Prevent Auto Theft
While vehicle thefts in the USA haven’t managed to get close to the 2008 figure, they’ve been increasing year-over-year ever since 2014. With almost 800,000 vehicles stolen every 365 days – and that’s just the successful attempts that were reported – it’s important your vehicle is as secure as possible.
Theft prevention is a multifaceted endeavor and can be approached from many angles. Stock car locks haven’t been effective at stopping thieves since – well, ever, really. You can upgrade your car with third party locks, but nothing is entirely theft-proof. For thieves, time is of the essence since they don’t want to get caught, and a perfect deterrent is drawing attention to their attempt – that’s where car alarms come into the picture.
Car alarms will detect when someone is trying to force their way into your vehicle and respond with an extremely loud noise. Not only will that make concentration difficult, but it will also attract the attention of anyone nearby, possibly including you. If concerned citizens see a theft attempt in progress, chances are they’ll call the law enforcement to apprehend the would-be thief.
However, there is a lot more to car alarms than a siren that activates when your vehicle is broken into. Many car alarms are baked into other theft prevention devices by default, such as more secure locks, and these days they come with various additional features. These include adjustable sensors, anti-carjacking features, keyless entry, additional slots to wire automatic starting and trunk opening to the included remote, and more.
When trying to decide which car alarm would be best for you, you need to consider several factors. When it comes to security, quality is paramount, so anything with many poor customer testimonials needs to be avoided. You also need to consider its price in relation to the features it provides – do the bonuses justify the price? Extras like anti-carjacking and ignition prevention are also particularly useful.
We’ve collected five of the best car alarms available today. Read on to make your decision today!
Quick Look: Top 5 Car Alarms
|1||Crimestopper SP-502||• LCD display remote |
• Shock detector and ignition killer
|• Multifunctional remote|
• Several bonus features
|2||Avital 3100LX||• Bitwriter programmable|
• Shock detector and ignition killer
|• No siren|
|3||Viper 3400V||• Six tone siren|
• Shock detector
|• Panic Mode|
• Six tone siren
|• No ignition kill
|4||Pyle Car Alarm Security System||• 120db siren|
• Shock sensor and ignition killer
|• Auxiliary ports|
|• Reliability concerns
• No hood/trunk opening
|5||InstallGear Car Alarm Security||• Shock Sensor|
• Indicator light
|• Indicator light|
|• Limited features
• Difficult wiring
The Avital 3100LX is one of the more simple and cheaper models that can be installed in a pinch, but lacks some features in accordance with its lower price point. The package includes the main alarm unit, two remotes and all the necessary wires that you’ll need to hook it up to your car. The unit is bitwriter programmable.
The Avital 3100LX features an extra layer of security called “Clone-Safe Code-Hopping” which ensures that only the remotes paired with the alarm can be used to access it. Some devices would allow thieves to clone the security code used by your remote in order to access the alarm without actually having it with them, but the units cycle the codes periodically, so a cloned code would only work for a short time, ensuring that the actual remote is the only way to get into the car.
You might have noticed that the 3100LX doesn’t come with an additional siren – this is one of the reasons why it’s cheaper than most other car alarms on the market. You hook the unit up to your car’s horn, which will then be activated by it if unauthorized entry attempts are detected.
On the one side, this might seem like a drawback since the alarm lacks a feature others don’t, however there is a tendency for people to ignore car alarms in neighborhoods where thefts are common, but we all instinctively pay attention to horns.
The 3100LX is also equipped with a Failsafe starter kill, which adds another layer of protection. Even if the thieves manage to access your car, they won’t be able to start the engine – not even with Hollywood-tier hotwiring skills.
False alarms will quickly make you lose any goodwill you have with the neighbors, which is why the Avital 3100LX has a built-in shock sensor intended to prevent them. This way stronger storms or other possible triggers will be ignored by the system, ensuring that the alarm truly only activates when a crook is trying to get in.
