Best Police Scanners

John Kopischke
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In this article I want to review all the out of ear police scanners that are currently available on Amazon.

Using police radio scanners, there are many advantages that you can enjoy.

They can allow you to listen in on emergency responses that might be occurring in your area.

They can allow you to listen in on emergency responses that are happening in different parts of the country that you are visiting.

However, its important to remember that you must have a license in order to be able to use police scanners.

NameCategoryProduct
Uniden SDS200 Advanced X Base/Mobile Digital Trunking ScannerBest OverallUniden SDS200 Advanced X Base/Mobile Digital Trunking Scanner
Uniden BC75XLTBudget PickUniden BC75XLT
Uniden BCD536HP HomePatrol Series Digital Phase 2 Base/Mobile ScannerUpgrade PickUniden BCD536HP HomePatrol Series Digital Phase 2 Base/Mobile Scanner

1. Uniden SDS200 Advanced X Base/Mobile Digital Trunking Scanner

Our rating: 9 / 10

Uniden SDS200 Advanced X Base/Mobile Digital Trunking Scanner

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Pros:

  • Comes with a free APP
  • Large 3.5 inch screen
  • Automatic GPS location
  • Automatically stores the information of a location
  • Real-Time Weather Alerts

Improved Digital Reception Resulting in A More Accurate Display of Your Targeted Communications System.

2. Uniden BCD996P2 Digital Mobile TrunkTracker V Scanner

Our rating: 8 / 10

Uniden BCD996P2 Digital Mobile TrunkTracker V Scanner

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Pros:

  • Ideal for all kinds of police and public safety work
  • Three times the Dynamic Allocation when compared to a standard TrunkTracker scanner
  • It has Phase I & II; will work for both trunked and conventional radio systems
  • It uses Close Call…technology to track down signals that are close by but on the edge of being out of range
  • Has a backlit display that offers up to four lines of text
  • Easy and quick to program, and the system automatically performs routine tasks to give operators more time to focus on actual police work
  • This scanner also splits wideband/NAC transmissions
  • Also has a unique Signal Stabilizer feature that prevents the unit from losing important voice elements during poor signal conditions

Close Call.

The Uniden BCD996P2 Digital Mobile TrunkTracker V Scanner, 25,000 Dynamically Allocated Channels, Close Call RF Capture Technology, 4-Line Alpha display, Base/Mobile Design, Phase 2, Location-Based Scanning, Close Call is the ultimate police scanner available today, and anyone considering purchase of a high-end scanner should take it into consideration.

3. Uniden BC365CRS 500 Channel Scanner and Alarm Clock

Our rating: 8 / 10

Uniden BC365CRS 500 Channel Scanner and Alarm Clock

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Pros:

  • Professional-quality scanning
  • Display is great
  • Weather alert
  • Portable stereo
  • Great for family
  • Good for monitoring traffic
  • Affordable price
  • Sleek design

Cons:

  • Quite bulky
  • Internal batteries not rechargeable
  • Can get scratchy rotary volume knob
  • Won’t work in a pinch without batteries
  • Lower quality than some other models

This is a great all-around and affordable product. It’s well-built and packed with a lot of features. It’s got great reception and a nice display that’s easy to read.

The weather alert feature is especially nice. And it’s the only model that’s good for just about everybody: adults, kids, and even the elderly. It’s a great way to have peace of mind when you’re on vacation.

It would be nice if they used rechargeable batteries with this model. And the rotary knob is a bit creaky and unreliable. And the stations at the end of the dial might not work. So it’s not the most high-end, professional, high-quality scanner you can buy.

4. Whistler WS1025 Analog Desktop Scanner

Our rating: 8 / 10

Whistler WS1025 Analog Desktop Scanner

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Pros:

  • Simple Scanner
  • Easy to use

For a low-cost police scanner, the Whistler WS1025 is a great option, and I recommend it for people who are just starting out in the hobby and want a simple scanner to start getting their feet wet.

This radio features 10 preset frequencies from 2300 MHz to 3000 MHz, which allows you to scan up to 30 channels at a time. It has an external rear-mounted jack for an optional wire antenna and a channel display that allows you to see which channel you are on.

