The Cobra HG-A Base-Load 100W CB Antenna is our best CB antenna and it has a handling power of 100 watts. It laso has a frequency range of 26 to 30 MHz and it is capable of weather channels as well. It comes with a SO 239 connector as well as a base pad that is scratch resistant and it includes a coaxial cable that is matched and braided. It is a base load in its design and it is perfect for those who want a small mount CB antenna.
Our step-up pick is the K40 K-30 Stainless Steel CB Antenna and it has a handling power capability of 300 watts at AM / ICAS. Moreover, it has a no-ball tip with a radius of 180 degrees and a PL259 connector comes along with the cable. The antenna stands at a height of 35 inches and the RG-58U coax cable has been 95% shielded to make it super durable. The coax cable spans at a length of 15 feet and the antenna stands on a 4-inch magnet which weighs significantly light at 10 oz. The stainless steel material (17-7) makes this CB antenna a top of the line product.
The budget pick is the TRAM 703-HC Center-Load CB Antenna Kit and it stands at a height of 2 feet and comes with a magnet mount which measures 3.5 inches in diameter. It also has a stainless steel whip for durability and shock spring as well. The cable included is an RG58 PL-259 which measures 17 feet in length and this antenna can cover every CB frequency in your locality. It also has a center load design.
A Little Background
Antennas are practically everywhere and used in just about any place where communications and electronics are involved. You will often see an antenna in every radio or television set and practically any place where there is an electronic device that receives signal. Antennas can vary in its size and purposes. Some antennas are built for use on cable systems and are mounted onto the roofing of your house or trailer so you can get a good reception. Antennas are usually for regular air signals – if you want digital TV signals, you should get satellite dishes. Some antennas are meant for radio broadcasting and communications and such. Communication and highway patrol among policemen, firemen and security personnel of a mall or establishment also makes use of antennas. In fact, wireless broadband systems also use antennas to transmit signals in the air such as WiFi. This is no different from a car antenna, which is portable and often small in size. They are usually mountable and are readily able to receive transmission from outside of the zone.
CB antennas, or citizens band antennas, are designed to listen to frequencies lower than most police receivers. They operate in a lower frequency of about 26 MHz or so and they are designed to operate for most standard cars. Most people use a CB antenna for connection with SWR. CB antennas are also relatively cheap because they are small, portable and attachable and mountable onto any car or vehicle roofing using a mounting stud or similar attachment so that the CB antenna will stay in place. Contrary to a standard TV antenna, a CB antenna will work even at rushing speeds of the car; let’s say up to 120 miles per hour of speed. This makes a CB antenna well meant for cars and moving vehicles rather than just small homes and spaces. They are designed to take wind resistance as opposed to a regular radio antenna and this is why they should be built sturdily and strongly.
CB antennas are mountable on any vehicle’s roofing using a mounting stud. The mounting stud is usually a magnetized circular base in which the CB antenna stands on. This system is often found on a CB antenna which has a base load system or design. It is the most common type of CB antenna out there and is relatively cheap and easy to set up. It is important for a CB antenna to be able to be removed without leaving as much as a scratch or damage to your car. It should also stick firmly to your car due to its magnetizing power and should not be too weak. Remember that while your car is running, the wind will catch your CB antenna as well so it should be designed to work in the toughest speeds possible.
As for the material, CB antennas can come in either stainless steel material or fiberglass material. Stainless steel CB antenna material is commonly found on base load designed CB antennas. On the other hand, fiberglass material is often found on a CB antenna that has a top load or center load design, in which the fiberglass is usually coated in black. Both the stainless steel type and the fiberglass type CB antenna can withstand rusting and sustained winds that your car brushes through in every road trip. This is why they were chosen to be the materials used usually for making a CB antenna due to their durability and dependability.
There are generally 3 types of CB antennas out there: a base load, a top load and a center load. These three types of antennas for a citizens band radio vary in price, features and functionality. We will discuss these three further on the paragraphs below so you can know which CB antenna you should buy from the three types. However, it is just a matter of coil placement as the difference between the three CB antenna types as well as the mounting system employed for the antenna itself.
The base load has its coil at the bottom. The reason why a base load is called so is given and hinted on its name. In fact, this is the most common type of CB antenna that you can commonly find in any vehicle that passes by in your neighborhood. They often already come with a coax cable for connection as well as a mounting stud base. The base is magnetized and it will automatically attach to your vehicle’s rooftop and stay there until you remove it by a certain amount of force. Oftentimes, it can be hard to remove the CB antenna from the roofing, but it all depends on how much you pull it out. A CB antenna with a base load is well recommended for those who want a hassle-free installation of their CB antenna in the long run. Most CB antennas that are base load in design are stainless steel in material build.
