6 Best CB Radio For Truck Driver – Reviewed & Rated in 2018

Closeup of a male hand holding a CB car radio microphone

With the introduction of mobile phones, social media, and mobile apps, CB radios might not be as popular as they were in the 1970s and 1980s. Due to improvement in technology, the citizen band radios (CB) might just remain relevant for a long time. The CB radios currently in the market has improved greatly as compared to those that were in the market many years back.

Here are some of what I consider to be some of the best CB radio for trucks which are currently in the market.

Comparison Table Of Trucker CB Radio

Product

Image


1. Cobra 29 LX CB Radio

Cobra 29LX Professional CB Radio - NOAA Weather Channels and Emergency Alert System, Selectible 4-Color LCD, Auto-Scan, Alarm and Radio Check

2. Uniden BEARCAT CB Radio – 980SSB 40 channels

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

3. Cobra Electronics CB Radio CBR 29LTD 40 channels with PA capability

 Cobra Electronics CBR29LTDCHR 40-Channel CB Radio With PA Capability

4. Uniden PRO505XL CB Radio with 40 Channels

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

5. Midland 1001 LWX CB Radio with 40 Channel

Midland 1001LWX 40 Channel Mobile CB with ANL, RF Gain, PA, and Weather Scan

6. Galaxy CB Radio DX-959B

Midland 1001LWX 40 Channel Mobile CB with ANL, RF Gain, PA, and Weather Scan

Product Reviews

1. Cobra 29LX Professional CB Radio

This at the moment, could be the most popular CB radio available on the market. It has a design that is modern, bringing several features with it that will definitely make you want to buy it.

It is almost similar to the Cobra 29 LTD with most of the basic functions being the same to those that are offered by most of the CB radios. NB/ANL, RX gain, delta tune, volume, and dynamike.

But when you look at it closely, you will find out that, it has some a few improvements which include a feature for radio check diagnostic and a weather receiver. Although most CB radios offer a weather channel, the Cobra 29 LX offers better services, giving you a list of 10 NOAA channels for weather.

You will be able to get instant access to these channels and at the same time, be able to scan through the channels for the nearest and strongest alert signals. With that, you will be assured of being up to date with the most recent changes in your area weather conditions.

If you are a trucker who traverse across several states, then this particular CB radio comes to emergency weather alert that is compatible in all the states. It also has an alert tone so that your attention is attracted to the weather alerts even when it is off.

To enhance reliability, the radio check diagnostic feature is available to check out all the critical aspects of the radio, including antenna condition, battery voltage, and RF power.

Other features that you are likely to enjoy include 4 selectable color display, which when driving at night, you can deem them. It also has PA capability and a memory function that is able to store at least 10 of your favorite channels so that you can access them easily.

Pros

  • It has a dimmable multicolor display for easy customization.
  • Its operations are user-friendly.
  • It has clear signals.
  • There are 10 channels available for weather for all the 50 states in the USA.
  • It is good value for money.

Cons

  • Some of its knobs are too small, especially if you have bigger hands.
  • The microphone is of low quality and thus need for a replacement.

2. Uniden BEARCAT CB Radio – 980SSB 40 channels

This is a simple sleek unit that has all the features that you might need in a CB radio. Its single side capability makes it be able to allow you to talk 3 times further and thus, perfect if you are a CB radio user who wants to reach as far as possible.

It has a great display that provides 7 color digital display and it comes fully equipped with an SWR meter that is digital, PA capability, radio diagnostic, channel scanning, and a switch that can dim.

It also includes NOAA channels for weather, a microphone that is six pin which is compatible with the Uniden new technology for wireless microphone and a cord that is extra long to enable you to pass the mic back to your friends who are sitting in the back seat.

Pros

  • Comes with a 2-year warranty.
  • Has 40 CB radio channels
  • Its power output is 4 watts.
  • It has a channel scan
  • It has weather channels

Cons

  • At more than 15 degrees angle, the display visibility seems to dim.
  • LCD is not long lasting

3. Cobra Electronics CB Radio CBR 29LTD 40 channels with PA capability

In the world of CB radio, Cobra seems to be a big name. The Cobra CBR 29 LTD with 40 channels has a classic look, it seems highly reliable and easy to use without having to modify anything. The 29 LTD has a 40 channel radio and offers instant access to the emergency channel 9 and channel 19 which is the truckers channel for entertainment and real-time highway information. The important features are arranged row-wise for this particular radio, on the panel that is on the front so that you can easily access them. The knob for this particular CB radio is big enough with other controls having controls that are sized fairly, with each being positioned at a distance from the next.

