Also known as the Citizens Band (CB) radio is basically a kind of radio communication that falls under the Personal Radio Service category, and having the best CB radio is highly demanded by several motorists nowadays. Such type of tool is used either for business or for personal purpose and does not require any license or permit for operation.
A car CB radio primarily operates on 40 channels in either the Single SideBand (SSB) or the AM mode, whereas the SSB mode offers lesser noise, plus greater range than the AM mode. The SSB mode is usually offered by high-end radios, and includes two modes such as the Lower Sideband and the Upper Sideband, allowing you to communicate exclusively with further SSB radios, while in such mode.
Based on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), virtually anyone can use this equipment as there is no age requirement for operation as well. But, there are few limitations in its use, according to the 95.403 FCC rules. Nonetheless, there are no CB frequencies of channels specifically assigned to an individual or an organization.
The FCC has designated 40 shared channels for CB, although there are some requirements such as the user is only limited to that 40 designated channels. All in all, the top rated CB radios in this review will tell you exactly how efficient, these tools are, serving motorists and drivers during emergency cases and helping travelers when they need assistance.
|Picture||Model||Editor Ratings||Our Review|
|Cobra 29|| (4.3 / 5) |
|Galaxy DX-959|| (4.2 / 5) |
|Uniden BEARCAT|| (4.3 / 5) |
|Midland 75-822|| (3.8 / 5) |
|Uniden PRO520XL|| (4.3 / 5) |
Best CB Radio Reviews 2016
Table of Contents
- 1 Best CB Radio Reviews 2016
- 2 CB Radio Buying Guide
- 3 Conclusion
Cobra 29 LX 40-Channel CB Radio
First on the list is the 4.4-Star-rated 29 LX 40-Channel CB Radio by Cobra. It is among the best CB radios of all time, offering a lot of impressive features. For one, it boasts an enormous multi-color screen that displays information about all radio functions.
You can choose one of the four colors for display, while allowing you to set in the dim mode during night driving; thereby, you can see it easily, despite the darkness. The four customizable colors include amber, blue, green, and red.
This is the best Cobra CB radio among the Cobra radio lineup, allowing you to access and automatically scan ten NOAA Weather Channels. It sends you alerts regarding severe weather conditions within your area as well, keeping you safe as much as possible. It has a Channel Scanning mode that automatically scans all the 40 channels, while in search of transmissions and then stopping once activity is found.
This tool also features a Radio Check Diagnostic technology that provides data on crucial CB aspects like battery voltage, antenna condition, and RF power. It is a Public Address (PA)-capable radio; thereby, giving you an additional system, including a PA speaker, whereas the received signals can be monitored via PA.
Moreover, the Cobra 29 boasts a totally new design and technology, unlike other Cobra radios. Other impressive features of the 29 LX is the delta tune, antenna warning indicator, talk back, RF gain, channel memory, on the spot channel 9/19, dynamite, clock/timer/alarm, 9-foot microphone cord, and more. It is certainly a small CB radio packed with impressive features, design, and technology. Check out our detailed Cobra 29 Review!
Galaxy DX-959 Mobile CB Radio
Next up is the DX-959 Mobile CB Radio by Galaxy. Garnering an average rating of 4.3-Stars, this is the best mobile CB radio with a large and animated meter, including scales for modulation, power output, SWR, as well as the incoming signal. It has a 5-digit frequency counter that displays large yellow digits, while its 2-digit channel display shows larger yellow digits, a variable power output control, and a changeable talk back circuit with an on-off switch.
Though it might not be among the cheap CB radios you’ll find today, its automatic SWR circuit, plus the SWR alert LED, and Roger Beep features will tell you exactly why. This state-of-the-art design in radios also offers a variable dimmer control, including a push switch for shutting down the meter lamp as well as the display digits.
Among the selling points of the DX-959 also includes the Galaxy Noise Filter or the GNF circuit, which tends to reduce noise, helping you in recovering some weak SSB signals. A CB operator will certainly appreciate this model, considering its easy-to-use interface; even the novice can master its functions easily and quickly.
The driver-friendly format allows you to focus on the road as its button or knob can control its specific tasks. This design minimizes the need to glance at the display through multiple menus. For over 15 years, the DX-959 has surely been an outstanding performer, being at the top of CB radio reviews.
Similar to the previous product, the DX-959 is also jam packed with essential features, including the PA and the AM/SSB modes. The power output scale has been calibrated for both AM and SSB frequencies. There is no complex calibration procedure through the 5-digit frequency counter, providing you an on-off switch, plus an automatic SWR circuit.