The top load type of CB antenna is usually a fiberglass type antenna in which the coil is at the top. Just like a base load antenna, it is also built to last but contrary to it, it might not have a base for mounting. Instead, you have to provide your own base and sometimes your own coax cable. This is a CB antenna type that is more meant for more advanced users and those with extra wiring needs. Usually, top load type CB antennas are quite slim in appearance, and can either be stainless or fiberglass in material. Top load types are not very common as compared to base load antennas due to the fact that they are slightly harder to install.
The center load is also usually made of fiberglass where the coil is located at the center. It is very much like the top load in terms of difficulty in installation except its coil is at the center. Most CB antennas of this type are made from fiberglass while very few are made from stainless steel. Just like the last one, the center load type CB antenna is also usually sleek and thin in its design. Both center load and top load CB antennas can be mounted on a wide variety of spots on your car or vehicles, whereas CB antennas with a base load design is only limited to your vehicle’s roofing.
A CB antenna often comes with a coaxial cable, especially if it is a base mount CB antenna. A coaxial cable, or coax cable for short, is a cable that you will often encounter when it comes to antennas and general communication electronics. They are generally built to last and come in a variety of thickness. At the very least, you will want a CB antenna that measures 9 feet or longer for that extra wiring capability. Some CB antennas, especially the base mounted or base loaded CB antenna types, already come with a coax cable and its specific connectors, whereas you have to get your own if you want to purchase a center load or top load CB antenna.
How We Picked
When we considered the best CB antenna, we took note of the following:
A CB antenna’s handling power or power rating should be considered. This is measured in its wattage and is often between 300 to 1,000 watts when it comes to power. The more power it can expend, perhaps the better. Although this may also take its toll on your battery life so be careful when choosing the wattage of a CB antenna that you are going to buy. Also, in addition to that, you should also make sure that the CB antenna is highly compatible with the CB radio that you are going to connect it to, or else you will have bought something for nothing.
The size or height of the CB antenna should be just right for most vehicles. The height span of the CB antenna should be just around 20 to 50 inches but this is largely dependent on the type of the CB antenna (whether it is a base mount, top loaded or center loaded) and where you want to put the CB antenna, so it is your decision. The higher the CB antenna, the better, but do watch for vertical clearances! A higher CB antenna will get you more reception but be careful when driving your car on low vertical clearance places and spots.
Consider the coil location of the CB antenna, as some antennas can be base loaded, top loaded or center loaded. As we explained above, a CB antenna’s coil can be placed on the top, on the bottom or at the center. The bottom or base loaded CB antenna is by far the most common and the easiest to setup, whereas the center loaded and top loaded ones are harder to set up because they require a base and a coax cable for you to setup, although they can be placed in a lot of locations on your car or vehicle.
It is important to get a CB antenna that has a high frequency range. The frequency range defines how many programs and channels the CB antenna can reach, scan and play. It is also ideally used when it comes to connecting through SWR services and setting it up, so a high frequency and wide range is important in any CB antenna in general.
A CB antenna that can gather signals and information from weather channels is also a big plus. For those who want to stay updated with the weather but cannot afford a police scanner, they can just use a regular CB radio and a CB antenna that is capable of picking up local and national public weather channels and signals for getting first-hand information on the weather disturbances around your area.
If it is a CB antenna that is a base mount, make sure it has the corresponding coax cable and connectors. The coax cable should be extremely sturdy to withstand years of usage and should be easy to setup as well. The connectors should also be compatible with the coax cable and the CB antenna in question. It would best if you have a CB antenna package or bundle that has all of these in one go.
The durability of the material of the CB antenna should be considered, as well as the mounting stud if any. The magnet should hold the CB antenna in place whenever the vehicle runs but should also be a breeze to remove without damaging your car or vehicle in the process.
Cobra HG-A Base-Load 100W CB Antenna
Without further ado, the Cobra HG-A Base-Load 100W CB Antenna is our best CB antenna and is a perfect for those who want a small mount CB antenna. This CB antenna includes a coaxial cable that is matched and braided. It has a handling power of 100 watts and the antenna also comes with a SO 239 connector as well as a base pad that is scratch resistant. Moreover, it has a frequency range of 26 to 30 MHz and it is capable of weather channels as well while the antenna is base load in its design. With this CB antenna, you can easily attach to any trunk lid or roofing of your car or vehicle.
