Citizens band (CB) radios have long been a staple in the trucking industry, letting drivers transmit and receive information without having to depend on cell service. Essential for emergency coordination, weather alerts, and other essential communications, every trucker needs a good CB radio. There are a wide variety of CB radio models to choose from, requiring drivers to narrow in on the features that matter the most to them. If your truck cab has limited space, for example, you’ll want to take extra care to find a radio that fits – without sacrificing power or sound quality. If you’re looking for the best CB radio for talking over long distances, you might want to consider a high-powered CB radio. It’ll come with licensing requirements, but you’ll notice a dramatic difference in performance!
There are many trusted CB radio brands to choose from, including Uniden, Cobra, President Electronics, Galaxy, Midland, and Stryker Radios. Read on to learn about ten of the best CB radios on the market and their distinguishing features — from more affordable CB radios with simple functionalities to high-powered CB radios for long-distance communications.
Pair Your CB Radio with a High-Quality Antenna
When it comes to purchasing a good CB radio or upgrading your current setup, don’t forget the difference that a high-quality antenna will make.
A high-performance antenna, like the Stryker SR-A10 Trucker Antenna (pictured), can work wonders to improve sound quality and maximize the power of your radio.
Uniden PRO520XL CB Radio. Image source: uniden.com
The compact Uniden PRO520XL is a popular mobile CB radio for trucking and offroading, along with the PRO510XL. One of the only differences between these models is the added public address (PA) capability in the PRO520XL. Operators appreciate the minimalist design and durability of these radios that make them ideal for on-the-road use in any type of vehicle – from Jeeps to semi-trucks. The PRO520XL and PRO510XL are also very affordable options for hobbyists or drivers looking to get started in the world of CB radio. But keep in mind the simplicity of these models also means that they come with only basic functionalities. You won’t find an internal SWR meter, noise blanker, or other advanced features unless you upgrade to a higher-performing radio model.
Cobra 29 LTD Classic
Cobra 29 LTD Classic CB radio. Image source: cobra.com
A trusted name in CB radios, Cobra sells a popular CB model called the Cobra 29 LTD Classic – a full-size CB radio used by truckers for decades. While it doesn’t have Single Sideband Modulation (SSB), only AM/FM, the Cobra 29 LTD offers a standard slate of classic CB radio features, including instant channel 9 (emergency channel), NOAA weather channels, an internal SWR meter, and noise blanker/automatic noise limiter (NB/ANL).
President McKinley CB radio. Image source: president-electronics.com
President McKinley is a feature-packed SSB CB radio, complete with a variety of noise filters, multifunction LCD display, channel scanning, and more. The rugged McKinley radio is built to be a reliable CB radio for tough environments like truck cabs, tractors, or offroading vehicles. It also includes Single Sideband mode (SSB) unlike many other CB radio models. CBs equipped with Single Sideband mode (SSB) use either the Upper Sideband (USB) or Lower Sideband (LSB) of the AM range to enhance transmission clarity and range.
Uniden Bearcat 980 SSB
Uniden Bearcat 980 SSB CB Radio. Image source: uniden.com
The Uniden Bearcat 980 SSB is a bigger model than the compact PRO250XL/PRO150XLand includes far more features, including NOAA weather alerts, dynamic squelch control, an integrated SWR meter, and – as indicated by the name – Single Sideband Modulation (SSB). The Bearcat 980 is a go-to choice for drivers who want a CB radio with a broad range of functionalities. But remember that every CB radio is limited to a relatively low output power, which impedes signal strength and the audio quality of long-range communications.
What is the range of a CB radio?
In general, operators use CB radios for communicating within 7 miles or so. The maximum distance a 4-watt CB radio can communicate over depends on a variety of factors, such as the time of day and surrounding terrain. The legal limit set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is 155.3 miles. For reliable long distance communications, truckers will need to upgrade to a mobile 10-meter radio, which is a type of amateur radio.
Stryker SR-25MC mobile 10-meter radio
The ultra-compact SR-25MC radio from Stryker packs a punch. This tiny 10-meter radio transmits 20 watts PEP, making it a powerful upgrade from a standard CB radio – while maintaining a comparable price point and minimalist interface. Amateur radio operators appreciate the convenient size of the SR-25MC which gives it versatile mounting options in any type of vehicle.
