The Uniden PRO520XL 40-Channel CB Radio is our best CB radio with up to 40 channels. It has a microphone that is mounted on the front and the inner activity can be monitored using the LED indicators and the signal and RF meter on the front. Its precision control is guaranteed due to its locked loop circuit / phase (superheterodyne). You can easily connect any external speaker system. The audio output is at 4 watts and the communication is very much improved and noise is toned down due to the auto noise limiter as well as the auto-squelch feature. Most emergency situations can benefit from the instant access to channel 9. The microphone comes with a coiled cord with extra length to add to convenience and it has a PA / CB switch so you can use it as a public address system.
Our step-up pick is the Cobra 29 LX 40-Channel CB Radio and you can access NOAA weather stations up to 10 instantly. It uses a 4-color display in which the menu items are easily selectable and it has up to 40 channels. The weather station reports help you to stay alert for weather conditions around your vicinity. In fact, night driving is not a problem because you can dim the multi-color display. Also, the display also handles all of the functions of the CB radio and can be set to any color you wish. In fact, whenever activity has been found, the channel scanning feature automatically stops searching for transmissions.
The budget pick is the Uniden 40-Channel CB Radio PRO505XL and it has up to 40 channels as well. It allows you to connect a PA speaker using the external PA jack and it also has an external speaker jack for better sound upgrades as needed. Moreover, it has an instant channel 9 setting for emergency purposes and also has a PA (public dress) function. It has a signal and RF power indicator where you can also check the transmission strength.
Table of Contents
- A Little Background
- How we picked
- Our pick
- Flaws but not dealbreakers
- Step-up Pick
- Budget Pick
- Best Mobile CB Radio
- CB Radio with Public Address Feature
- CB Radio with Noise Filter
- CB Radio with Dual Watch
- Awesome CB Radio with a 7-Color Backlight
- Best Beginner CB Radio
- CB Radio with Sideband
- The Competition
- Other Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping it up
A Little Background
A CB radio system is a fun way to communicate with other vehicle owners who also have a similar CB radio system. It is a two-way radio system that allows you to communicate with similar radio owners around your vicinity, which is done mostly by groups of vehicle owners in a community.
Any person can set up a CB radio system with a few needed components such as a CB antenna, coaxial cables and other accessories. A CB radio is one thing but a CB antenna is another. A CB antenna is stuck to the roofing of a car or vehicle and then wired to the CB radio using the coax cable and connectors.
Despite being old-school and expensive, a lot of people still use CB radio systems just for fun. Two-way radio systems are never a cheap thing to have because they do not depend on cell sites and such for communication that is uninterrupted.
How We Picked
We picked the best CB radio based on the following:
Make sure it conforms to the FCC standards with 40 channels and rated for 4 watts of power. Of course, all CB radios out there are almost always of the same standards but with slightly different specs.
It should have a standard quick access to channel 9 for emergency purposes as well as channel 19 for informative purposes. In CB radio communication systems, channel 9 is an emergency channel and channel 19 is the information channel.
The microphone of the CB radio should be easy to grip, stylish and clear in its audio. The voice clarity can be enhanced with the internal components and noise cancelling technology of the CB radio itself.
Reception of the signal should be extra clear with the CB radio’s noise filtering technologies. It should have an ANL or auto noise limiter. This allows you to filter out noise levels and weak signals so you can get a high quality audio output on your system speakers. Two-way radio systems are usually hard to understand so audio clarity is very important so you can understand the message of the other party.
You might also want a CB radio that can be converted and switched to become a PA or Public Address system which can be connected to PA speakers. Most CB radios have this, anyway, and it is a big convenience.
The interface and display of the CB radio should be easy to read in any time of the day and in any lighting condition. A dimmer during the night is a good feature so it does not give off too much light. In fact, a CB radio with a multi-color backlight is also a cool thing to have.
Uniden PRO520XL 40-Channel CB Radio
When it comes to the best CB radio, we chose the Uniden PRO520XL 40-Channel CB Radio in which the microphone comes with a coiled cord with extra length to add to convenience. As for the features, it has a PA / CB switch so you can use it as a public address system while the precision control is guaranteed due to its locked loop circuit / phase (superheterodyne). It is a standard CB radio with up to 40 channels which has a microphone that is mounted on the front. Additionally, the inner activity can be monitored using the LED indicators and the signal and RF meter on the front. Your overall communication is very much improved and noise is toned down due to the auto noise limiter (ANL) as well as the auto-squelch feature and you can easily connect this CB radio to any external speaker system.
