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What Is A Good Police Scanner

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Broadcastify Best Radio Scanner App Overall

Best Police Scanner of 2020 | Top 4 Police Scanners


  • Compatible with desktop and mobile
  • Tracks police frequencies
  • Global Feed Catalog

Broadcastify has a huge collection of channels that are sorted based on the users county and metro locale. The channels are stable, especially the ones that focus on EMS and fire services. Based on our tests, this is among the most decent EMS scanners today.

The application has a nice appearance design-wise. We found the interface appealing and intuitive, making it easy to use.

Broadcastify also has a website, meaning that you can listen to police scans on your desktop computer. You can also download it on your iPad if you want to free your smartphone for more tasks.

With this app, you can discover over 6,000 streams. This includes local feeds from police radios, aircraft, public safety, rail, and marine live audio. Like most apps on this list, Broadcastify gives you many signal options available for listening.

When we tried out this scanner app, the way the broadcasts are organized is intuitive and easy to understand. Youll find sections such as Official Feeds, Latest Feed Additions, and Top 50 Live Audio Feeds. To make it even easier, the app also has a Browse By Location feature so you can listen to the police in your area.

When it comes to the price, this app has free and pro version options, where the latter offers no ads and feed archives. We do recommend starting with the free version of Broadcastify first and upgrade once you think the perks are worth paying extra.

What Is The Best Digital Police Scanner For The Money

Whistler TRX 1: Best Digital Police Scanner First on your list is the portable police scanner TRX 1. If you are looking for the best multifunctional digital police scanner, this is one of the models you need. While this model is priced high, it outperforms most budget models.

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Police Abbreviations Acronyms And Jargon

There are hundreds of police abbreviations, acronyms, and jargon words used in paperwork and on the radio by law enforcement officials. Whether youre working towards a career as a police officer or you want to better understand whats happening on your police scanner, learning police lingo from a police terminology list can be fun and informative.

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Best Portable Police Scanner

Uniden SDS100 Review

Our Rating:

Use this model to quickly access channels for police, ambulance, fire, public safety, weather, military, and aircrafts. Its both analog and digital capable, and comes with a desk stand, flex antenna for improved reception and range, and a USB cable. The simple setup is a huge selling point for beginners, especially considering many competing models can be very complicated to use. For this model, all you have to do is enter a zip code and the scanner will take care of the rest, giving you instant access to a variety of local channels.

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Editors Pick: Uniden Bcd996p2 Digital Scanner

The Uniden BCD996P2 is ideal for anyone interested in taking up radio scanning as a serious hobby. Priced at around $400, it offers pretty much everything top-of-the-line models do at a lower price.

It can pick up both analog and digital signals but, unlike the BCD536HP, its not pre-programmed so youll need to input frequencies manually. This may seem complex for a beginner, but scanner enthusiasts say this process can actually prove enjoyable for people who are truly interested in mastering their new hobby.

The BCD996P2 can detect certain nearby transmissions on its own without programming however, the range isnt always consistent and the signals must be extremely strong in order to be picked up.

The BCD996P2 has enough memory to store up to 25,000 channels, along with number tags that allow you to quickly switch between frequencies without going through them one by one . You can assign number tags to service searches or custom search ranges youve created as well.

Other useful features include National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration alerts, a list of priority channels that you want to scan continuously while listening to other transmissions, a key lock to prevent unwanted modifications, 100 quick keys for your customized scanning parameters and alerts for specific channels with different tone and volume patterns.

How To Choose A Police Scanner

When choosing a radio scanner, you should consider what features you want, how much you want to spend and whether the scanner is designed for beginners or experienced radio operators. For instance, do you want a desktop or handheld unit? Do you want to plug in your zip code and start listening, or do you want a more sophisticated unit? There are also both digital and analog models available today.

To help you choose the best police scanner for your needs, weve put together a SPY Guide to help. Below are the best police scanners for everyone from advanced users to first-time scanners.

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Uniden Bc365crs 500 Police Scanner


This police scanner can do a little bit of everything. It has 500 channels in 10 banks to scan police, EMS, and local weather. But it also has an FM radio for when you want to tune into your favorite sports radio or news radio program. And we all know the early bird gets the worm, so you can program the alarm clock to wake you up for the day so you can get to scanning the airways. Its simple to control with big buttons and the display makes it easy to read even in low lighting.

Pros: Has 500 police, EMS and weather channels in addition to FM radio so you can switch back and forth between pleasure and purpose.

Cons: The aesthetic design leaves something to be desired.

A Brief Explanation Of Radio Frequencies

Best Police Scanner of 2021 | Compare

Any type of gadget that needs to transmit a signal from televisions to baby monitors uses radio waves to send it.

