LAST UPDATED: June 12, 2018

The Best Car Alarms (Review & Buying Guide) in 2020

Best Choice avital Avital 5303L Security/Remote Start System
Premium Pick python Directed Electronics Python 5706P Responder LC3 SST
Best Value pyle Pyle Car Alarm Security System

Cars come with their respective door locking systems. But this is usually not enough to deter would-be car thieves. Having a car alarm can help improve the security of your vehicle. And while modern cars already have their own built-in car alarm system fully-installed, sometimes you may want to give it the kind of personality that you require or you simply want to upgrade the level of security for greater peace of mind. The catch is you’ve got to make the right pick when it comes to the best car alarms. You don’t need to worry as we’ve got you covered.

Best Rated Car Alarms in 2020:

Owners of lager vehicles like campers and trailer trucks don’t have to feel less secure anymore with the SAFETYON fully replacing their standard door locks. What is quite exceptional about this car security is that it features a deadbolt-like mechanism, ensuring optimum security for your vehicle. Would-be car thieves will have to really sweat it out to pry the door open. It’s like turning your vehicle’s door into a secure bank vault opening complete with a programmable password security code.

Aside from the fact that the SAFETYON provides bank vault-like security, installation is pretty simple, too. It comes with a secure and unique door lock design that helps guarantee improved security. There’s an override switch, too, just in case you’re already tucked in for the night and a family member is still out. You can program it to accept two codes, too. Now top that.

Key Features
  • 33-yard transmitter range
  • Combination keyless entry with deadbolt security
  • Replaces standard vehicle door locks
  • Override switch
  • Built for campers and trailers
Specification
  • Brand SAFETYON
  • Model Mechi202
  • Weight 3.25 lbs

For folks who simply don’t like complicated diagrams of connecting one’s remote car starter and security system on one’s vehicle, the CarLock is a great option. It’s a smartphone app-based car alarm system that utilizes the OBD2 data link connector on your vehicle. Its plug-and-play design allows for exceptional convenience in getting the system up and running in no time.

Sensors via the CarLock OBD2 unit can monitor unusual vibrations or even tampering with the unit, giving you instant notification. It even monitors on-road driving dynamics such as hard acceleration and braking, sharp cornering and turning, and many more. Since the system is plugged to your OBD, CarLock gives you a visual feedback to your car battery status and so much more. Its built-in GPS makes trip tracking a lot more convenient. That said, you’ll have to pay a monthly fee for the service. At least you’ll get the first month absolutely free.

Key Features
  • Smartphone app-based car security and alarm system
  • On-road dynamics tracking and monitoring
  • Multiple sensors for instant notification on mobile device
  • Onboard virtual mechanic
  • OBD2 Plug and Play
Specification
  • Brand CarLock
  • Model OBD100
  • Weight 1.76 oz

Like many car owners, this car alarm system provides the best value for your money as it is highly durable and with exceptional expansion capabilities. Perhaps the best part of the Python is that it has a 1-mile radius of wireless connection, giving you the kind of feedback you need regarding the status of your vehicle even if you’re a mile away.

It comes with a variety of sensors all of which can be individually adjusted for their sensitivity levels. It also has a parking meter timer that saves you the hassle of being a slapped a fine for overstaying in your spot. You can also get a variety of car accessories connected to the system, allowing you good control over these devices using the sleek Python.

Key Features
  • 1-mile range LCD Pager and remote start
  • Multiple feedback confirmation
  • Adjustable sensitivity levels
  • Built-in shock sensor
  • Parking meter timer
  • Multiple inputs supported
Specification
  • Brand Directed Electronics
  • Model 5706P
  • Weight 3.48 lbs

More than its good-looks, the Avital makes for a hefty security and remote start system for your car, too. Taking control of your car is made easy with the large blue-backlit LCD display complete with a panic mode that will have everyone within its wireless radius to cast their attention on the blaring siren and flashing lights on your car. The system is sensitive enough to pick up any form of activity on and in your car, displaying the info on the LCD screen.

