The Best Handheld And Desktop Digital Police Scanners
Americans trust in the media plummeted to a record low of 32% in 2016 amid the hotly contested presidential election. The numbers are still low, hovering around 40% today according to a recent Gallup poll. Subjective reporting and lack of attention to detail has left many wondering where to turn for reliable information. Similarly, many Americans have a similarly cynical view of law enforcement agencies. Only 48% of Americans have confidence in the police, according to the New York Times. Widely publicized abuses have likely contributed to the trust gap.
As a result of these trends, many Americans are using police scanners to find out whats really going on in their neighborhoods. Modern police scanners are incredibly easy to use compared to the complex police scanners of old. Since most of them come with preloaded national radio frequency databases, all you have to do to get started is enter in your zip code.
Digital Trunking System Compatibility
Modern digital trunking systems allow a large number of people to use a single channel at the same time. There are many different trunking technologies. If your digital police scanner isnt equipped to handle the specific trunking system that your local police force uses, youll miss out on most of their transmissions.
Choosing The Right Digital Police Scanner
One of the best platforms to purchase products like digital police scanner s is Amazon. It can be challenging to get the exact digital police scanner you need, especially if you are using the platform for the first time.
Consider the following factors when choosing the best digital police scanner on Amazon:
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Whistler Ws1040 Handheld Digital Scanner Radio
The last option on our list of the best CB radios is the Whistler WS1040 Handheld Digital Scanner Radio. This option is a bit pricey, but being that it offers so many robust features and that its made by Whistler, we think that its a worthwhile investment. If youre looking for a handheld digital police scanner, this is a good option to consider.
Featuring menu driven programming with context sensitive help, every item on the menu gives you help details to make programming and using the scanner as easy as possible. A Scan List function lets you arrange, group, and scan all of your items based on your individual preferences. With Free-Form Memory Organization, this device dynamically organizes your memory so that its as efficient as possible.
You can stay current with the latest weather forecast, too, thanks to the Skywarn Storm Spotter feature, which offers instant access to the frequencies that are used by storm spotter networks. A digital AGC automatically adjusts low audio levels to provide the clearest reception. It also offers data cloning, so you can transfer the data youve programmed to a different WS1010 scanner.
What We Like About It
- Handheld, lightweight, and portable
- The price is a bit high
- Some users said it was difficult to use
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Other Important Factors To Consider
I specifically do not name a specific model as the greatest police scanner for sale on the market right now. This is because everyone does not have the same need. Here are some other things that you should consider when youre planning to buy a scanner.
What is the Best Police Scanner?
You can scour online for digital police scanner reviews, and they will come up with different options. I cannot advise a single scanner because people have different needs and requirements. You have to look at your application and your budget before I can even begin to suggest any model.
Who Is This For?
Radio frequencies are typically used by government and civilian agencies for fast and reliable local communication. Police, fire, EMS, aviation, and military services are some of the most prominent radio users.
A scanner is used to monitor these frequencies to be updated in local events. This is especially true for journalists and investigators, as well as private security firms. These devices help a person or an organization increase their situational awareness by keeping track of radio transmissions.
Radio scanning is also a popular hobby and lets people communicate with different communities via wireless radio signal networks. The NOAA and some state governments also use these networks to transmit weather and other relevant warnings.
How Does It Work?
This technology has allowed people to monitor multiple channels at once, without the need for multiple radio devices.
Uniden Bc355n800 Police Scanner
BEST BEGINNER DESKTOP UNIT
The Uniden BC355N800 base mobile scanner is a great model for beginner police scanner users to get their feet wet. Like premium handheld models from Uniden, this radio scanner has Close Call RF technology to pull and receive surrounding signals automatically as it scans 100 channels per second. This technology keeps users in the know with the happenings in the local area. Customers can effortlessly tune into their areas action bands, where police, ambulance, fire, utilities and weather broadcasts take place. The memory bank can store up to 300 frequencies to call upon your favorites quickly. However, this radio scanner wont be able to listen to digital radio stations . The Uniden BC355N800 comes with an assortment of power options including an automotive power plug so you can stay informed even when youre on the road. This police scanner is simple to use and inexpensive, making it a great fit for first-time users.
Pros: Excellent choice for beginners, can scan 100 channels per second and its easy to users for tune to their local area only.
