CB Radio Buying Guide

The cb radio has been an effective means of communication for many years. The standard radios from our childhood are still around, but with much improvement. Manufacturers of cb radios are no different than others in today's high-tech world. However, they have managed to keep the product as close as they can to the original but with added features.

CB Radio Variations and Features

Mobile CB Radio

The mobile cb radio is the most common. It is installed over or under the dash or mounted on the floor.


With the all-in-handset, the controls are built in to the microphone assembly. These handsets are perfect for smaller vehicles or in situations where mounting a larger radio would be difficult.

Handheld CB Radio

The handheld radio is an excellent choice for buyers who will be using it outside of the vehicle frequently.

Base Station CB Radio

The base station cb radio has the ability to be plugged in, and its purpose is usually best served at home or in an office.

Single Side Band (SIB)

While most cb radios are 4 watt, the SIB is a 12 watt radio. This increases the transmission range by 3x. The SIB feature can only be used with other SIB users, but it can be used to interact with 4 watt users.

PA Capability

This feature allows the radio to be used as a public announcement or PA system. Radios with this capability usually require an external speaker to be purchased separately.

Antenna Warning Indicator

An automatic instant alert appears with this feature when there is a problem with SWR or if the user is close to burning up the transceiver.

Standing Wave Radio (SWR)

This is a calibration meter allowing the user to see the adjustment of calibration for best reception.

Automatic Noise Limiter (ANL)

This feature improves sound quality by filtering out static, engine noise, or other interference.

Weather Capabilities

This feature allows access to local NOAA stations and the ability to receive real time weather reports.

Instant Channel 9 and 19

This allows the user the ability to quickly access two of the more popular channels. Channel 9 is emergency, and 19 is for highway or traffic.

Nightwatch or Backlit Display

A must have feature for users who intend to use their radio at night.

Channel Scanning

This allows the ability to scan channels until activity is found.

RF Gain

RF Gain allows users to filter transmissions received based on signal strength. It's also used to adjust background noise.


This is a feature that allows users to monitor two channels at the same time.

Tactile Controls

A safety feature, tactile controls allow users to feel the settings without having to look at the radio.

Before Purchasing Pay Close Attention to the Following


There are many available, buyers should be certain to research all that are available and find what would be most useful for everyday use. For example, backlit displays are a must for using your radio at night. If you are interested in your radio having newer technology, check for Wifi or Bluetooth capabilities. Although some features such as NOAA, channel surfing, and RF Gain are quickly becoming standard on cb radios, you may want to check before purchasing and make sure.


Buyers should know where the radio will be used the most, and make certain it will properly mount without limiting use. Larger radios can cut into leg room in smaller vehicles.


Buyers should be aware of accessories that may be needed before purchase. Some cb radios on the market require an additional antennae.


Before purchase, buyers should consider the environment the radio will be used in. For example, construction sites may use a standard radio with limited features but is built to withstand a harsh environment.

Handheld or Mount

A must before buying, the most common use of the radio should be considered. Many handhelds have the capability of being mounted and easily removed.

Top Brands and Product Lines

Cobra 75 WX ST

Cobra is without a doubt the most recognized name in cb radios. This handheld has the components built into the microphone and includes: weather capabilities, channel scanning, and a backlit display.

Uniden Pro 510 XL

This radio is ideal for construction companies due to its heavy duty build. It features basic operations, but will endure harsh wear and tear. It also includes ANL and RF meter and LED indicators to monitor activity.

Midland 75-822

This radio transforms from portable to long range making it popular for workers who need to use it often in and out of the vehicle. Features include ANL, weather capabilities, and dualwatch for channel 9 and one other channel.

Cobra 29LXBT

This higher end cb radio features bluetooth wireless technology. It also includes Nightwatch, channel scanning, and weather capabilities.

Galaxy DX 2547 AM/SSB Base Station

This base station radio has many features including: SSB, SWR meter, and RF Gain.