Because Everyone Who is On the Road Again Needs to Stay Connected
The first Class D CB radios service was established in September 1958 by the Federal Communications Commission. Throughout the 60s it gained massive popularity. In the 70s, CBs blew up the airwaves and became the “must-have thing for 18-wheelers and more.
It kicked in during the year of 1973. An oil crisis occurred, and it meant that gas was in limited supply. So, everyone turned to their CB radio for information about where to find gas as well as where there were speed traps set up along their route. It was an age of convoys and everyone stayed in touch with one another.
In today’s world, there are still people who enjoy the simplicity and fun associated with using their CB radio. It still has a place in the hearts of many. Usable on the open roads, on the open water, and so much more. We wanted to share in the love of this popular communication device by showcasing the top 10 best CB radios to buy in 2020.
Our Top Picks
Our List of the Top 10 Best CB Radios
#1. Uniden UM435 Advanced Fixed Mount VHF Marine Radio
Although it is used for marine applications, this CB radio can hold its own in any situation. It is waterproof and submersible, with a 3-year warranty to ensure you can buy without worry. When out to sea, it can ensure you always have a lifeline to the shore, regardless of weather conditions. All it takes is a grip on the rugged mic or the push of a button.
It has a transmission power of 1-Watt/25-Watt. Channel options include marine channels as well as the USA and Canada. There is a memory scan, digital selective calling, and Specific Area Message Encoding (S.A.M.E) Weather Alerts. If you are in trouble, there is a selective calling or position send/request. A red distress button further ensures help is just around the corner. This CB radio measures in at 5 × 6.6 x 3-inches and weighs only 3.85 pounds (1.75 kg).
Conclusion: Several of the reviewers mention that the Uniden Advanced VHF has a faulty microphone clip. This seems to be the biggest problem. Overall, though, most people say that it has a range of more than 50 miles and an impressive speaker when you need to talk to others. For this reason, we say that it could be exactly what you want in a CB setup.
#2. Uniden BEARCAT 980 40- Channel SSB CB Radio
When on the road, the BEARCAT 980 could be just the ticket to keep your convoy together. It has a large easy-to-read display. This is due mostly to its illuminated control panel that is customizable with seven color choices. There are also laser-etched keys.
As to usability, it is a full spectrum CB with 40 channels to choose from. It automatically switches to the emergency NOAA channel with the push of a button. There is a noise-canceling microphone so that you do not have to deal with background noise when talking to others. It can even be used with a wireless microphone through an integrated SWR. As a bonus, it includes GPS and the BearTracker Warning System to ensure you stay off the “Bears” radar. This CB weighs in at 4-pounds and measures 3.5 x 15 x 8.5 inches, making it ideal for any truck cab.
Conclusion: Some say that there is a constant and annoying beep, but others say it does not bother them at all. The problem is the direct sun. In a cab, this may not be too big of an issue. However, it is worth considering. If these issues are not a problem, then you will enjoy some of the other features. Most owners say that it is full of cool features that you should find useful. We found it adorable enough to be on the best CB radios list.
#3. Cobra 29LTD Professional CB Radio
This 40-channel CB radio has instant access to the emergency channel number 9. This allows drivers to feel safe the moment your foot hits the pedal and you start slamming gears. It has an SWR calibration to give you peace of mind that your antenna is functioning at full strength. If you lose signal, a light will show up so that you know you need to check the system. It has a 4-watt output so that you have a good range of communication. This is the maximum power allowed by law on CB radios and it all fits inside a box that measures 9.2 x 7.2 x 2.25 inches.
The Cobra features a heavy-duty, dynamic microphone to ensure superior sound quality on your end. It has a switchable noise blanker which reduces static, and an RF gain reception. You hear only what you want to hear and so will the people you want to talk to.
Conclusion: Overall, this is a solid performing CB radio for most people. However, some have had issues getting all the features to work the way they want them to. This could be something wrong with their setup or it could be a fault. It may also be something you need to consider before buying.
#4. Uniden PRO505XL 40-Channel CB Radio
If you want a compact, but viewable CB radio, this could be the solution you have been looking for at 12.9 x 6 x 2.3 inches and 2-pounds. It is a 40-channel CB radio that has both CB and Public Address functions. The Uniden PRO505XL has a large, easy to read, backlit LCD screen. It also works well in a variety of vehicles.
When you are on the road with the PRO505XL, you can monitor your transmit power and see your signal strength with ease. It has a built-in Signal/RF power indicator and can be heard outside your vehicle when needed. If this isn’t loud enough, you can take advantage of an external speaker jack. With one purchase, you get the radio, a 4-pin electret microphone, hardware to mount it with, and a two-year warranty.
Conclusion: With a small, compact CB radio, you will miss out on some features. There aren’t any controls for a lot of the features some people want. However, if you want a basic, easy to use radio, this could meet that need for most people.
#5. Galaxy-DX-959 40 Channel AM/SSB Mobile CB Radio
The Galaxy DX is a 40-channel mobile CB radio with a frequency counter. It has a large, easy to read meter that also has scales for your power output, modulation, SRW, and the incoming signal. Basically, everything you could want to know is within only a glance at the dashboard. The frequency counter shows up to five digits, the SWR gauge shows the power from 0-20 max power. With this, there is also an alert LED for the automatic SWR.
The range on this CB is pretty good. Most reviews and owners say that they can have a clear reach of about 15-20 miles (32.19 km). However, it does depend on a good antenna. It also has plenty of knobs and setting to ensure that you get the quality you want from it. Once everything is set, you shouldn’t have to tweak it when driving.
