What Is the Best CB Radio for Truckers? Read Our Best Long Range CB Radio Reviews!
It’s never really been easy to pick a “best” radio per se, because different people have different tastes. It all comes down to what you really want and what your options are but since you’ve gone through our buying guide that should be a lot easier for you. Furthermore, while picking these CB radio brands, we did our best to cover a wide range of tastes. Let’s have a look at our product picks and see what fits your current needs best.
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Our Top Choice
Uniden focuses on performance in the manufacture of its products. That ideal shows in its BEARCAT 980 SSB. It has a noise blanker, frequency display, and access to weather alerts. A similar product that costs less is the BEARCAT 880
, which gives you squelch control for signal clarity, a PA/CB switch, and a 6-pin to 4-pin adapter.
Uniden Bearcat 980 SSB 40-Channel SSB CB Radio With Sideband, WeatherBand And 7-Color Digital Display – 10 Style Options
Nobody knows CB radio electronics like Uniden does, which is why we chose this brand. With its good blend of quality and affordability, it’s no wonder its products are in popular demand all over the country.
Uniden really outdid itself with the Bearcat 980 (selling for $189.99 – Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price), making it our top-choice radio for you. The Bearcat 980 has the following features:
- 7-color LCD display with backlit text easily readable in the daytime and at night
- Has a power of 12 watts and doesn’t veer off frequency
- Comes with a 6-pin microphone, and a 4-pin to 6-pin adapter for if you don’t have a 6-pin microphone
- A lightweight radio that can be easily fixed in your car
- 40 channels and 7 weather station frequencies to choose from
- RF gain and mic gain controls
- Dynamic squelch control that provides quality audio
- Noise-canceling microphone for clear communication
- PA/CB switch allows you switch to PA mode to make announcements on an external speaker
- S/RF/SWR Meter lets you easily tune your CB antenna for ideal performance
Be sure to get a CB radio made by a manufacturer committed to innovation and performance. The Cobra 29 LX CB Radio gives you powerful features for keeping track of things wherever you are. If you want a powerful CB radio that costs a little less, try the Cobra 29LTD Professional CB Radio
Cobra 29LX Professional CB Radio - Emergency Radio, Travel Essentials, NOAA Weather Channels and Emergency Alert System, Selectable 4-Color LCD, Auto-Scan and Radio Check
If you’re looking for a big-name brand that sells dependable and affordable CB radios, Cobra is a good choice. For over sixty years, Cobra has diligently delivered great products and terrific service to its customers.
Cobra’s 29 LX CB Radio (selling for $149.95 – Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) is a beautiful radio that will suit truckers and drivers alike. This radio is an affordable, top quality product and will last a very long time in your car.Some of its features include:
- Automatic channel scanning for all 40 channels
- 4-color LCD radio display
- 10 NOAA weather channels giving you updated weather information as you travel
- Lightweight, can be mounted in your car
- Power output of 4 watts
- Noise-canceling microphone for clear communication
- Antenna warning indicator that visually notifies you when the antenna needs to be checked
- Adjustable Dynamike Boost effectively boosts microphone for better voice clarity
- Can store up to 10 frequently used channels
- Immediate access to emergency channel 9 and information channel 19
In addition to a variety of mounted long range CB radios, Cobra also offers portable handheld CB radios.
Stryker is dedicated to creating highly efficient communications equipment. Its commitment to quality and performance shows in its 10 Meter Radio, which has receiver filtering and variable power control. Now, if you are looking for a 10 Meter radio that has a programmable CB radio transceiver, we recommend the AnyTone AT-6666 10 Meter Amateur Radio for Truckers
Stryker SR-955hpc 10 Meter Amateur Trucker Radio With Brilliant 7-Color LED Backlit Face Plate - High Power Up-Armored Receiver
With a blend of innovation and electronic genius, Stryker manufactures some of the most popular radios, making it a top brand. It produces better versions of its radios every year, satisfying the needs of its customers.
Stryker’s 10 Meter Radio lives up to its name. It's an affordable yet durable product, so this radio is something that will cater to your needs. Some of its features are:
- 7-color LED display with all text backlit, making it easily readable at night and during the day
- Up to 70 watts at peak power
- Customizable with your PC, so you can download latest software on your PC and move it to your radio
- Special clarifier (hardly ever appears on AM radios) allowing you to move frequency up and down quickly
- Receiver that works during harshest periods
- Great transmission and a dimmer function
- Great talk back
- PC customizable 6 tone roger beeps
- Microphone connector in front for easy mounting in small spaces
- Built-in VOX with sensitivity adjustment
It is important to note this is a 10 meter radio, not an 11 meter (Citizens Band) radio. That means unlike a CB, you will most likely need a license to operate.
