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Finding the best CB antenna can be a challenge. It’s difficult to know what features you should be looking for, and most of the products on the market seem remarkably similar to each other. While one source might recommend longer antennas for greater range, another might tell you that the length doesn’t affect range.
Most antennas are made of the exact same materials, too, which just makes it harder to distinguish one from another. Still, there are differences between each product, and we’ll cover these differences and help you choose the best antenna for your needs.
For more details on how to choose the best antenna, scroll to the bottom of this article. First, though, here are our recommendations for the best CB antennas for you to buy. These are based on user reviews, experience, and the specific uses for each antenna.
Best CB antenna for marine use: Tram VHF Marine Antenna
Best CB antenna for handheld radios: Authentic Genuine Nagoya UT-72 Super Loading Coil 19-Inch
Best CB antenna for trucking: Wilson 305-492 T2000 Series
Best CB antenna for mobile/car use: TRAM 703-HC Center Load CB Antenna Kit
Best CB antenna for stationary use: Hustler IC-56 Stainless Steel 102″ (8.5 feet) CB Band Antenna Whip
36 inches may seem short for an antenna meant for use on a boat, since eight foot antennas are common in marine applications.
Don’t let that fool you, though. The shorter antenna has some serious advantages. The length does limit the antenna somewhat, that can be mitigated by proper placement. If you mount this antenna in the same spot you would mount an eight foot one, the gain won’t be nearly as good.
If you mount it high, though, you can easily match the gain on a longer antenna. Since it’s only three feet long, you have the ability to mount it at heights that an eight foot antenna can’t be placed in. Mounting it high compensates nicely for the length.
The short length is also an advantage in windy conditions, as it won’t move nearly as much as a longer antenna would.
It’s very durable, too. Like any quality marine antenna, it’s made to withstand rough conditions and withstand corrosion well. This antenna covers all marine-band frequencies and the mounting kit is included.
This is a great marine antenna that should last for a long time, and can be mounted anywhere on your boat.
This two-foot tall antenna is a great model for use on cars or trucks. The 3.5 inch magnet mount on the base makes installation simple and quick. It also makes it very easy to move to a different vehicle, or to remove in order to protect it when going through a car wash. Since there’s no glue involved, it won’t harm your paint job, either.
It has a shock spring built in to allow it to survive the high winds generated at highway speeds as well as brushing under tree limbs in neighborhood roads.
The whip is made of stainless steel, which gives it a lot of durability. It won’t rust, and it can stand up to any weather conditions. The included cable is 17 feet long, which gives you a lot of flexibility when you install it in a vehicle.
You can tune the antenna with a screwdriver, and it covers all CB frequencies.
This is a nice, compact antenna for use on cars. It’s small enough that you won’t have to take it off to get into the garage, but it doesn’t compromise on range or power.
This model is very popular with truckers, and Wilson has a reputation for making antennas with a huge range and a lot of durability. It delivers a lot of clarity and can handle a lot of power, too.
The whip is stainless steel, and 49 inches long. That makes it a fairly large antenna, but you do need to be sure that the ball on the tip is fully clear of the cab or it won’t pick up the full range of frequencies. For truckers, it’s size is close to ideal.
A lot of people have mounted this on their cars, too. It’s probably a little oversized for that, but really the only issue is that it looks a bit weird to have such a large antenna on a small car. It will work just fine no matter what vehicle you mount it on.
It’s rated for 3500 Watts, so you can push a lot of power through it. The frequency range is 26 MHz to 30MHz.
One of the best choices for truckers, because it combines impressive range and gain with durability. That said, there’s no reason you couldn’t use it on a car, too.
With a 35-inch whip and a magnetic base, the K-30 is designed for use on personal vehicles. The fifteen-foot cable that’s included is sufficient for most people, and can easily be run through a window, so there’s no drilling required.
There’s no ball at the end, and tuning for SWR is accomplished by trimming the tip of the antenna. It’s rated for 300 watts, which isn’t bad, but it’s also not as good as a lot of the competition. You’ll find some mixed reviews on this antenna, but overall it’s a good one for the price and it gets the job done.
It may not work quite as well as some of the other models in this list, but it works well enough and it’s easy to use. It’s a solid choice for a CB radio in a car, and you won’t have much trouble with it.
Overall, this is a barebones antenna that’s designed to be easy to use. It won’t blow you away with its performance, but it will get the job done.
At just 19 inches, this is the shortest antenna on this list so far. That’s the point, though. This antenna is designed with mobility in mind.
