Best CB Radio for Truckers 2022

Looking for the best CB radio for truckers?

The truth is, there are plenty of CB radios for truckers on the market. But, finding one that’s best for truck drivers can be a hassle! So, if you’re on the market for the best CB radio for truckers, we got your back. Below is a quick rundown of our best picks after many hours of testing them!

Top 3 CB Radios for Truckers Comparison Table

Editor’s Choice

Uniden BEARCAT 980 SSB

Best Premium

Cobra 29 LX MAX

Best Budget

Uniden PRO520XL Pro

  • Comes with a large and easy-to-operate 7- Color Digital Display.

  • One of the most powerful cb radios

  • Wireless microphone compatible for unrestricted movement in the truck.

  • Incredible additional CB features like the Patented Rewind-Say-Again, Bluetooth Connectivity, and iRadar® App.

  • 10  NOAA channels for timely weather and emergency alerts.

  • Backlit control functions for easy operation in all lighting conditions.

  • Offers remarkable features at an affordable price without compromising performance.

  • Convenient instant channel 9 for quick access with the push of a button.

  • Sturdy built for off-road use.

How We Chose the Best CB Radios for Truckers

So much came into play to determine the best radios for truckers. Overall, we considered what Truckers need in a cb radio. We then evaluated the right CB radios which can make their lives and jobs better while away from everyday life.

There’s no doubt that they can be lonely at times. To make matters worse, they risk their lives on the roads, especially due to unpleasant weather conditions and other road-related risks. And, many times, they drive through areas with poor cellular connectivity, affecting smooth communication.

So, we asked ourselves, how can we make truckers’ lives easier. We, therefore, considered the following features to pick radios above the average cb radio.

  • Channel coverage– instant access to emergency NOAA weather tracker channels can be a lif saver so it’s very important for truckers.
  • Single Sideband operation–SSB-equipped CB radios are more powerful and transmit long distances. This way, a trucker can communicate with other truckers far away.
  • Backlit display and control functions–the backlit feature makes it easy to operate the CB radio under all lighting conditions stress-free.
  • Crisp sound quality–noisy signals hinder effective communication, meaning it’s easy to miss out on important information. Thus, we considered noise and signal clarifier features like the Automatic noise limiter and the Hi-cut filter to eliminate background noise.
  • Affordability–we considered price in the interest of truckers on a budget. Nonetheless, our recommendations are based on quality and notch performance rather than a low price.
  • Integration with new technology–additional features like Bluetooth and smartphone integration make a CB radio more functional and irresistible. So, we assessed CB radios with this capability and settled on the best one for truckers.

Check This: The Most Powerful CB Radios

Top 7+1 CB Radios For Truckers

Undoubtedly, the citizens band radio service is an essential tool for truckers. That said, let’s take a deep dive into our top seven picks for the best CB radios for truckers.

1. Uniden BEARCAT 980 SSB: Editor’s Choice

Channels: 40 | Size: 7.25 in. x 7.5 in. x 2.25 in. | Frequency Range: CB: 26.965 – 27.405 MHz, WX: 162.400 – 162.550 MHz | Power Input: 13.8VDC | Output Power: AM: 4 watts; USB/LSB 12 W PEP SSB | Public address Output Power: 2.5 watts | Modulation: AM/USB/LSB

Pros

  • Designed for long drives.
  • Has a large and easy-to-read display.
  • 9 NOAA weather channels radio check for timely updates.
  • Notch signal clarity.
  • Compatible with a wireless microphone.

Cons

  • Sub-par performance in factory microphone.

It’s almost a decade since Uniden released the Bearcat 980 SSB radio. At that time, it had been a while since Uniden had released a new SSB radio. With the famous Uniden Grant radios going out around that time, the Bearcat 980 SSB provided a good replacement. 

The biggest difference between these two radios (or product lines) is that the Bearcat 980 takes on a modern outlook. It gets a large backlit display, backlit buttons, and a sleek design. 

Using newer technology has its benefits too and the Bearcat 980 SSB has better signal processing and value. Either way, both these radios are amongst the best CB radios ever made for consumer use.

Uniden Bearcat 980 SSB makes good use of its backlights and interface. There are seven options for backlight (and screen) color, with the option of choosing the intensity. Simple as this customization is, it goes a long way in creating a more comfortable cab. 

The fine/coarse knob doesn’t get a backlight but it does get a backlit label. I’m not sure why they went this route, but it seems like an oversight. Functionally, it’s not that big a deal, but it can feel odd.

