Cheap scanner radio

Cheap scanner radio DEFAULT

The 7 Best Police Scanners of 2021

Final Verdict

The BearTracker 885’s (view at Amazon) included GPS, CB radio, and noise-canceling microphone make it an excellent choice for truckers or anyone who spends a lot of time on the road. For an inexpensive handheld option, the Uniden Bearcat BC365CRS (view at Amazon) is a good model to check out. If you want to try out scanning, test out the free 5-0 Radio Police Scannerapp. 

About Our Trusted Experts

Erika Rawes has been a professional writer for more than 10 years. She's spent the last five writing about consumer technology, including gadgets like police scanners for personal use.


Does Best Buy sell police scanners?
Best Buy does sell police scanners with many brands available like Uniden, Whistler, Midland, Cobra, and the in-house and affordable Insignia brand. You can find options ranging from handheld to bigger base and truck-mounted scanners.

What is the best handheld police scanner?
For a handheld scanner, we're partial to the Uniden Bearcat BC75XLT. It's a handheld scanner that can connect to public safety, military aircraft, and racing scanner channels. It's an analog scanner that can quickly identify police, fire, marine, air, weather, and more. The scanner can handle 300 channels in its memory, or 30 channels in 10 separate banks. It only requires two AA batteries to work, making it a good portable option to take with you on the go.

What is the best digital police scanner?
Our top pick for digital police scanners is the Uniden BCD996P2. It comes from a well-known brand with support for both analog scanning and digital transmissions. It can also do location-based scanning and detect nearby transmissions. The scanner supports continuous band coverage from 25MHz to 1.3GHz, with 25,000 dynamically allocated channels. If you want to cover all your bases, it's a great option.

What to Look For in a Police Scanner


Police scanners are available as handheld units, as mobile scanners you install in a vehicle, or as desktop scanners that aren’t portable at all. If you only want to use your police scanner in one location, a desktop scanner or mobile scanner will suit you fine. If you want to have more options, go for a handheld police scanner. 

Analog vs. Digital

Your ability to listen in on transmissions from your local police and other agencies hinges on compatibility between their transmitters and your scanner. Digital scanners tend to have the best compatibility, but you’ll get by fine with a less expensive analog police scanner if your local agencies haven’t made the jump to digital yet.

"Using analog or digital would depend on the area you live in. Some provinces and countries are switching to digital, so you would need that depending on where you live." — Whitney Joy Smith, President of Smith Investigation Agency

The other feature that can impact your ability to receive transmissions on a police scanner is trunking. Scanners that don’t support trunking cannot tune in to trunked systems, so this feature is a must-have if your local agencies use trunk lines. is an excellent resource for finding out if you can receive analog signals in your area.

Additional Features

Do you want a basic scanner or a police scanner with extra bells and whistles? Some scanners may have extra features like an alarm clock, GPS, Wi-Fi, or CB radio functionality. 

"The newer police scanners have a built-in GPS to automatically change to different channels as you travel from area to area. This is important as users can filter through channels to get signals nearby or in a specific location elsewhere." Whitney Joy Smith, President of Smith Investigation Agency


Scanning police and emergency frequencies is a popular hobby. And for professionals like police and firefighters, these radio scanners are the red blood cells that pass important communications throughout their respective departments. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with knowing what is going on in your local area.

Police Scanners 101

There are two types of police scanners: handheld and base models. Handheld models are small enough that you can carry them with you just about anywhere you go. They are even small enough to toss into the glove department in your car. But most times, these portable models can be more pricey and have limited frequency range.

Today's Top Deals%title%%title%List Price:%original_price%Price:%price%You Save:%discount_amount% (%discount_percent%)Amazon Prime logoShop NowCoupon Code:%coupon_code%SPY may receive a commission.

Base models on the other hand are much larger. Some are made to be mounted in your car while others are made for home use. Because these models have stronger antennas, base models get better reception and are more powerful than handheld, but you obviously give up portability.


Why Should You Get a Police Scanner

best police scannerAmazon

The best police scanners allow you to stay in the know by scanning multiple radio frequencies quickly and letting you listen in on what’s called the “action bands”. However, these tools have applications beyond listening to police communications. Scanners receive transmissions from police, fire departments, air traffic controls, railroads, racing events, the Coast Guard and other services that rely on two-way radio communications. There is a lot you can pick up when you use the right radio scanner.