Furthermore, this very good CB radio features a GNF circuit, white meter lamp, mic gain control, gain control, and rear jacks for PA use and external speaker. Overall, the DX-959 is the best CB radio and among the high-performance CB radio models. Read more in our DX-959 Review here.
Uniden BEARCAT CB Radio
Meanwhile, the BEARCAT CB Radio by Uniden receives a 4.4-Star as an average rating. It is among the top CB radios on the market today, offering Weatherband with Alert features. It is an AM/SSB Sideband –capable with seven color selectable displays.
The kit includes a mounting bracket, power cord, and a noise cancelling microphone. This radio also features a built-in signal, plus an SWR meter, noise blanker, RF gain control, PA function, and a full-frequency display. Additional features also include a clarifier, memory scan, instant channel 9/19, microphone gain four-position control, CB/PA switch; laser etched keys, channel indicator, long mic cord, dimmer switch, and more.
Weighing at only four pounds, this equipment measures at 15″ (width) x 9″ (height) x 4″ (depth). Without a doubt, the Bearcat provides you with no less than the advanced features in the most modern design. It has a large digital meter, allowing you to check levels in just a glance, while allowing you to focus more on the road.
This radio is equipped with virtually all the vital features of the best compact CB radio you’ll ever see. The large LCD display will surely work for you, including the adjustable backlight display for bright or dim options when necessary. On the other hand, the RF Gain and noise cancelling mic makes hearing better, while the built-in SWR allows for perfect antenna matching.
Certainly, the Bearcat has become more flexible, considering its wireless microphone. These device capabilities make the Bearcat a must-have for CB operators, giving them access to 40 FCC-approved frequencies and instant emergency channels.
Above all that, this radio also features an ergonomic mic grip design for optimum comfort, while its squelch control allows for signal clarity. All these features are worth-considering and make the Bearcat the best CB radio on the market with a reasonable price tag. Read our detailed Bearcat CB Radio review!
Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB-Way Radio
The 3.9-Star-rated, 4-watt 75-822 CB-Way Radio by Midland, offers a very portable design and features 40 channels and 10 NOAA channels. This CB radio for car is powered by six AA batteries. It is also compatible with a cigarette lighter adapter for added portability and mobility.
With the Midland 75-822, you can instantly access NOAA radio and channel 9/19. Its Dual Watch feature is highly capable of monitoring channel 9, plus an additional channel of your preference. It also features an automatic noise limiter for eliminating noise, including a squelch control for reception enhancement.
On top of its 1-year manufacturer’s warranty, this radio is certainly helpful equipment during emergencies, allowing you to be updated with road conditions. Designed for both the serious and the novice CB operators, the Midland 75-822 offers everything necessary to get started quickly. It is easy to operate and allows battery-free operation through its cigarette lighter adapter, hence, making it the perfect CB radio for beginners.
Furthermore, this model can deliver the maximum CB range through its 4-watt power output. Its channel scan mode can automatically check channels for any activity, while stopping on an active channel for every five seconds. It allows you to store and re-access up to 5 of your favorite frequencies or channels in its memory mode.
Accessing the emergency channel and Weather Radio has never been convenient with the Midland 75-822. Aside from its ANL and squelch control features, this radio also boasts a flexible antenna, alongside a detachable BNC connector for transport. There is an external jack for the headset for additional convenience, especially during hands-free use.
It is the best CB radio for the money, giving you the CB radio unit, plus an alkaline battery compartment, AC wall adapter, mobile adapter, rechargeable battery compartment, antenna, and documentation. Check our our detailed Midland 75-822 Review here!
Uniden PRO520XL 40-Channel CB Radio
Finally, the PRO520XL CB Radio by Uniden garners an average rating of 4.4-Stars from customers. Similar to the four products above, this model also offers 40 channels. It features a 4-watt audio output, plus a front-mount microphone with an extended coiled cord for optimum flexibility and convenience.
It is not only the best CB radio for truckers, but also the top choice for small car drivers and many other motorists. Featuring a superheterodyne circuit, unlike any other, the PRO520XL has the phase locked loop capacity, allowing precise control. It also boasts a built-in ANL as well as an auto-squelch in eliminating noise, while improving communication simultaneously.
Packed with impressive features, it also offers a signal or RF meter, including LED indicators for monitoring activities. For emergency situations, it allows you to access channel 9 instantly. It lets you connect external speakers as well as the PA/CB switch for PA system function.
