Chances are that your car is going to be one of the biggest investments you’re going to make, so it just makes sense to spend a little more money to keep it protected. But there are a lot of sub par car security systems on the market, and it can be hard to tell the best model from the worst if you don’t have an awareness of the specs and features that are available to you.
HotRate is here to demystify the car alarm buying process. We’ll start by providing you with a review list featuring 10 contenders for the best car alarm in 2020. After that, we’ll get more detail oriented and help you understand what exactly to look for when shopping for a car alarm.
- 10 Best Car Alarms
- 1. Directed Electronics Avital 3100LX 3-Ch Keyless Entry Car Alarm
- 2. Viper 5706V 2-Way Car Security with Remote Start System
- 3. EASYGUARD EC004 Smart RFID Car Alarm System
- 4. Pyle Car Alarm Security System
- 5. Compustar CS800-S 1-Way Remote Start
- 6. Prestige APSRS3Z Remote Start Auto Car Starter and Keyless Entry
- 7. Avital 5105L 5105l 1-Way Security & Remote-Start System
- 8. Python 5706P Responder LC3 SST 2-Way Security Remote Start System
- 9. CarLock – 2nd Gen Advanced Real Time 3G Car Tracker & Alert System
- 10. InstallGear Car Alarm Security & Keyless Entry System
- Car Alarm Buyer’s Guide
10 Best Car Alarms
If you're just looking for the essentials, you won't find a better car alarm than the Avital 3100LX. Available for less than $30, it's the one of the cheapest car alarms we're comfortably recommending. And what this alarm lacks in expansive features it more than makes up for in quality performance. This model will alert you to any intrusion with a loud 120 dB alarm, and it makes use of a dual-stage shock sensor to react more responsively to potential impact. But if thieves do manage to break into your car, you can count on the starter interrupt to reduce the risk of them being able to hotwire it.CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
On the surface, the Viper 5706V isn't that much different from the Avital 3100LX. In fact, they're produced by the same company. And if all you're looking for is security for your vehicle, the significant increase in price probably won't be worth it. But the quality of life features built into the 5706V give it significant staying power. The big advantage here is the presence of a remote start button that can allow you to circumvent a traditional ignition. The remote itself has an impressive two mile range, a distance that far exceeds any other car alarm on the market.CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
The EASYGUARD EC004 comes in at a dramatically inexpensive price, and as long as you don't mind paying for installation or putting in a little technical work on your end, it's one of the best car alarms you'll find on a budget. This kit is compatible with most DC 12 volt car models, and it uses an RFID chip to support remote locking and unlocking. Arming and disarming the vehicle is as simple as pressing the push start button. EASYGUARD offers some higher end models as well, but the combination of great fundamentals for a great price makes the EC004 one of the best choices we've found.CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Pyle gives you a lot of flexibility of how and when you want your alarm to activate. Considering this is an alarm that only comes with two channels, the range of features here is pretty impressive. Valet mode allows you to deactivate the alarm directly, and there's also an emergency override mode in case you happen to lose your remote. The ignition locking system will automatically lock or unlock the doors a few seconds after your ignition is turned on and off, reducing the risk of you getting locked out. And if you have other accessories like remote engine start or headlight controls, they can be activated via the two auxiliary outputs.CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Compustar has created a car alarm with the CS800-S that appears deceptively simplistic but actually packs in some nice features that you might not expect from a budget model. While it's only going to appeal to a specific niche of consumers, the ability to work with diesel vehicles is a rarity in the car alarm space and practically unheard of in budget models. There's far more broad appeal in terms of compatibility. While it requires a separate module, you can sync this car alarm remote up with your smartphone for more sophisticated control. If those features have value to you, this could be the best budget car alarm for you, but if they aren't, you're better off with the cheaper 3100LX by Avital.CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Simplicity isn't always a bad thing. Prestige's APSRS3Z is a remote start system that doesn't come with a whole lot of features, but it works well and manages to do so for well under a hundred dollars. This three button car remote start system is one of the best around, allowing you to activate your horn with the press of a button in addition to unlocking your doors or start your ignition. Best of all, it works well in conjunction with more dedicated security systems due to the inclusion of an alarm bypass system that won't cause your alarm to go off when you try activating it.CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
