Nearly qualified trucker needing a reliable CB radio? Or maybe you are a veteran truck driver and are in need of an upgraded CB?
CB radios are pretty vital for drivers. They make sure you are aware of potential weather conditions that might cause you an issue. They have PA technology so you can be heard outside of your truck.
What would qualify as a good CB radio? RF gain control has become a useful feature – that is discussed further down for those unfamiliar with the term. Having an easy to read LCD display is very helpful, which means more time for eyes on the road. But there are plenty of other features to consider!
Below we’ll be looking at the top CB radios. Uniden, Cobra, and other well-known names make an appearance.
The Best CB Radios for Truckers of 2021
1. Uniden BEARCAT 980 CB
For those with a long drive ahead of them, the Uniden Bearcat 980 will get them through. It comes with all the features any good truckers CB radio ought to come with; 40 channels, easy access to emergency channel nine, and NOAA weather channels at the drop of a hat.
The screen is easy to read at a glance with a backlit control panel and a display option for every situation, which 7 to choose from.
It comes with noise-canceling microphones and this helps reduce background noise, ensuring your words are heard clearly at all times which is crucial when on the road.
If that doesn’t quite tick your box, there is always the option of using a wireless microphone with the Uniden Bearcat 980, and this providing great adaptability.
The Uniden Bearcat radio works and works well – it may not have channel scan functionality but if that isn’t something you need, you won’t miss it.
Overall this radio is easy to mount, easy to use, and gives the majority of users exactly what they want in radio communications.
- Easy to tune
- Crisp and clear audio
- Integrated SWR
- SSB – Single Side Band
- No auto channel scan
2. Uniden PRO505XL
Check it out on Amazon
Another brand that is well known and best suited for truck drivers and other radio operators all over the world. Uniden aims to support you both on and off the road with this range of radios.
Small and mighty, it is a compact radio with 40 channels and instant entry to emergency channel 9 and channel 19. Offering a full 4 watts of transmitting power and rugged construction, this radio should see you through even the worst of situations.
This compact unit lets you monitor your transmit power, which can be good to know. Not only that, but you can also see the relative strength of incoming transmissions as there is a built-in signal/RF power indicator.
The Uniden PRO505XL comes with an extra-long cord for the microphone for struggle-free communication. There are lots of additional controls such as Squelch control, volume control, and public address switch, plus many more.
The public address feature allows you to be heard outside of your vehicle, though this will require a PA system, which is not included. There is a jack fitted so that you can connect an extra speaker if you want greater flexibility.
The Uniden truckers radio comes with a 2-year warranty for added peace of mind that this radio will see you through many a road trip.
- Access to emergency channels
- Very affordable
- Built-in signal/RF power indicator
- Quick seller
3. Cobra 25LTD
Designed to be ready when you need it, the Cobra Citizens Band radio is intentionally simple compact, a strong rival to ham radios, and great for trucker communications.
This model has been around for 50 years, of course, it has seen various updates in that time. The fact it has been around for so long ought to tell you that it is one of the best CB radios out there. If you are a trucker, I’m sure you’d love it.
Cobra has thought about installation and how you might want it to look. With a 4 pin connector, you can choose to install this radio either on the dashboard – some say it looks cool. Or if space is an issue you can fit the Cobra underneath the dash – still looks cool, right?
A rather chunky unit, Cobra 25LTD does come as a 40 channel CB radio. Giving huge flexibility and reach this Cobra comes with a 9-foot microphone cord so there shouldn’t be any wrestling with the lead to be heard.
This CB radio, Cobra, does come kitted with RF gain as well as SWR calibration and to top it off, instant channel 9 access when needed.
You have the ability to link this Cobra CB radio up to a pa system (public address system) so that you can be heard outside of the cab.
- Solid sound quality
- Easy to read meter
- Different installation options
- No NOAA weather emergency channel
4. Texas Ranger Elite
40 channel CB radio from Range Communications, the Texas Ranger Elite is their latest addition to a line up of quality CBs.
The Texas Ranger Elite comes fitted with a frequency counter so you can be certain that you’re on the correct frequency at all times.
A great tool to monitor your own communication is variable talkback, so you will be able to hear your own voice as well as other communications with this one.
There is a certain old school ham radio vibe about this CB radio when it comes to controls.
- Nice led display
- Built-in SWR meter
- Full 40 channel CB radio
- Sells out quickly
5. Cobra HH50WXST CB Radio
Designed to be ready when you need it, the Cobra Citizens Band radio is intentionally simple compact, a strong rival to ham radios, and great for survival communications.
