Today, police scanners have evolved to a point where anyone can use them. You can use them to hear the latest news, weather, aircraft, road updates, and emergencies.
They take away daily stress.
Unfortunately, many brands have entered the market and failed to manufacture quality scanners unless you are an expert; it’s becoming difficult to choose a good police scanner.
But that shouldn’t worry you. In this article, we will discuss with the top 9 best police scanners to buy on Amazon today.
But before we begin, here is our top pick.
Our Top Picks
The following are the best scanners you can ever find in any category. Choose the one you need and enjoy listening to communications within your local area.
- Analogue Police Scanner: BaoFeng BF-F8HP Dual Band Two-Way Radio
- Digital Police scanner: Uniden Homepatrol-2 Color Touchscreen Simple Program Digital Scanner
- Dual Police Scanner: Radioddity Dual Band Digital/Analogue Police Scanner
- Handheld Police Scanner: Uniden Homepatrol-2 Color Touchscreen Simple Program Digital Scanner
- Desktop Police Scanner: Whistler WS1025
- Car Police Scanner: Uniden BC355N 800 MHz 300-Channel Base/Mobile Scanner
What Is A Police Scanner?
A police scanner is a wireless device that can pick up different radion bands within your area at the same time. They are also known as channel scanners, race scanners, and radio scanners. They are mainly used for monitoring communication between police, emergency units, and responders.
Who Needs a Police Scanner?
The radio scanners are mainly designed for police and emergency units. However, they are not limited to these two categories of people.
People who need to monitor emergencies need police scanners for access to the emergency frequencies.
For instance, truck drivers find the police scanners useful in getting live updates on road conditions, criminal activities, and weather alerts.
In short, anyone who wants an update on real-time emergencies can use the police scanners. The following is a list of people who needs police scanners.
- Neighborhood watch
- School systems
- Public building workers
- Military and Government agencies
- Corporate security workers
- Home users and radio hobbyists
- News media reporters and videographers
- Patrol and dispatch centers
With a police scanner, you can follow live events within your local area. From police manhunts, emergencies, weather, to natural disasters, you stay updated at all times.
How Does a Police Scanner work?
A police scanner works the same way as a radio broadcast. It works through radio waves transmitted on various bands and converted through transistors into audible sounds.
They scan the radio wave and transmit the audio sound send from the other end.
Their operations separate them from FM or AM radio with the ability to handle multiple receivers, unlike walkie talkies and CBS.
The scanners cannot transmit on government channels – this is illegal. All you can do is to receive a transmission, which is legal and acceptable within the law.
Types of Police Scanners
Generally, there are three main types of police scanners. However, these three categories are further subdivided into other subcategories. But in this case, we will discuss the three major types of radio systems.
The following are the common three types of Radio systems that you will find in the market.
- Handheld Police Scanners
Just as their name suggests, these are scanners that are carried by hands. These are the police scanners that are easily carried. You can carry them around like you carry your mobile phone.
The only problem with these scanners is their battery lifespan – it’s very low. Apart from that, they are weaker when it comes to picking broadcast in a certain range.
- Base/Mobile Scanners
These are medium police scanners. They are an upgrade for the handheld scanners. You must have seen these scanners. Mostly, they are either installed over the walls or vehicles.
They are called mobile scanners because you can install them over your car and move around with it. Mobile scanners are more powerful than the handheld scanners you will find in the market.
- Desktop Scanners
These are huge and most powerful police scanners. As their power suggests, you can only install them over a desktop and plug them to power outlets.
The only challenge with this scanner is that you can’t carry it around like the other scanners. However, when installed in a base or office, it gives high performance. It has a powerful frequency pick up. It also comes with other excellent features such as channel memory.
9 Best Police Scanners of 2020
1. BaoFeng BF-F8HP Dual Band Two-Way Radio
This is a police scanner that boasts of a wide range of built-in features. And apart from that, two things stand out about this particular scanner.
First, it will give you more value than its price. You can’t find another scanner with a similar performance at its price. It gives you great value for your money.
Something else you will love about it is that it’s designed to be user-friendly. This is a scanner specifically made for anyone who is not a radio expert. Once you buy it no struggling trying to find out how to use it. Besides, it comes with an easy to follow manual.
And when you think about its performance, this is the best. It has an upgraded battery that has a capacity of more than 30% – 2000mAh battery, which is an amazing power output. This means your scanner will stay for long hours without the need to recharge it.
If you are looking for a budget-friendly analog-only police scanner, this is the real deal. It has an excellent ranges across UHF, VHF, and FM bands.
- Extra Large Battery
- Analog only
- Very user-friendly
BaoFeng BF-F8HP Dual Band Two-Way Radio is available on Amazon. Click here to check the latest price and buy the scanner from Amazon today.
2. Whistler TRX-1
Here is an amazing scanner that features a zip code programming with preloaded Canada and USA options. It sets the standard in the way other police scanners should work.
