Best CB Radio Reviews: 7 High-Performance Citizen Band Radios on the Market in 2021

The best CB radio in the market will give you reliable short-distance communication and timely channel updates. Features like Instant Channel 9/19, noise cancellation, RF gain, rugged design, etc. are must to have in a good CB radio. Our team has researched the market and tested 23 two-way radios. We have narrowed it down to the top 7 high-performance CB radios. There are hundreds of CB radios and the task was not easy. We focused on the technical specifications, design, and performance of the CB radios to pick the best ones.

The top CB radios for money, as per our testing and research are:

  1. Cobra 29 LX- Top-rated CB Radio(Editor’s Choice)
  2. Uniden Bearcat 980- Best Customer’s Choice
  3. Galaxy DX 959 – Most Powerful SSB CB radio
  4. Uniden Bearcat 520XL- Most Affordable Citizen Band Radio
  5. Midland 75-822- Best Handheld Choice
  6. Cobra HH50WXST- Right CB for job sites
  7. Uniden CMX760- Best for Offroad uses

Yeah, the CB radios are not popular as they used to be. But these little beasts work well for most truckers on the road. People use them as emergency walkie-talkies and for job sites. These are the perfect two-way radios to use during off-roading too. So, it’s not a bad idea to own a nice Citizen Band Radio in 2021.

7 Best CB Radios for the Money: Reviews 2021

A comparison of the top rated CB radios to buy in 2021 is given below. This list is chosen based on our own market research and testing. We have picked 7 different CB radios based on different needs.

  • Ideal for professional and amateurs
  • Top of the line performance
  • Recommended for truckers & rigs
  • Advanced features
  • Backlit display

Uniden BEARCAT 980

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  • Long-range communication
  • Feature-rich CB
  • 7 color LCD display
  • Easy to use interface
  • Crystal clear voice communication
  • SSB driven long-range communication
  • Automatic SWR calibration
  • Feature-rich CB
  • Proprietary Noise reduction circuit
  • Recommended for trucks and pickups

Uniden BEARCAT 520 XL

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  • Affordable price
  • Basic features
  • Compact size
  • Ideal for cars, SUVs & jeeps
  • Clear voice communication

Midland 75-822

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  • Highly portable CB
  • Medium level features
  • Ideal for emergency situations, camping etc.
  • NOAA, Instant Channel 9/19

Cobra HH50WXST

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  • Mobile CB radio
  • Ideal for onsite communication
  • NOAA Weather updates
  • Background noise Reduction
  • Rugged design
  • Ideal for offroad use-jeeps/cars
  • NOAA, Instant Channel 9/19
  • Good sound quality

1. The Best in the Market- Cobra 29 LX

The best CB radio in the market is Cobra 29 LX. This is a modern CB radio which is jam-packed with advanced features. The top-class performance and its user interface are unmatched. Cobra 29 LX is the most sold product from the brand.

Cobra 29 LX

Some of the main features of the 29 LX are:

  • Digital multi-color display
  • Feature-rich CB
  • High SWR Indicator
  • High-quality noise reduction

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Cobra is one such brand that is known to produce some of the amazing CB products. Cobra 29 LX is the latest CB radio from the brand. They have put a great effort into implementing the latest technologies like Digital display, outstanding background noise reduction, Delta tune, Dynamike Boost, etc. in this equipment.

The 4 colors multi-color display is the center of attraction of Cobra 29 LX. The display is full-faced and digital. It can give you all the important information in a nutshell. This includes:

  • Transmission and Reception strength
  • Current frequency
  • Battery power
  • Time
  • SWR levels

The CB offers you all the 40 channels which include 10 NOAA channels. Getting weather and emergency updates with Instant Channel 9 and 19 is not a problem with Cobra 29LX.

One main problem we have seen with this CB radio is ‘CB Antenna Warning’. Many customers have faced this issue. But you can resolve it by connecting the radio with a quality CB antenna. Wilson 2000 antenna is the right choice for Cobra 29 LX.

With the working features and outstanding performance, Cobra 29 LX is a great choice for professionals. The higher dimension makes this killer CB an ideal choice for trucks and rigs

2. Best All Mode (SSB+AM) CB Radio – Uniden Bearcat 980

Uniden Bearcat 980 is the best all-mode CB radio on this list. It is a modern CB that boasts top-of-the-line SSB performance and advanced features. The 7 color multi-color display makes it a must-have for serious CB radio users. Uniden Bearcat 980 is the customer’s favorite choice CB radio. Thousands have used this CB and are happy about its performance.

