Communication for Everyone: The Best CB Radios on the Market

One of the longest existing names in the history of telecommunication, the CB Radios have been around for more than 70 years. Their success is due to the fact that anyone can use them without having a license which is usually considered a hassle in the case of the Ham Radios.

However, these two devices are similar in one aspect: you can choose between the fixed or the handheld options. It’s also important to know all the necessary features that should exist in a CB Radio if you’re planning on getting one.


What’s a CB Radio?

First of all, you should know that CB means Citizens Band and this is the perfect description for it! Literally any individual can learn how to operate this radio and eventually establish a communication since it’s really user-friendly. It’s made for short-wave use and includes 40 channels.

Whether you’re looking for a new hobby, travel a lot, or even want to be the first responder during a crisis, this radio is for you. What makes these devices more awesome is the fact that they’re really reliable thanks to their versatility and power.


The History of CB Radios

Introduced in 1945 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), these items were made to give the opportunity to the average business owner and citizen to use a two-way communication method. It was relatively cheap too and allowed people to talk to each other anonymously which lead to a spike in its popularity, especially during the 1973 oil crisis.

Technology kept on evolving and not long after that, the Family Radio Service (FRS) decreased the prevalence of these products. The rise of the internet in the 21st century was another blow for CB Radios but they remain in use up to this day.


How Do They Work?

These devices transmit and receive messages through radio waves. Similar to cell phones and TVs, these transceivers send and catch the waves using the built-in antenna which transforms the sound into electrical signals and vice versa on the other end.

Keep in mind that the antenna is not necessarily mounted on the radio itself but sometimes on a vehicle if you have a radio in your car. This allows it to operate in a better way especially since it has a relatively short range.


Different Types: Handheld or Base

Similar to Police Radio Scanners, these products have two different types that vary in portability and power. It’s important to differentiate between them in order to buy the one that you need.

Handheld CB Radios

As you can figure out by its name, these are the portable options, you can literally hold the whole radio in your hand and communicate. These are the smallest models but they have relatively low power when compared to the mobile models.

Base CB Radios

With more power than the other type, you can install this one at home or in the your car. The base models are usually bigger but that shouldn’t be an issue.


Using a CB Radio

As mentioned earlier, there are various purposes for buying these products. Whether it’s for professional or recreational use, you will definitely benefit from having a CB Radio.
The following are a few examples:

  1. Converse while traveling with your buddies.
  2. Use the radio as an educational tool or as a hobby.
  3. Discover the weather and traffic conditions.
  4. Help during a crisis or send out a warning if there’s an emergency.


Doomsday Preppers and CB Radios

If you’re reading this then you’re probably a fan of the hit TV show Doomsday Preppers (if not then you should definitely check it out). CB radios are not mentioned a lot there for the  obvious reason that there are way better devices to use in case you’re trying to survive in a world struck by disaster. That doesn’t mean they’re not helpful though! 


Important Features in CB Radios

Just like any other product that you plan on buying, you should take the time to familiarize yourself with its essential features.

Power and Range Limitations

Yes you’ve read that correctly, regardless of which type of CB Radio you get, you will find out that they have limited power. This is specified by the FCC and subsequently affect the range of the device which is usually around 16 KMs in clear, unobstructed areas. Objects such as buildings or trees tend to decrease that range.


Each two-way radio has a squelch control which is used to eliminate the static noise that can bother the user.

Automatic Noise Limiter

Also referred to as ANL, this is also used to block all background noises so you could have a clear conversation.

Channel Scan

The radio will go through all of the channels by itself and stop when it finds an ongoing transmission. This saves you all the hassle of going through the entire spectrum.

RF Gain

This feature also eliminate background noises but in a different way: unclear signals are left out so you’d only hear the strong and intelligible transmissions.

Weather Updates

If keeping tabs on the weather conditions is your prime concern then you will love this functionality. You will have access to the NOAA weather channel which constantly feeds you the latest updates.

Instant Channel

Activate this option so your radio would skip to a frequently-used channel. This is especially helpful when there’s an emergency and you don’t have much time to waste.

Single Side Band (SSB)

The radios that have this feature have an increased power; they’re not stuck at the 4 Watts as designated by the FCC but can reach up to 12 Watts. However, you have to make sure that the radio on the other end is also equipped with SSB in order to benefit from it.

Public Address

As the name indicates, if you have this feature then you can use your radio as a public address device.

Standing Wave Ratio Meter

This doesn’t qualify as essential but it can definitely help by letting you know how you can adjust your antenna properly to receive the best signal.

Clarifier Control

Also referred to as the Delta Tune, this feature enhances the voice on your end so you can hear the other person talking more clearly. It also eliminates the static noise that could interfere with your communication.

Backlit Screen

This is also not that important but it can come in handy if you tend to use your radio a lot during the night or in low-light settings.


Two-Way Signal reviews the Best CB Radios

TWS is known for picking the best models on the market and giving you an honest review about them. Read on to discover which radio is the best pick for you.


Uniden PRO505XL CB Radio

The perfect choice for anyone who just started to use a CB Radio, the PRO505XL is relatively not that expensive and very user-friendly for new customers.