You can mount it on a car if you like, but it’s also designed for use with handheld radios. The included SMA adapter cable allows you to install it directly into your handheld radio.
It also comes with a magnetic mounting base included, as well as a heavy-duty, fourteen foot RG-58 cable for vehicle installation. Since the mount is magnetic, it’s easy to transfer the antenna between your car and handheld radio whenever you want to.
The range is surprisingly good for such a short antenna, and it delivers excellent clarity. While it can’t match the power and performance or larger antennas, it’s much better than most handheld antennas and the ability to mount it on your vehicle and quickly swap it between a car and a handheld is a great feature.
If what you want is to buy one antenna that can be used for both a handheld and a car radio, this is the one.
A 35 inch stainless steel whip gives this antenna tremendous range, but it’s the attention to detail in every other feature that really sets it apart. The magnetic base is 4 inches wide- bigger than the average magnetic mounting base- which provides a lot of stability and a very secure base.
The mount also has a rubber boot on the bottom, which minimizes the risk of scratching. In addition to the standard CB frequencies, this antenna also includes weather channel capability. That’s a great feature that’s often overlooked.
It’s easy to tune, and installation is fast. Its range is nice, and users report transmitting and receiving at ranges of 7 miles or more in hilly terrain. Not bad for a 35 inch antenna. In fact, it’s hard to imagine many people needing more range than this antenna provides, unless you’re really way out in the middle of nowhere.
7 miles of range in hilly terrain means you’ll get more than that in flat terrain, so there’s no reason to worry about range with this antenna.
One of the biggest selling points of this antenna is the weather channel ability, but it really is a great antenna in it’s own right. The extra large base is a nice touch, too.
This antenna is huge; at 8.5 feet its far longer than most CB antennas, except marine models. While it’s designed to resist bending, it’s also strong enough that it can bend 180 degrees and snap right back, without suffering any damage.
In fact, you will often see this model being used with tape or plastic ties holding it down. A lot of people like to mount it towards the back of a car, and bend it forward and tie the tip down so that it runs along the side of the cab.
That way, you get the benefits of the long antenna but without having to worry about the antenna hitting things and getting damaged. The ball tip reduces static, and the whip itself is made of stainless steel for durability and corrosion resistance.
It can’t be tuned, so you’re limited to the 27MHz frequency. It can handle at least 1500 Watts, and that power combined with the length of the antenna gives it nearly limitless range. One user reports reaching central Mexico and the West Coast of Africa from Illinois.
If you want unlimited range, this is the antenna for you. It’s durable, affordable, and can be mounted on a car or used for a stationary unit.
Uniquely, this antenna can be purchased in different colors. It comes in red, white, blue, and black. It’s also unique because the antenna isn’t a stainless steel whip.
This antenna is coated in fiberglass and copper insulation, and then surrounded by a waterproof sleeve that also protects it from UV rays. The sleeve also reduces static.
The antenna comes with a tuning device on the tip, so you can be sure and tune it exactly the way you want it. You’ll need to buy a mount for it, but once the mount is installed installing the antenna is as simple as screwing it in.
It’s very tough, able to take hits from brush and trees without any damage, so it’s a great off-road antenna. It’s three feet long, and can handle 650 Watts, so you’ll get plenty of range on it, too.
The waterproof sleeve is mostly a gimmick, but it does allow you to choose different colors for your antenna. That’s a purely aesthetic choice, but it is nice to have color options.
This is another model that’s designed to function well as an antenna for both handheld and car radios. The 14 inch length makes it very manageable for a handheld unit, while the magnetic base it comes with makes for easy car installation.
It comes with all the necessary cables for connecting it to either a handheld or car unit, to, so there are no extra parts you need to purchase. The range won’t be impressive, but users report getting up to 5 miles of range on it, which isn’t bad.
It does come with a rubber protector that goes between the magnet and your car to protect from scratching. The whip itself is coiled into a spring about 1/3 of the way up. While this might be better than having no spring at all, it’s a little concerning and it looks flimsy. It isn’t clear how durable this antenna is.
If you’re using it for a handheld radio, though, that’s a non-issue.
This one is really better suited to handheld use than car use, in our opinion. It will work well for both, but it just feels a bit flimsy and we’re more comfortable with it on a handheld.
This is another great, 8.5 foot antenna that gives you nearly unlimited range. The whip is stainless steel and, while it’s fairly rigid, it can bend to 180 degrees and then spring back into position without suffering any damage.
What sets this antenna apart is that it can be used for both CB and ham radio, so there’s no need for a dual antenna setup if you use both. It’s threaded on the bottom for mounting, but it doesn’t come with any mounting equipment or cables included. The antenna is the only thing in the box.
