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Published Nov. 5, 2020

CB radios have long been a staple of roadway and job site communication. They’re faster than searching for contacts in your phone, safer than texting and driving, and—perhaps best of all—they don’t come with an expensive bill every month. Without the right antenna, your CB radio is nothing but dead weight. From fiberglass and magnetic mount antennas to whip and trucker antennas, there are plenty of options available, and each one is designed for specific needs and uses. It’s important to pick the right one so you can keep reliable communication within arms reach. 

Whether you need to replace a broken antenna or upgrade your current setup, the perfect antenna is waiting to start that next cross-country road trip with you.

The Best CB Antennas

Get extra range out of your CB radio with the FireStik 4-Foot Tunable Tip CB Antenna. This fiberglass antenna is larger than most antennas, giving users an extra bit of radio range, yet it stops well short of the traditional yet massive 8.5-foot whip antenna, keeping it down to a practical size. This unit is rated at 900 watts and features a 5/8 wavelength design. As with most CB antennas, this offering does as well; however, FireStik’s unique hand-tunable design makes calibration a breeze via the threaded tip. 

This ground plane antenna provides excellent performance, yet it lacks a base or coax cable. Thankfully, the FireStik 4-Foot Tunable Tip CB Antenna uses a tapered 3/8″ x 24 threaded base for easy mounting on standardized bases.

Key Features
  • Ground plane antenna
  • Top-loaded design
  • Fiberglass construction
  • 27 MHz frequency
Specification
  • Brand FireStik
  • Model FS-4BK
  • Weight 14.4 oz.
PROS

Good range

Flexible

Tough, durable construction

Compatible with multiple bases

Easy to tune

CONS

Relatively long antenna

No base or coax included

When it comes to quality CB antennas that don’t break the bank, the Tram Center-Load CB Antenna Kit truly shines. This two-foot antenna features a high, center-loaded coil to maximize the potential of an otherwise very limited whip height. Despite its limited range, this antenna ensures that all CB frequencies are covered, ensuring maximum channel options while on the move. The stainless steel ship is weather-resistant, and the strong, 3.5-inch magnet mount base secures this unit to any vehicle in all but the most intense weather conditions. The whip’s shock spring reduces the negative effects of low-clearance antenna strikes. 

This kit includes 17 feet of RG58 coax cable with PL-259 connectors. When bang for the buck counts, the Tram Center-Load CB Antenna Kit blows the competition away.

Key Features
  • Ground plane antenna
  • Center-loaded, plug-and-play design
  • Magnet mount base with shock spring
  • Covers all CB frequencies
Specification
  • Brand Tram
  • Model 703-HC
  • Weight 1 lb., 4.8 oz.
PROS

Short antenna

Base and coax included

Easy to mount and remove

CONS

Limited range

Step up your game with the Wilson Series Black Mobile CB Trucker Antenna. This CB antenna provides users with a build quality that clearly sets it apart from the competition. It easily screws into both magnetic base or bolt-on mounts due to its standard 3/8″ by 24 chromed brass ferrule, and it has a frequency range of 26 to 30 megahertz. This option is rated at 3,500 watts, and its oversized, center-loaded coil helps emulate the performance of the traditional 8.5-foot whip antenna. The coil sits on a five-inch shaft, and the 49-inch stainless steel antenna whip resting atop the coil maximizes any radio’s range. 

While a bit pricey, the ground plane Wilson Series Black Mobile CB Trucker Antenna certainly deserves a spot on this list.

Key Features
  • Ground plane antenna
  • Center-loaded design
  • 26-30 MHz frequency
Specification
  • Brand Wilson
  • Model 305-492
  • Weight 1 lb., 1.1 oz.
PROS

Excellent range

Compatible with multiple bases

Excellent sound quality

CONS

Tall antenna

No base or coax included

Looking for an antenna that can handle the rigors of the trail? The Aries Automotive 4-Foot 500-Watt CB Radio Antenna Kit is designed to take tough punishment while still trucking forward. This CB antenna strikes a balance between size, performance, and durability. The four-foot whip is constructed of tough fiberglass, designed to resist hard knocks along the road or trail, while the 3/8″ x 24 thread pitch of the base plays nicely with both the included mount and other standardized mounts. 

Rated for 500 watts of power, this antenna attaches to standard CB radio units via the six-foot coax cable with its PL-259 connectors. The Aries Automotive 4-Foot 500-Watt CB Radio Antenna Kit also includes a tough aluminum mirror mount for easy attachment to Jeeps and other vehicles.

