7 Best SWR Meter for CB Radios: SWR Meter Reviews

7 Best SWR Meter for CB Radios: SWR Meter Reviews

Last Updated on by Wayne

best SWR meter for CB Radios

best SWR meter for CB Radios

You will never set up a solid CB system without a CB radio SWR meter. Peaking and tuning your CB radio antenna will never be the same without these devices.

This is exactly whey you will see expert CBers investing in the best SWR meter for CB radios. After all, these devices don’t cost much and can be a great companion in your endeavors.

Table of Contents

Best CB Radio SWR Meters

SWR Meter Higlights
#1. Workman SWR2T: Best in the Market
  • Tests SWR & RF Power
  • Set from 5-1000 Watts
  • Manufactured for 50-ohm antennas
  • Easy to read
#2. MFJ-259C: (Best SWR meter for Skilled  CB Engineers)

  • Reads antenna’s impedance and SWR
  • Easy to read; two-line LCD
  • The frequency counter is in-built
  • Ranging from 0.53-230 MHz
  • Requires AA Batteries
#3. ASTATIC PDC1: Best for Amateur Users

  • Three-function analog test meter
  • Tests 50-ohm antennas
  • Portable; small and lightweight
  • Tests SWR & Relative power
#4. ASTATIC (302- 01768): Best Price

  • Measures RF power and SWR
  • Measures all 50-Ohm antennas
  • For mobile and base operations
  • Max power meter- 50 Watts
$5. Workman SWR3P: Exclusively designed for CB Radios

  • Metal body
  • 1.7- 30 MHz frequency range
  • Has SO-239 UHF connector
  • Field strength antenna
#6. ASTATIC (302-PDC2) : Most Versatile

  • Forward and reverse switches
  • 10-100 watts switches
  • Tests all 50-ohm antennas
  • Mounting bracket and hardware
  • Tests RF power & SWR
#7. Workman 104 : Designed for Complex Tasks

  • Covers all CB frequency bands
  • Tests VHF, HF & UHF bands
  • Provides detailed measurements
  • Power range: 5-200 watts

 

CB Radio SWR Meter: Why Should You Buy One?

CB Radio SWR Meter

CB Radio SWR Meter

We are living in a technologically evolved world currently which includes devices such as smartphones that come with a top performance internet connection as well as inbuilt GPS. However, there are times when you will find yourself in a remote area where the mobile phone network and internet connection is a major challenge. This is where a CB radio comes in handy.

To ensure optimal performance of your CB radio, you will be required to tune it from time to time. The most effective way of doing this is by using an SWR meter.

Most people ignore the use of SWR Meters. They believe buying the most powerful CB radio on the market and the best CB antenna is enough. Turns out, this is a huge misconception.

In order to be in a position to tune your radio, the starting point would be getting your hands on a top-notch quality SWR Meter.

Tuning your antenna, or basically adjusting the SWR (Standing Wave Ratio) is all about adjusting the antenna in order to get the right length required for transmission. Failure to do so can lead to total damage to your radio.

Here are some reasons as to why you need to get yourself an SWR meter for your CB radio.

  • With a quality SWR meter, you are in a position to get that perfect signal from your HAM or CB radio
  • It is a good indicator of the standing wave ratio level
  • With a good SWR Meter, you can get to align communication channels perfectly
  • They come with ease of use
  • They allow you to reduce or completely do away with interference
  • Before any damage to your radio, whether minor or serious, an SWR meter alerts you of any performance issues.

Best SWR Meter for CB Radios: Reviews

There are so many SWR Meters available in the market. As such, it can get daunting to choose exactly which one you would need. There are so many factors to consider; your budget, the device’s performance, durability, quality and so many more.

Lucky for you, you do not need to go over the hustle of researching for the best device day and night. We have put together a list of 7 of the best SWR meters for CB radios based on merit. Read on for further details including their features.

  1. WORKMAN SWR2T: Best in the Market

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If you are in search of a top-quality device that does not occupy too much space, then the Workman SWR2T & CX-3-PL-PL is your perfect choice.

This excellent device is designed to adjust to wide power ranges, starting from 5-1000 watts!

It is compatible with 50 Ohm antennas. It comes in handy to tune sideband radios as well as AM radios. It has a backlight which makes it way much easier to read the meter.

It is ideal for base station and bench installations, with an accuracy of either -10% or 10%. It comes with a guide for ease of reference on the usage.

Highlights:

  • The SWR2T  can be used to tune both sideband and AM radios
  • The backlight enhances illumination for the meter’s easy legibility
  • It adjusts to a wide power range
  • Does not occupy a lot of space
  • Works well with all 50-Ohm antennas
  1. MFJ-259C; Best for Instant Antennae Performance Evaluation

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Are you the kind that prefers instantaneous almost simultaneous results starting from SWR readings, impendence, cable length to the rate factor? The MJF-259C is exactly what you need.

