Whether you use your CB radio to chat with nearby friends or to communicate from your truck or boat over long distances, you’ll want one you can rely on. The distance between which you can communicate on two radios is called your range and, for most people, it’s the single most important thing about your CB radio.
Why you shouldn’t only buy range
When buying a CB radio, most people’s first question will be: “What kind of range can I get on it?” This is tricky question; since range is affected by a multitude of variables, including terrain, antennae quality, mount location and more.
Since all CB radios are required by law to transmit with 4 watts of power, their differences will all be found in their size and features, and not by how much power they put out and how far they can reach. So before buying, know what features you want in a CB radio and use that to guide you. Here are 5 of our favorite CB radios:
- Best all in one: Cobra 75 WX ST
The Cobra 75 is a compact unit that packs a ton of impressive features into an all-in-the-microphone unit. Having all the radio components built directly into an oversized microphone assembly means that you won’t need to search out a convenient spot to hang a massive CB. Just pick a spot for your mic to hang and you’re done.
This small size means the Cobra 75 is especially popular with ATV riders, Jeep drivers and other off-road vehicles that don’t have a lot of cab space.
It’s also got an impressive array of features, including weather, channel scanning and backlit display.
- Best full size unit: Cobra 29 series
The Cobra 29 has been a staple in the CB world for decades. This reputable and full-sized CB radio is an undisputed champion among many big rig drivers and pickup truck drivers who have more cab room for mounting full-sized units.
The Cobra 29 is a steadfast workhorse that can function for over 10 years in rough conditions. It comes in several different models that range in their features.
- Best heavy-duty: Uniden Pro 510 XL
A favorite in heavy construction and machinery areas like mines, pits and roadwork crews, the Uniden Pro 510 XL is simple and rugged.
While it won’t impress you with flashy features, the Uniden Pro is the radio for you if you need something built like a tank that just works. They offer just a couple knobs and dials and permit basic CB operation, but you won’t find anything that will outlast the Uniden Pro in dirty, dusty, wet or rough conditions.
- Best portable – Midland 75-822
While most portable CB radios with their “rubber duckie” antennas provide pretty miserable range, the Midland 75-822 is a crusader that can transform from a simple portable to a long-range radio.
If it’s being used in the car, you can keep it on the car-docking base and use the permanent vehicle antenna to get amazing range.
Then you can pop it out and take it for a walk with a battery pack and a small, rubber walkie-talkie style antenna.
- Best value – Midland 1001 LWX
While it’s not the absolute cheapest CB radio you can find, the Midland 1001 LWX is the best we can find in terms of value for money spent.
For under $70, you’ll get a solid radio with a backlit display, public address and weather channel and its small, compact build makes it easy to install.
Of course, these are just the favorites according to us. You can find loads more of the best CB radios at many other places online. Happy hunting!