Best CB Radios for 2017 – Buyer’s Guide and Reviews

Citizens band radios, or CB’s, may not be as popular as they were a few decades ago, before the invention of cells phones and the Internet, but their use has not been completely outdated. Occasional hobbyists still value them more for their historical significance, remembering how they had once been a powerful tool of radio communication, but their contemporary use doesn’t stop there. These neat little gadgets are still good for short-range communication between professionals who need to keep in constant communication while on the job. Truckers, electricians, and plumbers are among such professionals who still put CB radios to use.

There are a number of standard features to look at before purchasing a CB radio. These include RF gain, which allows you to filter out transmissions based on strength, allowing you to focus on receiving stronger and more perceptible transmissions. With regards to what a user puts out, a variable RF power allows you to choose how far transmissions are sent. Calibration tools, such as standing wave ratio calibration help better fine tune reception. Features that allows quick access to an emergency channel, as well as access to local weather stations, also come in handy.

Once the basics of what are to be expected in a CB radio are met, you can feel free to choose whatever CB radio you wish, based on appealing extra features. The following is a list of the 8 best CB radios found online.

 

Top 8 Best CB Radios for 2017

RankProductOur RatingPrice
1Uniden 40-Channel CB Radio4.7 StarsCLICK FOR BEST PRICE
2Midland 1001Z 40-Channel CB Radio4.5 StarsCLICK FOR BEST PRICE
3Cobra 29 LX CB Radio4.2 StarsCLICK FOR BEST PRICE
4 AnyTone Smart CB Radio4.1 StarsCLICK FOR BEST PRICE
5Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB-Way Radio4.0 StarsCLICK FOR BEST PRICE
6Uniden BEARCAT CB Radio3.8 StarsCLICK FOR BEST PRICE
7Cobra 29 LTD CHR CB Radio3.5 StarsCLICK FOR BEST PRICE
8Yaesu FT-2900R Radio3.4 StarsCLICK FOR BEST PRICE

1. Uniden 40-Channel CB Radio

Uniden 40-Channel CB Radio

This CB radio is surprisingly filled with useful features, given how handy and lightweight it is, weighing a total of 2lbs. With an RF power indicator, control over strength of receptions is facilitated, helping clear the sound of incoming transmissions. Easy access to channel 9 for emergency communication is also a notable feature, as well as a public-address function for amplified announcements. External jacks allow connection for added speakers. It also features a channel display, channel select buttons, volume control, squelch control, and a 40-channel operation capability that complete this CB’s makeup.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Handy for mobile use and quick access to functions
  • Quality sound reception

Cons

  • Small transmission range
  • Quality not very durable
  • Antenna not included

Summary

For those looking for convenience and clarity, this CB radio is a great pick, and it is pretty affordable too. It could have done with a little more durability, given the conditions you may be tempted to put it in, and there are one or two features that wouldn’t have gone amiss, but it still makes for a great choice.

 

2. Midland 1001Z 40-Channel CB Radio

Midland 1001Z 40-Channel CB Radio

Yet another lightweight CB radio, this 3lb. product is not something to be brushed aside, given all it has to offer. Boasting a 4-watt output power, its transmission range is pretty decent, given its size. It features a couple of easy-to-use knobs that work to adjust the RF gain, tuning, volume, squelch control, and the instant channel 9 switch. The radio also comes with external jacks that allow connection to speakers. An antenna and microphone connector are what complete the Midland CB radio’s features.

Pros

  • Easy installation on any vehicle
  • Quality transmission and reception
  • Affordable

Cons

Low-quality material

Summary

All of the many features the Midland CB radio has contribute to clear reception and an output that adds quality to convenience. The convenience and ease of use are something to be appreciated by many busy workers, and so its size and weight are nothing to be overlooked. The low quality of the material used is a somewhat hefty price to pay, especially since it compromises on the product’s long-term durability; but it is among the best options out there for as long as it does last.

 

 

3. Cobra 29 LX CB Radio

Cobra 29 LX CB Radio

This CB radio has all the standard transmission and reception features, along with some state-of- the art features such as its adjustable 4-color LCD display, making it easier to operate at night. It also comes with ease of access to 10 weather channels as well as the expected channel 9 and channel 19 instant access option. It can also automatically scan all 40 channels so as to avoid manual searching, and a channel memory for convenience. It has a public access mode, RF gain, delta tune, and a talk-back feature. External jacks are also featured. A radio check diagnostic is useful in helping users get the most out of their experiences by providing information on battery voltage, RF power, and the condition of an antenna.

Pros

  • 4-watt output
  • Quality design and material
  • Clear reception and transmission

Cons

  • A number of manufacturing errors have been reported
  • An accompanying antenna would have not gone amiss

Summary

This CB radio is not only complete, its more modern features make it one of the most convenient and efficient transmitters and receivers available. Information and features are easy to access, allowing it to host a plethora of features and making it ideal for experienced CB radio users.

 

4. AnyTone Smart CB Radio

AnyTone Smart CB Radio

This rather flexible and state-of-the-art radio features FM and AM modes making it an affordable multi-purpose tool. It has an output power of 4 watts when converted and a frequency range of 26.565-27.99125MHz. The size of the radio is relatively small, with roughly 4” x 4’  dimensions, as well as a tiny weight of just 14.9oz, and an extended microphone cord that makes it easy to carry and use.

