What's the Best Police Scanner?

2020's best police scanner is the Uniden SDS100 digital police scanner.

While the SDS100 is the best overall police scanner, there are several other quality scanners to meet your unique needs.

Skip to view the ‘best police scanner' for every situation.

If you’re new to police scanners or confused about what to buy you can:

Best Police Scanner of 2020

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2020 Best Police Scanner

Best Overall Police Scanner

Top Uniden SDS100 Features

  • Software & frequencies included.
  • Simulcast capable.
  • NXDN/DMR/ProVoice EDACS capable.

Why is the Uniden SDS100 the best overall police scanner?

  • Top selling & most popular police scanner on the market.
  • Digital (can monitor all frequencies) is the most popular format: 90% of sales.
  • Simulcast capable; a form of digital affecting some areas of the county.
  • Handheld scanners are the most popular type; 75% of sales.
  • Customizable color touchscreen.
  • Fastest scanner on the market.
  • Waterproof.
  • Can charge and run at the same time.
  • Uniden Is the largest police scanner retailer in the world.

Quick Jump

 

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Best Police Scanner by Format

There are 2 formats that police scanners can monitor:

Digital

Digital scanners can monitor:

Analog

Analog scanners can monitor:

Police Scanner Sales by Format

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Why Digital is the Best Police Scanner Format?

  • Digital scanners can monitor both frequencies (digital & analog).
  • Digital scanners have numerous improvements over all other formats from improved range, prolonged battery life, condensed size, better software & better user experience, to name a few.
  • Emergency communication in the US (Police, Fire, EMS, Etc.) is moving to digital, if it was not already done so in your area.
  • 90% of sales are digital.
  • With a digital scanner you'll be set for years and years even if this format is not required in your area yet.
  • Since 2013, the Uniden SR30C is the only new analog police scanner to hit the market. As all other formats are becoming more obsolete, manufacturers have stopped developing new non-digital scanners.

Best Digital Police Scanner

What is a Digital Police Scanner?

Digital police scanners can pick up both police scanner formats; digital & analog.

Digital Police Scanner (view all)

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Best Overall Digital Police Scanner

Best Cheap Digital Police Scanner

Top Uniden SDS100 Features

  • Software & frequencies included.
  • Simulcast capable.
  • NXDN/DMR/ProVoice EDACS capable.

Why is the Uniden SDS100 the best digital police scanner?

  • Top selling & most popular police scanner on the market.
  • Digital (can monitor all frequencies) is the most popular format: 90% of sales.
  • Simulcast capable; a form of digital affecting some areas of the county.
  • Handheld scanners are the most popular type; 75% of sales.
  • Customizable color touchscreen.
  • Fastest scanner on the market.
  • Waterproof.
  • Can charge and run at the same time.
  • Uniden Is the largest police scanner retailer in the world.

Best Analog Police Scanner

What is an Analog Police Scanner?

Analog police scanners can pick up analog frequencies, but cannot monitor digital frequencies.

Analog Police Scanner (view all)

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Best Overall Analog Police Scanner

Best Cheap Analog Police Scanner

Top Uniden BC125AT Features

  • 500 channels.
  • Alpha tagging.
  • Keypad & screen are backlit.

Why is the Uniden BC125AT the top Analog Police Scanner?

  • 500 channels is the most of any analog police scanner.
  • Close-call feature allows for easy local scanning.
  • Great reviews.

 

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Best Police Scanner by Type

There are 2 types of police scanners:

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Handheld

Handheld scanners are like a walkie-talkie in that they can be carried anywhere.

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Home & Vehicle Police Scanner

Home & vehicle police scanners can be used in one location or installed in the dashboard of a vehicle like a CD player.

Police Scanner Sales by Type

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Best Police Scanner Type

Why Handheld is the Best Police Scanner Type

Best Handheld Police Scanner

What is a Handheld Police Scanner?

Handheld police scanners are like a walkie-talkie in that they can be carried anywhere.

Handheld Police Scanner (view all)

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Best Overall Handheld Police Scanner

Best Cheap Handheld Police Scanner

Top Uniden SDS100 Features

  • Software & frequencies included.
  • Simulcast capable.
  • NXDN/DMR/ProVoice EDACS capable.

Why is the Uniden SDS100 the best Handheld Police Scanner?

  • Top selling & most popular police scanner on the market.
  • Digital (can monitor all frequencies) is the most popular format: 90% of sales.
  • Simulcast capable; a form of digital affecting some areas of the county.
  • Handheld scanners are the most popular type; 75% of sales.
  • Customizable color touchscreen.
  • Fastest scanner on the market.
  • Waterproof.
  • Can charge and run at the same time.
  • Uniden Is the largest police scanner retailer in the world.