Stryker SR-94HPC mobile 10-meter radio
The Stryker SR-94HPC is a low-profile mobile radio that fits easily in limited spaces while offering a number of important functionalities. Among other features, the SR-94HPC comes with an integrated SWR meter, roger beep function with eight settings, and a full-color TFT display. Reaching 45+ watts of PEP, this minimalist model is a great example of how powerful and effective compact mobile ham radios can be – and at an affordable price.
Stryker SR-447HPC2 mobile 10-meter radio. Image source: amazon.com
Stryker’s SR-447HPC2 is a powerful 10-meter radio (55+ watts PEP) designed with the modern truck driver in mind. Newer truck cabs tend to have less space, making it difficult to find a high-powered CB radio that will fit. The compact design of this model was intended to fit in the overhead cubby without sacrificing power, performance, and durability. The SR-447HPC2 boasts fantastic sound quality and a brilliant 7-color LED-backlit faceplate, among other important features for on-the-road communication.
Check out the 16 Features the Best CB Radios for Truckers Have In Common
Stryker SR-497HPC mobile 10-meter radio
With an impressive power output of 100+ watts PEP, the Stryker SR-497HPC is appreciated for its reliable performance over long distances. This model also features a 12-color channel display (with a multi-step dimmer) for high visibility in the darkest conditions. The SR-497HPC doesn’t offer SSB mode like more advanced models from Stryker, but this high-powered mobile radio takes CB radio communications to the next level with exceptional performance qualities.
Stryker SR-655HPC mobile 10-meter radio. Image source: walcottradio.com
The Stryker SR-655HPC is a top-of-the-line mobile 10-meter radio with a reputation for amazing sound quality and numerous features that enhance the user experience. You can adjust the radio to your liking with a dimmable, 8-color LED-backlit faceplate and six roger beep options, and fine-tune sound quality with variable talkback control and multiple noise limiting features – such as squelch control, NB/ANL, RF gain control, and a hi-cut filter. And hands-free features like channel scan will help keep your eyes on the road as you talk over long distances with this powerful radio.
Stryker SR-655HPC mobile 10-meter radio
The ultimate high-powered CB radio, Stryker’s SR-955 HPC comes with all the power and performance features one could want in a mobile radio. The SR-955HP carries many of the same functionalities as the SR-655, with the added capability of Single Sideband Mode (SSB). The SR-955HP’s extensive list of features includes:
- RF gain control to minimize background noise
- noise blanker/automatic noise limiter (NB/ANL) and hi-cut filter
- easy-to-read meter for power output, modulation, SWR, and incoming signal
- variable power and talkback control
- six preloaded roger beeps
- brilliant digital display with dimmer control
You can expect premium performance from this top-tier 10-meter radio designed for operators who want the power of a ham radio in a mobile, user-friendly model.
Why choose a 10-meter radio for your truck?
Often referred to as “high-powered CB radios”, 10-meter radios are a type of mobile amateur radio that performs at a much higher level than a citizens band radio. An FCC license is required to operate these advanced two-way radios, which come with complex features, extensive customization options, and significantly increased signal range. Unlike CB radios, amateur radios can reliably transmit hundreds of miles, reaching into the thousands with the proper equipment. CB radios are limited to 4 watts of power (or 12 watts with SSB mode), but mobile ham radios easily operate at 100+ watts.
Many truckers opt for a mobile ham radio over a CB radio, or in addition to a CB radio, because it provides a more satisfying experience all around. Professional drivers enjoy the elevated performance of these powerful radios, and they appreciate being able to talk to radio contacts over long distances – not just nearby truck drivers. If you’re looking for a truly powerful CB radio, consider the higher-performing option of a mobile 10-meter radio!
Learn more about Why a Mobile Ham Radio for Your Truck Makes Perfect Sense
Shop High-Powered CB Radios and Antennas at Stryker
Find the perfect mobile radio for your cab in Stryker’s selection of high-performing 10-meter radios. Our radios achieve exceptional sound quality over long distances and come with a range of user-friendly features for convenient operation on the road. And if it’s time to upgrade your setup, don’t forget about high-quality CB antennas that can take your radio’s performance to the next level!
Whatever your truck needs, Stryker Radios has you covered with top-tier CB radio equipment, including CB antennas, connectors, adapters, knobs, and other radio accessories. Our best-in-class warranty and stellar customer service make us a top choice among both professional and amateur operators who expect only the best from their radios.