The Whistler scanner is also capable of programming in trunking systems with a little extra effort. Overall, this is a simple radio that is great for people who want a simple way to get into scanning without breaking the bank.

5. Uniden BC355N 800 MHz 300-Channel Base/Mobile Scanner

Our rating: 8 / 10

Uniden BC355N 800 MHz 300-Channel Base/Mobile Scanner

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Pros:

  • Great for scanning
  • Highly intuitive
  • Reliable and durable

The Uniden BC355N Scanner is a 300-channel unit that has a lot of great features. It has call alerts that changes channels when it hears activity. Power control is included, which automatically turns the scanner off when there is no activity in the channels you are scanning. Close Call RF Capture earpieces allow you to hear transmissions that can’t be picked up by the regular microphone. You can hear full transmissions and do not have to listen to backlogged broadcasts.

It also features the Close Call feature that allows you to do a pre-programmed scan of the high-priority action bands. You can simply press a button that cycles through the various action bands. This is a great feature if you want to keep track of an area or an activity.

It also tracks channels electronically, so it’s easier to keep track of channels. If there is a delay or a break in the transmission, it picks up where it left off.

6. Whistler WS1010 Analog Handheld Scanner

Our rating: 8 / 10

Whistler WS1010 Analog Handheld Scanner

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Pros:

  • Great value for price
  • Wide frequency reception range

This Whistler WS1010 scanner is an all-around solid product.

It’s small enough to easily carry around or pack in a bag, but has a decent sized screen. This screen, while being larger than other models, still takes up a relatively small real estate compared to a smart phone screen.

The WS1010 has pretty decent battery life which is not a frequently discussed topic for scanners. Some of the previous models did have issues with batteries, while the new model addresses those issues and offers longer life.

7. Uniden BCD536HP HomePatrol Series Digital Phase 2 Base/Mobile Scanner

Our rating: 8 / 10

Uniden BCD536HP HomePatrol Series Digital Phase 2 Base/Mobile Scanner

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Pros:

  • Great For UHF listening
  • GPS
  • Excellent Emergency Channels
  • Boosts VHF Signals

A digital scanner like the United BCD536HP does all the same things as a CB radio but with a digital display making it much easier to use. It comes with weather reports from NOAA and SAME weather/Emergency channels. It has a search feature that lets you hear police, fire department, the National Weather Service, ambulance, etc. You can search by location. This scanner can store information on 30 channels.

I like the Uniden BCD536HP Home Patrol scanner because it offers many advantages which are not present in other models that I researched. One of those advantages is the GPS tracker. The GPS system comes in handy when it comes to locating the images of radio stations and the distances between them. The GPS feature is also useful when you want to locate the coordinates of city and county fire departments. The GPS feature can also be utilized to locate addresses and neighborhoods.

8. Whistler WS1065 Desktop Digital Scanner,Black

Our rating: 8 / 10

Whistler WS1065 Desktop Digital Scanner,Black

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Pros:

  • Plenty of amazing features
  • Can be configured as a mobile or digital radio
  • It is easy to operate
  • Waterproof
  • Can work in extreme weather

Cons:

  • Digital receivers will break sooner than mobile ones.

9. Uniden HomePatrol-2 Color Touchscreen Simple Program Digital Scanner

Our rating: 8 / 10

Uniden HomePatrol-2 Color Touchscreen Simple Program Digital Scanner

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Pros:

  • Great for home use
  • Simple and straight to the point
  • Extremely easy to use on both front and back
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Doesn’t pick up cheap handheld radios
  • Smartscanner not included

D.S.A.L.

Specifically created for home use, the Uniden HomePatrol-2 Color Touchscreen Simple Program Digital Scanner, TrunkTracker V and S,A,M,E, Emergency/Weather Alert, APCO P25 Phase 1 and 2! Covers USA and Canada, Quick Record and Playback, D.S.A.L. is one of the most popular police scanners available.