Galaxy has been building superior performance radios for years. The DX-959 AM/SSB Radio sports a proprietary noise filter and a large, legible meter with scales for power output and incoming signals. A similar alternative with the StarLite faceplate is the DX 959B Radio
which has talk-back circuit switch and covers a wide range.
Galaxy DX-959 40 Channel AM/SSB Mobile CB Radio With Frequency Counter – Proprietary Galaxy Noise Filter (GNF) Circuit
Galaxy makes radios that offer value for money. It uses only the best material to make them. It’s no secret that Galaxy is a popular radio manufacturer with stellar reviews everywhere.
The Galaxy DX 959 (selling for $165 – Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) is an improved version of the 949, with a great many changes that will make you ditch your old phone very quickly. A few of its features include:
- 5-digit frequency counter with big yellow digits making it easy to see while driving at night
- Galaxy noise filter that greatly reduces noise
- Detection of weak-SSB signals at certain distances
- Variable talk back feature that has an on and off circuit
- Dimmer that's helpful for people whose eyes are affected by radio lights
- Two-year warranty
- Receive gain control and mic gain control
- LED channel indicator and high SWR LED indicator
There's nothing smarter than buying a product made by a manufacturer of quality and durable items, like Midland. This is reflected in the Midland Portable/Mobile CB Radio, which has a multifunctional display with access to channels 9/19. A more flexible option is the Midland 1001Z
, which can connect to a PAS and be used as a mic.
Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB-Way Radio - Portable Handheld CB Radio with 40 Channels And Automatic Channel Scanning
Midland is an American company that has proven to be one of the best in radio productions in terms of quality and cost. Its products have been around for over fifty years, and demand still remains high. If you’re looking for something affordable, simple and effective, Midland is a great choice.
The Midland 75-822 Portable/Mobile CB Radio (selling for $124.95 – Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) is a portable, simple and effective radio. It has all the attributes of a fixed mount, but at a lower price. If you’re a trucker, this will prove helpful in emergencies and while you’re on the road. Check out some of its features:
- 40 channels and automatic channel scanning
- NOAA weather radio that gives you full information on the weather while on the go
- Output power of 4 watts, powered by AA batteries
- Automatic noise limiter (ANL) which effectively reduces static and enhances your reception
- Push-to-talk action
- Cigarette lighter adapter that provides power
Best Compact CB Radio Guide – Mounted CB Radios vs Handheld CB Radios vs Portable CB Radios
One of the scariest things is having an emergency and not being able to reach anyone. We’ve all seen thriller movies where an actor/actress really needs to make a call to get help but cannot make a call because there’s no cell network coverage. There are alternatives that can help in such situations. A CB radio is one such alternative.
The citizen’s band radio popularly known as CB radio is a simple means of radio communication allowed by the FCC for individuals and small businesses. It does not require licensing and has 40 available channels with 9 reserved for emergency services like the police and fire departments. When choosing a CB radio, there are some basic things you need to know.
The first thing to know is that power output isn’t a factor on any CB radio. By law, the maximum power output allowed for CB radios is 4 watts. This is a standard for CB radios so it should not be a consideration. The only exception to this is CB radios that transmit on a single-sideband (SSB) which transmits up to 12 watts. CB radios transmit 4 watts maximum power to 3 channels simultaneously - one main channel and two side channels. When transmitting on a single-sideband, you transmit its entire 12watts to one channel. However, when transmitting on this mode, only other users on that same mode can receive your transmission. For everyone to receive your transmission, you have to transmit on the regular mode at 4watts. If you are concerned about the transmission range, you can always improve this with a CB radio antenna.
There are other features that should be considered. These include: kind of display for day and night visibility, easy access to weather alerts and stations, channel scanning mode - manual or auto, Bluetooth for increased connectivity, SWR meter for proper antenna adjustment, SSB (Single-Sideband) mode, public address system for broadcasting your voice outside your vehicle and size for mounting suitability. Depending on your needs, these will help you choose what will be the best CB radio for you.
It is important that if you are mounting the CB radio in your vehicle, you look at where and how you want to mount it. Look at where the radio’s speaker is located so you don’t mount it in such a way as to block the sound. You could choose to connect the audio to an external speaker or even your car speaker.
If you are new to mounted CB radios, understand that they are not cell phones and don’t have their capacity or range. They are however very useful for disseminating real-time, localized information. This is why truckers use them a lot. They are also great for areas with little or no network coverage.
