Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Best compact cb radio 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated September 1, 2020
Best compact cb radio of 2018
I browse the various compact cb radio available on the market and list three of the very best. I am going to specify each good-to-buy feature as much as possible for your references.
You must have heard that the best compact cb radio should allow you to save money, right? Sure, but that’s not the only reason you should consider getting one. Now, let’s get to the gist of the matter: which are the best compact cb radio for the money?
Test Results and Ratings
Why did this compact cb radio win the first place?
I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! The rear part fits perfectly! It is mounted really tight and reliable.
№2 – Ancable UHF PL-259 Female to UHF PL-259 Female Coaxial Adaptor Connector Coupler Joiner for CB Ham Radio Antenna Pack of 2
Why did this compact cb radio come in second place?
Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price. The design quality is top notch and the color is nice.
Why did this compact cb radio take third place?
It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. We are very pleased with the purchase — the product is great!
compact cb radio Buyer’s Guide
How CB Radios work
CB radios operate using radio waves, just like VHF radios, cell phones, televisions, and AM/FM radios. Each CB radio is equipped with a long antenna, generally around feet. If you use your CB radio in your vehicle, the antenna will probably be mounted on the back of the vehicle. The antenna captures the signals and transforms them into audio which you hear through the speakers.
A CB radio is a transceiver, which means that it is both a transmitter and a receiver. If you want to send out a communication, simply key into the microphone and talk. The words are converted into electrical signals and then are transmitted by the antenna. They travel through the air on radio waves which are picked up by other CB radios.
History of CB Radios
As mentioned previously, the FCC invented CB Radio in 194with the goal of giving individuals and small businesses a reliable two-way means of communication that wasn’t too hard to learn. CB radio reached a height of popularity during the 60s and 70s. The advent of solid-state technology allowed costs to drop precipitously.
When the 197oil crisis caused the US government to impose a nationwide speed limit of 5mph, CB radio really took off. It allowed drivers to warn one another about police cars and gas stations which were out of fuel. Over time, CB radio clubs formed and invented special jargon for on-the-road communications.
In a way, CB radio was a precursor to the anonymous chat rooms of the internet. Of course, with the growth of the internet and FRS radio, CB radio usage has declined.
Mobile vs. Handheld CB Radios
While there is such a thing as a base CB radio which you install at home, most users want CB radio for the road. There are two main types: mobile and handheld.
Mobile CB radios are relatively compact, though not as small as handheld models (see below). You can mount one directly under the dashboard of your vehicle or install it on the transmission hump. Want to reduce static from the spark plugs? Wire the radio to the battery directly.
This is the most compact option for a CB radio. As the name indicates, you can hold the model in your hand and talk, or you can set it on your dash. Handheld models are not as powerful as mobile or base units, but they do offer the best portability.
Power and Range
The FCC sets power limitations for all types of radio communication. The maximum power allowed for CB radios is four watts. There is an exception—SSB radios, which transmit on 1watts (we will delve into this in the features below). Most CB radios are limited to a maximum transmission range of around miles. Note that this is the range you get with a clear, unobstructed path between two radios. Anything that interferes with line of sight can interfere with transmission and reception.
Built-in SWR Meter
SWR stands for “standing wave ratio.” If your CB radio is equipped with a built-in SWR meter, you can measure how effectively the power signal your device is emanating is moving through the antenna. You can use the SWR meter to properly adjust your radio or maximum effectiveness.
This knob is yet another feature for reducing static. It is also known as a “clarifier control.” As you adjust it, you will notice that the pitch of the person’s voice on the other end changes. Delta tune is handy if the other person sounds “squeaky,” and you want to reduce that effect so you can make out what they are saying more clearly.
PRO505XL is a good choice for beginner CB radio users. It doesn’t have the full range of features found in professional CB devices. However, it is cheap compared to most CB radios. Plus, it’s very easy to install.
Simple installation. No need to take your car to a mechanic to install this radio. The whole installation process takes about 1minutes.
Mic sends out strong, clear signals. Even though it’s not as powerful as some CB radios, if you’re in range your transmissions will be strong and loud.