The 3-channel keyless entry system allows you to disengage the lock without having to insert anything into anything else, eliminating any fumbling in the dark. The remotes also allow you to pop the trunk if need be. The unit can be wired into your dome light, but a separate relay is required.
The Avital 3100LX is a great quick-fix if you want a basic car alarm, as well as a decent budget choice if you don’t care about bells and whistles. While we do recommend this model, it doesn’t hit the bar for our #1 placement since other models pack more of a punch.
- Keyless entry and AUX functions
- Fault-proof starter interrupt - Keep your car where you parked it with this layer of protection...
- Warn-Away (low-volume, brief warning signal for questionable threats)
Jumping to the other end of the spectrum gives us the Crimestopper SP-502, a pricier product, but one that has several bonuses to boot. The package includes the main unit, a siren, a transmitter antenna, one LCD-remote a spare remote with no screen, and a charger for the remotes. You’ll also find all the necessary hardware for installation.
The LCD remote has a range of 3000 feet, while the screenless remote has a range of 2000 feet.
The feature that sets the SP-502 apart from the competition – and justifies its higher price – is the special multifunctional remote. Outfitted with an LCD screen, the remote allows you to monitor the status of your vehicle, start it remotely, pop the hood or trunk and get into your vehicle without keys.
However, the main benefit is the small readout that lets you monitor the status of the vehicle in real time, even during an attempted theft, where the device will display which part of the vehicle the thief is trying to access.
The second, spare remote doesn’t have the LCD screen, but including two would push the price up too far. This model features all the additional security measures we’d expect a modern car alarm to have – shock detectors and a start killer. These help prevent false alarms and unauthorized ignitions.
With the Crimestopper SP-502, you can sync up two cars to the same remote, so long as they both use the SP-502 unit. While having to use two separate remotes with two cars is certainly an enviable “problem” to have, this adds another layer of convenience nonetheless.
Additional features include a priority unlock function, a dedicated siren, and compatibility with the manufacturer’s MS-1 tracking system, which allows you to track the vehicle’s location and access the features of the LCD remote at greater range, using a PC or smartphone if you have a subscription.
Why It’s Our #1 Choice
The Crimestopper SP-502 might cost more than most other car alarms, but the additional features certainly justify the price hike. After all, you tend to buy car alarms to last, so a higher investment for something more secure is definitely worth it. With the LCD remote and extra security, the SP-502 is definitely a worthy investment.
While the Crimestopper SP-502 is a bigger investment, it’s one that pays off. With several layers of security, you can rest easy that your car won’t be going anywhere without you at the wheel.
- (1) 2-way LCD transmitter with 3000ft of range
- (1) 5-button companion transmitter with 2000ft of range
- Remote start built-in
- Trunk release: disarm with trunk release
- Priority unlock Feature
The Viper 3400V brings us back to a price point in the same ballpark as the Avital 3100LX, though it’s a little higher due to the inclusion of a siren. Inside the package, you’ll find the main unit, two 3-channel 4-button remotes, a six tone siren and all the hardware required for installation.
The Viper 3400V features a panic mode function that lets you trigger the alarm at will using the remote, allowing you to draw attention to you and your vehicle in cases of emergency. If you feel unsafe, have some sort of medical issue, or for other pressing matters, you can use this as a call for help.
Equipped with the DoubleGuard shock sensor, the Viper 3400V will detect false alarms and in the case of soft jolts it will let off a quiet warning chirp. This way, if it’s a storm knocking your car, the alarm won’t bother anyone. However if it’s a thief testing the waters they’ll know an alarm is in place – something the blue indicator light also warns them of. Any forceful entry will trigger the full alarm.
The included six-tone siren deviates between various volumes contextually, such as letting off a soft chirp when a smaller shock is detected as opposed to a full blare – which it unleashes upon an actual theft attempt. The lack of a starter kill is disappointing, however.
