Are you looking for the best police scanner?
I have around a dozen police scanners over the years and having one is a staple in my home security and emergency preparation gear. The key to selecting a police scanner for your home is to opt for a high quality model that won’t let you down when you need it most. With that in mind, I have reviewed the top models available on today’s market and after reading this article you will know my recommendations.
Check the quick list below for links to customer reviews and prices for my best police scanner picks, or read on for the full review:
- Whistler WS1065 Desktop Digital Scanner
- Uniden BCD996P2 Digital Mobile TrunkTracker V Scanner
- Uniden BC355N 800 MHz 300 Channel Base Mobile Scanner
- Uniden BC365CRS 500 Channel Police Scanner
- Uniden BC75XLT 300-Channel Handheld Police Scanner
I love having a police scanner on hand so that I can easily and quickly keep up with information about emergencies around me. If you want to be able to monitor emergency transmissions in your area, then I recommend that you invest in the best police scanner to make it possible.
Selecting the Best Police Scanner
Most people know that having a police scanner is a great way to stay updated on information, but choosing one can be a little tricky. The first thing that I recommend is for people who want a police scanner to decide if they want a base or a handheld model.
While these two types of scanners look really different from each other, they actually function the same. If you are going to be monitoring from a single location, such as your home, then you may be happier with a base model. On the other hand, if you are constantly on the road, then it’s better to opt for a handheld scanner, as you can easily take it with you.
It’s also important to decide if you want to be able to program your scanner or if you want it to ship to you already ready to be used. People who have used police scanners before will likely want to have more control over their scanner, while new users may be happier with a scanner that already has frequencies and channels programmed.
Benefits of Having a Great Police Scanner
When you have a police scanner, then you can easily know about emergencies in your area before they hit the news. This is great, no matter if it is a normal day or you are worried about a potential grid down situation. When you can get information about major accidents, fires, or other issues, then you can avoid the area and make sure that you are prepared to protect your family.
Another advantage of having a police scanner is that you can easily check the weather. One of the main reasons that many people opt for a scanner is because they feature weather frequencies, which makes it easy to track when a major storm is coming your way.
I love my scanner because I can make sure that I am able to keep my family safe from emergencies and because it gives me a heads-up on weather problems that are going to strike. This is great no matter where you live, as you can get early information on major snowstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, or even just major thunderstorms.
Features to Look For
One you decide what type of police scanner you want, then you can look for one that will best meet your needs. I think that it’s always a good idea to look for a scanner that has a large and bright LCD screen so that you can easily read information about your frequency.
Additionally, some scanners have close capture technology. This is perfect for anyone who is going to be taking their scanner on the road with them, as it makes it easy to tune into local frequencies without having to scan for them or know their information. I love this when I’m on the road, as I can easily hear if there are any problems in the area that I want to avoid.
Finally, there are some scanners that double as alarm clocks. This feature is great for anyone who needs equipment that is double duty, but it isn’t something that everyone will benefit from, so think about where and how you will use your new scanner.
How to Use Your New Police Scanner
It’s mostly common sense when you are learning how to use a police scanner, but you do have to make sure that you know common frequencies and that you take time to learn the jargon used during transmissions.
The absolute best way to learn how to use a scanner is by monitoring local traffic so that you get used to how the frequencies work and what you need to listen to. Make sure that you read the instructions for your particular scanner so that you understand how it works and how to save your favorite frequencies.
A lot of people are worried about whether or not it is legal to own a police scanner. While there is a lot of misinformation about scanners, it’s important to remember that it is legal to own a scanner, but there are a few restrictions.
The first restriction is that you can’t use your scanner while you are driving. This is for obvious safety reasons. The second restriction is that you are not allowed to use your police scanner to help further a crime.
Most people are not going to be using their police scanners illegally, which means that having and using one is just fine. Make sure that you always check the legality of scanners in your area and whether or not there are any restrictions on their use.
Best Police Scanner
I keep a well stocked gear list of emergency preparedness equipment and my police scanner is an important part of that gear list. Over the years I have used a number of different models and I assure you going with a high quality model is well worth the investment. I have reviewed the top options out there for performance, durability, and features.