It is a CB radio that offers the basic controls which include Mic gain, which makes it possible for you and the other driver to be audible to each other. There is also the RF gain, which ensures that you capture signals which are at a distance.

There is also a 2 mode channel selector, delta tune, NB/ANL switch, and a dynamic boost that is adjustable. Some of the current models also have a function for talkback that will allow you to listen to your voice so that you can adjust it properly before transmission.

There are the SWR calibration functions and the antenna warning indicator which works hand in hand in order to ensure the antennae perform optimally. Other interesting features that you will find on this CB radio include PA capability and 9-foot microphone cord.

It is not a 100 percent perfect with some Amazon reviewers claiming that it still has its traditional look which makes it resemble a cheaper model. Others claim that the display, even when you dim it, it is still too bright at night.

Pros

  • It is easy to use and set up.
  • It has a lot of controls which you can use to fine-tune your CB radio.
  • The knobs are of the right size.
  • The knobs are well spaced for easy accessibility and control.
  • Good value for the money.

Cons

  • The display doesn’t dim even after setting it.
  • It has a traditional look that makes it look like a cheap model

4. Uniden PRO505XL CB Radio with 40 Channels

If you decide to settle for this particular CB radio, then it is best to know that, it has a backlit LCD display which can operate both day and night. Its squelch control is dynamically enabling it to provide the best quality sound for your CB radio.

This can also be attributed to its speaker jack that is located externally that you can be able to use to plug into a speaker that is located externally to produce better sound and the PA jack that is external will allow you to connect it to a speaker that is located externally.

It is a great radio with 40 channels that can enhance your communicating experience while on the road and ensuring that you stay alert when it comes to traffic situations and emergencies due to the availability of the instant channel 9 function and the function of the PA. It is very easy to install this particular radio in your truck as well as easy to handle and use.

Pros

  • Public address function
  • It has an instant channel for traffic emergencies.
  • It has an RF/Signal power indicator.
  • It has a jack that for the external speaker which you can use to plug into a speaker that is located externally to enhance the sound.
  • The PA jack that is external makes it possible to connect the PA speaker

Cons

  • It is not long lasting as it stops working after a few months of use.
  • Not for off road as it is fragile and made of cheap quality material.

5. Midland 1001 LWX CB Radio with 40 Channel

If your purpose for buying a CB radio for weather updates and highway information, then buying an expensive one might not be a good idea. The Midland 1001 LWX will offer you the solution to get the basic information that a CB radio should provide without having to spend a fortune.

It can also be a good option if you want to install at home or if you are a trucker on budget. The stand out feature for this particular CB radio is its compact size, which measures 4.5 inches by 7.5 inches by 1.75 inches, which means that it can fit in most vehicles without looking bulky.

Its easy installation process makes most truckers to appreciate it with the entire installation hardware included inside the package. The front panel is less busy which offers even the beginners to have an easy time while on the road.

It has 40 channels with a tuner that is digital, which scans all the available channels that are active with ease and very fast. For easier access later, your favorite channels are locked where you can access them.

There is an automatic scanning for weather alerts from the strongest weather channels which are available, and ensure that they are locked so that you get first-hand information about the condition of weather in your location.

Its RF gain, ANL, and Squelch controls make it have one of the best voice outputs. It can as well function as a public address system when you need it to by just pressing a button. One of the main drawbacks of this CB radio is having to manually scan the NOAA weather channels.

Pros

  • Compact size
  • Good value for your money
  • Easy to install
  • It is easy to use.
  • It is affordable.

Cons

  • Manual scanning of NOAA weather channels.
  • Provides only the basic functions of a CB radio.

6. Galaxy CB Radio DX-959B

It might be one of the best CB radio from Galaxy that has a five digit frequency counter and an SSB performance of long range. Other features that are included in the package are an illuminated meter and automatic SWR calibration.

It is designed if you like to have a rig which is unique. It also has an RF gain, an end of transmission roger beep, PA, automatic SWR calibration to ensure that tunning to the antenna is an easy business, mic gain, higher SWR alert, clarifier control referred to as the delta tune, long-range SSB operation and talk back.

If you are planning to do some stargazing along the way at night as you drive, the meter is easy to read and normally illuminated during the evening and night rides. The radio mounts using the U mounting brackets to a surface that is flat.


