Citizens Band Radio Service or CB radio as it is more commonly called is a type of local radio system designed for short-range communications.CB radios are commonly used by truckers, police, emergency workers and so on. There are several types of CB radios by various brands. To help you find some of the best CB radios for beginners, we have reviewed some of the best options on the market below.
1. Uniden PRO520XL Pro Series 40-Channel CB Radio
2. Uniden BEARCAT 980 40- Channel SSB CB Radio with Sideband NOAA WeatherBand
3. Cobra 29Lx Professional CB Radio - NOAA Weather Channels and Emergency Alert System
4. Uniden PC78LTX 40-Channel Trucker's CB Radio with Integrated SWR Meter
5. Cobra 29 LX MAX Smart Full Featured Professional Cb Radio, Bluetooth Legal Hands Free
6. Galaxy DX-959B Mobile CB Radio with Blue Frequency
7. Uniden PRO401HH Professional Series 40 Channel Handheld CB Radio
8. Cobra 29LTD Professional CB Radio - Instant Channel 9, 4 Watt Output
9. Stryker SR-955hpc 10 Meter Amateur Radio
10. Uniden UM435 Advanced Fixed Mount Vhf Marine Radio
Buying Guide For CB Radios For Beginners
Types of CB Radios: There are four major types of CB radios on the market. They include:
- Mobile CB Radio: This is the type of CB radio that is most commonly used in vehicles. A mobile CB radio is essentially a small box with controls and amic attached to it. It is usually mounted on the dashboard or the floor of a vehicle.
- All in Handset CB Radio: They are quite similar to the mobile radio unit. The basic difference, however, is that all-in handset CB radios have all the dials and controls built into the handset. This makes seamless control with just one hand easy. Most truckers find this type of unit a lot more convenient to use while driving. It is also quite easy to install.
- Handheld CB Radio: As the name implies, handheld CB radios are walkie-talkie style units. They are best suited for those who need a radio to carry with them while walking although they may be used in vehicles as well. They are commonly powered by batteries and some of them are rechargeable.
- Base Station CB Radio: These types of CB radios can be connected directly to 110V power outlets. Hence the are more suited for indoor use at base stations or home. Some of the best CB radios for home are base station types.
CB Radio Features:
- Squelch Control: This is a standard feature on almost all CB radio units although performance may vary from one unit to the other. The Squelch control is designed to set the break-point of the radio’s output. Its purpose is to ensure that the radio speaker only activates when a transmission is on. This way the operator does not have to listen to static when the radio is not receiving a signal.
- RF Gain: The RF gain is another standard feature on most CB radios. It helps to filter transmission received from the radio based on the strength of the signal. This ensures that only the strongest signal is received. The RF gain also helps to eliminate background noise to ensure clarity.
- PA Capability: With a PA horn, a CB radio with PA capability will be able to connect to a microphone and work as a transmitter for a public address system.
- Weather Capabilities: If you intend to monitor the weather with your radio then this is a major feature to look out for. CB radios with this capability can connect with local NOAA channels to access weather reports. Some units may even alarms for emergency weather updates.
- Single Side Band (SSB) – What is it? While most regular CB radios transmit at a maximum of 4 watts, radios with SSB capabilities transmit at three times the capability (12 watts). This extends the range of transmission and reception of the radio by a wide margin. It is an ideal feature if you are fitting several vehicles with CB radios and you intend to have them communicate over a long-range distance.
- Nightwatch and/or Backlit Displays: most of the best CB radios for beginners and experts alike now feature backlit display. This ensures convenient operation of the unit when it’s dark. Truckers who need to use their unit both night and day will find this feature to be quite useful.
- Automatic Noise Limited (ANL): this feature helps to limit interference in transmission. It filters static, reduces engine noise and other forms of interference to improve signal quality.
We have reviewed some of the best CB radios for beginners on the market. Any of these units will work well. However, which one to go for depends largely on your purpose for making a purchase. We recommend the Stryker SR-955hpc if you are willing to spend a bit more on a quality unit. But if you want a cheaper but equally powerful unit then you should go for the Cobra 29LTD. The Cobra 29Lx is also a good option if you tracking the weather is one of your reasons for buying a CB unit.