As time goes by, innovations tend to overshadow the old, and they fall out of favor, and many people wrongly believe that to be the case with the best handheld CB radio. Since we now have mini-computers in our pockets (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, which would otherwise require a crowded conference call to accomplish.
Finally, talking on a cell phone or other mobile devices while you drive can get you ticketed, whereas a CB radio (CBs) is not covered by the ban on mobile phones/devices. However, plenty of awesome CB radios tend to be bulky and cumbersome. This is where handheld CB radios come into the picture as ideal devices, as they are a lot more portable, and you can even use them outside of your vehicle.
Unfortunately, it is usually hard to find the right handheld radio since there are so many of them available. We’ve decided to take matters into our own hands and make it uncomplicated for anyone. Today, we’ll be reviewing some of the most popular handheld CB radios on the market.
In our guide reviews for these best handheld CB radios, we’ll go over important specifications and information before giving you an overview of what to expect from each popular model’s performance before you consider to buy (it’s easy on Amazon). Once we’re done reviewing each handheld CB radio, we’ll go over our buying advice, in which we discuss some of the most important features to look for in a worthy radio.
The Best Handheld CB Radios Reviews & Comparison
1. Midland 75-822 Handheld 40-Channel CB Radio
- With all 40 CB channels and 10 NOAA weather channels
- Maximum of 4 watts
- Can be energized by battery pack or adaptor
- The dual band function can watch 2 channels in one go
- Has great features, including an automatic noise limiter (ANL) for better clarity
- Features several quick function switches
- This handheld radio has squelch control
- Backlit display is bright which makes it easy to read the menu
- Comes with a belt clip and a mic hanger included to hang the radio or the mic alone
First in the list of our reviews, the Midland 75-822 is a mid-range handheld CB radio that is the baseline of what we would predict from a good communication radio in its category. While this handheld radio may not come with lots of unique features that you can anticipate to see in some of the more extravagant models, it still a radio that 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 also receive broadcasts from the 10 NOAA weather channels, allowing users to get lots of critical weather updates as well as nine other ones providing all kinds of basic forecasts.
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 an extended period, 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 the face of this Midland mobile CB radio that allow users to discover certain instant channel source and functions. The first of these (and perhaps the most useful ones) is instant access to both ch. 9 and ch. 19 from the NOAA weather, which gives you critical updates and alerts, respectively. You can also find the squelch control knob. While the display is small and compact, it is well-lit that offers easy reading of the menu and notifications.
The dual watch feature on the Midland 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 band feature helps ensure that you don’t get caught in foul weather like torrential downpours, or sometimes worse.
The inclusion of an automatic noise limiter or ANL in this CB radio ensures that there isn’t too much static or background noise when you are receiving a message or information on the radio. This is also rather well-made when you consider that it is priced similarly to other mid-range CB radios in the market.
If you end up having any problems with this product as a result of a manufacturer defect, you get a year of warranty when you buy it that will allow you to get it repaired or replaced. One of our only concerns with this great radio is that the antenna is insufficient for long-range use, nearly necessitating an external antenna (you can get better ones on Amazon). Take a peek of our full review of this product: https://ratedradardetector.org/radio/cb/midland-75-822-review/.
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
- Has two-channel monitoring for other ones
- 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 than the preceding one, this radio comes included with the best extras and it can provide some helpful qualities that make it trouble-free to use.
Since these benefits help makes this Cobra CB radio in its user-friendliness, we’d recommend it for any newbies looking to get into the handheld CB radio hobby. For example, this radio also comes included with an external antenna with a magnetic backing for your vehicle that connects to it through a coax cable. It offers a well-lit display as well that is easy to read and gives great data even in terrible lighting conditions.
The provided antenna helps quickly boost the range of this radio far further than it would be able to go otherwise, and the cable is long enough. Another attribute that this CB radio does best is the sound tracking that diminishes noise when you are transmitting communication through the microphone.
As with many other best 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 ones that contain the weather broadcasts. This will allow you to monitor crucial weather updates, and you can even tune into the emergency channel to catch any that are currently developing.
If there is an ongoing emergency that you need to be notified about, this best handheld CB radio sets out a tone that informs you if any hazards are developing around you. This system monitors three channels at once to let you know about these weather patterns, making it more efficient than the dual monitoring.
However, you can also use the dual band function on this CB radio to keep track of and switch between two channels at the same time. Unlike the above product, one of the channels isn’t locked on the critical broadcasts, and you can pick which two are being tracked by the handheld radio.
This quality handheld CB radio also has a charging port that allows you to recharge NiMH AAs without having to take them out of the unit. It also 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 loudspeakers so that you can get messages more clearly while on communication. Lastly, this radio has a sturdy base that keeps it secured where you place it.
3. Midland 75-785 Handheld 40-Channel CB Radio
- Maximum allowed 4W output power
- Can be fueled by AA battery pack or a car adapter
- With a charging port to be used for recharging
- Has automatic filtering that keeps noise at a minimum
- Comes with a one-year manufacturer’s assurance included
- With a CB accessory jack for loudspeakers or headset microphones
- LED display
- Squelch control
For customers that want a radio that’s a little more affordable yet still comes with the best functions, radios like this best 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 so far, the Midland 75-785 radio is surprisingly one of the best and most reliable in its price range, which is rare for cheap radios. We’ve covered more on this article.