Best Vehicle or Car Police Scanner

What is a Vehicle or Car Police Scanner?

Vehicle or car police scanners can be installed in the dashboard of a vehicle like a CD player.

Vehicle or Car Police Scanner (view all)

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Best Overall Vehicle or Car Police Scanner

Best Cheap Vehicle or Car Police Scanner

Top Uniden SDS200 Features

  • Simulcast digital capable
  • Color screen

Why is the Uniden SDS200 the top Vehicle or Car Police Scanner?

  • Digital (can monitor all frequencies) is the most popular format: 90% of sales.
  • Simulcast capable; a form of digital affecting some areas of the county.
  • Uniden Is the largest police scanner retailer in the world.

Best Home or Base Police Scanner

What is a Home or Base Police Scanner?

Home or base police scanners are used in one location.

Home or Base Police Scanner (view all)

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Best Overall Home or Base Police Scanner

Best Cheap Home or Base Police Scanner

Top Uniden SDS200 Features

  • Simulcast digital capable
  • Color screen

Why is the Uniden SDS200 the top Home or Base Police Scanner?

  • Digital (can monitor all frequencies) is the most popular format: 90% of sales.
  • Simulcast capable; a form of digital affecting some areas of the county.
  • Uniden Is the largest police scanner retailer in the world.

 

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Best Police Scanner by Use

There are 8 use categories of police scanners:

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Best Police, Fire & EMS Police Scanner

Police, Fire & EMS police scanners can be used to monitor all emergency communication.

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Best Railroad Police Scanner

Rail scanners are used to monitor railroad communication including train to train, train personnel as well as train yard communication. All rail communication on the US uses analog format.

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Best Airplane Scanner Civilian

Airplane or aviation scanners are used to monitor civilian air communication. All civilian air communication uses analog format.

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Best Airplane Scanner Civilian & Military

Airplane or aviation scanners are used to monitor civilian & military air communication. While all civilian air communication uses analog, most military aviation communication uses digital.

Best NASCAR Scanner & Racing Radio

Race scanners are used at race tracks to hear all the action as the races including driver to crew, race officials & more.

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Best Bug-Out Bag Police Scanner

Bug-out bags police scanners are commonly used by preppers or survivalists and are kept in their go-bag in case of an emergency.

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Best Weather Scanner

Weather scanners are commonly used to monitor emergency weather bands during extreme weather such as hurricanes or earthquakes.

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Best Marine Scanner

Marine scanners are commonly used in bay cities like Baltimore to hear all the marine chatter.

Best Police, Fire & EMS Police Scanner

What is a Police, Fire & EMS Police Scanner?

Police, fire & EMS police scanners can be used to monitor all emergency communication.

Police, Fire & EMS Police Scanner (view all)

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Best Overall Police, Fire & EMS Police Scanner

Best Cheap Police, Fire & EMS Police Scanner

Top Uniden SDS100 Features

  • Software & frequencies included.
  • Simulcast capable.
  • NXDN/DMR/ProVoice EDACS capable.

Why is the Uniden SDS100 the best Police, Fire & EMS Police Scanner?

  • Top selling & most popular police scanner on the market.
  • Digital (can monitor all frequencies) is the most popular format: 90% of sales.
  • Simulcast capable; a form of digital affecting some areas of the county.
  • Handheld scanners are the most popular type; 75% of sales.
  • Customizable color touchscreen.
  • Fastest scanner on the market.
  • Waterproof.
  • Can charge and run at the same time.
  • Uniden Is the largest police scanner retailer in the world.

Best Railroad Police Scanner

What is a Railroad Police Scanner?

Rail scanners are used to monitor railroad communication including train to train, train personnel, as well as train yard communication.

Railroad Police Scanner (view all)

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Best Overall Railroad Police Scanner

Best Cheap Railroad Police Scanner

Top SR30C Features

  • Most compact & lightest scanner on the market
  • Keypad & screen are backlit
  • 500 channels

Why is the SR30C the top Railroad Police Scanner?

  • Most compact & lightest scanner on the market for ease bringing to the railyard.
  • All rail communication uses analog format so any police scanner on the market will work to monitor all rail communication.

Best Airplane Scanner Civilian

What is an Airplane Scanner Civilian?

Airplane or aviation scanners are used to monitor civilian air communication. All civilian air communication uses analog format.

Airplane Scanner Civilian (view all)

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Best Overall Airplane Scanner Civilian

Best Cheap Airplane Scanner Civilian

Top Uniden SR30C Features

  • UPDATE.

