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Choosing a CB Radio

Having recently completed two CB radio reviews for the folks at Right Channel Radios, I've been exchanging comments and information with them as the reader feedback rolls in.  I get a fair amount of questions along the line of "Which antenna should I get?" and "I need a CB radio.  There are so many to pick from, which one do I want?".  Andrew, the sales manager at RCR, was good enough to pass along some information that I'm putting here on the site....it should help answer some of the questions that come along (and you don't have to wait for me to provide you with an answer). 

So here are some things to ponder regarding choosing a CB radio.

The most important factor to understand when choosing a radio is that all CBs, regardless of their price, are limited to 4 watts of transmission power by the FCC. This means that a $50 bare-bones CB radio and a $200 chrome plated CB radio with every feature imaginable will have exactly the same transmission power. While a radio can be “peaked and tuned”, a process that increase a CB’s performance, all CB radios will have the same transmission power out of the box. There are a number of CB radio manufacturers, some of the more popular ones being Cobra, Uniden, Galaxy, and Midland.

What primarily differentiates CB radios from each other is their features, not their output strength. CB radios come with a number of features, the most popular of which we’ve outlined below:

When choosing a CB radio and its corresponding features, it’s important to focus on how and where the CB will be used. Specific vehicle owners tend to want different features in a CB radio:

There are a wide range of features available for CB radios and only the individual can best determine which feature set best suits their needs. As all CB radios are limited to 4 watts of output, the biggest factor determining radio performance is the antenna. A cheap radio and correctly installed quality CB antenna will perform infinitely better than an expensive radio and a poor antenna setup. Before selecting a CB antenna, we recommend reading our article which discusses Choosing the Best CB Antenna for your needs.

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