The included coaxial cable measures 16 feet in length. It also stands at a height of 21 inches and the Cobra CB Antenna is very lightweight at 1 pound.
Flaws but Not Dealbrakers
The only known small concern about the Cobra HG-A Base-Load 100W CB Antenna is that it can be quite hard to remove the magnet when removing the antenna from the roof.
K40 K-30 Stainless Steel CB Antenna
As for our step-up pick, we chose the K40 K-30 Stainless Steel CB Antenna in which the included RG-58U coax cable has been 95% shielded to make it super durable. The coax cable spans at a length of 15 feet as the CB antenna itself stands on a 4-inch magnet which weighs significantly light at 10 oz. Moreover, it has a handling power capability of 300 watts at AM / ICAS and the stainless steel material (17-7) make this CB antenna a top of the line product.
In addition to that, the K40 K-30 CB Antenna has a no-ball tip with a radius of 180 degrees. Also, a PL259 connector comes along with the cable for your convenience. As for the size, this antenna stands at a height of 35 inches. This CB antenna has a very strong mount that will not scratch the surface of your vehicle when you remove it. With this CB antenna, you can get a lot of awesome SWR readings.
Being fairly easy to assemble, the quality of the included coax cable is superb and just right. This antenna can be quickly detached and does not permanently stick to the vehicle. Moreover, creative routing is highly supported due to the long coax cable. This particular CB antenna also comes with a stainless radiating element for durability and is backed by a 5 year limited warranty.
TRAM 703-HC Center-Load CB Antenna Kit
Our budget pick is the TRAM 703-HC Center-Load CB Antenna Kit in which a cable included is an RG58 PL-259 which measures 17 feet in length. It can cover every CB frequency in your locality. For durability, it has a stainless steel whip for durability and shock spring as well and it stands at a height of 2 feet. Moreover, it has a center load design and it comes with a magnet mount which measures 3.5 inches in diameter. This CB antenna also has an adjustable antenna top so you can use an SWR meter with it.
The TRAM 703-HC Kit does not sacrifice your roof space and it is very affordable and functional for those who just want a decent CB antenna. In fact, most Amazon customers said that this particular antenna can survive strong speeds of up to 120 mph. It is relatively very easy to scan and tune and the long cable makes it convenient.
Best Center Loaded CB Antenna
RoadPro RP-2500S 54″ Center-Loaded CB Antenna
A CB antenna which has a power rating of 1,000 watts, the RoadPro RP-2500S 54″ Center-Loaded CB Antenna has been made from sturdy stainless steel material for better durability. Its helical design makes it unique and it also has a high-tech look and finish. In fact, being air-cooled makes it stand out from the crowd in terms of endurance as the CB antenna stands at a height of 54 inches.
The RoadPro RP-2500S CB Antenna uses a helical coil system and is compatible with SWR and ground connections.
Best Stainless Steel CB Antenna
Hustler Ic56 102″ Stainless-Steel CB Antenna
The Hustler Ic56 102″ Stainless-Steel CB Antenna is a CB radio which has a power rating of 500 watts in which the frequency range is from 26 MHz t 30 MHz The included mounting stud does not have any set screws and the stainless steel (17-7) is very durable in its build. In fact, a 3/8-inch by 24 inch thread can be fitted with the CB antenna, which stands at a height of 102 inches.
The antenna’s tip has a dissipating feature to avoid buildup of static. The Hustler Ic56 CB Antenna comes with a static ball. For durability and stability, it has a PVC pipe inside.
For flexibility, the Hustler Ic56 102″ Antenna is bendable and flexible up to 180 degrees and return back to the original shape. It is truly a great CB antenna for off-road travel due to its extremely long range.
Best Small CB Antenna
Best CB Antenna
TruckSpec Solarcon 8 Tunable CB Antenna
The TruckSpec Solarcon 8 Tunable CB Antenna is a cute and petite CB antenna to consider for smaller spaces and this CB antenna has a chrome plated ferrule that measures 3/8 inch by 24 inches. Its vinyl jacket has been 8-UV stabilized and has anti-static features. The included 3 magnet mounts have been plastic coated while the coax capable (RG-58A/U) measures 9 feet in length.
Being a highly tunable CB antenna, the TruckSpec Solarcon Antenna has a black coated whip. The antenna is very short at less than 1 foot in length. It also conveniently picks up local weather stations as well as NOAA weather stations. This CB antenna uses a PL-259 connector for setting it up.
