When you are on an off roading adventure with your truck or SUV, one piece of important safety gear or equipment you want to be in top condition at all times is your CB radio. It is a no brainer that you need the best CB radio for off roading when you have to communicate with the world especially in places without wireless signals.
The best CB radio for off roading doesn’t have to be the most expensive. This and many others are some common mistakes people make when they need to purchase one.
The price tag aside, it can be pretty impossible to pick a suitable CB radio that would serve all your needs while in the country far away from any town. This is because there are so many CB radios out there with awesome pitches to accompany the ads. It is easy to be fooled into buying a mediocre CB radio.
And because we don’t want you to be burnt like so many others, we took the pains to come up with this CB radio for off roading products guide. It is a collation of 5 of the best radios that scaled through our rigorous testing criteria.
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Criteria for Evaluating the Best CB Radio for Off Roading
Dozens of CB radios for off roading were evaluated. The 5 CB radios that made this review ticked over 95% of the factors we considered essential for a CB radio for off roading to be labeled the best of the best.
The important features include the following:
Size of the radio – CB radios come in all shapes and sizes. But a CB radio for your truck or SUV must be small and compact enough not take up too much space.
Extra points were given to DIN size radios because they can fit into any vehicle with a radio receptacle. Alternatively, the radios must come with strong, sturdy radio mounts that can be easily attached to the dashboard or any flat or convenient surface
RF Gain – This is an important feature that allows you to filter out the type of transmission based on the strength of the signal. Only the best CB radios have this feature.
This feature ensures that weak signals and background noise are not allowed to interfere with your signals. The RF gain also helps CB radio operators to boost weak signals if that is the only transmission available.
Automatic Noise Limiter (ANL) – Because you are mostly on the road, engine noise from your vehicle would likely interfere with your audio reception. The ANL is basically a noise filter that helps eliminates that noise.
CB radios without the ANL are not worth your time or money.
Squelch Control – The squelch control is one of the best technologies to be integrated into CB radios. With squelch control, you don’t have listen to static or noise from the radio. The radio is automatically activated only when a transmission is received.
Channel scanning function – The best CB radio for off roading should have this feature. It scans for activity on available channels and would stop and fixate on a signal when it receives a strong transmission.
With this function, you don’t have to flip through channels manually searching for active transmissions.
Displays with backlit feature – Off roading activities almost always include the need to use a CB radio in the night or in poor light. The best radios must come with a backlit display making it easy to operate the radio in these conditions.
Real-time weather updates – Having a real-time weather update is a desired feature for off-roaders. The CB radios in this guide all have access to NOAA radio stations for up to date weather reports: invaluable information in helping you plan your trip better.
Single Side Band (SSD) feature – All CB radios transmit to their full range with 4 watts of power. That is the minimum standard expected from CB radios.
With the SSB feature, the radio is able to transmit at 12 watts. This increases the range up to 3 times the normal range. The benefits of this cannot be overstated especially if you want to explore very remote places.
Top 5 Best CB Radio For Off Roading In 2019
1. Uniden PRO505XL 40-Channel CB Radio
This compact PRO505XL CB radio from Uniden is the perfect gadget for your off roading communications need. It is a 40-Channel CB radio that balances the most important features with functionalities of the very best CB radio without going overboard on the price tag.
For emergencies, it features an ‘instant channel 9’ function so you can easily tune the radio to the emergency channel 9. With the Signal/RF power indicator, checking the strength of incoming transmissions has never been easier.
Other features include amazing audio output with a squelch a knob to suppress interference from weak radio signals, a backlit display to easily read everything no matter the lighting conditions, channel selection button, and an external PA jack for connecting a PA speaker.
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2. Midland 5001Z 40-Channel Mobile CB with Switchable Filter
The Switchable Filter of the Midland 5001Z CB radio is quite an outstanding feature for such a modestly-priced CB radio for off roading. It has a noise blanker that effectively blocks out the humming and buzzing sound from power lines that many CB radio can’t quite eliminate.
The classic silver radio comes with the regulation 4 Watt output to give you the maximum range allowed for a CB radio. And the X-Tra Talk Mic Gain control helps to boost audio voice clarity during transmission.