Pros of the Uniden PRO505XL

  • Powerful Transmissions: it may not have the same power as most radios but it can surely send and receive messages clearly.
  • High-quality Audio: it has a loud voice output thanks to the amazing speakers.
  • Easy Setup: since it’s made for new users, you can hook up the radio yourself.
  • Compact and Simple Design: this model is relatively smaller than most radios out there. Moreover, it’s not equipped with numerous buttons and dials in order to make the whole process simpler.
  • Safety Measures: if there was an electrical problem with your radio, it won’t affect your vehicle.
  • Cheap Price: as mentioned earlier, anyone can buy this device due to its relatively cheap price.

Cons of the Uniden PRO505XL

This radio might be small but it’s not robust since it’s made from plastic. In addition, it does not include advanced features.

Uniden PC68LTX CB Radio

Another fine product from Uniden, the PC68LXT is, in some sense, the advanced version of the previous product. It’s good for both amateurs and pros.

Pros of the Uniden PC68LXT

  • Fine Tuning: adjust the signal as you please to receive a clear voice.
  • Amazing Noise Reduction: with a multitude of features like the squelch control and the ANL/Noise Blanker, no interference will bother you.
  • Mic Sensitivity: by modifying the microphone gain you will be able to set the sensitivity you please.
  • RF Meter: another feature that help eliminate any background noises that could disrupt your communication.
  • Weather Alerts: you have access to the NOAA Weather Radio to stay updated on the latest developments.
  • Instant Channels: don’t waste your time going through the whole list, simply skip to the one you want, Channel 9 for example.

Cons of the Uniden PC68LXT

Some users reported major malfunctions with the radio however, these cases are really rare and the company is really helpful.

Cobra C75WXST Handheld CB Radio

If you want to save some space and still benefit from a fully-featured CB Radio, the C75WXST is the perfect pick for you. It’s small and not that expensive compared to other devices.

Pros of the Cobra C75WXST

  • Easy Setup: it’s specifically designed to fit literally anywhere due to its compact structure.
  • Multiple Weather Channels: more than 10 NOAA channels for you to tap in.
  • Comfortable Use: it’s a handheld radio and it can perfectly rest on your palm.
  • Noise Reduction: this model has a SoundTracker® system which greatly eliminates any interference.
  • Instant Channels: don’t waste your time going through the whole list, simply skip to the one you want, Channel 9 for example.

Cons of the Cobra C75WXST

Some of these devices had the same issue as the previous product here on this list. Other functional Cobra radios are reported to have a low sound.

Cobra 29 LX MAX Professional CB Radio

A radio for the professionals, the 29 LX MAX contains all the necessary features and much more. You should expect to pay a bit more if you pick this device.

Pros of the Cobra 29 LX MAX

  • Weather Alerts: also equipped with 10 NOAA weather channels so you could stay up to date on the latest developments.
  • BlueTooth: link the radio to your smartphone to answer and end calls as easily as possible.
  • Rewind Feature: you can replay the last 10 seconds of a conversation in case you miss it since it’ll be automatically recorded.
  • iRADAR App: receive and send live police alerts from more than a million users involving speed traps or road issues.
  • Noise Cancellation: the microphone allows you to have a clear conversation by blocking out all background noises.
  • Nightwatch: backlit LCD screen in different colors so you could keep using your radio even at nighttime.

Cons of the Cobra 29 LX MAX

The only “bad” thing that could be mentioned here is the fact that this radio is relatively expensive but rightfully so. It’s made for advanced users who could benefit from these features.

Midland 75-822 CB-Way Radio

Cheap yet fully-features radio, this is probably the best description for the 75-822. Midland literally made a product that anyone could use and because of that it’s one of the most sought after items on the market today.

Pros of the Midland 75-822

  • Small and Lightweight: you won’t even feel like you’re holding the radio since it’s really compact and light.
  • Great Batteries: more than 8 hours of continuous usage.
  • Inexpensive model: as mentioned earlier, with all the features packed inside of it, this radio has a relatively low price tag.
  • Weather Channels and Alerts: you can tap into the NOAA weather channels and the radio will alert you if a storm is coming your way.
  • Extended range: you can link this radio to the car’s antenna which will surely extended its range.
  • Best-selling option: for numerous reasons, this product has been a huge hit among the radio community.

Cons of the Midland 75-822

Reviews show that it takes only 1 fall for this radio to be completely destroyed or at least damaged beyond repair. It’s understandable since it’s made of plastic and not steel.

President McKinley USA CB Radio

Everything about this product indicates professionalism; whether it’s the advanced features or even the relatively high price (or the cool name!), the Mckinley satisfies the needs of the pros.

Pros of the President McKinley

  • Amazing Noise Reduction: with features like the RF Gain, Noise Blanker and ANL, you will never be bothered with static or background sound.
  • AM/SSB CB Radio: this means that this model has more power than the usual CB radios.
  • Scan Channels: go through the whole list of channels as quickly as possible.
  • Weather Bands and Alerts: you can access the NOAA channels and receive alerts in case there’s a change in the weather.
  • LCD Display: clear and vivid screen with 3 interchangeable colors.
  • Additional equipment: when purchasing this radio, you will also receive a power cord and a mounting bracket.

Cons of the President McKinley

A handful of users reported that their screens were shutting down after a short while. Don’t worry though, you can contact the company in case you face these, or any other, issues.



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