Best CB Radio for the Money: Top Rated High Performance CBs on the Market

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Wondering what is the best CB radio out there? Well, you are not alone.

To be honest with you, it is fairly difficult for an individual to find a good CB radio for the money amongst hundreds of products.

However, nobody can deny the fact that high performance CB radios can open your doors to infinite opportunities. Although CB radios are not so popular as they used to be, these little beasts still do wonders for:

      • License-free and reliable short distance communication
      • As an Emergency walkie talkie
      • On Job sites
      • During Off-roading
      • Real-time traffic updates

Now coming to the question, we have done the job for you.

Based on our detailed technical analysis and market surveys(which include interviewing expert CB users), we have found out the top CB radios worth investing.

If you are eager to get hold of a feature-rich and terrific CB, here goes our top picks:

High Performance CB Radios: Comparison

CB Radio Highlights
Cobra 29 LX: Editor’s Choice

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  • Ideal for professional and amateurs
  • Top of the line performance
  • Recommended for truckers & rigs
  • Advanced features
  • Backlit display
Uniden Bearcat 980: Customer’s Favorite

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  • Long-range communication
  • Feature-rich CB
  • 7 color LCD display
  • Easy to use interface
  • Crystal clear voice communication
Galaxy DX 959: Best SSB CB Radio

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  • SSB driven long-range communication
  • Automatic SWR calibration
  • Feature-rich CB
  • Proprietary Noise reduction circuit
  • Recommended for trucks and pickups
Uniden BEARCAT520XL: Most Affordable

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  • Affordable price
  • Basic features
  • Compact size
  • Ideal for cars, SUVs & jeeps
  • Clear voice communication
Midland 75-822: Best Handheld CB

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  • Highly portable CB
  • Medium level features
  • Ideal for emergency situations, camping etc.
  • NOAA, Instant Channel 9/19
Cobra HH50WXST: Top Choice for Job sites

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  • Mobile CB radio
  • Ideal for onsite communication
  • NOAA Weather updates
  • Background noise Reduction
Uniden CMX760: Best for Offroad uses

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  • Rugged design
  • Ideal for offroad use-jeeps/cars
  • NOAA, Instant Channel 9/19
  • Good sound quality

7 Best CB Radio for the Money: Review

Here are the reviews you have been looking for:

1. Cobra 29: The Best in the Market

The most modern CB radio from the esteemed Cobra, 29 LX is jam-packed with advanced features. The workhorse vouches for its top class performance and outstanding user interface. 

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What You will get

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

Cobra is one such brand that is known producing some of the amazing CB products. That’s why we are not at all surprised to see Cobra 29 LX at the top of this list. In fact, this is the most sold product of the brand.

Cobra 29 LX is one of the most modern CB radios in the market. It’s the most recent from the brand too. 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 completely 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 in your vehicle.

One main problem we have seen with this CB radio is ‘CB Antenna Warning’. Many customers have also faced this issue. But the good thing is that you can resolve it very easily by connecting it with the best CB antenna. One good option is a Wilson 2000 antenna.

With the amazingly 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. Uniden Bearcat 980 SSB – Best All Mode (SSB+AM) CB Radio/Customer’s Favorite

A modern CB radio that boosts top of the line SSB performance and advanced features . The 7 color multi color display makes it a must have for serious CBers.

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What You will Get

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

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 in this category that is known for customer satisfaction and long-range SSB operation.

User choice 7 color multi color personalized display is what makes the CB the favorite of endless numbers of truckers. 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 very 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 for small vehicles like cars. In fact, it is a great trucker CB radio.

You get two amazing options for connecting mic with Uniden 980.

  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 is very high and you will never get any complaints from the person on the other side.  With a push of a button, you can access all the NOAA weather channels. The CB also gives you Instant Channel 9 for Instant weather alerts.

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

3. Galaxy DX 959: Best SSB CB Radio

The most powerful CB radio on the market, Galaxy DX 959 offers you terrific long range communication.

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What You Will Love

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

Just like Uniden BEARCAT 980, this Galaxy CB is also a storehouse of stunning SSB performance. In fact, it’s best if you are looking for SSB driven features.

Galaxy DX 959 comes with all the features you are looking for. The Galaxy Noisy Filter is the favorite one for it. It does an amazing job to reduce noise signals to give crystal clear voice.

One of the sexiest things about the CB is the illuminated SWR meter placed on the left side. Galaxy DX 959 gives you Automatic SWR circuit and SWR Red Alert features to tap your signal levels all the time. I believe I don’t have to explain how handy these are.

Galaxy offers an easy to the user interface. It includes:

      • 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 side band CB is a fantastic choice for pickups and semi-trucks with ample space for installation.

4. Uniden PRO520XL : Best Budget CB Radio

The solid construction and highly affordable price tag make Uniden PRO520XL the favorite of many. The best choice for newbies and casual users.

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What You will Love

      • Highly compact design
      • Highly affordable CB
      • Rugged design
      • Public Address System

With just enough features that you need, Uniden PRO520XL is a top of the line CB radio you can buy to kickstart your two-way radio adventures.

If you ask me what’s the most attractive thing about this small CB radio, I would say its the price. Yes, Uniden PRO520XL is the most affordable CB radio you can get. But the product is worth more than it’s price considering its highly durable nature and performance.

Although you don’t get lots of features with this CB radio, it does offer some quality features. It has an outstanding RF gain control which comes into play in noisy environments. The Public Addressing system works nicely well.

We have heard people complaining about its ‘too’ compact nature. But what we feel is that they have chosen the wrong product if that’s their problem. In reality, it is an outstanding compact CB radio which is the best for use in small-sized vehicles like cars, SUVs, and jeeps. Even commercial areas can make use of its compact size.