Staying updated on the happenings with the police in your local area is a smart idea. But police scanners also give you the inside scoop on local events before it hits the news. When police are reporting to a potential disaster or dangerous situation, it’ll hit their scanners before anywhere else. If you’re listening in, you can be the first to avoid those areas. That’s news that’s even faster than Twitter!

Updates on weather and road conditions can be incredibly helpful. Sometimes a storm can roll in so quickly that you won’t even realize it until you are in the middle of it. And that can turn into a real disaster if you live in an area with tornados or other natural disasters. You’ll also hear accident reports over the scanner that can alert you to steer clear of a certain highway or street, so you don’t get stuck in traffic.


How To Choose a Police Scanner

When choosing a radio scanner, you should consider what features you want, how much you want to spend and whether the scanner is designed for beginners or experienced radio operators. For instance, do you want a desktop or handheld unit? Do you want to plug in your zip code and start listening, or do you want a more sophisticated unit? There are also both digital and analog models available today.

To help you choose the best police scanner for your needs, we’ve put together a SPY Guide to help. Below are the best police scanners for everyone from advanced users to first-time scanners.


1. Uniden BCD436HP Digital Handheld Police Scanner


This handheld police tracker is easily portable and boasts a number of excellent features including a Close Call RF Capture feature, GPS connectivity, an extra-large, easy-to-read display and radio system analysis. It’s very simple to program and easy to operate — all it takes is turning it on and entering your zip code to enable TrunkTracker V to work its magic. It’s able to pick up signals from across town to across the street, and will keep you updated on the latest local updates that pertain to you and your safety. The scanner also includes an instant replay function so you can skip back and replay pertinent pieces of information, and you can set up custom alerts so your scanner can alert you when a specific event happens like a close call hit, emergency alert or other update.

Pros: Convenient handheld design, plenty of features, customized alerts and instant replay.

Cons: The design is not waterproof.

Uniden BCD436HP Digital Handheld Police Scanner, best police scanners Courtesy of Amazon


2. Uniden BEARTRACKER 885 Hybrid Police Scanner


This hybrid model scanner from Uniden does it all and more, with a CB radio, police scanner, fire, ambulance and BearTracker warning system built in with 40 different channels and a 7-color display. It alerts you when any sort of public safety transmission is issued and the built-in GPS enables you to select local channels from their nationwide database. The scanner operates seamlessly alongside the CB radio so you can press a button and instantly connect to local police and fire stations. It also has an ergonomically-designed, noise-cancelling microphone so your transmissions to and from tractor-trailers, for example, come through crystal clear.

Pros: Hybrid model has an expanded range of features and capabilities, ergonomic noise-cancelling radio makes crystal-clear transmissions.

Cons: The LED display may be difficult to read during the day.

Uniden hybrid radio, best police scannersCourtesy of Amazon


3. Whistler WS 1025 Police Scanner


Looking for a police scanner for the bunker in your basement or one for your nightstand? The Whistler WS 1025 is an analog model that gives users complete control over scanning the airways. You can dial this police scanner in to be incredibly efficient by using the lock-out feature which omits any frequencies that are dead air. You can also set priority channels, which will jump back to the channel and check it every two seconds. But if you really want to go deep into the programming, you can use your PC to help program scan, and even backup your data.

Pros: Small, compact design that’s perfect for keeping on your desk, easy to set priority channels and can hook up to your PC for deeper scanning.

Cons: Antennae may have trouble picking up a signal in your area, depending on where you live.

police scanner Whistler WS 1025Courtesy of Amazon


4. Uniden BC365CRS 500 Police Scanner


This police scanner can do a little bit of everything. It has 500 channels in 10 banks to scan police, EMS, and local weather. But it also has an FM radio for when you want to tune into your favorite sports radio or news radio program. And we all know the early bird gets the worm, so you can program the alarm clock to wake you up for the day so you can get to scanning the airways. It’s simple to control with big buttons and the display makes it easy to read even in low lighting.

Pros: Has 500 police, EMS and weather channels in addition to FM radio so you can switch back and forth between pleasure and purpose.

