These aftermarket remote car starters are key to a better morning with keyless entry and remote start available at the push of a button on your keyfob or smartphone.
Updated January 8, 2020
Start Your Engine with the Best Remote Car Starter from Crimestopper
Having a key fob that warms up your car before you slide behind the wheel is a nice creature comfort, but we wanted aftermarket options with cutting-edge technology like two-way communication, keyless entry, and in some cases LCD screens or security features.
If you’re looking for a remote car starter to keep your vehicle firing on all engines, Crimestopper has what you need. Its remote car starter works for a wide range of vehicles with 2-way communication and an impressive 3,000-foot range. You’ll enjoy the convenience of the LCD screen pager that counts down your remote start and the option to add a smart control app with keyless entry and GPS tracking.
This is an important feature because without it, you can’t be sure that your vehicle has started unless it’s in your line of sight. Two-way communication means the car can signal back to your remote that you’re good to go.
Compare the Best Remote Car Starters
Data effective 12/13/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.
Reviews: Best Remote Car Starters
Crimestopper RS7-G5: Best Overall
Get remote start and keyless entry for two vehicles with Crimestopper. This remote start system has two-way communication, an LCD screen pager, and a countdown of how long your vehicle has been running. Crimestopper’s RS7-G5 is compatible with most vehicles and has a 3,000-foot range, so you can start your engine from across the parking lot or down the street.
While a mobile app is available for both iOS and Android users, you’ll have to purchase the unit that offers smartphone control separately. Also be aware that the key fobs are reported to be battery hogs.
- 3,000-foot range
- Two-way communication
- LCD screen
- Compatibility with most vehicles
- Remotes drain batteries quickly
- Smartphone control app purchased separately
When you just want the basics, look to an Avital remote starter. It’s got two key fobs that provide keyless entry, trunk release, and remote start up to 1,500 feet away. You can also program how long your vehicle runs on remote start, which is a nifty feature if fuel efficiency is your thing.
The downside is that Avital’s remote has only one-way communication, meaning that you won’t be able to verify your vehicle has responded. But for the affordable price, maybe you won’t mind having to look out the window from the comfort of your home or office to check.
- Keyless entry
- 1,500-foot range
- Inexpensive price
- One-way communication
- No LCD screen
- No smartphone control
Viper 5305V: Best Security
Viper remote starter systems are the cadillac of car starters, loaded with features that give other brands a run for their money. This two-way pager has an LCD display, trunk release, and vehicle temperature readout. Those are all nice perks, but security features really set this model apart. Equipped with a six-tone siren and remote encryption, Viper’s system is part remote start, part car alarm.
For the price, you’d expect to get smartphone control, but like other remote car starters on our list, you’ll have to buy the app and module separately. However, Viper’s Smart Start earns rave reviews from both iOS and Android users, so it may be an investment worth making.² Viper also frames the range on this starter as a “quarter of a mile,” but that’s a little sneaky since that translates into a rather modest 1,300 feet.
- Two-way communication
- LCD display
- Vehicle temperature readout
- Security features
- Higher price
- Smartphone control sold separately
- 1,300-foot range
More Remote Car Starters That Are Worth a Look
While you’ll probably find an option among our top recommendations to get your engine revving, here are two other remote car starters that might be a better fit for your vehicle.
Compustar CS 800-S: Best Budget
If you want a relatively cheap car starter that’s easy to install, we recommend the Compustar remote car starter. With a bypass module, it’s compatible with a wide array of vehicles and offers all the basic features at a 1,000-foot range. You can add smartphone control to the Compustar remote starter, but it requires you to purchase a module and a monthly service plan.
Python 5706P Responder: Best Range
If range is your top priority, you’ll want to invest a little extra in the Python 5706P Responder. It transmits the signal up to a mile, which translates to a little over 5,000 feet.