Conclusion: Many people feel that this is a great CB radio, but it does not come in a perfect setup. The bright light can be a problem for night driving, but during the day, it could be a great thing. Overall, we like the way it looks, but know it isn’t a good fit for all.
#6. President Electronics MC KINLEY USA Hm AM/SSB Transceiver CB Radio
When you want a CB radio that can do most things, you may want to consider this one by President Electronics. It has 40-channels and seven weather channels. It is all controlled with a channel rotary switch. There is also a volume adjustment, manual squelch, ASC, and a multi-function LCD. There are numerous features to this one compact CB Radio.
For ease of use, you can listen to it however is most comfortable for you. It has a front panel microphone plug or an external loudspeaker jack. You can see all the information you want to know with only a single glance at the LCD screen. It has a frequency range of 26.965 MHz to 27.405 MHz and an antenna impedance of 50 ohms.
Conclusion: We like the way this CB radio looks and performs. It does both well. If you have large fingers it could be difficult to use, but overall, we think that most people will enjoy using it.
#7. Cobra 29 LX MAX Smart Full Featured Professional CB Radio
The Cobra 29 LX Max has everything most people could want in a CB radio and more. Some of its biggest features include Bluetooth ability, integrated iRadar App, a four-color LCD, NOAA alerts, and Rewind-Say-Again. The four-color options are blue, red, green, and amber. It allows you to choose what makes viewing the most easy for you when driving through the day or night.
To control this CB, you have several dials that can be set easily. There are also buttons that allow you to scan, dim, and more. It shows all information you may need to know clearly on the screen. As a bonus this CB looks really cool according to virtually all who have seen it.
Conclusion: This beautiful CB radio is perfect according to many users. However, there are some who say it is far from perfect. A common issue is the warning for SWR below 1.5. This could be a problem, or it could be a minor annoyance. Only you know whether it could be good for you or not.
#8. Midland 1001Z 40-Channel CB Radio
Whether you have been using a CB radio for years or you are new to the 18-wheeling lifestyle this Midland radio could be great for your car, truck, van, or rig. It is simple to use with minimal controls, yet it is easy to read the information that is there.
The controls on this radio include only the on/off, volume, squelch knob, RF gain knob, tuning knob, CB/PA switch, and a single press emergency button that switches to Channel 9. It comes with a full three-year warranty and has an RF Gain that adjusts your reception sensitivity range. The microphone plugs in and feels comfortable to hold in most people’s hands.
Conclusion: The fact that it automatically switches channels when you power it off can be a problem for some. It means you have to adjust it when you get ready to drive. However, if you can live with this slight inconvenience, all other features point to it being a solid performing CB radio.
#9. Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB-Way Radio
If all you need is a simple handset, this CB is ideal. It is a fully portable CB radio that you hold in your hand. It has access to 40 CB channels and 10 NOAA channels. You can power it with six AA batteries or your vehicle’s cigarette lighter.
The controls on it allow you to adjust the Automatic Noise Limiter (ANL) and a squelch control for improved reception. These knobs are on the top, and there are other buttons that you can use to ensure it does what you want it to do. This Midland hand-held radio has a full one-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Conclusion: If you and a group of friends are going out, this can be a good solution for hiking, biking, and other activities. It can also work in your vehicle when riding in a “convoy”. The key is to have an antenna or be close to the other people in your group. This could cause a problem for some, but not all will feel this is a bad thing. Midland 75-822 rolled right into our best CB radios list.
#10. Uniden PRO510XL Pro Series 40-Channel CB Radio
This heavy-duty CB radio provides high performance in a very rugged radio setup. It is great for off-roading, industrial, and commercial applications. It is a full 40 channel CB and shows a red LED indicator if you are monitoring activity. When you want to talk, there is a build-in noise limiter, squelch controls and an ANL switch.
The microphone cord is longer than most which can make it easier to use. You can use it through an external speaker jack to get the sound that you want. It comes with a 2-year warranty.
Conclusion: According to virtually everyone, this is a solid performing CB. It can perform basic functions without issue. The slight hum and PA system problems could be a concern, but it depends mostly on what you want from your CB radio. Overall, we think it is worth considering for most.
Our Final Thoughts for the Best CB Radios to Buy
Some CB radios may have been replaced for some people with the invention of cellphones and such, but this does not lessen their use, but not all. There are still many devoted users of these radios.
Before buying one, you need to make sure that they can meet your expectations. This means that they have good sound quality, multi-channels, and more. To see more about what your options may be, we invite you to check out our top 10 favorite CB radios for this year.
- Our List of the Top 10 Best CB Radios
- #1. Uniden UM435 Advanced Fixed Mount VHF Marine Radio
- #2. Uniden BEARCAT 980 40- Channel SSB CB Radio
- #3. Cobra 29LTD Professional CB Radio
- #4. Uniden PRO505XL 40-Channel CB Radio
- #5. Galaxy-DX-959 40 Channel AM/SSB Mobile CB Radio
- #6. President Electronics MC KINLEY USA Hm AM/SSB Transceiver CB Radio
- #7. Cobra 29 LX MAX Smart Full Featured Professional CB Radio
- #8. Midland 1001Z 40-Channel CB Radio
- #9. Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB-Way Radio
- #10. Uniden PRO510XL Pro Series 40-Channel CB Radio