Best Digital Police Scanner
This model offers the Skywarn Storm Spotter feature, which will give you instant access to all frequencies that are used by storm spotter agencies. With most digital models, you may struggle with audio levels, which is why buyers love the digital AGC feature which is designed to compensate for low audio levels. The scan list feature allows you to arrange frequencies for quicker and easier access. The pre-programmed frequencies will allow you to quickly access important emergency agencies including fire, ambulance, and police.
What To Consider Before You Buy
Before you buy, its important that you already know what type of radio system the local county services use, since scanners are built for trunking systems, analog radio systems, or digital systems. The requirements will vary from place to place, with major cities using the most advanced digital models.
As I mentioned earlier there a couple of different types of scanner designs to choose from, handheld models which are highly portable, and desktop base models which are not Additionally, Some base models can also be installed in vehicles.
Best Analog: Uniden Bearcat Bc75xlt Handheld Scanner
Has close call RF technology
Weaker reception in some areas
Featuring the ability to connect to public safety, military aircraft, and racing scanner channels, Unidens BC75XLT is a terrific choice for analog scanner fans. The built-in search functionality is second-to-none, and it quickly identifies channels for police, fire, marine, air, weather, and more, which makes the BC75XLT a very much pickup-and-go analog scanner.
You can save 300 channels into the scanners memory or 30 channels total in 10 separate banks. This makes it easy to scan for current transmissions on each stored channel. Additionally, the inclusion of Close Call RF capture technology assists the BC75XLT in identifying and detecting nearby transmissions, even if they arent pre-programmed into a channel. Powered by two AA batteries, the BC75XLT is both lightweight and designed to fit in the hand. Overall, it has good reception as long as youre in a strong signal area.
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Best Portable Police Scanner
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.
Best Budget: Uniden Bc365crs
Somewhat old school
The Uniden BC365CRS is a 500 Channel Scanner that also serves as an alarm clock, an AM/FM radio, and FM broadcast radio, and a weather alert device. It includes 500 channels in 10 Banks, so you can search police and fire bands, as well as aircraft, amateur radio, and marine transmissions.
The BC365CRS takes three AA batteries, and it includes an antenna and AC adapter in the package. This is designed as a tabletop scanner, so its not the best option to take with you on the go.
The reception will depend somewhat on your geographic area and the type of transmissions youre attempting to receive. Most users say they receive clear audio with police, fire, weather, and radio transmissions, but this is a basic, analog, non-trunking scanner, so it may not be able to pick up transmissions from some agencies. Its best to check the compatibility against the local agencies in your area.
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Best Smartphone App: Smartest Apps 5
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.
Sources That Stream Live Police Scanner Feeds Online
There are several good reasons why you would want to listen to live police scanner chatter. Its entertaining for one, and it also keeps you informed on various police investigations. Fortunately, you can take advantage of free police scanner resources online so that you dont have to pay for the privilege.
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Police Scanner Buying Guide
Tracking local events with police scanners has been a popular hobby for many years. Beyond the entertainment and gossip you can get out of such a device, a police scanner can be an invaluable security tool. By tuning into the frequencies of your local emergency services, you can keep one step ahead of crime incidents, traffic accidents, fires and severe weather events even before news outlets report them.
Its worth noting that some of these devices have a steep learning curve. Even seasoned users sometimes face complications, especially when they purchase a new model. If youve never used one before, it may take some trial and error to program and maximize its detection capabilities in your area.
Also, you should know that most of the programming software for scanners is made for Windows. So, if you dont own a computer with a Windows operating system , programming or updating the police scanner might prove to be difficult.
There are, however, professionals who will program the scanner for you , based on your location. In addition to independent scanner radio programming services, the scanner manufacturer Uniden will program a scanner at a cost of $40 to $100.
These are the main factors to take into account when shopping for a police scanner:
Model type. There are two types of police scanners: base and handheld.
Base models usually cost $300 or more and are meant to be used mainly in home settings. Some can also be mounted in vehicles.
