8 Best Radio Scanners on the Market

People have enjoyed listening to the transmissions across the airwaves since radio was first invented. Radio scanners can scan a range of radio frequencies and find transmissions, including those from jets, broadcasts, and more. You can monitor airport ground to air communications and listen to port traffic in harbours.

You can also listen to international broadcasts. Additionally, you might hear BBC or local radio, as well as communications from space stations. No matter what you want to listen to, you have a lot of different choices.

What to Look for When Choosing a Radio Scanner

Scanners come as handheld or base devices, although you can get others that work through your PC. You need to know how and where you intend to use the scanner, and then decide on your budget. If you plan to do most scanning from the comfort of your home, you can choose a base unit. However, the handheld unit suits those who prefer to take the scanner with them on the go.

You can choose USB and LSB models, which are mostly used in the HF band. In addition, there are FM and AM models. You can monitor radio, TV broadcasts, amateur radio transmissions, and a number of different overseas transmissions on short wave bands. You are not allowed to monitor the police, fire brigade, ambulances, or telephone calls, although people often want to listen in on a police scanner.

Your scanner has two modes of operation, namely search and scan. You can search for a particular frequency range with search, and scan will allow you to scan through the channels you have selected. Once you have found channels that are interesting to you, you can save them. Scanning can be a lot of fun, so read on to learn about the best radio scanners.

The Very Best Options for You

So without further ado, let’s jump directly into the list.


1) Uniden UBC-125XLT 500 Channel Handheld Scanner

This is another one of the best Uniden scanners, and it is stylish, compact, and affordable. It can be used indoors and outdoors. It has programmed channels that are grouped into 10 banks with 50 channels in each one. Once you program the frequencies you like, it is very easy to use. It comes with Close Call and 10 pre-set frequency bands with Maritime, Air Traffic, CB Channels, and PMR446 frequencies.

Uniden UBC-125XLT 500 Channel Handheld Scanner

This scanner has 500 channels, and it has a variety of frequency bands from 25 to 960 MHz, including CB radio, VHF Landmobile radio, Air traffic, UHF land mobile radio, and UHF public services. You get an AC adaptor, belt-clip, and manual. It has a good sized screen and a keypad as well as a number of great features, including Close Call, which will detect nearby signals. You can program in your frequencies by connecting the scanner to a computer.

Pros
  • Compact and stylish
  • Close Call detects nearby signals
  • 10 pre-set frequency bands
  • 500 channels
  • Good size screen
Cons
  • Instructions can be difficult to understand for non-technical people

2) Uniden UBC355CLT Base Scanner Receiver

This is another one of the Uniden scanners, and it is a quality base and mobile scanner housed in an elegant cabinet. You can use it at home or on the road, and it has a large speaker for great sound. UBC355CLT has fixed channels in eight banks, with seven pre-programmed for known frequencies, such as maritime and air frequencies. It has Close Call that is great for programming local frequencies.

Uniden UBC355CLT Base Scanner Receiver

It includes an AC adapter, a DC power cord, a cigarette lighter cord, telescopic and window mount antenna, mounting bracket, and owner’s manual. UBC355CLT also has a number of features, including 300 channels, frequency ranges from 25 to 960 MHz. It has eight bands and 23 search Bands, as well as Close Call. It comes with a scan speed of 50 step/sec. This is a great scanner for anyone. All in all, definitely one of the best radio scanners on the market.

Pros
  • Quality build and attractive
  • Eight banks with seven pre-programmed
  • Close Call
  • 300 channels
Cons
  • Speaker could be better
  • No FM included

3) Uniden SDS100E Handheld Scanner Receiver

This is one of the best Uniden scanners on the market. It is a handheld scanner, and it has a multi-colour display. There is also a handgrip moulded to the bottom. The keypad is backlit, and it has three front softkey buttons. The functions of these buttons are different depending on the scanner status. It has a selective/volume/squelch knob on the top of the unit, as well as side actuated function and menu controls.

Uniden SDS100E Handheld Scanner Receiver

You will find two connectors on the right side of the device. The first one is used to connect USB to your PC or for battery charging. The other is a USB micro connector. The scanner uses the Sentinel software, and it has Close Call. The RF capture capability supports CTCSS/DCS/NAC/RAN/Colour Code decoding. It comes with one lithium ion battery pack, and the battery lasts about eight hours. You can charge the battery while the scanner is operating.

The SDS100 has a number of great features. It has a True FQ receiver to improve its digital performance. It also has a customizable colour display. SDS100E is water resistant and supports Location Based scanning. This scanner offers you the opportunity to combat reception problems that are associated with simulcast, and you can access all kinds of frequencies and waves. Althought expensive, still one of the top radio scanners.

Pros
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Great stock antenna
  • Ipx4 waterproof rating
Cons
  • Very Expensive

4) Whistler WS1065 Desktop Radio Scanner

This is one of the most feature-rich radio scanners out there. In fact, it can do just about anything that a police scanner can do. It comes with a lot of great features, including object oriented scanning, Skywarn functions, v-scanner capability, and more. It can pick up nearby frequencies quickly, and it stores up to 1800. Whistler WS1065 is quite easy to use, but it has advanced features that will appeal to radio users with a lot of experience.

