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To find the best CB Radio we researched & tested more than 30 models. Our scoring criteria focused on 4-watt AM RF power output for maximum range, the number of channels, audio quality controls, and ease of use. We also evaluated auxiliary features such as Bluetooth integration, night/backlit displays, and mounting options. It’s important to choose a radio that has significant signal strength. Additionally, it is always better to choose the best car accessories you can find or afford.
Our best overall pick goes to the Cobra 29Lx Professional CB Radio. It provides the ideal combination of audio quality, range, and channel variety – blowing the competition away with its overall feature set. It soundly beats our honorable mention, the Uniden PRO520XL Pro Series 40-Channel CB Radio, thanks to its dedicated iRadar smartphone app and Bluetooth capabilities.
Keep reading to learn more about the Cobra 29Lx Professional CB Radio and 6 other CB radios that made the cut.
The Cobra 29LX Dynamike feature allows for improved voice clarity by controlling how loud you are. Think of it as a speaker in reverse without distortion and little to no transmission squeal. An easy-to read 4-color LCD display is also available in day or night time driving modes, along with 24/7 NOAA weather channel access for regular weather alerts. Who needs the best weather channels when you have acess to at least 10 NOAA channels. Plus, 4 watts of output power will keep your radio running at full frequency. A CB radio and the best car subwoofer make for great travels. Speaking of weather, if you are interested in protecting your car from harsh weather conditions, check out our review of the best carport cover.
Lastly, the Cobra 29Lx Professional CB Radio can also be paired with your smartphone to enable hands-free calling and receiving, as well as on-screen voice and text ID. It also has a dedicated smartphone app, iRadar, for live police, road hazard, and speed trap alerts to stay ahead of law enforcement. Plus, of course, there will be access to the instant emergency channel too. Manual alerts can also be reported by other drivers on the same network.”
Arguably, the Uniden’s greatest claim to fame is its small and compact build, more than capable of handling the rigorous grind of off-road driving. Its build ranks way above cheap and flimsy plastic, inspiring confidence the first time you touch it. It also can also be mounted in several ways using the provided “U” mounting bracket anywhere along a flat surface, such as your dashboard or above the rearview mirror. This radio will give you access to any of the 40 CB channels authorized by the FCC. This will be very useful for the next time you need to reach the emergency channel. And, you know what else is useful? The best ceramic coating for cars. Check it out.
One of the Uniden’s most notable upgrades over its predecessor, the PRO-510XL, is the addition of a Public Address switch with long coiled front-facing microphone cord. Simply connect to an external PA speaker and select Public Address mode to deliver booming commands on your next group camping trip. Along with your CB, the best breathalyzer is a must accessory.
Its front-firing speaker sounded excellent despite its compact size, with an included front microphone plug and an external loudspeaker jack for public announcements. Its microphone is also super easy to grip with well-positioned up/down channel buttons. This radio also has all 40 cb channels authorized by the FCC.
A digital menu also comes with several display options for color (orange, blue, or green) and a dimmer for better visibility during day time or night time driving. This will make your next call to channel 9 immediate, and convenient. One knock, however, is its congested, hard-to-read display, offering little spacing in between the S-meter, channel numbers, and menu options. Check out the best jump starter in case of emergency.
Our research also unveiled a fine-tuned automatic noise limiter, which helps filter engine and other background noise to a minimum, making it an excellent choice for a heavy mix of city and highway driving. Range is also not a concern, using a Single Side Band (SSB) transmission, which triples the 4-watt power of standard CB radios to 12 watts for longer 2-way communication range with other SSB-compatible CB radios. Access to an AM radio in this radio, will also give you several radio channels to choose from. When installing a CB radio, it might be a good time to check your headlights and use the best headlight restoration kit.
The CB-27 has outstanding audio controls despite its small size and low price tag, boasting RF Gain control to adjust receiver sensitivity and flexible squelch control to manage background static. Automatic squelch controls reach 9 levels and manual squelch controls reach 29 levels for even greater calibration. It also doubles as a public address system when paired with an external speaker system (sold separately by Radioddity), using a 78-inch long mic cord and removable hand mic to help you control unruly campers or shout instructions on a job site with ease. Also, check out the best satellite radio for car.
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Our favorite Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB-Way Radio feature is its handheld function with solid button placement and feel, along with textured knobs on top for volume and squelch controls. Its a true handheld with an optional walkie-talkie antenna and battery pack, so it can be used in multiple vehicles without much trouble. Its only downside is that power reduces to 3 watts when using an external battery, which reduces range. However, if you are in an area with little competing signal traffic, structures, or diversified terrain, it should not present much of an issue. This is definitely the best handheld CB that we’ve used.
Rounding it the Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB-Way Radio are its LCR (last channel) buttons and memory function buttons that go to stored channels. Programming is a breeze with a simple press of the ‘Function’ button and holding down one of five memory buttons.
The Cobra 19 DX IV is really small and compact, built using non-durable hard plastic, so we highly recommend it for daily cruising on smooth terrain and not the off-road with tons of vibration and dust.
As an AM-mode only radio, the Cobra 19 DX IV does not have channel scanning or weather alerts with the lack of sideband signal transmission. Its channels are only limited to manual 40 channel access and quick switching between channels 9 (emergency) and 19 (traffic). If your main purpose is to communicate with others, the Cobra 19 DX IV – CB Radio offers enough pop to do the job. You might also want to take a look at the Uniden Bearcat handheld police scanner for when you’re outside your truck.
Buying a CB radio can be an exhausting process, with tons of features that could make it hard to understand what is most important. Our evaluation looked at power output, number of available channels, channel scanning, size, and ergonomics/ease of use. We did not include any CB radios with less than 4 watts of power, excess background noise reception, limited squelching options, and poor usability. You may want a radio that has an instant channel too,
Picking the best CB radio to accompany you on that off-road expedition could be jaunting. In our research, we only focused on CB radios with a well-rounded feature set based on our evaluation criteria. During our extensive research testing some of the more popular CB radios on the market, we narrowed down our evaluation criteria to the following:
Our vote goes to the Uniden PRO520XL Pro Series 40-Channel CB Radio. It includes a built-in automatic noise limited and auto-squelch to enhance input quality and keep background noise to a minimum. Consider that a must with loud truck drone and rest stop noise on the roads. Plus, it has a far-reaching transmission, particularly useful in remote areas with poor voice and data signals.
On the standard 4-watt power (max power legal allowed), there are many variables that could affect range, including signal traffic, number of structures, and type of terrain. Remember, radio waves cannot transmit through walls. Expect to reach anywhere from 1 to 30 miles miles depending on conditions.
Absolutely. Although social media, cell use, and dedicated trucking app remain top of mind for many folks, CB radios continue to enjoy high usage today. It is very popular with truck drivers who spend tons of time out alone on the road looking to connect with other truck drivers.