A car alarm is a device that is designed to deter car theft, but the models that are available today often have a lot more features than they did years ago. Finding a car alarm system can be difficult, but we have created this guide to help you find the best car alarm system on the market. We will review several great options, but before we get to the reviews, let’s take a look at some of the types of car alarms that you can purchase.
Types of Car Alarm Systems
There are a few different types of car alarm systems that you can select from; here is a breakdown of each type:
- Active Car Alarm – An active car alarm is one that you have to activate yourself when you leave the vehicle, which may not be great for forgetful individuals. Many high-end alarms tend to use this type of system.
- Passive Car Alarm – A passive car alarm is one that turns on automatically when the doors are locked and the car’s engine is off. Passive alarms cannot be turned on or off, which means that specific features of the alarm cannot be turned on separately. Most factory installed alarms tend to be passive.
- Audible Car Alarm – This is a type of car alarm that you can hear easily. When they are triggered, they set off loud alarms that are either horns or sirens, and it will be known that your car alarm is going off. This loud audio queue is a great way to deter a positional theft in process and alert you that there may be a security issue with your vehicle.
- Silent Car Alarms – Silent car alarms send a silent alert to the owner of the car. This method reduces the amount of noise, but it cannot deter the thief in any way. This type of alarm is not as popular as the loud audible type.
Features to Look for in a Car Alarm System
As we discussed, not all car alarm systems are created equally. In fact, some of them have a lot more features than others, so the question that you need to ask yourself is: “Which features are the most important to me?” To help you make that decision, let’s take a look at some of the more popular features that you can consider.
- Keyless Entry – Keyless entry is a convenient feature that allows you to unlock your doors without putting the key into the lock on the door. This makes getting in your car a quicker process, which means that it is safer for you as well. This feature also has a remote that allows you to easily activate and deactivate the car alarm as you are approaching your car. If you are carrying groceries or your arms are full of other items, you can also often simply press a button to open the trunk. Many of these types of alarms have an LCD screen to send you messages in the event that the alarm goes off, and it can also send messages directly to your smartphone if you desire.
- Remote Start – This is a great feature to have in the winter time. It allows you to start your car without physically being inside the car. This way the heater can be on before you enter the car. In the summer, you can also have the air running to cool down the car before you get in. The key does not need to be in the ignition when you start the vehicle, but it does need to be inserted before you can put it in drive. If someone attempts to steal the car, it will automatically turn off if the key is not in the ignition.
- GPS Functionality – Sometimes a car alarm may include a built-in GPS system that is designed to help you locate your vehicle in the event that it is stolen. It is not a popular function, but it can be useful to recover your vehicle if it is stolen.
- Vehicle Sensors – This feature will detect any movement that happens in or around your car; including the car itself moving, and alert you that something is going on with your vehicle. It will alert you to theft, let you know that your car is being jacked up, and even let you know that your car is being towed away. This is a great way to know exactly what is going on with your car at any point in time.
- Starter Kill Option – When you receive a notification that your car is being stolen or tampered with, this function allows you to take action and keep your car from being taken. All you need to do is press a button to make the car’s engine stop. It will not be able to be moved from that location, unless it is already on a truck, until you shut the alarm off.
Best Design Feature
Avital 3100LX 3-Channel Keyless Entry Car Alarm with Remotes and Failsafe Starter Kill-Set
This alarm comes with a keyless entry system.
Viper 350 PLUS 3105V 1-Way Car Alarm Keyless Entry
It comes with an anti-carjacking alarm to give you more protection.
AVITAL 5303L Security/Remote Start System
It comes with a four-button remote and an LCD one.
Viper 5706V 2-Way Car Security with Remote Start System
The remote has a range of one mile.
Pyle PWD701 4-Button Remote Door Lock Vehicle Security System
It features both passive and active alarming options.
1) Avital 3100LX 3-Channel Keyless Entry Car Alarm with Remotes and Failsafe Starter Kill-Set
The first product in our guide is excellent for those who need an auxiliary transmitter for their car alarm system. The Avital 3100LX is a three-channel security system that also doubles as a keyless entry system as well. When the product is activated, you can have the parking lights flash so that you can have a visual indicator of the alarm’s activation. This is perfect if you are far from your car and it’s being tampered with; you may be able to see it before you can hear it.
Additionally, we liked the fact that this product has a bright red status indicator so that you know the alarm is armed when you leave your car. This is one of the car security units that uses your car’s factory horn for its alarm system, so if you are looking for a siren model, it may be better to pick another product. That being said, the system has neat bells and whistles like starter kill that will shut down your car’s ability to be started if it appears that it’s being tampered with.
