I’m damn sure that you’ve already heard a lot about CB radio scanner unless you’re not a hardcore CB radio user. Both, CB radio and scanner goes hand in hand. You really need to have the best police scanner to eavesdrop into communications. But not just that. These top radio scanners give you latest news and happenings around you and plays a crucial role during emergency situations.
You might ask- “why the name, police scanner?”. No, you’re wrong. They are not just being used by the cops or are used to hear what police broadcasts. Normal people also use it, like me. How would I be able to write an article like this without having adequate expertise in the field? They are used to listen to emergency services, weather services, air traffic control etc.
Without further ado, let me introduce you to our top police scanners (as per our survey and testing):
I hope once you complete reading this, your search for the best Police radio scanner will end on a happy note. We have made a serious effort to give you the best radio scanner to get ahead of polices.
Table of Contents
What’s a Police Scanner and how does it Work?
To simply put, a police scanner is just like a scanner which scans two way radio communications. They are basically radio receivers which help you to listen other radio conversations in a particular geographical area.
They are not just used to hear what the police talk or what the criminals talk. You should realize that in case of emergency, when all your mobile towers have any role to play, these scanners is the one to rely upon.
Let us see the importance of radio scanners:
- Accurate Information on What’s going nearby Area
- It’s a Hobby for Many
- Disaster Information
- CB Scanners help you in Scanning CB Conversations
- Helps security persons
- Neighbourhood watch
- New Media Reporters can get latest news with this
- You should have an Easy to Program Scanners, if you’re not an expert at it. Go with Scanners which have preloaded database in it.
- Select channels based on the number of agenices you’re interested at. Nowadays you can easily get scanners giving 50 plus channels at an affordable price range.
- Having higher search speed is preferred. You don’t want to have a scanner taking minutes in searching and scanning. On an average, it shouldn’t take more than 10 seconds to scan your channels.
- Buying a police scanner with sufficient memory is another thing you should focus on. You don’t want to mess up with programming and end up with a slow scanner
- Think about the customer support. Scanners require programming at times and what will be the case if you don’t get a manufacturer support.
Top 5 Best Police Radio Scanner Reviews 2018- Our Top Picks
We have seen the pivotal role these scanners play. Now it’s the time to find out the top rated police scanners to enjoy the best of the best performance.
You might think that we have shown some partiality towards Uniden and Whistler while producing the top radio scanner reviews. But that’s not true. The sad news is that there are no big competition to these two brands for Police scanners. They are ruling the world with top class products.
I have one more important information to share; it’s about the type of scanners. I am damn sure that you have already gone through police scanner reviews. Even I too have read them. Most of the top brands release variants of a particular model for different types. For eg. If you take BCD536HP, a Base/Mobile scanner, it does have variants in the form of BCD436HP for Handheld. Basically, both have the same features.
Now let us get into the business.
We CB Radio Guru is listing you the top-rated police radio scanners below:
1. Uniden BCD536/BCD436 : Best Radio Scanner with High Performance and FeaturesThe striking feature of this amazing radio scanner is none other than Uniden’s HomePatrol technology. Its a great innovation from the brand which allows a user to listen to conversations just by entering the Zip code of the area. A great feature to have, huh? BCD536 is one among the first scanners to have this outstanding facility.
BCD536 is a base/mobile CB scanner, whereas BCD436 is a Handheld. Both the scanners share almost the same features, except the fact that both are of different types.
Programming is a serious issue for many. The same goes with this Uniden product too. HomePatrol will help you to get rid of this to some extent. But in my opinion, it is a great idea to learn to programme your device Sentinel, or with the Butel software. It is the proper way to set up your device and will give you more freedom compared to the otherwise ‘auto’ listening.
The professional radio scanner houses feature like TrunkTracker V, Close Call RF Capture Technology, Specific Area Message Encoding Weather Alert etc. The system comes with WIFI which enables you to access the scanner through Siren App installed on your mobile.
Coming to the performance, the scanning is quick and fast. It works fine for VHF and UHF frequency ranges. Moreover, it sounds nice and you can hear the conversations properly without many noises. Uniden has made sure that the product has an attractive design. The display is sleek and easy to read.
