Back to top

2018 Best Car Alarm Systems Buyers Guide

Written by: Rebecca Edwards  |   Updated: March 8, 2018

If you want to ensure your car’s security, we’ve tracked down the best eight car alarms on the market. Thanks to huge advancements in technology, you can choose a car alarm with a number of convenient perks—from smartphone compatibility to remote start functions. Compare our top car alarm security systems to determine which alarm will keep your car out of thieves’ hands.

Best Car Alarms of 2018

Product
Pros
Cons
Where to find it
Viper 3106V Car Alarm Viper 3106V Car Alarm Read Review
  • Pros
  • Anti-carjacking panic alarm
  • Shock sensors
  • Multiple tones
  • Cons
  • Professional installation recommended
  • Faulty remote controls
Avital 3100LX Keyless Entry Car Alarm Avital 3100LX Keyless Entry Car Alarm Read Review
  • Pros
  • Car finder button
  • DIY installation
  • Great price
  • Cons
  • Drains battery
  • No siren
Python 5706P Responder Python 5706P Responder Read Review
  • Pros
  • Smart Start compatible
  • Real-time security alerts
  • Long battery life
  • Cons
  • Higher price
  • Limited range without upgrade
  • Professional installation recommended
Avital 5303L Security Remote Start System Avital 5303L Security Remote Start System Read Review
  • Pros
  • Visual remote
  • Encrypted key fob
  • Shock sensors
  • Cons
  • No panic button
  • Not for use with manual transmission
Pyle PWD701 Remote Door Lock Vehicle Security System Pyle PWD701 Remote Door Lock Vehicle Security System Read Review
  • Pros
  • Great price
  • Remote chirp
  • Lots of add-ons available
  • Cons
  • No ignition kill switch
  • Glitchy parking light function
Crimestopper SP-302 Alarm Crimestopper SP-302 Alarm Read Review
  • Pros
  • Large range
  • Carjack protection
  • Cons
  • Faulty arm and disarm function
  • Poor instructions
Viper 4105V Remote Start System Viper 4105V Remote Start System Read Review
  • Pros
  • Panic mode
  • Smartphone compatible
  • Cons
  • Limited range
  • Upgrade required for 2-way alerts
CarLock Advanced Real-Time Car Tracker and Alert System CarLock Advanced Real-Time Car Tracker and Alert System Read Review
  • Pros
  • Virtual mechanic
  • Mobile app
  • GPS tracking
  • Cons
  • Monthly subscription
  • No siren

Things to Consider in a Car Alarm System

Car alarms are one of the best ways to foil a break-in or car theft. But sirens blaring in parking lots or across the street have made us almost immune to the sound. That’s why you need a car security system that delivers more than a sonic blast. Here are the top things you need to keep in mind when deciding on the best car alarm system for you.

Features

Shock sensors, carjack protection, encrypted transmission, and mobile apps are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to car alarm features. It’s easy to get intimidated by all the technical jargon, so we’ve broken down the most common car security features so you can decide which ones meet your needs.

Shock Sensors

Most advanced car alarm systems will feature these motion sensors. Whenever your car is jostled or hit, the shock sensor detects the impact and sends out an alert. If the system has a siren, the alert will trigger the alarm. Systems with mobile alerts will let you know that something’s going on.

Carjack Protection

This anti-theft feature might be an extra option you can add to your car alarm. Carjack protection combines lights, chirping alarms, and ignition kill switches. Some alarm systems aim to punish the carjacker with an extra-loud, high-pitched siren that may force them to abandon the vehicle.

Two-Way Remotes

A two-way remote lets you control your car and receive input about your car’s condition. Most basic car alarms only include a one-way remote that lets you lock and unlock the doors and arm or disarm the alarm. With a two-way remote, you’ll receive alerts if someone attempts to break into or start your car.

Encrypted Transmission

Not all car thieves use a crowbar or slim jim to get into your car. Tech-savvy thieves know how to hack the signal from your key fob and unlock your car remotely. That’s why smart car alarm companies are adding encryption to their wireless car alarms. If you like the convenience of remote entry, you might want to look for a vehicle security system that keeps hackers out of your car.

Mobile Apps

It’s no surprise that along with keyless cars comes car security you can control from your smartphone. Leading vehicle security companies like Viper are using cloud technology to help put remote control and monitoring for your car in the palm of your hand. Mobile apps let you check in on your car and receive email and text alerts, and best of all, you don’t have to carry around an extra remote or key fob.