Whistler WS1065 Desktop Radio Scanner

The WS1065 is a desktop scanner, and it is a great size with a large display. It comes with a mounting bracket, so you can angle it and raise it toward you wherever you are. It covers UHF and VHF frequencies across the board, and you can easily store the ones you want to visit more frequently. The display has four lines with 16 characters each, and the keys are backlit.

This scanner is intuitive with a manual mode and an automatic scanning mode. It also has Skywarn and Spectrum sweeper buttons to help you move through faster. Additional features include data cloning, alarms, LED alerts, key lock function, PC-enabled programming, and a real-time signal strength indicator. If you are looking for a scanner that works as well as a police scanner does, this is a great option.

Pros
  • Many great features
  • 1800 frequencies
  • Well-built and durable
  • Great for radio enthusiasts
  • Good range and signal clarity
  • Menu-driven programming
Cons
  • Doesn’t work in some areas
  • Quite expensive

5) Uniden Bearcat UBC 370CLT Base Scanner

This is one of the Uniden scanners, and it offers great value for the money. It is a 500 channel AM/FM base scanner, and it has a number of great features including channel scanning, memory channel scan, direct channel access, channel lockout, priority scan, DND Duplicate, channel alert, and search Skip frequency. You can search Emergency, Free Net, PMR, Marie, Air, CB, and HAM frequency ranges from 25 to 960 MHz.

Uniden Bearcat UBC 370CLT Base Scanner

This scanner is designed for home use. It is a desktop scanner with an attractive cabinet. The Bearcat is made from solid and robust materials, and it has a watch, an alarm clock, and an FM broadcast radio. It has 500 channels in 10 banks, and it is packed full of features. This is a great scanner.

Pros
  • Lots of great features
  • Solid and robust construction
  • Great value for the money
  • Has an alarm clock
Cons
  • Sound could be better
  • A lot of plastic parts

6) Whistler TRX-2 Desktop Digital Scanner

This scanner is a multi-system adaptive digital trunking scanner that can monitor unencrypted channels and systems such as Conventional DMR, NXDN, Hytera XPT, MotoTRBO Capacity Plus, and MotoTRBO Linked Cap Plus systems. It has frequencies from 25 to 1300 MHz, and it only works with Windows operating systems. Whistler TRX-2 is ideal for experienced radio users, and it is well made.

Whistler TRX-2 Desktop Digital Scanner

It is full of features, and it runs day and night without any difficulty. You can use their SD/MMC card to insert your own. It is easy to use once you turn it on, and it starts the scan process right away. When you choose your own memory card, it does take a little longer. It is a great radio scanner for many different kinds of frequencies.

Pros
  • Easy set up
  • Loaded with features
  • Monitors unencrypted channels easily
  • Can use your own memory card
Cons
  • Takes longer to set up with your own card
  • Quite expensive

7) Uniden BCT15X Bearcat Scanner

When you are looking at radio scanners, this one is worthy of consideration. It is an effective analogue trunk scanner, and it comes programmed with some of the most common channels. It also features a warning system and can help you avoid traffic jams and other situations. It’s also quite fun to pick up interesting transmissions with it, including weather and more.

Uniden BCT15X Bearcat Scanner

BCT15X uses Uniden’s Close Call RF Capture Technology, which tunes into any local frequencies automatically as long as you are connected to GPS. It has over 9000 channels that are dynamically allocated, and it can be used in busy areas without any difficulty. It also has band scope so that you can pick up channels visually, and it has a mounting bracket so that you can mount it in your car.

This model is popular among experienced users because it has power and reliability. You can connect it to your PC to simplify the programming process, and you can use third-party software to make it even easier. It is tough for beginners to adapt to, but experienced users will enjoy it.

Pros
  • Powerful scanner
  • 9000 channels
  • A lot of included accessories
  • Easily listen to local frequencies
  • Consistent reception
  • Wide range of channels
Cons
  • Difficult for beginners to get used to

8) Uniden EZI 33 XLT AirBand Radio Scanner

This is a handheld scanner that has a compact design, and it is easily taken with you anywhere you go. It has 180 channels spread over 10 banks, which includes one band for each frequency length. You get easy access to all of the pre-programmed frequencies. It is a great scanner for both beginners and experienced users, and it covers FM broadcast, Radio Frequency, Aviation Band, Amateur 2M and above, Marine VHF, band frequencies for walkie talkies, and more.

Uniden EZI 33 XLT AirBand Radio Scanner

It has 183 memory channels, and it can scan them by frequency band or frequency selection. The channels are placed into nine bands, and it is made of solid and robust materials. You can easily find frequencies in aviation band, FM, Amateur, and PMR, and you can improve it further if you add an antenna.

Pros
  • Easy for amateurs and enthusiasts
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Easy to find stations
Cons
  • The supplied antenna is quite weak
  • Instructions could be more to the point

Conclusion

When you want to get a radio scanner, you have a lot of choices. You should start by choosing whether you want one that is a desktop version or a handheld. Uniden scanners are among the best, and they have many different models with great features.

You can choose the scanner that has the frequencies you need for what you want to listen to. You need to turn to the frequency of what you want to hear, and you will do it. One unique feature of radio scanners is that they have the ability to hear different frequencies. Radio scanners are used for more than AM and FM frequencies. You can find out what is happening in town and pick up on other information when you listen to these scanners. You can also hear what is happening with flights and more.

These scanners can be simple or complex, and they allow you to listen in on many different types of conversations. You can choose the scanner that is best for you by looking at the features you need.


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