Like most CB radios, the audio output is at 4 watts. With the Uniden PRO520XL, emergency situations can benefit from the instant access to channel 9. This Uniden CB radio operates on FCC (Federal Communications Commission) authorized AM frequencies. It also uses phased locked loop technology for added accuracy. It includes a microphone, a user’s manual, mounting bracket and other mounting hardware and is capable of Pri-Channel switching. The CB radio also uses a 4-digit LED screen which is easy to read and it has LED display for the channel and the TX. This CB radio weighs less than 2 lbs and is backed by a warranty of 2 years. Overall, the Uniden PRO520XL CB Radio is a great starter or back-up CB radio.
Flaws but Not Dealbrakers
Some people only point out that the Uniden PRO520XL 40-Channel CB Radio has a rather short microphone cord, but it all depends upon your preference on this.
Cobra 29 LX 40-Channel CB Radio
With the Cobra 29 LX 40-Channel CB Radio step-up pick, whenever activity has been found, the channel scanning feature automatically stops searching for transmissions. Like other CB radios, it has up to 40 channels and you can access NOAA weather stations up to 10 instantly. What’s more, the display also handles all of the functions of the CB radio and can be set to any color you wish.
In fact, night driving is not a problem because you can dim the multi-color display. Moreover, it uses a 4-color display in which the menu items are easily selectable. As for its special feature, the weather station reports help you to stay alert for weather conditions around your vicinity. With this CB radio, the front screen displays RF power, battery voltage and the condition of the antenna as well as other important aspects of the CB radio using its radio check diagnostic feature.
It is also capable of the Public Address System using the PA speaker which also enables it to monitor received signals and is available in black, camo and chrome casing designs. The Cobra 29 LX CB Radio has an instant channel 9 (emergency channel) and 19 (information channel) access.
Moreover, with its features, it also comes with a delta tune, an antenna warning indicator, a talk back feature, RF gain, Dynamike technology and channel memory among others. In terms of the information it can give you, the display shows the reception strength, current channel and transmission as well. You can freely choose from different colors such as amber, red, green and blue to customize to your liking.
The Cobra 29 CB Radio also has an alert tone for its NOAA weather channels Emergency Weather Alert feature for all 50 states in the U.S., 24/7. In addition, its talk back feature lets the user adjust the modulation level during transmitting. The microphone cord spans at 9 feet in length while the microphone connector (4-pin) can be under the dash or in the dash.
What’s more, the CB radio also has a handy clock, timer and alarm feature for your convenience. In fact, the voice technology uses Dynamike for clearer speaking and enhanced voice clarity while the Delta Tune technology further enhances the incoming signals on your CB radio. It has an RF adjustable gain as well and comes with all needed mounting hardware, microphone with 9-ft cable, the CB radio itself and the power cabling.
Uniden 40-Channel CB Radio PRO505XL
Our budget pick is the Uniden 40-Channel CB Radio PRO505XL which also has a PA (public dress) function. It has a signal and RF power indicator where you can also check the transmission strength and it has an instant channel 9 setting for emergency purposes. What’s more, it allows you to connect a PA speaker using the external PA jack and has up to 40 channels as well.
The CB radio also has an external speaker jack for better sound upgrades as needed. This CB radio gives you extra clear sound and outstanding performance. It has a black Euro style as well as a bright orange backlight. The backlit display shows the current channel, volume and other important information and is easy to see even in low light.
Moreover, the Uniden PRO505XL has a user-friendly layout using the up and down buttons so you can keep your eyes on the road and avoid accidents while navigating through your CB radio. The CB radio has a sleek and compact design and is very easy to install onto any car, truck or vehicle.
As for the technologies used, it has a Dynamic Squelch Control feature to help the CB radio deliver high quality sound. In fact, you can easily adjust the squelch knob to filter out weak radio signals. Moreover, you can use it on a car or even in your house provided that you have an outdoor antenna and a power supply of 3 to 10 amps at 12V. This CB radio comes with a microphone hook, a mounting bracket, the CB radio itself, mounting hardware and knobs.
Best Mobile CB Radio
Cobra 19DXIV 40-Channel Mobile CB Radio
The Cobra 19DXIV 40-Channel Mobile CB Radio has a fully functional LCD screen display that shows all the needed information such as signal strength and current channel. Like most radios, this CB radio has up to 40 channels. It is very compact and lightweight in its design and you get instant access to emergency channel 9 and information channel 19.
The Cobra 19DXIV Radio has RF gain control functionality and is capable of Public Address feature. It has a front connector as well as a cord for the microphone that measures 9 feet and it has an easy to see and operate S/RF meter. It also uses electronic tuning for better accuracy and the illuminated LCD screen has a clear visibility.
