is. You can even enhance your transmissions further with the included ergonomic noise-canceling microphone.
It comes with an adjustable 7-color LED display, which is a big deal since you can pick the ideal color for your eyes when driving at night. Although the screen accurately displays your channel settings, it doesn’t give you more information about what the scanner picked up.
BearTracker 885 is the ideal radio for you if you need a mobile CB radio/ police scanner combo. Thanks to the included GPS, it gives you access to multiple databases and a digital trunk tracking scanner without even having to touch your radio. However, we think that more information about the channel should be displayed on the otherwise-great LED screen.
|Digital and analog Trunk Tracking scanner|
|7-color LED display|
|Weekly database updates|
|Lack of channel information|
Weighing less than a pound, Midland 1001LWX is a mobile CB radio that is likely to appeal to everyone, no matter what your skill level is.
It is user-friendly enough for novices to learn while offering enough features for seasoned drivers to take full advantage of.
The weather tracker automatically scans weather channels in your area to get the latest weather updates.
In terms of signal-receiving, it provides a squelch function to eliminate interfering background noises and RF gain for capturing weak signals, ensuring clear communication across the board. There is also a PA option for this model.
The only downside we could find is that there is no adjustable dimmer for the light. If you like to drive at night, the bright orange light might take some time to get used to.
Midland 1001LWX packs all the ‘big radio’ features in a compact design. It has an automatic weather tracker, multiple noise reduction systems, and a PA option. However, the brightness of the display is not adjustable, making it more suitable for people who like to drive during daylight.
|Easy to operate and install|
|Comes with a weather tracker|
|Suitable for all skill levels|
|Display light not adjustable|
Designed to be palm-sized and portable, Midland 75-822 offers useful features that you can use on the go.
It has the standard 40 CB channels, including 10 NOAA weather channels.
With an instant access button to channels 9 and 19, you can keep track of speed traps and incidents on the road.
Besides bringing you back to the last channel you listened to with the memory function, you can also program the function buttons to quickly access your five favorite CB channels.
Thanks to its wide range of compatible accessories, there are many ways to customize this CB radio. Using a car kit and external antenna adapter, you can turn this handheld CB radio into your central console. Not only that, but you can connect any CB antenna to this radio with the right connector.
With the automatic noise limiter and squelch control, you can boost reception and cut down on background noise. For handheld use, this CB radio is fuelled by 6 AA batteries. To conserve batteries, you can use the Hi/Lo button to control your power output. It can also be converted into a mobile unit using the included DC cigarette lighter adapter.
Thanks to a wide range of compatible accessories, Midland 75-822 is highly customizable. With great ANL and squelch control, it delivers crystal-clear audios without breaking a sweat. Since it weighs about 6oz while providing such great features, it is the best portable CB radio in our review.
|Instant channel 9/19 access|
|Wide range of accessories|
|Battery saving Hi/Lo power button|
|Automatic noise limiter|
|The included antenna is weak|
CB Radio – Quick Buying Guide
The best CB radio (not to be confused with WiFi radios) for you is the one that is made for your needs. But if you want something versatile that can be used in a variety of different settings, Cobra 19DXIV is your obvious choice.
Tips For Using Your CB Radio Like A Pro
The first thing you will realize when you use CB radios for the first time is that only one person can speak at a time. ‘Over’ is used to indicate that your transmission is over and it is the other person’s turn to talk. Besides that, there are tons of other useful tips and tricks that will help you use your CB radio like a pro.
Learn the emergency channels
Most CB radios come with the standard 40 channels, but that doesn’t mean you can use all of them. For example, channels 9 and 19 are commonly reserved for emergency broadcasts. There are also certain channels that are limited to north/south or east/west traffic.
Learn the lingo
Don’t be disheartened when you don’t know what ‘mama bear’ or ‘10-33’ means. The language of CB communication was developed by truckers in the 70s to avoid getting in trouble with the law, which means you would need to learn it too to be part of the club.
There are tons of CB glossaries on the internet that perfectly deciphers the hard-to-understand CB slangs. With enough practice, you can pick it up quickly and use it like a pro.
Mount your antenna properly
A properly mounted radio is not good enough to get full use out of it – you should properly mount your antenna as well. To get the maximum range out of your antenna, make sure it is mounted to the roof or another high point in your car.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does ‘CB’ stand for?
‘CB’ in CB radios stands for ‘citizens band’, a commonly-chosen mode of communication for truckers. Although it used to require a license to operate, the FCC made it legal and accessible for everyone. Now, off-road enthusiasts, motorcyclists, and RV owners dominate the CB airwaves.
How to increase watts on a CB radio?
You can increase the power of your CB radio by buying a longer antenna or consulting a CB expert. However, it is important to note that the FCC caps the maximum power a CB radio can transmit at 4W. Since most CB radios on the market already utilize the maximum power allowed, it is inadvisable to boost the power of your radio yourself in case you get into trouble with the FCC.
What is the range of a CB radio?
The general rule of thumb is one mile per watt of power output. So if your CB radio uses the maximum legally allowed 4 watts of power, you will get an average range of four miles. However, the range also depends heavily on the weather conditions and terrain. For instance, you get more range in an open field versus a dense forest since there are fewer obstructions.