Are you searching for the best handheld CB radio?
Having a CB radio you can take with you wherever you go has numerous benefits, but the key is to select a quality performance model. I have used many handheld CB’s over the years and the best have never let me down. I have reviewed the top models for performance, range, construction, and durability.
Check the quick list below for links to customer reviews and prices for my best CB radio picks, or read on for the full review:
- Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB Way Radio
- Cobra HH50 Wxst Handheld CB Radio
- Cobra HHRT50 Road Trip CB Radio
- Uniden Professional Series 40 Channel Handheld CB Radio
- Uniden 300-Channel Handheld Scanner CB Radio
A great CB radio has a lot of uses, but, sometimes, you aren’t going to be in your vehicle when you want to communicate with others. That’s why I recommend that you invest in the best handheld CB radio, as it will allow you to easily communicate with others, no matter where you are.
How to Select the Best Handheld CB Radio
One of the most important things to consider when you are shopping for a handheld CB radio is your budget. These radios can vary widely in cost, which is why I recommend people set a budget before they start shopping so that they don’t overspend. Once you know how much you are willing to spend, then you can easily narrow down your choices.
It’s really important to consider how you are going to use your new radio. If you are planning on using it for communication on a regular basis, then you will likely want to choose one that is designed for this, while others are better suited for use in emergencies.
Since handheld CB radios have a limited max of 4 W of power, they generally don’t vary too much in their transmission range. This means that you don’t need to worry about the transmission range with handheld options like you do with other CB radios.
Benefits of a Great Handheld CB Radio
One of the main reasons that I think that everyone should invest in a handheld CB radio is because they make it really easy to stay informed when there is bad weather or problems in the area. The last thing that you want to have happen is to have an emergency occur in your area and not know anything about it until it is too late.
Additionally, when you invest in a great handheld CB radio, you can easily communicate with others who have handheld radios. Remember that no matter how much money you spend on your handheld CB radio, you can’t use it to communicate with a ham radio.
It’s almost impossible to get information that is more updated anywhere else. When you rely on your CB radio for weather or local news, then you will be enjoying fast updates from people who are out in the field. Fellow motorists and survivalists who are in your area can provide you with the best and most updated information available.
When you have been in a disaster, your handheld CB radio may be your best, or your only, way to communicate with first responders. They can make it easy for you to connect with people who are close to you so that you can get the help that you need.
Features to Look For
One feature that you should consider when shopping is how you want to mount or carry your new radio. Some of them have clips that make it easy to mount the radio on your belt or pants, which is perfect when you don’t want to hold it with your hands. Still others will mount in your vehicle, making them great for longer road trips.
I think that it’s important to look for a radio option that will allow you to save your favorite channels. This makes it easy to find your favorite channels when you are in a hurry and need to get some information. Otherwise you may spend a very long time scanning and searching for the information that you need.
It’s also important to look for a radio that offers NOAA weather channels. These are updated regularly and are the best way to get information about major weather problems in your area. No matter if you are monitoring a storm that’s on its way or are stuck in poor weather conditions, these channels can be a lifesaver.
Consider how you are going to power your radio. Some of them offer USB or cigarette lighter charging, which means that you can power your radio on the go. Of course, if your car doesn’t have a cigarette lighter in it, then this won’t help you out.
Another feature that some handheld CB radios offer that I love is close call RF technology. This allows the radio to immediately detect and tune into transmissions that are near to you, even if you haven’t programmed the frequency to a channel. This makes it easy to connect with others after an emergency and to get professional help when needed.
How to Use Your Handheld CB Radio
The most important thing to remember when you opt for a handheld CB radio is that you will have a limited range depending on your terrain, so I recommend that you try using your new radio before you are in an emergency situation.
Once you know how to use your radio, you can start by setting up your favorite channels so that you can easily tune into them, when needed. It’s a good idea to spend some time learning how to tune into channels and how to use the squelch knob so that you can enjoy static-free listening.
