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What is the Best Long Range CB Radio?

silhouette of a man driving a truck

A lot of factors are involved in the range of a CB radio. If you aren’t looking to add any fancy additions and just want a good and reliable CB radio, we have found 3 of the best on the market in terms of range and functions.

Best for the Price
Uniden PRO520XL Pro Series 40-Channel CB Radio
Best Overall
Uniden BEARCAT 980 CB Radio
Best Premium
Cobra 29 LX Max Smart Full-Featured Professional CB Radio
Uniden PRO520XL Pro Series 40-Channel CB Radio
Uniden BEARCAT 980 CB Radio
Cobra 29 LX Max Smart Full-Featured Professional CB Radio
This CB radio also has the full transmittable power of 4 watts and tuned with the proper antenna for an even longer range. Aside from that, the price is also very attractive barely broaching halfway to three figures.
The BEARCAT 980 gives you a decent range for a CB radio with 4 watts of transmittable power. You are looking at 40 channels with a connection to NOAA weather channels as well.
If you are looking for a CB radio that is so feature-packed it’s almost a smart device, then look no further with the Cobra 29 LX Max. With iRadar and Bluetooth built-in, this CB radio can handle all your needs.
Best for the Price
Uniden PRO520XL Pro Series 40-Channel CB Radio
Uniden PRO520XL Pro Series 40-Channel CB Radio
This CB radio also has the full transmittable power of 4 watts and tuned with the proper antenna for an even longer range. Aside from that, the price is also very attractive barely broaching halfway to three figures.
Best Overall
Uniden BEARCAT 980 CB Radio
Uniden BEARCAT 980 CB Radio
The BEARCAT 980 gives you a decent range for a CB radio with 4 watts of transmittable power. You are looking at 40 channels with a connection to NOAA weather channels as well.
Best Premium
Cobra 29 LX Max Smart Full-Featured Professional CB Radio
Cobra 29 LX Max Smart Full-Featured Professional CB Radio
If you are looking for a CB radio that is so feature-packed it’s almost a smart device, then look no further with the Cobra 29 LX Max. With iRadar and Bluetooth built-in, this CB radio can handle all your needs.

Best Long Range CB Radios Reviews

1. Uniden BEARCAT 980 CB Radio

With the SSB feature enabled, the Uniden Bearcat 980 is able to have a far wider reach than many other CB radios. It’s easy to install in your vehicle and allows you to stay connected on the road.

What’s important on a small compact CB radio is to have a large and easy-to-read display. This will allow you to read the data displayed on the screen without having to take your eyes off the road for too long.

To make things even easier for you, the Uniden Bearcat 980 has 7 customizable colors in terms of backlighting for any condition.

The Bearcat 980’s new noise cancelling microphone also makes your transmissions clearer than ever before.

Pros

  • Compact size
  • Easy-to-read display
  • Easy installation
  • 40 channels
  • 7 color display
  • Noise cancelling microphone
  • Wireless microphone compatible
  • Long range SSB enabled
  • Connects to NOAA channels

Cons

  • Bright light can make the screen harder to read

2. Uniden PRO520XL Pro Series 40-Channel CB Radio

It might not look like much, but this Uniden CB radio is packed with a lot of capabilities. 

You get a long range with the full 4 watts of transmit power in this 40-channel CB radio. It’s built to be extra tough and comes with a longer coiled cord for easier use.

With this CB radio you also get the basics such as RF gain, emergency channels, indicator lights for low lighting conditions, an ANL (automatic noise limiter switch), large control knobs, squelch and more.

It’s a very compact radio which makes it compatible with many vehicles.

The built-in speaker jack allows you to connect to an external speaker for public address functions. With noise control capabilities built in, you know you will only send and receive crystal clear sound.

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Large knobs
  • Easy to control
  • External speaker jack for PA
  • ANL
  • Indicator lights
  • RF gain and squelch
  • Can connect to emergency channels
  • 40 channels
  • Long range
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • The color display isn’t customizable

3. Cobra 29 LX Max Smart Full-Featured Professional CB Radio

If you want a CB radio with the works, this is the best choice for you. 