Cons: Cant listen to digital radio networks.
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Uniden Bcd996p2 Digital Mobile Scanner
LARGE CHANNEL LIBRARY
This mobile police scanner has over 25,000 channels and a dynamic memory system so you can program the frequencies you prefer to listen to and make them easy to access. Its designed for the hobbyist, with a digital decoding system and a sizable memory bank that can remember your preferences. Its got Close Call RF Capture Technology built in as well as the latest APCO Project 25 Phase II systems for radio capturing. Its got NOAA weather access so you stay up to date on all extreme weather events and the S.A.M.E weather alerts send warnings when there are notable condition changes in your area. Theres also an optional GPS receiver included so you can enjoy location-based scanning in addition to the sophisticated TrunkTracker V technology.
Pros: Sophisticated technology thats easy to use and access, advanced weather monitoring, plenty of channels to choose from.
Cons: The speaker doesnt have the best sound quality.
Buying Guide For Best Police Scanners
During the CB radio craze of the 1970s, another electronic gadget also gained significant popularity: the police radio scanner.
Private citizens could now use a tabletop receiver with special tuning crystals to pick up local police, fire, and ambulance calls. Users could also eavesdrop on the chatter at air traffic control centres and emergency weather channels.
Modern digital police scanners no longer require tuning crystals to pick up these remote conversations. Today, you can use a police scanner to listen in on thousands of different channels, any of which could be broadcasting action at any time.
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Why Should You Get A Police Scanner
The best police scanners allow you to stay in the know by scanning multiple radio frequencies quickly and letting you listen in on whats called the action bands. However, these tools have applications beyond listening to police communications. Scanners receive transmissions from police, fire departments, air traffic controls, railroads, racing events, the Coast Guard and other services that rely on two-way radio communications. There is a lot you can pick up when you use the right radio scanner.
Staying updated on the happenings with the police in your local area is a smart idea. But police scanners also give you the inside scoop on local events before it hits the news. When police are reporting to a potential disaster or dangerous situation, itll hit their scanners before anywhere else. If youre listening in, you can be the first to avoid those areas. Thats news thats even faster than Twitter!
Updates on weather and road conditions can be incredibly helpful. Sometimes a storm can roll in so quickly that you wont even realize it until you are in the middle of it. And that can turn into a real disaster if you live in an area with tornados or other natural disasters. Youll also hear accident reports over the scanner that can alert you to steer clear of a certain highway or street, so you dont get stuck in traffic.
Whistler Ws1025 Analog Scanner
The Whistler WS1025 Analog Desktop Scanner is something I can highly recommend. I have been using it for a while, and have been totally satisfied with its performance. It has first-rate features that I find very convenient to use, like programming and directly creating backup data from my PC. I can easily tune in to new channels and save them for quick browsing later.
I also find the lock-out feature advantageous that way, I can avoid connecting to reserved frequencies like military or other confidential operations during scanning. Speaking of scanning, the two-second delay is a good detail for me. This allows me to hear if the scanned frequency will have replies before the device moves to the next one.
The Weather and hazard detection or alerts work well, and I considered it a very dependable feature, especially if Im on the road. It allows me to be ahead of all the happenings in my area and makes me feel safe. This is especially useful when my phone is dead or out of coverage.
I love the Priority Channel feature because it enables me to check one channel every two seconds while scanning ensuring that I can monitor events within my area while still maintaining situational awareness.
- Easy to program and create a backup file
- Lock-out function skips unwanted channels or frequencies
- Scan delay feature avoids missing replies
- Keeps you ahead and updated with necessary information
- Weak radio signals from moving units
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Whistler Ws 1025 Police Scanner
ANALOG DESKTOP MODEL
Looking for a police scanner for the bunker in your basement or one for your nightstand? The Whistler WS 1025 is an analog model that gives users complete control over scanning the airways. You can dial this police scanner in to be incredibly efficient by using the lock-out feature which omits any frequencies that are dead air. You can also set priority channels, which will jump back to the channel and check it every two seconds. But if you really want to go deep into the programming, you can use your PC to help program scan, and even backup your data.
Pros: Small, compact design thats perfect for keeping on your desk, easy to set priority channels and can hook up to your PC for deeper scanning.