All buttons on the radio have convenient backlights and also have an additional indicator light. This light comes up when the button function is active. For example, if you switch on talkback, a small light at the side of the button will let you know that it’s active.

Now that we’ve seen the interface, let’s take a look at other aspects of this CB radio. On the left side, right below the volume and squelch control knob, you’ll find the mic connector. This is a classic six-pin connector.

Although if you want to use a different mic, Uniden includes a converter cable in the box to allow the use of 4-pin microphones. And there’s a good chance you might need it.

Uniden’s factory-installed mic with this unit is a flashy, yet flimsy option. The company says the included mic has a feature to reduce background noise. Usually, that would be a great feature, but that’s not the case here. The mic has a built-in baffle (or screen, if you prefer that term) to handle the noise-canceling. 

Most people find this background noise canceling microphone underwhelming and notice that it lowers their transmitted voice. Several users prefer to remove the baffle, while many others replace the microphone entirely. Thankfully, this compact CB radio is compatible with several microphones, including wireless options.

Verdict

Uniden Bearcat 980 SSB is a solid radio that covers all the features necessary for a truck CB radio. It’s easy to use, the backlight is customizable, all functions are within reach, and voice quality is pretty good.

The biggest drawback of this SSB radio is its mic, which isn’t as good for quality or dependability. It might be better to replace this mic with a 4-pin, 6-pin, or wireless option.

Rating

  • Reliability: 9.7/10
  • Functionality: 9.7/10
  • Durability: 9.7/10
  • Range: 9.9/10
  • Extra features: 9/10
  • Value for money: 9.5/10
  • Overall rating: 9.6/10

Highlighted Features 

  • 7- Color Digital Display
  • Noise Canceling Mic
  • Wireless Mic Compatible
  • 6-pin to 4-pin microphone adapter
  • 9 NOAA channels radio check
  • Large digital S/RF / SWR meter
  • RF gain control
  • Automatic noise limiter

2. COBRA 29 LX MAX Smart Professional CB Radio: Best Premium

Channels: 40 | Size: 8-5/8” D x 7-9/32” W x 2-13/63” H | Frequency Range: CB 26.965-27.405 MHZ, WX-162.400-162.775 MHZ | Power Input: 13.2V DC | Output Power: 4 watts | Public address Output Power: 2.5 watts | Modulation: AM

Pros

  • Installation is straightforward and takes a maximum of one hour.
  • You can make calls or send messages hands-free.
  • Weather alert channel for timely emergency updates.
  • Backlit control panel for easy navigation.
  • Easy-to-read 4-Color LCD.

Cons

  • Talkback function volume is pretty low.

Cobra 29 LX MAX Smart Professional has good looks backed by impressive features. This radio has been around for a long time and earned its spot as one of the best CB radios.

It sports a large display similar to the Uniden Bearcat 980 SSB. However, Cobra 29 LX MAX has the display towards the top of the radio, flanked by buttons on either side. 

There are four color options for its display and backlight. Also, while the Uniden 980 SSB has several buttons for quick functions, Cobra 29 LX MAX uses fewer buttons and favors knobs and dials.

As with many CB radios, the knobs often have dual functions placed in inner and outer rings. Volume and squelch control share the same knob. A fine-tune option is available on the outer circle of the RF gain knob. Similar options are available with the Menu, Dynamike, and other knobs/dials.

But the biggest feature and what often tips the scales in favor of the Cobra 29 is the easy use of Bluetooth connectivity. When using Bluetooth, the radio can connect to a smartphone using the iRadar app. 

Once the phone and radio pair, users can make and receive calls through the CB radio. This makes for a legal way to make phone calls while on the road. Additionally, the app also supports reporting on-road hazards, speed traps, red-light cameras, and police alerts.

This reporting is crowdsourced from users of the iRadar app. So while useful, it may not always be effective.

Bluetooth on this radio allows the pairing of two smartphones to accommodate a team driver, if necessary.  Access to these features is easy since the Bluetooth button is right on the microphone.

Also on the microphone is the Rewind-Say-Again button, which lets you listen to the last 10 seconds of any missed message. The microphone includes a built-in noise-canceling system, but it’s nothing special. 

If dealing with background noise or engine noise is a priority, getting a new mic would be better. Additionally, the radio can receive NOAA weather channels and updates for quick weather information.

Verdict

Cobra 29 LX Max Smart Professional CB radio is the best fit for any truck driver looking for a premium CB radio. It has good voice clarity, is easy to use, and can work with external speakers without a problem. Features like a switchable noise blanker and heavy-duty microphone make it quite desirable.