You’d find many features expected of a great CB radio. These include the full-size microphone with a locking connector, a PA jack, a classic s-meter needle, an Automatic Noise Limiter and much more.
What you get is a solid CB radio that gets the basics right without the annoying beeps found in many modern radios.
3. Galaxy-DX-959 40 Channel AM/SSB Mobile CB Radio
People who are on the road often will appreciate the sturdy reliability of this Galaxy CB radio. Veteran CB operators would love the features and functionalities that are easy to master even for novices.
The features and functions are driver-friendly making them quite easy to use while the driver’s eyes are focused on the road with single dedicated knobs and buttons controlling different tasks. This precludes the need to look at the display while driving and using the radio at the same time.
The 40 channel CB radio with AM and Single Side Band (SSB) operational modes comes with a built-in SWR meter making it easy to adjust the antenna and monitor its tuning in real-time. The Starlite meter is illuminated so you can read the display at night easily.
Other notable features include the variable output power, high-SWR alert, mic gain, clarifier control, automatic SWR tuning for easy antenna calibration, etc.
4. President McKinley USA 40 Channel CB Radio
When you are on the road, you want a CB radio that is always reliable, rugged and would not fall apart suddenly. That is what you get with the versatile, 40-Channel President McKinley USA CB Radio.
This feature-rich, high-end CB radio comes pre-loaded with all the NOAA weather channels. The DIN sized radio also comes fitted with a front-facing speaker for great audio clarity, Switchable Talkback, Roger beep, variable RF control, awesome noise blanker, etc.
Capable of operating with both 12 and 24 Volts power input, it has other notable features such as the VOX ability; large LCD display, automatic squelch control; and dual watch function.
As a bonus, you can extend the warranty of the product to 5 years if you purchase a President Antenna along with the CB radio.
5. Cobra 18WXSTII CB Radio
The Cobra 18WXSTII CB radio is an awesome CB radio for off roading due to its simple design, easy operations and features that stand it out as a premium product with a budget price tag.
It is ideally suited for DIN radio slot installation or mounted with the ‘U’ bracket that comes with the package in motor homes, RVs, SUs and trucks. You don’t have to worry about the antenna you to use since it is compatible with the best antennas in the market.
This Cobra CB radio features dual-watch function to monitor two CB channels at once; dynamic CB channel scanning; an Integrated SoundTracker technology to enhance clear transmitting and reception of CB signals; instant Channel 9 to connect you directly to emergency services; 10 NOAA weather channels; a front-facing speaker that delivers excellent sound quality; etc.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the range of a standard CB radio?
Though CB radio transmission depends on several factors such as terrain and weather conditions, the typical range is generally between 3 and 4 miles for 4 watts radios. This range is tripled in 12 watts SSB CB radio.
How can I get the best range for CB radio?
For all standard CB radios, the transmission power, no matter the price of the unit, is limited to 4 watts due to FCC regulations. The quality of your antenna and how you installed the CB radio would largely determine the range.
Must CB Radios Include a speaker?
To listen to incoming signals, it is mandatory for CB radios to have speakers. The speaker location varies depending on the manufacturers and model. The common location for the speakers is on the CB radio’s bottom surface. In some models the speakers can be found on the front.
Also, the best CB radios for off roading come with support for external speakers in case you want to use a better speaker.
How is an external speaker different from PA speaker on a CB radio?
These two features might seem the same for many novices but they are actually quite different.
The external speakers are used to broadcast incoming CB messages and are almost always found inside the vehicle. The PA system on the other hand, is used by the operator to broadcast their voice message to people outside the vehicle through a microphone. The PA horn is mounted outside the vehicle.
With this guide, purchasing the best CB radio for off roading should now be a walk in the park. The radios featured here are the best with the latest features on them.
They would appeal to long-time users who need to replace or upgrade their old radios and to beginners who want to have a test of the off roading experience and need a new CB radio.
Whatever CB radio you choose, you are guaranteed full value for your money. The CB radios are all sturdy cancelling out the need for repairs or replacements soon after buying them.
And if this is your first time, there is no need to worry too much. The user’s manuals are easy to understand with very clear illustrations to guide you with the installation and operating process.