Utilization of frequencies by the Single sideband transmission just below and above the standard 40 channels of the CB radio. For standard CB, it can transmit at 12 watts, improving the range.

It can communicate on any standard 40 CB radio AM channels with all the users of the CB but only at the SSB usage of the long-range communication if both users have a radio that is SSB equipped. It has a 2-year warranty.

Pros

  • It comes equipped with a power cord.
  • In the package, you will find a radio and a microphone.
  • There is a microphone hanger to ensure that you have somewhere to keep the microphone safely when not in use.
  • It has screws and mounting brackets for a sturdy installation.
  • It comes with a 2-year warranty.

Cons

  • It doesn’t last for long.
  • It is not good value for money.

Things to Keep in Mind

The technology that is behind the way the CB radios work has not so much changed. But there are additional features with most of them being life-saving, which has been added to these devices. For one to qualify to be one of the best, there is a need for it to meet some of the following important guidelines that will help you to make a decision.

  • Are you looking for a CB radio with a single side SSB feature?
  • How much of its RF frequency is it going to gain?
  • Which are some of the brands that are considered to be the best in the market?
  • Should the CB radio have a functionality for weather update?
  • Does it have a backlit display?
  • Does it have the ANL, automatic noise limiters?
  • What is your budget?

The answers you give to the above questions will determine the type of CB radio you are going to buy and should act as a buying guide for you.

What Matters When You Are Choosing The Best CB Radio For Your Truck

There are several common features for CB radios which makes them similar technically to some degree, including volume, squelch, and the selector for the channels. But with the technological advancement, most of them have additional features which make the CB be more appealing to buyers. The additions make the CB radio to be effective by ensuring that it gives you value for your money and you enjoy your ride on the road, and at the same time, making the trip safe.

Mobile v Handheld CB Radios

While there is what is referred to as base CB radio, which you can be able to install at home, most users want a CB radio for use while on the road. There are two main types that you will come across.

Mobile: These CB radios are relatively compact but not as small as the handheld. You will have the option of installing it on the hump of the transmission or mounting it directly beneath the dashboard. If you want to reduce the static from the spark plugs, you will have to wire the radio to the battery directly.

Handheld: Among the CB radios, these types are the most compact, enabling you to hold the model in your hand as you talk. You also have the option of installing it on your dashboard. They are not powerful models as compared to base units or mobile units, but they offer the best portability.

Features To Check Out

1. Automatic Noise Limiter

The work of the automatic noise limiter (ANL) is the one responsible for improving the sound reception quality of your radio. This is done by filtering wideband interferences including the noise of the engine and static before elbowing into your radio front. When you are driving a big truck, this feature will be very helpful. Its circuit is built in a way that it surrounds the AM mode of the CB radio and thus, you should not confuse it with the Noise Blanker (NB).

2. Squelch

It is one of the basic functions which is found on all CB radios. It functions by ensuring that, all the background noise is muted when the signal is not strong enough. If you have ever used a CB radio before, you can attest to how annoying the background noise can be. By silencing the receiver is controlled by the squelch until a strong signal is able to be detected.

The work of the squelch is to mute distant, and signals that are less powerful in order to allow for the strong signals which are near you. You will be able to control its functionality by turning it left or right to listen to the weak and strong signals. You should take note that, you don’t have to keep turning it unnecessarily higher than you need because doing so, might reduce the reception range.

3. Noise Blanker

In CB slang, it is popularly known as NB and it is a circuit which is used to ensure that interferences are alleviated from statics that is unwanted from power lines, ignition, and inverters among several other sources. It is different from the ANL because it is larger.

It causes the front end is temporarily encased in the antenna, picking high amplitude spikes. It is the feature that takes care of all the disturbances from spark plug lightning and the noise and other things. Unless it is necessary, it is advisable that you don’t turn it on since it affects the sensitivity of the radio.

The Automatic Noise Limiter is what most CB radios rely on solely. But there are specific models which incorporate the same unit, two filter circuits. I will highly recommend these types due to the fact that, they are good at minimizing the disturbances.

4. Mic Gain

Its purpose is to ensure that you sound clear and louder to other drivers who are listening to you. It is a control which is quite tricky and this makes most drivers turn it all the way up and in the process, bursting others off the channel.

The farthest you can turn the knob depending on the type of microphone that you are using with the best microphone is that one that is capable of dictating whether to buy a radio that has a mic gain or not.