With the mobile CB Cobra radio, you can dial into all 40 CB stations and it also comes with 10 NOAA weather channels (including channel 9) and a weather alert system built in so you can rest easy knowing that you will be able to know what is heading your way.
Things get noisy out and about but that doesn’t take away the fact you want to be heard and to hear things clearly. Just in case you find yourself there, there is an automatic noise limiter built into this Cobra radio to help reduce the amount of interference you will experience.
Cobra has thought about the need for things to be easy and they have equipped this CB system radio with an illuminated LCD display so it can be seen at the drop of a hat, leaving more time for your eyes to be on what’s in front of you.
Keeping things easy to use but highly functional, this CB radio, Cobra comes equipped with a high/low power switch. This means that if you’re near the person you’re chatting with, you can save your radio’s power by switching to low power. Jacking it up for those long-distance conversations.
Easy to charge up due to the 12-volt charger power cord included and a great transmission distance of up to 4 miles will help keep communications going throughout.
- Clear LCD display
- Mobile CB radio
- RF Gain control
- Easy to lose
6. President Electronics BILL CB Radio
A super ultra-compact CB radio unit – think about the size of your mobile! That is a similar size to what you’ll be getting here.
Highly recommended for drivers who are after a small CB radio but don’t want to stint on features.
Nice added features are the filters and automatic noise blanker with an auto squelch. As well as giving truckers a USB charging point that you can use to charge other devices – very useful!
Don’t let the size put you off, the President Bill has a loudspeaker. Loud enough to be heard over thunderstorms.
Despite its size, this CB radio (unlike some larger ones) has a scan tool and access to the weather radios. Both are pretty necessary for different reasons. Weather channels are obviously useful to hear about any adverse weather conditions up ahead. The scan is useful to find channels!
As for the build quality, it is made mostly of metal so provides great assurance of durability.
Not lacking in features, this is a 40 channel CB radio with, a volume adjusts switch, manual squelch, and ASC. A quick and easy-to-use roger beep and a multi-functional easy to read LCD screen.
If you need to connect to an external speaker PA function (public address system) to your CB radio, there’s a jack to do exactly that.
- Auto Squelch control
- USB type charging capabilities
- 40 channel mobile radio ideal for drivers
- RF gain control
- No SSB mode
7. Galaxy-DX-959 CB Radio
A top of the range and one of the best CB radio for truckers who are after the ultimate set up
The Galaxy CB radio gives you access to a long-range SSB mode. There is a large frequency counter so it is easy to read your current frequency.
DX 959 is one of the more popular models from Galaxy as it has such an extensive list of features making it one of the best CB radio options.
On AM the DX 959 will give a maximum output of 4 watts. In SSB mode, it will go to 12 watts. To help minimize noise and aid recovery in weak SSB signal, Galaxy has developed their own technology – Galaxy Noise Filter (GNF), and these models of CB radios are equipped with it.
Being able to hear your own voice through talkback is a welcome feature for many people. Those who appreciate it can control it from the dial on the top row. Those not a fan, can switch it off and forget it exists.
This CB radio comes with a built-in SWR, this is particularly useful as it saves any need to purchase an external SWR meter. The meter that this comes with is backlit, which is also adjustable so you can get the perfect brightness level. If seeing the screen is not what you want, you can switch it off so it won’t distract you.
- SSB mode
- Roger Beep
- PA Radio system
- Galaxy Noise Filter Technology to aid SSB signals
- Quite large
8. President Andy AM USA CB Radio
For a trucker who wants one of the best compact CB radios and a few neat features, President Andy radios may be just the man. Ideally suited to those truckers who have smaller cabs or 24-volt equipment. It is small enough that it can be hidden in the console but sharp-looking enough that it won’t look out of place on a dashboard.
A 2 to 5-mile communication distance can be achieved with this CB radio signal and the clarity is fantastic. It comes with automatic squelch so that takes away the need to be constantly trying to take care of that yourself and potentially missing calls.
Getting a heads up about road conditions is possible and it also has the NAOO weather channels, including access to emergency channel 9 & 19.
A real communication system that can be relied upon in lots of conditions, ideal for a truck driver.
- Very compact
- NOAA weather channels
- Emergency channel 9 access
- External speaker – PA
- No auto scan
9. Uniden PC78LTX Radio
Incredibly easy to install and will fit into a center console no problem.
This CB radio system is designed to be tough and provides so many customizable options to achieve a fantastic sound. You should never miss another communication again with this radio.