Cons: The aesthetic design leaves something to be desired.

police scanner Uniden BC365CRS 500Courtesy of Amazon


5. Uniden BC355N800 Police Scanner


The Uniden BC355N800 base mobile scanner is a great model for beginner police scanner users to get their feet wet. Like premium handheld models from Uniden, this radio scanner has Close Call RF technology to pull and receive surrounding signals automatically as it scans 100 channels per second. This technology keeps users in the know with the happenings in the local area. Customers can effortlessly tune into their area’s “action” bands, where police, ambulance, fire, utilities and weather broadcasts take place. The memory bank can store up to 300 frequencies to call upon your favorites quickly. However, this radio scanner won’t be able to listen to digital radio stations (or trunked radio networks). The Uniden BC355N800 comes with an assortment of power options including an automotive power plug so you can stay informed even when you’re on the road. This police scanner is simple to use and inexpensive, making it a great fit for first-time users.

Pros: Excellent choice for beginners, can scan 100 channels per second and it’s easy to users for tune to their local area only.

Cons: Can’t listen to digital (or trunked) radio networks.

best police scanners Uniden BC355N800Courtesy of Amazon


6. Whistler WS1065 Desktop Digital Scanner


This digital police scanner from Whistler makes it super easy to group your stations according to your preference and cycle between them seamlessly. It has a memory backup so frequencies can be stored in the device for extended periods of time even without batteries, and the memory organization is much more efficient than with lower scanners. It’s got a Skywarn storm spotter built in so you can easy access to frequencies related to extreme weather, and the multi-system trunking makes it easy to tune into the stations you want and tune out the ones you don’t. It also has a digital AGC that’s got the capacity to make up for low audio levels on behalf of the user.

Pros: Very easy to customize your listening experience on the device through frequency memory and station grouping.

Cons: The buttons on the menu are small.

Whistler WS1065 Desktop Digital Police ScannerCourtesy of Amazon


7. Uniden BCD996P2 Digital Mobile Scanner


This mobile police scanner has over 25,000 channels and a dynamic memory system so you can program the frequencies you prefer to listen to and make them easy to access. It’s designed for the hobbyist, with a digital decoding system and a sizable memory bank that can remember your preferences. It’s got Close Call RF Capture Technology built in as well as the latest APCO Project 25 Phase II systems for radio capturing. It’s got NOAA weather access so you stay up to date on all extreme weather events and the S.A.M.E weather alerts send warnings when there are notable condition changes in your area. There’s also an optional GPS receiver included so you can enjoy location-based scanning in addition to the sophisticated TrunkTracker V technology.

Pros: Sophisticated technology that’s easy to use and access, advanced weather monitoring, plenty of channels to choose from.

Cons: The speaker doesn’t have the best sound quality.

Uniden BCD996P2 police scannerCourtesy of Amazon


8. 5-0 Radio Police Scanner App


You can turn your smartphone into a full-blown police scanner thanks to the 5-0 Radio Police Scanner app. This provides you with a feed of “active alerts” that’s a collection of on-going activity and breaking news. You can narrow the feed down to county and get only local happenings in your area. When you want to listen in on feeds, you do so by emailing yourself a link from the app and then opening it up on a laptop or desktop. This is a great way to stay informed without having to buy an additional piece of equipment. Phones and apps are pretty incredible what they can achieve these days.

Pros: Doesn’t require purchasing a police scanner, easy to use on your smartphone, can localize your newsfeed.

Cons: Requires regular updates.

5-0 Radio Police Scanner AppCourtesy of Apple

5-0 Radio Police Scanner App

Buy Now


Control Any of Your Internet Connected Devices With the Push of This Button (Literally)
  1. Armslist kentucky
  2. Blue vw bug
  3. Sangean wr 50

The Best Police Scanners for Your Money

Are you interested in keeping tabs on the activities of police, fire departments and other public safety agencies in your community? Despite the advent of smartphones, services like these still use two-way radio communication, and you can listen in and hear about all the latest emergencies, storm alerts, traffic accidents and other local chatter if you have a police scanner.

A police scanner — the common term for what's more formally known as a radio scanner — can pick up radio communication transmissions not only from local law enforcement authorities, but also from fire departments, ambulances, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), aircrafts and watercrafts (both civil and military), and more.