So if you have a stock/dynamic microphone, if you turn the mic gains too high, it makes the sound to be distorted or over-modulated. It also applies to the mics for the amplifiers. It is recommended to have mics which have the noise-canceling feature for truckers as they don’t get as loud as the dynamic and amplified microphones.

You will definitely require a radio that has a mic gain in order to make yourself clear and loud to others who are using the same type of mic.

5. RF Gain

The RF gain works almost in the same way as the squelch as it adjusts the sensitivity of the receiver. The main difference between the two is that the RF gain ensures that the distant signals are captured while the squelch blocks distant signals which are weak.

So if you want to know the exact situation that is on the far end of the road, you can use this control all the way to enable it to capture the furthest signals possible. There are some radios which don’t have this function, but it is an important feature which should be a must have on the CB that you are shopping around for.

It is great to use both the RF gain and the squelch at the same time, especially on CB radios that have 2 functionalities as they will be able to offer the best service. But if communication between you and a fellow driver who nearby keeps on being interfered with by another CB radio user who is far, you can as well neutralize the interference through turning the RF down, leaning far to the left, and then turning the squelch clockwise.

6. Weather Update

This is one of the important features that you should never go driving on the road without having it. It can be life-saving, especially if you get one from the mid-range or high end. But you can still get a low end that has this particular feature. If your radio has an NOAA channel for weather, it will keep you updated with weather information and hazards through day and night and throughout the year.

7. Backlit Display

The backlit display ensures that you don’t have to struggle in the dark or start looking for a flashlight in order to operate your radio. Apart from being inconvenienced, lack of the backlit display can cause you to lose some important information.

When choosing a CB radio, look out for one that has a backlit display, which will make it be effortless to use the radio, no matter the time of the day. Before you settle for one, ensure that the backlit function has a way of being dimmed when you are driving at night.

8. Instant Channel Function

You should be proud to have a radio that which can instantly jump from channel 9 to channel 19. For a radio to do that, it must have a button which allows the jumping from the current station to whatever channel you want to tune to.

Channel 9 is known to be an emergency channel, but nowadays, most people don’t use it due to the availability of mobiles. It is a channel that is monitored by the state or local police and radio emergency associated communication team - REACT. It is the same channel which is used to report accident’s occurrence, life-threatening road conditions, and serious injuries.

You can also tune into this channel to get instant updates on incidents that are weather-related or highway accidents. Channel 19 is used to truck drivers while they are on the highway. This channel will give you all the traffic information on the highway. Some truckers have nicknamed it Sesame Street. It can give you some sort of entertainment due to its childish content frequently.

9. Public Address Capabilities

A CB radio that has a public address system attached to it makes it possible for you to address your fellow drivers and those on the street through a small speaker. Although not vital, it could come in handy, especially when you are talking to a group of people.

10. Single Side Band (SSB)

This type of radio is permitted to transmit at a power of 12 watts instead of what most use, 4 watts. This ensures that the radio effectiveness is tripled. It is only in service when you are communicating with someone else who also has a single-sided band. All the rest who are not on SSB will transmit at 4 watts.

11. Delta Tune

It is another item that you can use to reduce static. Some people also know it as the clarifier control due to the fact that, as you adjust it, you are going to notice that, the pitch of the voice of the person on the other end changes. If the other person sounds squeaky, you can use this particular feature to enable you to reduce the effect so that you can clearly understand what they are trying to say.

12. Built in SWR Meter

SWR is the short form for Standing Wave Ratio. If you get a CB radio that has an inbuilt SWR meter, you will be able to measure the effectiveness of the power signal which your device is emanating as it moves through the antenna. You can use it to properly adjust your radio or to maximize its effectiveness.

Conclusion

I hope that you have gotten an ideal CB radio for your truck. Citizen Band radio, even with the competition in the market, still continues to reign supreme. It is going to link you to other drivers very fast and thus, making it possible to get relevant information as it happens. Its ability to connect and then obtain up to the minute weather alerts from NOAA is a plus. Also, it's being able to keep you safe from storms and other conditions that are hazardous conditions which might threaten your life.

From my list, I think the Cobra 29 LX might just the one to go for. This model seems to attract more drivers due to the fact that, it has a construction that is sturdy and also its looks. It displays that its multicolored ensures that, you can easily monitor all the radio functions and you can deem them when you are driving at night.

Leave a Comment: