Best Handheld CB Radios w/ Reviews [2021]

Handheld CB radios have been a staple for hikers, hunters, and off-roaders for many years. Below I detail the best handheld CB radios, sharing what's important, what I like and dislike as well to help you make an informed decision.

Best Handheld CB Radios in 2021

  • Cobra HH 50 WX ST - (Perfect For The Beginners)

  • Cobra HHRT50 - ROAD TRIP (Best Overall)

  • Midland 75-822 - (Longest Range)

  • Midland 75-785 - (Best No Frills)

  • Uniden Pro 401 HH - (Best Value)

  • Uniden Pro 501 HH - (Clearest Sound)

BEST OVERALL:

Cobra HHRT50 Road Trip Cb Radio - Emergency Radio, Travel Essentials, 2-Way Handheld Black Radio with Rooftop Magnet Mount Antenna, NOAA Channels, Dual Watch & 40 Channel Access

Cobra HHRT50 - ROAD TRIP

  • 40 channels of full CB radio
  • Comes with a magnetic mount antenna
  • 10 weather channels
  • Dual-Channel Operation
  • Nice, clear sound
Our Top Pick
Cobra HH RT 50 - ROAD TRIP
  • Magnetic Mount Antenna - Operate your handheld CB radio from your vehicle
  • Soundtracker System- Noise reduction system for clearer communication
  • Dual-Channel Operation - Monitor two pre-selected channels at once
Buy Now
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

The 6 Best Handheld CB Radios in 2021

The 6 Best Handheld CB Radios Available

1. Cobra HH 50 WX ST - (For The Beginners)

The Cobra HH 50 WX ST is a nice little handheld CB radio that would be perfect for the average joe who doesn't need all of the fancy bells and whistles found in more expensive radios.

Cobra HH50WXST Hand Held CB Radio - Emergency Radio, Travel Essentials, Earphone Jack, 4 Watt, Noise Reduction & NOAA Alerts

This is due to the fact it's extremely affordable and still manages to be a pretty good handheld CB radio overall. It's surprisingly small for such an affordable CB radio, coming in at 7.25 x 2.25 x 1.75 which makes them really lightweight so they're not cumbersome when you're out on the trails or 4wding, etc.

The HH 50 also comes with a backlit display that is easy to read in the dark as well as 40 channels for quick access and of course an external speaker jack if you don't want to rely on the built-in one.

One other feature that is worth its weight in gold is Cobra’s Soundtracker Noise Reduction System. This helps limit interference for a true transmission making a clearer conversation.

The omni-directional microphone allows transmissions to be picked up from multiple directions. The range is Up to 4 miles range. Range will vary between 1/2 and 4 miles depending on terrain and weather. 

-You may like: FULL REVIEW of the Cobra HH 50 WX ST

Cobra HH50WXST Hand Held CB Radio - Emergency Radio, Travel Essentials, Earphone Jack, 4 Watt, Noise Reduction & NOAA Alerts

Overall this handheld CB radio offers a lot of value considering how inexpensive it is. It would be perfect for someone looking for a basic handheld CB radio without all the extras at a price that won't break the bank - check out the latest price here.

What I like:

  • Cobra’s Soundtracker Noise Reduction System does a great job! 
  • It has a small form factor so you can carry it around with ease and operate it without your hands getting tired 
  • It has great range which is pretty good considering its compact size;
  • It's relatively a great price 

What I don't like:

  • The antenna is not great. Expect to get about 100 meters or so. After that, it's time to upgrade, consider using a high gain mag mount antenna like the Cobra HG1500
Cobra HH50WXST Hand Held CB Radio - Emergency Radio, Travel Essentials, Earphone Jack, 4 Watt, Noise Reduction & NOAA Alerts
  • Sound tracker The sound tracker system helps by cutting 90% of the noise, You'll hear crystal clear communication without the distractions of static and interference.
  • Noaa weather channels - be the first to know of incoming Hazards or changing weather with instant access to NOAA weather channels 24 hours a day.
  • Channel scan - find the channel with the best signal automatically, with 40 channels to chose from. You won't have to manually search for a strong signal again.
  • Dual watch - select two channels to constantly monitor simultaneously. Keep an ear open for incoming transmissions on multiple channels so you will hear alerts around you.
  • Extended range - 4 Watt power output allows maximum power and extended range of communication.