With a police scanner, you can eavesdrop on all nearby frequencies — basically everything transmitted by radio, except for phone calls and encrypted signals.

Police scanner apps

Nowadays, there are several police and radio scanner apps available for Apple and Android devices. These apps give users access to thousands of police, fire and medical emergency communications around the country for $5 or less (sometimes even free). So, why spend hundreds on an actual police scanner?

The apps only transmit the audio communications that agencies decide to make publicly available. So, if your local fire department doesn't offer a live feed, you won't be able to hear their communications.

Apps sometimes also transmit feeds from volunteers who share what their personal scanners pick up. However, with a full-featured police scanner, you can manually input the frequencies of all nearby agencies so you don't miss out on any news. Some models can automatically locate nearby frequencies too.

Basically, a police scanner app is a decent option for anyone who wants to get a hint of what radio scanning is all about without spending hundreds of dollars. However, anyone interested in radio scanning as a serious hobby will probably need to invest in an actual scanner.

Police scanner buying guide

Tracking local events with police scanners has been a popular hobby for many years. Beyond the entertainment and gossip you can get out of such a device, a police scanner can be an invaluable security tool. By tuning into the frequencies of your local emergency services, you can keep one step ahead of crime incidents, traffic accidents, fires and severe weather events even before news outlets report them.

It’s worth noting that some of these devices have a steep learning curve. Even seasoned users sometimes face complications, especially when they purchase a new model. If you’ve never used one before, it may take some trial and error to program and maximize its detection capabilities in your area.

Also, you should know that most of the programming software for scanners is made for Windows. So, if you don’t own a computer with a Windows operating system (alert: Mac users!), programming or updating the police scanner might prove to be difficult.

There are, however, professionals who will program the scanner for you (for a price, of course), based on your location. In addition to independent scanner radio programming services, the scanner manufacturer Uniden will program a scanner at a cost of $40 to $100.

These are the main factors to take into account when shopping for a police scanner:

• Model type. There are two types of police scanners: base and handheld.

Base models usually cost $300 or more and are meant to be used mainly in home settings. Some can also be mounted in vehicles.

Handheld scanners are more compact and run on batteries for complete portability. In the past, they were usually cheaper (around $200), but that meant a weaker antenna and less frequency storage. Nowadays, many handheld models’ power and frequencies are on par with the capabilities of their base counterparts, bringing up their price tags as well.

• Analog or digital format. Figuring out whether you need a digital or analog scanner is perhaps the most important factor when choosing a police scanner. If you buy one that’s only capable of detecting analog signals, and agencies in your area use digital signals, the scanner simply won’t pick up any transmissions.

To figure out if the signals in your area are analog or digital, look up your city or county at This site provides a detailed list of all available frequencies in your area, what agency or service they belong to and their mode — that is, whether they’re analog or digital. Analog signals will be labeled as AM or FM. Digital signals have labels such as P25 or DMR.

Most frequencies are now digital, or will eventually be, so you might be better off purchasing a digital model from the start. But not every digital scanner can pick up all known digital signals. Before buying a scanner, make sure the label explicitly states it detects the signals you need.

• Location-based search. Years ago, police scanners didn’t pick up any signals unless the user manually input the frequency they wanted to listen to. Nowadays, some models are pre-programmed and able to access a nationwide database of frequencies.

These pre-programmed scanners generally feature location-based scanning. Just enter your zip code and it’ll tune to everything that’s nearby. Some models also have GPS capability so the scanner can detect changes in location and update the frequencies as you move.

Best police scanners

1. Best overall: Uniden BCD536HP HomePatrol Series Base/Mobile Scanner

The Uniden BCD536HP is an excellent digital police scanner for novice and experienced users alike. It comes pre-programmed with access to over 10,000 frequencies in the U.S. and Canada. Simply turn on the unit, enter your zip code and the scanner automatically detects channels for police and fire departments, emergency medical services (EMS) and weather alerts within a 20- to 50-mile radius.

Available frequencies are not limited to pre-programmed ones either. The included database can be updated using a computer, and the unit has a scanning feature that discovers nearby frequencies that may not be already registered. If the scanner is going to be installed in a vehicle used for frequent travel, hook it up to Uniden’s GPS receiver (sold separately for $120), and it will continuously adjust to local frequencies while on the move.

