Protect Your Most Valued Asset – Find the Best Car Alarm

According to the National Crime Insurance Bureau, in 2017 there was a car theft reported every 40.9 seconds in the USA. A total of 773,139 cars were stolen. California was the least safe state, with 168,391 vehicles falling prey to criminals.

All this goes to show that your car is not safe parked on the streets. To protect it properly, you need to go the extra mile. Alarm systems for cars can provide the perfect security solution for your car, but it’s important to choose the one that suits your needs.

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Car alarm reviews

Viper 3105V Entry-Level One-Way Security System

Viper 3105V Entry-Level One-Way Security System - best car alarm
PROS
  • Loud six-tone siren

  • Good price-to-quality ratio

  • Two four-button remotes

CONS
  • One-way communication

Viper manufactures some of the best car security systems on the market, and this is the company’s most affordable option. But even an entry-level alarm system will help protect your vehicle from unwanted attention.

For just under $60, you’ll get a nice set of features that competes well with even the best car alarm system. The Viper 3105V includes a Failsafe Starter Kill, which disables the ignition in the car when the system is armed. It also includes two four-button remotes that work a quarter-mile away from the vehicle, a loud six-tone siren, and an anti-carjacking system, among plenty of other features. All these features can be manipulated via the two remote control key fobs that come with the system.

This is a one-way system, so information only goes from your key fob to the car, not the other way around. That means that you won’t get feedback from your car to tell you that your commands are actually being executed. More importantly, the system has no way of notifying you that the alarm has been triggered, so you have to be in hearing range to know what is happening. This explains the low price. 

If you’re still on the fence about owning an alarm system, the Viper 3105V is the perfect entry-level product for you.

Viper 5305V Entry-Level Two-Way Security System

Viper 5305V Entry-Level Two-Way Security System - best car alarm
PROS
  • Stinger DoubleGuard shock sensor

  • LCD display

  • Smart connectivity

CONS
  • Low range for a two-way communication system

When it comes to 2way car alarms, Viper’s 5305V system strikes the perfect balance between reliable and affordable. This smart technology not only allows you to keep track of your car from virtually anywhere in the world; it also lets you start your car and the AC or heating remotely using an app on your phone. In extreme conditions, this makes a world of difference. There’s nothing like reaching your car in a snowstorm knowing that the ice on the windscreen has already thawed and everything is toasty warm inside. You can set up your remote control to send info to four different auxiliary electrical channels in your vehicle.

Don’t get fooled by the “entry-level” label in the name of the product; the 5305V has everything you need and more. For starters, you get the four-button Responder remote control with an LCD display that notifies you when your commands are heard and executed. The remote also scrambles the unlocking signal each time it is used, meaning that it can’t be cloned. You can enter your car without a key, pop your trunk, and start your car remotely from a quarter of a mile away, which is a low range compared to competing auto alarms.

The Stinger DoubleGuard shock sensor detects impact and can differentiate between light or unintentional hits from proper emergencies. When it does detect the latter, a loud 120 dB Neo Revenger six-tone siren screams.

You can get this entry-level two-way car alarm system for as little as $180. For that price, you also get an extra one-way remote.

Viper LED Two-Way Security + Remote-Start System

Viper LED Two-Way Security + Remote-Start System - best car alarm
PROS
  • Best car security system on the market

  • SuperCode encryption software protects the signal

  • Guaranteed protection plan insurance

CONS
  • Steep price tag

Viper manufactures the most-respected and best anti-theft devices in the industry, and this is the company’s flagship product. It includes top-of-the-line technology and all of the most sophisticated features you could imagine on a remote control for a car alarm.

The simple, elegant two-way remote control sits comfortably in the palm of your hand and manages to be both lightweight and sturdy at the same time. It can exchange signals with your vehicle from up to a mile away, and it can even start a manual transmission vehicle. In order to prevent signal disruption and cloning, the remote control employs state-of-the-art SuperCode encryption software. You can be certain that no one will be able to make another copy of your key with this encryption algorithm active.