The great thing is you can actually choose which of these sensors you want to be active all the time and which ones can be bypassed. There are 4 auxiliary channels giving you superb control of other accessories in your car. And since it operates on a 2-way system, you get instant feedback right on your screen.

Key Features
  • Keyless and remote start capabilities
  • 2 transmitter combo: LCD and standard
  • Multi-level security
  • Active and passive arming
  • Panic mode
  • 4 auxiliary outputs
Specification
  • Brand Avital
  • Model 5303L
  • Weight 2.95 lbs

If you’re a fan of blaring sounds, then the 120-decibel siren elicited by the Pyle should definitely get everyone’s attention. There’s also no need to buy another relay for the system as it already comes built-in. As simple as its design may be, it nevertheless makes up for its ingenious security solutions including ignition locks, override switch, and a valet mode. It only comes with 2 auxiliary channels, though, unlike others that usually come with 4 or more. At least, you still get versatility in the vehicle actions that you want to remotely control.

Key Features
  • Ignition locking mechanism
  • 120-dB siren with built-in relay
  • Emergency override
  • Valet switch mode
  • Active and passive arming
  • 2 auxiliary outputs
Specification
  • Brand Pyle
  • Model PWD701
  • Weight 1.4 lbs

The viper car alarm system has been one of the most basic after-market car security upgrades that people put into their vehicles. It’s easy to install and setup and provides a good level of security.  The downside, of course, is that it is only a 1-way system so you’ll never really know if the system has already performed the action you wanted it to do. Nevertheless, you can always rely on both the Revenger and Stinger systems built into the Viper. It comes with a 2-channel auxiliary which may not be enough for some, but it should do the job well on those car systems that you want connected to the Viper.

Key Features
  • 3-channel, 4-button, 1-way security
  • Stinger tamper-detection system
  • Revenger audio alarm system
  • 2 auxiliary outputs
Specification
  • Brand Viper
  • Model 3106V
  • Weight 1.7 lbs

With a 1500-foot effective transmitter range, this viper car alarm is perfect for owners of cars with automatic transmissions. It still features the same technologies embedded in the 3106V, although this one’s fully-equipped with a code-hopping security feature that will help prevent unscrupulous individuals from making exact copies of the system. There’s still the Panic mode which definitely draw one’s attention to a possible attempt on your car. The viper alarm and car security system is perfect for those who need a really simple yet feature-packed device to keep their cars secure. It’s only 1-way, though.

Key Features
  • Designed for vehicles with automatic transmissions
  • 2 transmitters with 1500 feet range
  • Panic Mode
  • Clone-safe secure code-hopping mechanism
  • 2 auxiliary channels
Specification
  • Brand Viper
  • Model 4105V
  • Weight 1.45 lbs

With several features that can best other car alarm systems in the market, the SecurityPlus provides a cheap alternative to similar 2-way systems especially if one considers the effective range of both its main LCD transmitter and the backup companion transmitter at 3000 and 2000 feet, respectively. The transmitters look flimsy and cheap, however. Good thing a metal frame provides some degree of quality to its plasticky feel. It’s got priority and double pulse unlock mechanisms, although one can always override the system through the trunk.

Key Features
  • 3000-foot range for main LCD transmitter
  • 2000-foot range for companion transmitter
  • Priority unlock mechanism
  • Double Pulse unlock system
  • Trunk release disarm mechanism
  • Vibration and tone warnings
Specification
  • Brand Crime Stopper
  • Model SP302
  • Weight 2.1 lbs

Best Car Alarm Buying Guide & FAQ

Key Features to Consider

Picking the right security system to install in your vehicle can be tricky. The best car alarms usually have the following features that you might want to consider.