When it comes to the field of CB radio, Midland it one of the top brands. Since this model is made in the USA, users can expect the build quality that Midland is known for, and we were impressed by how affordable it is. Like most handheld CB radios, this radio can operate on all 40 channels in the band, though it can’t pick up NOAA 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. The housing is made out of durable plastic, and it can withstand falls and vibration without taking any long-term damage.
Despite its low price point, the Midland 75-785 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 function.
You also have a few different great options when it comes to powering the Midland 75-785 radio, ranging from battery (nine AA batteries) to using your car’s lighter if you don’t feel like wasting them. 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.
As with the previous product, this Midland CB model also comes with jacks that you can connect speakers and microphones to so that you can transmit or communicate with superior quality. It even features an automatic noise limiter that lessens audio artifacts that could make reception less clear when you are talking on the microphone.
The simple exterior of the Midland 75-785 radio doesn’t feature a wide array of buttons, as with other best competing models, but it keeps it less complicated to use for beginners. 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 to get the best performance out of this radio.
4. Cobra C75WXST Handheld CB Radio
- With remote mounting
- With a sound tracker system to increase clarity by up to 90%
- With a backlit LCD display screen that can be seen in the dark
- Hotkey to emergency channels 9 and knowledge channel 19
- The 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.
That being said, we consider this a handheld CB radio device from Cobra since it is still entirely usable with one hand, provided you are sitting while in communication. The unit itself has two rotating dials to for volume and squelch control, and it has a full range of control as well to manage everything from the memory to the channel scanning function.
Some hotkeys allow you to rapidly switch to a different channel in an instant, including channel 9, which contains emergency broadcasts, and channel 19, an info channel. The audio tracking that’s featured in this CB radio also cuts down on static noise that can ruin information exchanges during communication.
Since this radio is relatively compact, you can use it in smaller vehicles where you may not have enough space for another kind of CB. 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 of your legs while on a trip.
The LCD on this best handheld CB radio features backlighting, which means that you can use it in the night when you don’t have an external light source. 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 comes with some brackets that make it simpler to attach to the interior of your vehicle. No need to buy new ones. All of the controls on the handset are within reach if you’re using it one-handed, though they’re small enough to present an issue if you have larger fingers.
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. The LCD lacks backlighting of any sort as well, which makes it much harder to use.
See our Cobra 75 WX ST review for more info about this model.
5. Cobra HH 38 WX ST Handheld 40-Channel CB Radio
- Contact to all 40 CB, including NOAA channels
- Channel Scanning allows users to discover multiple at once
- Lets you keep an eye on two channels at a time
- With an output power of 4W
- The 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 HH 38 WX ST from Cobra, which many customers see as the little sibling to the popular HH Road Trip that we discussed earlier. Unlike the other CB radios on this list, this one is better suited to use outside of your vehicle because of its shorter range that can work amazingly.
However, there are still many features that help make this more user-friendly than many other products that are similarly priced. 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 CB radio (handheld) is a battery pack (nine AA batteries), which may seem a bit excessive, but the battery life lasts relatively long.
The long battery life combined with this model’s reliability help make it an excellent choice for emergency use, so if you’re ever stranded by the roadside, 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.
An impressive feature is the ability to find all 40 channels at once so that you can see which of them are active and which aren’t. While the button layout is relatively simple and there aren’t too many of them, that makes them trouble-free to learn, and you will have them memorized in no time.
The dual band feature in this radio allows you to watch two channels at the same time, which is perfect for busy areas where you want to know what’s happening on various frequencies. There is even a soundtrack system that reduces the amount of background noise. It also comes with 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 this is more pricey than many of the other radios on this list.
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 small car, you’ll likely be able to fit it in the glove box or center console without a problem.
However, bigger handheld models have a few advantages, which includes the ability to hold more power source, which will make them last longer. Some of them will also come equipped with huge antennas that can provide them with a more substantial range before requiring an external one.
The next thing that you should account for in your handheld CB radio is the power source that it needs to work, as that will determine how easy or convenient it is and how long it lasts. Many will use batteries, as that will allow you to take them out and use them on the go (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 battery packs or a cable.
The antenna that is attached to your CB radio will determine how far it 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 come with an antenna to be set up to the exterior of your car and truck. If you wish to improve and get a long range for any other model, you are going to have to purchase the external kit separately.
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 have to say. Many handheld CB radios will feature small, tinny speakers, though they also often feature line out ports that you can use to connect more powerful ones.
With these ports, you can even plug headphones to your CB radio to pick up things with superior clarity, though we strongly advise against using them while you drive or on a road trip. Other than that, volume, speaker and whether you’ll be able to hear them during normal use.
Finally, take a look at the guarantee agreement that comes included with your handheld and portable CB radio, as that can determine whether it lasts you for six months or six full years. The ideal models will come with a manufacturer assurance that guarantees their build quality that will withstand most conditions, even rugged ones. This will also demonstrate that the manufacturer has faith in its product.
While many best handheld CB radios on the market (browse Amazon) may seem similar, there are often small but important details that distinguish 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 in scanning for several CB radios for communication and also, channel scanning for cases of emergencies.