The 8 Best Remote Start Systems

Updated September 27, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

8 Best Remote Start Systems
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 40 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Now there's never any need to get into a car that's too hot or too cold. These remote start systems install quickly and easily into any vehicle, and they don't only control your car's starter, but also come with handy additional functions, like remote trunk release, carjack protection, smartphone connectivity, and remote defroster control. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best remote start system on Amazon.

8. Compustar CS800-S

The Compustar CS800-S is very user-friendly, and it comes with everything you need for a swift setup. It is a universal kit that will work with all cars, the buttons are all well-labeled, and it's very dependable – the range never wavers and the fobs consistently function.
  • comes with mini carabiners
  • remotes are bulletproof
  • minimal programmable features
Brand Compustar
Model NATAL-MR-PN-8738253
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. Avital 4103LX

The Avital 4103LX features a multi-level security arming system that allows you to select which of the inputs or sensors will be active and which will be bypassed, so your car alarm doesn't accidentally go off during the night.
  • four aux outputs
  • capable of remote trunk release
  • doesn't have a long range
Brand Avital
Model 5303L
Weight 3.1 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

6. Crimestopper SP-402

The Crimestopper SP-402 features nearly indestructible titanium buttons and a sophisticated silver finish. It also interfaces with your smartphone, so you can see and control the status of your car from your device, and its data port can run one way or two.
  • dual phase shock sensor
  • includes carjack protection
  • instructions are confusing
Brand Crime Stopper
Model SP-402
Weight 2.9 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. Audiovox APS997C

The Audiovox APS997C boasts a powerful antenna and offers a valet switch, so your car's attendant can move and lock the car as needed without worrying about alarms sounding. Plus, it has a 24-hour start mode, allowing you to schedule your car to turn on at set times.
  • cold temperature program
  • lights up if someone enters your car
  • alert sirens are too quiet
Brand Audiovox APS997C
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

4. Viper 5706V

The Viper 5706V features pocket-sized remotes that fit on a key ring, and a clear LCD screen that indicates what mode the remote is in. It even has an active temp check that tells you the climate inside your car, so you can know if you need to turn on the AC or the heater.
  • included sirens are very loud
  • remotes feel rugged
  • batteries die quickly
Brand Viper 5706V
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. Direct Electronics Python 5303P

The Direct Electronics Python 5303P features a security system that will signal your remote when your vehicle is being tampered with, so you'll know about the incident even if you can't hear your sirens. It also tells you whether or not your doors are locked.
  • remote has an alarm clock
  • lets you turn on your defroster
  • window control sensors available
Brand Directed Electronics
Model 5303P
Weight 5.8 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Crimestopper RS4-G5

The Crimestopper RS4-G5 has strong, brushed metal on the remotes that won't chip or break, as well as 31 programmable options, so you can fully customize settings like alarm sensitivity. It also boasts a 2-way data port for an easy module hook-up, all for a low price.
  • you can set up a delayed start
  • connects to multiple cars
  • has a manual mode
Brand Crime Stopper
Model RS4-G5
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Viper 5906V

The Viper 5906V features a remote with an OLED screen, so the picture is bright and clear. It boasts a one-mile operating range, and the buttons respond instantly, so you won't need to press them again and again in an emergency.
  • fob charges via usb
  • very easy to install
  • connects to your car through walls
Brand Viper
Model 5906V
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

How Remote Starters Work

Remote starters, also sometimes referred to as remote keyless ignition systems, are rather complex systems that allow a person to start their car without having to be physically inside of the vehicle. Most can work from some distance away. For example, a person may be able to start their car from inside of their home or office, depending on the system and the strength of the signal.

As when you start your car normally, starting a car with a remote keyless ignition system will also turn on all of the settings you left on when last exiting your car. If you left the stereo and air conditioner on, they will also turn on when you remotely start you car. The same can be said of the heater. Some newer models include options to control these systems remotely. This makes them ideal for locations that experience extreme temperatures.