This is a scanner that comes with dedicated weather and the SKYWARN button. Something else you will love about the scanner is the ability to listen to both digital Phase I and Phase II channels. This is a scanner ready for action.
The TRX-1 will pick all FM, AM, and digital frequencies. It’s a dual scanner that will capture both analog and digital frequencies. With it, you won’t have to worry about the band used within your area.
You will also love the actual scanning and sweeper that is quick – it gives an excellent voice quality.
The scanner also comes with a microSD card space to give an extra memory to save zip codes and live record actions. And when you think about its power, the scanner comes with a mini USB that can be powered by the USB charger.
- Dual Band
- SD memory card slot
- Listens to digital phase I and Phase II channels
If you are looking for a high-performance digital police scanner, click here to check TRX-1 latest price and buy it now on Amazon.
3. Whistler WS1025
Here is a classic Desktop Live police scanner. It comes with a look that looks like a slight modernization of the old model of desktop scanners. They look just like most of the scanners you have seen in movies with superheroes and vigilante.
When you buy this scanner, it will make you feel like you are living a movie life.
This scanner is a perfect choice for anyone who spends much time listening to police communication. You buy it and install it in your office, home, or wherever you wish to use it and get that powerful listening experience.
And when you compare it with the handheld models, this scanner is cheaper and gives a better listening experience. It’s a perfect choice for home listening.
- Easy to use
The police scanner is available on Amazon. Click here to check the latest price and buy it from Amazon today.
4. Uniden BC355N 800 MHz 300-Channel Base/Mobile Scanner
Here is a scanner for people who intend to use it on their vehicles. It’s a scanner that can double as and a desktop scanner. The scanner is mostly used by journalists or truck drivers who want to avoid police activity. It’s a good option for people who would wish to avoid traffic caused by accidents or other factors.
The scanner has a built-in CB system. However, you need to be careful when using it. You shouldn’t transmit any signal to government networks unless you want problems with the cops – it’s illegal.
And when you look at the performance of the scanner, it’s a well-engineered piece of tech.
In short, if you are looking for a scanner to install over your car, this would be a perfect option. It will serve you well. The scanner can pick up analog receptions, including monitoring police, emergency, fire, medical services, marine, weather, air, and CB frequencies.
- Good discrimination
- Easy to use
Click here to check the latest price and buy a scanner that will serve your car well.
5. Uniden Homepatrol-2 Color Touchscreen Simple Program Digital Scanner
Here is a powerful digital scanner manufactured by one of the top companies in the communication technology industry. With their advanced technology, you can only expect to get the best out of this digital scanner.
This is an easy to use police scanner. When using it, all you need to do is to name or enter the zip code of the city you would wish to receive your signal from. The device will automatically load all the trucking systems, alpha tags, and frequencies for that area.
And if you wish, it’s possible to add a GPS receiver to it. This will allow the receiver to tune itself instantly to whichever location you would wish.
Something else you will love about the scanner is its color touch screen. It simplifies the use of the scanner, and you won’t have to worry about strange dials. All you need to do is to press the screen and leave the scanner to adjust its settings.
The scanner also features instant replays, quick record and playback, and weather alerts. You can use this scanner in your vehicle, home, or whichever place you would wish to.
- Color touch screen for ease of use
- Clear reception
- Connects with frequencies of great distances
The scanner is available on Amazon. Click here to check the latest price and buy the scanner on Amazon now.
6. Whistler TRX-2 Desktop Digital Scanner
When it comes to desktop scanners, there is no other company that manufactures great products like Whistler. If you are interested in desktop police scanners, consider buying their products.
We already shared with their analog version. Now, this is a digital scanner made by them.
This is a scanner for people living in areas with a digital band. It’s fitted with the latest technology to give you the best scanning experience.
TRX-2 is an amazing desktop scanner that features a Motorola P25 Phase I, DMR, Phase II, and X2-TDMA. It can scan and access even encrypted channels.
The scanner comes with a zip code programming that makes it easy to set it up in your home or wherever you wish to use it. All you do is enter your local area zip code, and automatically it will scan and load all information you need to listen within your area.
TRX-2 comes with a preloaded Canadian and American database, and a MicroSD card. Its simple to scan multiple scan lists.
With a dedicated Skywarn weather feature, you will always be updated on the current weather situations. It’s a perfect option for a weather radio.
- Multi-system adaptive trunking
- Zipcode programming feature making it easy and quick to setup
- Dedicated Skywarn weather button
If you are looking for a digital desktop scanner that will keep you updated at all times, then this is the real deal. Click here to check the latest price and buy the scanner on Amazon now.
7. BTECH 5 Watt Tri-Band Radio
BTECH is a high-end tri-band scanner. It’s a scanner that offers great value at its price. It comes with great features with its capability.
