Curiosity has been the motivating factor that has led hobbyist to purchase a radio that can hear two-way communication. Initially, the radio scanners could only save a few channels, but they have evolved to store thousands of radio frequencies. Today it is also possible to get a radio receiver that captures exotic communication such as military aircraft as well as digital scanners.
Choosing the best handheld radio scanner will help you to keep up with all the latest news. Luckily, the available radio scanner will help you to not only be informed on the local news but also give you traffic and weather updates as well as reporting emergencies. To guide you in selecting the best Handheld Radio Scanners we have reviewed top rated models and given you some of the important considerations that help you in picking a model that fits your needs.
Comparison Table of Best Handheld Radio Scanners in 2018
Considerations to make when buying the best Handheld Radio Scanners
The following are some of the considerations to have at the back of your mind while selecting the best handheld radios.
The number of the changes available in a radio scanner will determine the number of transmissions you can listen to. The basic models have the ability to store between 20-40 channels. The number of channels you would want to listen to determines your choice of the scanner. If you would want to listen t a few channels, a basic choice is great. However, if you would want to change between a high number of transmission, you should go for models with a high number.
- Search mode
This is one of the important features that you should ensure that your receivers have. This feature allows you to uncover unpublished frequencies.
- Trunk tracking
If you find that you are unable to pick up the certain frequency in your region may be because the system is using a trunked radio station. For you to tap into this system, you need a scanner with trunked tracking.
- Scanning speed
A scanner with a high scanning speed will allow you access the channels fast. Besides, you should also select a model with mode selection as it a helps you to effectively determine the right mode for a given frequency.
- PC control
A radio scanner that has computer controls enables you to partially or fully operate from your desktop computer. This is great, especially when downloading additional frequency from databases.
Top 10 Best Handheld Radio Scanners Reviews
Now, let us look at some of the top-rated radio scanners on the market. Take your time to look and compare the features that come with the following top ten best handheld radio scanners.
- 1. Uniden BCD436HP Digital Handheld Scanner HomePatrol Series
- 2. Whistler WS1040 Digital Scanner Radio
- 3. Uniden BC75XLT Public Safety Scanner -300 channels
- 4. Whistler WS1010 Handheld Scanner Analog
- 5. Uniden BCD325P2 Trunk Tracker V Scanner
- 6. Uniden BCD396XT Tracker IV Digital Police Scanner
- 7. Uniden BCD396T Trunk Tracker IV APCO Handheld Scanner
- 8. BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio
- 9. BaoFeng BF-F8HP Dual Band 2-Way Radio
- 10. Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB-Way Radio
1. Uniden BCD436HP Digital Handheld Scanner HomePatrol Series
Uniden BCD436HP is one of the first scanners to include the Home patrol. This feature makes it convenient and easy to use. The scanner has various features that make it easy to use. Some of the feature included in this unit includes Close Call RF Capture feature, Extra-large Display, Radio System Analysis, GPS connectivity, as well as Discover modes.
Uniden is, without doubt, the leader when it comes to handheld scanner. You will love the functionality that comes with these digital gadgets, giving you all the relevant you need.
- Dynamic memory
This gadget has included the enhanced dynamic memory that has incorporated location-based scanning.
- S.A.M.E weather alert
This is an impressive feature for someone who is planning to travel or take part in outdoor water activities. It has the USA and Canada radio database.
- Easy to operate
We love the large display and easy to use controls that allow you monitor everything you need in one compact handheld gadget.
- 4 GB internal memory
- S.A.M.E alert
- Eight hours operation
- A bit expensive
2. Whistler WS1040 Digital Scanner Radio
A Handheld Digital Scanner Radio is an indispensable traveling and camping gear. This gadget will give you alert of weather and should you come across any trouble request for heal easily. This unit has a menu driven programming that provides you with all the necessary help whenever you need it.
Whistler brand has constantly given travelers, campers, and outdoor lover with all necessary tools to make their experience better. The products from this company are not only affordable but feature advanced technology for accuracy.
- SkyWarn Storm spotter
This functionality has instant access to frequencies that are used by storm spotter networks.
- Freeform memory organization
Another impressive feature is the free-form memory organization that allocates memory dynamically and efficiently.