Video: How to Install a CB Radio
Installing a CB Radio in Your Car. | Courtesy of reedmayproductions
As with most products, a CB radio with a lot of features will cost more than one with fewer features. Some features affecting the price of a CB radio unit include: quality of build, quality of microphone, in-built SWR meter, quality and size of display, compatibility with other kinds of microphones, connectivity to external speakers, and additional features like Bluetooth.
From our research, we found that with between $70 and $300, you can get a very good CB radio. In fact, you may actually end up getting some of the products we have listed at cheaper rates. The important thing is that you will always be getting value for the money. Bear in mind best value is not always cheapest, and we have not included products which fail to provide adequate quality for users.
There are certain features that will differentiate one CB radio from another. Knowing the features that are important to you will help you choose easily. Features to look out for include:
- Size – it goes without saying that the radio you pick needs to fit in your vehicle properly
- Type of display – for day and night visibility
- Channel scanning mode – automatic or manual
- SWR meter – for properly setting the antenna
- Weather alerts – easy access to weather stations
- Bluetooth – for connectivity options
- Public address system – for amplifying your voice outside the vehicle
- Single-sideband mode – for 12 watt output transmission
- Position of speaker – for best mounting position
Construction and Design
You need a CB radio that is built solidly. Aside from this, you also need to consider where you want to mount it as this will determine the ideal size. A lot of these radios are designed with speakers underneath them. You may also come across handheld CB radios that are also pretty easy to use. You will need to be sure to either choose one that has its speaker where it won’t be blocked when you mount it or you mount it in such a way as not to block the speaker. If you have to block the speaker, then you may be looking at getting an external speaker so you can hear clearly.
Video: How To Tune Your CB Antenna
Getting a Good Signal on Your CB Radio. | Courtesy of Jerry Arbs
Performance and Ease of Use
There are a few things that can improve the ease of use of your CB radio. A screen that you can easily read from day or night is very important. For those who are affected by the light from the screen especially while driving at night, you will want to get one with lights that dim. Additionally, manually scanning channels may not always be comfortable. If this will be a major issue for you, you should go for one that scans automatically.
If you will be using your unit in a noisy environment, getting one with a noise-cancellation microphone will certainly be very helpful. If you also have certain frequencies you use very often, having a unit that stores emergency channels and frequently used channels will be great so you don’t have to scan every time you want to tune to those channels.
These are few general features that can make choosing and using your CB radio easier.
Get the Best CB Radio of 2021!
We hope we helped you decide on the best radio for you. Note that the CB radios here are just samples from these brands that we think you’ll love. They have other models. So, make your selection and get talking – over!
Our Top Choice
Uniden Bearcat Long Range CB Radio
Cobra 29 LX Pro Long Range CB Radio
Stryker Compact 10 Meter HAM Radio
Galaxy DX 959 Portable Trucker CB Radio
Midland Mobile Potable CB Radio
CB Radio FAQs
What is a CB radio?
A CB radio is one that people can use to communicate person-to-person over a short distance. The radio usually operates on 40 channels, making it possible for people to connect and speak directly. They are used by first responders, police, emergency workers, and situations without other communication infrastructure. Check out our review on CB radios for more information.
What is the best CB radio?
The best CB radio makes it easier for you to scan channels and show what’s happening on a screen. Notably, the CB radio should be affordable (or within your price range). It should also connect via Bluetooth, issue weather alerts, and accommodate an external speaker. Finally, the best CB radio should be easy to use.
How to tune a CB radio?
For you to properly tune a CB radio, park the vehicle in a suitable location. Once you have hooked up the SWR meter, check the signal strength on various channels. On the SWR, set the switch to FWD and select Channel 1. Press the microphone button and hold, setting until you reach the end of the channel range. Without letting go of the microphone switch, turn the SWR switch to SWR or REF. Check the SWR meter and record the reading on it.
How to increase watts on a CB radio?
You can increase the watts on a CB radio from a maximum of 4 watts to more. You have to try modulation adjustment, even though this method may distort the sound. Also, having a high-quality antenna can significantly improve sound quality. If you can locate the dead critical wattage on the radio, tune it to increase the radio’s power. Finally, you can amplify the sound and raise the dead critical wattage.
How to use a CB radio?
You can use a CB radio by tuning to the channel on which you wish to communicate. Regardless of the time, you will find at least one channel with an ongoing conversation. Since CB radio users communicate in codes, familiarize yourself with that language. When people on a channel take a break from their discussion, request a radio check, and wait. You may practice using a CB radio with some of your friends to know what’s expected. You can also use channel 9 to contact emergency services.