It is packaged with 35,000 police and frequency channels, and pre-loaded with 10 PL tones. Among specifications for the Uniden HomePatrol-2 are compatibility with the D.S.A.L. (Digital Selective Alerting System) that allows for emergency alert notifications such as severe weather and Amber alerts.

10. Uniden BCD436HP HomePatrol Series Digital Handheld Scanner. TrunkTracker V

Our rating: 8 / 10

Uniden BCD436HP HomePatrol Series Digital Handheld Scanner. TrunkTracker V

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North American Coverage: Public Safety, Business, Marine, Aviation, Amateur & More!

For the amateur radio enthusiast, a scanner is a great way to keep tabs on what’s going on. This Uniden model has many features that can interest the amateur radio crowd.

Firstly is the trunktracker V, which scans various frequencies that have been preprogrammed by the manufacturer. Many of the trunk configurations have preselected channels that will scan for certain important frequencies, such as police, fire departments, medical, and more.

11. Uniden SR30C BearCat

Our rating: 7 / 10

Uniden SR30C BearCat

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Pros:

  • Wide variety of bands
  • Comes with 16 channels pre-programmed
  • Up to 500 channels
  • Includes Bearcat locking lapel microphone
  • Easy to update
  • Backlit display screen

Ham Radio.

Looking for a basic, versatile police scanner that won’t break the bank? Then you owe it to yourself to check out the Uniden BearCat SR30C. This scanner is not as common as Uniden’s popular Home Patrol scanner, but it’s also not as expensive and has a much more basic set of features for people who don’t need a bunch of extra doohickeys.

Our rating: 7 / 10

Uniden BEARTRACKER 885 Hybrid Full-Featured CB Radio + Digital TrunkTracking Police/Fire/Ambulance/DOT Scanner

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Pros:

  • The VHF system can be used with all standard mount microphones.
  • Includes backlit display and SWR meter to accurately tune antenna for best performance.
  • Large color display, includes channel scanner that automatically switches among your favorite channels, Hi-Z input for use with MP3 players, weather alert, and NOAA weather channels.
  • Includes an AM antenna, external speaker, and power cord for AC or DC adapters.
  • Includes a useful remote control
  • The battery charges up to 428 hours in less than 9 hours.
  • This scanner also includes a G-Tec scanning receiver for AM and FM frequencies including NOAA weather channels.
  • The BearTracker feature displays alerts from the National Weather Service every time there is a voice alert from the scanner.

Cons:

  • If you're looking for a CB radio that will allow you to monitor the free NOAA weather channels, this is a good choice for you since most CB radios don't allow you to monitor the NOAA weather channels.
  • This device allows you to monitor a lot of channels simultaneously.
  • This device has a scanning feature that makes it easy for you to monitor multiple channels.
  • The scanner includes a remote control that allows you to easily control the scanner while it is resting in a stationary location

13. Uniden BCD325P2 Handheld TrunkTracker V Scanner. 25,000 Dynamically Allocated Channels. Close Call RF Capture Technology. Location-Based Scanning and S.A.M.E. Weather Alert. Compact Size.

Our rating: 7 / 10

Uniden BCD325P2 Handheld TrunkTracker V Scanner. 25,000 Dynamically Allocated Channels. Close Call RF Capture Technology. Location-Based Scanning and S.A.M.E. Weather Alert. Compact Size.

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33,000 Dynamically Allocated Channels, Coverage From 25 Miles To 50 Miles With Less Interference. Supports APCO 25 Digital Audio Compatible With Any BCT15 Required Tier II Trunked System. Lightning Fast Operation. Highway Auto/AutoScan Mode. Priority Scan Function. W Supports Multiple Scan Lists With Programmable Frequency Ranges. I.B.E.W. Contacts. Backlit Display. Power Save To Save Battery Life. Call Alert. Call/Location Memory. Secure/Non-Secure RSS. Auto Notch. Auto Bands. Adjacent Channel Power.