Uniden 980

Some of the main features the CB radio offers are:

  • Large 7 color backlit display
  • Easy to use interface
  • Noise-canceling stock mic
  • 3X long-range communication
  • Outstanding transmission & reception

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Uniden’ BEARCAT series CB radios come with a nice array of features that can steal the heart of any radio user. Uniden BEARCAT 980 is a sleekly designed CB radio that is known for customer satisfaction and SSB operation. It is one of the top long-range CB radios.

Bearcat 980 offers user choice 7 color multi color personalized display. Most truckers love this awesome feature. It makes their life fairly easier, on the roads. You will not get such a user-friendly interface in the majority of the CB radios. You also get easy to use brightness and contrast control interface.

Remember, this is a full-size unit and it will take some space.  We don’t recommend this CB radio for small vehicles like cars. In fact, it works great as trucker CB radio.

The mic connectivity is another attraction of Uniden 980. You get two options:

  1. Noise-canceling stock microphone: Nicely designed and highly durable stock mic gives you clear communication
  2. Wireless mic compatibility: With Uniden BC906W CB Wireless Microphone, you can talk wireless through this CB

The transmission and reception quality of the SSB CB radio is high. With a push of a button, you can access all the NOAA weather channels. The CB gives you Instant Channel 9 for Instant weather alerts.

The advanced features and advantages don’t come cheap. But Uniden Bearcat 980 offers outstanding performance for the money. We believe that the price is reasonable if you are looking for a good CB radio.

3. Best SSB CB Radio- Galaxy DX 959

The third product on this list is the most powerful CB radio. It is Galaxy DX 959. It is a storehouse of stunning SSB performance. In fact, it is the best choice if you are looking for SSB-driven features. Operating at 3x power, Galaxy DDX 959 offers you terrific long-range communication. The radio is feature-rich.

Galaxy DX 959

Some of the features in Galaxy DX 959 are:

  • SSB driven performance
  • Advanced specifications
  • Automatic SWR circuit
  • Galaxy Noise Filter

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Galaxy DX 959 comes with all the features you are looking for. The Galaxy Noisy Filter is the best feature it offers. The filter reduces noise signals to give a crystal clear voice. Another great feature of the CB is the illuminated SWR meter. The SWR meter is on the left side of the radio and gives you a quick overview of the SWR reading all the time. Galaxy DX 959 has an Automatic SWR circuit and SWR Red Alert features to tap your signal levels all the time.

I know what you are thinking. Yeah, it’s a hell lot of features. This is what our team also thought while testing the 959. But the beauty is that these features work as advertised.

Another great thing to mention is the user interface. We should say that it’s the best user interface you will get. Some of the features are:

  • Five-digit frequency counter
  • Two-digit channel display
  • Variable power output control
  • Variable talkback circuit with on/off switch

With all these controls at your fingertips, Galaxy DX 959 does an amazing job. The single-sideband CB is a fantastic choice for pickups and semi-trucks with ample space for installation.

 4. Best Budget CB Radio: Uniden PRO520XL

The most affordable CB radio to buy in 2021 is Uniden PRO520XL. The Uniden CB offers all the basic features at such a cheap price. Uniden PRO520XL is a top-of-the-line CB radio you can buy to kickstart your two-way radio adventures, with enough features that you need. The CB is worth more than its price considering its durable nature and performance. We recommend Uniden PRO520XL to newbies and casual two-way radio users.

Uniden PRO520XL

Some of the basic features of PRO520XL are:

  • Highly compact design
  • Highly affordable CB
  • Rugged design
  • Public Address System[/su_list]

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Uniden PRO520XL offers all the basic features. Yeah, you won’t find all the high-end features in this CB. But, the casual users and newbies don’t need them. The Uniden CB radio has an outstanding RF gain control which comes into play in noisy environments. The Public Addressing system also works well.

Uniden PRO520XL is an outstanding compact CB radio which is the best for use in small-sized vehicles like cars, SUVs, and jeeps. Commercial areas can make use of their compact size. We have heard people complaining about its ‘too’ compact nature of the CB. But in our opinion, the compact nature is a highlight of the product.

One drawback of the CB is its speaker. Its performance is okay. We would recommend you to get an external speaker. On the other hand, the stock mic delivers a great job although it is small in size.

All in all, Uniden PRO520XL is a small CB radio, that is affordable and offers the basic features.

