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With the advent of built-in vehicle immobilizers and keyless entry remotes, the aftermarket car alarm isn’t as common as it used to be. Gone are the days of driving a loud car down a quiet street and leaving a dozen honking parked cars in your wake. But that doesn’t mean that car alarms went away, or that you don’t still need to think about installing one in your vehicle. Alarms today have far more features than ever before, including the ability to lock and unlock your car from anywhere in the world through your phone.

If you want to protect your car or truck from break-ins and car thieves, a car alarm is still one of the best ways to do it. You can also take advantage of new features like proximity keyless entry and even push-button start, things that your car might not have had when they left the factory. Take a look at these 10 best car alarms and we bet you’ll find at least one that can make your car more secure and more convenient at the same time.

1. Editor's Pick CarBest Paging Car Alarm

CarBest Paging Car Alarm

This two-way alarm and remote start bundle gives you confirmation that your vehicle is locked right on your key fob. Not quite sure if your car is locked and don’t want the horn to chirp and wake up the neighbors? Look at the key fob screen to know for sure. Plus it’ll tell you if your remote engine start has turned the vehicle on, all from up to 3,000 feet from the vehicle.

This recommendation includes a 120 dB siren and you can add extra hood, trunk, door, and impact sensors to give you exactly the level of protection you want (or don’t want). It also comes with a second remote for your other set of keys, and while most systems only offer you one LCD remote, this one has two. Code hopping technology prevents against scanning and grabbing, while automatic window roll-up is a nice convenience feature with this system.

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2. EASYGUARD Car Alarm System with Remote Start

Easyguard EC003N-K

This is a more economical car alarm option, meaning it doesn’t have some of the most advanced features. But for simpler, older models of car, that’s likely not going to be an issue. This option offers remote engine start and a passive keyless entry (PKE) function, the latter letting you open and get in your car without taking the remote out of your pocket as well as automatically lock it when you move away.

The remote start can be set to keep your car cool in summer or warm in winter, and it also works with manual gearbox cars. An add-on push-button start module gives your older car a starter button (though it won’t work with a vehicle equipped with factory push start). The system has an emergency button and valet model, as well as remote trunk release, but it is not equipped with a shock warning system. It does have a siren to ensure anyone around knows your car has been tampered with. This system is a great way to add modern technology to older vehicles.

3. CARLOCK Real Time Tracker and Alert System

CarLock 2nd Gen

This isn’t exactly a normal connected alarm, but it has some benefits over conventional systems. This recommendation works by plugging into you OBDII port, a diagnostic port usually located under the dashboard. Using your vehicle’s onboard power and a GPS receiver and cellular transmitter, it can track your car and alert you if your engine has been started when it shouldn’t have been. So you can tell if your car has been stolen and then find it and recover it. It will also send an alert if the device has been disconnected from the vehicle or if your vehicle has been towed.

Worried about other drivers racing or stunt driving? It can detect that too. Finally, you can set up an emergency call in case of a collision and review route history to see if other drivers have been straying from their route. The alerts come to your phone, so you can even receive them from the other side of the world. Though from the other side of town would be more convenient. A great option for parents who have teenage drivers!

4. Prestige Remote Start and Security System

Prestige APS997Z

Bridging the gap between new and old technology, this alarm from Prestige offers a two-way transmitting key fob as well as the ability to work with your smartphone. The first key fob is a five-button, two-way transmitter that lets you confirm whatever action you’ve performed. It can start your vehicle remotely, and it can even count down how much time is left on your parking meter. The system has up to a 2,500-foot operating range. It also supports the Car Link feature that lets you access your remote start and alarm system from anywhere with cellular coverage.

The additional module lets you connect to 4G cellular networks and command your vehicle from around the world. That includes tracking your vehicle to make sure it is where you left it, or find out where it is if it has been towed or stolen. The remote system has a two- or four-hour automatic start mode that lets you keep the car warm in the winter or cool in the summer. It can also be used to control multiple vehicles in case you have the same system in both of your rides.

5. InstallGear Car Alarm

Installgear Car Alarm

Sometimes you just want an affordable and basic system to protect your car and make sure it stays where you left it. Like this option from InstallGear. It doesn’t have fancy LED key fobs that are two-way transmitters, but it does have a low price. It includes two remotes with four buttons each that can lock and unlock your vehicle as well as pop the trunk.

There are an alarm module and a siren, and a vibration sensor to detect if the vehicle’s been broken into. If your car doesn’t have power locks, actuators can be added to give you that feature, along with a trunk popper, which means you can add more functionality to your vehicle than it had when it left the factory. It doesn’t have advanced features like an immobilizer, door sensors, or remote start, but it does have the factor of being a fraction the cost of the more complicated systems. This is ideal for car owners who want basic protection for their vehicle, finding that some advanced features are needlessly complex and aren’t beneficial.