This is among the best CB radios on the market today with complete 40-channel operation and an adjustable RF gain control in boosting the signal level, while obtaining a visual display on the meter. The kit includes the CB radio, a mic, a mounting hardware, and a user’s manual. On top of these accessories, a two-year warranty is likewise included.
Surely, the PRO520XL has created a lot of happy CB operators, saying that this model is a great replacement for old radios. It is also a perfect gift item for anyone interested in such device. Its compact size is much-loved by many users, making it the best small CB radio there could ever be. Getting a peak and tune is made available through the high-quality antenna, and never disappointed anyone who purchased the model. Read the PRO520XL Review here.
CB Radio Buying Guide
This CB radio guide is equally essential as the product reviews above. Surely, learning about the top-rated items on the market is a powerful insight, but considering other things and factors, involving the device is also crucial. Provided below are vital information about CB radios, helping you narrow down the selections eventually.
CB reviews will tell you exactly about the common features of this equipment, regardless the price and brand. Below are the most common features that a CB radio would offer.
- On and off control
- Volume control
- Channel control
- Squelch control
The following section will help you in identifying the real equipment you would need. By sorting out the common and special features, you’ll surely determine the exact brand of radio, based on your personal preference and requirements.
- Instant Channel 9/19 – This feature allows you to instantly access channel 9 as the emergency channel and channel 19 for the highway or truckers channel. With a simple push of a button, you can gather essential data about road conditions and safety concerns.
- Weather Capability – For the latest weather reports, some models have the ability to access 10 NOAA channels. It is a worth-considering feature for CB operators who need the latest weather conditions.
- RF Gain – This is another invaluable feature to look for when shopping for a CB scanner. This feature works by filtering the type of transmission based on the signal strength. This feature is usually adjustable, allowing you to stop background noise during communication.
- Variable RF Power – This feature is much like the previous one, although dealing with transmissions instead of the reception. It allows you to transmit to nearby receivers, while can be used in conserving power when necessary.
- Built-in SWR Calibration Meter – The Standing Wave Ratio calibration meter allows you to see the SWR calibration effects so as you can tune it better. It also allows you to calibrate the antenna for better reception.
- Antenna Warning Indicator – Not all CB radios has this feature, so it is essential to take note of this indicator as it will automatically or instantly alert you of any SWR issues or problems. Most indicators from different brands have a red warning LED.
- SSB Mode – This feature is generally offered by high-end radios. The most reliable trucker radios will provide you with this feature, allowing you to access LSB and USB modes in each of the 40 channels. While the SSB mode is limited to other SSB-capable radios and users, the channels offer greater range with less noise, compared to standard channels.
- Built-in Bluetooth – Another feature worth-considering is the Bluetooth integration, because this technology will allow you to merge the radio with the Bluetooth technology, such as in your cell phone. It is highly beneficial in making and receiving calls hands-free, resulting in more audible speakers as well.
- ANL – Moreover, the best CB radio to buy must have this feature, which results in the filtering of interference from engine noise, static, and other sources so as to enhance the reception sound quality. This noise reduction capability will cut out low level noises through the airwaves.
- PA Capability – Today, there are many CB radio models that offer PA-capable equipment such as the reviewed products in this article. It allows you to use your equipment as a Public Address system by integrating an external speaker.
- Other Features – You may also want to consider a radio with backlit and night-watch displays, accessory ports, a clock/timer/alarm, a dual-watch monitor, RF meters, tactile controls, and many others. However, having all these features in one CB radio may not be crucial, based on your needs and available budget.
Mobile Versus Handheld
A CB radio scanner may also come in two basic variants, namely the mobile and the handheld.
The mobile variants also have compact designs similar to the handheld models, although the former is usually smaller than the latter. Mobile radios can be mounted directly under dashboards and can be wired directly to a battery.
Meanwhile, the handheld models can be used as described by its name, or can be mounted as well. While handheld radios offer the best portability, they might not be as powerful as the mobile counterparts.
All in all, the CB radio ratings, reviews, and buying guideline in this article will help you go a long way as you shop for such items. By now, you’re already aware of the benefits of CB radios, the common and special features, the basic types, and so on.
It is now up to you to choose between these top-rated products with all the information in mind. As you are now equipped with accurate knowledge about CB radios, you are rest assured to find the most reliable CB radio brands to suit your needs and budget.
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