The 8 Best Car Alarms

Updated November 09, 2017 by Chase Brush

8 Best Car Alarms
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 39 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Next to a house, for most people, their car is their most expensive and cherished purchase. So protect your investment with one of these reliable car alarms, which are all packed with features that can alert you when your car is being interfered with or has been damaged, and allow you to access and start the vehicle without keys. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best car alarm on Amazon.

8. AGPtek 1-Way

The AGPtek 1-Way is a simple and affordable car alarm system with a bright LED indicator that's highly visible from the outside of the vehicle. It can be programmed to work with engine locking features for added safety against theft.
  • durable remote controls
  • instructions are difficult to follow
  • may drain car battery
Brand AGPtek
Model pending
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. Omega K9 Mundial-4

The improved Omega K9 Mundial-4 takes just a few hours to install and is compatible with most makes and models of vehicle. It can be set to give off either loud or quiet confirmation chirps, letting you decide how to know it's on.
  • economical option
  • multi-tone electronic siren
  • hard to program extra transmitters
Brand K9
Model K9 MUNDIAL 4
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. XO Vision DX382

The XO Vision DX382 has an advanced electronic shock sensor that emits a warning when the vehicle is hit or moved, making this a good option for use in crowded urban environments. Its intuitive and reliable remote control makes operating the system easy.
  • installs quickly and simply
  • comes with one-year warranty
  • may be easy for thieves to disarm
Brand XO Vision
Model DX382
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. Pyle PWD701

The Pyle PWD701 has a valet/override switch, a dual stage impact detector, and a status indicator LED. It also packs a 120 decibel siren that can be heard loud and clear across the neighborhood, giving you some extra peace of mind.
  • two four-button transmitters
  • remote chirp mute
  • limited lifetime warranty
Brand Pyle
Model PWD701
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. EP400 Smartkey

The EP400 Smartkey utilizes a low frequency identification technology to transmit a security code that deactivates the immobilizer. In plain English, that means it reliably locks up your engine until you're within a safe distance and it recognizes you have the keys on you.
  • high priced but high quality model
  • made exclusively for the us market
  • keyless entry and ignition
Brand Easycar USA
Model EP400
Weight 3.3 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

3. Avital 5303L

The Avital 5303L security system is designed to work universally, and includes remote starting, alarm arming and disarming, and trunk release. The nifty LCD remote can display warning icons when any of the vehicle's outer doors are ajar.
  • also includes standard remote
  • four aux outputs
  • panic mode also flashes headlights
Brand UEi
Model UNI335
Weight pending
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Crimestopper SP-101 Deluxe

Offering a huge 500 foot -- or 1,500 in optimal conditions -- range, the Crimestopper SP-101 Deluxe will allow you to hear and access your vehicle from a comfortable distance. Don't worry if you misplace the transmitter, as you can override it with the emergency function.
  • allows for keyless entry
  • 20 watt single tone siren
  • great value for the price
Brand Crimestopper Security P
Model SP-101
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Viper 350 PLUS

With a bright blue warning LED and FailSafe starter kill to ward off thieves, the Viper 350 PLUS helps ensure that no one will be driving your vehicle who shouldn't be. It can also be hooked up to a remote start system for warming your engine on cold days.
  • optional gps tracking
  • shock sensor for added protection
  • from a trusted auto security brand
Brand Viper
Model 3105V
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

Sensitive to Your Security

The FBI put out a report in 2014 that said a car is stolen in the United Stated every 46 seconds. For every five minutes you spend researching car alarms, thieves steal seven cars. And that's only accounting for successful thefts; there's much less data on attempted thefts, as car alarms and other deterrents intervene sometimes without leaving any evidence behind.

These are pretty staggering numbers, especially when you consider the fact that so many cars on the road today were manufactured with decent alarm systems built in. The problem with stock alarm systems, it would seem, is that they're predictable. A good thief can take one look at your car, determine its make, model and year, and know how to dismantle its alarm almost instantly.

How many times have you heard a car alarm going off for just a few seconds, only to be immediately silenced? Whether it was the owner deactivating it with their key fob or a criminal knowing which cord to cut you may never know.

But if you had a good enough alarm installed to keep the thief at work long enough, the safest course of action for the crook would eventually be to abandon the attempted boosting. After all, in that scenario above, when the alarm keeps blaring, almost anyone within earshot would eventually start to wonder whether it wasn't their own car making all the racket, and it would attract a lot of attention.

The best aftermarket alarm systems out there do this for you in spades, but they also offer additional benefits. Most of the alarms on our list are sensor-based, meaning that they respond to changes in pressure or light in specific areas. If a small light sensor that's blocked entirely by your closed car door gets hit with a blast of light without first being deactivated, it will trigger your alarm.

Additionally, a lot of these packages include their own key fobs that can trigger your trunk to open, and, in some cases, even provide you with keyless or remote ignition, so you can keep you car locked up safe, even as you warm it up in the winter.

More Than Just A Siren

I bought a car back in 2011 from a major manufacturer known for outfitting even their most basic models with a decent amount of features. As with most car purchases, I spent the better part of a lifetime in the dealership, filling out paperwork, waiting, drinking coffee, waiting, chatting with the equally bored sales team, and waiting some more. Then, finally, they handed over the keys.

The fob, however, seemed to be missing a button. There was no trunk release. This was a 2010 model, and there was no trunk release. My first car was a 1991 VW, and it had a trunk release. I'd thought that kind of thing had become standardized.

About a year later, after finding scratches on my door and window consistent with an amateur slimjim operator, I looked into some aftermarket alarm systems, and I was delighted to find I could set one up to trigger my trunk. Trips to the grocery store have never been safer or easier.

With the basic alarm sensors and horns covered by each of the models on our list, your decision here will likely come down to the features each offers.

For example, our top rated alarm system allows you to wire your ignition to operate by push-button, with only the presence of the fob required, which is becoming increasingly popular in car designs. Features like these can bring a slightly outdated car further into modernity. Other systems feature remote ignition capabilities, allowing you to start your car from the comfort of your own home, which is especially useful in inclement weather.

A few systems also outfit you with even more detailed feedback. They do this by relaying nuanced information to a separate fob with its own screen. That screen tells you everything from lock and alarm status, to battery power and door openings.

A Not-So-Easy Getaway

It didn't take very long after the invention of the car for auto theft to become an industry unto itself. The first documented case of car theft took place in 1896, and it's been off to the races ever since.

By 1913, auto theft numbers grew to a point where a prisoner in Denver, Colorado designed a device to prevent thieves from stealing cars. It was a manually armed sensor placed in the ignition system. If you recall, cars in those days required their drivers to actually hand-crank the engines to get them started, not too unlike the kickstarters on motorcycles.

If a thief attempted to crank the engine with this first car alarm in place and armed, a small sound emitted from within to draw attention to the scene. Another development a couple of years later actually used a kind of early fob designed to act as a receiver and vibrate if the owner's car were under duress.

Advances in radio technology led to more complicated transmission, reception, and sensitivity in alarm systems, as well as the inclusion of flashing lights for deterrents and immobilization of a vehicle to prevent a successful thief from getting anywhere with the car.

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Last updated on November 09, 2017 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.

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