It comes with a 4GB microSD memory card (that may be upgraded to 32GB) to let you record and replay transmissions. This model also gives you the power to store lists of your favorite frequencies, create custom searches (with specific ranges and transmissions you’d like the scanner to avoid), set up custom alerts for when the scanner detects activity, and scan based on service type (police, fire, medical emergencies, to name a few examples).

Its scanning and customization capabilities alone make it a top-of-the-line scanner. But one feature that makes the BCD536HP stand out from others in its price range (about $500) is its Wi-Fi capability. Connect the scanner to your smartphone or tablet using Uniden’s Siren app — available for both Android and iOS — and then you're able to control the scanner remotely, while listening to the transmission directly on your mobile device.

Note that while this could be a selling point, some users are dissatisfied with the app’s functionality, claiming that it crashes frequently.

2. Editor’s pick: Uniden BCD996P2 Digital Scanner

The Uniden BCD996P2 is ideal for anyone interested in taking up radio scanning as a serious hobby. Priced at around $400, it offers pretty much everything top-of-the-line models do at a lower price.

It can pick up both analog and digital signals but, unlike the BCD536HP, it’s not pre-programmed so you’ll need to input frequencies manually. This may seem complex for a beginner, but scanner enthusiasts say this process can actually prove enjoyable for people who are truly interested in mastering their new hobby. (If it ends up proving too difficult, look for scanner programming service online. With these services you send over your scanner, and an expert will do the programming for you.)

The BCD996P2 can detect certain nearby transmissions on its own without programming; however, the range isn’t always consistent and the signals must be extremely strong in order to be picked up.

The BCD996P2 has enough memory to store up to 25,000 channels, along with number tags that allow you to quickly switch between frequencies without going through them one by one (or dialing them manually each time). You can assign number tags to service searches (police, fire, and EMS signals) or custom search ranges you’ve created as well.

Other useful features include National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) alerts, a list of priority channels that you want to scan continuously while listening to other transmissions, a key lock to prevent unwanted modifications, 100 quick keys for your customized scanning parameters and alerts for specific channels with different tone and volume patterns.

3. Best for low prices: Whistler WS1025 Analog Desktop Scanner

If what you want is a basic but reliable scanner for a very reasonable price, the Whistler WS1025 analog scanner fits the bill nicely. For around $100, this scanner can access emergency weather alerts by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and frequencies used by storm spotter networks — teams of volunteers that provide reports directly to the National Weather Service.

The Whistler WS1025 is an analog scanner, so your access to police, fire and medical emergencies departments may be limited (frequencies used by services in larger metropolitan areas nowadays are usually digital). But if you live in a smaller town, and the signals you’re interested in are analog, look no further.

The WS1025 has enough memory to store up to 200 channels. You can input frequencies manually or with a computer and categorize them into separate banks or lists based on signal type (fire, police, marine, aircraft and weather). You can also set a priority channel to be scanned every two seconds, even when you’re searching for other available frequencies.

4. Best scanner CB radio combo: Uniden BearTracker 885 Hybrid CB Radio + Digital Scanner

Police scanners and CB radios look fairly similar but don’t share the same capabilities. Police scanners let you tune in and listen to radio transmissions sometimes up to 50 miles away. CB radios — the kind of devices truck drivers often use, for example — only detect transmission from other CB radios at a shorter distance (20 miles or less), while also letting you talk to other users.

The Uniden’s BearTracker 885 combines both of these devices into a single unit. It lets you chat with other CB radio users while scanning for analog and digital signals to listen to.

It comes pre-programmed with a nationwide frequency database, to make it easy to begin listening to nearby radio transmissions. With a built-in GPS, it will automatically detect and switch between nearby frequencies without the need to reprogram as you travel. It can also send alerts when it detects nearby public safety transmissions.

Uniden has an online update manager designed specifically for the BearTracker 885, so you can update the scanner’s database as you need. The company's website states databases are updated weekly.

5. Best handheld police scanner: Whistler TRX-1 Handheld Digital Scanner Radio

The Whistler TRX-1 packs all the features of high-end base digital police scanners into a handheld unit.