5. Best Handheld CB Radio- Midland 75-822

Midland 75-822 is a top-rated handheld CB radio in the market. It enjoys a strong customer base. It is the ideal CB radio to buy for emergency purposes and camping. The splendid features that come with this awesome portable CB radio come in higher range CB Radios. It is a well-built CB radio that is rated the best for its versatility. You can use it as a walkie-talkie or a vehicle CB radio.

mIDLAND 75-822

The main features of Midland 75-822 are:

  • Highly compact & portable
  • Nice features for an entry-level CB radio
  • Excellent battery life
  • Weather channels & NOAA[/su_list]

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The design of Midland 75-822 suits cars and SUVs. It is portable. It can be moved from one car to another with ease. Thanks to zero installation time. People who own multiple vehicles are a fan of Midland 75-822.

The display is another attraction of the CB. It has a large, backlist multifunction display which makes it easy to read at the night. The handheld CB offers all the essentials plus standard features like 40 channels, Automatic Noise Limiter, NOAA weather channels, Instant Channel 9/19, dual watch, etc. This Midland CB offers excellent gound quality – both for the CB radio and weather channels. You can power up the CB with AA batteries or your car’s power port. The device features a high/low transmit power setting to help you extend the life of the system.

Midland 75-822 offers a decent range. With the rubber ducky antenna that comes with the radio, you will get 1-2 miles range. But we advise you to get a magnetic CB antenna for better performance. You can get a 5-6 miles range if you do so.

Midland 75-822 is a good handheld CB radio for casual users who are looking for good short-distance communication options. It works great for limited distances and will be a good companion for camping, trucking, etc.

6. Best for Job site – Cobra HH 50 WXST

If you are looking for a CB radio for job sites, get Cobra HH50WXST. It is the latest handheld CB radio from Cobra. It is an excellent product to have if you need a CB radio for rugged use. The weather channel and channel scanning are some of the key features of the CB radio.

Cobra HH50WXST

The main highlights of Cobra HH50WXST are:

  • Rugged design
  • Hands-free operation
  • Noise Reduction
  • Battery operation

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Cobra HH 50WXST  is the upgraded version of Cobra’s top-selling handheld CB- 38WXST. It is compact in size. You don’t need a CB antenna to use this CB for short-distance communication of 1-2 miles. A good CB antenna will extend its range up to 5-6 miles.

The radio is built for onsite communication. Rugged construction ensures it can sustain any damages. It offers plenty of hand-free operations through accessories like the handheld mic, earphone, etc. The CB offers you medium-level features. You will be surprised to find channel scan and dual scan features at a price tag of less than $100. The NOAA alerts for weather and emergency updates work great.

The sound quality of the Cobra CB radio is among the best we have tested. With the Noise reduction technique- Sound Tracker system employed in it, you get noise-free voice signals. The interfaces are standard and you will never face any problem using them. Cobra 50WXST is small enough to fit in your vehicle’s glove box.

The affordable price tag, compact size, midlevel features etc. make Cobra 50WXST a great choice for job sites.

7. Best for Offroad- Uniden CMX760

The best off-radio you can buy is Uniden CMX760. It is an ultra-compact CB designed for Jeeps, SUVs, and Cars. The two features that make CMX760 the best for travel enthusiasts are:

  1. Ultra-compact dimension(4x4x1″)- The CB won’t eat up your space and also won’t trouble you while installing
  2. Rugged design– Enjoy trouble-free service with the highly durable components it has even if you expose it to a harsh environment

Uniden CMX760

Some of the key features of the CB are:

  • Ultra-compact design
  • NOAA Channels
  • Rugged construction
  • Good sound quality[/su_list]

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Uniden CMX760 offers all the basic features you need on road. NOAA channels and Instant access to Channel 9/19 ensure you get real-time updates during your off-road journeys. The stylish blue backlit display is a centerpiece of attraction. The Channel Scanning facility is another attraction of the CB radio.

The CB gives outstanding sound quality in a low noise area. Thanks to the NB/Hi Cut noise reduction mechanism. We recommend getting an external speaker to hear better in a noisy environment.

High-Performance CB Radio Buying Tips

top CB radios buying tips

Buying a good CB radio means you should know what are the features you need. The type of CB radio and the size are other factors you need to consider. We will explain how you can buy a quality CB radio.

1. Get the Right Types of CB Radio

Based on the design and dimensions, there are three types of CB radios. The uses of each of the types vary. You need to get that CB radio type, which works for your job.