It gets an edge over most CB radios with Bluetooth connectivity to cell phones. Being connected is convenient for hands-free cell phone use.

However, the stock microphone isn’t the best for sound quality. Yet, it is also the gatekeeper for features like Bluetooth. So, this radio isn’t the best choice if you want to use a different mic.

Rating

  • Reliability: 9.5/10
  • Functionality: 9.5/10
  • Durability: 9.5/10
  • Range: 10/10
  • Extra features: 9.1/10
  • Value for money: 9.4/ 10
  • Overall rating: 9.5/10

Highlighted Features 

  • 4-color LCD
  • 6 Pin Microphone Connector
  • Antenna Connector: UHF; SO-239
  • 10 Memory Channels
  • 10 channels NOAA
  • SWR CAL Meter
  • Patented Rewind-Say-Again
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Integrate iRadar® App

3. Uniden PRO520XL Pro Series: Best Budget CB Radio For Truckers

Channels: 40 | Size: 4-1/2″ W x 6-3/4″ D x 1-3/8″ H | Frequency Range: 26.965 to 27.405 MHz | Power Input: 13.8 V DC | Output Power: 4 watts | Modulation: AM

Pros

  • Good signal clarity and precise frequency control
  • Public address functionality
  • Expandable frequency output range
  • Easy to install compact CB radio
  • Super affordable

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a 12v plug
  • No backlit control buttons

Usually, when we hear “XL”, we think extra large. Uniden PRO520XL beats that convention. This is a price-conscious, compact product that stays on the no-frills route. 

Though this radio stays on a budget, it includes some of the most desirable functions. These features include a PA option, Automatic Noise Limiter (ANL), quick switch to Channel 9, and RF gain. Of course, it also offers conventional features like volume, squelch control, and simple channel scanning.

It is possible to find cheaper radios but that would involve going into the domain of bareboned options. For example, the slightly cheaper Uniden 510XL is quite similar to the 520XL, but the only convenience feature it offers is the ANL. 

Slipping further on the price range, you’ll find the Uniden PRO505XL. This radio has the basic volume, squelch, and channel switching features. The only additional feature here is a switch that shifts the radio between CB and PA.

All these radios are from the same series, so their user interface is very similar. For the most part, the difference is the switches or knobs for the included features. In that sense, Uniden PRO 520XL keeps the price low while maintaining several features.

Uniden PRO520XL makes excellent use of the limited space available on this compact radio. The left side of the radio hosts the 4-pin connector for the microphone, while the right has a large dial to select channels. A small, backlit screen shows the channel, signal strength, and transmit indicator.  It’s a simple yet useful function.

Unfortunately, not everything is as simple with this radio. It doesn’t come with a CB power cord, so that needs a separate purchase. 

Also, the compact radio doesn’t match the standard size, so you’ll need to purchase specific mounting brackets to have it fit into the conventional CB radio slot. All of these can quickly take away or minimize the budget gains you get from purchasing the 520XL.

Verdict

Uniden PRO520XL is a decent choice for the budget-conscious buyer. It skips the bells and whistles but manages to be one of the best citizen band radio for trucks. The radio offers the most-desired features in a compact, pocket-friendly package. 

However, there will be expenses involved in purchasing a separate power cord. If you want it on the conventional radio slot, an additional purchase for specific brackets will be necessary. If this sounds like too much of a hassle and cost, this might not be the right radio for you.

Rating

  • Reliability: 9.0/10
  • Functionality: 9.3/10
  • Durability: 9.2/10
  • Range: 9.9/10
  • Extra features: 4/10
  • Value for money: 9.8/10
  • Overall rating: 8.5/10

Highlighted Features 

  • Instant Channel 9
  • 4-pin electret microphone
  • RF gain control
  • Automatic Noise Limiter switch
  • Public Address system switch
  • Volume control
  • Squelch control

4. President Randy FCC Mobile CB Radio: Best Handheld CB Radio

Type: Handheld CB Radio | Channels: 40 | Size: 5.98″ (H) x 2.62″ (L) x 1.46″ (P) | Frequency Range: 26.965 ~ 27.405 MHz | Power: 7.4V (mobile) 13.4 V (handheld) | Battery: Lithium-ion 

Pros

  • Convenient handheld radio
  • VOX 
  • Jack for external speaker
  • Excellent voice quality 
  • Very convenient features

Cons

  • Reduced TX/RX distance due to smaller antenna (can connect to external antenna)
  • Can be troublesome to buy/replace the battery

Most CB radios are fixed units and that’s how we’ve always known them. But in the modern world where most of us carry mobile phones and battery technology has considerably improved, there is no need for a trucker CB radio to stay fixed.