You need to be careful about a few things such as the speaker while using it. Its performance is just okay. We would recommend you to upgrade it for better performance. On the other hand, the stock mic delivers a great job although it is small in size.

5.  Midland 75-822 : Best Handheld CB Radio

The most bought CB radio on the market, Midland 75-822 is what you need for emergency purposes and camping. The splendid features that comes with this awesome portable CB radio normally comes in higher range CB Radios.

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What You will love

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

Midland terms  75-822 is an ultra-portable CB radio with weather channels. 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.

The design of this wonderful CB radio is crafted in such a way that it suits cars and SUVs. It can be moved from one car to another with ease as it won’t consume any time for installation. That’s why it is still one of the top-rated CB radios for use in multiple vehicles.

What we liked the most about this nice CB apart from its portable nature is the display. It has a large, backlist multifunction display which makes it very easy to read even at the night. Moreover, the handheld CB offers all the essentials plus some standard features like 40 channels, Automatic Noise Limiter, NOAA weather channels, Instant Channel 9/19, dual watch, etc.

You can power it up with AA batteries or your car’s power port. Moreover, the device also features a high/low transmit power setting to help you extend the life of the system.

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

This Midland CB offers pretty good sound quality – both for the CB radio and weather channels.

Midland 75-822 is a good handheld CB radio for casual users who are looking for good short-distance communication options. Maybe that’s why it is the most bought in the market. It works great for limited distances and will be a good companion for camping, trucking, etc.

6. Cobra HH 50 WXST: Best for Job site Use

Cobra’s latest handheld CB- Cobra H50WXST is destined to steal your heart for it’s weather channel and channel scanning. It’s an excellent product to have if you need a CB for rugged use.

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What You will Love

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

Cobra HH 50WXST, one of the best compact CB radio,  is the upgraded version of Cobra’s top-selling handheld CB- 38WXST. You don’t need a CB antenna to use this CB for short-distance communication of 1-2 miles. However, with a good CB antenna, you can easily extend its range up to 5-6 miles.

The radio is exclusively built for onsite communication. Rugged construction ensures it can sustain any damages. Moreover, 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 amazing.

The sound quality is among the best we have tested. With the Noise reduction technique- Sound Tracker system employed in it, you get effectively 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. So storage will never be an issue for you.

7. Uniden CMX760: Best for Offroad

Exclusively designed for off road use, Uniden CMX760 is an ultra-compact CB designed for Jeeps, SUVs and Cars

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What You will Love

      •  Ultra-compact design
      • NOAA Channels
      • Rugged construction
      • Good sound quality

Uniden has made an awesome effort in bringing this offroad specific radio for travel enthusiasts. With this CB, you don’t have to fear about dwelling through remote areas in the outskirts. Uniden has crafted two great features in this CB to do so:

  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

The basic features like 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. It offers Channel Scanning facility too.

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

How to buy a Good CB Radio?

top CB radios buying tips

If you have a strong idea of why you need the CB radio, this buying guide will help you pick the right CB from the top-rated CB radios listed above.

You can’t go wrong if you buy;

    1. The right CB radio type
    2. The right features
    3. The right dimension

So, how do we do it? Let’s start!

1. Know the Types of CB Radios

Type Features When to Use
Mobile CB Comparatively 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 Radio CB 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 Radio These are large-sized indoor units which can play key roles during emergencies

  • Galaxy DX 2547
Ideal for job sites and emergencies

2. Are You Looking for an AM or SSB CB Radio?

Type Features When to Use
AM Powered 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
SSB Powered at 12 Watts, these CBs offer 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. What are the Features You Need?

Feature Function
Basic Features 40 Channels All the CB radios offer you 40 channels for communication
ANL(Automatic Noise Limiter) Removes noise associated with electrical components, interferences, traffic, etc.
Squelch Control Activate the speaker only when the radio receives real transmission
Backlit display To make it easy  for you to read the display during the night time
Middle-level Features Instant Channel 9 & 19 Instant Access to Emergency and Weather channels respectively
NOAA Channels 10 NOAA Channels to get an instant update about the local weather condition
Advanced Features Roger Beep A beep to intimate the receiver the transmission is over
Built-in SWR Meter To monitor whether the antenna is working properly
Talkback Listen to your own broadcast voice before transmission
Channel Scan To quickly check(scan) all the 40 channels to identify if someone is talking
Bluetooth Bluetooth enabled CB radios can be connected to your smartphone

4. Recommended CB Radios by Use

Uses What to Look for Recommendations
Motorcycles, Camping & Trucking Small-sized handheld CB radios
  • Midland 75-822
  • Cobra 50WXST
Small Vehicles- Cars/SUVs/Jeeps Compact Mobile CB radios and handheld CB radios
  • Cobra 29 LX
  • Galaxy DX 959
  • Midland 75-822
Trucks Larg CB radios with backlit display.
  • Cobra 29LX
  • Uniden BEARCAT 980
  • Galaxy DX959

Click here for the best CB radio for truckers

Base Stations Big Base Station CB radios
  •  Galaxy DX 2547

 

FAQ

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 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

What is a CB radio good for?
A Citizen Band radio is good for:

  1. Emergency situations like cyclones
  2. Short distance communications
  3. Job site communication
  4. Instant weather and emergency updates
  5. Traffic updates for trucks

Are old CB radios worth anything?
Yeah, old CB radios are still worthy. There have not been many technological advancements int the CB industry. You can still use the old CB radios and enjoy its performance.

That’s it.

We believe you could find an ideal CB from our list of top CB radios.

Get that CB, install it and enjoy the communication.

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