Best CB Radio Of 2018

If you're in the market for a CB radio, we got you covered. With everything you'd ever want to know about CB radios, to what to look for when shopping for one, and most importantly our recommendations of the best CB radios of 2018.

CB Radio Basics

Before we get into the different models out there, it's important to understand what a CB radio is exactly. "CB" stands for "Citizen Brand," and these radios are used for short distance community communication between two people. These radios usually have about 40 channels with different frequencies for communications.

When two people are on the same channel, they can communicate with each other. When you use a CB radio, only one station at a time can transmit a message. You have to wait until the channel is available to use.

These radios run on about 4 watts of transmission and use between 26 to 28 MHz frequency to transmit a message. This power is regulated by the law of the FCC or Federal Communication Commission, but you don't need a license to use a CB radio.

CB radios are often used for professions that need to communicate frequently, like taxi services, long-haul traffic, sailing, construction, warehousing, fishing, and hunting. CB radios can also be used as a Public Address System by simply mounting a PA speaker.

CB radios are connected without cell towers, satellites or other communication facilities. If you need a portable device for free group communication, you may want to consider walkie-talkies over CB radios.

Types of CB Radios

It's also important to note that there are two different types of CB radios. There are both standard and portable radios.

Standard CB Radios

Standard CB radios are ideal for large area communications. There is usually no built-in antenna with a standard CB radio. If you'd like an antenna, you'll have to buy one and add it to the radio with a converter.

To power up standard CB radios, you will need a heavy source, like a cigarette lighter port if you're using your radio in your vehicle. If you wish to use your standard CB radio in static place, you can power it up with a DC converter.

Typically, standard CB radios have PA compatibility, so you can use these radios as a Public Address system. But note this also requires a PA speaker, which usually doesn't come with a standard CB radio pack.

Some pros of a standard CB radio are it's easy to calibrate its antenna and you get better monitoring of radio stats. You also get a large area coverage, a PA function and the ability to filter and control over the radio.

The only downside with a standard CB radio is you can't use it on the go, and you need to have a source of electricity to power it.

Portable CB Radios

On the other hand, there are portable CB radios, that are great for small area communication. These radios are powered by battery cells, so you don't need to stress about being near a power source to use them. Some portable radios can even be charged by your vehicle's cigarette lighter port.

You also have the ability to mount an antenna on a portable CB radio to get more coverage. These radios are great if you need to use them on the go as they don't need much engagement or electricity and are perfect for covering small areas.

Some downsides to a portable CB radio is there's no PA system, it doesn't work for large area coverage, and you will need an antenna amplifier if you want an antenna.

Things to Consider Before Buying a CB Radio

When shopping for a CB radio, you want to be able to answer the following questions. These questions will help guide you to find out which radio works best for your needs.

How much area do you want to cover?

You definitely want to consider how much area you need to cover before selecting a CB radio. If you only need to cover a small area let less than a mile, then go for a portable CB radio. If you need to cover a larger area like up to 20 miles, then you're going to need a standard one.

Does the radio provide access to an emergency channel?

This is also a crucial factor to consider. You're going to want access to emergency channels when you need to use the radio in a remote area.

For weather updates, make sure your CB radio has access to NOAA or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration channels. If you are using your radio while driving makes sure you get a clear signal for channel 9, which is set up just for drivers.

How much power does the radio consume?

You definitely want to be aware of how much power your CB radio takes up, which depends on the transmission power. You can power portable CB radios with a battery and most CB radios with a cigarette lighter in your vehicle. But you still want to find a radio that is compatible with your power rating or it will blow up your fuse.

Is it user-friendly?

You want to make sure that you can easily use your radio without any hassle. If your radio is difficult to use, then you can't use it while driving, which can defeat the purpose. Make sure you have a radio that's easy to use on the go.

Is the sound and transmission quality ample for clear communication?

This definitely an important factor when buying a CB radio. You want to make sure your radio is top quality and has enough circuitry advantage so it can effectively minimize noise. You also want to look for a radio with RF control gain and signal level monitoring so you can have the best quality of sound.

You also want to keep in mind the sound satisfaction to your listener, so look for a radio that has a good microphone.

Now that you know what to look for and keep in mind when buying a CB radio, here are the best ones on the market this year.