It may sound nitpicky, but that’s a problem. Every other antenna here includes the cables, because there’s no guarantee that you already have the appropriate cable for that antenna. They also usually include some mounting equipment, just in case you don’t have all the gear on hand that you need.
A decent, long-range antenna, but it doesn’t come with any cables or mounting equipment.
The first thing you need to do is determine what you’re using your antenna for. CB radios have a wide range of uses. They’re mounted on boats to allow you to communicate with the Coast Guard. Offroad drivers like them because they give them the ability to communicate with other drivers and emergency services even when there is no cell reception.
Others just like using the CB radio as a hobby. It’s fun to be able to turn on the radio and chat with people from all over the country, or even all over the world. Hobbyists or survivalists may want to choose longer, more powerful antennas.
The Hustler antenna, for instance, has effectively unlimited range. Users have been able to connect with radio operators on different continents, with thousands of miles and entire oceans between them.
Range like that is great for those just using it for fun, but it’s overkill if you just need to be able to contact the Coast Guard because the engine in your boat died. Most people don’t need such a long range antenna.
If you want to mount it on your car, you’ll also need to decide how you want it mounted. Magnetic mounts are by far the easiest to install, and they really protect your paint. They also allow for easy removal if you want to take the antenna off before using a car wash, or if you want to use the antenna with a different radio.
More permanent mounts are much more secure, though. A magnetic mount will never be as strong as a threaded mount that’s bolted onto the car.
Other than that, there aren’t a whole lot of features to consider. It mostly comes down to build quality at this point, and there are antennas out there that are cheaply made, and won’t last long at all. The price of a CB antenna isn’t a huge factor either, as most of them are similar in price. Furthermore, the price itself is not typically an indicator of quality.
The general price range is roughly $20-$50, and most of them hover around the middle of that range. Still, some of the best antennas are near the bottom end, and some of the least popular are close to the top. All this to say, other than making sure you stay within your budget, don’t pay attention to the price tag.
We’ve established that you don’t need to look at price. You also don’t really need to worry about the material it’s made of. Nearly all of them are made of stainless steel, and additional materials are generally just sleeves designed to protect the antenna from weather conditions.
That said, it’s a bit of a red flag if an antenna has such a sleeve. Some antennas with sleeves are still of high quality, like the Firestik we listed, but some aren’t. Even the good ones, though, are just using the sleeve as a marketing gimmick. Remember, they’re made of stainless steel. Stainless steel doesn’t need protection from the elements.
Length is one of the more important things to consider. It’s easy to assume that a longer antenna gives a better range, and this is generally true. However, for most uses, the range difference between a three foot antenna and an eight foot antenna is irrelevant.
That’s because eight foot antennas, like the two we listed here, have effectively unlimited range. They can, quite literally, reach radio operators in different countries and different continents. That’s great for hobbyists, but mostly useless for any practical purpose.
You’ll notice, though, that you don’t see a range listed for any of these antennas. That’s because range isn’t purely a function of length. It’s also related to the specific radio you use, the amount of power running through the antenna, the elevation you’re at, and where the antenna is mounted.
Any range we mention in this article is based on user experiences, not manufacturer specifications. So, why pay attention to length?
Mostly, length matters because if affects where you can mount your antenna, and where you can drive a car with the antenna mounted. You wouldn’t want an eight foot antenna attached to a handheld radio, after all.
Most of the antennas made specifically for use in personal vehicles are around three feet long, with antennas for trucking coming in at about four feet. These give you plenty of range without hindering your ability to drive under bridges or through tunnels, or park in a garage. They also won’t hit too many branches when you’re driving off-road.
The mounting method matters, too. Magnetic bases have become very popular for car antennas. They are very easy to install, and they don’t usually require you to do any drilling or other permanent modifications to your car.
However, many people still prefer to use more permanent mounts. Sometimes this is because they feel that these are more secure. Often, though, it’s because they already have such a mount on their car, but they need to replace an old antenna.
Antennas with magnetic bases generally cannot be used on a threaded mount, so be sure you know which kind you need. Many magnetic mounted antennas can also double as an antenna for a handheld radio.
Cables are the final major consideration. The best antennas should come with all the cables you need to connect it to the radio. If the antenna can be used for a car radio or a handheld radio, it should come with cables for both.
Ultimately, you’ll be pleased with any of the antennas we’ve listed here. All of them work well and are reasonably priced. As long as you choose the right mounting method for your needs, it’s hard to go wrong.