On this page, we are going to reveal what we believe to be the best way to get a police scanner. We’ll also share our own recommendation of a police scanner that gives you the most bang for your buck. Before we introduce our police scanner “champion”, I want to quickly clear up a common misconception surrounding the legality of police scanners.
We’ve received a number of emails from folks wondering how does one even get a police scanner? It seems that some are under the impression that picking up one is like some shady back-alley deal. It is understandable to think that owning a police scanner might be illegal, but we’re here to assure you they’re not. When used within the United States, they are absolutlely legal, so rest assured.
Instructions On How to Get a Police Scanner
First and foremost, we want to point out that you should only purchase a police radio scanner from reputable retailers in the United States. There are a couple of reasons for this. The most important are:
- It will come equipped with channel lists for the US, which will make finding the right channel a breeze.
- It is licensed by the FCC which, means that you will not be able to listen in on any restricted channels.
If you want the best place to buy a police scanner, you should always be using Amazon. They have some of the best prices on radio scanners in the country and have one of the largest ranges. We recommend the Whistler TRX-2, simply because it is the best police radio scanner on the market. However, if you do fancy different, the Amazon range is so broad that you will find dozens of options that are going to be perfect for you. Just read through Amazon user reviews (or better yet, our reviews) to know what each device brings to the table.
That said, some people will head on over to their local radio equipment store. If you are looking for advice, this is the best move for you. However, you should be aware that the radios available would not be that useful if you want to do something a bit more complicated. Moreover, their prices are higher compared to the ones sold in Amazon.
Which Police Scanner Do You Recommend?
If you read the various reviews on this website, you will find that there is one radio scanner that we consistently suggest. It is the Whistler TRX-2. Now, we know it is not cheap. Well, if you are new to the hobby. However, once we churn out the various features this radio scanner boasts, you will know you are set for life once you buy this.
There are no complicated menus when you use the Whistler TRX-2. Here is the process of setting it up for the first time:
- Plug the antenna into the back of the radio
- Power the radio
- Turn the radio on
- Enter your zip code
- Hit the scan button
Honestly, that is all there is to it. A child could operate this police radio scanner; it is that simple to use. Although, we wouldn’t recommend letting your children get their hands on this. Police broadcasts have less-than-savory language at times!
We think the only real issue with the process is the fact that you need to enter your zip code. There are some radio scanners on the market which have a GPS built into them which, allows automatic location. This feature permits you to enjoy channels available wherever you are. Although, including this would have made the device more expensive. Plus, does it hurt spending a couple of seconds entering your zip? If you are not going mobile while using Whistler TRX-2, this additional step does not matter all that much.
Extensive Channel List
Yes. We know that you are in the market for a police radio scanner. However, you will be surprised at just how many other things you can listen in on with your Whistler TRX-2. As long as the broadcast is public, you are free to listen as much as you want. The radio automatically filters out blocked radio frequencies, so you do not have to worry about stumbling across something you shouldn’t be listening in.
Easy to Update the Channel List
We do not know how experienced you are with police radio scanners. If you’ve already begun your research, you know that the police change their channels quite regularly.
Thankfully, that isn’t a problem with the Whistler TRX-2. If you plug it into your Windows device (connected to the internet), Whistler regularly pumps out updates for their channel list. Update once every month, and you should be fine.
Advanced Channel List Options
Once you have got to grips with your radio, you can use the included software (again, hooked up to a Windows computer) to customize the scan function on the device. You can assign specific channels (or groups of channels) to the various scan numbers on your device. So that you can cut out the channels that you do not want to listen to, and create a scan group of all police channels, for instance.
Fantastic Build Quality
If you are new to the hobby, then there is a chance that this radio maybe a little bit more expensive than you expected. However, this is an average price for a quality digital police scanner, with above average features and brand behind it. You might be able to find a police scanner that is cheaper, but often times they will be analog which is not used much anymore or be rolling the dice on a no-name brand.
The Whistler TRX-2 gets our highest recommendation, as it’s fair price meets outstanding value.