This model is pre-programmed with access to a nationwide database of frequencies, and it's possible to store up to 200 lists or groups of preferred frequencies. It also features an additional list specifically dedicated to transmissions from Skywarn, a network of over 350,000 volunteers that track weather conditions. Whistler offers database (and firmware) updates through its website, and you can manually input frequencies as needed.

What's more, you can set custom alarms to notify you whenever a frequency becomes active. For example, the LED can display a flash of red and blue light (much like a police strobe light) whenever the scanner picks up police transmissions. With the alarm clock function, the unit will turn on and starts scanning at a specific time each day.

More from Money:

The Best TV Antennas for Your Money — and How to Get the Most TV Channels for Free

The Best Modems and Routers for Your Money, According to IT Pros

The Best Smart Thermostats for Your Money, According to Heating and Energy Experts

Listen To Almost All Radio Frequencies for $20 - RTL SDR Dongle

Scanner Radio - Fire and Police Scanner

Listen to live audio from over 7,000 fire and police scanners, weather radios, amateur radio repeaters, air traffic and marine radios from around the world. Turn on notifications to receive alerts anytime a scanner has more than 2000 listeners (find out about major events as they're breaking).


• View scanners located nearest you.
• View the top 50 scanners that have the most listeners.
• View list of scanners added most recently (new scanners are being added all the time).
• Add scanners you listen to the most to your Favorites for quick access.
• Browse the directory by location or genre (public safety, air traffic, railroad, marine, etc).
• Turn on notifications to be notified when major events are happening (details below).
• Add Scanner Radio widgets and shortcuts to your home screen for quick access.
• Supports Android Auto.


Receive a notification anytime:

• ...any scanner in the directory has more than 2000 listeners (configurable).
• ...a scanner within a certain distance of your location has more than a certain number of listeners.
• ...a specific scanner has more than a certain number of listeners.
• ...a Broadcastify alert is posted for one of your favorites.
• ...a scanner within a certain distance from you is added to the directory.

This is the free version of the app, below are the benefits of purchasing the Pro version (for only $2.99, a one-time purchase):

• No ads.
• Access to all 6 theme colors.
• Push notifications sent within 5 minutes (vs within 15 minutes).
• Ability to record the audio.
• The play button at the bottom of the directory screens and on the widgets can be used to start listening without having to go to the player screen.

The audio you're able to hear is provided by volunteers (and, in many cases, police and fire departments themselves) for Broadcastify and a few other sites using real police scanners and is the same audio you would hear using your own police scanner.

If you need assistance, please go to

Explanation of why a couple of permissions are needed:

• The "Location" permission is required so that the app can determine what scanners are located in your area when you select "Nearby Scanners". When you select "Nearby Scanners" the app first attempts to determine your location via the network, if that fails the app then tries to determine your location via GPS.

• The "Photos/Media/Files" / "modify or delete the contents of your USB storage" permission is required in order to allow you to record the audio you're hearing and be able to save it to a location that you can access from your computer (requires Scanner Radio Pro to be installed or for you to be using Scanner Radio Pro).


Scanner radio cheap

Radio Scanner Guide

 Prev   Next
BC60XLT Budget Scanner

All Radios in this Category feature:

Use of this web site constitutes agreement to the Terms of Service.