Whistler WS1065 Desktop Digital Scanner
One of the best features of this desktop police scanner is that it will easily store up to 1,800 frequencies. Not only that, but you can easily search for nearby frequencies so that you can tune into local events, no matter where you are. Since it makes it possible to quickly jump to a transmission, you never have to worry about whether or not you are going to miss out on some important information.
- Provides instant access to frequencies that storm spotter networks use
- Makes it easy to save your favorite frequencies, even when the batteries die
- User-friendly interface is very intuitive
- Volume can fail after a while of use
- Can be difficult to tune into local frequencies
- Voices sometimes get really garbled
Uniden Digital Mobile TrunkTracker V Scanner
Thanks to the advanced infrared technology on this scanner, you never have to worry about whether or not you can keep track of local events, as well as any bad weather in the area. This scanner is perfect for putting in your car to take on the road when you are worried about safety and road conditions and will easily allow you to check for problems in the area. It features location-based scanning so that you can always tune into local frequencies when you’re on the road.
- Incredibly advanced dynamic memory
- Has 25,000 allocated channels
- Offers continuous band coverage from 26 MHz to 1.3 GHz
- Has a steep learning curve
- Can be difficult to learn how to program manually
- Instruction manual is not very clear
Uniden 300 Channel Base Mobile Scanner
Users who are new to using a police scanner may appreciate that this option already has channels preprogrammed into it, which makes it easy for users to quickly turn on the scanner and find out information. Rather than having to worry about entering in specific information for channels and frequencies, this unit can be used to scan right away and will provide the most interesting and active bands for fast information.
- Features 300 channels
- Backlit display makes it easy to read the information, even in bright light
- Already preprogrammed for certain emergency bands
- Can’t enter your own frequencies
- Can be difficult to use as it will freeze on certain channels
- Doesn’t offer great reception
Uniden 500 Channel Police Scanner
Users have plenty of room to store their favorite frequencies since you can easily store 500 channels in 10 different banks. This makes it easy for users to quickly access their top frequencies so that they can get information right away when something is going on around them. With features such as an LCD backlit display and buttons that are clearly labeled and laid out, this scanner tends to be easier to use than some of the most advanced options on the market.
- Functions as a radio and alarm clock, as well
- Easily search most used emergency bands
- Includes 500 channels
- Tends to be difficult to program
- Sometimes switches off without warning
- Analog scanner doesn’t work in digital areas
Uniden 300 Channel Handheld Police Scanner
Thanks to the close call technology on this scanner, users never have to worry about missing out on information that is going on right near them, even if they don’t have the frequency used programmed into one of their channels. This unit also makes it easy for users to quickly scan for commonly used frequencies that are used by the military, weather, or emergency services, making it easy to stay on top of what is going on in the world.
- Narrow band compatible
- Comes with free software and a PC programming port
- Program up to 300 channels in memory to make scanning easy
- Can be very difficult to program the frequencies
- Doesn’t hold a charge for very long
- Doesn’t always scan when placed on the charger
For more security guides and tips read these articles:
- Best Gate Openers
- Best Solar Powered Security Camera
- Best Keyless Door Locks
- Best Home Safe
- Strongest High Security Padlock
- Top 4K Security Camera System
- Best Security DVR Hard Drive
- Top Night Vision Security Camera
- Best Wall Safe
- Wireless Home Intercom System
I think that the Uniden BCB996P2 digital mobile police scanner is the best on this list. Not only is it known for being fairly easy to use, but it is packed with great features that make it a wonderful option for both beginners and more advanced users. Thanks to the large display screen, you can easily see information about the frequency you’re tuned into. It is compatible with your GPS, making it great for taking on the road, if desired. Additionally, the 100 quick key system access ensures that you can quickly and easily tune into any frequency without any delays, so you get the information that you need right away.
Fred is the Ready Zeal owner and editor. He has been passionately pursuing all things emergency preparation since working alongside his grandfather as a boy growing up in the Midwest. When not working on the family homestead he can be found brewing coffee and reading a good book or backpacking in the wilderness. Contact Fred at [email protected]