Cobra 29 LX 

The Cobra 29 LX is the best overall CB radio and costs $116. It has an incredible range of 13 miles, and it's one of the most innovative CB radios out there.

The Cobra 29 LX gives you access to all 40 CB radio channels, and active channel scanning lets you narrow down what reception is clear so you can choose quickly. You also get 10 NOAA weather channels with alerts to any abnormal weather conditions.

This device is also really user-friendly and has a multi-color display so you can easily see the transmission level, battery power, time and frequency level. This model also has some of the best sounding speakers out there with bump functionality. The Cobra also doubles as a PA system but you have to separately purchase a PA speaker.

Uniden PRO510XL

The Uniden PRO510XL costs only $35 and is considered to be the best device on a budget. It's super compact and can easily fit into any shape or size vehicle. This device is considered to be a great starter CB, as it's simple menu options make it incredibly user-friendly while not costing a fortune.

The Uniden also has a digital LCD display and access to 40 channels with decent signal strength. There's also an automatic noise limiter and a squelch control that help reduce background noise, like the sounds from a passing vehicle.

While this radio has a basic microphone, there's enough audio quality so you won't sound muffled.

Cobra 18WXSTII 

The 76 dollar Cobra 18WXSTII is the best combination of performance and controls giving it the best overall features of CB radios. This device gives you access to 40 channels and 10 of NOAA's weather channels.

There's also a backlit LCD display gives you an easy way to see and keep track of signal, strength, power and channel selections even in the dark. This Cobra also has a dual watch function which lets the CB radio monitor two channels at the same time, which is great during heavy radio traffic.

There's also a clear sound from the front speaker with noise cancelation technology that can reduce 90 percent of external sound. There's also a nine-foot microphone cord that works well with vehicles of all sizes and it's last channel retention lets you easily flip between previous

The nine-foot microphone cord is plenty long for vehicles of all sizes. And last channel retention allows you to quickly flip between your current and previous stations.

Midland 1001LWX

The Midland 1001LWX which costs $51 is considered to offer the best value. This device has a great price and features with a 40 channel radio. It also has a compact size, making it perfect for truckers, but its basic features make it perfect for everyone else.

The Midland 1001LWX also has four watts of output power with around five miles of range. It also comes with a channel locking system that helps you stick to the channel of your choice even if you're scanning weather channels.

If you want better reception, you have complete control over RF gain and an automatic noise limiter to help improve a weak signal. This CB radio can also double a public address system with a PA speaker.

Bearcat CB 980SSB

The Bearcat CB is one of the most compact CB radios and also comes with a ton of great features all for $113. Features like an easy to ready seven color display that also comes with mounting brackets that can work for professional vehicles to everyday cars.

There's also noise cancelation functions that can drown our blaring engines on the highway. There's also 40 available channels, NOAA weather alerts and you can use it with a six-mile range.

There's also a great color display that lets for enhanced viewing that can be dimmed or brightened when needed. There's also an extra-long microphone cord.

How to Take Care of Your CB Radio?

If you want your CB radio to last, you're going to have to properly take care of it. Proper care will make your radio durable, so you won't have to keep buying new ones.

Take care of your radio by making sure you cover the radio from dust. Dust can clog the small circuit of the radio which can block the flow. Also, make sure you check your antenna regularly to get the best performance out of it.

Another thing you can do is maintain it's rated power, making sure you never use the low or high rated supply. When you use low power, the life of the components are low and when you use the high power you can blow up the radio.

Make sure you don't shake your CB radio too much. If you do this, this can cause disintegration and damage to the electric parts of the radio. If you use this in the car make sure you have good mounting and padding so make sure you protect your radio.

Also make sure you don't keep your radio powered when it's not running, as this will ruin its durability.

And most importantly, if anything goes wrong with your CB radio, like it stops working or isn't running properly, don't try to fix it yourself. Instead, take it to an expert first to make sure it's properly handled. 

Buy Your CB Radio Today

Now that you know everything you need to know about buying a CB radio, isn't it time to finally buy one for yourself? Decide what range you need. For smaller ranges go with a portable CB radio, for larger ranges use a standard one.

Also, decide on your budget and what features are important to you and what you need your CB radio for. The find the best radio within your budget and needs.

Most importantly make sure you properly take care of your CB radio so it can last as long as possible and so you won't have to replace it. For more information on technology and reviews on electronics, check out our blog.

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