Minimalist design. The PRO505XL has less knobs and buttons compared to other CB radios. But if you’re looking for a beginner CB radio, simplicity is a good thing.
Very reasonable price tag. This radio is significantly cheaper than most CB radios on the market.
Good quality built-in speakers. The speakers are clear and loud enough to hear with your driver’s side window open.
Small, compact body. This CB is slimmer and more compact than most pro CB radios.
Inline fuse prevents electrical problems. If your radio short circuits, the fuse prevents your car’s electrical system from taking damage.
All Cobra products sport a distinctive look. The
Cobra 2LX is no exception. If you’re looking for a stylish CB radio that’s especially designed for CB radio users who like to keep track of weather alerts the Cobra 2is worth a hard look.
Switches to alert mode when there’s a storm coming. If stormclouds are gathering on the horizon, you’ll be the first to know.
Sleek design. The Cobra 2LX is the most attractive CB radio we’ve seen so far.
PA capability. A built-in PA jack allows you to make announcements as you drive if you buy a loudspeaker.
Diagnostic mode. This CB radio constantly monitors your antenna connection and alerts you of any pressing voltage issues.
Four display options. You can switch between four different colors.
Versatile. It performs well anywhere you take it.
Batteries last a long time. You can get to hours of use out of a single charge.
You can hook it up to an external antenna. Hooking up your car’s CB radio extends the 75-822’s range.
Low price. This radio costs much less than most CB radios that are built to be used in an automobile.
Accesses NOAA weather alert channels. If foul weather approaches, the 75-82fires off a short emergency tone.
This radio will not survive an encounter with pavement. The shell is made out of cheap plastic.
Uniden is a highly respected brand in the world of CB radios and one of their most advanced models worth looking at is the Bearcat 880 which comes with many powerful features. Besides the clear reception, the generous range, and its excellent transmissions, this radio also has a very large and colorful display for easier reading of any relevant info.
There are so many features packed in this device that the higher price seems fully justified. The CB radio offers 40 channel operation and a noise canceling microphone which manages to efficiently eliminate the background noise. Uniden added an extra long mic cord and provides dynamic squelch control. Perhaps one of the most attractive features would be the Sideband mode (SSB) that’s rarely found on lower-end CB radios.
Enjoying a crisp connection is possible and for even more freedom the radio can be paired with a wireless microphone. Some other notable features of the Bearcat 880 are the CB/PA switch, instant channel 9/19, radio diagnostics, and a 6-PIN mic adapter.
Thanks to its NOAA weather channel access, with this CB radio you’re also able to get updates whenever weather conditions are changing. It can automatically transmit alerts about the severe weather. A public address feature is also present as well as the option for making the emergency channel automatically available if you so choose.
Something that experimented users will definitely appreciate is the colorful display that offers a high level of visibility thanks to its seven-color backlight. Reading and adjusting the settings of the Bearcat is a breeze and you will be able to better focus on your driving. A nice bonus is the dimmer switch that’s extremely helpful at night to lower the intensity of the display to a more comfortable level.
Uniden appears to be quite customer-oriented considering their very comprehensive user manual which will explain in detail all the features of the CB radio. Another thing worth mentioning is the inclusion of an adapter cable in the package which helps for connecting microphones from other brands. The only slight complaint about this radio is the relatively big size.
Uniden’s Bearcat 880 is a great buy in all regards and if you put its multitude of features in balance with the price it’s really not difficult to see that this represents an excellent investment. If you are a big fan of these devices, the Bearcat 880 CB radio will successfully cover all of your needs.
Mobile CB Radio
It’s the most common type that comes in many different sizes. It looks like a small box with plenty of knobs and a microphone attached to the front. The features depend on the models and brands, so choose the one that will fulfill your requirements.
The mobile and the all-in-handset units are the most popular choices for using in vehicles.
All-in-Handset CB Radio
Shaped like a handset, these devices are compact and ergonomically designed to feature all the controls into a small space. They are so easy to operate, and you can control all the dials with just one hand.
These radios are the most appropriate choices for smaller vehicles or for places where it will be difficult to mount a full-size unit.