Remote start systems work in much the same way as a keyless entry system, car alarm remote, or even a television remote. When a button on the remote control is depressed, it sends a signal to a receiver box installed inside of the vehicle. This signal frequency is generally encrypted to prevent tampering.

The receiver box is connected to the car's starter wire, brake wire, power wire, ignition switch, ignition wire, tachometer, and ground wire. All of these systems or wires are involved in some way in the ignition of a car. Some remote start systems may also be connected to a car's electronic door locks, as well. When the box inside of the vehicle receives the signal, it supplies power to the car's ignition system exactly replicating what happens when a driver turns the key.

Most keyless ignition systems are connected to the tachometer so they can monitor a car's RPM. This allows them to verify that a car has started, in which case they stop supplying power to the starter. This ensures they do not grind the starter once ignition has taken place. Some systems will provide visual confirmation of ignition, like blinking the lights, so that the vehicle owner knows the car has started successfully. Systems that are connected to a car's electronic locks will lock the doors as a theft prevention measure.

The History Of Remote Car Starters

The electronic ignition system for automobiles was invented in 1915 by Charles Kettering, but it would be much later that a remote ignition system was developed. In fact, the first mention of a remote starting system is from 1966. It was called the Model 100 and sold by a Winnipeg-based company named A.A. Auto Matic Products Limited. It was comprised of an under-hood module, a female receptacle, and a house-bound starter switch box that included 30 feet of cable. There were also a few other various components, such as a secondary vacuum control and electrical splice pieces. Unfortunately, the exact procedure of how it worked once the switch was flipped seems to have been lost to obscurity at some point in the past.

The first patent for a remote automobile ignition system wasn't issued until 1971. It lists Giuseppe Re Baratelli and Theodore J. Galvani as the creators. Before they received their patent, however, it was featured in the November 1968 issue of Popular Science. It was touted as being able to start a car from 500 yards away. At the time, it sold for $595, which equates to over $4,000 in today's money. It certainly wasn't cheap and was priced out of range for most home consumers.

In 1983, American Motors started manufacturing remote starters, which were included in the Renault Alliance. It is cited as being the first production car to have come with a remote starter option. In 1989, GM included remote starters in a number of their models like the Pontiac Grand Prix, Buick Regal, and Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. Since that time, they have gained in popularity, and now there are even models available that can be controlled via smartphone.

What To Consider When Buying A Remote Ignition System

Most aftermarket remote car starters are universal. This means they are designed to work with practically any vehicle, but it is still smart to double check that the system you are considering is compatible with your vehicle model and year. For example, older, carbureted engines require models with fuel delivery controls, while newer vehicles often require a system that is compatible with their anti-theft module.

Other things to consider are the additional options that a system may or may not come with, as well as its various features. Remote car systems are available with varying ranges. Some may be able to work in ranges upwards of one mile, while lower-cost systems may only work in a 200-foot radius. If you generally park your vehicle far away from your home, it is wise to choose a model that accommodates the distance.

If you share your vehicle with anyone, there are systems available with two or more access control fobs. These allow each user to have a remote for the system. Some kits may be expandable so that you can add additional fobs at any time. This can be a smart choice if you have a child that will soon reach driving age and you plan on giving them their own set of keys at some point in the future. There are also systems convenient for those on a tight budget. They allow a vehicle owner to start with a relatively basic and low-cost system, and then add features over time as their budget allows.

Ideally, one should always choose a system that comes with a tachometer monitor. Not only will this prevent the possibility of damaging the starter system by continuing to grind it after the vehicle has started, but it will also notify the remote starting system that the engine has not started. When this happens, a system that includes a tachometer monitor will attempt to re-start the engine.

Other features that one can consider are defroster and seat heater activation, car alarm control, keyless entry, car locating features, smartphone activation, and a two-way LCD key fob.



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Last updated on September 27, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.


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