Why is the Uniden SR30C the top Airplane Scanner Civilian?

  • Update copy for SR30C scanner!!!!
  • 500 channels is the most of any analog police scanner which allows users to save all the channels of even the largest airports.
  • Close-call feature allows for easy air scanning at any airport without needing extensive programming.
  • All civilian aviation communication, except military, uses analog, so any police scanner on the market will work. If you want to monitor civilian as well as military a digital scanner is required.

Best Airplane Scanner Civilian & Military

What is an Airplane Scanner Civilian & Military?

Airplane or aviation scanners are used to monitor civilian & military air communication. While all civilian air communication uses analog, most military aviation communication uses digital.

Airplane Scanner Civilian & Military (view all)

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Best Overall Airplane Scanner Civilian & Military

Best Cheap Airplane Scanner Civilian & Military

Top Uniden SDS100 Features

  • Software & frequencies included.
  • Simulcast capable.
  • NXDN/DMR/ProVoice EDACS capable.

Why is the Uniden SDS100 the best Airplane Scanner Civilian & Military?

  • Top selling & most popular police scanner on the market.
  • Digital (can monitor all frequencies) is the most popular format: 90% of sales.
  • Simulcast capable; a form of digital affecting some areas of the county.
  • Handheld scanners are the most popular type; 75% of sales.
  • Customizable color touchscreen.
  • Fastest scanner on the market.
  • Waterproof.
  • Can charge and run at the same time.
  • Uniden Is the largest police scanner retailer in the world.

Best NASCAR Scanner & Racing Radio

What is a NASCAR Scanner & Racing Radio?

Race scanners are used at race tracks to hear all the action at the races including driver to crew, race officials, & more.

NASCAR Scanner Race Scanner (view all)

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Best Overall NASCAR Scanner & Racing Radio

Best Cheap NASCAR Scanner & Racing Radio

Top SR30C Features

  • Most compact & lightest scanner on the market
  • Keypad & screen are backlit
  • 500 channels

Why is the SR30C the top NASCAR Scanner & Racing Radio?

  • Most compact & lightest scanner on the market for ease bringing to the railyard.
  • All rail communication uses analog format so any police scanner on the market will work to monitor all rail communication.

Best Bug-Out Bag Police Scanner

What is a Bug-Out Bag Police Scanner?

Bug-out bag police scanners are commonly used by preppers or survivalists and are kept in their go-bag in case of an emergency.

Bug-Out Bag Police Scanner (view all)

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Best Overall Bug-Out Bag Police Scanner

Best Cheap Bug-Out Bag Police Scanner

Top Uniden SDS100 Features

  • Software & frequencies included.
  • Simulcast capable.
  • NXDN/DMR/ProVoice EDACS capable.

Why is the Uniden SDS100 the best Bug-Out Bag Police Scanner?

  • Top selling & most popular police scanner on the market.
  • Digital (can monitor all frequencies) is the most popular format: 90% of sales.
  • Simulcast capable; a form of digital affecting some areas of the county.
  • Handheld scanners are the most popular type; 75% of sales.
  • Customizable color touchscreen.
  • Fastest scanner on the market.
  • Waterproof.
  • Can charge and run at the same time.
  • Uniden Is the largest police scanner retailer in the world.

Best Weather Scanner

What is a Weather Scanner?

Weather scanners are commonly used to monitor emergency weather bands during extreme weather.

Weather Scanner (view all)

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Best Overall Weather Scanner

Best Cheap Weather Scanner

Top SR30C Features

  • Most compact & lightest scanner on the market
  • Keypad & screen are backlit
  • 500 channels

Why is the Uniden SR30C the top Weather Scanner?

  • Most compact & lightest scanner on the market for ease bringing to the railyard.
  • All rail communication uses analog format so any police scanner on the market will work to monitor all rail communication.

Best Marine Scanner

What is a Marine Scanner?

Marine scanners are commonly used in bay cities like Baltimore to hear all the marine chatter.

Marine Scanner (view all)

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Best Overall Marine Scanner

Best Cheap Marine Scanner

Top Uniden SR30C Features

  • Most compact & lightest scanner on the market
  • Keypad & screen are backlit
  • 500 channels

Why is the Uniden SR30C the top Marine Scanner?

  • Most compact & lightest scanner on the market for ease bringing to the railyard.
  • All rail communication uses analog format so any police scanner on the market will work to monitor all rail communication.

 

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Best Police Scanner by Brand

There are 2 brands of police scanners:

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Uniden

Uniden is the largest and oldest police scanner manufacturer in the world.

