Best CB Amplifier Reviews: High Power CB Radio Amps to Boost Your Range

Published on Written by

The biggest issue most CBers face with their CB set up is its limited range. What if I tell you that you can simply boost the performance of your CB system by adding just one more device?

Yeah, you guessed it right. I am talking about CB amps!

But, don’t expect to get outstanding performance with a normal amplifier. If you want to pull out the maximum range from your CB radio, you have to invest in the best CB amplifier in the market.

You might be wondering how can you find the ‘one’?

You don’t have to do anything. We have done the hard work for you! This article will give you the right amplifier for your CB radio which will create an outstanding experience.

If you are eager to know those high power CB amps, here is a quick overview:

Best CB Amps

CB Amplifier Why Should You Buy it?
MegaWatt S-400-12x : Best Pick
  • Highly filtered and regulated
  • RF noise elimination
  • Auto short circuit shut down
  • Over voltage shut down
  • Grounded power cord
  • Stable and clean output
MFJ-264: Best Budget Amplifier
  • Most versatile 50-ohm dummy load
  • Handles up to 1500 watt
  • Strong and lightweight
  • Compact and pocket-friendly
  • Accepts PL-259 connector
MFJ-260CBest Mobile CB Amp
  • Great for testing any radios
  • Super compact and handy
  • Perforated metal housing
  •  Air-cooled and non-inductive
MegaWatt S-350-12
  • Cancels RF noise
  • Safeguard from short circuit
  • Voltage surge protection
  • Power cord grounded
HYS TC-300N
  • Easy to use
  • Air-cooled
  • Most effective in 20-30 MHz

What is a CB radio Linear Amplifier?

Weak signals are always a headache for any CBer, limiting the operation of the CB radio. This is where a CB amplifier comes to your rescue by boosting the signal.

Having a CB amplifier will enable you to reach many more miles away with your CB radio. A CB radio amplifier with proper aerial tuning offers you a surprisingly good connection.

A linear CB amplifier is not a power-efficient amplifier. On the other hand, it does a great job in dealing with noises. Since CB radios don’t need high power amplification and their main concern is the noisy environment, having a linear amp for CB is the most ideal choice.

High power radios available in the market these days are not affordable for everyone. So if you are desperately in need to improve the power of your CB radio without emptying your purse, a CB radio amplifier is definitely something that is going to save you.

 

Best CB Amplifier Reviews

A CB amplifier is a must-have if you want more from your CB radio.

‘More the power, the higher the range’ might be the simplest explanation given to the working of a CB amplifier.

CB amplifiers available in the market currently range from inexpensive beginner-friendly ones to top-notch ones tailor-made for the professionals. Considering all kinds of CBers in mind, here are our reviews of top amps for CB radios:

1. MegaWatt S-400-12: The best in the Market

Undobutedly the best in the CB amplifier market, this CB power amp is designed for the CBers looking for an affordable power booster with exceptional built quality. Go for it if a stable and clean output is your priority. 

What you will get:

      • A cheap and effective buy
      • Small and lightweight design
      • Faultless RF noise elimination
      • Best in class power surge protection

This CB amp is highly filtered and regulated to eliminate RF noise in radio and audio equipment. That makes this power supply exemplary to use with a CB radio that requires 12 volt supply.

The voltage stability shown by the device is remarkable. The fans attached for cooling purpose is considerably quiet and runs slowly all the time. Also, you don’t need to be worried about potential power surges.

Here are some more features of the Megawatt S-400-12 that you will love:

  • Auto short circuit shut down protection
  • Overvoltage protection
  • Grounded power cord.

These three features together eliminate the risk of damaging your expensive equipment in the event of a power supply failure.

2. MFJ-264: Most Affordable CB Amplifier

Exceptionally good super-efficient and light dummy load for the price. If you are a CBer looking for a compact pocket-friendly power booster, MFJ-264 is your choice.

What you will get:

      • Most affordable CB amp
      • Highly adaptable dummy load
      • Solid lightweight design
      • Small in size and compact CB

The MFJ-264 is the most adaptable 50 Ohm dummy load you can get for your radio. It works fine with all radios from 160 Meters through 650 MHz and from low-power operation to the full 1500 Watt legal limit, even if you might not require that much power.

Remarkably strong lightweight aluminium construction gives it an upper hand among other dummy loads in its price range. Sealing the deal is the compatibility of MFJ-264 with any optional cable having a PL-259 connector.

