Best Trucker CB Radios of 2021 – Complete Round-up

Don
| Last Updated: February 6, 2021

As a truck driver, you might get bored if you are all on your own on a long drive. However, you can transform your boredom into a fun trip by using a CB radio.

A CB radio will allow you to converse with other truck drivers, befriend them, and much more!

If you are looking for a travel companion, a CB radio is probably all you need. The following guide lists some of the best CB radios that will make your road trip memorable.

Our Top Picks for Best Trucker CB Radios

  • Reliable connection
  • NOAA weather channels
  • Multi-purpose
View Latest Price →
  • Various scales
  • Variable dimmer control
  • Easy to read
View Latest Price →
  • Best for the Money
  • Built-in external speaker
  • Multi-purpose
View Latest Price →

Comparison of the Best Trucker CB Radios

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Provides a very reliable connection
  • Features NOAA weather channels
  • Can be used as a clock or alarm
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Has scales for power output
  • Has a variable dimmer control
  • Large display and very easy to read
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best for the Money
  • Features a built-in external speaker jack
  • Allows you to monitor your transmit power
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Most Powerful CB Radio
  • Weather channel with alert feature
  • Features a channel and memory scanner
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best Compact CB Radio
  • Can be used in vehicles of various sizes
  • Very easy to install and use
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best Long Range CB Radio
  • Allows you to stay connected while on the road
  • Features a noise cancelling microphone
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews

How to Choose a Trucker CB Radio

Choosing the right CB radio in the first place is essential to enjoy a clear communication channel. You can find many different options that offer numerous features and specifications. To help you find a good-quality CB radio, here are a few aspects that you should consider:

Price

Price is one of the key factors that you should consider before buying a CB radio. Many manufacturers offer unique features and specifications in their products. However, such units are quite expensive and charge a premium price. Ideally, you should look for a budget-friendly model that offers you value for your money.

Range

The type of antenna your device features determines the range of the CB radio. A good-quality model will have a great antenna that allows you to deliver a clear signal. It will also offer an extended range so that a reliable communication channel can be established.

Features

You should always look out for features that you desire in a CB radio. The higher the quality of the unit, the more features it would have to offer. RF gain, automatic noise limitation, and channel scanning are some key features that most premium devices offer.

Quick Take - Best Trucker CB Radios

Before you go any further, here are the best trucker CB radios:

  1. Cobra 29LX
  2. Galaxy-DX-959
  3. Uniden PRO505XL

Review of the Best Trucker CB Radios

It is not easy to find a good-quality CB radio. With so many manufacturers offering their own variation, it becomes very difficult to choose one for yourself. This is why we have listed some of the best trucker CB radios for you. Check them out!

Best Overall:
Cobra 29LX

Cobra 29LX Professional CB Radio - Emergency Radio, Travel Essentials, NOAA Weather Channels and Emergency Alert System, Selectable 4-Color LCD, Auto-Scan and Radio Check, Black

PROS

  • Can scan for weather warnings
  • Display colors can be changed easily
  • Speaker promises loud and clear sound
  • Includes a clock and alarm to keep you alert
  • Provides a reliable communication channel without being dependent on satellite

CONS

  • Some issues with its antenna
  • Bluetooth function doesn’t work properly

What Recent Buyers Report

Users love this CB radio for many reasons. Out of many, its ability to deliver weather warnings stand out for many. They believe that it promises great safety with timely warnings while its speaker promises loud and clear sound.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We like the feature-packed design of this wonderful CB radio. It packs some incredible features that make it unique and superior. This unit provides a reliable communication channel between truckers without being dependent on satellites or cellular networks. It can also scan for weather warnings and keep you updated on the changing weather.

Moreover, the radio has a great speaker that promises crystal-clear sound. You can easily communicate with other truckers using this model without any sound distortion. Lastly, its display colors can be changed easily while the clock and alarm keep you alert at all times.

Bottom Line

The Cobra 29LX is a premium CB radio that is perfectly designed for truckers who travel long distances. Its ability to deliver weather warnings along with multiple features make it a versatile choice for everyone.

Runner-up:
Galaxy-DX-959

Galaxy DX-959B Mobile CB Radio with Blue Frequency and Channel Digits and Backlit StarLite Faceplate

PROS

  • Very easy to use
  • Large yellow digits and display
  • Features a large meter that is easy to read
  • Allows you to easily dim the backlit display
  • Uses Galaxy Noise Filter Circuit for effective noise filtering

CONS

  • Display is too bright

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers admire the great build-quality of this CB radio. They like the built-in SWR meter that makes tuning the antenna a breeze. Many people used it for a long while and reported that it operates flawlessly and promises a reliable communication platform between truckers.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This CB radio stands out to us due to its user-friendly design. The Galaxy DX-959 features a large meter that displays useful information with scales for power output, SWR, modulation, and incoming signals. It is quite easy to read as the information is displayed in large yellow digits.