Key Features
  • Ground plane antenna
  • Top-loaded design
  • Fiberglass construction
  • 26-30 MHz frequency
Specification
  • Brand Aries Automotive
  • Model EL-PN-47343550
  • Weight 1 lb., 8.8 oz.
PROS

Good range

Flexible

Tough, durable construction

Mount and coax included

CONS

Relatively tall antenna

Mount is designed for installation on narrow mirror struts

The Prostick 4-Foot 1000-Watt Fiberglass CB Radio Antenna clearly illustrates the advantages of using a simple, straightforward antenna design. Despite its relatively tall design, this American-made antenna is tougher than most, thanks in part to its VibraSorb design. This design leverages the physical properties of fiberglass to create a strong yet flexible, break-resistant antenna, improving the unit’s lifespan. The antenna’s mast attaches to mounting bases via a nickel-plated brass ferrule. The two are soldered together, then receive an epoxy bond on both the antenna and base’s touching surfaces. 

This top-loaded antenna is tuned at the factory and is not designed for easy tuning by the end-user, further simplifying its design and construction. When simplicity is king, the Prostick 4-Foot 1000-Watt Fiberglass CB Radio Antenna is its scepter.

Key Features
  • Ground plane antenna
  • Top-loaded design
  • Fiberglass construction
  • Proprietary VibraSorb design
  • 26.0-29.5 MHz frequency
Specification
  • Brand Prostick
  • Model TSM4PSB
  • Weight 6.4 oz.
PROS

Good range

Flexible

Tough, durable construction

CONS

Relatively tall antenna

Tuning takes extra effort

Base and coax not included

For off-roaders tackling trails with low-hanging hazards, the FireStik 3-Foot Tunable Tip CB Antenna provides a reliable antenna that can a licking and keep on ticking. This fiberglass unit employs a 5/8 wavelength and is rated for up to 650 watts of power. This antenna features a top-loaded coil to allow for different installation locations, and the unit itself can be tuned by hand without the need for tools. It ships solo, forgoing a base or coax cable; however, the 3/8″ x 24 threaded base accommodates installation on a wide variety of available bases, whether they be permanent mounts or magnetic bases. The tapered design also minimizes the FireStik 3-Foot Tunable Tip CB Antenna’s ability to walk itself out of its mount during use.

Key Features
  • Ground plane antenna
  • Top-loaded design
  • Fiberglass construction
  • 27 MHz frequency
Specification
  • Brand FireStik
  • Model FS-3BK
  • Weight 13 oz.
PROS

Relatively short antenna

Flexible

Tough, durable construction

Compatible with multiple bases

Easy to tune

CONS

Somewhat limited range

No base or coax included

Looking for a high-powered antenna that won’t get lost in the trees? The Tram 3-Foot Fiberglass Antenna meets those needs without breaking a sweat. The mighty mini antenna is rated for a whopping 1500 watts of power, ensuring excellent performance in any situation. With its fiberglass construction, this heavy-duty unit flexes easily, nonchalantly brushing aside off-road trail nuisances such as rocks and trees. 

This antenna is not part of a package, forcing users to purchase or repurpose an appropriate coax cable and mounting system. On the flip side, the base employs a standard 3/8″ x 24 thread pitch to ensure compatibility with virtually any mount on the market. Once installed, the Tram 3-Foot Fiberglass Antenna will provide users with amazing toughness, durability, and power.

Key Features
  • Ground plane antenna
  • Top-loaded design
  • Fiberglass construction
  • 26-29 MHz frequency
Specification
  • Brand Tram
  • Model 3-B-HC
  • Weight 6.4 oz.
PROS

Relatively short antenna

Flexible

Tough, durable construction

Compatible with multiple bases

CONS

Somewhat limited range

No base or coax included

The K40 K-30 Base Load Antenna provides CB radio users with all the features they want along with all the accessories they need. This capable antenna has an overall length of 38 inches, including the four-inch-wide magnetic base, and its 3/8-inch diameter helps it hold up to use on the interstate, where high speeds can damage thinner antennas. This unit’s stainless steel construction resists rust and corrosion, even in the face of road salt and humid climates, and it carries a power rating of 300 watts. 

The antenna also ships with a 15-foot coax cable with PL-259 connectors, ensuring that the only other purchase necessary is the radio unit itself. As such, the K40 K-30 Base Load Antenna is ready to roll right out of the box.