Cons: Antennae may have trouble picking up a signal in your area, depending on where you live.
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No equipment necessary
It actually works
While the focus of scanners is almost always concentrated on the utilitarian design of the handheld and car-ready hardware, theres a new and most formidable entry in the market. The 5-0 Radio Police Scanner app, which has millions of downloads. Users can listen to feeds in the background, including police/EMS/fire and military codes, as well as both aircraft and train feeds.
Theres even international coverage where available, so the scanner app can detect your location and determine relevant feeds youll want to follow. Currently free in both the Apple Store and Google Play, theres also a pro option that offers 50,000 more feeds.
The BearTracker 885s included GPS, CB radio, and noise-canceling microphone make it an excellent choice for truckers or anyone who spends a lot of time on the road. For an inexpensive handheld option, the Uniden Bearcat BC365CRS is a good model to check out. If you want to try out scanning, test out the free 5-0 Radio Police Scannerapp.
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Whistler Ws1010 Analog Radio Scanner Review
This is one of the best police scanners that you can get. The WS1010 police scanner is completely analog and offers a lot of interesting features include NOAA S.A.M.E. alert and Skywarn feature.
With 200 channel memory that can be stored in 10 separate storage banks, this small handheld gadget can set a priority channel that it will check every 2 seconds even when scanning for other frequencies.
If you want, you can program it using your computer. You can update the database, take a backup, or program the scanner directly through your PC.
As far as powering options are concerned, you can power it up using the included AC adapter or using rechargeable batteries or non-rechargeable dry cells.
The sound quality of the device is pretty impressive, but you can make it better using the squelch control knob on the top that can eliminate static. It comes with a backlit screen with good contrast that allows for easy readability.
The device is equipped with a one-touch search option that will allow you to access air, traffic, police, marine, ham, and weather frequencies.
Uniden Bearcat Bc125at Scanner
Uniden Bearcat BC125AT Handheld Scanner is a portable police scanner made by Uniden, a reputable name for radios known for its quality and budget-friendly products.
The first thing that impressed me about this radio equipment is its ease of use. The device already comes preset with ten different popular channels: Police, Fire or Emergency, Marine, Ham, Civil Air, Railroad, Military Air, CB Radio, FRS/GMRS/MURS, and even Racing search bands.
I find this feature very convenient mostly because I want to listen to my preferred channels straight out of the box. I also discovered that around 40,000 frequencies could be tuned into, meaning that this Uniden police scanner is not limited to its preset frequencies.
Since I prefer things organized, the Alpha tagging feature is also a significant plus for me. It lets me assign names to my channels. With this, I never lose track of what I want to listen to regularly.
Another feature in the Uniden Bearcat that I love is the Close Call RF Capture Technology. I no longer have to manually find and tune to proper signals because it automatically locates and connects to the closest transmitters. However, if I need a little privacy, the Do not disturb mode is available to prevent a Close Call check when I transmit.
There was one time, during my patrol, that the Weather Alert Technology beeped in and sent me an alert for an incoming storm. That was a lifesaver for me because it allowed me to prepare before natural disasters hit.
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Uniden Homepatrol 2 Color Touchscreen Simple Program Digital Scanner
The first option on our list of the best digital police scanners comes from Uniden, a very reputable manufacturer of a variety of communication and other technological devices, including HAM radios, CB radios, two-way radios, and walkie talkies. All of the devices they offer are outfitted with the latest technology and are durably constructed, including their HomePatrol 2 Color Touchscreen Simple Program Digital Scanner.
This digital police scanner was designed with ease of use in mind. Unlike a lot of other police scanners that are on the market, this device is incredibly easy to operate all you have to do is input the name of your city or your zip code and the unit will automatically load all of the frequencies, trunking systems, alpha tags, and sub-audible tones for your area.
You can also use it to stay current with the latest information anywhere you may be traveling to by adding a GPS receiver, the scanner will automatically tune itself to the location. The fact that its outfitted with a color touch screen makes it even easier to use! There arent any awkward or confusing dials to figure out all of the information you need is clearly visible on the screen, and you simply have to touch it to change the settings. Other notable features include weather alerts, quick record and playback, and instant replay.
What We Like About It
Reasons to Complain
- A few users said that the units they received were defective