Installation

Installing a car alarm system involves a lot of wires and fiddling around with your car’s electrical system. Because it can be complicated for the average person, we recommend professional installation. But this can raise the overall price of a car alarm by several hundred dollars. If you’re knowledgeable and want to attempt DIY installation, you’re not alone. Many handy car alarm owners have successfully installed their alarm system, but beware that DIY installation might impact any warranty on the equipment.

Best Car Alarm Systems

Viper 3106V Car Alarm

Viper 3106V Car Alarm

This Viper car alarm is the perfect entry-level security system for your car. Loaded with the latest vehicle security tech, the Viper 3106V remains simple to operate. On top of its safety features, you also have the option to add the convenience of keyless entry.

Pros
  • Anti-Carjacking Panic Alarm
    This Viper alarm system includes a panic button and ignition kill feature that ensure a thief won’t get far with your vehicle.
  • Shock Sensors
    The shock sensors use warning chirps if they detect a minor bump or jostle and unleash the full alarm when more serious impact is detected.
  • Multiple Tones
    The Viper 3106V siren has six different tone and chirp options as well as a parking light alarm response.
Cons
  • Professional Installation Recommended
    Installation is complicated, and the instructions provided are minimal. Most customers recommend having this Viper alarm system installed by professionals, so keep that in mind when calculating your overall investment.
  • Faulty Remote Controls
    Many customers had to replace or repair the remotes after minimal use.
Avital 3100LX Keyless Entry Car Alarm

Avital 3100LX Keyless Entry Car Alarm

This is one of the most affordable ways to improve your vehicle’s security. It comes with most of the bells and whistles you expect for a fraction of the price.

Pros
  • Car Finder Button
    You’ll never have to worry about finding your car again—just hit the “panic” button to flash your car’s lights and beep the horn.
  • DIY Installation
    Most customers find the Avital 3100LX simple enough to install on their own.
  • Great Price
    Coming in at just over $30, this is one of the best car security deals out there.
Cons
  • Drains Battery
    Be warned that if you install this car alarm system on a car that you don’t drive regularly, it will drain the battery.
  • No Siren
    The alarm triggers the car’s horn, but there is no separate siren to ward off thieves.
Python 5706P Responder

Python 5706P Responder

Enjoy real-time security alerts and an operational range of up to one mile. This car alarm does its job of scaring off intruders with a six-tone siren, starter kill switch, and more.

Pros
  • Smart Start Compatible
    You can upgrade your car alarm system with the Smart Start add-on. This lets you connect the alarm to your mobile phone so you can control your vehicle security system from anywhere.
  • Real-Time Security Alerts
    Get up-to-the-minute notifications if someone tampers with the doors or windows or if the alarm is tripped.
  • Long Battery Life
    The Python 5706P boasts a long-lasting battery in its advanced remotes. Customers enjoy going two to three months between charges.
Cons
  • Higher Price
    The long range and extensive features of this vehicle alarm come with a hefty price tag—approaching $200, not including installation.
  • Limited Range without Upgrade
    Unless you upgrade, you’ll only be able to communicate with your car alarm within a one-mile radius.
  • Professional Installation Recommended
    This Python car alarm system takes a lot of know-how to install properly, so we recommend using professional installers.
Avital 5303L Security Remote Start System

Avital 5303L Security Remote Start System

This product boasts all the functions you expect from a premium car alarm system, including a shock sensor that detects any tampering and remote key entry. During a break-in or attempted break-in, the remote will vibrate and send visual confirmations to alert you.

Pros
  • Visual Remote
    It’s easy to check on the status of your car’s security system with the visual remote that displays warning icons if something is unlocked or if your car is tampered with.
  • Encrypted Key Fob
    Hackers won’t be able to disarm or unlock your car because the key fob uses a digitally encoded radio frequency that makes it impossible for anyone but you to open your vehicle.
  • Shock Sensors
    The Avital 5303L uses dual-zone shock sensors to reduce false alarms from incidental bumps that may happen in a parking lot.
Cons
  • No Panic Button
    With this alarm system, you’re relying completely on the sensors to alert you of a problem and scare off would-be thieves.
  • Not for Use with Manual Transmission
    The Avital 5303L is designed to be used with automatic transmissions and requires major modification to work with a stick shift.
Pyle PWD701 Remote Door Lock Vehicle Security System

Pyle PWD701 Remote Door Lock Vehicle Security System

This Pyle vehicle security system delivers top notch features and performance at a bargain price. Enjoy a wireless car alarm, anti-carjack functions, and more without breaking the bank.