It comes in a large size, making it easier to see the readings. Its unique feature is the ability to give instantaneous antenna performance analysis. You are able to read the impedance, SWR antenna, cable length, and rate factor.

With the MFJ- 2859C, it is quite easy to see the readings given its large size. All information is quickly displayed on three screens. It runs on batteries, but it always gives battery low warnings.

The MFJ-259C tunes your antennas perfectly for optimal performance and comes with a 0.1 Hz accuracy.

Highlights:

  • The MFJ-259C has 3 screens for quick display of information
  • It runs on batteries, but it has a battery-low warning
  • Instantaneous reading of the antenna’s SWR and impendence
  • Requires 10 AA batteries
  • Quick display of information on three screens

 

  1. ASTATIC PDC1; Ideal for New CB Radio owners

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The ASTATIC PDC1 is quite easy to use, making it perfect for CB radio first time owners. It is quite lightweight (0.8 ounces); making it portable. There are two ways you can use it:

  1. To test relative power
  2. To measure SWR

On it, you will find 10-100 watts and forward-reverse switches. The SWR meter is built with antenna and radio connectors.

It comes with a compact triple-function test meter, testing for both relative power and SWR

Highlights:

  • The ASTATIC PDC1 is a triple-function analog test meter
  • Quite lightweight
  • Ease of use
  • It has 10 watts and 100 watts switch as well as a forward and reverse one
  1. ASTATIC (302- 01768) PDC7; Perfect Combination of Price and Quality

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Are you in search of a top performance device, but also concerned about the value for your money? The ASTATIC (302-07168) PDC7 is just what you need!

It is quite lightweight (9 ounces) which makes it quite portable. It makes the cut as a convenient and easy to use SWR meter.

A coaxial jumper cable is the only extra thing you need.

Highlights:

  • Designed for home or mobile use
  • It needs a Coaxial jumper cable
  • The ASTATIC (302-07168) PDC7 is quite lightweight
  • Absolute value for your money
  • Maximum Power- 50 watts
  1. WORKMAN SWR3P; Specifically Meant for CB Radio

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The Workman SWR39 combines convenience, affordability, durability, and ease of use all into one package. It has a durable case that is metallic and comes with all the necessary connectors.

Workman SWR39 is a basic and straightforward device to use but you should note that it requires a jumper cable.

With quite an accommodative frequency range, you can count on it for accuracy.

Highlights:

  • Frequency range is from 1.7 to 30 MHz
  • The WORKMAN SWR39 has a metallic body
  • The power meter includes a field strength antenna
  • Quite easy to use
  • 50-ohm impedance
  • RF power settings ranging from 10 to 1000 watts
  • Comes with a durable metallic case

 

  1. ASTATIC (302-PDC2); Most Versatile SWR Meter

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The ASTATIC (302-PDC2) is almost synonymous with versatility; allowing you to test for SWR, RF Power, and field strength all at the same time. Better yet, it comes with a mounting bracket.

We have found out that this is the best SWR meter for 50-OHM impedance.

It weighs only 12.8 ounces, which makes it quite portable and convenient to use.

Highlights:

  • Versatility
  • The ASTATIC 302-PDC2 can test any 50-OHM antenna as well as coaxial cable used to operate CB Radio
  • Does not occupy too much space
  • A mounting bracket
  1. WORKMAN 104; Best for More Complex Radio Tests

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If you are in search of an SWR meter that you can use with CB, commercial, air two-way and marine radios, then the WORKMAN 104 SWR is exactly what you need.

It falls in the category of complex SWR meters and comes in quite handy in almost all environments.

This CB Radio SWR meter offers up to 200 watts of power and a frequency range of about 1.8 to 525 MHz. Workman 104 comes with an easy to read scale that is well marked in red and black.

Highlights:

  • The well-marked red and black scale is quite easy to read.
  • Works with VHF, HF and UHF bands
  • The WORKMAN 104 SWR tests air, marine, and CB radios
  • Quite durable in saltwater.

All SWR meters are quite easy to use. The only factors that you need to take account of are the varying features in each of the meters available and their compatibility with your specific CB radio. Some perform somewhat complex tests while some are designed for basic CB radio tuning.

The table below gives a comparison of the main features in our top seven SWR meters for tuning CB radio. With this very insightful information, you can easily scheme through the highlights and make a well-informed decision before you proceed to purchase the best and most suitable SWR meter for your radio.