2. Cobra HHRT50 - ROAD TRIP (Best Overall)

Cobra HHRT50 Roadtrip is by far the best handheld CB radio available.

Cobra HHRT50 Road Trip Cb Radio - Emergency Radio, Travel Essentials, 2-Way Handheld Black Radio with Rooftop Magnet Mount Antenna, NOAA Channels, Dual Watch & 40 Channel Access

It is perfectly designed for road trips (hence the name). Packed with an omnidirectional microphone, a magnetic mount for the roof of your vehicle, and a simple-to-use interface, the HH RT 50 is perfect for long trips. It's important to call out that it comes with a dual-channel, so you can tune in to two pre-selected channels at once.

-Read my full review of the Cobra HHRT50 here. 

Just like the 50 WX ST, the Cobra HHRT50 features the Cobra Soundtracker Noise Reduction System which helps limit interference for a true transmission. It also comes with the cigarette lighter cord/charger adapter. It does come with the 10 NOAA weather channels.

- You may like: What are the 4 Types of CB Radios?

Cobra HHRT50 Road Trip Cb Radio - Emergency Radio, Travel Essentials, 2-Way Handheld Black Radio with Rooftop Magnet Mount Antenna, NOAA Channels, Dual Watch & 40 Channel Access

I like the look and feel of this sturdy, yet not overly clunky compared to other handheld cb radios

What I like:

  • Cobra’s Soundtracker Noise Reduction System is excellent as eliminating noise 
  • Comes with magnetic mount antenna for in-vehicle operation
  • Best Handheld CB radio due to its durability, weight, size and range, and ease of use

What I don't like:

  • 9 AA batteries are required and are not included
  • Is heavy when the batteries are installed
Cobra HHRT50 Road Trip Cb Radio - Emergency Radio, Travel Essentials, 2-Way Handheld Black Radio with Rooftop Magnet Mount Antenna, NOAA Channels, Dual Watch & 40 Channel Access
  • MAGNETIC MOUNT MOBILE ANTENNA - Allows mobile operation from your vehicle. Mount the magnetic antenna to the roof of your car and use your radio easily from inside your vehicle.
  • SOUND TRACKER SYSTEM - Don’t miss any important information due to interference or static, with the Sound tracker system cutting 90% of the noise, you'll hear crystal clear communication
  • 10 NOAA WEATHER CHANNELS - Be the first to know of incoming hazards or changing weather w/ instant access to NOAA weather channels 24 hours a day and audible tone if an emergency or threatening weather is nearby while monitoring up to 3 channels at once
  • DUAL WATCH - select two channels to constantly monitor simultaneously. Keep an ear open for incoming transmissions on multiple channels so you will hear alerts around you.
  • 40 CHANNEL ACCESS - Navigate the complete range of 40 channels for full coverage of CB stations.

3. Midland 75-822 - (Longest Range)

The Midland 75-822 offers the best build quality and the longest range due to the built-in antenna.

Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB-Way Radio

The Midland is known for its very tough and durable design. This handheld CB radio is extremely popular with off-roading and 4wding enthusiasts because of its superior long-range that makes it great for communicating when you're out on the trails.

Unlike the Cobra brand, the Midland 75-822 comes with 6 AA batteries! Fair warning; the Amazon basics rechargeable batteries for some reason do not work with this handheld CB radio. Midland is aware of the issue and is working on it. So I recommend a different pack, perhaps Panasonic.

I like the ANL feature - Midland's automatic noise limiter (ANL) and squelch control for improving reception and eliminating noise, it's good but not Cobra good!

-If you are interested, I have a FULL REVIEW on the Midland 75-822 here

The Midland 75-822 features a "dual watch feature" option so you can monitor channel 9 and another channel of your choice simultaneously.

Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB-Way Radio

It has a built-in antenna which helps ensure you have the maximum range to make sure you stay safe while off-roading etc. It is one of the smaller handheld CB radios available.

The only real downside seems to be the lack of extras like Weather Scan, Channel Scan, and PA function. But it makes up for it with its solid mid-range performance - click here to check the latest price.

What I like:

  • Compact and fits in your hand easily
  • Built-in antenna
  • Sturdy feel to it
  • 6 AA batteries are included

What I don't like:

Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB-Way Radio
  • Portable CB radio with 40 CB channels, 10 NOAA channels, and 4 Watts of output power
  • Power with six AA batteries or included cigarette lighter adapter for mobile use
  • Instant access to NOAA Radio, channels 9 and 19; Dual Watch monitors channel 9 and additional channel
  • ANL (automatic noise limiter) and squelch control for improving reception and eliminating noise

4. Midland 75-785 - (Best No Frills)

The Midland 75-785 is our choice for the best value handheld CB radio. It doesn't have any of the extra bells and whistles that a lot of other brands come with but it still manages to offer decent performance in all areas like battery life, sound quality, etc.

Midland 75-785 40-Channel CB Radio

It also comes with Midland's automatic noise limiter (ANL) and squelch control designed to improve reception and eliminate noise.

Nothing fancy about it as it offers the standard 40 AM channels (No SSB) a volume knob and a squelch knob - For the price, it is your standard, no-frills best value handheld CB radio. Click here to check the latest price on Amazon.

What I like:

  • Easy to use - Nice entry-level CB radio
  • 100 yards to half-mile with the stock antenna

What I don't like:

  • 9 AA batteries are required and are not included
  • It's basic - no extra features
Midland 75-785 40-Channel CB Radio
  • Padlocks, Lockout/Tagout & Security Equipment
  • Country of manufacture: United States
  • Manufacturer: MIDLAND RADIO
  • Handheld CB radio with 40 CB channels and maximum-allowed four watts output power
  • Power with nine AA batteries or included cigarette lighter adapter for mobile use

5. Uniden Pro 401 HH - (Best Value)

This is a great mid-range handheld CB radio that offers a lot of value considering how inexpensive it is. Fairly reasonable priced which is right around the market average price for most good quality handheld CB radios.

Uniden PRO401HH Professional Series 40 Channel Handheld CB Radio, 4 Watts Power with Hi/Low Power Switch, Auto noise cancellation, Belt Clip And Strap Included, 2.75in. x 4.33in. x 8.66in.

It has an extendable antenna and an accessory port on top of the radio which makes it easy to attach external options if you don't want to rely on the built-in ones.

The Uniden Pro 401 HH also comes with 11 weather channels with automatic alerts that make them perfect for 4wding trips or different off-roading adventures etc where you might get stuck somewhere and have to deal with adverse weather conditions like rain, snow or extreme heat, etc.

The Dual Watch feature is similar to the Midland 75-822, you can listen to two channels at one time. I recommend upgrading the rubber ducky antenna that it comes with (try the HYS 40in. antenna)

Overall this is a really solid option if you're looking for decent mid-range handheld CB radio. It's one of the cheapest options on this list and while not top end it still manages to offer great quality and features.

You can read my full Uniden Pro 401Hh Review here. 

Uniden PRO401HH Professional Series 40 Channel Handheld CB Radio, 4 Watts Power with Hi/Low Power Switch, Auto noise cancellation, Belt Clip And Strap Included, 2.75in. x 4.33in. x 8.66in.