Handheld CB Radio
Base Station CB Radio
These are the best devices for indoor use because they come with a built-in power supply. The units draw their power directly from a wall outlet (usually 110V). You will need a good base antenna and mount it up very high to get the optimum performance.
Get Updates on the Go
As you can install the device in your automobile, it becomes easier to get weather, travel, and traffic updates on the go. They are also effective for having warnings if there are any upcoming weather or safety hazards.
With a CB radio, you can avoid the traffic jam on the highway and plan your trip following the weather conditions.
Operate at Low Frequencies
It’s one of the best features of these radios as it allows you to listen to voice messages and communicate with others in the narrow band. For example, you can easily transmit a signal at 15MHz that is not possible with other types of radios.
For Urgent Situations
It’s an excellent medium of communication during emergencies. Lots of people prefer them because there’s no need to apply for a license for operating the radio. You can use the device for coordinating a response, reporting during disasters and crises, and chatting with other users while driving on the road.
In the case of CB radios, size matters. However, it’s because big units tend to be full-featured and therefore have better receivers and transmitters. They are likely to perform better than the smaller models.
The units are likely to have a public address (PA) function that helps to switch from the internal speaker to an external PA horn connected to the radio through a jack. You can transmit the broadcast over the horn in the PA mode.
The external speaker is another option that every high-quality CB radio should have. It allows you to have better reception with a clear audio at a low volume. Activating it will disable the built-in speaker.
The presence of an LCD screen is a vital factor to seriously consider when you are out there for buying the best CB radio. It displays data about free channels that you can use for transmitting the voice signals. There’s also an option that lets the user choose the information that they want the screen to show or hide.
High-quality CB radios are likely to have lots of properties. You can expect them to have weather channels that offer weather alerts right on the go. They also have switches for immediate access to two channels – Channel (for emergencies) and Channel 1(for highway/truckers).
The Channel Scanning scans all the available stations and stops after finding an active one. It is a good option for finding and tuning channels smoothly without requiring you to flip through the stations manually.
Uniden BEARCAT 980SSB
The Bearcat 980 SSB is a fully-featured radio in a compact size, a rare combination that you will see in CB radios. You can easily mount it to your car, pick-up truck, or other vehicles. It is perfect for professionals and amateurs who want the SSB feature on a CB radio.
The 2NW from Cobra is an upgraded version of the brand’s successful 2LTD model. It has come to the market with some new features and styling that the previous model does not have. It’s a great unit and one of the nicest looking Cobra radios that have ever been manufactured.
If you prefer to have a small radio with lots of features, the Cobra 7WXST fits the description. It’s a handheld unit that takes minimal space in a vehicle. You can hang it from the mic holder if you want to keep your hands free while driving. Stash into the glove box when not in use.
The Midland 75-82is a unique addition to the world of the two-way radios. It’s a real switch hitteras converting it between mobile and handheld radio configurations is a cinch. It nicely fits your hand but at the same time has the features of a large mobile unit with the flexibility of using battery power.
Since 1963, Cobra has been serving the CB enthusiasts with great products featuring excellent properties and reasonable prices. The 2LTD is one of the least expensive models from the brand that provide the coverage of all the channels across the range. It is a bit smaller and lacks a few features than the 2series.
The Midland 1001Z is a compact, small unit that is ideal for both the seasoned and novice CB users. Although it’s not a fancy unit with scores of features, it covers all the 40 channels and has the basic qualities that will keep you going on the highway.
The cost of the CB radio
If you want to communicate with other effectively, then CB radio is the best choice. First and foremost, you should consider the price of the CB radio. Mostly, the price range is varying from one brand to another. So, it is very tough to find the best one.
The size of the CB radio
The second important factor is the size of the CB radio. The size is completely based on your purposes which mean if you want to implement the CB radio for your cars, buy the small size of the CB radio.
However, the people those who want to implement the CB radio in the trucks they should buy the large size of the CB radio.
Some of the CB radios come with the internal speakers so you may get the low range of sounds in high traffic. In case, if you want to get the high quality of the sounds, then purchase the external speakers. It is the best choice.