The police scanner comes with 128 storage channels, which are extremely high for a small scanner like this. And when you think about mode scanning, it’s effective and simple. It allows you to enter within search parameters and at the same time, deliver a useful display.
- Ease of use
- Comes with 128 channels
- Excellent value for Tri-brand radio
If you are looking for a small mobile police scanner with great power, buy BTECH 5-Watt Tri-Band Radio. Click here to check the latest price and buy the scanner from Amazon now.
8. Radioddity Dual Band Digital/Analogue Police Scanner
You could have tried other dual-band police scanners but didn’t like them. But you haven’t tried Radioddity. It’s one of the best dual police scanners you will find in the market today.
It’s user-friendly and comes with a unique design.
It’s connector cable, and bundled software will allow you to connect it to a PC or your laptop. All its features are easy to use with their drop-down menus. The only thing you need to do is to click options on the display and it gives you exactly what you are looking for.
Apart from all those benefits, the scanner is dual-band. It works with a digital and analog scanner that comes with a wide range of compatibility for various frequencies and systems.
- High capacity battery
- Dual-band radio
- A lightweight and portable device
The police scanner is available on Amazon. Click here to check the latest price and buy it from Amazon today.
9. Whistler Handheld Digital Scanner Radio
Here is another police scanner from Whistler. With their technology, you can only expect the best even when they manufacture handheld police scanners.
This scanner will give you live updates from police, fire, marine, news, and weather. It comes with a memory for saving and gives you instant access at any time.
The buttons of the scanner are handheld. With them, you can customize your scanner as you would wish.
- Handheld scanner
- Digital band scanner
- Ease of use
The scanner is available on Amazon. Click here to check the latest price and buy the scanner from Amazon today.
Factors To Consider Before Buying a Police Scanner
The truth is, you can’t wake up and buy any scanner you find in the market. There are some critical factors you need to consider if you would wish to get the best scanner. A scanner that will meet your needs.
The following are critical factors that we considered in selecting our scanner. If you want to get the best scanner ever, we also ask you to think of them before choosing to buy any scanner.
This is the first thing you need to think about. You have to know the systems used by the person you would like to listen to. For effectiveness, you need to ensure you have the same system with the people you want to hear.
For example, if you want to listen to your local police, find out the type of scanners they are using. If they are all digital, don’t buy an analog scanner. Go for a digital or dual-band.
If you are unsure of the range system used by the person you intend on listening to, buy a dual scanner. This will enable you to switch between the systems and still listen to them.
How do you want to use the scanner? Do you need to carry it around or you need it a station? If you are looking for a scanner to carry around, go for the handheld scanners. However, if you need a scanner that will give you extra power and a wide range of pickup, go for the desktop scanner.
In short, choose to buy a police scanner that will serve your portability and power needs.
There are different radio frequencies over the air. So, you need to select a scanner that is compatible with your local radio signals. This makes it easier to find and listen to the police or other people you would wish to around your home area.
Just concentrate on the strongest radio frequency in your area and buy a scanner that can transmit voice over them. Be compatible with your local area.
Some scanners are designed for emergency use while others are just for fun. If you are looking for a scanner that will perform an excellent job in disaster, buy an automatic connection scanner.
When an emergency comes, these scanners will give you better performance than the analog scanners.
Look at the life of your scanner battery. How long do they stay while still working? Scanners with AA batteries stockpile power easily. With them, you can keep going for long.
Under this category, consider choosing a police scanner that has a better battery life. You don’t want to be changing your batteries very often.
Analog Vs. Digital Police Scanner – Which is the Best to Buy?
This is a critical question to ask yourself before choosing to buy any police scanner. You need to consider their method of frequency performance.
Analog scanners use the traditional radio source. These are radio frequencies that have been in existence since the birth of radio.
On the other hand, the digital police scanner uses a more modern communication medium than the analog scanner. It is more powerful and gives more options.
However, one thing about the analog scanner is the fact that it’s cheap. Even the radio infrastructure of the analog scanner is easy to install and maintain.
Due to the high cost of equipment installation for the digital scanner, most local police units still use the analog scanners.
However, as we earlier mentioned, before buying any scanner, first consider your local area. Check whether they have a digital or analog signal. Then choose a signal that is within your area.
Is It Legal to Use a Police Scanner?
In the United States and Canada, it’s legal to use the police scanners to listen to live broadcasts. However, it’s illegal to broadcast any message to the Government network using your police scanners.
Most of the police scanners you will find in the market lack the ability to transmit any message through them.
It is also illegal to listen to cell phones and encrypted communications. Some states restrict listening while driving or scanning information that will aid in financial gains or help in criminal activities.
These legalities differ within different states. If you have specific questions concerning the legality of using your police scanner in your local area, consult a licensed attorney.
Whether you want a police scanner for listening to the news or follow live updates of what’s happening in your area, you will find a great scanner in the market. We have shared with all the best scanners you can ever find.
Buy the one that suits your needs today from Amazon.