Choosing the wrong sized CB radio was one of the biggest mistakes I did when starting out with CB radios. Needless to say, I had to sell off my first CB for a mini CB radio later.
However, finding a good quality small CB radio that fits perfectly in my vehicle was not an easy task. Most of the best CB radios out there are comparatively bigger in size. I had to dig deep and test a few products.
If you are like me, this is what you want in the best compact CB radio:
- Highly compact dimension
- Powerful long-range communication
- High-quality material
- Rugged design
- Easy installation
In this article, I will introduce you to some of the top-notch small-sized CB radios. By the time you complete reading this article, I am sure that you will get a high-performance CB that is a perfect fit for your car or any small space.
If you don’t want to go through the reviews, here is a quick overview of our top picks:
Top Small CB Radios
Best and Most Popular Small CB Radio
Best Handheld Mini CB Radio
Best for Short Distance
Fresh in the Market
Who Should Get a Small CB Radio?
Yeah, the size does matter when it comes to CB radios!
Although I always recommend getting a high-performance CB radio, sometimes you have to settle with other viable options. Vehicles like cars, SUVs and in some rare cases even the pickup trucks call for a compact CB radio.
If you are still unsure whether you should buy a small CB or not, read on:
- Hikers and hunters: The handheld radio is surely for you! These easy-to-carry radios can help when mountainous areas have cellular network issues. Hiking and trekking in groups will never be boring again. These radios also provide a great range. You can substitute your ordinary phones in weak-signal areas with them. A tiny CB radio serves the same purpose as a phone. It is handheld, fuss-free and can be easy-to-operate.
- Motorcyclists traveling in groups can use them to stay organized on roads. Since these are pocket-size, they can be easy-to-use for bikers.
- Setting up a radio in a space-limited vehicle like cars and SUVs is difficult. In such a case, a compact CB radio is an effective solution. They occupy very little space, and you can enjoy all those amazing conversations in the CB channels.
- Tired of paying excessive carrier costs for your phone? Make a one-time investment by opting for a small CB Radio. These compact radios can be operated without a license. The one-time cost will definitely prove to be fruitful, helping you stay connected. The best part is they won’t need any regular maintenance, unlike cellphones.
Best Compact CB Radio Reviews
You can read my detailed review of our top recommendations below:
1. Cobra 75WXST-Best Smallest CB Radio
Undoubtedly the best and most popular compact CB radio in the market, Cobra 75WXST houses all the features you are looking for. We highly recommend it for the clear communication and high performance.
What You’ll Love
- Highly compact CB radio
- Easy to install
- Crystal clear Communication
- Advanced features
- Instant Access to Emergency Channels
- Great Backlit Display
With its mini size, Cobra 75WXST is the solution to all your space-related issues. An easy to mount CB radio, it can be stored away when not in use. You can install it on the dashboard or the glove compartment.
Here is the best part! The mini CB radio comes loaded with all the advanced features you are looking for. The dual-watch feature with a 4-channel memory location is what I love most in this CB. Moreover, it gives you channel scan- a surveillance feature of monitoring for incoming signals.
However, I have seen that this Cobra radio’s speaker can be a bit problematic. But the best thing is that by attaching an external speaker you can easily improve the sound output drastically. You can also connect it using your Jeep’s aux to its in-built speakers.
I can tell you that this CB will never fail in giving outstanding long-range communication if you pair it up with the right CB antennas.
Cobra 75WXST is one of the best smallest CB radios in the market. The brand name Cobra itself is an indication of its amazing performance.
2. Midland 75-822: Best Handheld Mini CB Radio
One of the best handheld CB radios you will ever get, Midland 75-822 boosts it’s rugged construction and outstanding performance. It can be your best buddy if you are planning to use it in multiple vehicles
What You’ll Love
- High-performance handheld CB radio
- One-year Warranty
- Squelch control to reduce noise
- 5-Channel memory
- No installation headache
- Rechargeable battery+Battery life extender
Midland 75-822; one of the most sold handheld CB radio is the second one on our list. I have to tell you that this one is an invaluable radio, ready for all emergency situations! You could definitely buy one as a back-up for such scenarios.
It also comes with a battery pack and battery-free operation option. This makes this compact CB a must-have for all emergency situations. Just connecting the battery makes it a perfect mobile CB radio.
The squelch control and the ANL, making communication a breeze. The Midland radio will reduce all background noise, making the audio clearer. This is especially important for communication in areas with weak signals.
The 5-channel memory can save your favorite channels for easy access. We believe the 5-channel memory feature is better than Cobra C75WXST’s of 4-channel memory. The dual-watch system allows you to track between channels. This will help you stay up-to-date with the happenings of the emergency channel.
Midland 75-822 comes with a one-year warranty. Oh, and did we mention the battery life extender feature? The high/low transmit power settings in the CB helps you to extend the battery life during emergency situations.
Being a handheld CB radio, it doesn’t need any installation. Yeah, this compact CB from Midland can be your best pal if you are looking for a CB for multiple vehicles.
3. Midland 75-785: Best for Short Distance
Available at n affordable price tag, this small CB which is great for outdoor activities. With strong noise reduction features, this rugged CB is a must have for short range communications.
What You’ll Love
- Handheld CB radio
- One-year Warranty
- ANL reduces noise
- Battery saving circuitry
With the ANL system, this Midland radio provides clearer communication. It reduces all background noise, making it efficient.
The communication lines remain open with this one. This means it is great for all outdoor activities like hiking, trekking, and hunting. Accessories to add to it include a headset mic or an external speaker.
This CB is an ideal choice for short-range communications. It comes with a flexible antenna. However, with a good antenna, you can shoot up the range.
The 75-785 also has an excellent charging feature. The NiCad batteries can be charged without removal, using the Charge Jack.
