The 10 Best Handheld CB Radios
Handheld CB Radios
Our Picks in Detail
If you have any questions regarding an item, please refer to our comments section for this article.
* Last update of prices was on 2019-01-17 10:20:12 via PA API. Prices or conditions may have changed in the meantime.
10 Best Handheld CB Radio Alternatives
Handheld CB Radio Buying Guide
CBs have maintained loyal followings for many years. These radios are most convenient when you travel either by road or afoot. They're compact, easy to carry and use and may even be converted to mobile settings and usage. They may keep you posted on weather and road conditions while providing a viable method of emergency communication. Not all handheld CB radios have these features; thus, it’s crucial to determine what you seek and then to choose the best product for your budget. To better assist you, here's an overview that describes what you may look for in the best handheld CB radios.
Handheld CB radios, also called transceivers, may communicate with all other CB devices. However, even the best of these cannot communicate with other forms of radios: walkie-talkies and ham or amateur radios are prime examples. The Federal Communications Commission - or FCC - has established exclusive frequency bands with specified regulations for varying types of radios. For one, amateur radio operators will always require prior licensing through the FCC whereas CB operators will usually not. CBs are more easily accessible to the casual user because of the ease of use for such less-expensive equipment.
The FCC has limited every CB radio to 4W capacity. With such a limited power, through only using flexible “rubber duck” antennas that include a handheld radio in today's realistic conditions, you may expect to transmit a mile or less. Using external antennas or even a replacement antenna for your "rubber duck" may boost the range. Antennas and other equipment are provided through numerous online and in-store supplies like O'Reilly Auto Parts, Radio Shack, Auto Zone and Best Buy.
If you seek to get a handle on all the best CB radios that are offered today, then seek a specialist on the different kinds and uses. That's the first step. What size and type of radio do you need, and what will you use it for? Did you know that there are CB radios for trucks, for 4 by 4s, for Jeeps and commercial or construction equipment, and even others?
It's also crucial to note that all CB radios will transmit at the same 4W capacity as is required by law. Thus, the primary difference between each CBs lies in its size and set of unique features offered, not in how much power it'll put out or how far it can talk.
Decide wisely, then, based on which features you desire or need, and do not fret about the radio's range too much. The only exception is the following: SSB-equipped radios always transmit at 12W instead and legally provide the higher transmitting ranges. See below for more on this.
Overview of a CB Radio's FeaturesAre you looking for a PA, SSB, RF Gain settings or even something else? Well, if you're new to handheld CB radios, then some of these features and terminology may be confusing. Let's review the different radio features, as well as additional "buzz-words" and what they mean, below:
This sets the breakpoint, in which a CB radio will output a signal. It prevents the operator from constantly needing to hear non-stop static and only activates its speaker when the transmission is received. This standard feature is included with almost every CB radio that's sold today.
This lets the operator filter the kind of transmission that a CB radio will receive, based upon signal strength. It is useful in blocking out faint transmissions in order to eliminate any background noise when speaking with someone else through a strong signal. This feature may also draw-in weak signals and increase their audio reception.
This allows both the CB radio and the microphone to serve as transmitters for the public address system though it requires a PA horn that's usually not included and may mount under the hood of - or on top of - one's vehicle.
Automatic Noise Limited or ANL
It'll filter out the annoying static engine noise and additional interferences from the reception's signal to improve sound quality.
CB radios that include this feature can access local NOAA stations to get real-time weather reports with updates.
Instant Channels 9/19
Quickly and easily jump to two top channels: Channel 9 for emergency alerts and Channel 19, giving traffic updates to highway workers or truckers.
Nightwatch or Backlit Displays
Numerous higher-priced models include this backlit radio display for nighttime operations. It's an invaluable feature for radios used extensively during the late hours or in the darkest conditions.
Single Sideband or SSB
Radios with this function allow you to transmit at 12W once more, offering thrice the regular transmitting range. For others to effectively hear each transmission and reply to it in time, they'll additionally need an SSB-equipped radio; thus, you may not always be able to reach everyone at such a
range. However, every SSB radio operates on all standard CB channels at its basic 4W functionality: If you can't locate your SSB buddies, this option is still a great choice, especially if you out-fit vehicles fleets - here, maximum range is vital.
More Research on Handheld CB Radios
Handheld CB Radio Related Video: Handheld CB Radios. What To Look For, and What They Can Do.
A mostly forgotten CB Radio type. The old fashion Handheld CB radio still has its uses and can serve as both a mobile and a base in a pinch.