The radio also has variable dimmer control that allows you to reduce the brightness of the backlit display. It is not only easy to use but also offers great convenience when it comes to user visibility, especially at night. Also, it has a Galaxy Noise Filter Circuit that reduces noise distortion and helps in recovering weak SSB signals.

Bottom Line

The Galaxy DX-959 is a user-friendly CB radio that offers maximum convenience to users. Its built-in SWR meter offers convenient tuning of the antenna, while its large yellow display promises great visibility, making this a great pick.

Best CB Radio for the Money:
Uniden PRO505XL

Uniden PRO505XL 40-Channel CB Radio. Pro-Series, Compact Design. Public Address (PA) Function. Instant Emergency Channel 9, External Speaker Jack, Large Easy to Read Display. - Black

PROS

  • Uses high-quality squelch button
  • Promises PA function compatibility
  • Lightweight and compact design that fits anywhere
  • Features user-friendly controls for convenient usage
  • Includes a large digital display for improved readability

CONS

  • No weather alerts available
  • Backlit display is too dim to be visible during daytime

What Recent Buyers Report

People who used this CB radio loved the overall quality and performance it delivers. They found it to promise great value for money since it features a compact design with multiple features. It is also quite durable and offers ease of installation with its practical construction.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Uniden promises some of the best CB radios for truckers all around the world. This specific model features a compact and lightweight design that is ideally made for everyone. It can easily be installed in tight spots without cramping you for space. It is effortless to use with its user-friendly controls and indicators.

The unit also offers a large digital display that provides valuable information in massive fonts for improved readability. Plus, it includes an RF power indicator to check the strength of incoming signals, making it perfect for long road trips.

Bottom Line

If you desire a compact CB radio that can easily fit almost anywhere, then this is a great choice. It is quite easy to use and lightweight and is tailor-made for effective communication during long trips.

Most Powerful CB Radio:
President Electronics McKinley USA

President MCKINLEY USA SSB 12/24V CB Radio

PROS

  • Display light of the LCD can be changed easily
  • Compact design that comes with several accessories
  • Uses SSB technology for communication over long distances
  • Highly versatile with its ability to switch between 12 and 24 volts
  • Offers a weather alert system that provides timely weather updates

CONS

  • RF gain knob is not available

What Recent Buyers Report

Those who bought this CB radio like its consistent performance and dependable quality. They found it to be very easy to use and liked that it comes with auto features like SWR Tuning and Squelch Control. Users also praise its channel-scanning ability as it allows you to connect with other truckers quite conveniently.

Why it Stands Out to Us

McKinley is one of the finest CB radios that you can put your hands on. Offered by President Electronics, this remarkable radio is compactly designed and features a black color and streamlined functions. It uses the latest SSB technology that allows you to connect with other people over long distances.

In addition, the radio promises regular weather updates and alerts that keep you updated during inter-state travel. You can also change the display light of its LCD to improve visibility throughout the day. Besides, this device is highly versatile as it allows you to switch between 12 and 24 volts.

Bottom Line

You are looking for the best CB radio, right? The President Electronics McKinley USA is all you need on the road. This versatile radio promises a plethora of smart controls that ensure you are connected to various channels for regular updates and communication.

Best Compact CB Radio:
Uniden CMX760

Uniden CMX760 Bearcat Off Road Series Compact Mobile CB Radio, 40-Channel Operation, Ultra-Compact for Easy Mounting, Large 7-Color Backlit LCD Display on Mic with Built-in Speaker Mic, Black

PROS

  • Very easy to install
  • Perfectly designed for off-road use
  • Ultra-compact construction ensures easy mounting
  • Durable components ensure longevity even in harsh environments
  • Can be used in jeeps, trucks, cars, or any other vehicle quite comfortably

CONS

  • Requires an external speaker in a noisy environment

What Recent Buyers Report

Most customers found the Uniden CMX760 to be quite handy while on the road. They praise its compact design that promises a clean outlook while delivering the job. Users say that it's quite effective with the tuned antenna and delivers superb value, clarity, and reception in a small package.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Looking for a compact CB radio? This model by Uniden is all you need during your travels. It is a compact unit exclusively made for truckers and people who like to go out on an adventure. Its compact design not only allows easy mounting but also ensures a convenient installation process.

The small size of this CB radio allows it to be used in any vehicle. Whether you are a truck driver or an adventure junkie, this model is all you need. You can easily install it in a car, jeep, truck, or any vehicle for an off-road or highway trip. Plus, it has sturdy components that are well-built to withstand any harsh conditions.

Bottom Line

All in all, the Uniden CMX760 is the ultimate choice for those looking for an effective yet compact CB radio. It promises exceptional signal reception and voice clarity that makes it ideal for an off-road experience.