14. Uniden BC75XLT

Our rating: 5 / 10

Uniden BC75XLT

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Pros:

  • Clear, high-quality reception
  • Long battery life
  • ANL/Off/Squelch
  • External speaker
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Water resistant
  • Very good customer support
  • Good range
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Loud fan noise
  • Black coating wears off

Touch-tone response is not good.

The Uniden BC75XLT is a superb choice for a compact police scanner. The police scanners can be used for a broad range of uses and is one of the high-quality scanners you will find in the market.

It comes with 300 channels that allow you to listen to a variety of signals. It can be used for regular monitoring and can be used to search for specific channels concerning the weather, air, marine, air, and amateur.

15. Uniden BC72XLT Handheld Scanner

Our rating: 5 / 10

Uniden BC72XLT Handheld Scanner

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Pros:

  • Price
  • Great for beginner to intermediate users
  • Option to program in channels
  • Lets you play through external speakers or headphones
  • Long battery life
  • Analog/Digital support
  • Memo and Scan

Cons:

  • Limited customizing options
  • Analog channels lack channel control capability
  • No weather alert feature
  • Search’s SmartScan does not support Rebanding (Conventional/Digital mode)
  • Control Knobs are hard to read in low light

The Uniden BC72XLT is a great option for users looking to get started with a police scanner without spending too much. The scanner’s ease of use, long battery life and audio quality make it a great option for someone just starting out.

Users can play through external speakers or headphones. That means you can listen to channels with higher amplification than what is possible with built in speakers.

The digital selection is very easy to use and isn’t complex like some other models on the market. It allows you to search for channels by name, frequency, mode, etc. It can store up to 600 channels in memory and has a basic searching capability.

16. Whistler WS1025 Analog Desktop Radio Scanners

Our rating: 5 / 10

Whistler WS1025 Analog Desktop Radio Scanners

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The Whistler WS1025 is often considered to be the best in the group of analog scanners. This one is a desktop radio scanner and it provides excellent reception. The WS1025 offers high performance and value. Inexpensive and very easy to use, the WS1025 scanner is the perfect scanner for anyone.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do police scanners really work?

You bet they do! To put it plainly, police scanners are not eavesdropping devices.

They are voice-communication tools, designed for official channels of communication within and between public and private safety agencies, including the media.

Aside from that, a lot of scanners allow you to listen to things such as weather alerts at your convenience. You can also listen in on NOAA weather channels and get the critical information you need without having to wait for a weather confirmation.

A weather scanner also allows you to be aware of any potential disasters and changes in weather.

What is the best scanner?

While scanners are available in many shapes and sizes, there are four distinct categories they are divided into: mobile, portable, base and trunk.

Mobile scanners transmit directly to your radio and are designed with a small, compact size and shape in mind.

Portable scanners are designed both for in house use and for on the go use. You can prop them up while on your desk or in your workshop and they’ll serve you quite well.

Base scanners are designed to connect directly to the antenna of a conventional radio receiver. But trunk scanners combine the mobile and portable scanners into one. They keep the transmitter and antenna together for a more compact design that also allows for a stronger signal than the mobile scanners.

What is the best police scanner app to use?

It’s nearly impossible to answer this question because there are tons of great police scanner apps, and it really depends on your specific needs. Some people want to listen to a single area in a major city while others want to monitor a large range of interactions from across the country. Whatever you need, there is going to be at least one police scanner app available that will do just that. Choosing a scanner app ultimately comes down to what you want to listen to and what you want to monitor.

Conclusion

We looked at a number of factors in an attempt to decipher which police band radio scanner is best suited for use by civilians and was happy to find that you don’t have to spend a bundle to do so. We hope this review helped you find a suitable police scanner to start your research with, and the fact that they make great gifts can only help that cause.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Uniden SDS200 Advanced X Base/Mobile Digital Trunking ScannerBest OverallUniden SDS200 Advanced X Base/Mobile Digital Trunking Scanner
Uniden BC75XLTBudget PickUniden BC75XLT
Uniden BCD536HP HomePatrol Series Digital Phase 2 Base/Mobile ScannerUpgrade PickUniden BCD536HP HomePatrol Series Digital Phase 2 Base/Mobile Scanner