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.
Table of Contents
- Best Long Range CB Radios Reviews
- Long Range CB Radio Buying Guide
- Our Top Pick: Uniden BEARCAT 980 CB Radio
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The SSB (single side band)  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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.