- Digital AGC
Moreover, this unit boasts of The Digital AGC that compensates for low user audio levels instantly
- Compact and lightweight design
- Ergonomic design and large display
- List functionality allows you to arrange objects according to your preference.
- A bit heavy
3. Uniden BC75XLT Public Safety Scanner -300 channels
This is an affordable safety scanner that is equipped with programmed service search as well as 300 channels. This unit is one of the user-friendly models that combine advanced technology and low price making it a perfect choice for everyone.
Uniden offers consumers with radio scanner that has unrivaled performance. Their model is equipped with the narrow escape RF capture Technology and narrowband compatibility.
- 300 channels
With this scanner, you can program up to 300 channels into the memory of the scanner. This makes it scan transmission on three stored channels.
- Close call RF capture technology
This function detects and tune to all the local channels even when you have not programmed those channels.
With more than three hundred channels, this is a versatile gadget especially when you consider the price.
- Affordable, making it a great choice for anyone
- Access all the local channels
- Programmable with 300 channels
- The casing is not durable
4. Whistler WS1010 Handheld Scanner Analog
Easy to use, compact, and versatile, this handheld scanner from Whistlers offers you with a simple way of monitoring various channels including the fire and police channels, marine, NOAA weather transmission, air bands among others. The unit also comes with lockout function that enables it to skip over specified channels when scanning.
Whistler bran manufactures both analog and digital handheld scanners, which incorporate numerous features that are hard to find in the leading brands. The company has been in existence for years and is a popular choice amongst budget-conscious buyers.
- PC programmable
This unit enables users to back up their data and update their database and programs for the scanner from a PC.
- Priority channel
This scanner also allows the scanner to check in the channel after every two seconds while scanning. This ensures you will never miss important updates.
- Easy Tune
The easy tuning enables you to find some of the unlisted frequencies starting from a specified range. Besides the unit has a 200-channel memory.
- Portable design
- Plenty of memory to store all your favorite frequencies
- PC programmable
- Analogue scanner
5. Uniden BCD325P2 Trunk Tracker V Scanner
It always a good idea to purchase something built by a reputable company especially if you are a beginner. This portable scanner is packed with impressive features for enhanced performance and efficiency. It is programmed with over five thousand channels as well as a whopping 25,000 dynamically allocated channels.
It’s hard to dispute the vital role the Uniden brand has played to revolutionized what was once called the UHV scanners to something that can access various channels effortlessly giving you all the important information regarding weather, accidents, traffic, as well as ability to request for help when in danger.
- GPS compatibility
Well, this GPS compatible scanner makes it easy for the search team to offer the needed help. Besides this technology confines the search into a specific area giving you the relevant information.
- Advanced dynamic memory system
With a capacity of more than 25,000 dynamically allocated channels, it is hard to miss any important update you may need.
- Close call RF capture technology
This is another great addition that automatically tunes to all signals from transmitters that is close to you.
- GPS compatibility
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Large backlit display
6. Uniden BCD396XT Tracker IV Digital Police Scanner
Despite the fact that this unit comes with a traditional design, this unit offers you with a better signal range than other portable models available today. This unit will enable you to monitor various channels including the police and fire signals, ham radio stations, weather transmissions and more.
Uniden has been rated as the best brand that manufactures digital police scanners. The company prioritizes user’s needs and has always been at the forefront of manufacturing high-quality products that meet your needs perfectly.
- Stores more than 25,000 channels
This is one of the versatile handheld scanners with the ability to store more than 25,000 conventional channels including the trunked channels as well as trunked system frequencies.
- GPS compatible
This is a nice addition allows the scanner to select and scan the nearby channels automatically.
- Close Call RF capture
This technology also allows it to detect and tunes to all the near transmission without any programming needed.
- Stores many conventional channels
- Compatible with GPS
- Tunes to nearby transmissions automatically
- Traditional design
7. Uniden BCD396T Trunk Tracker IV APCO Handheld Scanner
This is yet another awesome handheld scanner from Uniden, which is identical to the other pricey models but still offers you with all the basic functionalities you need. This unit boasts 5500 dynamically allocate channels of which 3500 are typical. It has a sturdy and lightweight design, making it easy to carry along.