President Randy FCC handheld CB radio is one of the coolest in design and features. Often, a portable CB radio takes on a very basic appearance. 

Consider the Cobra HHRT50 as an example. It has a plain body and a tiny screen flanked by a few buttons. On the other hand, Randy takes on a polished appearance with a fairly large LCD, well-placed buttons, and an ergonomic shape. It draws its power from Li-ion batteries, while Cobra HHRT50 uses rechargeable AA-style NiMH batteries.

Most handheld CB radios run on batteries and there is a benefit to using AA batteries since you can get your radio to work in a pinch, especially when there’s no power source. That’s not really a problem with truckers, so the Li-ion battery is a fairly suitable choice too.

Randy attempts to use features generally seen in fixed trucker CB radios and executes that well. The handheld CB radio has a backlight and display with seven color options with customizable intensity. It looks to NOAA channels for weather alerts, has programmable emergency channel options, and a dual watch function.

Even with all this, it doesn’t forget to build on its handheld foundations. The radio comes with an AC adapter, belt clip, wrist wrap, lighter plug, and external antenna adapter. 

Having a good quality external antenna is useful for a higher range and better radio reception. When connected to a power source (12V) and an external antenna, President Randy can hit the maximum CB transmit power of 4W. The antenna also helps with the range. 

When powered by its battery and built-in antenna, the radio can work on High/Lo power, though its range is reduced on account of the antenna. In low power mode, President Randy transmits at 1W. In high-power mode, it’s usually 3-4W depending on the battery backup available. 

Verdict

President Randy FCC is a remarkable handheld radio with excellent voice quality and portability. It can connect to a power source like a mounted CB radio or run off a battery. The radio is useful for anyone, it is especially useful for those who are renting or leasing a truck and don’t want to (or aren’t allowed to) make any modifications. 

However, it might not be the best choice if you prefer a longer range and the convenience of a fixed radio.

Rating

  • Reliability: 9.5/10
  • Functionality: 9.5/10
  • Durability: 9.5/10
  • Range: 8/10
  • Extra features: 9.0/10
  • Value for money: 8.5/10
  • Overall ratings: 9/10

Highlighted Features

  • 7 color backlight and LCD
  • Automatic squelch control
  • NOAA channels for weather conditions and alerts
  • VOX
  • Fairly powerful Li-ion battery
  • Programmable emergency channel
  • Roger beep

5. Cobra 25LTD: Best Mobile CB Radio For Ease Of Use

Channels: 40 | Size: 8 5/8” D x 7 9/32” W x 2 13/64” H | Frequency Range: 26.965 to 27.405 MHz. | Power Input: 13.8VDC | Output Power: 4 Watt | Public address Output Power: 4 watts | Modulation: AM

Pros

  • Timely weather conditions and emergencies updates
  • Long microphone cord for unrestricted movement in the truck
  • Full access to all 40 CB channels
  • Heavy-duty dynamic microphone
  • Top-notch voice clarity

Cons

  • Operation under low light can be a hassle
  • Not plug and play and should be tweaked by an expert for notch performance

User Interface, Design, and Display

The Cobra 25LTD Professional CB radio is another sturdy and compact-sized CB radio for truckers. It has well-labeled control functions for ease of use and navigation.

So you can quickly spot the volume, dynamic mike, and RF gain knobs at a glance.

The signal strength meter, RF gain, and channel display screens have two-level brightness. Thus, you can adjust the controls to the lighting that works best for you.

Nonetheless, the displays are pretty small-sized, and you may struggle to read what’s in them.

In a sense, Cobra 25LTD is a simpler, low-cost, and compact model compared to the Cobra 29LTD. The design similarities between both SSB equipped radio units are visible at a glance – as are the differences. Cobra 25LTD has fewer fine tuning and audio management options compared to its premium sibling.

Performance

The Cobra 25LTD Professional CB radio is known for a 4 watts power output. However, the law permits maximum power output for extended range coverage.

If you want to communicate with truckers far away, you only need to tune the radio to transmit at 12 watts of power output.

Moreover, the radio has full CB channels coverage, so you get maximum value when purchasing one. And to top it up, it has instant access to channel 9 for timely emergency updates.

This way, you stay informed and easily avoid driving on unpleasant weather days.