  • Multiple sensors

There are many ways in which a modern car can be tampered with. It may come from the door, the windows, or even be lifted onto a different platform, just to name a few. Having sensors in each of these possible ‘tampering’ points is crucial to keeping your ride fully secure.

alarm for car

For instance, a system with door sensors will help deter any unlawful activity at the various doors including the trunk and hood of your vehicle. But this is not really enough since some car thieves don’t necessarily have to access the door to get your vehicle. This is why you also need other sensors in your car alarm system.

Window sensors detect the sound of a window glass being smashed or broken. Pressure sensors detect changes in air pressure inside the vehicle cabin. As the windows or doors are opened, air from the outside will rush in, changing the air pressure inside and setting off the alarm. Motion sensors utilize radar to detect any form of movement within the vicinity of the car, triggering the alarm if the ‘subject’ gets too close. Lastly, there are tilt sensors which help trigger the alarm in case your vehicle is lifted at a particular angle such as when it is being towed away.

  • Two-way remotes

Most modern cars come with standard 1-way car alarm remote that don’t give you feedback whether the action you wanted the system to do has been duly accomplished. That’s where 2-way systems come in. These systems provide feedback in the form of light or message notification that the car has been started, the radio has been turned on, or that the air conditioning or heating system has been activated. At least, when you do get to your car you’ll be ready to go. It’s two-way communication. The car alarm unit receives instructions from your remote and sends information back to it.

  • Encrypted transmission

It is very rare to see car thieves still going for the slim jim or crowbar method. Many thieves today use state-of-the-art signal hacking equipment to bypass the digital security of car alarms. But if you get a system that comes with the encrypted transmission, then it will be a lot more difficult for car hackers to take your car.

  • Mobile app-compatibility

Many car alarm manufacturers today have dedicated mobile apps to allow car owners to easily use their smartphones to control and manage the security system in their vehicles. Some even come with OBD2 compatibility allowing you to run a variety of diagnostics to maintain the optimum performance of your car and keep you abreast of anything that might affect its functionality.

Benefits of Owning a Car Alarm

While car alarm systems don’t necessarily prevent your car from getting stolen, they do provide a host of benefits. Here are some of them.

  • Deters would-be car thieves

Car alarm systems will not prevent car thieves from stealing your car or the valuables inside it. However, they will really have to think twice before they do so since they’d have to be especially quick in carrying out their plans before anyone notices the glaring siren from the vehicle complete with flashing lights designed to attract attention.

  • Lowers cost of insurance premiums

Insurance companies base their computations on a variety of factors including the road-worthiness of your vehicle and its security. If they know that you don’t have a security system in your car you can always expect your insurance premium to be a lot higher.

  • Makes it easy to track or manage stolen vehicles

Some car alarm systems come with built-in GPS devices that allow you to easily track the vehicle’s whereabouts. There are also models that are connected to the car’s engine, cutting power to the engine so that the car thief won’t run away with your car. The best part is that all of these can be managed on your smartphone or some other similar device.

  • Bumps up the resale value of your car

Thinking of selling your car? Well, if it has an excellent car alarm and security system you can easily command a more respectable price. Potential buyers know that they have a security that they can rely on to safeguard their investment.

Car Alarm Installation

Installing an alarm and security system in your car is quite easy as long as the accompanying documentation is easy to understand. It often helps to read the wiring diagram of your car so you will know which ones to pull out and connect to the wirings on the car alarm. Once you’ve got a clear idea of what panels and wirings to access you’re ready with the next step, installing your car alarm unit.

Mount the alarm unit somewhere inside your dashboard, under your seat, or anywhere else that is clearly hidden from view. The point is for the alarm unit to be hidden so that thieves will not be able to tamper with it.

car alarm system

Next, mount the siren on an accessible surface in your engine bay. Make sure that the siren will be pointing downwards to prevent water from damaging the voice coil. Most car owners mount the siren on the firewall to make it a lot easier to connect to the alarm unit inside the car. You can also mount it in an area where there’s an existing hole for other wires to pass through. This eliminates the need for drilling a separate hole.

On your car alarm unit, run the valet switch, LED lights, and external antenna before connecting everything to the siren. Next is to connect the different sensors such as those on your door, dome light, trunk, and hood, just to name a few. Lastly, hook up the alarm unit to its power source to get it up and running.