Model##Of Ch/ #Of BanksScan/ Search SpeedFreq Coverage (MHz)Features & CommentsVendor Links 
BC244CLTB301229-54 108-174 406-512Includes alarm clock and AM/FM Radio 
BC248CLTB50/ 51229-54 108-174 406-512Includes alarm clock and AM/FM Radio 
BC60XLTHH30/ 1 29-54 137-174 406-512Often marketed for racing and may include noise-reduction headphones; Has Programmable Search
PRO-2011B20/ 1?30-54 138-174 380-512  
PRO-2009B8/ 110/1030-50 144-174 410-512Has Band Search and Direct Search 
PRO-2014B5025/5029-54, 137-174 406-512Has Band Search and Direct Search 
PRO-508B20/ 116/1630-54 137-174 380-512Direct Search
BC140B10/ 1?29-54 136-174 406-512   
BC142XLB10/ 1?29-54? 137-174 406-512   
BC144XLTB16/ 1?29-54? 137-174 406-512   
BC145XLB16/ 1?29-54 136-174 406-512   
BC147XLTB16/ 1?29-54 136-174 406-512   
BC148XLTB16/ 1?29-54 136-174 406-512   
BC55XLTHH10/ 11530-54 138-174 380-512  
PRO-38HH10/ 11029-54 136-174 406-512  
PRO-41HH10/ 11029-54 137-174 406-512 
R1075B15/ 1?30-54 136-174 406-512   
PRO-28HH30/ 115/2029-54 137-174 406-512Direct Search; Band SearcheBay  
PRO-36HH20/ 1 30-54 138-174 380-512 
PRO-30HH16/ 1 30-54 138-174 380-512  
BCT2BM0  Marketed for mobile use; Has no user-programmable channels; preprogrammed for highway patrol frequencies; alerts user if police car nearby transmits 
BC50XLHH10/ 11529-54 136-174 406-512 eBay  
PRO-50HH20/ 116/1630-54 137-174 380-512Direct Search 
PRO-2025 16/ 11229-54 136-174 406-512  
PRO-58 10/ 1830-54 138-174 380-512 

Abbreviations: Scanner Type: B = Base; M = Mobile; BM = Base/Mobile; HH = Handheld


Top 5 Best Police Scanners Review in 2021


  • Start learning your scanner by focusing on the basics like tracking road conditions and traffic in your area. 
  • When you come across a preferred frequency, be sure to input it into your police scanner for easier access later. 
  • Keep a physical copy of your chosen frequencies to save you time and effort in the event of a system crash. 
  • If you have a base model, make sure that you use a power bar or voltage regulator to prevent electrical issues. 
  • Investigate the radios used by your local police and fire departments to avoid any problems with compatibility — especially if you’re getting a handheld scanner. 
  • Aim for dual-band scanners, models that are able to access both analog and digital frequencies.
  • Given its uses in emergencies, make sure you always have access to a charging station or an extra battery. 
  • Keep the scanner dry, avoid impact, and let it breathe to prevent damage to the circuitry due to overheating. 


Q: Will police scanners become obsolete? 

Though there has been an uptick in digital apps used instead of police scanners, it is definitely not obsolete. In fact, because these online sources are implicated in unlawful activity, police departments are encrypting frequencies. This makes scanning more relevant than ever. 

Q: Can digital scanners pick up police frequencies? 

Regardless of whether your local police use an analog or digital system, a digital scanner will be able to access the frequency. Most modern police scanners rely on digital technology, so it is not difficult to find an effective option. The Uniden BCD436HP HomePatrol Series is an example of tech that will work for both types of signals. 

Q: Why is the police scanner public? 

Police retain the right to withhold information that can impact an ongoing investigation; which, in the past, led to encrypted frequencies (i.e. private and inaccessible to the public). However, when different emergency departments tried to coordinate, these encrypted channels proved to be a risk. Most remain public to ensure open access during a time of crisis. 

Q: Do police use UHF or VHF? 

Police departments transmit and receive on UHF bandwidths. While it is legal to listen to public transmissions in this range, you cannot transmit without a license. This is to ensure that the channel remains secure and open for essential communications. 

Q: Are police scanners legal?

According to the Communications Act of 1934, the US airwaves are public property. Owning a scanner that receives these transmissions is perfectly legal.

Q: What are alpha tags?

Alpha tags are alphanumeric symbols used to identify agencies and channels. They’re a more convenient way to store agencies, frequencies, and talk groups in the database.

Q: I live in the suburbs. Do I need a scanner with high sensitivity?  

Scanners need a line of sight to send and receive transmissions. In urban areas as well as in mountains and forests, that line of sight is obstructed. You’ll need high sensitivity to pick up weak frequencies in these conditions.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the ins and outs of finding the best police scanners, you can stay up-to-date on all things local. We named the Uniden BCD436HP HomePatrol Series as our top pick for its high compatibility ratings and close capture tech. If you’re looking for something more affordable, our value pick, the Uniden BC75XLT 300-Channel Handheld Scanner might suit your needs with its high efficiency and impressive range. 

Everyone can benefit from the unrivaled access to info police scanners offer. Do you have some experience surfing the radio waves? Share your wisdom in the comments below. Happy scanning!


Now discussing:


47 48 49 50 51