As with all other Viper alarm systems, this comes with the company’s guaranteed protection plan. This is like an insurance policy; if your car gets stolen within a year of installing the Viper security system, the company will refund your comprehensive insurance deductible up to $2,500.

The alarm sounds with a Neo Revenger six-tone siren at 120 dB. Even if the siren is disabled, the carjacker will be stopped by the Failsafe Starter Kill, which disables the ignition.

The system will set you back around $215.

Python 5105P One-Way Security and Remote-Start System

Python 5105P One-Way Security and Remote-Start System - best car alarm
PROS
  • Smartphone car alarm

  • Easy to install

  • Revenger six-tone siren

CONS
  • One-way communication

Securing your car has never been easier than with the Python 5105P aftermarket car alarm. In this most basic of packages you get three one-way remote controllers with a quarter-mile range. Of course, as with all other products on the market, the range was tested in ideal conditions with a clear line of sight.

If you already own the Python SmartStart system, the alarm system will be connected to your smartphone. A simple graphical interface in the app shows the armed/disarmed status of your alarm and allows you to control it from virtually anywhere. You can assign several users to the app, which is great for families. You can also control several vehicles from one account.

Python alarm systems are equipped with the Revenger six-tone siren, as well as a horn honk. This should be enough to deter any joyriders from targeting your car alarm. At the same time, the Stinger DoubleGuard shock sensor ensures the alarm doesn’t get triggered by little more than a slight breeze, as many older alarms do.

This car alarm system is listed for just under $90 on Amazon.

Python LCD Two-Way Security and Remote-Start System

Python LCD Two-Way Security and Remote-Start System - best car alarm
PROS
  • Clear and unambiguous display

  • Remote start for manual transmission cars

  • Panic mode

CONS
  • Requires professional installation

A two-way remote control system means double security. You can issue the command to lock your car and arm your alarm, and at the same time receive confirmation that it has actually happened. With this Python system, you can do all this at an incredible one-mile range. 

The backlit LCD display shows all pertinent information in a clear and unambiguous way. You can lock or unlock your doors, arm the alarm, pop the trunk, or even activate the handy panic mode, which sounds the alarm with the push of a button. This can especially be useful when you forget where you parked your car in a big parking lot.

The system can be linked to a smartphone, opening up an even greater range of capabilities and options. You can use the car starter system to turn on your car remotely – even if it’s a manual shift – and start the heating so your car is nice and warm when you get to it.

The battery inside is easy to maintain; it only needs to be charged for an hour every six months. And we haven’t even got to the price. At just under $130, this high-end car alarm system is a steal, no pun intended.

Easyguard EC002

Easyguard EC002 - best car alarm
PROS
  • Keyless entry

  • Remote engine start

  • Push start button

CONS
  • You will almost certainly need professional help to install the device

If you’re the type of person who likes everything in their life to be automated, the Easyguard EC002 is the product for you. 

Pressing the button to unlock your car is an unnecessary hassle. With the EC002, your car will automatically unlock when you step within six feet of your car. Once your car is unlocked, you’ll need to start it. Say goodbye to taking your key out of your pocket – the system comes with a button-starting system. Of course, you will only need to start your engine if you don’t use the remote activation feature, also a feature of this anti-theft device.

We haven’t even touched on the device’s safety features yet. It bears all the marks of the best car alarm system: a loud siren, ample range, valet mode, parking mode, and code hopping.

If your car has a steering wheel immobilizer theft-deterrent system, it will need to be bypassed to install the EC002. We recommend you find a professional to mount it to your car properly.

Considering all the features this product has, its $120 price tag is a bargain.

Pyle PWD701 Car Alarm Security System

Pyle PWD701 Car Alarm Security System - best car alarm
PROS
  • Highly customizable buttons

  • Anti-carjacking technology

  • LED indicators

CONS
  • One-way communication

The sound of the PWD701 two-tone siren cannot be mistaken for anything else. When it starts blaring at 120 dB, it will both scare the criminal and alert you that something fishy is going on.