Also, its RF gain feature is exceptional and acts as a sensitivity filter. The RF gain will sort you out if you’re the least worried about noisy distant signals affecting your communication.

Lastly, you can make and receive calls anywhere in the truck since it comes with a 9-foot microphone cord for unrestricted movement.

Verdict

The Cobra 25LTD Professional CB radio is for you if you’re looking for a reliable CB radio with a heavy dynamic mic. It also has an R/F gain feature that acts as a sensitivity filter.

The result is a crystal clear signal and stress-free communication. The best part is you can tune it to transmit at a higher output power of 12 watts. This comes in handy when you want to communicate over long distances.

Unfortunately, this radio isn’t for you if you like large display screens. So, it would be best to go for another alternative if you find this a deal-breaker. In addition, its two-level brightness may not be sufficient for some users because of eye-straining under limited light.

Rating

  • Reliability: 9.4/10
  • Functionality: 9.6/10
  • Durability: 9.5/10
  • Range: 9.9/10
  • Extra features: 4/10
  • Value for money: 9.0/10
  • Overall rating: 8.5/10

Highlighted Features 

  • 9 Foot Mic Cord
  • 4 Pin microphone connector
  • PA capability
  • 2 Level Brightness Control
  • Last Channel Memory
  • Signal Strength Meter
  • Dual-color Led transmit and Receive indicator

6. Uniden PC78LTX: Best Sound Control Features

Channels: 40 | Size: 7-9/32 in. x 7-51/64 in. x 2-13/64 in. | Frequency Range: 26.965 – 27.405 MHz | Power Input: 13.8VDC | Output Power: 4 watts | Public address Output Power: 4 Watts | Modulation: High- and Low-Level, Class B amplitude modulation

Pros

  • Powerful and tough for longevity
  • Customizable features for notch performance
  • High voice clarity
  • Available PA function

Cons

  • Not SSB supported
  • Doesn’t come with a cigarette plug

User Interface, Design, and Display

The Uniden PC78LTX CB radio is a sturdy and compact typical CB radio. It’s easy to use and easily fits into the dash.

Its control functions are well labeled and easy to spot from a distance. So, you don’t have to struggle to operate the radio while driving.

For example, the instant channel 9 button is on the front view for quick access. You want to always stay updated on road emergencies while driving. However, that can be a struggle when manually searching emergency channels.

The good news is the instant channel 9 button is within quick reach for timely emergency updates, helping you stay out of road troubles and hassles.

But here’s the kicker! The channel display and SWR and RF signal strength meter are pretty small-sized. So, you may struggle reading what’s on display.

Nonetheless, this shouldn’t be a deal-breaker if you prefer voice clarity to big-sized displays or signal strength meters.

Performance

This is one of the most powerful CB radios for truckers because of its exemplary features. In particular, its top-notch sound control features like SWR Meter, Hi-Cut filter, Mic/RF Gain, ANL/Switchable Noise blanker, and S/RF meter!

You may want to consider it if you’re looking for a CB radio equipped for truckers with unparalleled voice clarity.

Like most radios for truck drivers, it gives a 4-watt output power, which is adequate for powering communication between truck drivers.

In addition, you can turn on the PA mode to use the public address function when necessary.

The modern CB radio boasts a classic interface that will remind you of the old-school analog-style radios. A close competitor in pricing and design is the Cobra 25LTD. They have similar features and do a good job at clear communication and reducing background noise.

Uniden PC78LTX has a greater number of control knobs and switches, but that’s because Cobra 25 LTD combines multiple functions in its controls. Both these are remarkable CB radios. Your choice between the two will depend on the preference for the user interface.

Verdict

This radio is best for you if you’re looking for the right CB radio for truckers with high voice clarity. The radio beats other radios because it has better sound control features. Typical examples include SWR Meter, Hi-Cut filter, Mic/RF Gain, ANL/Noise blanker, and S/RF meter.

However, this radio isn’t for you if you’re looking for an SSB radio since it doesn’t support the modulation. So, if that’s going to be a big deal, it will be better to go for other alternatives like Uniden BEARCAT 980 or President MCKINLEY USA SSB.