Uniden was established in the year 1966 and became a well-known brand in the 70s for manufacturing millions of CB radios. Today the company offers a wide range of electronic products including cordless phones, GPS, transceivers radios as well as scanning receivers.
- High-quality construction
This unit is well constructed to enhance performance and durability. Its high construction has enabled its outstanding performance as well as various analog trunking including the Motorola analog as well as APCo25 trunking.
- Impressive features
Some of the advanced features included in this model include the Extended Quick Keys Service Search, Data Skip, Alpha Tagging, Repeater Reverse, and Weather Search.
- PC programming
This brings you added convenience when it comes to backing up of your data.
- Sturdy construction
- Easy to use
- Wide range of channel accessibility
- Complaints of some pre-programmed frequencies missing
8. BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio
This is a compact handheld transceiver that offers four watts in the frequency range of 136-174 MHz and 400-480 MHz besides having a compact design, this is an economical HT that come with special VHF receiver that includes a regular FM broadcast.
One thing that is synonymous with all the handheld scanners from BaoFeng is that they are affordable. Although they are affordable, they have included all the features in top brands, which are expensive.
- Lion battery
The lion battery offers you with unwavering power for many hours. This enables you to use the unit for longer without having to worry about recharging.
This unit is not only built for scanning the local channels, but it also comes with handy features that are quite useful in case of emergencies. This includes built-in flashlight among others.
- Programmable Amateur Radio
Though it is a basic model, it will offer you with all the relevant information you need when traveling, camping or taking part in water-related outdoor activities.
- Very affordable
- All essential features included
- Great choice for beginners
- Not ideal for advanced users
9. BaoFeng BF-F8HP Dual Band 2-Way Radio
This compact dual-band two-way radio offers you with user-friendly features at a low price. It is a great device to keep track of what is happening in your area. The unit also enables you to be updated in case of an emergency. Similar to other products from this manufacturer, this unit maintains full cross accessory compatibility with all the other previous UV-5R accessories.
The BaoFeng is another brand that specializes in manufacturing radio scanner with the aim of providing all the necessary information on weather and ability to contact relevant bodies in case of emergencies. They produce compact and easy to carry devices.
- Updated version
This handheld radio is an improved version of the UV-5R. It comes with more transmission power, which is based on a new generation chipset together with new concierge service.
- 30 percent more battery power
This unit has a new improved battery that offers the user with a long lasting radio experience even when you are using high power.
- Easy to operate
Moreover, this unit has a more interactive user interface that allows for customization and a simple way to access all the information.
- Improved battery
- Better functionality than the predecessor
- Compatible with accessories from other products from this manufacturer
- Limited channels
10. Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB-Way Radio
Equipping you with this CB radio when traveling is essential. This gadget will not be an invaluable tool for emergencies but also allow you to keep up on road condition. This unit has included all you need to get started in a hurry. This includes a battery pack and a cigarette lighter.
Midland radio brand was established in early 1960 with the aim of providing customers with consumer products on weather/hazard alerts radios, marine radios, GMRS two-way radio as well as a Bluetooth intercom system. Unlike other brands in the market, the company has maintained low prices on its items besides its growing popularity.
- 40 channel CB radio
This unit has 40 separate communication channels that offer you with maximum CB communication rage. The gadget will check all the active channels automatically and stop on any active channel for five seconds.
- Vehicle power port or AAA batteries
While inside the vehicle, you can use the car power port to power the gadget. Additionally, for portability, it comes with AAA batteries allowing you to use it outside the car.
- Emergency/ weather channel convenience
Additionally, this gadget has instant access to NOAA weather radio for weather updated and immediate access to channel nine.
- Large backlit LCD that’s easy to read
- Access weather information
- Have AAA batteries for portability
- Scans and stores only 40 channels
As you can see, there are many Handheld Radio Scanners in the market today with different capabilities and features. With these variations regarding functionality and price, it is easy to make an informed decision when it comes to what you need. If you love traveling, purchasing any of the listed products is important. Before you can settle on the best model for you, go through our guide and look at all the products listed, compare the features and select the gadget that meets your needs. Best of luck!