The Cobra 29 LX Max has everything you would need including Bluetooth built in and the iRadar app. The app connects you to almost 1 million other users to send and receive live updates of occurrences on the road.

The Bluetooth can connect the device to your smartphone, which you can operate legally with your CB radio. If you by any chance miss a message, you can utilize the 10 sec rewind-and-say-again feature to replay the last 10 seconds.

Of course, it also comes with noise cancelling features and can connect to NOAA channels. It does have a customizable lighting display as well, but only in 4 colors.

Pros

  • Built-in Bluetooth
  • iRadar app
  • Use the CB with your smartphone
  • Rewind-and-say-again feature
  • Noise cancelling mic
  • NOAA weather channels
  • Customizable lighting
  • Long range
  • 40 CB channels
  • Instant channel 9

Cons

  • Only 4 lighting colors to choose from
  • Takes a lot of power

Long Range CB Radio Buying Guide

A CB radio has a passable range but if you want to extend the reach, there are certain features to look for and even some parts to add-on. Below are a few features that can help you widen the range of your CB radio.

Antenna

The antenna has a large role to play in terms of reach and reception. Take into the consideration the length, the material and the coil. 

A lot of users add a powerful antenna and mount to their CB radio to widen the reach. Not only will you get a bigger range, but a powerful antenna will have clearer reception as well.

SSB

The SSB (single side band) [1] is a powerful feature that increases your transmitting power from 4 to 12 watts! As you can imagine, the more power you have the farther the reach. 

However, one downside to having the SSB is that you need the receiver to also have SSB enabled on their CB radio as well.

Build

For any CB radio, not only long range ones, you need it to be well built and tough. Look at the materials used. If it’s built with flimsy materials, there is a good chance your long range CB radio won’t last as long as other models.

Microphone

The microphone is a crucial part of the CB radio in terms of transmission. A lot of users end up swapping out the factory mics for ones of better quality and with noise cancelling functions. 

A noise cancelling microphone will eliminate engine and static noise or anything you have in the background.

three friends having fun with radio

Noise Cancelling Features

Aside from a noise cancelling microphone, you need other noise cancelling features as well. Think about the RF gain and squelch control. 

Most CB radios come with squelch control, which can help you avoid listening to static while waiting to receive a transmission.

The squelch will activate the CB radio when a real transmission comes through. The RF gain will help you filter out the weaker signals and focus on stronger ones. It can also help strengthen weaker signals for you to hear them better.

We also have the ANL (automatic noise limiter), which will further help filter out background noise.

NOAA Channels

With a CB radio that can connect easily to weather channels such as the NOAA, you will always be aware of road conditions and weather updates in real-time.

Emergency Channels

Channel 9 is the standard emergency channel and channel 19 is reserved for highway transmissions and truckers. To have instant access to these channels will increase the convenience of your CB radio in emergencies.

Display

Last but not least, you need a backlit display for low-light conditions. The display should preferably be LCD with LED lights and large bold font to be read clearly. 

Sometimes you may even get the luxury of customizing the colored lighting.

blurred blue truck passing through another vehicle

FAQ

How far can a CB radio reach?

A CB radio can reach anywhere from 3-20 miles depending on the weather, line of sight and terrain.

How do I extend the reach of my CB radio?

You can extend the reach of your CB radio by purchasing one with SSB capabilities, which can increase transmission power from 4 watts to 12. Or you can purchase a more powerful antenna.

What is the most powerful handheld CB radio?

The most powerful handheld CB radio is the Midland 75-822. It is extremely versatile and comes with all the basic features as well plus a transmitting power that can be extended to 10 miles.

Our Top Pick: Uniden BEARCAT 980 CB Radio

In terms of price and features all in one, the Uniden Bearcat 980 takes the number one spot. 

It’s still in an affordable price range and comes with the coveted SSB enabled that provides you with even more transmitting power, and therefore a longer and further range.

It also comes with all the noise cancelling features as well as a customizable 7 color display for low light conditions and weatherband alerts.

William