There used to be complaints about the SD card malfunctioning. But I didn’t hear much about the issue in the recent time. Maybe Uniden has released some firmware updates.
2. Whistler TRX1 : Second Best Police ScannerYou already know that the second best brand in police radio scanner business is Whistler. With TRX-1, you not only get a chance to experience their best product. But also their best in the business customer support too. Remember, Whistler will not treat you just as a customer, but as a family member.
Whistler TRX-1 is a digital Phase 2 police scanner which is rich in features and excels in performance. The programming is not a hard part if you have used scanners before. Moreover, it has simple zip code programming.
If you’re still wondering what makes these two the best for many expert scanner users, let me answer it. They are capable of monitoring NXDN.
Digital Phase 2 Scanners are the best when it comes to radio scanners. With the backbone of Uniden’s R&D and sophisticated design BCD536 is the best mobile scanner you can have for your vehicle.
3. Uniden BC75XLT: Compact and Affordable Handheld Radio ScannerUniden’s BC75XLT tops our list of high performing analog police scanners
If you’re looking for a compact radio scanner for your home, I think 75XLT is your product. This is one of the best police radio scanners when it comes to small to medium scale usages. Said that you shouldn’t expect a lot of advanced features on this small device. But let me tell you the reception and ease of use will definitely make you awestruck.
The scanner gives you 300 channels to program into its memory. One of the best things you will enjoy about the device is the programming. You can easily program it connecting it to a PC through USB and the software is available free. The 300 channels are distributed into 10 banks- 30 channels per bank. Additionally, there are 10 prepgrammed bands for Police, Fire, and Emergency etc.
There is a Close Call RF Capture Technology feature which helps in detecting and tuning to the nearby transmissions, even if they’re not programmed. I would say that that’s a great feature to have in any device.
Remember this is a conventional police scanner and it will work with analog systems. It works on conventional channels on the following frequencies -(25-54 MHz) (108 – 174 MHz) (406 – 512 MHz)
The model is made of plastic and you have to be a bit careful about handling it. It comes with belt clips and that does a pretty decent job. But the greatest advantage of the plastic body is that you don’t have to care much about heavy rains or snows.
The battery life may be other concern you might face. The AA alkaline batteries don’t last more than eight hours. So it is advised to get a rechargeable battery so that you can enjoy it throughout the day.
This is a great product for those who want to get track amateur radios, races, police, fire and emergency updates.
75XLT is another great product from Uniden. The standout aspect of this particular model is its price. Its one of the most affordable Police Scanner which gives you an outstanding performance. This simple handheld scanner is designed for tuning police, fire NOAA, Weather updates etc. If you don’t have a serious task and you are just dwelling in scanner world, do enjoy the fun it is going to give you.
Uniden’s BC125AT is the newest addition in analog scanners and it also gives you great performance.
4. Uniden HomePatrol II – Best Police and Fire Scanner for Home“Is it really a police scanner?”
This was the thought I had in my mind when I first saw this magnificent scanner. It looks more or less like a smartphone. Thanks to the touchscreen display.
With the HomePatrol II, Uniden has given one of the most sophisticated radio scanner to the world. Apart from the nice touchscreen, the simple programming is another highlight to talk about. It is a digital Phase 2 scanner which can receive APCO-25 Phase I and Phase II digital, Motorola, EDACS, LTR, conventional analog and P25 digital channels.
Listening to the radio transmission around you will be hassle free with this wonderful device. You can easily listen to all the two way radio communications (non-encrypted) with just a click on the digital touch screen. The radio scanner can easily scan up to 15 miles radius.
Gone are the days of spending a couple of days of programming and setting up your scanner. Uniden HomePatrol II won’t take much time of yours to set it up. Thanks to the pre-programmed database. The database is connected to RadioReference.com which automatically pulls up frequencies and makes your life easier.
Uniden offers two ways of powering up the device. You can use either the AC Adapter or rechargeable battery. It also features other aspects like quick record, playback and instant replay which is found in all the high end models nowadays.
