As time goes by, innovations tend to overshadow the old,, and many people wrongly believe that to be the case with the best handheld CB radio. Since we now have smartphones, a lot of people assume that CB communication has fallen by the wayside, but that’s far from the truth.
CB radios provide people with a convenient way to communicate through signal reception if they are within short to medium range, and their compact form is ideal for installation and mounting in vehicles. With 40 CB channels, a CB radio can be used to interact with people on the same frequency as you.
Finally, talking on a cellphone or other mobile devices whileon the road can get you ticketed, whereas a CB radio product (CBs) is not covered by the ban on mobile phones/devices. However, plenty of awesome CB radios tend to be bulky. This is where handheld CB radios come into the picture as ideal devices, as they are a lot more portable.
Unfortunately, it’s usually hard to find the right handheld radio since there are so many radios available. So today, we’ll be reviewing some of the most popular handheld CB radios on the market.
In our guide reviews for these handheld CB radios, we’ll go over important specifications before giving you an overview each popular model’s performance before you consider to buy (it’s easy on Amazon). Once each handheld CB radio is reviewed, we’ll go over our buying advice for the most important features in a worthy radio.
The Best Handheld CB Radios Reviews & Comparison
1. Midland 75-822 Handheld 40-Channel CB Radio
- Access to 40 channels and 10 NOAA weather channels
- Maximum of 4 watts
- Battery pack or adapter for power
- The dual band function can watch 2 channels
- Great features, including an automatic noise limiter (ANL)
- Features several quick function switches
- Squelch control
- Backlit display is bright
- Comes with a belt clip and a mic hanger included to hang the radio or the mic
First in the list of our reviews is the Midland 75-822 handheld CB radio. While this handheld radio may not have lots of unique features like in the more extravagant models (like Uniden), this radio still has everything you need. The belt clip and mic hanger are also included in the box.
Like with many other CB radios, this radio covers the entirety of the CB band—all 40 channels. This radio Midland produced can receive broadcasts from the 10 NOAA weather channels, allowing users to get lots of critical weather updates as well as nine other ones. Access to NOAA channels is crucial if you want weather news.
As for power sources, this mobile CB radio can use a battery pack (six AA batteries) so that you can get the most out of the radio on the go. However, if you plan on using this radio for longer, you can hook the handheld radio up to an adapter that plugs into the cigarette-lighter port of your vehicle. Either way, the battery life is decent.
There are several knobs on this mobile CB radio for certain instant channel source and functions. The first of these is instant access to both ch. 9 and ch. 19 from the NOAA weather channels, which gives you critical weather updates and alerts. You can find the squelch control knob as well. The compact display is lit well and offers easy notification reading.
The dual watch feature on the 75-822 handheld CB radio allows you to keep an eye on emergency channel 9 for emergency updates while on your preferred frequency. The dual watch feature helps ensure that truckers and people on the road don’t get caught in foul weather like torrential downpours.
The automatic noise limiter feature or ANL in this CB radio ensures that there isn’t too much static or background noise when receiving a message on the radio.
If you have problems with this product, you get a year of warranty when you buy it. One of our only concerns with this great radio is that the antenna is insufficient for long range use, so you may want an external antenna (you can get a better antenna on Amazon). Take a peek of our full review of this product.
2. Cobra HHRT50 40-Channel CB Radio With Magnet Mount Antenna
- CB radio can get connected to all 40 CB and 10 NOAA weather channels
- The sound tracker helps cut down on noise by up to 90%
- You can monitor up to 3 N.O.A.A. simultaneously in this radio
- Features two-channel monitoring
- CB Radio comes with a high-efficiency magnetic mount antenna included for fast installation
- Has a good range of up to four miles
- With signal strength SWR meter and magnetic base
- Belt clip is included
The next radio we’re looking at is another quality mid-range CB radio, but this handheld one is made by Cobra (a popular brand like Uniden). Despite only being slightly more expensive, this radio comes included with the best extras and helpful features that make it trouble-free to use.
Since these benefits help make this Cobra CB radio in its user-friendliness, we’d recommend it for any newbies who want to get into the handheld CB radio hobby. For example, this radio comes included with an external antenna with a magnetic backing for your vehicle that connects to it through a coax cable.
The provided external antenna helps quickly boost the range of this radio far. Another attribute that this CB radio does best is the sound tracking that diminishes noise when you are transmitting through the microphone.
