Best CB Amplifier Reviews: CB Radio Linear Amps to buy in 2021

You need the best CB amplifier to enhance the performance of your CB radio. The right CB linear amplifier can boost the range more than 20 times. Another function of the amplifiers is to reduce the noise and give you a clear voice signal. The market is flooded with a lot of amps. It is hard to get the right CB amp. Our team has researched the market and tested 19 CB amplifiers to find the best-performing ones. In this article, you will see detailed reviews of our top five picks.

What is a CB Radio Linear Amplifier?

A CB amplifier boosts the performance of CB radio by increasing its range. A CB amp with proper aerial tuning offers you a good connection with peers. High power radios available in the market these days are not affordable for everyone. If you need to improve the power of your CB radio without emptying your purse, you should get a CB radio amplifier.

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 ideal choice.

The Best CB Amplifiers of 2021

The best CB amps of 2021 are:

  1. MegaWatt S-400-12- Best in the Market
  2. MFJ-264: Most Affordable CB Amplifier
  3. MFJ-260C: Best Mobile CB Amp
  4. MegaWatt S-350-12
  5. HYS TC-300N

A comparison of the top five CB linear amplifiers are provided below:

  1. MegaWatt S-400-12x 
  • Highly filtered and regulated
  • RF noise elimination
  • Auto short circuit shut down
  • Over voltage shut down
  • Grounded power cord
  • Stable and clean output

2. MFJ-264

  • Most versatile 50-ohm dummy load
  • Handles up to 1500 watt
  • Strong and lightweight
  • Compact and pocket-friendly
  • Accepts PL-259 connector

3. MFJ-260C

  • Great for testing any radios
  • Super compact and handy
  • Perforated metal housing
  •  Air-cooled and non-inductive

4. MegaWatt S-350-12

  • Cancels RF noise
  • Safeguard from short circuit
  • Voltage surge protection
  • Power cord grounded

5. HYS TC-300N

  • Easy to use
  • Air-cooled
  • Most effective in 20-30 MHz

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

The best CB amplifier in the market is MegaWatt S-400-12. This is an affordable CB power amp for people looking for exceptional built quality. The amplifier offers stable and clean output. Noise-free communication is a guaranteed thing with this amplifier.

MegaWatt S-400

The key features of MegaWatt S-400 12 are:

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

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This CB amp gives filtered and regulated signals. It provides the best performance to eliminate RF noise in radio and audio equipment. The best thing is that you can use it for both CB radios and ham radios. The voltage stability shown by the device is remarkable. The fans attached for cooling purpose is quiet and runs slowly all the time.

The product comes with all the accessories you require. The double ball-bearing fan is the key attraction of this CB amp. The dust-proof cooling fan can provide 60,000 hours of MTBF. The RPM is controlled by load and heat. It avoids any damage to the power supply.

MegaWatt has designed this amplifier considering any potential electric surges. The following three features ensure protection against any malfunctions:

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

2. MFJ-264: Most Affordable CB Amplifier

MFJ-264 is the best budget CB amp in the market. It is compact in size. The super-efficient and light dummy load amplifier offers more features than it’s price tag. This is the right CB radio amplifier to buy if you are a newbie.

MFJ-264 amplifier

The key highlights of the CB amplifier are:

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

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The MFJ-264 is an adaptable 50 Ohm dummy load for CB radios. It works with all radios from 160 Meters through 650 MHz and from low-power operation to the full 1500 Watt legal limit. You might not require that much power.

A great feature of this amplifier is the strong lightweight aluminum construction. It gives the amplifier an upper hand among other dummy loads in its price range. MFJ-264 is compatible with any optional cable having a PL-259 connector.

3. MFJ-260C: Best Mobile CB Amp

The best-rated mobile CB amplifier is MFJ-260C. It is a compact dummy load. The CB amplifier handles 300W for 30 seconds. It can handle any power lower than 300 Watts for 5 mins. It works great with all the two-way radios. You can use it for testing and repairing the radios. The air-cooled and non-inductive MFJ-260C is a must-have if your radio gives you hiccups.

MFJ-260C amplifier

The main highlights of the MFJ-260C CB amp are:

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

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The small size of the CB amp makes it handy for testing the radios. The perforated metal housing makes it a durable amplifier. The SO-239 connector input is compatible with any cable with a PL-259 connector.

4. MegaWatt S-350-12

MegaWatt S-350-12 is another affordable CB radio amplifier in the market. This compact amplifier gives smooth sound output, without any noise. It comes with a terminal cover and you can use it for 24 hours continuously.

MegaWatt S-350-12

The highlights of the CB amplifier are:

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

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Like the MegaWatt S-400-12x, this linear CB amplifier gives filtered and regulated output. It also eliminates 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. It can be used with any 12-volt equipment that draws 33 amps or less.

MegaWatt S-350-12 serves great for a full-time maintenance charger for a standard car or RV battery. The quality of the fan is a disadvantage of the product. This CB amp stays among the best choices at its price range.

5. HYS TC-300N

HYS TC-300N is a lightweight and compact high-power linear CB amplifier. It is designed to work with portable two-way radios/walkie-talkies (3 to 30 MHz range). It can work with any CB with an output power not exceeding 150 Watts for AM/FM and 300 Watts for SSB. We found that the amplifier works in the 20-30 MHz range.

The pros of this linear CB amplifier are:

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

The linear amplifier is easy to use. You will love how accessible its switches are. ON/OFF and automatic Tx/Rx switches are placed on the front panel. The amplifier comes with an additional fan to prevent overheating. The fan improves the working efficiency of the CB amplifier. Another key feature of HYS TC-300N is the built-in reverse polarity protection to extend its life.

Comparison of High Power CB Amps

A comparison of the features of the CB amplifiers will help you in choosing the right one. We have compared the Wattage, warranty and dimension of the top linear CB amps below:

ProductWattageWarrantyDimension
MegaWatt S-400-12430 wattFull 2-year factory warranty9 x 4.5 x 2 inches
MFJ-2641500 wattFull 12 Month Limited Warranty3 x 9 x 3 inches
MFJ-260C300 wattFull 12 Month Limited Warranty7 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches
MegaWatt S-350-12450 wattFull 2-year factory warranty9 x 4.5 x 2 inches
HYS TC-300N150 Watts for AM/FM and 300 Watts for SSB1 year limited warranty109 x 225 x 35 mm

 

 

CB Linear Amp Buying Guide

You should follow certain guidelines and tips while buying ac CB amplifier. It will ensure that you end up with a high quality amplifier. Here are the key factors you should follow:

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. The 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. Yeah, it is illegal. But how many people were put behind bars for doing so?

Must Have Features in a CB Amplifier

The three vital features to look for in a CB amplifier are:

  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 in most cases, you don’t require more than 500 Watts CB Amp.

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

We have picked the top quality CB amplifiers in the market in 2021. These linear amplifiers make sure that you are properly heard. They will take care of the interferences. MegaWatt S-400 is the best power booster as per our testing. MFJ-264 is the most affordable amp. Even the other products in this provide exceptional performance to give that extra mile. Our reviews along with the buying tips will serve you to amplify the signal and hence to get right performance with your CB radio.

Last update on 2021-06-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API