3. MFJ-260C: Best Mobile CB Amp

What you will get: 

      • Perfect CB amp for testing radios
      • Super compact design
      • Highly efficient heat dissipation mechanism
      • Unparalleled cable compatibility

A super compact value for money dry dummy load. One of the most essential tools for a CB radio operator. The air-cooled, non-inductive Dry Dummy Load MFJ-260C is a must-have whenever your radio gives you hiccups.

Being super compact makes this CB amp very handy for testing the radios. The device can handle a full 300-watt load for up to 30 seconds and allows a 5-watt transceiver to transmit up to 20 feet. The perforated metal housing and the SO-239 connector input compatible for any cable with a PL-259 connector are other added advantages.

4. MegaWatt S-350-12

A noteworthy competitor in the field. You don’t have to go for big, expensive and heavy CB amplifiers when MegaWatt S-350-12 is here, designed to meet all your needs.

What you will get: 

      • Great value for money CB amp
      • Top-notch RF noise cancellation
      • Effective protection from power failures
      • Compact sized construct

Just like the MegaWatt S-400-12x, this CB amp also is highly filtered and regulated to eliminate RF noise in radio and audio equipment. The adjustable output of the device is 9.5 to 15 volts DC serving great for 13.8-volt equipment. This CB amp can be used conveniently with any 12-volt equipment that draws 33 amps or less.

This MegaWatt S-350-12 also serves great for a full-time maintenance charger for a standard car or RV battery. The quality of the fan that is fairly loud is questionable. Still, this CB amp stays among the best choices at its price range.

5. HYS TC-300N

What you will get: 

      • High power all mode CB amp
      • Finely compact design
      • Great accessibility
      • Commendable reverse polarity protection

A lightweight and compact high power amplifier designed to work with portable two-way radios/ walkie talkies (3 to 30 MHz range). Designed for use with almost any CB with an output power not exceeding 150 Watts for AM/FM and 300 Watts for SSB. It works most effectively in the 20-30 MHz range. The ON/OFF and automatic Tx/Rx switches included on the front panel this CB amp assures easy accessibility.

It comes with an additional fan to prevent overheating and thus save the amp’s working efficiency. This amplifier also includes built-in reverse polarity protection serving to extend its life.

Comparison of High Power CB Amps

Product Wattage Warranty Dimension
MegaWatt S-400-12 430 watt Full 2-year factory warranty 9 x 4.5 x 2 inches
MFJ-264 1500 watt Full 12 Month Limited Warranty 3 x 9 x 3 inches
MFJ-260C 300 watt Full 12 Month Limited Warranty 7 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches
MegaWatt S-350-12 450 watt Full 2-year factory warranty 9 x 4.5 x 2 inches
HYS TC-300N 150 Watts for AM/FM and 300 Watts for SSB 1 year limited warranty 109 x 225 x 35 mm

 

Buying Guide

Do consider the following before jumping into a decision to buy a CB amp.

Stick to the rules

The maximum power output allowed by FCC (in the US) for CB radios is 4W for AM/FM and 12W for SSB. When you choose a CB amp, make sure that its input rating falls within this range.

Also, your power boosted CB radio has to operate within the 20MHz to 30MHz range within which CB radios fall.

But this is not the case always, most CB amps operate at a higher power of 150-500 Watts. If you ask me, if it’s illegal, it’s of course illegal. But how many people were put behind bars for doing so?

Major features to look for

Look primarily for the following features when you choose your CB amp

  1. As the CB amps heat up significantly during its operation, air-cooled and heat sink attached CB amps may be preferred.
  2. How major parts like antenna, buttons, and cable connectors are placed in the layout is important in terms of accessibility.
  3. Inbuilt protective features like auto short circuit and over-voltage shut down protection are real money savers.

Optimize your current setup

You don’t always need to boost the power of your radio to attain more range. If you properly tune your radio and antenna system you can easily do the job.

Why waste your money on an amplifier if you could talk farther by optimizing your current system set up correctly?

A CB amp will come to your rescue only when you need to talk even farther.

Can your current system handle more wattage?

Before buying an amplifier, know the maximum wattage rating of your antenna. What if your antenna is set to handle say 150 watts only and you run 300 watts into it? If you care for each penny spent on your device, this is not at all a good idea.

Amplifiers require a substantially huge amount of electricity to power up your antenna. Know very well how much power input you can give. You can’t bite off more than you can chew.

The compatibility of your radio with the CB amp is important. An incompatible amplifier might not withstand too much input from your radio. You might easily ruin your CB amp that way.

How much power do you need?