As with many other handheld CB radios users can find on the market, this radio supports all 40 channels on the band, but it also has access to the ten NOAA channels. This will allow you to monitor crucial NOAA weather updates, and you can even tune into the emergency channel as in other radios.
If there’s an ongoing emergency, this handheld CB radio sets out a tone that informs you if any hazards are developing around you. This system monitors three channels at once for weather patterns, making it more efficient than the dual monitoring system. Great for truckers and people constantly on the road.
However, you can also use the dual watch function on HHRT-50 cb radio to keep track of and switch between two channels at the same time. Unlike the above mobile product, one of the channels isn’t locked on the critical broadcasts, and you can pick which are being tracked by the handheld radio.
This quality handheld CB radio also offers a charging port that allows you to recharge NiMH AAs without having to take them out of the unit. It has line in and lines out ports so that you can use a separate microphone or headset with it, and you can even plug in a speaker so that you can get messages more clearly while on communication. Lastly, this radio has a sturdy base that keeps it secured.
3. Midland 75-785 Handheld 40-Channel CB Radio
- Maximum allowed 4W output power
- AA battery pack or a car adapter
- Features automatic filtering that keeps noise at a minimum
- Comes with a one-year manufacturer’s assurance
- Includes a CB accessory jack for loudspeakers or headset microphones
- LED display
- Squelch control
For truckers who want a mobile radio that’s more affordable yet still comes with the best functions, radios like this handheld CB radio from Midland are the greatest choices. Available for about half the price of the other two best radios we’ve looked at, the Midland 75-785 radio is surprisingly one of the best and most reliable in its price range, which is rare for cheap CB radios.
We’ve covered more on this review.
When it comes to the field of CB radio, Midland is one of the top brands (it’s up there with Uniden). Users can expect the build quality that Midland offers. Like most handheld CB radios, this radio can operate on all 40 channels in the band, though it can’t pick up NOAA weather channels.
This radio is also designed to be as durable as possible so you won’t have to worry about taking it out of the truck or car.
Despite its low price point, this CB radio has a 4-watt output, which is the legally mandated limit in these radio devices. While it is limited in 4 watts, this CB radio can acquire transmissions with 7 watts of input power. There are a few other stuff that you wouldn’t expect to see in such an affordable radio, like the PLL instant channel selection feature.
You also have a few different great options when it comes to powering the 75-785 radio, ranging from battery (nine AA batteries) to using your car’s lighter. You can also use the nickel-cadmium type of battery with it, and they can be charged through the port on the side of the device.
This Midland CB model also comes with jacks that you can connect speakers and microphones to so that you can transmit with superior quality. It even features an automatic noise limiter that lessens audio artifacts that could make reception less clear when talking on the microphone. It’s great for truckers and those always on the road.
The simple exterior of the Midland radio doesn’t feature a wide array of buttons, as with other best competing models. The quality LED screen is easy to read and use. Keep in mind that the mounted antenna is not as impressive as we would have hoped, so you will need to buy and use a new external antenna.
4. Cobra C75WXST Handheld CB Radio
- Remote mounting
- Features a sound tracker system to increase clarity by up to 90%
- Backlit LCD display screen that can be seen in the dark
- Hotkey to emergency channels 9 and 19
- Ergonomic design makes it more comfortable to hold
- Good microphone
While this Cobra CB radio may not be a purely handheld radio, it features a remote design that doesn’t have any controls on the product itself. Since there is a separate unit, this CB will have to be used in a vehicle, and it’s less portable than some of the other top models on this review.
We consider this a handheld CB radio device from Cobra since it is still entirely usable with one hand, provided you are sitting. The unit itself has two rotating dials to for volume and squelch control, and it has a full range of control as well which makes it easy to manage everything from the memory to the channel scan feature.
Some hotkeys allow you to switch to a different channel in an instant, including channel 9 for emergency broadcasts. The audio tracking that’s featured in this CB radio also cuts down on static noise that can ruin information exchanges during communication.
This is among the best compact CB radios, which makes it easy to use in smaller vehicles where you may not have enough space. It’s meant to be installed under the dashboard of your car, and it has a low profile that shouldn’t get in the way.
The LCD on this CB radio features backlighting. With 4 watts, this means it is just as powerful as every other one on our list, as that’s the legal boundary of their power.
While it may sound like this radio is challenging to install, this includes some brackets that make it simpler to attach to the interior of your vehicle.