This CB radio uses a Dynamic microphone for optimum communication clarity. You can easily install the radio onto any vehicle, car or truck and has been built with a rugged construction. The Cobra 19DXIV Mobile CB Radio consumes 4 watts of power, like most standard CB radios. Also, the speaker at the bottom runs loudly, but clearly, on the radio housing. It also has a jack for an external speaker and does not take up way too much space for any car or truck.
CB Radio with Public Address Feature
Cobra 29 LTD-CHR 40-Channel CB Radio
A CB radio which also consumes 4 watts of output power as per guidelines of the FCC, the Cobra 29 LTD-CHR 40-Channel CB Radio is a great CB radio to consider in which the cabinet is built with a chrome finish as well as the microphone so it comes off uniquely in terms of design. You can gain access on up to 40 channels. It can be used as a PA (public address) system through a PA speaker and it can easily receive signals through the PA speaker as well.
The channel display is illuminated with the blue channel indicator and the radio also has a talk back feature so you can adjust the modulation desired while transmitting. In fact, your CB antenna system will benefit from this CB radio due to its SWR calibration system. It is very appealing and sleek in its design. Also, a warning indicator is coupled with its SWR calibration system.
As for the technology, it uses Dynamite boost and RF gain to enhance communication better. In fact, there is a meter that discerns the standing wave ratio of your antenna. The outgoing transmitting signals as well as the incoming ones can be monitored by the classic analog signal meter. The Cobra 29 LTD-CHR CB Radio gives you instant access to channel 9 for emergencies. You get full channel coverage on all of its 40 CB channels and you can enjoy a truly hands-free CB radio experience.
CB Radio with Noise Filter
Midland 5001Z 40-Channel Mobile CB Radio
With the Midland 5001Z 40-Channel Mobile CB Radio, the noise filter is highly switchable on this CB radio. You can gain access to 40 CB channels. The CB radio uses X-Tra Talk technology to control the microphone gain.
When it comes to the technology, a clearer reception is heard due to its RF gain control adjustability so you can adjust the range while the vocal clarity is improved due to the Xtra Talk Mic Gain Boost. The best communication range is delivered to the 4 watts of output power.
The included microphone has a coil cord which measures 9 feet in length. It also has a noise blanker feature as well as an ANL or automatic noise limiter for better audio reception clarity. The Midland 5001Z CB Radio includes all the necessary mounting hardware and bracket. Conveniently, it also has a dimmer switch for night use.
What’s more, the PA or Public Address system is very functional and an analog power meter is included. It also has an external speaker control and has a fused DC power cord included as well. What’s more, it has an instant access feature to channel 9 for emergency purposes.
CB Radio with Dual Watch
Cobra 18WXSTII Mobile CB Radio w/Dual-Watch
The Cobra 18WXSTII Mobile CB Radio comes with a dual watch feature and this CB radio gives you access to 10 NOAA weather channels for storm and weather monitoring. The Cobra 18WXSTII has up to 40 CB channels like most standard CB radios at 4 watts of power. It comes with a standard microphone and a 9-foot cord.
The stylish and compact design will definitely fit any vehicle. What’s more, the channel scanning is very easy. In addition to that, you can easily access channel 9 and 19 for emergency and informative purposes. The unique thing about this CB radio is the fact that the dual watch feature lets you monitor up to 2 channels at the same time. Also worth noting is the fact that the display is quite easy to read and displays the incoming signal strength, channel number and RE power output.
In addition to that, the CB radio also has RX, TX and WX indicators for your convenience. It also displays the signal strength and power output meter in its convenient LED screen. As for the technology, the CB radio uses the SoundTracker noise reduction system to filter out bad noise for a clearer audio. It has a last channel retention feature and is capable of switching between CB and PA.
Along with its other noise control features, it also takes out background noise using the squelch control. As an additional feature unlike most CB radios, it gives you NOAA updates 24 hours a day. The included microphone is built with heavy duty strength in mind. As for the sound output, it has a front-firing mounted speaker that gives you superb and clear audio.
The CB radio by Cobra uses electronic tuning for CB radio tuning precision and is very sleek in its design. It can cut noise effectively up to 90 percent overall.
Awesome CB Radio with a 7-Color Backlight
Uniden 880 Bearcat CB Radio 7-Color
Being capable of NOAA weather updates, the Uniden 880 Bearcat CB Radio 7-Color uses a digital S/RF meter monitoring system as well as an SWR meter monitoring system. The adapter included is from 6 pin to 4 pin. Moreover, this unique CB radio has 7 colors to choose from when it comes to the backlighting so you can pick one at your best preferences.