While, unlike other car alarm systems, it doesn’t have an LCD display or two-way communication, this bread-and-butter security system does what it’s supposed to and does it reliably. The standard package will get you two remotes with four buttons, making them highly customizable. The buttons have one function when they are pressed. However, when you press and hold a button for more than one second, the LED indicator on the high-quality plastic casing will change color, giving all the buttons a secondary function.

This system even lets you enable an anti-carjacking feature for extremely dangerous situations when someone wants to steal your car while you’re in it. This anti-carjacking technology detects the door opening from the outside and sets off progressively louder and more menacing alarms. This feature must be enabled during the car alarm system installation process, so it’s a good idea to hire a professional to put it in your car.

The PWD701 comes with two remote controls and represents excellent value at around $30.

Excalibur Alarms AL-2075-3DB-L

Excalibur Alarms AL-2075-3DB-L - best car alarm
PROS
  • Multiple vehicle support

  • Smartphone compatibility

  • Sophisticated remote start system

CONS
  • Steep price tag

With the Excalibur Alarms AL-2075-3DB-L, your car will be the sword in the stone and you’ll be King Arthur – the only one who can claim it. Its two-way remote packs so many features that it truly is one of the best auto alarms to have installed, fit for a King.

The AL-2075-3DB-L has two-way communication and a one-mile range. It comes equipped with an extremely loud and recognizable AU73M siren. You can also program it to honk the horn at random intervals.

The remote car start that recognizes the interior temperature of the car and adjusts the cranking process. This will work on cars with both stick shift and automatic gear systems By using the four auxiliary ports, you can connect the alarm remote to other electrical systems in your car.

But those are the basics, and not all of them at that. What separates the AL-2075-3DB-L is the fact that it can connect to multiple vehicles at the same time. Not only that, the Linkr smartphone control allows you to access all of the features through your mobile.

The downside is the pricetag, also fit for a King – $219.99. But the excellent build quality of the casing and wiring, as well as the extra one way remote that goes together with it.

Compustar CS7900-AS Two-Way Remote-Start and Alarm Bundle

Compustar CS7900-AS Two-Way Remote-Start and Alarm Bundle - best car alarm
PROS
  • Easy installation

  • 3000-foot range

  • One-way remote included

CONS
  • One of the quieter sirens on the market

  • Tough to set up if you opt for the added sensors

The folks at Compustar say “two-way is the only way” when explaining how their product gives you visible and audible assurance that your commands have been executed. With this system, you can start your car from 3,000 feet away, arm or disarm your alarm, and check the status of your vehicle all with a simple click of a button on your sturdy car alarm remote.

The CS7900-AS remote control set-up process is straightforward, but you may want to hire a professional if you’re not comfortable with wire installations. You should definitely do this if you decide to add the extra sensor in the doors, trunk, and hood, or the impact sensors. After all, you don’t want to take any risks when it comes to securing your vehicle.

The CS7900-AS comes with a back-up one-way remote, a shock sensor, and a 105+ dB siren, all of which is connected to a CM600 control module. 

The price tag on this unit is around $150, which is a bit higher than some of the other best car alarm systems. However, we think the elegant and functional design – combined with the wealth of features – justifies the price.

Avital One-Way Remote Start with Security

Avital One-Way Remote Start with Security - best car alarm
PROS
  • Starter-interrupt system to combat hotwiring

  • Shock sensors emit “warn away” signals in case of slight impacts

  • Six-Tone Siren

CONS
  • One-way communication

Hotwiring is the process of starting a vehicle by bypassing the ignition system. With the fault-proof starter-interrupt technology included in Avital’s car alarm system, criminals trying to hotwire your car will be presented with an insurmountable hurdle.

This – combined with the howl of the 120 dB Revenger siren – will keep your car where you parked it. But what if a slight bump sets the alarm off? The Avital 5105L has that situation covered. It detects the force of the blow and sounds a “warn away” signal in case of light touches. 