There is an integrated SWR meter, this means your CB radio will always be performing at its best, getting the best signal out there.
So you can keep up with what’s going on you’ll want and potentially leave a reply the Uniden has a great range of settings for the microphones. Providing clarify so no one should have any difficultly hearing what you’re saying.
Overall this Uniden radio is one for drivers who want fantastic sound, but simple to use a bit of kit and you know what? It has plenty of features to keep even the most hardened trucker happy.
- Automatic SWR circuit
- Squelch control
- External speaker – PA system
- RF gain control
- Lots of controls
10. Midland 75 CB Radio
The Midlands name is well known for their CB radios and appeal to many truck drivers as they are reliable and feature-rich. The 75 is no different!
As with any good CB radio, this one comes with all 40 channels and 10 NOAA weather channels so you can keep check of the weather conditions you may be about to face – and then avoid!
Giving this CB radio extra versatility, it can be powered by six AA batteries or charged through the cigarette lighter – both of which are easy to install.
With a wealth of channels, it is good to know that you don’t have to stay totally focused and tuned into emergency channel 9 or 19 all of the time and miss out on other things. One of the best things about this CB radio is that you can keep a radio check of the weather conditions while also using other channels at the same time.
- Instant channel 9 access
- 4 Watts of power output
- No SWR calibration
Buyer’s Guide: Considerations when buying a CB Radio for Truck Drivers
With so many different CB radios on the market, it can be tricky to know where to begin and what’s the best CB radio. You want the right gear that will work for you at the end of the day.
What features are necessary? What is the purpose of CB radios when cell phones exist? Different people will have different uses and a CB radio for a trucker needs to have some decent features to keep them in the know and most importantly, safe.
Below are many features that should be weighed up when considering a CB radio.
Seriously useful for people on the road a lot (or off-roaders for that matter), knowing what the outdoors is doing in real-time is key. It happens to be one of the more popular features buyers look for.
Some models will have the capability to receive weather alerts which are severe even when the radio is turned off. A good CB radio will have Channel 9 & 19 as standard, these are emergency channels and will keep you up to date with what is going on.
Distance is always a key detail. No one wants a short-range. One which is very difficult to answer as there are so many variables. Location plays a big factor, mountains will be different from buildings in a city, which will be different from the fields of trees.
All being well (conditions are right) you can expect anywhere between 1 and 15 miles with a portable unit. A base station will give you a greater distance of up to 30 miles.
RF Gain Control
Arguably one of the most important features to have on a CD radio and could be something you’ll want – RF gain control.
RF gain control means that you can filter the signals and communications that are being received based on signal strength. One major upside to this is being able to block out any unwanted background noise when you are trying to communicate with someone nearby.
Using this over using the squelch controls means that you can extend the distance which can be received.
Bluetooth and Connectivity
Not a hugely common feature on CBs is Bluetooth, although it is starting to crop up more and gain traction and is of benefit.
When you’re driving you to want minimal distraction and trying to use your cell phone to send a text is a huge distraction. Having Bluetooth on your CB radio can make all of that go away. Truckers will be able to focus on the road and send texts totally hands-free. With no need to even look at your phone.
For trucker drivers behind a wheel a lot of time, this can be a real safety bonus.
What is the most powerful CB radio?
If you are after a powerful CB radio then you ought to be looking for one with SSB mode. These will travel the best and greatest distance.
Generally, a CB radio for truckers should have the ability to be used over long distances. A CB with SSB mode gives you 12 watts of power. When compared to a standard CB, this is 3 times greater.
What this means is that your CB should provide you with a range of between 15 and 30 miles. Not only that the amount of noise interference should be reduced.
So as a rule, you gain more power by acquiring a CB with SSB mode and potentially more channels, for drivers this could be very useful.
Do truckers still use CB radios 2021?
They sure do!
CB radios have been with truckers for decades. For a lot of truckers, these radios are like old friends and old friends can be difficult to give up, right?
However, it’s not just a case of drivers being attached to CB radios – they do actually serve a very good purpose.
For truckers who spend a long time out on the road, CB radios can be a way to break up the solitude that comes with driving. Getting to know other truckers and staying in touch can be nice to do.
Features such as PA functions are necessary at times and you don’t really get that on cell phones. Nor do you get access to emergency channel 19, which can keep you up to date with what is going on around you.
So for the time being, it appears that cell phones have some way to go before they gain the absolute love of truck drivers and CB radios are here to stay.