Type of Car Alarm

Choosing the best car alarm for your vehicle usually means understanding the different types of car alarm systems. Currently there are 3 types.

  • Audible Alarms

These are the most basic car alarms. You’ve got sensors that trigger a really loud siren hat can get everyone within a city block fully awake. These sensors are placed in certain parts of the car’s body detecting for any disturbance. The good news is you can set the sensitivity levels of these sensors so they won’t trigger the alarm with a mere gust of wind.

  • Active vs. Passive

Passive alarm systems arm themselves automatically as soon as the ignition has been turned off and the last open door has been shut close. On the other hand, active systems require the ‘active’ input from the car owner to arm or disarm the alarm and security system.

  • 2-way Paging Systems

These car alarm systems are a remarkable improvement to the conventional 1-way system. Instead of merely relying on the sound or flash of light that indicates an action has been performed on your car, 2-way systems bring the information right into the fob on your key ring. Many systems come with LCD modules to allow for a more visual feedback system.

Best Car Alarm FAQ:

Q:  Will car alarms drain my battery?

A:  The short answer is, yes it can drain the battery. Depending on the various car systems that are connected to the car alarm – lights, horn, etc – you can actually drain the battery in several hours. Again, it all depends on the number of car accessories that are set to go off together with the alarm and how much power these systems will be draining from the battery. Also, you have to take note that your car’s battery may not actually have a full charge by the time the car alarm is set off. Some batteries actually discharge at a monthly rate of about 30%. You need to factor these, too.

Q:  Can car alarms turn off by themselves?

A:  It usually depends on the make and model of the car as well as the car alarm system installed. Some alarms can go on for up to 3.5 hours while some will only take about a minute or two before they automatically shut-off. Many on internet forums say that car alarms don’t turn off by themselves. The only time that they will turn off is when there’s no more juice from the battery.

Q:  Can a car alarm be disconnected?

A:  Car alarms often have emergency override mechanisms to allow them to be shut off. In case there isn’t, you can easily disconnect a car alarm by removing the system’s fuse in your car’s fuse box. If this doesn’t work, you can disconnect the cable on the negative terminal of the car’s battery. Of course, this means you will also not have electrical power for your other accessories. You will also not be able to start your car. But the point is, yes car alarms can be disconnected since they will still be connected to a power source. Removing the power source essentially disconnects the car alarm.

Q:  Should I install the car alarm myself or professionally?

A:  Depending on the model or type of car alarm and security that you are going to install, you’ll have a much better chance of success when you have it professionally installed. This is especially true if there are connections that have to be made with the other electronic components or accessories of your car such as the stereo, windows, heating and air conditioning, and lights among other things. But if you’re pretty confident about your knowledge of car electrical systems, then you can easily follow the instructions on the car alarm owner’s manual.

Our Top Pick

Built specifically for large-vehicle owners and featuring a secure vehicle lock design that is similar to a vault security, our obvious pick for the best car alarm and security is the SAFETYON Keyless Entry System. With programmable password-protected deadbolt locks securing the door of your vehicle for up to two users, the SAFETYON is guaranteed to protect whatever you wish to secure inside your vehicle, whether it’s the vehicle itself or its contents. It may pale in comparison to the long-distance transmitter range of other systems, but the 33-yard range of the SAFETYON is more than sufficient to ensure you get the best control of your vehicle door locks. It’s exceptionally easy to install, too.

Installing the best car alarm system is predicated on choosing only the best. While this will not really prevent our cars or the valuables inside it from being stolen, we can at least deter those who want to do such things.

Related Post: Car Alarm Keeps Going Off: What To Do

Sources:

  1. 3 Common Types of Car Alarm Systems – Automotive Locksmiths
  2. Car Alarms – What You Need to Know Before You Buy – Hurricane Auto
  3. How to Pick an Alarm for Your Car – Your Mechanic