We picked the Avital one-way model to showcase that with most modern alarm systems, you can get all of the necessary features – plus some extra bells and whistles – for a fraction of the price if you opt for a one-way offer. For a $79.99 investment, you will get two one-way remotes, a starter-interrupt system, a Revenger siren, and plenty more. But above all else, you’ll get peace of mind.

Aren’t car alarms obsolete?

By no means, although they have somewhat fallen out of vogue. There are two main reasons for this. 

Number one, they go off too easily, as you’d surely know if you live in a big city. Indeed, the vast majority of the time when a car alarm blares, it’s a false alarm. That not only contributes to already abundant noise pollution in cities, but desensitizes both car owners and bystanders.

Secondly, experienced thieves know how to disarm an alarm within 10 seconds of it going off. 

Despite all that, car alarms are still extremely useful. Experienced thieves are still likely to be dissuaded from stealing a car if the alarm LED in the windshield shines brightly and the manufacturer’s sticker is displayed on the windows.

Of course, many potential thieves don’t really know what they’re doing. An alarm system usually dissuades joyriders from breaking the car lock and stealing vehicles just for the heck of it.

For as little as $50 dollars, you can add a layer of protection to your expensive investment. When you combine this with the other best car anti-theft devices like a wheel immobilizer, a window identification system, and a Failsafe Starter Kill system, you can keep your car safe and sound.

What to look for in vehicle alarms

Nowadays, alarms are usually sold in bundles with remote-start systems. These systems allow you to warm up the engine and chill the booth before entering the vehicle. Almost all of them are smartphone compatible. Using the auxiliary channels on these systems, you can connect them to any electrical feature you have installed in your car, such as the trunk popper, electric windows, or the sunroof.

There are two main types of remote-starter and automobile alarm systems: one-way and two-way communication systems. 

In two-way communication systems, the remote is capable of receiving feedback from the modules in the vehicle. Indeed, a two-way system is a car alarm that notifies you when your vehicle is being tampered with and lets you know whether it has executed your commands, including starting the engine or rolling down the windows.

In a one-way system, the module in the car doesn’t communicate with the user.

This feature also makes the biggest difference in price; two-way systems are two to three times more expensive on average.

The second-most important feature a car alarm can have is discriminatory shock sensors. A car alarm that goes off too easily is just as dangerous as a car alarm that doesn’t set off at all. If the alarm sounds three times a day, how will you know whether you have a real emergency or just a false positive?

The best car alarm systems feature the Stinger DoubleGuard shock sensor. This technology can identify an accidental bump or a car speeding too close and distinguish it from a real burglary attempt. 

List of car alarm features

  1. The range of the alarm: Some systems detect and transmit radio frequencies from up to three miles away in optimum weather conditions.
  2. LCD screen: Most two-way communication remotes have LCD displays with icons depicting what state the car is in. This shows whether the alarm is armed, the windows are closed, and the door is locked. One-way communication remotes usually don’t have displays.
  3. Battery life: You shouldn’t have to worry about the batteries more than once every six months. In many cases, charging the battery takes just a couple of hours.
  4. The number of auxiliary ports that come with the system (usually between two and four): These ports can be connected to any electrical system in your car, including the trunk, the sunroof, and the lights.
  5. The type of siren: The most popular sirens on the market are the Revenger and Neo Revenger sirens. Those are the old-fashioned six-tone sirens we’ve all grown (almost too) accustomed to. A decently loud alarm siren belts out around 120 dB of ear-piercing noise.
  6. The number of buttons on the remote: The more buttons a remote has, the more customizable it is and the more options you have. The best remotes have up to five buttons.
  7. Failsafe Starter Kill: This anti-theft device disables the ignition so no one but you can start your car, even if they have a key or try to hot-wire it. It comes bundled with some car alarm systems and is highly recommended for expensive vehicles.
  8. Remote start: This allows you to start your car from up to three miles away on some models.
  9. Guaranteed protection plan (GPP): This is an insurance policy offered by some manufacturers, including Viper. It guarantees a $2,500 insurance deduction if your car gets stolen within a year of installing an auto alarm.
  10. Panic mode/car locator: This feature allows you to manually activate your car alarm. It can help you find your car if you forget where you park it, or cause confusion and draw attention in a stressful situation.
  11. Silent-mode switch: This turns the activation chirps on or off.
  12. Frequency-shift keying (FSK), sometimes called code-hopping: This ensures that the remote switches radio frequencies to avoid third-party interference with the signal.