The Viper 3400V is a functional car alarm that performs well enough, but when compared to most of the other models on the current market, it falls short in a number of regards. The lack of an ignition kill feature, in particular, makes us unsure of this model.
- 3-Channel 1-way Security System with Keyless Entry 4-Button remotes. Additional options include...
- FailSafe starter kill.
- Anti-carjacking & Panic Alarm Feature
- Revenger six-tone soft-chirp siren and parking light alarm response.
- Bright blue status LED warns thieves and gives you info about the system
Pyle Car Alarm Security System
The Pyle Car Alarm Security System is another model inhabiting the lower price category, while still retaining many useful features. The package includes the two main modules, the siren, a pair of 4 button remotes and all the wires and cables needed for installation.
The Pyle Car Alarm Security System features two auxiliary ports that let you hook additional features to the main unit, expanding the capabilities of your remotes even though the car alarm itself has a narrower feature set due to its price. This includes things like remote starting, opening the hood or truck or activating automatic windows.
Equipped with an ignition lock and shock sensors, the Pyle Car Alarm Security System joins its peers in having multiple layers of security with a lower risk of false alarms. This model also has a panic mode feature that can be activated with the remote, as well as a valet mode that will temporarily disable the alarm.
The included two-tone siren can reach 120 decibels at maximum volume, but thanks to the shock sensor, it also lets off softer warning chirps when a violent entry isn’t detected. An override switch can be accessed to unlock your vehicle in case you lose your remotes, preventing the security system from inadvertently working against you.
The Pyle Car Alarm Security System leaves many of its similarly-priced counterparts behind with a nice selection of features in spite of the low cost, however the lack of a remote start feature prevents it from outperforming our top pick.
- CAR ALARM: Alert yourself and scare off would be car burglars with the 120dB two tone siren and...
- 2 REMOTE TRANSMITTERS: Pyle car security system has two remote transmitters with status indicator...
- IGNITION LOCKS: Pyle security system features ignition locking that automatically locks the doors 5...
- 2 AUXILIARY OUTPUTS: This auxiliary output can be used to activate other accessories in your vehicle...
- VALET OR OVERRIDE SWITCH: In the event that the transmitter ends up lost or neglects to work, the...
InstallGear Car Alarm Security
A budget alternative to the Pyle and Avital models, the InstallGear Car Alarm Security gives us yet another set of features, but not all – and you can take your pick which of the three fit your personal needs if you don’t want to pay for a more expensive model.
Included in the package is the main unit, the siren, a shock sensor unit, a pair of remotes and all the necessary hardware.
With security, prevention is the best discipline, and since the whole point of alarms is to scare thieves off, intimidating them before the siren goes off is even better. The InstallGear Car Alarm Security unit has a very visible blue indicator light telling everyone who gets near your car that there is an active alarm system inside.
The InstallGear Car Alarm Security features a dedicated siren and a shock sensor to prevent any false alarms (and to ward off any thief not intimidated by the warning light). Facilitating keyless entry, this model also allows you to wire it into your trunk, allowing you to pop it using the included remotes.
Keep in mind that wiring this model is the trickiest of the lot, as it isn’t the most modern solution and the actuator wiring, in particular, is difficult – we definitely recommend watching tutorial videos first.
The InstallGear Car Alarm Security features the fewest features among the models we’ve reviewed, meaning it can’t possibly be our top pick, but for a car alarm at this price point it’s still a capable and worthy model to consider if you don’t have a lot of cash to spare on this.
- Two 4-Button Remotes
- Car Alarm
- Keyless Entry
- LED Indicator Light
- Trunk Pop
Security, as we’ve said many times, is something not worth skimping on. There are plenty of things you can save some money on, but when you’re looking to buy a device that will likely last you years and years, and is designed to protect an even larger investment from theft, it’s time to dig into that wallet. Protecting your vehicle adequately is worth putting off your hobbies for a few weeks in exchange for buying a top-of-the-line car alarm.