Pros

  • Frequency control feature
  • Easy to use microphone with coiled cord

Cons

Needs conversion to become proper CB radio

Summary

Far from being a complete CB radio, the AnyTone Smart radio is as convenient, and it promises to be nothing more than that. For those with very particular needs, such as a modulation mode, this is a handy tool. It does not, however, come recommended for those looking for a traditional CB radio.

 

5. Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB-Way Radio

Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB-Way Radio

This 0.4lb. portable CB radio has all the standard features you would expect from a radio of its quality. It covers the expected 40 communication channels that are easy to find with an automatic search function, as well as a memory function that saves found channels. The electronic LCD also allows users to easily and quickly access information they need. With a 4-watt output capacity, this CB radio allows for the maximum range allowed by law. The radio also has easy access to all weather and emergency channels. It requires 6 AA batteries to function, and with the adjustable power settings, proper use can extend the battery life to last a long time. A mobile adapter allows the radio to connect to a vehicle’s cigarette lighter.

Pros

  • Lock feature to save preferences
  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Complete set including antenna
  • Dual watch to monitor channel 9 while on another channel

Cons

Low-quality material

Summary

More for those on the go than those who want to station it in a fixed position, this CB radio is ideal, offering no less than what is essential to a CB radio, and adding a few extra features to make it something special.

 

6. Uniden BEARCAT CB Radio

Uniden BEARCAT CB Radio

As expected from a product of its quality, this CB radio has access to all 40 channels, which is facilitated with its automatic search option. The LCD, which comes in seven different colors, allows for quick checkups on the various information displayed. Access to emergency channels 9 and 19 is made easy as well as all a weather alert feature. The radio also features a noise blanker, an automatic noise remover, and a squelch control, all of which make reception just as clear as transmissions. The SWR meter it is fitted with helps with antenna matching, only adding to the quality of transmissions. One of the most unique and handy features of this radio is the wireless microphone which increases its convenience.

Pros

  • AM/SSB sideband capability
  • PA function
  • Ease of access to info

Cons

  • Output not at maximum allowed for CB radios
  • External options for speakers lacking

Summary

Despite one or two features that could have made this radio complete, the Uniden CB radio still presents itself as one of the best options on the market, especially for those on the road.

 

7. Cobra 29 LTD CHR CB Radio

Cobra 29 LTD CHR CB Radio

With its sleek, chrome exterior, quality is something you will want to immediately test with the Cobra 29.  With regards to the materials used, this CB radio is clearly of high quality, but the features ultimately decide whether the overall quality is acceptable or not. With standard features such as coverage of all 40 channels, SWR calibration for maximum antenna functionality, and instant channel 9 access, the basics are pretty much covered. The radio also features a 40-watt output capacity, the maximum allowed for a CB radio, covering the greatest distance allowed. On top of these standard features is an antenna warning indicator that gives off a signal when in need of adjustment.

Pros

Overall high-quality product

Cons

Lacking in a few essential features

Summary

Ideal more for fixed locations rather than mobile functionality, this 5.3lb. CB radio is a great purchase that is guaranteed to work as well and extensively as it needs to during its long lifespan. It may not be as technologically fancy as some other options out there, but for the seasoned user looking for reliability, it’s a great buy.

 

8. Yaesu FT-2900R Radio

Yaesu FT-2900R Radio

Though not traditionally considered a CB radio, this Japanese radio has all the features one looks for in a CB radio, only amplified to a greater degree. The most apparent and attractive of these amplifications is its 75-watt output, allowing it to cover almost twice the distance with just as much clarity as the maximum allowed by CB radios. It comes with a scan and search option that allows reception of all channels you would usually obtain from standard CB radios, and along with a 2m antenna, reception for short-range communication can hardly get any better than what this radio offers. Other features such as the microphone this radio is fitted with, the weather alert feature, and the informative LCD display, make this radio just as good as any other CB radio.

Pros

  • Heightened transmission performance
  • Durable, quality radio

Cons

Missing more specialized features found in CB radios

Summary

Overall, if you are looking for a CB radio with a high output, this is a good substitution, and for those used to operating standard CB’s, they won’t even notice the difference. It may not be the cheapest option, but quality is guaranteed with this radio.

 

Conclusion

As evidenced by the list above, CB radios come in many shapes and sizes. Which of these variations is most suitable for a consumer all depends on the consumer’s needs. For those on the go, there are plenty of small radios fit for carrying around, and the same goes for those in need of something that can cater to their needs from a fixed position. Other factors such as quality and financials inevitably come into play, helping to filter through the many options.

With the list above, anyone looking for a CB radio should find what they need, whatever those needs are. With some of the most essential features taking into consideration, as well as the different needs of the individual, informed decisions allow one to make the best decision when looking for the ideal choice. Some radios with extra features, such as Bluetooth, are not featured on the list because at the end of the day, while some of these bonus features are helpful, focus on the core principles of what makes a CB radio what it is are what was kept in mind. The list may be far from complete, but it is a great start to finding and understanding CB radios.

 

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