You’ll get the basics of an aftermarket remote start system combined with a full menu of car alarm security features like a siren, emergency overrides, and door-lock relays. While this model is more expensive, it’s loaded with features that go the extra mile. However, note that Python’s Directed SmartStart mobile app, available for both Android and iOS, garners mediocre reviews.³
Things to Consider Before You Buy a Remote Car Starter
Here’s the lowdown on what features should top your list when you’re in the market for a remote car starter.
Be careful not to invest in more range than you need. While a longer range may seem impressive, consider how often you’ll really need to start your car from a mile away and purchase accordingly.
While throwing away the key sounds nice, be aware that this feature doesn’t always work on newer vehicles. Consult with a professional installer about the model you plan to purchase for your vehicle.
Using an app to start your car is a dream come true, but this cutting edge technology doesn’t come standard with most remote car starters. You’ll need to purchase the module and app separately to get smartphone control and a GPS vehicle tracker.
Consider whether you want remote start with security features like aftermarket sirens, valet mode, or panic buttons. If you’re going to install a car alarm at some point, it makes sense to buy a system that gives you the best of both worlds.
Installing a Remote Start System in Your Vehicle
While you could opt for DIY installation to cut costs, it’s not something we recommend for remote car starters. In many cases, you may need a bypass module or extensive wiring to make the starter compatible with your vehicle, so it’s best left to the professionals. A licensed technician also has the expertise to make sure improper installation doesn’t compromise the security of your vehicle.
If you do decide to install the remote start system on your own, make sure to disconnect the battery first. If not, you’ll be in for a shockingly unpleasant installation experience.
How to Avoid Auto Theft with a Remote Start System
A remote start system with security features can help prevent theft, but it doesn’t make your vehicle impervious. Consider decreasing your risk of auto theft with the following tips.
- Customize your settings. Some systems allow you to update proximity settings or specify that a key fob button be pressed prior to starting or unlocking the car. Confused? Ask a professional installer to help adjust your settings.
- Install security measures. Steering wheel locks, aftermarket car alarms, and even home security cameras with a view of the driveway are all additional security measures that can all discourage thieves from targeting your vehicle.
- Practice safety. Do common sense things that experts recommend for safety, including parking your car in well-lit areas and hiding valuables out of sight.
How much does it cost to install a remote starter in a car?
There are many factors to remote car starter installation cost. In addition to the pricetag of the starter itself, you may need to purchase a bypass module to make it compatible with your vehicle. Generally, you can expect anywhere from $150 to $500 for professional installation of a remote car starter.
Is remote start bad for your car?
The short answer is that a remote car starter isn’t bad for your car, but there are some caveats. First, it needs to be from a reputable, high-quality manufacturer. Most aftermarket car starters have engine speed sensors that ensure the engine won’t be damaged by unnecessary revving.
Secondly, you should have your remote car starter installed by a licensed technician. Improper installation can mean damage to the wiring of your vehicle and can rack up costly repair bills.
What does “aftermarket” mean?
You’ll hear the term “aftermarket” thrown around when discussing car alarms and remote starters. Aftermarket means that the system was not part of the vehicle when it was originally manufactured. There are OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) remote car starters in some vehicles, and it’s important to distinguish them from aftermarket systems that integrate with your OEM key fob.
How We Picked the Best Remote Car Starters
In order to find the best remote car starters, we didn’t just race through the research. Our recommendations are based on careful consideration of the competition which includes compiling product stats. We also looked to experts in the field to learn more about brand reputation and performance during testing.
And last, but not least, we pored over ratings from real customers across multiple platforms to identify potential problems or standout features.¹ Get under the hood and see our full methodology here.
*Amazon.com list price as of 12/13/19 04:58 MST. Product prices and availability are accurate as of this date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any prices and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.
Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.
Written by Kaz Weida
Kaz is a journalist who covers home security, parenting, and community and child safety. Her work and product testing in the security and safety field spans the past four years. You can find Kaz in HuffPost, SheKnows, Lifehack, and much more. Her degree in education and her background as a teacher and a parent make her uniquely suited to offer practical advice on creating safe environments for your family. Learn more