Best Top Loaded CB Antenna
Solarcon 213B Top Loaded CB Antenna
The Solarcon 213B Top Loaded CB Antenna spans at a length of 3 feet and this CB antenna has a heavy gauge wire. The included vinyl jacket has anti-static properties and has been UV stabilized along with the top loaded whip. This antenna has a power rating of 750 watts and has been made from fiberglass material so it is suited for cold weather.
The Solarcon CB Antenna comes with a 9-foot coax cable (RG-58A/U). it includes standard soldered PL-259 connections and also as a mirror mount / cable as well.
Ideal Mobile CB Antenna
Midland 18-2442 Mobile CB Antenna
Being compatible with a wide range of CB radios, the Midland 18-2442 Mobile CB Antenna is a CB antenna that has a 17-7 stainless steel whip. In fact, the design of this CB antenna is center loaded with a mag mount. Moreover, this specific CB antenna comes prewired with the connector and the cable.
The Midland CB Antenna also deliberately prevents whip damage using its relief spring system. It has a highly-efficient center load design while the magnetic base has been plastic coated to prevent rusting and can be attached to most vehicles. The height of the antenna is 29 inches and the cable measures 16 feet in length.
CB Antenna for Heavy Duty Purposes
FIRESTIK 5′ KW Series CB Antenna
The FIRESTIK 5′ KW Series CB Antenna has a power rating of 500 watts and this CB antenna stands at a height of 5 feet. Being built for heavy duty usage, this is a durable CB antenna. It gives you great reception overall. And also, in fact, most people mount it to their jeep and similar vehicles.
Best Fiberglass CB Antenna
TRAM 4-B-HC 4ft Fiberglass CB Antenna
A CB antenna that can cover complete CB bands you can consider is the TRAM 4-B-HC 4ft Fiberglass CB Antenna which has a power rating of 1,500 watts. It is made from fiberglass construction that is of heavy duty quality while the thread mounting measures 3/8 inch by 24 inches.
The TRAM 4-B-HC CB Antenna stands at a height of 4 feet and it has been given a sleek black finish. In fact, all you need is a mounting stud for this CB antenna and the coax cable for this CB antenna is a standard RG-58A/U. So if you want a reliable CB antenna made of fiberglass, you can stick to this CB antenna made by TRAM.
Other unsatisfactory CB antennas that we left out were the ones that did not have a lot of features. Nonetheless, CB antennas are not too meticulous anyway because all they ever do is receive signals from CB bands and frequencies.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a CB radio and how does it work?
A: According to How Stuff Works Tech , a CB radio or Citizens Band radio is an antenna that converts radio frequency signals down to your mobile radio. As a matter of fact, most CB radios are often used on cars and are mountable using a mounting stud. Generally, they are usually not too tall and need to be wired by the owner of the vehicle to a CB radio. Since they are citizens band, they only operate under the frequencies around 26 MHz or so and can be used by most people who own cars.
Q: What should be considered when buying a CB antenna?
A: According to RoadTrip America , you should consider the type of CB antenna that you want to purchase. In fact, base loaded CB antennas have their coils at the base part of the antenna. This is because of the fact that they usually have a plastic base and they are the most common CB antennas out there. On the other hand, fiberglass CB antennas are more versatile but they do not include a coax cable.
The thing about these types of CB antennas is the fact that you can place fiberglass CB antennas on a lot of places on the car. As a general rule, the longer the antenna, the higher the spot, the better signal you can receive. In fact, you can get the CB above the roof line to make it more efficient. A good to tip consider about installing is that the CB antenna should also be well-grounded. Moreover, CB antennas that are easily tunable are the best buys out there.
Wrapping It Up
To sum it all up, the Cobra HG-A Base-Load 100W CB Antenna is our best CB antenna to consider for matching with your already installed CB radio. Although, you have to consider that the CB antenna will be installed in the best spot on your car or vehicle and connect it to a decent, reliable and compatible CB radio to match.
Jen Miller is a former electrical engineer and product specialist with more than 20 years of product design and testing experience. She has designed more than 200 products for Fortune 500 companies, in fields ranging from home appliances to sports gear and outdoor equipment. She founded Jen Reviews to share her knowledge and critical eye for what makes consumers tick, and adopts a strict no-BS approach to help the reader filter through the maze of products and marketing hype out there. She writes regularly and has been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, The Huffington Post, Tiny Buddha and MindBodyGreen.