Rating

  • Reliability: 9.4/10
  • Functionality: 9.5/10
  • Durability: 9.6/10
  • Range: 9.9/10
  • Extra features: 8/10
  • Value for money: 9.5/10
  • Overall rating: 9.3/10

Highlighted Features 

  • Integrated SWR Meter
  • Hi-Cut filter
  • Instant Channel 9
  • Dim control
  • ANL/Switchable Noise blanker
  • PA/CB switch
  • Analog S/RF meter
  • LED channel readout
  • Microphone: Plug-in type; 600 ohms dynamic

7. Galaxy-DX-959: Best Frequency Controller

Channels: 40 | Size: 7 7/8″ (W) x 9 1/4″ (D) x 2 1/8″ (H) | Frequency Range: 26.965 ~ 27.405 MHz | Power Input: 13.8 VDC | Output Power: AM: 4W; USB/LSB: 12W PEP | Modulation: AM/USB/LSB

Pros

  • Large size and easy-to-read meter.
  • Notch voice clarity
  • Easy to install and operate
  • Supports PA function
  • Compact size

Cons

  • The blue display is too bright and may be hard to read
  • control functions aren’t backlit

User Interface, Design, and Display

The Galaxy-DX-959 is a world-class CB radio worth having in your truck. It has a large, easy-to-read signal strength meter with clearly labeled functions like the SWR signal meter, power output, and modulation. So, it’s not a hassle to read and interpret these control functions.

In addition, it has a five-digit frequency counter and a two-digit channel display, which isn’t common in many radios for truckers. The frequency counter and channel display have large-yellow and easy-to-read digits, making it easy to operate the radio hassle-free.

While the control functions are well-labeled, they’re not backlit. This implies operating the radio at night may be a hassle, especially under limited light.

You may ignore this if you see no problem! However, if you desire backlit control functions, you may have to find an alternative CB radio for truckers.

Performance

The Galaxy-DX-959 radio is built for top performance. It comes with incredible signal clarifier functions like the proprietary Galaxy Noise Filter (GNF) Circuit, which clears noise from weak signals. The automatic SWR circuit also plays a key role in cleaning incoming signals.

Moreover, this radio operates on the AM/SSB and PA Modes. The SSB function is powerful and facilitates communication over long distances. And, if you desire to use the public address function, you can quickly turn it on with the click of a button.

Galaxy DX 959 looks like it drove straight out of the ‘80s or ‘90s. Yet, this is a modern radio featuring the latest in CB radio systems and technology. It’s best compared to the contemporary design and our premium pick Cobra 29 LX MAX. 

If you prefer a tactical feel and independent switches and knobs for controls, the Galaxy is a good choice. However, the Cobra 29 LX MAX presents a large screen with an impressive backlit display. And though it offers fewer buttons, there is no dearth of features. Plus, the Bluetooth-based smartphone connectivity on Cobra 29 LX MAX adds to its practical use.

Verdict

The Galaxy-DX-959 radio is for you if you’re looking for a CB radio that can operate both AM and SSB. The SSB mode is more powerful, making it easy to communicate with other truckers from far away.

Getting a CB radio with both functions will be worth the extra buck. Moreover, it has top-notch signal control functions for high-quality and clean signals. If you’re looking for a powerful CB radio, this would a good option.

That being said, the control functions aren’t backlit, so it may be a hassle to operate the radio at night. You may have to go for an alternative CB radio if this is a problem.

Rating

  • Reliability: 9.4/10
  • Functionality: 9.5/10
  • Durability: 9.5/10
  • Range: 9.9/10
  • Extra features: 7.0/10
  • Value for money: 9.0/10
  • Overall ratings: 9.1/10

Highlighted Features 

  • Five-digit frequency counter
  • Dual watch two-digit channel display
  • Variable power output control
  • Variable talkback circuit
  • Automatic SWR circuit and an SWR alert LED
  • Variable dimmer control
  • Proprietary Galaxy Noise Filter Circuit (GNF)

8. President MCKINLEY USA SSB: Best UHF Trucker CB Radio

Channels: 40 | Size: 6.77 x 5.91 x 2.05 inches | Frequency Range: 26.965Mhz-27.405Mhz | Power Input: 13.8V/27.6V (From10.8V to 31.2V) | Output Power: 4 Watts | Modulation: AM(A3E)/USB LSB(J3E)

Pros

  • Easy to install and operate
  • Compact size
  • Timely weather updates
  • Notch voice clarity

Cons

  • SSB performance is pretty average

User Interface, Design, and Display

President MCKINLEY USA SSB radio is the best of its kind among UHF modern CB radios. The radio is compact-sized, easy to set up, and doesn’t occupy much space in your dash.

It features a 3-led display, customizable to green, orange, and blue according to a trucker’s preference.