The Avital 5105L is an impressively inexpensive system that combines the best of security and remote start features into a single appealing package. The dual-zone impact sensor is exceedingly sophisticated, activating a low volume sensor for questionable threats and a full volume alarm for more serious impact to your vehicle. This Revenger system will shriek at a full 120 decibels to scare off any potential intruders and alert people nearby. There's even hotwiring protection in the form of the fault-proof starter interrupter which will automatically disconnect the starter solenoid whenever it detects signs of someone tampering with the wiring.The Bit Writer system even allows you to configure the settings to your specific needs.CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Python is one of the most recognized names in the car security industry, and the 5706P Responder is impressive even by their well earned standards. The remote doubles as an LCD pager that can let you know when your alarm system is triggered and inform you of the current status of your car through a variety of different sensory inputs. And the fact that this LCD remote can work at a distance of a mile means that you'll have to venture a long way from your car before you lose your connection. Despite this, the slim design of this remote ensures it will fit easily into your pocket.CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
The CarLock is a little different from most of the car alarm systems on our review list. It jacks directly into the OBD port of your car and provides you with GPS monitoring of your vehicle directly through a dedicated phone app. While it won't prevent thieves from stealing your car, it will make sure that you always know where the car is in the instance of a theft. It also offers a variety of quality of life features like the ability to receive notifications whenever it's time for maintenance or when an incident triggers the check engine light on your car.CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
$30 can get you the InstallGear. It's not the most advanced car alarm system on the market, but it packs all of the fundamentals into a reasonably priced package. The two remotes that come with this device provide you with trunk release, locking and unlocking of your windows, and the ability to activate the siren manually. You can also silence your alarm with the simple press of a button. The security functionality here combines a loud alarm with blinking lights to provide a more meaningful display for would be thieves. There's also an LED indicator light that can inform you visually of an attempted, unauthorized entry.CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Car Alarm Buyer’s Guide
Before we can answer the question of what the best car alarm for you is, we need to consider exactly what you’re looking for. Car alarm systems can fall into a number of different categories, and there’s no singular best option for everyone. If you’re looking to minimize the risk of car theft, our review guide can help you understand the best models, but you’ll want to keep reading to learn more about the most important features and specs.
While a traditional siren is the most commonly considered security system for a car, it’s not the only technology that can minimize theft. If you’re looking for better vehicle security, you have a few options to choose from.
- A traditional car alarm sets off a siren or activates your car’s horn when there’s a sign of physical impact to your car. These alarm systems offer some of the best deterrence around, but it doesn’t provide much protection from persistent thieves who know how to connect the wires to deactivate the alarm and get your ignition started. This is accomplished through shock sensors strategically connected through wires. If you want to reduce the risk of false alarms, you should look for a dual shock sensor.
- A remote start system doesn’t provide deterrence on its own, but it does reduce the risk of your car being hotwired. Since the keys on a remote start system come with a chip built in, starting your engine is a lot more complicated than just connecting the right wires. Remote start systems will also usually automatically lock your car to reduce the risk of theft, and it’s some of the best convenience technology available for vehicles. All you have to do is click the button on your keys to get your car warmed up and ready to go quick.
- A push start is one of the best convenience features you can have. While it doesn’t allow you to start your car by just pressing a button on your keys, it does allow you to simply start your car with a press of the installed button. It offers you a quick way to get your engine running, but your keys need to be in close proximity to the car, so it still provides you with impressive vehicle security.