What I like:

  • You get what you pay for - Uniden is a quality name in the world of CB radios
  • Very easy to use
  • Offers the dual watch feature like other higher-end CB radios

What I don't like:

  • 9 AA batteries are required and are not included
  • The plastic belt clip is flimsy and will break
  • It's slightly taller than other handheld CB radios - 8.66 inches tall without an antenna
Uniden PRO401HH Professional Series 40 Channel Handheld CB Radio, 4 Watts Power with Hi/Low Power Switch, Auto noise cancellation, Belt Clip And Strap Included, 2.75in. x 4.33in. x 8.66in.
  • The Uniden PRO401HH delivers the convenience of a handheld CB radio with the security of knowing you have the longest range possible so you can always stay in touch.
  • Features a low-power setting to conserve battery life and a high-power setting so you can extend your range When needed.
  • Designed for use in the citizens band (CB) radio service, the PRO401HH mobile radio will operate on any of the 40 CB frequencies authorized by the (FCC).
  • Whether you're in your car, truck, Van or bike, over the road, camping out or just out hiking the trail, The high performance PRO401HH s you're never out of touch.
  • It’s compact and lightweight, weighing approximately 1 pound making it easy to operate with one hand. The design features strategically placed controls and jacks on the top, left, and right side.

6. Uniden Pro 501 HH - (Clearest Sound)

The Uniden Pro 501 HH is our choice for the best high-end handheld CB radio.

Uniden PRO501HH Pro-Series 40-Channel Portable Handheld CB Radio/Emergency/Travel Radio, Large LCD Display, High/Low Power Saver, 4-Watts, Auto Noise Limiter, NOAA Weather, and Earphone Jack

Is it the best handheld CB radio? It's not far off.

This CB radio has everything you could need in a handheld CB radio and then some. It comes with all of the built-in features that everyone looks for like 11 weather channels, an external speaker jack and the built-in automatic noise limiter (ANL), and squelch control so you can capture a great transmission and eliminate noise.

From additional features, the Uniden Pro 501HH has a microphone in-port and a speaker out-port.

Read my full Pro 50 HH Review here

Uniden PRO501HH Pro-Series 40-Channel Portable Handheld CB Radio/Emergency/Travel Radio, Large LCD Display, High/Low Power Saver, 4-Watts, Auto Noise Limiter, NOAA Weather, and Earphone Jack

All these options make one of the most versatile out there and would make a great choice for anyone looking for a top-end handheld CB radio.

What I like:

  • Sleek design
  • Additional ports
  • Pro = Clearer sound quality
  • Very easy to use

What I don't like:

  • 9 AA batteries (not included)  
  • Belt clip breaks easily
  • Bulky
Uniden PRO501HH Pro-Series 40-Channel Portable Handheld CB Radio/Emergency/Travel Radio, Large LCD Display, High/Low Power Saver, 4-Watts, Auto Noise Limiter, NOAA Weather, and Earphone Jack
  • The Uniden Pro-Series PRO501HH compact handheld CB radio offers high-performance full 40-Channel CB operation and 10 weather channels in a compact rugged handheld design
  • Extremely popular for industrial commercial and off-road use Use high power to punch out the strongest signal or low power to preserve battery life selectable 4 Watt Hi /1 Watt low power Instant channel 9/19
  • Noaa weather keeps you informed when severe weather threatens And the dual watch feature lets you talk on one channel while keeping an ear on another channel you are interested in
  • Built-in anl (automatic noise limiter) and squelch control fine-tune performance and eliminate noise External speaker jack and external mic jack Large backlit LCD - Multifunction display that is easy to read day or night
  • Package includes antenna w/ bnc connector belt clip hand Strap owner’s manual cigarette plug adapter for both charging Ni-MH batteries and/or external power Rechargeable (9 AA Ni-MH) or (9 alkaline AA) batteries (not included)

Our Top Pick
Cobra HH RT 50 - ROAD TRIP
  • Magnetic Mount Antenna - Operate your handheld CB radio from your vehicle
  • Soundtracker System- Noise reduction system for clearer communication
  • Dual-Channel Operation - Monitor two pre-selected channels at once
Buy Now
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Why buy a handheld CB radio?

There are a few good reasons to buy a handheld CB radio over base or mobile CB radios.

First, if you don't need a CB for daily use - say you only have specific job sites where CBs are necessary - then having an extra handheld around will be useful so you can take it with you from site to site and not have to worry about carrying your expensive base station around.

Second, If you just want an alternative way of communicating on the road (I mean who doesn't love talking via walkie-talkie?) then a handheld is great because it is relatively affordable and easy to operate.