2) Viper 350 PLUS 3105V 1-Way Car Alarm Keyless Entry
The Viper 350 plus was a product that tested very well during our research. Firstly, this is a three-channel unit that employs a start kill function, which can quickly cease all starter action in your vehicle so that thieves can’t steal it. Some consumers like a little more volume than can be generated by the car horn; with this in mind, Viper has included a siren with this product so that you can have a very loud alarm output when your car is tampered with. With this siren system, the device can broadcast six tones, including a soft chirp during activation and unlocking and a tone for the parking light alarm response.
We really liked the design of the remotes. Sometimes in these systems, it can be hard to decipher the buttons because of the shape of the remote starter/arming system. With the 350 Plus, there is a large lock button and the arming button is fairly easy to find with just your fingers. Finally, Viper also included an anti-carjacking and panic alarm feature that can keep you safe, which is not bad for a $60 price point.
3) AVITAL 5303L Security/Remote Start System
The Avital series of products is actually manufactured by Direct Electronics, which is the same company that puts out Viper’s brand of car alarm systems. This particular product really impressed us with its suite of security options. Our overall favorite is the starter kill function of the 5303L. If you notice any suspicious activity happening in the vicinity of your vehicle, simply engage the starter kill. When this feature is activated, your car becomes completely unable to be started. This, of course, makes the car completely unable to be stolen through traditional theft methods.
Additionally, in our tests, we also really liked the panic mode. It will sound six alarms and flashes your lights so that theft is thoroughly discouraged. The final great security feature that comes with this Avital unit is its remote starter features. When you remote start your vehicle, some opportunistic thieves will be waiting. With the 5303L, the car will idle only for a preset amount of time. If a thief tries to enter the car without the key fob, the automobile will automatically shut down.
Outside of the onboard security features, we thought that the Avital 5303L had a great LCD screen that was nice and vivid, which is perfect for those low-light, early morning starts.
4) Viper 5706V 2-Way Car Security with Remote Start System
Our fourth product is another device from Direct Electronics’ iconic Viper series. To start, during our research this device stood out because of its inclusion of two remote starters. One of the starters has a pretty large LCD screen that we found was very easy to read. The second starter doesn’t have the LCD, but has five buttons so that you can control the starter with a relatively easy-to-use control system. The LCD version has a two-way style of communication that useful for keeping a tab on your vehicle. This starter also only has two buttons, which will let you lock or unlock your vehicle or arm or disarm your alarm.
During our tests, we found that both of the remotes for the 5706V have about a one-mile range. This is very useful for those who have to park their cars in the boonies. The two-way system on the LCD starter will immediately tell you the RPMs of your vehicle’s engine once it has been started. This helps you know if your car is idle or moving. If you find that it is running, there is an automatic shut-off feature that we found to be a great system to deter potential thieves from getting anywhere with your car, especially with the Viper’s one mile range.
5) Pyle PWD701 4-Button Remote Door Lock Vehicle Security System
This is another car alarm system that comes with two hand-held remotes, though for this Pyle unit, both are buttoned devices without LCD screens. This particular unit shines in its relatively low price. You can get it online for only a little bit more than $40, but with this value, you can have a remote auto start, remote panic mode, and anti-carjack functionality. This product also has a fairly loud alarm output. During our tests, we registered an impressive loudness of about 120 decibels of output.
Additionally, the actual remotes are very sleek and attractive. Some owners don’t want an elaborate remote for their car alarm system, so this has a pretty ergonomic, aesthetically pleasing pair of remotes. Also, there is a remote panic feature, which works excellently as a car locator for those times when you’ve forgotten where you’ve parked exactly.
The remotes also have a chirp mute, which we found to be a pretty smart feature. With this feature, you can turn off the “chirping” noise that rings out when arming and disarming the system. With it, you can be courteous to your neighbors during the night.
As you can see, having an alarm system in your car is important. A factory installed alarm will not have the same functionality as a high-end alarm that you install yourself. Hopefully, our list has helped you decide which type of car alarm system you want to have installed in your vehicle. Out of all of the options that we reviewed in this guide, the one that we consider to be the best is the Viper 350 PLUS 3105V 1-Way Car Alarm Keyless Entry. It comes with a remote starter, a GPS locator, and a panic button to kill the ignition, so you will be prepared for anything.
If you are looking for the option that gives you the best bang for your buck, then the Pyle PWD701 4-Button Remote Door Lock Vehicle Security System is perfect. It includes many of the top features that you would consider for the best car alarm systems on the market, and it will only cost you a little more than $40.