TypeFeaturesWhen to Use
Mobile CBComparatively large-sized CB radio box with a mic attached to it.
Cobra 29LX
Uniden PRO520XL
For vehicles like trucks, cars, SUVs. You should focus on the dimension of the CB before choosing one.
Handheld CB RadioCB radios which look like walkie talkies
Midland 75-822
Cobra 50WXST
These are ideal for commercial and job site uses. They can be a good choice for motorcyclists too.
Base Station CB RadioThese are large-sized indoor units that can play key roles during emergencies
Galaxy DX 2547
Ideal for job sites and emergencies.

2. AM or SSB CB Radio?

There are two types of modulations in CB radios- Amplitude Modulation and Single Side Band Modulation. SSB CB radios are powerful and offer you a higher range. The following table will explain which modulation you should choose.

TypeFeaturesWhen to Use
AMPowered at 4Watts, these are the standard CB radios
Cobra 29 LX
Midland 75-822
These are ideal for short-distance communication of 1-10 miles. AM radios are sufficient for most of the operations
SSBPowered at 12 Watts, these CBs offer a higher range compared to the former
Uniden BEARCAT 980
Galaxy DX979
You can use them if you are looking for long-distance communication of more than 30 miles. Remember, the other person should also have an SSB CB.

3. Features to look for in a CB Radio

CB radios come with a wide variety of features. But not all CB radios are equipped with all the features. Here are some of the features you will find in CB radios.

FeaturesFunction
40 ChannelsAll the CB radios offer you 40 channels for communication
ANL(Automatic Noise Limiter)Removes noise associated with electrical components, interferences, traffic, etc.
Squelch ControlActivate the speaker only when the radio receives the real transmission
Backlit displayTo make it easy  for you to read the display during the night time
Instant Channel 9 & 19Instant Access to Emergency and Weather channels respectively
NOAA Channels10 NOAA Channels to get an instant update about the local weather condition
Roger BeepA beep to intimate the receiver the transmission is over
Built-in SWR MeterTo monitor whether the antenna is working properly
TalkbackListen to your own broadcast voice before transmission
Channel ScanTo quickly check(scan) all the 40 channels to identify if someone is talking
BluetoothBluetooth enabled CB radios can be connected to your smartphone

4. Recommended CB Radios by Use

UsesWhat to Look forRecommendations
Motorcycles, Camping & TruckingSmall-sized handheld CB radiosMidland 75-822
Cobra 50WXST
Small Vehicles- Cars/SUVs/JeepsCompact Mobile CB radios and handheld CB radiosCobra 29 LX
Galaxy DX 959
Midland 75-822
TrucksLarg CB radios with backlit display.Cobra 29LX
Uniden BEARCAT 980
Galaxy DX959
Click here for our trucker CB radio reviews

FAQ about CB Radios

FAQs related to CB radios
How many miles can a CB radio transmit?
A standard CB radio(AM) can transmit up to 10 miles. On the other hand, SSB CB radio can transmit up to 30-100 miles. Remember, the range also depends on other factors like an antenna, the topography of the area, etc.
Do I need an antenna to operate CB radio?
No, You don’t always need an antenna to operate a CB radio. Most of the handheld CB radios can be operated without using an antenna. However, for long-range communication, an external antenna is a must to enhance signal transmission/reception.
How much is a CB radio?
CB radios are available at various price ranges starting from less than $50 to $350+. The price depends on factors like features, performance, construction, etc. However, most of the decent CB radios are available at a price range of $150
Which is the best place to buy CB radio?
You can buy CB radios from authorized online retail stores like Amazon, eBay, etc. or also from your nearby radio shops.
Do you need a license for a CB radio?
No, as per FCC regulations, you don’t need a license to operate a CB radio.
How much power is required for operating a CB?
The power required depends on the type of CB as given below: • AM CB radios: 4 Watt • SSB CB radios: 12 Watts
Are old CB radios worth anything?
Yeah, old CB radios are still worthy. There have not been many technological advancements in the CB industry. You can still use the old CB radios and enjoy their performance.

Final Verdict

The best-rated Citizen Band radio in the market is Cobra 29 LX. It’s an AM CB radio. Galaxy DX 959 or Uniden BEARCAT 980 are the top two high-performance CB radios of 2021. The budget-friendly Uniden PRO520XL is an excellent choice for newbies. If you are an off-road travel enthusiast, get the CMX760. All the CB radios listed in this article have been tested by our team. They all are worth the money. As we said in the buying guide section, look for the right type of CB radio, the right features, and you are all set to start a wonderful CB radio experience.

Last update on 2021-07-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API