You cant see them, but thousands of radio waves are swirling around you at this moment. Any type of gadget that needs to transmit a signal from televisions to baby monitors uses radio waves to send it. Your typical, single-purpose radio wont pick up on the cooing of an infant over a monitor because it doesnt detect radio waves within that devices frequency. That’s because the Federal Communications Commission determines who can use which frequencies, and for what purposes.

When you listen to your FM or AM radio, you will often hear the announcer say, Youre listening to 93.1 WKRZ or 97.9 WFMX. Those number arent arbitrary they represent megahertz, which means millions of cycles per second. The transmitter at that particular radio station is oscillating at a frequency of 93,100,000 or 97,900,000 cycles per second respectively. All FM radio stations transmit in the band of frequencies between 88 megahertz and 108 megahertz. AM stations transmit between 535 kilohertz and 1,700 kilohertz, which means thousands of cycles per second. If you try to tune your FM or AM radio to frequencies outside of these bands, you will not be able to do it. Thats because the FCC leases frequencies to certain stations and devices, and it doesnt allow your device to access frequencies that are not withing the specified bandwidth.

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Uniden Sr30c Portable Police Radio Scanner Review

With a conveniently compact design that more or less matches the design of BC125AT, the Uniden SR30C is packed with some advanced features. It supports 500 channels divided into 10 storage banks that allow for quick search and easy access.

This police scanner or handheld scanner listens to 32,000 frequencies and covers police band, fire band, ham radio, CB radio, civil aircraft, racing, NOAA weather, railroad, and more.

The unit is equipped with Close Call RF Capture that allows instant tuning to signals coming from nearby transmissions. However, you can always use the Do Not Disturb function to prevent close call checks during transmissions.

The unit doesnt have a big display, but it a backlit display for clear readability. You can dim the display if you want. The powering options include AA batteries. You can use the non-rechargeable one for longer battery life, or you can opt for NiMH rechargeable batteries.

What I liked about this unit is that you can charge the batteries even when the unit is actively scanning for transmissions. Thats something you wont find in BC125AT.

The scanner comes with a flexible antenna with a BNC connector. So, you can change the antenna to improve reception. The audio quality is not so great, but it is decent enough and can remove static using the squelch technology.


Uniden Bc75xlt 300 Channel Handheld Scanner

Another reliable portable police scanner is the Uniden BC75XLT, 300 Channel Handheld Scanner. Since its made by Uniden, you can be sure that its durable and built to last plus, you can also be certain that it offers the most advanced technologies.

Featuring 300 channels, as well as 10 programmable search ranges, you can program as many as 30 channels into the memory of this device 30 channels on each of the 10 available banks. Once your channels are stored in, you can then scan for transmissions on the channels that you stored.

Close Call RF Capture Technology detects and tunes into nearby transmissions that are found even frequencies isnt programmed into a channel. Other notable features include narrow band compatible, a do not disturb feature, VHF low/high and UHF frequencies, and an easy to read LCD screen. According to the reviews that we read, it seems like most of the customers who purchased this handheld police scanner were very impressed with it.

What We Like About It

  • Features 300 channels, including 10 programmable search ranges
  • 30 channels can be programmed into each of the 10 banks
  • Close Call RF Capture Technology
  • Features VHF low/high and UHF frequencies
  • Narrow band compatible
  • Portable and easy to use

Reasons to Complain

  • A couple of customers who purchased this scanner said that the device was defective when they received it

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Are Police Scanners Legal

Yes, police scanners are legal in the US. In other countries, the scanners may not be legal, but it is unlikely that anyone would know that you were using a scanner.

As a rule of thumb, if the police do not want you to know a piece of information, they will use an encrypted channel. You wont be able to listen to these channels on the scanner, so dont worry about hearing anything youre not supposed to be hearing.

Different Types Of Radio Systems

The 5 Best Digital Police Scanners [Ranked]

Broadly speaking there are three types of system:

  • Handheld As the name suggests, you hold it in your hand. This model has the most mobility of course, whilst often being weaker models in terms of broadcast pick up range. It is also limited by its battery lifespan.
  • Base/Mobile A middle ground between handheld police scanners and desktop models. They can be plugged into the wall for base use, or installed in a vehicle for mobile use.
  • Desktop The complete opposite of Handheld. As the name suggests, they are designed to sit on the desktop and must be plugged into a wall power outlet. That lack of mobility is usually offset with more frequency pick up power, as well as more built-in features such as additional channel memory.