Last but not least, if your truck or car has poor radio reception - let's say at night in rural areas - then a handheld will be better at receiving weak signals than most mobile or base radios because they use rubber duck antennas.

What impacts the handheld CB range?

RADIATED POWER:

The performance of the radio will be affected by how efficiently its antenna radiates power.

Some factors that contribute are:

  • The condition and location of the antenna (higher is better)
  • The physical length of the antenna (longer is better)


ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS

The effective range of a CB radio is limited by tall buildings, trees, hills, and interference from other CB radios as well as sunspot activity.

The easiest way to maximize your range is by using the longest antenna possible and make sure that SWR is properly adjusted.


Best Handheld CB Radios Buyers Guide

Transmission Range of the Handheld CB Radio

What should you look for in the transmission range of the best handheld Cb radios?

Start by reading the specs of a handheld CB radio you're looking at. For example, something like this:

"This handheld CB radio has a range of 14 miles which is great for trucks and cars."

What does that actually mean?

Well, it means that if someone were to hold their handheld CB radio out of the window (14 miles away from the person speaking) it would still work very clearly and be easy to understand.

While transmission range is important, it takes into consideration that someone is holding their handheld CB radio out of the window. A better way to gauge transmission range would be to look at how far away you can hold the handheld CB from your vehicle with a clear signal.

Handhelds come in various ranges of about 2-10 miles generally speaking. If you don't plan on using yours outside, say inside of buildings or underground then anything with an "around 2-mile range" will be fine. If you want something that can get through walls and buildings then go for a 5-10 mile range.

Automatic Channel Scan

This is a feature on handheld CBs that allows you to wave your radio over the channels and it'll automatically tune into active channels. It's a pretty nice-to-have feature especially if you've got a lot of different people using your handheld CB radio. Most of the best handheld CB radios come with 10 NOAA weather channels, 40 channels, and an automatic channel scan. feature

External Speaker Jack

This is fairly self-explanatory but basically, if your handheld CB has an external speaker jack, that means you can plug a beefy CB into it to increase its sound quality and power. Though not as important as some of the other features here, it's still nice to have.

Easy Access to Emergency Channels

If you're going to be using a handheld CB radio off-road, on trails, or in the bush make sure to look for one that has easy access to emergency channels.

Automatic Noise Limiter

This is a feature that reduces background noise and increases voice clarity. This has more of an effect on handheld CB radios than it does on larger base station CB radios as they're not usually exposed to much environmental noise so the quality of transmissions is less affected by this. All of the ones listed above in my review of the best handheld CB radios offer some sort of noise limiter.

Squelch Control

This feature allows you to control the level of reception. This is very important on handheld CB radios as, without it, you'll hear background noise from all channels and have no way of knowing which channel has a transmission on it.

-You may like: What is Squelch?

Backlit Display

A Backlit Display is useful on handheld CB radios as it makes it easier to see the settings in the dark.

The Control Knob Size

Think about where you'll be placing your handheld CB radio and how much space you have for it. Also, what kind of grip do you like? Chances are people with large hands would prefer larger knobs than those with small hands.

Battery Life of Portable CB Radio

Battery life is fairly important when choosing a handheld CB radio, especially if you're going to be off-road where there might not be power outages often and your radios will rely on their batteries for power. Look for something like this in the specs: "battery life of 30 hours."

Regardless of which one of the best handheld CB radio you go with, the batteries will be an issue for you at some point. My recommendation is to pick up a quality set of rechargeable batteries.

Size of the Radio (Height x Width x Depth)

What does size matter?

It matters because you might want to put your handheld CB radio somewhere like in your car or truck and depending on where you're putting it, you'll need something small and discreet versus something large and bulky.

Something with dimensions around 5x3x1 is pretty standard for a handheld CB radio. Channel Range of the best Handheld CB Radio

It's important to look at the channel range of a handheld CB radio before you purchase it. You want something that'll cover all the different channels along with any new ones that get introduced.

Price

Price is important when it comes to CB Radios because they can range from under $30 to well over $400 so do your research and read some reviews before you buy.