When it comes to the weight of this CB radio is quite low. So, you can implement it any of your vehicles which means you can install it in your cars or trucks anywhere you want.
However, it provides the noise blanker option. With the help of this blanker option, it can reduce the noise from the sounds.
The battery power of the CB radio
This CB radio analyzes the weather condition 2hours in a day so it will send the weather report in the case of emergency. It requires the external power to delivers the high-quality sounds so you can power on this device using the AA batteries.
Effective emergency alert
If you want to get the emergency alert of using the CB radio, then this is the exact product for you. This CB radio uses the national weather channels so it has the ability to provides the alert sounds to you while the weather conditions are in danger in your area.
Furthermore, it does not only provide the alert tone in critical weather conditions but also you can set the alarm or time to remember some special things.
Awesome weather scans
This Midland Mobile CB radio totally uses the 40 channels to communicate. It is specially designed to send the weather report effectively so it has the ability to scan the weather in 2hours completely and send the immediate report to you about the weather in your area.
It is made using the weightless types of the plastics so the overall weight of this system is just pound only. So, it is easy for transportable.
Galaxy DX-959B Mobile CB Radio
This Galaxy DX-959B Mobile CB Radio comes with more demand in the market why because it is user-friendly. Besides, you can change the operation of the device easily in critical situations also.
Each and every button in the system comes with the separate functions so it will not confuse you to operate it. Moreover, it comes with the traditional design so you can use it for your home purposes also.
Blue attractive display
Generally, this CB radio comes with the blue and red color display so it is easy to view both days as well as nighttime. It provides the digits large LCD display screen which means you can you can view the frequency counter reading in digits and channel reading in digits.
Furthermore, it uses the GNF which mean galaxy noise filter. With the help of this filter, the system decreases the noise level and delivers the quite clear voice to communicate.
The color backlight allows for setting one of options. AUX outputs enhance the connection capabilities. The radio is connectable to a wireless mic.
Each button when pushed is accompanied by a sound signal.
The moderate price makes this device extremely affordable. A pretty wide operating range boosts transmitting abilities. A solid sound quality.
The radio is pretty bulky due to a large battery compartment.
What is a Cb Radio
CB radios are currently used in many spheres including taxi services, long-haul traffic, sailing, construction, warehousing, fishing, and hunting. Such a wide application of CB radios is explained by a simple way of connection without cell towers, satellites, and other communication facilities. The CB radio stations provide a free communication for or more people, yet their radius of action is limited by the power of receivers or transmitters. We will consider different CB radios and tell you how to choose a device suitable for your needs.
If you need a more portable appliance for a free group communication, we advise you to consider our walkie talkies, as well as parking sensors and car backup cameras for confident and safe driving.
Capabilities are the next important factor in choosing a CB radio. Capabilities include the number of channels, number of memory cells, receiving of NOAA channels, and quick setting for emergency signals. Every frequency range is divided into frequency channels for radio broadcasting. The more channels are available, the simpler it is to find a free frequency. And the coding system allows several users to occupy the same channel. The great number of channels is peculiar to high-power and wide-range CB radios. As for the low-power models, they generally feature a small number of available channels. The memory cells contain combinations of channels and subcodes that are frequently used. Subcodes are used in coding systems to divide users into groups within the frequency channel. The subcodes embedded into memory cells facilitate the use of CB radio. Choosing a proper channel or/and switching between channels is easy and creates no nuisance. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration maintains the broadcasting of weather satellite system. The NOAA weather channels provide users with weather forecasts for local areas. The CB radios receiving NOAA channels usually have memorized channels that are switched by pressing a relevant button. The safety channel of a radio is needed for receiving messages from emergency services. The CB radios are commonly equipped with individual buttons for switching to emergency channels.
