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Best CB radios

Best CB radios
(Image credit: @Jason Mitrione on Unsplash)

There's a reason why truckers and travelers still use CB radios. Cell phones don't get service everywhere, which can be a problem when you need to stay in touch or during an emergency. Two-way radios are portable and don't need cell towers to work, but they have a short range. 

CB radios solve both of these problems, allowing anyone who travels or enjoys spending time in the great outdoors to have instant access to weather reports and communicate with others near and far when needed. If you're in the market, these are my tried and true favorite CB radios.

Staff pick

black CB radio with 40 channels

(Image credit: Uniden America Corporation)

Uniden PRO505XL CB radio (opens in new tab)

A budget-friendly CB that fits in any vehicle

Uniden's PRO505XL is a compact 40-channel CB that's easy to install and has an instant emergency button.

Pros:

  • Simple hardwire installation
  • Clear sound
  • Backlit orange display is easy to see
  • 40 channels
  • Emergency channel 9 button

Cons:

  • Basic features

The Uniden PRO505XL scores the highest on my list for its low price point, reliability, and excellent sound. This is Uniden's most basic model and one of the more compact CBs, allowing it to fit in any vehicle, even those with limited under-the-dash space. The PRO505XL has 40 channels, a PA function, an external speaker jack, and an onboard channel 9 emergency button. The orange LCD is easy to read day and night, and the buttons on the front are simple to operate. There's dynamic squelch control on the PRO505XL, and it has a high-quality sound most often found in much pricier options. If you need a basic CB, this is the one to get.

Best portable

Midland 75-822 CB radio

(Image credit: Amazon)

Midland 75-822 CB radio (opens in new tab)

The radio that goes anywhere

This handheld model from Midland requires no installation and has 40 CB channels and 10 NOAA channels.

Pros:

  • No messy installation required
  • ANL and squelch control
  • Channel 9 emergency button
  • 40 channels
  • 10 NOAA channels
  • Keypad lock

Cons:

  • Small display

The Midland 75-822 is a handheld radio with 40 CB channels, 10 NOAA channels, and 4 watts of output. This little handheld powerhouse uses six AA batteries or your vehicle's auxiliary power port to keep you in business. The Midland has ANL and squelch control that dramatically improves reception and limits environmental noise. The reception and transmission are excellent for a non-mounted CB radio, with an average range of four to five miles. This unit from Midland comes with the handheld CB transceiver, all the necessary cables, and complete instructions. 

Best connectivity

black and silver CB radio

(Image credit: Cobra)

Cobra 29LTD CB radio (opens in new tab)

Consistently reliable

The Cobra 29LTD is a top-of-the-line CB radio with a few extra features worth raving about.

Pros:

  • Antenna warning indicator
  • Channel 9 access button
  • 40 CB channels
  • Excellent voice clarity
  • Good installation instructions

Cons:

  • Controls do not light up

The one-of-a-kind antenna warning indicator on the Cobra 29LTD gives you the reliability you need when using a CB radio. A light illuminates when your system needs checking or your antenna could use an adjustment. Smart! With 4-watt output, instant emergency access, 40 channels, and instant channel 9 access, this reliable, full-featured CB radio will keep you in touch when you hit the highway.

Best value

Uniden PRO 510XL CB radio

(Image credit: Amazon)

Uniden PRO 510XL CB radio (opens in new tab)

A compact, powerful CB

The Uniden PRO 510XL is compact, has outstanding audio quality, and costs less than the competition.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Small size
  • Great sound
  • Bright LEDs
  • Perfect beginner model

Cons:

  • No backlighting on the knobs

You can talk to anyone on the road with this compact 40-channel CB radio from Uniden. The PRO510XL has a backlit LCD and red-lit LED indicators so you can monitor activity at a glance. The built-in noise limiter and squelch control fine-tune your connection to others and block out environmental noise, keeping communication static-free. This inexpensive kit comes with the CB radio, a microphone, and all the mounting hardware needed for installation.

Best weather alerts

President Electronics BILL CB radio

(Image credit: Amazon)

President Electronics BILL CB radio (opens in new tab)

Stay abreast of changing weather

The President Electronics BILL is a 40-channel CB with a seven-color display, USB charging socket, and weather channels.

Pros:

  • Beautiful display
  • Two programmable emergency channels
  • Weather channel access
  • USB charging socket
  • Good scan mode

Cons:

  • Lacks PA

When you're in unfamiliar territory, it's essential to keep tabs on the weather. With the President Electronics BILL, you'll have constant access to a weather channel that pushes out alerts when threatening skies are near. This CB has 40 channels, two programmable emergency channels, a seven-color display, and an impressive range. This kit includes the CB radio, handset, and all hardware required for installation.

Keep in touch

CB radios are one of the most reliable forms of communication. They don't lose signals due to terrain, like smartphones, and they're affordable tools that keep you in touch with people, weather conditions, and emergency channels.

The Uniden PRO505XL (opens in new tab) is my favorite CB radio. It's small enough to fit in any vehicle yet powerful enough to pull in 40 channels. I love the illuminated LCD and noise control, and my pocketbook digs the price.

If you don't want to mess around with wires and tedious installations, get the Midland 75-822 (opens in new tab). It plugs into your vehicle's auxiliary power port or is useable with six AA batteries. It gets 40 CB channels and 10 NOAA channels and sounds fantastic.

The Cobra 29LTD (opens in new tab) is one of the best CB radios for those who work or travel and need consistent reliability. It has a unique antenna warning indicator that tells you when you're having issues so you can stop and address them, plus 40 channels, excellent sound, and instant channel 9 access.

Why trust us?

At TheRadar, we recommend the best products to enhance your life. As expert curators, we handpick products based on quality and usefulness to positively impact your day-to-day, from cart to doorstep. We take our responsibility seriously — testing products, reading reviews, and sourcing knowledgeable outlets to ensure our selections are worthy of your time and money. We deliver detailed product overviews, balancing objective information with subjective opinions, so making the best choice for your home and lifestyle is as easy as possible.