Unfortunately, we ran into a few issues while we were using this Cobra radio model. The main problem is that it isn’t a true handheld set, meaning that it’s much less portable than other products.
See our Cobra 75 WX ST review for more info about this model.
5. Cobra HH 38 WX ST Handheld 40-Channel CB Radio
- 40 CB channels, including NOAA weather channels
- Channel Scanning allows users to discover multiple at once
- Lets you keep an eye on two channels at a time
- 4W output power
- Soundtracker keeps the audio as clear as possible
- Comes with a belt clip and great mic/microphone
The final CB that we’re going to review is the Cobra HH 38 WX ST from Cobra, which many customers see as the little sibling to the popular HH Road Trip. Unlike the other CB radios on this list, this one is better suited to use outside of your vehicle because of its shorter range.
However, there are many features that help make this more user-friendly than many other products. Like many other CBs, this one can get broadcasts from the NOAA, and it can also scan and get signals from the crucial emergency channel.
As for CB, this covers the whole band, capable of transmitting on all 40 channels. Like you would anticipate from most CB radios, this one features a 4-watt power output, limited by the FCC. The power source for this top CB radio (handheld) is a battery pack (nine AA batteries), which may seem a bit excessive, but the battery life lasts long before used up.
The model’s reliability help make it an excellent choice for emergency use, so if you’re ever stranded by the road, it can help you get rescued sooner. We’d highly suggest using a new external antenna if you are planning on using this CB radio in your vehicle, however.
The dual watch feature in this radio allows you to watch two channels at the same time. There is even a good soundtrack system that reduces the amount of background noise. It also includes a belt clip that makes it easy to carry even in rugged conditions, while finding signal reception with the technology it can give. It’s simpler to see the signal strength as well, thanks to its built-in SWR meter.
Unfortunately, the antenna that is built into this handheld CB radio is even worse than on top competing ones, making an external antenna necessary in nearly all cases. Another issue is that it has a higher price than many of the other CB radios on this list.
Best Handheld CB Radios Buying Advice
The size of your CB (handheld) radio is the first thing that you’re going to want to consider when looking to buy the right one, as that will quickly determine how portable it is for use as mobile CB. You can bring a smaller one nearly anywhere, and even if you have a compact car, you’ll likely be able to fit it in the glove box or center console without a problem.
However, bigger handheld models can hold more power source and equipped with huge antennas for substantial range.
The next thing is the power source that it needs to work, as that will determine how easy it is and how long it lasts when used. Many will use batteries for on-the-go use (mobile use). This allows you to have a battery backup as well.
On the other hand, other CB or Ham radios will come with an adapter that you can use to connect them to the lighter socket in your vehicle, and some may even be through USB. While these power sources trade portability for longevity, many of them can be powered by either batteries or a cable. Other advanced radios need larger power sources though, like some 10 meter radio models.
The antenna that is attached to your CB radio will determine how far its range can go before you have to augment its capabilities. The majority of handheld CB radios sacrifice a powerful antenna for superior transportability, as that’s one of the main advantages of the handheld build factor.
However, if the radio is made for vehicular use, then it may have an antenna to be set up to the exterior of your car and truck. If you need a long range, you have to purchase the external antenna kit separately.
Alternatively, you can also check these long range CB models.
A built-in speaker in a radio can help improve the clearness of others’ transmissions, and it may simply be louder, making it easy to listen to what they say. Many handheld CB radios will feature compact speakers, though they also often feature line out ports that you can use to connect more powerful ones.
Finally, take a look at the guarantee agreement that comes included with your handheld and portable CB radio, as that can determine whether the product lasts you for six months time or six full years. The ideal CB radios will come with a manufacturer assurance that guarantees their build quality that will withstand most conditions.
While many handheld CB radios on the market (browse Amazon) may seem similar, there are often small but important details that distinguish good CB radios from one another. From options with built-in SWR meter to ones that you need to separately buy an SWR meter for or units with a backlit display, there are a lot of CB radios to choose from. We hope that we were able to share the most crucial ones in this list to guide you for your next buy, even if the reviews do not offer Uniden radios, a popular brand with good built-in technology like the ANL switch.
If you are looking to stay in touch with other people on the CB while remaining portable and mobile, these reviews of the best handheld CB radios are your topmost option. We’ll keep this list updated with equipment that will help drivers on the road to scan for CB radios for communication and also, channel scanning for cases of emergencies.