Whistler Ws1010 Analog Handheld Scanner
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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What Are Trunking Systems
Trunking systems allow you to listen to a large number of agencies using just two or three radio frequencies. This design is meant for congested circumstances. Typically a trunking radio system is commonly used in urban areas and has the ability to pick up conventional signals. However a conventional radio system is unable to pick up a tracking signal
Whistler Ws1065 Desktop Digital Scanner
EASTY TO USE
This digital police scanner from Whistler makes it super easy to group your stations according to your preference and cycle between them seamlessly. It has a memory backup so frequencies can be stored in the device for extended periods of time even without batteries, and the memory organization is much more efficient than with lower scanners. Its got a Skywarn storm spotter built in so you can easy access to frequencies related to extreme weather, and the multi-system trunking makes it easy to tune into the stations you want and tune out the ones you dont. It also has a digital AGC thats got the capacity to make up for low audio levels on behalf of the user.
Pros: Very easy to customize your listening experience on the device through frequency memory and station grouping.
Cons: The buttons on the menu are small.
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Best Car Police Scanner
This model offers a total of nine thousand channels, complete with location-based scanning, which works by automatically choosing channels based on your location. Out of the box, this model comes pre-programmed with emergency channels chosen for every state. It also offers ten channel group quick keys per system, and continuous band coverage, wherever you go.
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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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.
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.
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
Buy Cheap Police Scanner For Cheap
The answer to the question where can I buy a police scanner depends on several factors but one things for sure, you have lots of options available. In the past your options were limited to what the shops in your neighborhood had to offer, but now with the Internet you have a wider range of choices.
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Best For Home: Uniden Homepatrol
Doesn’t include a power adapter
With an easy to rest stand, the Uniden HomePatrol-2 digital scanner with a pre-programmed database is a highly functional scanner thats perfect for any room in the house. Including specialized features such as quick record and playback, the Uniden is a highly recommended digital scanner that can be up and running in minutes. Theres no programming needed herejust enter your zip code and HomePatrol-2 will load all the recognized police, fire, and EMS channels in the surrounding area. It includes channel information for the US and Canada from radioreference.com.
Weighing just over a pound, the HomePatrol-2 is easy to tote around. Additionally, the inclusion of a touch screen was an industry first with the HomePatrol-2. Uniden also includes rechargeable batteries that last between five to six hours. It comes with a USB charging cord that you can connect to a standard USB power brick.
Best Scanner Cb Radio Combo: Uniden Beartracker 885 Hybrid Cb Radio + Digital Scanner
Police scanners and CB radios look fairly similar but dont share the same capabilities. Police scanners let you tune in and listen to radio transmissions sometimes up to 50 miles away. CB radios the kind of devices truck drivers often use, for example only detect transmission from other CB radios at a shorter distance , while also letting you talk to other users.
The Unidens BearTracker 885 combines both of these devices into a single unit. It lets you chat with other CB radio users while scanning for analog and digital signals to listen to.
It comes pre-programmed with a nationwide frequency database, to make it easy to begin listening to nearby radio transmissions. With a built-in GPS, it will automatically detect and switch between nearby frequencies without the need to reprogram as you travel. It can also send alerts when it detects nearby public safety transmissions.
Uniden has an online update manager designed specifically for the BearTracker 885, so you can update the scanners database as you need. The company’s website states databases are updated weekly.
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Best Vehicle: Uniden Bcd536hp
Connects remotely to Uniden Siren App
No programming required
Unidens BCD536HP scanner offers some of the easiest-to-program features available on a scanner. You just type in your zip code, and the scanner does the work for you. Theres even a Wi-Fi option that allows you to use the exclusive Uniden siren app on your smartphone or tablet to access the scanner from anywhere in the home or vehicle.
The LCD backlit keypad helps illuminate the unit, so you can see it in the dark and quickly access the controls. Included within the packaging are home and auto power cords, as well as a mounting bracket for inside the vehicle and a Wi-Fi dongle and telescoping antenna. Theres no battery power to worry about since this Uniden scanner runs entirely off the car battery . Additionally, the BCD536HP was one of the first Uniden scanners to incorporate the HomePatrol data, which allows the easy entering of a zip code and you’re ready to listen in.
Q: Why Is The Police Scanner Public
Police retain the right to withhold information that can impact an ongoing investigation which, in the past, led to encrypted frequencies . However, when different emergency departments tried to coordinate, these encrypted channels proved to be a risk. Most remain public to ensure open access during a time of crisis.
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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.