Pros
  • Great Price
    Available for under $40, the Pyle PWD701 fits nearly every budget.
  • Remote Chirp
    When you activate the remote chirp function, your car alarm system turns into a car finder, which can be a lifesaver in a crowded garage.
  • Lots of Add-Ons Available
    One of the best things about this car alarm system is how customizable it is—you can add everything from remote start to remote window control.
Cons
  • No Ignition Kill Switch
    Out of the box, this system doesn’t include an ignition kill switch. If that’s a feature you want, you need to add it on and make sure it gets activated during installation.
  • Glitchy Parking Light Function
    This system comes with flashing parking lights to help warn off car thieves, but the function has a mind of its own—going on and off at random.
Crimestopper SP-302 Alarm

Crimestopper SP-302 Alarm

Crimestopper’s deluxe universal security system offers a host of great features, from sophisticated sensors to a two-way communication range of up to 3,000 feet.

Pros
  • Large Range
    The system comes with two remotes. The main two-way remote has a range of 3,000 feet and the one-way companion remote works within 2,000 feet of your car.
  • Carjack Protection
    You can choose between active or passive carjack protection. The passive mode offers the best protection—it arms the whole alarm system if a carjacker opens a door while the car is running. If they turn off the ignition the alarms will stop, but they won’t be able to restart the car.
Cons
  • Faulty Arm and Disarm Function
    Customers have had issues with the system arming and disarming itself. Some attribute it to remotes that are easily triggered, so they warn against putting them in a purse or pocket.
  • Poor Instructions
    The installation instructions that come with the alarm system are inadequate and the diagrams are incorrect.
Viper 4105V Remote Start System

Viper 4105V Remote Start System

This value offering from Viper delivers sophisticated car security without all the costly extras. You can trigger alarms and immobilize your vehicle at the push of a button, but this affordable system doesn’t provide on-screen alerts and works only within a quarter-mile of your car.

Pros
  • Panic Mode
    The panic mode offers extra personal security. You can activate it to scare off potential car thieves, but it can also be used as a personal panic alarm if you run into a shady character in a parking garage or on a lonely road.
  • Smartphone Compatible
    If you want to monitor and control your car alarm with your smartphone, it’s easy to upgrade to Viper’s Smart Start module.
Cons
  • Limited Range
    This remote start system only gives you control within 1,500 feet of your car, which is just over a quarter of a mile.
  • Upgrade Required for 2-Way Alerts
    You won’t receive alerts if someone tampers with your car unless you upgrade this Viper alarm system.
CarLock Advanced Real-Time Car Tracker and Alert System

CarLock Advanced Real-Time Car Tracker and Alert System

Avoid tricky wires and professional installation with this car tracking device that doubles as a security system. You can track your car in real time and get instant alerts of suspicious behavior, plus tons of extras that other car alarm systems don’t offer.

Pros
  • Virtual Mechanic
    Never miss an oil change or end up with a dead battery again. This system monitors the health of your car and warns you if the battery is running low or if it’s time for a tune-up.
  • Mobile App
    This system is designed for use with your smartphone, so there’s no upgrade required. Once installed, you have instant remote tracking through your phone, tablet, or computer.
  • GPS tracking
    CarLock is like “GPS on steroids.” You’ll get route history tracking as well as data about sharp acceleration, hard braking, and sharp cornering. If you have a teenage driver in the house, this feature can help them hone their skills with a monthly safety score that highlights where they can improve.
Cons
  • Monthly Subscription
    You can’t use CarLock without a monthly subscription. But plans are pretty affordable, starting around $10 a month.
  • No Siren
    This system doesn’t come with a car alarm siren, so if you want that extra level of security, CarLock won’t fit the bill.

Selecting the best car alarm system for your vehicles is an important decision. Compare the pros and cons of each of these top aftermarket car alarms to learn about the best features, and if you want even more security, check out our picks for the best steering wheel locks and best GPS vehicle trackers.

Find Your Perfect Home Security System