- GPS systems like the CarLock are accessories that can connect directly to the computer on your car and provide you with quick real time tracking of your car’s location as well as let you know about any maintenance issues that might arise. One thing to keep in mind is that these types of systems often require you to invest in a monthly subscription plan.
If your car alarm goes off in an empty parking deck and you aren’t there to hear it, does it still make a sound? Of course, but it’s not going to dissuade a thief from taking off with your vehicle. A higher decibel level offers you a greater sense of security when your car may be in a remote location. Even if you can’t hear it, having a louder siren ensures that someone will. And the louder car alarm systems are, the more likely a criminal is going to get spooked and track down easier prey.
Even if your car alarm doesn’t have a siren built in, it may offer the ability to trigger your horn in the instance of unauthorized access. The volume can also be an easy way to find your car in a crowded lot quick. By manually activating the alarm, you can more easily identify your car in a crowded sea of vehicles.
Most convenience and security systems come with keyless access so you can open your doors from a distance. These can be a great way to double check the security of your car and also reduce the need to fumble with your keys in the door. That can be a huge security benefit when you’re trying to access your car on a dark street late at night. Most vehicle security systems also come with a trunk release, and more sophisticated models can allow you to sync up your keys with auxiliary systems like automatic windows and headlights. These are convenient, but they can also help you be more vigilant as you go out to your car.
The standard range for most car remotes is about 1000 feet, and that should be a good enough range for most consumers. But if you’re forgetful about locking your car, some models offer a mile range or more. In all practicality, this is a bit of overkill. If you’re the forgetful sort, you’re probably off investing in an alarm that activated automatically when you lock your doors rather than one with an absurd range.
Far more useful is smartphone integration. Many of the more modern models allow you to download an app and sync it up directly to your security system. With smartphone integration, you can receive notifications and alerts whenever your security system is triggered or even get access to GPS tracking. Alternately, some remotes come with an LCD display that can provide you with quick notifications right on your key fob.
As the technology behind remote start and security systems becomes more sophisticated, so do thieves. Technologically savvy hackers can bypass the remote start signals on your car, disable your system, activate the door or trunk release, and even turn off GPS tracking. If you’re worried about unconventional theft, you may want to look at more expensive models. The best add in encryption systems that will make it harder to remotely access your security system.
Professional installation isn’t exactly a feature, but it is something to consider when budgeting for the best car alarm or remote start system. While more technically inclined customers may be able to install a vehicle security system themselves, most people will want to rely on professionals, so be sure to add the cost of an installation into your budget.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Car Alarm System is Best?
If you’re looking for a traditional car security system and price isn’t an issue, we highly recommend the Python 5706P Responder LC3. It packs in all of the standard security features along with some of the best range in the business and remote starting. And the inclusion of a dedicated screen with a variety of notification types means you can rest confident knowing that your car is safe.
Is Avital a Good Car Alarm?
The Avital may be budget priced, but in terms of raw functionality, it can contend with a car alarm many times its price. It’s arguably the best budget model available today, and as long as you aren’t looking for a wealth of convenience features, it will provide you with the technology you need to keep your car safe.
Do Car Alarms Really Work?
Car alarm systems absolutely work although not in the way that many customers might expect. Most criminals are going to seek the path of least resistance. Security systems, especially models with loud sirens, serve as one of the most effective means of deterrence against would be thieves. That’s even before you take into consideration more sophisticated technology like starter interrupt.
How Much Does it Cost to Put an Alarm on Your Car?
If you invest in a model that doesn’t require installation and comes with the basic features available (like the Avital), you can get a car alarm for as little as $25. If you need a professional installation, a basic model can be hooked up for around 50 to 200 dollars, but more sophisticated systems can easily increase that cost to $500.
If you’re looking for a car security system, you have a lot of options to choose from. Our review list identifies the best options around, but it’s just scratching the surface of what you can find. We’re confident that our reviews can provide you with something to suit your needs, but if you want to dig deeper, the guide above can provide you with the confidence you need.