Last updated: Feb. 20, 2017
With upgraded weapons, armor and vehicles, law enforcement agencies and police departments around the world are able to crackdown on crime effectively.
Along with the various innovative types of equipment used for this purpose is the police scanner, which is a radio communications system and an essential gadget.
A police scanner can be just as effective for individuals and communities wanting to keep up to date with emergencies and chaotic events in their vicinity.
Neighborhood Watch groups are an excellent example of effective public use. Volunteers ensure that their area is safe by monitoring and reporting any disturbances. Having police scanners during this time can be very useful, even life-saving, and is just one of the many ways that they can be put to beneficial use.
Therefore, the need for high-performance, top rated police scanners is vital and should never be compromised with unreliable ones, and there are many to choose from out there.
In this article we will give an overview of the ten best police scanners on the market, as well as in-depth police scanner reviews of the top five. So, keep the frequency clear for a few minutes because you are about to be provided with all the information you need to make the right choice.
Table Of Contents
In this section we review the top 5 police scanners listed in the comparison table above. With the help of these police scanner reviews you should be able to find the best police scanner for your own needs.
The BaoFeng UV-5R V2+ is a micro-miniature, multi-band FM transceiver with an extensive frequency range of 136-174 / 400-479.995MHz. It delivers local two-way amateur radio communications and encompasses supreme monitoring capabilities.
The new and advanced auto-band detection features allows for automatic band detection, completely removing the need for the band button.
The UV-5R V2+ also is highly durable, which is always a plus, and continues to perform like a charm under heavy use. The upgraded metallic housing means that the UV-5R V2+ runs for longer than its predecessors.
Additional valuable features include the bright and easy-to-read, two-color LED display with clear-cut, sharp images and English user manual.
Its ultra-light weight at 1.2 pounds and Lithium ion battery further complements its ingenuity and for that reason the BaoFeng UV-5R V2+ is currently regarded as one of the best-selling police scanners out there.
Baofeng makes another entry with the innovative UV-82. Compared to other BaoFeng products, the UV-82 has a significantly louder speaker and a far more solid case.
It sports a dual push-to-talk button which allows you to transmit on two frequencies by way of the rocker PTT switch.
One of the highlights of the BaoFeng UV-82 is the new chipset and top-notch PCB board that outdoes the range, accuracy and output of previous BaoFeng chipsets.
The backlit LCD display is fully-customizable with a wide scope of colors. Users can choose from blue, purple or orange according to personal preference. Its full keypad has larger keys with a solid tactile feel that makes it easier to operate for users with larger fingers.
As always with Baofeng products, there are extra innovative features. The BaoFeng UV-82 has 128 programmable memory channels of which you can add or remove from a scanning list using the free computer software. Now that’s definitely a hi-tech police scanner and a sure purchase.
This grand police scanner certainly has to be one of the more diverse types available on the market. The Uniden BC75XLT can program up to 300 channels into the scanner's memory, with 30 channels in each of the 10 banks.
The BC75XLT includes a PC programming port, complimentary software, and is also narrow-band compatible.
Its highly-advanced Close Call RF Capture Technology allows users to tune into nearby stations, even if the frequency isn't programmed into the specific channel.
Furthermore, the Uniden BC75XLT includes NOAA weather broadcasts, as well as marine, ham radio and air-band transmissions. To add to that, it is also capable of designating priority channels for frequent scanning and can program search ranges to find frequencies that are unlisted.
Don’t be concerned about this gem running out of steam, as its Simple USB charging allows users to recharge its batteries from a computer and various wireless telephone adapters.
The Uniden BC75XLT has pre-programmed Service Search Bands for frequencies typically used by police and fire departments, and is thus a well-rounded police scanner incorporating everything a user needs.
It’s not surprising that more than one Uniden device has secured a spot this best police scanner list. The Uniden BC125AT is a compact Bearcat Handheld Scanner that has been intricately installed with public safety, military aircraft and racing scanners with alpha tags.
The BC125AT has an immense amount of channels, 500 to be exact. The alpha-tagged channels boast a convenient compact design and loads of features which include 10 banks and optional PC programming.
Adding to its convenience is the availability of complimentary software which is available online. Its design is lightweight and compact and offers over 40,000 frequencies. The weather scan and pre-sets for widespread channels, ensure you are safe and well-informed at all times.
The Uniden BC125AT also has built-in police, fire, ham, marine, air and rail road scanning capabilities, plus a 'Do Not Disturb Mode’ which prevents close call checks during a transmission.
The Uniden BC355N is a compact Base Mobile Scanner with a 300-Channel function and a pre-programmed service search for police, fire and marine bands. It also includes weather band broadcasts for information on any unexpected disasters.
The BC355N is ideal for car or home use and features hi-tech close call RF capture technology, temporary lockouts and search lockouts.
The best part – the price. For a police scanner jam-packed with first-rate features and of such superior quality, you would expect to pay a hefty sum. However, the Uniden BC355N is very affordable and an excellent choice for users looking for a cheaper, yet efficient option.