Best Long Range CB Radio:
Uniden BEARCAT 980

Uniden BEARCAT 980 40- Channel SSB CB Radio with Sideband NOAA WeatherBand,7- Color Digital Display PA/CB Switch and Noise Cancelling Mic, Wireless Mic Compatible

PROS

  • Includes seven different colors for display
  • Promises powerful signals with single-sideband
  • Backlit display provides enhanced visibility during the night
  • Comes with a noise-canceling microphone that reduces background noise
  • Features SWR calibration that boosts the antenna system for long-range communication

CONS

  • Has an annoying beep
  • Bluetooth feature is absent

What Recent Buyers Report

Many user reports for this model suggest that this is a great CB radio. Buyers are astounded by its robust design that promises simple and easy-to-use functionality. Many people share their successful experience with this radio and think that it's perfect for long drives.

Why it Stands Out to Us

What we like about the Uniden Bearcat 980 is its superb all-around performance. It promises exceptional signal reception thanks to its single-sideband that ensures powerful signals. It also features SWR calibration, which is responsible for boosting the antenna system. As a result, it allows you to communicate over long distances without any hiccups.

Moreover, the radio has a backlit display that provides valuable information with easy-to-read capability. There are seven different colors you can switch between to ensure maximum visibility throughout the day. Besides, a noise-canceling microphone is also included to ensure minimal background noise for effective communication.

Bottom Line

If traveling long distances is your daily routine, then the Uniden Bearcat 980 is a perfect investment. It is simple and easy to use, yet it's quite effective for long-range communication.

What is a CB Radio and How Do CB Radios Work?

A CB radio is a land mobile radio system that allows you to communicate with other people. It offers short-distance bidirectional voice communication that uses two-way radios operating on 40 channels. The channels function at a higher frequency band of 27 MHz, also known as shortwave. 

Such radios work quite similar to other conventional radios. They have an antenna that captures radio-frequency signals and converts them into electrical signals with the help of a receiver. The receiver can also convert the electrical signals from the transmitter into radio-frequency signals. As a result, two-way communication is established between people using the same channel.

What Does CB Radio Stand For?

CB radio stands for citizens band radio and is a two-way communication system used by truckers in many different countries. It is not only cheap but also offers effective communication and a chance to enjoy your road trip.

Cobra 29LX

Advantages of Investing in a Quality Trucker CB Radio

Investing in a quality trucker CB radio will almost always benefit you in the long run. If you own a high-quality unit, you can benefit in the following ways.

Crystal-Clear Sound Quality

A good-quality CB radio will provide you an effective means of communication. While communicating with other truckers, you’d not only be able to hear them clearly, but you will also sound crystal-clear. Most high-quality units feature noise-canceling capability that ensures you can communicate without noise distortions. As a result, any hiccups during communication will be minimized.

Long-range Communication

Having a decent CB radio means that you can benefit from its long-range signal reception. Premium models can usually receive and transmit signals from great distances. This will allow you to communicate with people who are quite far away.

Safety

If you have invested in a reliable CB unit, you can considerably increase your safety. High-quality units come with weather alert systems not offered by standard units. These models allow you to gather useful information regarding the weather. Therefore, being continuously informed with weather updates means minimum chances of driving into bad weather.

Safety Considerations for Trucker CB Radio

There is no doubt that a CB radio is a handy purchase that can save the day for you. But while using one, you might get distracted and find yourself in an undesired situation. If safety is your utmost concern, here are a few safety tips that you should keep in mind while using a CB radio.

Accessibility

Before you start your journey, make sure that your CB radio is easily accessible from your driving seat. Installing the unit further away can not only cause inconvenience, but it can also increase the chance of getting distracted. Therefore, it is recommended to keep the unit well within your reach.

President Electronics McKinley USA

Visibility

A majority of CB radios come with a backlit display that offers enhanced visibility. The backlit display makes the available information more clearly visible. However, you should always adjust the display brightness according to your needs. You’d need a brighter display during the day while a dimmer one at night.

Operability

Be mindful that the functionality of your CB radio greatly determines your safety. A complex model might distract you while driving. A simple one instead would be easier to use and user-friendly. Therefore, make sure that your unit is quite simple and easy to use.

Uniden Bearcat 980 vs Cobra 29 - Comparison Overview

If you’ve trouble deciding whether to opt for the Uniden Bearcat 980 or Cobra 29, then this comparison is for you. It will not only help you clarify any misconceptions but will also ensure you pick the right one for yourself.

Similarities 

Both Uniden Bearcat and Cobra 29 have a similar frequency range of 27.405 Mhz, and their frequency is monitored by PLL Synthesizer. They feature a weather alert channel as well that not only keeps you updated about weather conditions but also ensures your safety. Both also have a Public Addressing System. If you would like to alert other truckers or civilians about anything, then this is a useful feature.