Comparison of Top CB SWR Meters

SWR Meter Dimension Weight(ounces) Impedance(in Ohm) Frequency Range(in MHz)
Workman SWR2T & CX-3-PL-PL 9 by 6 by 8 cm 14.40 52 Up to 27
MFJ-259C 11 by 20 cm 32.80 50 0.53 to 230
ASTATIC PDC1 8.4 by 5.9 by 5.2 cm 0.80 52 125 to 525
ASTATIC (302-01768) PDC7 12 by 8 by 16 cm 9.00 50 430 to 520
WORKMAN SWR3P 12 by 6 by 6 cm 12.96 50 1.7 to 30
ASTATIC (302-PDC2) 19 by 19 by 6 cm 12.90 52 1.7 to 150
WORKMAN 104  45 by 25 by 13 cm 11.20 52 1.8 to525

 How to buy a Quality CB SWR Meter

how to buy SWR meter for CB radios

how to buy SWR meter for CB radios

SWR Meters basically perform the same function but they all come in various sizes and shapes. As such, one cannot help but ask themselves how to find the best SWR Meter for their specific needs. To make the decision easier, there are a couple of aspects that you will need to look at.

Choosing your perfect CB radio goes way beyond price. Before you settle on any SWR meter, here are some things that you might need to consider to make the decision much easier.

  • Sensitivity– This is quite an important factor to consider. A good SWR meter should not be overly sensitive, as high sensitivity can damage the transmitter.
  • Frequency range– SWR meters all have different frequency ranges. You need to ensure that the range in a given SWR meter is what your radio requires. An SWR meter that is out of range means that it is not sensitive enough.
  • Connectors– Good quality connectors see to it that you get accurate readings. Ensure that the SWR meter has connectors for both the antenna and transmitter.
  • VSWR vs SWR– Confusing as they may seem, these two mean the same thing. For both, the voltage waves and standing currents are set.

FAQs

What is SWR?

It stands for standard Wave Ratio; a measure of your antenna’s efficiency in transmitting a radio’s signal, usually expressed as a ratio.

What do I need in order to tune my antenna?

Simple; just a short jumper cable and an SWR meter, both of which are inexpensive.

Can you tune a CB antenna without using an SWR meter?

Many people believe that the only way of tuning your CB antenna successfully is by use of an SWR meter. While it is crucial to use one, it is actually possible to tune your antenna without an SWR meter.

What can be said to be a bad SWR?

To answer this, you need to consider the ratio you get on the readings. Basically, the lower the difference you get, the better the SWR. For instance, if you get 1:1, things are very good. On the other hand, if you get something like 6:1, then things are terribly bad.

What do you need in order to tune my antenna?

Simple; just a short jumper cable and an SWR meter, both of which are inexpensive.

How do I go about using an SWR Meter to tune my CB antenna?

Using an SWR Meter is not a complicated thing at all. You are only required to follow a few simple steps.

What does return loss refer to?

Return loss basically indicates that the signal has lost its power. It is shown by a break in the transmission line. Usually, it is expressed in decibels.

It indicates just how much power has been transferred to the load. If all of it has been transferred, the return loss is infinite. In order to measure the return loss, you will have to use an SWR meter that has feeders or transmission lines.

What causes high SWR?

The most common cause of high SWR is any issues with the antenna. However, there are other factors to consider when you experience high SWR. It could be anything from the antenna mount, coaxial cable, mounting location to the vehicle itself.

What is a good SWR reading?

To answer this, you need to consider the ratio you get on the readings. Basically, the lower the difference you get, the better the SWR. For instance, if you get 1:1, things are very good. On the other hand, if you get something like 6:1, then things are terribly bad.

What can be said to be a bad SWR?

Readings starting from 2.5 all the way to 3.0 indicate very poor performance which is highly likely to damage your radio.

Wrapping Up!

One of the most basic human desires is communication; we all need to keep in touch with our loved ones as well as receive vital information. There are several communication devices that man has invented, most of which have become obsolete over time in a bid to welcome new inventions. The one device that has however stood the test of time for more than half a century is CB radio. This device requires tuning from time to time for optimal performance.

Despite the fact that most people believe that you can tune a radio successfully without having to use an SWR meter, this is far from the truth. An SWR meter comes in very handy as it is a precise indication of the inconsistency existing between a given transmission line and its load. It has many benefits in addition to preventing your radio from complete damage.

There are so many SWR (standing wave ratio) meters available in the market. All these have varying features, and their prices are different too. Others measure a variety of bands including VHR and UHF frequencies. The best SWR meter for CB is dependent on several factors. As such, you need to do your research well in regards to the exact characteristics of your radio as well as an antenna.

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