On the whole, the Uniden BC355N offers a reliable way to keep track of events and emergencies in your area.
Apart from the actual parts, features and design, there are a number of important things that need to be taken into consideration when you are looking to buy the best police scanner. Understanding these will ensure more productive use of your radio scanner. Below are some significant things to consider before purchase.
Analog is the most basic and inexpensive model available and are more commonly used in rural communities and smaller towns. Keep in mind that they will not pick up signals which are being transmitted on digital systems.
On the other hand, larger cities have switched over from analog scanners to digital systems. These systems have far better reception and sound quality. Even though digital scanners are more expensive, they are definitely more effective.
The number of channels you need depends on how many transmissions you are interested in listening into. A basic model with just 10 to 20 channels will be sufficient enough if you only want to monitor one or two. For a wide range of transmissions, opt for a model that includes a larger amount of channels.
When looking into speed, the pace at which the device can scan through channels is vital. If you are scanning through a large number of channels, high speed can play a fundamental role.
If you are only listening to up to 10 channels, a scanning speed of about 16 channels per second should suffice. If you have more channels to scan through, you need to consider a search speed of 50 or 100 channels per second.
Trunked radio systems allow communities or agencies to provide many groups with the ability to share a small number of radio frequencies. If an agency that you wish to follow in your area is utilizing a trunked radio system, you will need to purchase a scanner which includes the feature.
Sensitivity is measured in microvolts. The lower the number, the more sensitive the receiver. Go for high sensitivity, as you will be able to listen to signals if the transmission is weak.
Selectivity is another important feature, especially in an urban environments, as you are able to pick up the frequency that you want to listen into even if two stations are on adjacent frequencies.
Becoming familiar with all the types of police scanners out there is overwhelming enough, but knowing the various brands is just as important. In this section we list the top police scanner brands.
All devices of the brands in this section incorporate the highest standards of quality, and have a long history of consumer satisfaction. Stick to these brands and you will never go wrong.
Baofeng prides itself on investing time into constantly improving and updating its radios for the benefit of its users. Their radios and are designed to be affordable for amateur radio enthusiasts and newbies who may not want to purchase radios with a hefty price tag initially.
Almost all BaoFeng radios operate in both VHF and UHF frequencies. Additionally, all their devices are put through extensive tests and, once passed and all bugs are attended to and fixed, are released onto the market.
You can be certain that any Baofeng radio you get your hands on is one of utmost value and proficiency.
Uniden has a solid reputation as one of the leading brands in electronic equipment. It has a wide range of supreme radio scanners, video surveillance devices and two-way radios, along with much, much more.
Uniden radios are also able to receive conventional channels, standard EDACS networks and S.A.M.E weather alerts.
All their devices are fitted with a high-functioning, illuminated LCD black-lit keypads which make for easier operation and handling. Another well-known component found with all Uniden devices, in particular radios and police scanners, is advanced PC software which protects and updates databases and firmware.
Uniden is no doubt among the most trustworthy and popular police scanner brands out there.
Whistler is a reputable electronics brand best known for its radar detectors. It also manufactures first-class scanner radios, GPS devices and power inverters. Since on the topic of scanners, Whistler’s have unmatched scanner capacities and can hold over 38,000 objects for scanning. The sound is crystal-clear, due in part to excellent audio hardware, and can compensate for low-user audio levels that are common on most digital systems. Furthermore, they are all extremely well-secured with tough, durable metallic covers. Overall, Whistler remains a top brand known for combining advanced technology with convenience.
You can choose to purchase a handheld police scanner or a mobile police scanner. Each of these types provides different benefits and advantages. Knowing the specifications of each one will assist you in obtaining the best police scanner for your needs.
Handheld radio scanners are the most portable and convenient type of radio scanners available. They can be powered with batteries or an external power source, providing flexibility from a fixed location or when travelling.
Handheld police scanners are usually less powerful than mobile units, resulting in lower frequency range. However, this disadvantage can be resolved by equipping the handheld unit with an additional antenna. Depending on the type of antenna system, the reception range can be substantially increased.
Another shortcoming is their limited amount of running time, and it is recommended for users to have extra batteries with them.
Mobile radio scanners are larger and therefore less compact than handheld units. They are normally used in fixed locations and connected to powerful antenna systems.
This provides a much greater and wider range than handheld police scanners and, depending on their antenna system, mobile police scanners can have a range of up to 40 miles or more.
Mobile units can also be mounted in vehicles, much in the same manner as AM/FM radio units. Mobile radio scanners designed to be installed in vehicles are used to constantly monitor fire and police broadcasts.
They are perfect for reporters who need to follow police and fire units responding to emergencies, as well as taxis and other public transportation systems that benefit from avoiding heavy traffic as a result of accidents.
Police scanners can assist in preventing life and death situations that occur every day. It only makes sense that they are of the highest quality and with only the most advanced features.
By reading this guide, you now have all the information and knowledge to determine what is the best police scanner to keep you, your family and your community safe and well-prepared for any emergency.
All you need to do now is take what you now know and get your hands on the perfect police scanner most suitable for you. Take care guys!