Uniden’s HomePatrol 2 is a high end digital Phase 2 radio scanner. If you’re a serious user of scanners, this may be a good option for you. It is designed to use for home uses. You can easily install it in your home and scan your nearby radio conversations. The feature-rich radio can also be mounted to your vehicle.
5. Whistler WS 1098: Highly Affordable Mobile ScannerIf you’re looking for the best digital Phase 2 mobile scanner, then WS1098 from Whistler is going to make you more than happy. It is one of the top rated cheap digital police scanners you can find in the market now.
Before going to the performance aspects, let me tell you about the LED display the device has. The programmable tri-color display can be used to indicate different types of activities. Isn’t that a nice feature to have? Just by looking at the display, you will get to know what’s going on around.
The digital trunking scanner has Motorola P25 Phase I, X2-TDMA and Phase II capabilities. Just like most of the modern scanners, the device comes pre-programmed. Almost all the US and Canada frequencies are available as and when you power up the device for the first time. You can hence easily program the device by adding the Zip code or the location.
For those programming freaks out there, you can do it by connecting it to your PC through USB 2 interface. It gives you the option for objected oriented programming. The cheap police scanner comes with a functional keypad.
The radio scanner is designed for using it in for emergency operations. It has got weather buttons which gives data on NOAA weather reports and Storm updates. It is a very easy to operate scanner. You might have the problem with the small buttons it has. But once you start using it, everything will become easier.
Buying the Best Radio Scanner – Buying Guide
We have introduced you to the top 5 police radio scanners as per our research and findings. We really hope one among the above will meet your expectations. However, that may not be the case always. That’s why we are giving you in in depth buying guide to get a good police scanner.
Before we start, let me ask you a question. How many different types of police scanners are there? If your answer is 4 or 6, let me tell you that its wrong. The type here depends on the way you’re categorizing radio scanners. In this case there are two ways you can categorize it and I will explain it to you.
Understanding the Types of Police Scanners
As said above, you can categorize the police radio scanners in two different ways- based on tran
Based on Format
I don’t have to tell you that the world is moving towards digital modulation from the conventional analog. All your systems are digital. Your smartphones, laptops etc are digital. The same story goes on with police radio scanners too.
As per market reports, 90% of the police scanners sold in the market are digital and all the new products are of digital Phase 2.
Oh wait, I didn’t tell about digital Phase 2? Let us have a quick look into different radio scanners based on the formats.
As you can see from the above illustration, Digital Phase 2 scanners can scan all the transmissions ranging from Analog to Digital Phase 2. So, if you’re very serious in using scanners, we recommend you to buy them. Going down, you will lose signals and the reception will be very less.
We don’t encourage people in buying analog or Trunking police scanners as their time is already up. You will not see any new analog scanners in the market. Only if you’re short of budget and is an occasional user, you can go with any of the two.
Based on Design
There are basically two types of scanners based on design or configuration- Handheld and Mobile/base scanners
It is clearly given in the diagram that users prefer handheld police scanners over base or mobile. Why? The handheld ones are portable and are compact in size. With mobile/base scanner you will never get that freedom.
People who are looking to buy radio scanners for home can go with the mobile/base scanners. Otherwise, we recommend you to buy the handheld configuration as it gives you immense freedom.
Must-Have Features in Radio Scanners
Now that we have seen different types of radio scanners, let us go a bit deep into the features. I hope that you might have come to a decision on what format and configuration you are going to have for your police scanner.
There are many things to consider while buying a good police radio scanner. They are listed below:
Conclusion: Did You Get the Best Police Scanner?
With this, we have reached the closing part of this long article on police scanners.
I think you already know about the competition in the radio scanner market. It is very less and you don’t have any other option than to go with Uniden or Whistler. Of course, they are good brands and they do have some awesome products as we have listed above. When you make a choice, make it a wise one. Think about the future. Think about the support always.
I don’t have to tell you to get a digital Phase 2 scanner. I believe you will not disappoint me by buying another type scanner. If so, this best police scanner review of mine will be failed attempt.
Do share me with your reviews and take on the scanners you buy. If you have any queries or want me to help you in buying the scanner, I am more than happy to help you out.