This has to be decided based on the talking distance you aim to achieve. But most of the cases, you don’t require more than 500 Watts CB Amp.

You will find more on this later in this article.

You want to talk over AM, SSB, or both?

Distortions are very common in AM communication and hence can be ignored. Hence any of the CB amplifiers available in the market will work decently with your 40 channel AM-only radio.

On the other hand, if you are planning to use a CB amp for SSB, features like delay and amplifier class need to be taken care of.

Do you need 1000 & 3000 Watt CB Amplifier?

high power CB amps

No, you don’t! Powering up your equipment to multiple thousands of watts wastes power and increases the likelihood of causing interference to nearby radios, televisions, telephones, etc.

Hence one must use the minimum power required to carry out the desired communications.

100 watts is enough!

We all know many CBer’s who take it too far to power up their equipment to multiple thousands of watts. But that is totally unnecessary for most people. If you clearly know what you are trying to achieve with your CB radio, it is easy to figure out how much power you need. Generally, for most people, a 100 watts amplifier is more than enough.

The magic number

100 watts surprisingly is a magic number when it comes to choosing what power CB amplifier you need. That much power is enough to save you when all you need is to talk a little further without spending too much effort or money.

Going from a normal 4 watts to 100 watts can yield you almost threefold more coverage. So if you could reach up to say 20 miles with 4 watts, now you can reach up to 65-70 miles easily with 100 watts.

When you go with your friend on trekking and you face difficulty in hearing each other over a few miles, a 100 watt can easily serve you with a solution. CBer’s can also enjoy clear transmissions across amazingly large distances via DX (skip) on busy days using a simple 100 watt.

Do not go beyond 450 watts

You need to understand that 450 watts is where a limit is set.

The maximum practical gain in distance is achieved by using 450 watts. There is no point in trying to go beyond 450 Watts if you want to talk farther.

A solid 500W CB amplifier should be accurate for the best practical distance results.

FAQs

Should you build a linear amplifier for CB?
Building your own linear CB radio amplifier is advantageous because it allows greater scope for customization. It also makes future repairs easier because you know the layout, location, and characteristics of each component.

For more on this, you can read this article: https://www.techwalla.com/articles/how-to-build-a-linear-amplifier-for-a-cb-radio

How does a CB amplifier work?
A CB amplifier takes the radio signal sent from your transmitting device and increases its amplitude. This results in an increased gain by allowing the signal to travel more distance.

CB amp does this without distorting the original wave shape. More the power, more the distance.

What does a CB linear amplifier do?
A CB linear amplifier boosts the wattage by taking the signal from your transmitter. This extra power allows the signal to propagate further and provides an increased range.

CB application prioritizes low-noise over power efficiency, which is exactly what a linear amplifier offers.

Am I legally allowed to use a linear amplifier?
CB radios are permitted to operate at 4W for AM/FM and 12W for SSB.

Using any additional power is thus illegal as it can cause serious interference to the electronic equipment in your neighborhood.

How do I hook up a CB radio amplifier?
Always place the linear amp in a position close to your radio.

At home, you may place it on the table next to your unit.

In a car, the CB amp may be set up on the floor or mounted to the bottom of the CB radio using suitable brackets. If your SWR (Standing Wave Ratio) is bad, do not hook up a linear amp as it can damage your radio.

How do I tune a CB amplifier?
CBers prioritize low noise overpower efficiency. Still, it is important to optimize the performance of a CB amp for each operating frequency and antenna combination.

With proper tuning, the amplifier can be made more energy-efficient. The highest efficiency is achieved usually with the finest tuning for maximum output. Heat dissipation can be reduced significantly this way.

How do I measure linear CB amplifier range?
Your normal AM CB radio with a 4 Watt transmitter power can reach up to 3-20 mile depending on the terrain. When you boost this power using a CB amp to say 100 Watt, 65-70 miles distance may be reached, which is threefold the actual range.

You can verify this by trying to communicate with CBers at various distances and see for yourself how far you can hear and be heard clearly.

What cable should I use?
You need to use the jumper coax cable that comes with the CB amp for connecting your amplifier to the CB radio

Conclusion

Being heard by someone else on the radio is an uphill battle in today’s CB world. Unlike in olden days, there is a significant uprise in interferences and the CB radios are not really built to cope up with that.

Modifying CB radios for more power and hence longer coverage is a need of the hour and CB amplifiers do the job perfectly and pocket-friendly.

I believe I have succeeded in helping you find a powerful CB amplifier to cross those extra miles.

Leave a Comment