Analog Vs. Digital Analogue is the traditional radio source that has been around since the very birth of the device. Digital is a far more modern communication medium. Analogue has the advantage of being generally cheaper, whilst digital is more powerful and has more options. It can, for example, be trunked or broken up into essentially different channels making it a more effective medium. As it is more expensive to install, many law enforcement agencies have not yet switched over.

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Uniden Beartracker 885 Hybrid Police Scanner


This hybrid model scanner from Uniden does it all and more, with a CB radio, police scanner, fire, ambulance and BearTracker warning system built in with 40 different channels and a 7-color display. It alerts you when any sort of public safety transmission is issued and the built-in GPS enables you to select local channels from their nationwide database. The scanner operates seamlessly alongside the CB radio so you can press a button and instantly connect to local police and fire stations. It also has an ergonomically-designed, noise-cancelling microphone so your transmissions to and from tractor-trailers, for example, come through crystal clear.

Pros: Hybrid model has an expanded range of features and capabilities, ergonomic noise-cancelling radio makes crystal-clear transmissions.

Cons: The LED display may be difficult to read during the day.

Whistler Ws1040 Radio Scanner Review

One of the finest handheld scanners or police scanners from Whistler, the WS1040, comes equipped with the Skywarn Storm Spotter feature. And what is that supposed to be? This feature will allow you to access all frequencies that storm spotter agencies use.

So, the WS1040 is a great device that should accompany you when you are going for trekking, hiking, etc.

This model from Whistler includes the digital AGC feature that instantly compensates for low user audio levels, putting the WS1040 ahead of other digital systems that are often plagued by the problem of low user audio levels.

Also, you can arrange frequencies in a way you want so that you can access them quicker and faster. For quick access to police band or fire band or ambulance band, you can use the pre-programmed settings.

This scanner also comes with Motorola P25 Phase I capabilities. One interesting feature that you should know is that while scanning if you find a frequency, you can lock it out and continue scanning in the same band. This means that the device will not scan the same frequency again.

WS1040 is capable of scanning 1,800 frequencies, and you can directly jump to the frequency you have already found! Programming the device is relatively easy. However, you will need a computer for programming this thing.


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Uniden Bct15x Police Scanner

Uniden BearTracker BCT15X Police Scanner

  • Number of Channels: 9,000
  • Frequency Range: 25-1,300 MHz
  • Format: Analog

This Uniden BCT15X is an analog base/mobile scanner that is great both on the road and as a base station. It features 9,000 channels plus other impressive features like its dynamic memory system and close call RF capture.

It also offers GPS based tracking, a feature that automatically scans for stations based on your GPS location. You’ll need an extra GPS antenna for this though and it’s not included in the package.

The package does include an AC adapter and cigarette lighter adapter, making it easier for you to use it anywhere. There is also a mounting bracket and hardware, plus a telescopic antenna with BNC.

Being analog means that this tracker won’t pick up any digital formats, but it works very well with the analog ones, including trunked systems like LTR, Motorola, and EDACS.

Other important features that make it one of the best mobile police scanners include channel tagging, band scope, weather alerts, priority ID on trunked systems, and up to 500 search lockouts.


  • It’s an analog scanner, so it can’t handle digital signals
  • You’ll need to buy an extra antenna to use GPS-based tracking

Whistler Ws1010 Analog Handheld Scanner

Best Police Scanner of 2019 | Top 4 Police Scanners

What We Liked: This travel-friendly Whistler WS1010 Analog Handheld Scanner keeps you up to date on the road. The Priority Channel function lets you check one channel every two seconds as you scan, and Scan Delay pauses scanning for two seconds to allow for replies. This scanner is easy to program and tune.

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Features To Consider When Buying A Police Scanner

  • Analogue/Digital/Dual Band You really need to know the systems that are being used by whoever you plan to listen to. If the local police department has switched to digital, for example, you better buy a digital police scanner if you want to hear them. If you are unsure, or if there is a range of systems being used locally, go for a dual band style for added compatibility.
  • Handheld/Mobile/Desktop Do you need or want to carry the scanner around with you? Then go for a handheld. Do you need the extra power for wider pickup, and dont mind being tethered to one location? Go for Desktop in that case.
  • Emergency Use Some scanners are better designed for emergency use than others. If you need a scanner that will function well in a disaster, look for one with automatic connection to a local weather warning system like S.A.M.E. Also consider battery life. Scanners that run on AA batteries are easy to stockpile power for. That can keep them going for longer if the worst happens and disaster strikes.
  • Local Priority There are a lot of radio frequencies out there. Selecting a scanner that will give priority to local radio signals makes it easier to find and listen to local source radio transmissions. That generally is what most people want to hear they want the local police department, not the police three towns away. GPS compatibility will make the scanner even more accurate in this area.

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