Overall, the display is well organized and easy to read. The main bar graph in the display shows reception and output power levels. It has an rf power indicator, he smaller bar graphs show the RF gain, mic gain control, and RF power levels.

Also, the main control functions like the volume and channel buttons are properly labeled and legible from far. The only problem is the buttons aren’t backlit, and it may be a hassle operating the radio under low light.

Performance

President MCKINLEY USA SSB radio is a top performer CB radio with amazing features like seven weather channels. Bad weather can mess you up, so you always want to be on high alert. This radio is what you need for timely weather updates.

Moreover, it comes with the vox function for hands-free communication. It’ll automatically turn itself on when users start talking and go off in the absence of sound.

This means you don’t have to push the microphone button every time you transmit.

Also, its signals are clear thanks to incredible signal clarifier features like the Unique Automatic Squelch Control, Murata filters, and the Automatic SWR.

It’s highly unlikely you’ll have distorted communication when using this truckers’ CB radio.

When compared to similarly priced models like the Galaxy DX 959 or the Cobra 29 LX MAX, President MC KINLEY stands out. It doesn’t offer nearly as many controls and buttons as its competition. That’s because this radio covers most of the features with automatic use and focuses on voice and signal clarity.

Features like VOX and automated squelch control help it stand out. Still, users might miss the options to customize some features like squelch to their preference. Also, it doesn’t help that the MCKINLEY’s appearance looks somewhat cheap and basic. It excels in voice quality but loses out in the looks department.

Verdict

President MCKINLEY USA SSB radio is perfect for truckers looking for  CB radio with a hands-free function. In addition, it has up to seven weather channels for timely weather updates.

It will be a good fit for people that drive in areas with frequent sudden weather changes. Unfortunately, this isn’t for you if you’re looking for a CB radio with backlit control buttons.

Rating

  • Reliability: 9.0/10
  • Functionality: 9.0/10
  • Durability: 9.0/10
  • Range: 9.9/10
  • Extra features: 6.0/10
  • Value for money: 9.0/10
  • Overall ratings: 8.6/10

Highlighted Features 

  • Three color changeable LCD
  • VOX (hands-free function)
  • Front panel loudspeaker
  • Unique ASC (Automatic Squelch Control)
  • Murata filters
  • Automatic SWR
  • 7 Weather channels (162.400 MHz to 162.550 MHz)

CB Radio for Truckers Specifications Comparison Table

Specs

Uniden BEARCAT 980

Cobra 29 LX MAX

Uniden PRO520XL Pro

 Cobra 25LTD

Uniden PC78LTX

Galaxy-DX-959

President MCKINLEY USA SSB

Channels

40

40

40

40

40

40

40

Size

7.25 in. x 7.5 in. x 2.25 in.

8-5/8” D x 7-9/32” W x 2-13/63” H

4-1/2" W x 6-3/4" D x 1-3/8" H

8 5/8” D x 7 9/32” W x 2 13/64” H

7-9/32 in. x 7-51/64 in. x 2-13/64 in.

7 7/8" (W) x 9 1/4" (D) x 2 1/8" (H)

6.77 x 5.91 x 2.05 inches

Frequency Range

CB: 26.965 - 27.405 MHz, WX: 162.400 - 162.550 MHz

CB 26.965-27.405 MHZ, WX-162.400-162.775 MHZ

26.965 to 27.405 MHz

26.965 to 27.405 MHz

26.965 to 27.405 MHz

26.965 - 27.405 MHz

26.965 - 27.405 MHz

Antenna Connector

n/a

UHF; SO-239

UHF, SO-239

SO-239 (UHF Female)

UHF, SO-239

n/a

n/a

Power Input

13.8V DC

13.2V DC

13.8 V DC

13.8 V DC

13.8 V DC

13.8 V DC

13.8V/27.6V (From10.8V to 31.2V)

Output Power

AM: 4 watts; USB/LSB 12 W PEP SSB

4 watts

4 watts

4 watts

4 watts

AM: 4W; USB/LSB: 12W PEP

4 Watts

Public address Output

2.5 watts

2.5 watts

N/A

4 watts

4 watts

n/a

n/a

Modulation

AM/USB/LSB

AM

AM

AM

High- and Low-Level, Class B amplitude modulation (AM)

AM/USB/LSB

AM(A3E)/USB LSB(J3E)

Best CB Radio for Truckers Buying Guide

A good CB radio is worth it in every way. However, choosing the best CB radio for truckers can be daunting when you don’t know what to look for.

The good news is we’ve put together a buying guide to make your decision-making process a breeze. So, let’s jump right in!