Oh and you are going to love what we have next. This radio comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty. You can comfortably use the CB even in the harshest conditions without worrying about the damages.
In toto, Midland 75-785 is a highly durable small CB to buy for short-distance communication.
4. Uniden PRO505XL: Best Budget
A basic CB radio available at the most affordable price, Uniden PRO505XL is the best pick for newbies. You can easily install it in your vehicle and enjoy the basic CB functionalities and PA.
What You’ll Love
- Can be connected to PA Speaker
- Provides signal strength
- Volume control
- Most Affordable
- Compact Design
While commuting on the busy roads, an easy-to-read display is highly important. You are expected to stay alert with your eyes on the road. While doing that, straining your eyes to read the display is a no-no.
The Uniden PRO505XL comes with a large, back-lit LCD display. This tiny radio is optimized for both day and nighttime viewing. It displays the channel, volume, as well as, some other features.
While this compact CB isn’t a handheld radio, it can be mounted on the dashboard. This is is a light-weight radio, weighing less than 2 pounds.
If you thought it couldn’t get any better, read on to know more.
Using the squelch control, you can adjust the weak signals. This provides you with high-quality audio, making way for clearer communication.
We also love how affordable the Uniden radio is. For less than $40, it provides some awesome features like the display quality and the controls.
It also comes with a user-friendly layout, making it easy-to-use. The up-down buttons enable users to read while looking out on the road.
An important drawback of the CB is its law audio quality. But you can easily fix this issue by adding an external speaker. Considering Uniden PRO505XL’s affordability, adding a good speaker should not be a problem.
5. Cobra HH50WXST: Fresh in the Market
Cobra HH50WXST- is an ideal radio if you want up-to-the-mark features. The emergency features can help you in disastrous situations. Though a little pricey, it is jampacked with features.
What You’ll Love
- Dual watch
- Automatic channel scan
- Power switch
- 10 national weather channels
- Great backlighting
Released in 2017, Cobra 50WXST comes as a replacement to Cobra’s 38WXST. Although listed last on this list, this is the most modern compact CB.
The CB radio is ideal for local job sites that demand less than 1-mile range. .The high/low power switches allow you to adjust power usage. If your buddy is in close proximity, you can switch to low power. While for long-distance conversations you may turn to the high power setting. Moreover, an external antenna can give you a high range too.
Cobra 50WXST comes with a lot of advanced features. It has an automatic channel scan that monitors for any incoming signals. It also has a dual watch like the Midland 75-822. This allows you to keep track of two channels.
This Cobra radio also has an additional microphone/speaker jack to connect to.
It also comes with 10 weather channels to give you all the important information. While traveling through a storm, it can help guide you to safety.
Mini CB Radio Buying Guide
You might be guessing what are the important things to focus on while buying a small-sized CB radio. People are always afraid that going for a compact CB affects performance negatively.
Yeah, it can. But if you follow the instructions I am going to list below, you will easily get high-performance compact CB radios at an affordable price tag.
The Right Dimension
Limited space is a common problem with most vehicles. Save yourself from the inconvenience and opt for a mountable radio.
You should find out how much space your vehicle has to mount the CB radio. Most people mount CBs in their vehicle’s dashboard. Measure the available space and get a CB that can be mounted in this space.
Our top pick Cobra 75WXST is what most people love to get for their cars. This mini radio proves to be perfect for motorcyclists too. The handheld controls and inbuilt speakers are efficient for when on the road.
I mean what else would one want, right? Most CB radios come with noise reduction systems. This makes communication so much easier! Would you believe a tiny radio could do so much?
You should look for two important features if you are planning to use the CB in a noisy environment:
- Squelch Control
The Automatic Noise Limiter blocks off all background noise. Both Midland 75-822 and 75-786 have the ANL system.
The squelch control also serves the same purpose. It reduces any low-quality sound and static noise. For a small, compact-size radio, that’s pretty great.
The Uniden Radio comes with a squelch control. However, it may need an external speaker for better audio quality.
This one is important for unpredictable weather conditions and natural calamities. Driving through a storm can be very risky. Most radios have NOAA Weather and Emergency channels.
These channels can provide you with all the necessary instructions and updates.
The Cobra HH50WXST comes with 10 Weather channels and Emergency channels 9/19. During an emergency, use this handheld radio to get all your updates.
An easy-to-read and back-lit display is an important feature to look for. Long-distance travel often goes on until the wee hours of the night. A readable display in dark is highly necessary for such travelers.
The Midland 75-822 offers a back-lit LED display that is easy to read in both night and day times. The Cobra 75WXST also has a well-lit display for clear visibility.
People tend to go for over-priced radios expecting exceptional features. Truth is, there is no relationship between price and quality. You can find some really good radios at low prices.
For example, The Midland 75-785 Radio is priced under $50. It has great features, making it a great purchase for all your uses.
And, lastly, the appearance and the exterior of the radio also matters. Here are some additional features we expect:
- Light-weight material.
- Small, compact size.
- High quality.
- Easy to control buttons.
- External jacks, especially, for attaching external speakers for better sound output.
Nobody wants to miss the fun in using a CB radio, just because there is not enough space in your vehicle.
Buying the best small CB radio for your car or SUV should be done with at most care. If the size of the CB doesn’t fit your car’s dashboard, you will lose the bucks.
You might not always require advanced features in these compact-sized CBs. I have seen that most people use mini CB radios for small range communications.
For a hiker or motorist, we recommend a handheld and lightweight radio. In areas with limited cellular network coverage, it can help make communicating easier. This only becomes possible with an easy-to-use radio.
If you thought of the CB radios as long-forgotten, you were wrong. They will surely come in handy on and off-road. Especially when planning events and group trips. Make your adventures safe yet fun with an affordable, Portable Radio.