Key Features
  • Magnetic base
  • Ground plane antenna
  • Base-loaded design
  • 26-30 MHz frequency
Specification
  • Brand K40
  • Model K-30
  • Weight 3 lbs., 4.6 oz.
PROS

Short antenna

Base and coax included

Easy to mount and remove

CONS

Somewhat limited range

The Prostick 2-Foot 1000-Watt Fiberglass CB Radio Antenna may just be the toughest dude on the CB antenna block. Though quite short at only two feet long, this antenna was designed to take quite a beating, thanks in part to its proprietary VibraSorb design. The thin fiberglass mast provides the unit with some impressive flex that won’t compromise the unit’s durability. 

This American-made antenna features a rubber cap tip that can be removed for those wanting to custom-tune the unit to their exact specifications, although such a project is not for the faint of heart. The solid construction also features a nickel-plated brass ferrule designed to project strength, durability, and corrosion resistance. It’s impossible to go wrong with the tough, compact Prostick 2-Foot 1000-Watt Fiberglass CB Radio Antenna.

Key Features
  • Ground plane antenna
  • Top-loaded design
  • Fiberglass construction
  • Proprietary VibraSorb design
  • 26.0-29.5 MHz frequency
Specification
  • Brand Prostick
  • Model 5582661409
  • Weight 1.12 oz.
PROS

Short antenna

Flexible

Tough, durable construction

CONS

Limited range

Tuning takes extra effort

Base and coax not included

Looking to get started with CB radios without going whole hog? The RoadPro 24” Magnet Mount Stainless Steel CB Antenna Kit provides new CB operators with everything but the radio itself. This compact antenna maxes out at two feet, and it secures in place via a strong, grounding base magnet. While such a stubby whip has limited range, it is much less susceptible to being knocked off of car roofs by high-speed winds or low-clearance bridges (unless mounted on a lifted pickup). The spring-mounted whip further increases the unit’s survivability during antenna hits. The center-loaded coil provides antenna performance superior to most magnetic units which are base-loaded. The RoadPro 24” Magnet Mount Stainless Steel CB Antenna Kit also includes a magnetic base and nine feet of coax cable.

Key Features
  • Ground plane antenna
  • Center-loaded, plug-and-play design
  • Magnet mount base with shock spring
  • 26.0-29.5 MHz frequency
Specification
  • Brand RoadPro
  • Model RP-711
  • Weight 2 lbs.
PROS

Short antenna

Base and coax included

Easy to mount and remove

CONS

Limited range

Tuning takes extra effort

Best CB Antenna Buying Guide & FAQ

While CB radio may no longer be in its heyday, plenty of drivers and motorcycle riders still find a use for it every day. This inexpensive communication system only requires an initial investment to get started, and once that investment is made, it’s easy to get things rolling. As part of a CB system’s initial setup, the right antenna will make all the difference in an individual system’s success. When properly mounted, a good CB antenna can provide users with a range of 10 miles (or more), making on-road situational awareness easy to achieve without the long-range chatter common to ham radio usage.

Whether you use channel 19 to monitor the roads, want channel 13 for small group communication, or rely on access to channel 9 for emergencies, having the right CB antenna is critical to both sending and receiving any message in any situation.

Why Do You Need a CB Antenna?

When it comes to monitoring road conditions, checking weather reports, or calling for help when a Jeep rolls over, a CB radio is the perfect tool for the job. Most drivers today rely on cell phones for their communication needs, yet even today, the CB radio can be an invaluable tool on the road and off it.

Imagine breaking down on the side of I-70 in the middle of Kansas or rolling a 4×4 on the Rubicon Trail. In Kansas, a driver might be lucky enough to roll to a stop near a cell phone tower, but the Rubicon Trail is much less forgiving. In either situation, a reliable CB setup can make the difference between a frustrating inconvenience and a seriously dangerous situation. Of course, a CB radio is only as good as its antenna as these antennas maximize the potential of both box and handheld radios.

  • CB antennas can give radios a range of up to 10 miles (or more).
  • CB antennas can extend the range of small, low-range handheld units.
  • CB antennas provide users with clear signals for both broadcasting and receiving messages.
CB Antenna

Popular Types of CB Antennas

Almost anytime a manufacturer designs a CB antenna meant to tackle the open road, they will be forced to make compromises. While the standard 102-inch whip antenna will work wonders, most vehicles cannot accommodate this towering design. In order to create a road-friendly wire, most engineers will create one of three main designs: whip, ground plane, and no ground plane antennas. Ground plane and no ground plane antennas are by far the most popular with ground plane units featuring the widest amount of design variations.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass CB antennas usually employ a ground plane design and may just be the most rugged design on the market. Due to their semi-flexible construction, these antennas are more resistant to low-speed impacts and high winds than any other antenna. For off-road enthusiasts, these antennas are perfect for use in rough and wooded terrain.