1. Cost

Not all CB radios for truckers are priced the same. While some are expensive, others are affordable. The point is you shouldn’t worry about the price more than what the radio can do. That said, you want to first have a budget to buy radios within your reach.

Don’t spread yourself too thin or overspend on a CB radio for truckers. If you’re on a budget, we’d recommend you go for our best budget pick–Uniden PRO520XL Pro Series.

Apart from being a low-cost CB radio, it also has incredible features that rival pricey CB radios like Cobra 29 LX MAX Smart Professional CB Radio.

2. Installation and Operation

Time is of the essence, so you want to quickly install your CB radio then get to other things. The best CB radio for truckers should be easy to install and operate. That’s why you want to go for compact-size CB radios that easily fit into the dash and don’t take much space. 

The two examples you can go for are Uniden BEARCAT 980 SSB and Cobra 29 LX MAX Smart Professional CB Radio. The best part is they’re also easy to operate even by beginners since the main control functions are well-labeled and within reach.

3. Output Power and Performance

Output power plays a crucial role in a CB radio performance. The higher the output power, the better the performance. CB radios with low output power also perform poorly.

The standard CB radio output power is 4 watts which is the FCC limit. However, some with the SSB function can transmit up to 12 watts.

You should go for SSB-enabled CB radios for truckers if you’re looking for powerful CB radio. Typical examples include President MCKINLEY USA SSB and Uniden BEARCAT 980 SSB.

4. Sound Quality

Sound quality is everything when buying a CB radio for truckers. Get this wrong, and you’ll have a terrible radio experience.

One, you’ll have tons of noisy signals to deal with, which can be a headache. Two, you’ll constantly miss out on important updates when you can’t be in touch with fellow truckers.

This is why you only want to go for a CB radio with top-notch sound quality and clarity. The best cb radios have sound quality enhancing features like Automatic Noise Limiter, Hi-Cut filter and the option to connect external speakers. The good news is all our seven radio picks have high sound quality.

5. Additional CB Radio Features

Standard CB radios are adequate and can serve you right. However, others have additional features, making them the better kids in the block.

They have remarkable extra features like Bluetooth, VOX, talkback, backlit display, external speaker connection, roger beep switch button and public address capability.

Additional features enhance performance overall, making your CB radio experience a breeze. If you’re looking for the best CB radio with astounding additional features, look no further than Cobra 29 LX MAX Smart Professional CB Radio.

6. Weather and Emergency Updates

Bad weather and road-related risks are unavoidable while on the roads. The only way to be safe is to stay updated on what’s happening on the roads. This is why you need a CB radio with notch emergency channel and weather alerts update features.

Moreover, the best CB radios have instant access to NOAA weather and emergency channels. That’s the first thing you want to consider when shopping for a CB radio. Instant access is more convenient and saves you the time you’d use in manually searching for the weather channel.

Cobra 29 LX MAX Smart Professional CB Radio radio has up to 10 NOAA weather channels, making it one of the best for timely weather updates. That being said, all other CB radios in this guide have a weather and alert channel update system so that you’re never caught unaware.

7. Transmission Enhancers

Transmission enhancers make CB radio communication smooth and hassle-free. They make the difference between average and top-performing CB radios. So, if you want value for your money, we’d recommend you go for CB radios for truckers with transmission enhancers.

The enhancers include SSB modes, SWR, Dynamic Mic Gain, Delta tune, and Clarifier. Some of our top picks with transmission enhancers are  Uniden BEARCAT 980, Cobra 29 LX MAX Smart Professional CB Radio, President MCKINLEY USA SSB, and Uniden PC78LTX.

CB Radio for Truckers Frequently Asked Questions

Can you talk to truckers with a CB radio?

CB radios have special channels like channel 19 designated for truckers. In addition, truckers have been using CB radios since the ’70s, so you can easily talk to them if you have a CB radio.

What CB channel do most truckers use?

Truckers mainly use the designated channel 19 to communicate amongst themselves. This is where they get timely traffic and highway updates.

How far will a CB radio transmit?

Standard CB radios have a maximum 4-watts power output, transmitting between 3 miles and 20 miles. However, the range coverage depends on other factors like terrain.

What Does CB Radio stands for?

CB radio stands for The Citizens Band Radio Service

  • February 9, 2022
Paul Dudley
 

Paul is the owner and founder of WhollyOutdoor.com . His passion for ham radios and fishing lead him to create this site. He loves playing with his radios and doing many other outdoor activities