The times are changing and local public services are no longer using traditional communication systems. Many of them now use either digital or digital trunked communication systems and analog scanners won’t do you any good with these channels.
So here we are, reviewing the 5 best digital trunking police scanners on the market.
Best Digital Trunking Police Scanners
Here are our digital trunking police scanner reviews.
How about getting all the advanced features in the world a handheld police scanner can offer, but WITHOUT any programming? It might sound like a dream, but that’s exactly what the Uniden BCD436HP has to offer to you.
It’s a “plug and play” scanner with no programming required. You just need to put in your zip code and it will start pulling in channels from police, fire, ambulance, military, aircraft and much more right out of the box. However, this doesn’t translate to a compromised functionality in the slightest.
It performs great when receiving from digital trunked systems – and digital communication systems in general – but it also comes with features like Close Call RF mode, radio system analysis, GPS connectivity, amazingly fast scanning at 85 channels per second, access to other emergency services and weather alerts, and like hundreds of other options and features.
- One of the most advanced handheld digital trunked police scanners
- No programming required at all; it’s a plug and play unit that works right out of the box
- Tons of features and advanced functions
- Receives signals from all kinds of digital and trunked systems
- We think you would be hard-pressed to find a better option as the BCD436HP is almost perfect with little to complain about.
The Uniden BCD325P2 is another great digital trunking police scanner, especially for the more advanced users. It comes with a lot of bells and whistles, with an impressive core functionality which is the ability to connect to police, fire, ambulance and air traffic channels with great ease, reception and sound quality.
It can scan and search for as many as 25,000 channels, and you get the usual advanced features like Close Call RF mode, GPS compatibility, advanced memory system and more. It also covers communication systems that are powered by the latest APCO Project 25 Phase II systems.
It also gets NOAA weather and emergency alerts, serving the need of a dedicated emergency radio to some extent too. That all said, however, it isn’t exactly a beginner-friendly unit, and there’s a steep learning curve for beginners.
- Advanced digital scanner with a lot of bells and whistles
- Great core functionality covering many emergency and public services
- Supports even the latest technologies in digital communication systems
- Gets NOAA emergency and S.A.M.E. weather alerts
- It’s relatively easier to program but has a steep learning curve with respect to the operation
- The battery life is on the lower side
The Uniden HomePatrol-2 is one of the more unique digital police scanners on the market and comes with a responsive touchscreen. It supports the latest APCO P25 Phase 1 and 2 systems, which basically covers all unencrypted channels used by police and other emergency and public services. It also supports conventional analog channels, as well as EDACS, LTR, Motorola and other channels.
It manages to be surprisingly beginner-friendly just like the Uniden BCD436HP, as you can get scanning and listening by just putting in your zip code. It’s also pretty easy to hook it up with RadioReference’s database which would help you fetch a ton of frequencies easily and quickly. The sound is good, too.
It works in both the US and Canada. It doesn’t include an AC or DC adapter, but a USB cable for charging. The range with the included antenna is limited but improves significantly with a better external antenna.
- A unique digital scanner with a responsive touchscreen for great user experience
- Supports all the latest technologies in digital communication systems
- Surprisingly beginner-friendly with zip-based scanning functionality
- Lots of useful functions
- Being a touchscreen scanner, the durability isn’t as good as the other scanners we reviewed so you will need to handle it with more care
If you’re looking for a mobile police scanner, something that you can use in your car, then the Uniden BCD996P2 is probably your best bet. It’s one of the most powerful digital scanners on the market, and serious hobbyists would love all the advanced features and functionalities it offers.
It comes with 25,000 channels, advanced memory system, Close Call RF mode, GPS compatibility, and support for all the latest communication channels just like the other advanced units we reviewed above. It also supports NOAA and S.A.M.E weather and emergency alerts. It’s not a replacement for a dedicated weather radio but does offer some of the basic features of one.
It also supports location-based scanning like some of the other units, but it’s hard to program with a steep learning curve. The receiving ability is second to none and the sound is great, too.
- A very powerful digital scanner for serious hobbyists
- Lots of advanced features and 25,000 channels
- Gets almost all types of signals from public safety and other services
- Supports location-based scanning and NOAA weather and emergency alerts
- Difficult to program
- It has a steep learning curve, too
The Uniden BEARTRACKER 885 is an excellent option for those that would also like to use a CB radio along with a digital police scanner in their car. Yes, this unit manages to offer the functionality of a full-featured 4-watt CB radio along with a digital trunking police scanner.
It helps you access the police, fire, ambulance and more just like the other scanners, and this functionality does not interfere with the functioning of a CB radio. It’s simple to use with a good sound quality.
The noise-canceling microphone works well too, and the overall build quality is solid.
- Unique combination of a CB radio and a digital trunking police scanner
- Covers public services channels really well like a full-featured police scanner
- Weather radio reception
- Easy to use
- As it’s not a dedicated scanner, you can’t expect it work like one of the above Uniden products that are advanced police scanners
Digital Trunking Police Scanner Buyer’s Guide
Well, you won’t go wrong with any of the scanners we reviewed above depending on your needs, but it doesn’t hurt to understand some of the important factors to look for as well.
A scanner’s most important feature would be to support all types of channels and communication systems, especially as more and more local public services have been upgrading to advanced digital trunked systems.
A good scanner would not only allow you to listen to your local police, but also other emergency and public services.
The programming is another factor you need to consider. Beginners need to avoid scanners with complex programming requirements like the plague, as they can be incredibly hard to program and set up. Our top police scanner on this list – the Uniden BCD436HP – is both easy to program and use, and boasts solid functionality with a great overall performance.
The Uniden BEARTRACKER 885, the last option on our list, is a unique option too that offers the combined functionality of a CB radio and a police scanner, albeit it isn’t an advanced scanner like the Uniden options we reviewed.