On the flip side, fiberglass antennas may have a more limited range than similarly-sized antennas. These antennas may use a highly-efficient top-loaded coil to overcome their lower power output.

Fiberglass CB antennas usually require buyers to purchase the necessary mount and coax separately, which can make their pricing a bit deceiving to the inexperienced buyer.

Magnet Mount

As the name sounds, magnet mount CB antennas attach to the host vehicle via an extremely strong magnet, and ground plane designs take advantage of their powerful magnets to ground themselves in both senses of the word. These antennas are designed primarily for both casual CB operators and those who intend to use a single antenna on multiple vehicles. They can also be useful for amplifying the range of handheld CB units.

While their magnets are incredibly strong, these base-loaded units can still be blown off a vehicle by strong winds, making antenna height at extra important consideration during the selection process.

What to Consider When Buying a CB Antenna

Surprisingly, selecting a CB antenna requires some careful consideration. Each unit is built with specific uses and capabilities in mind, and buyers should choose one accordingly.

First, users should consider their antenna’s intended use. Is it intended for open road cruising and hauling, or will it be mounted on a rugged 4×4 setup? Will it be permanently installed in the user’s vehicle, or is it intended as a temporary setup for cross-country road trips? What kind of range will this radio setup require? Does the antenna need to be grounded to the vehicle? The answers to these questions will determine the physical specifications of the perfect antenna and the specifics of mounting it.

Second, users must consider more technical factors, such as the power (wattage) of their radio unit. Pairing an antenna and radio with different power ratings actually could do more harm than good.

The Most Important Features of CB Antennas

In addition to the physical aspects of a CB antenna, such as height and mounting system, users should also pay close attention to the more technical features of an antenna before purchasing it. Electronics of every kind can be irreparably damaged by those looking to hack the system or take a few shortcuts. While seemingly dull, an antenna’s grounding requirements are critical to understand.

Electrical Grounding

In the world of CB antennas, there are two basic types: ground plane and no ground plane (NGP). What’s the difference, and why does it matter?

Ground plane antennas function similarly to a car battery when being used to jump-start another car. While one jumper cable runs power to the dead battery, the other attaches to that vehicle’s frame (usually via a ground attachment point) to disperse excess electricity in a safe manner. Ground plane CB antennas work similarly, directing excess power to either the body or the frame of the host vehicle. This can be done through a dedicated ground attachment or through magnet mounts.

NGP antennas are designed to mount on vehicles with no substantial metal surfaces, such as RV bodies. While these units do not require grounding, they do require NGP coax and are less powerful than comparable ground plane antennas.

CB Antenna

Best CB Antenna FAQ:

While seemingly simple at first blush, automotive CB antennas still require a little bit of knowledge for proper selection and use. As with any component to an electrical system, CB antennas are specifically engineered to meet exacting standards, and while the standard 102-inch design works extremely well, the variations found in shorter, more auto-friendly designs can add just enough wrinkles to confuse both the uninitiated and the long-term user.

Q: What is the best height for a CB antenna?

It depends upon the antenna’s intended application. While longer antennas enjoy greater ranges, shorter antennas are less susceptible to damage in low-clearance settings, such as wooded trails and parking garages.

Q: What is a good CB antenna?

Due to the wide variety of potential applications, determining a “good” CB antenna will depend heavily upon the user’s end goal and intended application for the antenna.

Q: How do I know if my CB antenna is bad?

Touch a multimeter’s probes to the metallic tips at both ends of the antenna. If the meter indicates high electrical resistance, the antenna is damaged and must be replaced.

Our Top Pick

When it comes to finding the perfect compromise between size, range, price, and ease of use, the FireStik 4-Foot Tunable Tip CB Antenna comes out on top of the competition. This four-foot, hand-tunable unit is rated for 900 watts of power, and while it lacks a base and coax cable, the standardized thread pitch on its base ensures that it will work with virtually any base option on the market.

Final Thoughts

Selecting the right CB antenna can be a bit tricky, but for the majority of users, the FireStik 4-Foot Tunable Tip CB Antenna is an excellent option. On the flip side, if a tight budget rules the roost, be sure to pick up the Tram Center-Load CB Antenna Kit.

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