Always In Touch
If you are often at the wheel and wish to stay in touch with other drivers, pay your attention to Galaxy Radios DX-959B. The range was the first thing that attracted our attention. Of course, we can’t specify an accurate value since it depends on multiple conditions including terrain and weather. Simply stated, this CB radio will provide a communication in the range from 1to 20 miles. This is achievable thanks to the regular antenna. If you attach a more powerful accessory antenna, the radio’s transmitting and receiving abilities will considerably expand. This became possible due to a high-power receiver of Watts. The radio is mounted into the dashboard and is powered from the in-vehicle network. What is more, this CB radio is designed in a way to provide a minimum distraction from driving and allow an easy setting. It’s remarkable that the radio’s backlight has a neutral color which won’t be dazzling even in the dark.
Mahlon Loomis, an American dentist, conducted the experiments that foreran the invention of the radio. He implemented a wireless communication by using kites carrying wires in the air. He succeeded to transfer the signals wirelessly for more than 1miles in 186So, all dentists may be proud of what Loomis did.
It’s worth discovering the technical aspects. On buying any radio, it is important to find out how good its performance is and what transceiving range to expect. BEARCAT 880 is designed for broadcasting across 1-miles. The radio supports amplitude modulation and hence, suits best over-the-road truckers who need AM frequency range to be able to communicate on the road. Among the channels the radio includes are emergency channels and weather forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Uniden CB radio is also known for clear sound perception and high sensitivity (µV at dB (S+N)/N) that strengthens even weakest signals to enable better communication quality and clarity of the speech under harsh weather conditions and rumbling background noises.
As we said in Part I, CBs’ history in the market, installed base, and simplicity are the reasons they continue to sell as the preferred BTB communication option from manufacturers. If you have a touring model or a bagger from one of the major manufacturers, chances are it has been designed to accept a CB. You can either order it pre-installed on your new bike from the factory (in the case of BMW, Harley, Honda and Kawasaki) or have it added later as an accessory. Since this type of installation is unique for each bike and is of a proprietary design, you’ll pay more, but the existing bike controls and/or integrated AM/FM radio will likely work in an well-behaved manner with the CB. Since the CB unit is usually mounted deep in the bowels of the bike, and often requires the addition of electrical filters, headphone jacks and other such electrical system refinements, installation is usually best left to the pros at your local dealer.
If your ride was never designed to accept an OEM CB unit (as is the case with many cruisers) you’ll have to go with an aftermarket supplier. But don’t despair; these solutions perform just as well. J&M; Audio makes a nice CB unit that mounts on the left handlebar, allowing use of a push-to-talk trigger and other controls while riding—just like the OEM setups. All the electronics are housed in the handlebar-mounted control unit so there’s nothing to squirrel away in the caverns of your bike. Model JMCB-2003B-DU provides a 40-channel CB radio, NOAA weather band radio, rider/passenger intercom and stereo music amplification from any portable music device, all integrated into a compact unit.
The industrious Swedes, who have given us dynamite, the adjustable spanner wrench and the PC mouse, have most recently given us Bluetooth. As we pointed out in Part I, Bluetooth was originally meant for short distance wire and cable replacement. Several vendors, such as J&M; Audio and Chatterbox, also build Bluetooth devices primarily for short range cable replacement. Bluetooth is also often integrated with other BTB communication technology to facilitate communication to devices like GPS units, digital audio players and phones. However, in this dedicated Bluetooth section, we’re talking about products that use Bluetooth technology primarily for longer range two-way radio communication in place of a GMRS/FRS or CB radio. Sena Technologies and Cardo Systems are just two of the manufacturers that have augmented the basic Bluetooth capabilities to allow for longer range BTB communications, and they also offer high quality products in this class. Both are helmet-mounted units, and both can link up with a multitude of other devices, such as your GPS for voice navigation, audio players for music, or a passenger’s unit for intercom capability. Both units claim 12–1hours of usage between charges and take 2–hours to fully recharge.
Desktop Charger: I sound picky, but having a well designed charger is quite essential. The very very cheap ones charge at low power continuously 24/The better ones know when to shut off the charging circuitry. The more advanced models allow your units to be on while charging.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your compact cb radio wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of compact cb radio
- №1 — Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB-Way Radio
- №2 — Ancable UHF PL-259 Female to UHF PL-259 Female Coaxial Adaptor Connector Coupler Joiner for CB Ham Radio Antenna Pack of 2
- №3 — Uniden 40-Channel CB Radio