FAQ

What is an aftermarket alarm?

Aftermarket car alarms get their name from the fact that some car companies install alarms into their vehicles by default. As you’d expect, aftermarket car alarms are security systems that need to be installed by the owner. If you don’t know your way around electricity and wires, or have purchased a complex system with many features and modules, we always recommend that you let a professional install the car alarm. The peace of mind knowing that everything is installed properly is well worth the $150-250 professionals charge for their services.

What is the best aftermarket car alarm?

In our opinion, the best system is the Viper LED 2-Way Security + Remote Car Start System. Viper is a staple of the car security industry. The company is known for offering reliable and almost completely foolproof products, as well as excellent customer support. Ask most experts and they’ll tell you that Viper manufactures the best car alarms. This particular model has all the features you’d expect: a one-mile range, Failsafe Starter Kill, a Neo Revenger siren, remote start-up for both automatic and manual transmission vehicles, and a generous insurance policy that covers you if your vehicle does get stolen. All of these features come at a price, but we think it’s worth it. The state-of-the-art two-way alarm and car starter system costs $215.

Passive alarm vs active alarm - what‘s the difference?

A passive anti-theft device arms itself around 30 seconds after the user leaves their car. An active alarm requires the user to turn it on when they want protection. The benefit of the active system is that it reduces accidental alarm triggers when you, for example, run back to your car because you forgot something. That’s about it, though. Passive systems guarantee that your car is protected at all times. We recommend you use your alarm in passive mode to maximize security. These days, most car alarms can be set up in both passive and active mode.

How much does it cost to put an alarm on your car?

It will run you anywhere from $200 to $400, if you pay for professional installation. As a rule, the price tag for car alarm systems depends largely on whether they have one-way or two-way communication. If you opt for the latter, your remote control will receive feedback from the car about the various commands you input or the safety status of your vehicle. Two-way communication systems usually cost around $100 more than their one-way counterparts. Standard car alarm installation prices tend to hover around $150, but can ramp up to $250 depending on the complexity of the system. If you’re not absolutely sure what you’re doing and don’t have much electrical savvy, we highly recommend you let a professional do the job for you. This will set you back an extra $150-250.

What is a Viper alarm?

Viper is the industry leader for the car alarm business. It is a brand owned by a company called Directed. This brand leads innovations in the car alarm sector, producing the highest quality products which feature the latest technological advancements. We recommend you check the entry-level, one-way, and two-way products we have presented in the buyer guide above. We’re sure you’ll find the product to suit your needs. And if you’re still in doubt, Viper is the way to go.

What is a good car alarm?

A good car alarm does not set off too easily. Car alarms function fairly simply, with motion or voltage sensors triggering a siren to deter joyriders and thieves. You don’t need to worry too much about this; all the products we’ve listed have this most basic functionality down. However, car alarms have become a nuisance because most of them are too sensitive. Older systems tend to screech at even an unintentional bump. A good car alarm reliably discriminates between false alarms and actual theft attempts. Not only are overly sensitive car alarms a considerable source of sound pollution in many neighborhoods, but false positives also defeat the purpose. If the alarm goes off too easily, you can get desensitized to the beeping of your remote and may fail to call the police when a real theft occurs. That’s why the most important feature of the best car alarm is the ability to distinguish between a real threat and an accidental bump.

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