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Whistler

Whistler is the second-largest police scanner manufacturer founded in 1971. Most of their scanner models begin with WS.

Police Scanner Sales by Brand

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Best Police Scanner Brand

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Why Uniden is the Best Police Scanner Brand

  • HERE ARE SOME BULLETS - BUT WORD THIS IN AS YOU SEE FIT
  • Largest manufacturer
  • Invest in technology
  • Release more software updates than Whistler
  • Superior support
  • 75% of the market
  • Uniden is a billion-dollar corporation

Best Uniden Police Scanner

What is a Uniden Police Scanner?

Uniden is the largest and oldest police scanner manufacturer in the world.

Uniden Police Scanner (view all)

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Best Overall Uniden Police Scanner

Best Cheap Uniden Police Scanner

Top Uniden SDS100 Features

  • Software & frequencies included.
  • Simulcast capable.
  • NXDN/DMR/ProVoice EDACS capable.

Why is the Uniden SDS100 the best Uniden Police Scanner?

  • Top selling & most popular police scanner on the market.
  • Digital (can monitor all frequencies) is the most popular format: 90% of sales.
  • Simulcast capable; a form of digital affecting some areas of the county.
  • Handheld scanners are the most popular type; 75% of sales.
  • Customizable color touchscreen.
  • Fastest scanner on the market.
  • Waterproof.
  • Can charge and run at the same time.
  • Uniden Is the largest police scanner retailer in the world.

Best Whistler Police Scanner

What is a Whistler Police Scanner?

Whistler is a police scanner manufacturer.

Whistler Police Scanner (view all)

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Best Overall Whistler Police Scanner

Best Cheap Whistler Police Scanner

Top Whistler TRX-1 Features

  • Digital capability allows for monitoring of all scanner formats.
  • NXDN capable.
  • Case & color inserts included.

Why is the Whistler TRX-1 the top Whistler Police Scanner?

  • Top selling & best reviewed Whistler scanner on the market.
  • Case included to protect scanner and for styling; unique to this scanner only.
  • Great reviews & easy to use.

 

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Best Police Scanner - Other

Here are 3 other ways you can find the perfect police scanner for you:

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Best Cheap Police Scanner

Cheap police scanners are analog police scanners that are very limited in what they can monitor.

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Best Police Scanner Antenna

Police scanner antennas help increase the reception range of any police scanner.

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Best Police Scanner App

Police scanner apps are a great way for users to get into scanning. What you can hear on scanner apps is very limited & they have been shut off during emergencies including the Boston bombing, 2020 Minneapolis protests, etc.

Best Cheap Police Scanner

What is a Cheap Police Scanner?

Cheap police scanners are analog police scanners that are very limited in what they can monitor.

Cheap Police Scanner (view all)

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Best Overall Cheap Police Scanner

Top Uniden SR30C Features

  • Most compact scanner on the market.
  • Keypad & screen are backlit.
  • 500 channels.

Why is the Uniden SR30C the top Cheap Police Scanner?

  • The SR30C has room for 200 channels.
  • All rail communication uses analog format so any police scanner on the market will work to monitor all rail communication.
  • The smallest scanner on the market for ease bringing to the railyard.

Best Police Scanner Antenna

What is a Police Scanner Antenna?

Police scanner antennas help increase the reception range of any police scanner.

Police Scanner Antenna (view all)

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Best Overall Police Scanner Antenna

Best Cheap Police Scanner Antenna

Top On Set Remtronix Scanner Antenna Features

  • Best on-set antenna for digital scanners
  • 6+dB gain over the stock antenna (25-50% increase over stock antenna)
  • 7" flexible whip with BNC or SMA connector

Why is the On-Set Remtronix Scanner Antenna the top Police Scanner Antenna?

  • On Set Remtronix Scanner Antenna can pick up all scanner frequencies (multi band) from all directions (omnidirectional).
  • Can be used on any police scanner, but excels with 700-900MHz UHF bands.
  • While scanner reception varies wildly based on location, topography, frequencies, etc. (anything from a roof, a hill, or a h4 breeze can interfere). This antenna should increase reception by 25-100%.

Best Police Scanner App

What is a Police Scanner App?

Police scanner apps are a great way for users to get into scanning. What you can hear on scanner apps is very limited & they have been shut off during emergencies, including the Boston bombing.

Police Scanner App

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Best Overall Police Scanner App

Top Police Scanner + Features

  • Free to download and use.
  • Easy to use user experience.
  • Most downloaded Scanner App.

Why is the Police Scanner + the top Police Scanner App?

  • Easy to use user experience.
  • Great way to get into scanning. While what you can hear is very limited it's a great way for new users to experience scanning.

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