5 Best Handheld CB Radio
Securing a handheld CB radio has some unique considerations compared to one you mount in your vehicle. Ensuring quality performance requires keeping an eye out for quality materials and the tech you need. I have reviewed the top handheld cb radio models currently available for performance, quality of construction, features, and durability.
Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB Way Radio
This is a great option for any homeowner looking to be able to keep up with road conditions, problems in the area, or simply wants to check the local weather. Using channel scan makes it easier than ever to check for activity on all 40 channels, and will cause the CB to stop on active channels for five seconds. With the ability to store up to five favorite channels in memory, this unit is fast and easy to use.
- Features 40 channels and 10 NOAA channels
- Offers 4 W of output power
- High-quality squelch control makes it easy to reduce static and interference
- Doesn’t always work even in clear line of sight
Cobra HH50 Wxst Handheld CB Radio
Not only can you easily scan for active channels when using this CB radio, but you can also enjoy a four mile range, depending on the terrain of your area. With a speaker/mic jack, you can easily connect either of these accessories to make it easy to listen and to communicate with other people. It works well on the Citizens Band Radio Service so that you can enjoy staying connected with other people and also enjoy access to 10 weather channels for updated information in a hurry.
- Professional soundtracker system cuts out unwanted noise
- Offers NOAA alerts for emergencies and weather updates
- Offers 40 channels to choose from
- Doesn’t have a very long range
- Can be difficult to tune into channels other than the NOAA
Cobra HHRT50 Road Trip CB Radio
This is an incredibly compact CB radio that operates on the Citizens Band Radio Service. You can enjoy a long range while staying in contact with others, which means that you never have to worry about not knowing what is going on around you. The flexible antenna won’t break and the included DC power cord allows you to charge the radio from a car’s cigarette lighter, making it a great option for use on the road.
- Easily monitor up to three channels at once
- Can be operated from a vehicle thanks to the magnetic mount mobile antenna
- Dual watch allows you to monitor two channels simultaneously
- Can be difficult to pick up channels
- Tends to screech when people talk
- Doesn’t offer a wide range
Uniden Professional Series 40 Channel Handheld CB Radio
Not only can you easily take this handheld CB radio with you on the road, making it a great option for use in the car, but it is also perfect for taking hiking or camping, as you can clip it to your belt and go. This means that you never have to worry about leaving your radio behind or being caught without it. The high-power setting allows you to easily extend your range when necessary for best results.
- Features auto noise cancellation for clear listening
- Includes belt clip and strap so that you can listen hands-free
- Enjoy listening to 40 different CB channels
- Talk button tends to fail quickly
- Can be difficult to receive without static
- Range drops quickly in certain terrain
Uniden 300-Channel Handheld Scanner CB Radio
Not only can you enjoy a vast array of channels with this handheld CB radio, but it makes it easy to search for emergency frequencies so that you can know what is going on around you. Thanks to the NOAA broadcast coverage, as well as coverage of amateur radio operator bands, you won’t ever have to wonder about what is going on around you, as you can easily track problems and get updates as they occur.
- Narrow band compatible
- Program up to 300 channels in the memory banks
- Automatically will detect and tune into nearby transmissions
- Doesn’t work with encrypted transmissions
- Owner’s manual is difficult to understand
- Battery has trouble holding a charge for long periods of time
For more radio guides and tips read these articles:
While you would likely be happy with most any of these handheld CB radios, I strongly recommend the Uniden BC75XLT. This is an incredibly powerful handheld CB radio and is packed with features that not only make it easy to use, but will help to ensure your safety when you’re relying on your radio. With access to NOAA stations, Close Call RF tuning, and the ability to easily search for preprogrammed frequencies used by emergency professionals, you won’t ever have to worry about getting the information that you need to be safe and to survive. Additionally, it can handle up to 300 channels, making it ideal for the avid user.