Differences

Uniden CB radio features AM, USB, and LSB modulation, while the Cobra 29 only has AM modulation. Moreover, the input voltage for the former is 13.8V DC. Meanwhile, the latter operates with 13.2V DC. Therefore, if you seek a power-saving option, then the Cobra 29 seems a better choice.

Uniden CMX760

How to Use a CB Radio on the Road

Operating a CB radio is not a difficult task by any means. If you have a decent device, you will find it quite user-friendly and simple to use. However, if you are using a CB radio for the first time, here are some steps that you need to follow.

  1. Tune in to any channel that you would like to communicate on or receive information. You should switch to channel 19 as it is the preferred highway channel used by truckers. However, in case of an emergency, you should switch to channel nine or the emergency channel.

  2. Make sure the mic-gain control is on maximum. Press the microphone transmission button and say ‘break’ to let people know that you’re using the channel. Listen for clearance and begin speaking.

  3. Familiarize yourself with the CB jargon that is commonly used for communication.

  4. Keep your communications brief. Close transmissions by taking your thumb off the microphone button.

  5. Turn the squelch knob up to cut off noise from a channel that is not transmitting. The more you turn it up, the more stations you will lose.

  6. If you are passing through a heavily populated area, turn up the Automatic Noise Limiter. This will help in clarifying incoming signals.

If you are still unsure about using a CB radio, refer to the video below for a complete demonstration.

Conclusion

Opting for a quality CB radio has become quite difficult nowadays. With the increasing technology, modern units offer numerous features that can sometimes make it difficult for you to pick one. Our list of the best CB radios offers the best models that you can desire for a great user experience. Just make sure to keep your needs and budget in mind before choosing one!

People Also Ask

Most truckers have trouble setting up their CB radios for the first time. Meanwhile, others are unaware of the different features and functionality these units offer. To ensure you have a great experience while using a CB radio, we have listed some commonly asked questions along with their answers. 

How to Install a CB Radio in a Semi

Installing a CB radio in a semi is quite simple. If you have all the required hardware, just mount the unit in a place where it's easily visible and accessible. Then mount the antenna and connect the coax to it. You’ll also need to attach the coax to the radio. Lastly, make sure your mic is connected, and your unit is coupled to the power supply.

What is the Range of a CB Radio?

The range of a CB radio varies between different products. Some units offer communication over long distances, while others allow communication on a limited scale. A standard CB radio has a range between three and twenty miles. However, certain other factors, including terrain, can affect the range of your unit.

How Do I Extend the Range of My CB Radio?

The operating range of your CB radio determines how far you can communicate with people. If you want to increase the range of your unit, install an antenna that is specifically designed for use with your device. Also, ensure it is located as high as possible while also adjusting the squelch on your radio.

What is RF Gain on a CB Radio?

The RF gain is a sensitivity filter designed to minimize background noise. The purpose of the RF gain is to reduce noise in the receiver without decreasing the reception power. As a result, you will be able to communicate more effectively with crystal-clear sound reception.

Is it Legal For Truck Drivers to Use a CB While Driving?

The use of CB radio is legal for truck drivers while driving. According to the federal government of the United States, the use of CB radio or two-way radio while driving isn’t prohibited. However, the user must maintain control of the vehicle.

Uniden PRO505XL

Do You Need a License to Own a CB Radio?

You don’t require a license to own or operate a CB radio. CB channels usually operate at higher frequencies that are not assigned to any particular organization or a person. Hence, you can easily communicate on all the 40 channels and frequencies selected by the FCC for CB radios.

What CB Channel Do Truckers Use?

The two most commonly used CB channels used by truckers for communication are channel 17 and channel 19. Truckers who are on north and southbound roads use the latter, while those using east and westbound roads prefer communicating on the former. 

How Much Does a CB Radio Cost?

CB radios can cost between $100 and $200 and have a much broader range as compared to handheld units. They are quite cheap; however, some models charge a premium price based on their quality and features. Large CB radio base stations used in homes and offices can cost between $100 and $400.

Do Truckers Still Use CB Radios?

With the advent of modern technology, the use of CB radios has reduced quite drastically in the past few years. However, most truckers still have CB units installed in their trucks. They use them for weather updates, communication, and much more!

What Frequency is CB Channel 19?

Channel 19 is used by truckers who would like to report on traffic conditions. Most truckers communicate with other truck drivers using this channel. It operates on a frequency of 27.185 MHz as designated by the FCC.

Don

After spending years on the road, I had a lot of time to think about the hardships that came with the trucking industry. I realized there was an opportunity to lend a hand a create a resource for truckers by truckers. With the help of my tech-savvy son, I built Trucker Geek as a way to show people that becoming a driver doesn’t need to be a stressful headache.