What’s more, the microphone is a 6-pin noise-cancelling microphone as the CB radio unit operates with 40 channels. You can get instant channel access to channel 9 and 19 for emergency and information. It is also capable of RF gain and microphone gain as well. The keys have been laser etched for longer lasting durability.
You can easily perform a memory scan with this CB radio. It also comes with a dimmer so you can use it for day and night settings without difficulty in visibility so you can keep your eyes on the road longer. Moreover, it has an ANL or automatic noise limiter as well as a noise blanker and a squelch control. Additionally on its features, the Uniden 880 Bearcat uses a talk back feature and is also compatible with wireless microphones. The included microphone cord is also super long for your convenience while the display is very large and clear and so is the reception. The microphone grip is very ergonomic for your comfort. Like all CB radios, this is rated with 4 watts of power.
Best Beginner CB Radio
Midland 1001Z 40-Channel CB Radio
If you are a novice for CB radios, you can get the Midland 1001Z 40-Channel CB Radio. This CB radio is easy to install on most RVs, cars, trucks and the like and is great for beginners at CB radios systems. It consumes 4 watts and has 40 channels, much like a regular CB radio. It can be used as a Public Address (PA) system with a PA speaker where you can easily switch between CB and PA.
Like all CB radios out there, you can easily access channel 9 for emergency purposes and it also has a convenient S/RF display, channel display, TX LED and a CB/PA switch on its front along with some dials and knobs for the volume, squelch and channel of the CB radio. Anyone can easily adjust the reception sensitivity range using the RF gain for better communication clarity.
The digital power meter displays the incoming signal strength as well as the output power of the RF. The easy to read LED screen allows it to be used either by day or by night. The Midland 1001Z CB Radio also uses a 4-pin microphone connector which is included and also comes with other connectors for the external speaker, PA speaker, antenna and a DC power cord. Being backed by a warranty of 3 years, the unit includes a user’s manual and all the needed mounting hardware and bracket.
CB Radio with Sideband
Uniden 980SSB BEARCAT CB Radio w/Sideband
A CB radio that has WeatherBand and Sideband features, the Uniden 980SSB BEARCAT CB Radio w/Sideband can be used as an SWR meter as well as a signal meter. It is complete with PA functionality as well as a display with full frequencies. It comes with an AM/SSB Side band capability and the Weatherband alerts you on the go.
A power cord and mounting bracket is included with the package, the color selectable display is sure to illuminate your dashboard. It also has a microphone with noise canceling capabilities while the gain controls for the microphone and RF are easy to set. The CB radio by Uniden (Bearcat) has a noise blanker for better audio quality and you get instant access to channel 9 and 19 for emergency purposes.
Having up to 40 channels like most CB radios, it has a channel indicator that is easy to see. The included microphone cord is quite long and the keys have been laser etched. It has a convenient dimmer that is handy for day and night visibility. An adapter is included for 4-pin and 6-pin. The CB radio comes with a clarifier as well as an easy memory scan.
Other CB radios did not meet our requirements because they weren’t very versatile in terms of hardware and programming. However, nearly all CB radios are built by the same FCC standards so it is rare to find an unsatisfactory CB radio anyway.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the advantages of using a CB radio?
A: According to the forums at Jeep Forum , a CB radio is an essential communication system for most jeeps and off-road travel. As a matter of fact, CB radios are most likely used by Jeep clubs and the like so they can communicate easier at given distances. No more having to deal with engine noise outside while yelling as you can effectively communicate using a CB radio and a CB antenna system inside the Jeep or vehicle.
Q: What are some of the tips to know and remember about CB radios?
A: According to WikiHow , you should make sure you get everything you need for the system: a CB radio, a CB antenna, batteries, coaxial cables and an SWR meter for picking up the radio’s output. Do know that the SWR reading should be at least 2.0.1 or lower. In addition to that, you should always find an open area in operating your CB radio and learn the common terms and codes used in CB radio systems. CB radio communications can take some getting used to, but you will definitely get there once you have learned the basics and technical know-how. If you get someone who is knowledgeable with CB radios, you can also get more tips on CB radio communications.
Wrapping It Up
As a whole, the Uniden PRO520XL 40-Channel CB Radio is our best CB radio when it comes to an effective two-way radio communication system. If this is your first CB radio then you are in good hands. Whether you have a high-end CB radio or not, what matters is that you are able to set it up efficiently. You can seek help from someone who knows CB radio setups so you do not run into trouble at all.