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6. EASYGUARD 2-Way Car Alarm System

EasyGuard EC204

Another option from EASYGUARD, this two-way alarm saves you from the worry of replacing batteries since the LED fobs are rechargeable. The remotes will work from up to 1,500 feet away from the vehicle, and also offer a passive keyless entry and locking feature. Walk up to the doors and they’ll unlock, walk away from them and they’ll automatically lock. The system has a two-stage shock sensor warning and records shocks as well, letting you know that someone was trying to get inside your vehicle.

With an extra window module, the alarm system can automatically roll up all of your windows in case of trouble, and there is also a panic mode button to help you in an emergency or help you find your parked car. A valet mode can temporarily disable the proximity keyless function, meaning that your car won’t automatically unlock if the valet walks by with your keys. Unlike our other EASYGUARD recommendation, this system does not have a remote engine start function.

7. Viper 1-Way Security System

Viper 3100V

This recommendation is a simple system from one of the oldest names in the business. The fobs might look like they’re from the 1990s, but that’s because it’s a time-tested system for keeping your vehicle safe. It starts with a two-stage shock sensor, the first delivering just a warning to would-be thieves—or the person who just bumped your car accidentally walking by.

The second triggers the alarm, sounding the loud siren and flashing lights. If that’s not enough to deter baddies, the Viper alarm also has the ability to detect the hood opening, the trunk opening, and even the doors being opened. Again, any of those trigger a siren and flashing lights. The system offers engine immobilization, so even if they get in, your vehicle can’t be easily driven away. The programmable remotes can control your door locks, or even roll down your power windows, and a fuel-filler sensor can be added. It’s a complete solution, albeit without all the bells and whistles found in 2-way systems.

8. Avital Security System

avital security system

This system is billed as top of the line, boasting a large LCD screen remote with two-way notification. Lock your vehicle and the remote confirms you locked it. Unlock it? Same. If the siren goes off because someone tries to gain entry to your vehicle, the system will let you know (within 1,500 feet) by beeping and vibrating so you can either check on your car or call authorities for assistance.

The same remote can control up to four vehicles as well, letting you manage your whole fleet. Remote start lets you turn your vehicle on and off from afar, letting you walk up to an interior that’s just the right temperature and defrosted windows in the cold. This system offers a limited lifetime warranty for long-term reliability. It also has fault-proof starter interrupt, nuisance protection, a warning chirp alert, and a dual-zone impact sensor to protect your vehicle’s interior.

9. BANVIE Car Alarm with Remote Engine Start

Banvie PKE Alarm

This system from BANVIE actually lets you choose from different versions in order to get a key fob that either you like best or that matches your factory key. It’s a basic alarm system that offers a shock sensor as well as sensors for the side doors. It has remote entry using the fob, but it also has proximity keyless entry to unlock and lock the car as you approach or walk away.

The remote start has a 15-minute timer to make sure your car doesn’t idle all day. This system also lets you add push-button start to your car, a feature found only on some newer and high-end vehicles that makes it quicker and easier to start your vehicle. It allows for remote trunk release and there is a panic button for assistance or to help find your parked vehicle in the lot. Although this is a 1-way alarm system, it does add the convenience of proximity keyless entry, push-button start, and remote start.

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10. Scytek Keyless Entry Car Alarm System

Scytek A15

Another basic system, this one doesn’t even include a siren. But since you can hook it up to your car horn instead, you can save yourself that extra expense. Or enjoy silent protection without worrying about making noises in the night. The system comes with a pair of five-button remotes to control various functions like lock and unlock as well as trunk open and a programmable button.

There is a built-in parking light flashing relay to let you know the car is locked, and the system comes with an output to make sure it won’t start if the alarm wasn’t disengaged. Add a module and you can link the system to your smartphone for an affordable two-way option. An LED notifies you that the system is armed and working properly, and there is a three-stage, anti car-jack feature to protect your vehicle in case of a robbery.

What is a Car Alarm?

best car alarms

Photo credit: Andrey Aboltin / Shutterstock.com

A car alarm is a device that can tell if your car was opened when it shouldn’t be. That can be from an impact and vibration sensor, physical switches on the door, hood, and trunk, or a combination of all. When an unauthorized entry is detected, a siren or horn sounds to let everyone around know that this car is not supposed to be open right now. The idea is that the attention notifies you and runs the would-be thief off. More modern alarm systems can add features such as remote start, power locks, and even proximity keyless entry.

How to Install a Car Alarm

While you can install most vehicle accessories yourself, a car alarm has a lot of connections to some complicated wiring in your car. Because of that, we’d suggest that you take your new alarm to a local installer. They’ll hook it up and have any accessories you might need. But if you insist on DIY, make sure you follow the provided wiring diagram closely. You’ll probably want the wiring for your car, too, and make sure you brush up on your soldering skills.

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How to Pick a Car Alarm

First off, look for the features you want. Not all units have two-way communication, immobilization, or proximity keyless entry. If you don’t need all of those extras, a more basic kit is probably idea, and if you do, stick with one of the more sophisticated units. You should also check the manufacturer’s list of compatible vehicles to make sure the alarm you pick will work with your vehicle without extra modifications or without needing more modules that add to the cost.


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