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The best car starter can allow you to turn on your car up to several thousand feet away. This means you can regulate your car’s temperature during the hot summer months and cold winter months before even stepping foot inside. If this sounds like a device that could make your life easier, consider our research into the five best remote car starters on the market today.

 

In this article:

5 Best Car Starters

 

In selecting the best remote starters, we looked at various options in different price ranges. Since there's probably no option that's best for everyone, it's worth doing research tailored to your preferences. This guide should help you get started, as you learn more about the five remote car starters listed above.


Our Review Standards

We selected the five best remote car starters based on customer feedback on websites such as Amazon, Walmart, and Target. We found the top-rated products on these sites and poured through customer reviews to determine which starters seemed the most reliable and effective. We paid special attention to mentions of features such as range, battery life, and longevity.


#1 Best Overall: Compustar CS7900-AS All-In-One 2-Way Remote Start And Alarm Bundle

 
 

This remote car starter from Compustar has remote starting and car alarm systems. You get two remotes that allow you to unlock, turn on, and warm up your car from up to a 3,000-foot range. It also includes sensors for your doors, hood, and trunk that will emit a sound if someone attempts a burglary. These features make it our top pick among the best remote car starters.

This remote starter works for cars of all makes and models. It is self-installable if you have general electrical knowledge, but otherwise, it's best to send it to a professional.

Key Features

  • Cost: $210
  • Range: 3,000 feet
  • Two-way, LCD remote
  • Backup, one-way remote
  • Includes door, hood, and trunk security features

What Customers Are Saying

Compustar has an average Amazon review rating of 4.5 stars based on more than 780 customers reviews. Eighty-seven percent of Amazon reviews give the product four or more stars.

Customers with all types of vehicles could install this device in their cars. Some customers installed it on their own, and others went to an automotive shop for help, but regardless, it worked close to the advertised range.

"I work in a prison, and this thing actually remote started my vehicle from behind thousands of feet of concrete walls, metal doors, and razor wire fence. I couldn't believe it."

- John D. via Amazon

There were some complaints from customers who said their starter only worked for a few months, which was an issue because this starter doesn’t include a warranty. Others said they wish there were instructions for easier self-installation. 

"The only bad thing is that if you don’t have any wiring diagrams for your vehicle, it’s not to easy to install."

- Jory via Amazon


#2 Premium Pick: Viper 5906V Color Remote Start & Security

 
 

While this long-range remote costs more than the other remote starters in this review, you get what you pay for. The remote is colored and offers unique features such as the ability to see the interior temperature of your car.

While other remote starters have a range of 1,500 or 3,000 feet, this remote starter has a one-mile range, allowing you to regulate temperature long before you get into the car.

Key Features

  • Cost: $450
  • Range: 1.0 mile
  • Two-way, color remote control
  • One-way, five-button remote control
  • Displays interior temperature

What Customers Are Saying

More than 250 Amazon customers give this product an average score of 4.5 out of 5. Eighty-seven percent of reviews give the product four or more stars.

Customers have complimented the system’s large range, responsive buttons, and color display. Users can install this starter or take it to a shop for professional installation.

"I found out that you can arm, disarm, or remote start the vehicle up to one mile away. ... It has the greatest motion detector, and if anyone gets close to it, it gives them a warning, AND you don't need batteries to charge it."

- J Guerrero via Amazon

Some reviewers complain the buttons are too sensitive, making it difficult to put in a bag or pocket. Others say the two-way remote is bulky to carry and that they prefer the size of the one-way remote. 

"The remote is big and clunky, and the buttons are definitely sensitive, so you MUST do the key lock option if you're wearing anything tight or bending over a lot."

- Greg T. via Amazon


#3 Most Affordable: Avital 5305L Security System With 2-Way LCD Display Remote

 
 

This remote start kit performs functions similar to our other recommendations but at a lower cost. You can unlock or start your car from up to 1,500 feet away, and this remote starting device comes with a lifetime warranty you can use for any malfunctions.

The LCD screen and remote also offer some unique features. When you send a signal, your remote will beep or vibrate and flash a notification across the screen.

Key Features

  • Cost: $140
  • Range: 1,500.0 feet
  • Two-way, LCD remote
  • One-way, four-button remote
  • Limited lifetime warranty

What Customers Are Saying

Over 330 customers have reviewed this product, giving it an average score of 4.6 out of 5 stars. Eighty-nine percent of reviews give the product at least four stars.

Overall, customers like this product and say it's an improvement from Avital’s past products due to the increased number of features.

"The remote start is so simple to use anyone could do it with little to no instruction. I am a professional installer, so the installation is simple for me, but I do have to say you might be hard-pressed to install this yourself if you have never installed a remote start before."

- Hilton V. via Amazon

Most customers have this starter professionally installed because the instructions for self-installation are confusing. Some reviewers claim the range is a few hundred feet instead of over a thousand feet as advertised.

"The range is horrible. Nowhere near 1,500 feet. I have to be about 200 feet in wide open parking lot for it to work."

- Shawn via Amazon


#4: Viper 5305V 2-Way LCD Vehicle Car Alarm Keyless Entry Remote Start System

 
 

This remote car starter is another model from the reputable car electronics company Viper. The system includes two remotes: the main two-way remote and the one-way remote meant for emergencies when your main remote stops working.

Like the Avital starter, this comes with a lifetime warranty. You also receive a user manual with self-install information and explaining how to use the system.

Key Features

  • Cost: $200
  • Range: 0.25 miles
  • Two-way, LCD remote
  • One-way, four-button remote
  • Limited lifetime warranty

What Customers Are Saying

More than 650 Amazon customers have reviewed this product, giving it an average score of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Eighty-nine percent of reviews give the product four or more stars.

Customers appreciate this remote car starter's variety of functions, especially the loudness of the burglar alarm. One user said they could hear it going off inside of a store, and even if they hadn’t, the remote also beeps.

"Very loud. And the remote goes off and shows you what's happening in case you are in the store and can't hear the car. You will hear your key going off."

- Chachis via Amazon

Most customers have had the starter installed by a professional because the DIY instructions are complicated. Some customers say it starts losing effectiveness after a few months as if the wiring were failing. A few users haven't gotten this starter to work properly.

"Alarm works OK but sometimes acts funny. I wired everything as it should be on my easy 1992 Bronco. Remote start doesn't work. It seems like I got a defective unit."

- Melissa Lopez via Amazon


#5: Compustar CS4900-S 2-Way Remote Start And Keyless Entry System

 
 

This Compustar model is another affordable remote starter option. It comes with two four-button remotes, making it the only starter we reviewed without a remote that has an LED or LCD display.

While this model only works on automatic cars, the car can have an unleaded or diesel engine.

Key Features

  • Cost: $150
  • Range: 3,000.0 feet
  • Two four-button remotes
  • Safe for diesel engines

What Customers Are Saying

This remote starter received an average score of 4.2 stars from more than 630 Amazon customers. Eighty percent of reviews rate this starter at no fewer than four stars.

Most customers believe the starter's four functions work well. Although this remote starter doesn’t have a screen, some of the customers actually preferred this because it makes the remote less bulky to carry.

"Works as described, and my girl loves it. I also like it for the fact it doesn't have that big LCD remote. Those just chew up batteries and don't fit in your pocket."

- Dennis Hiler via Amazon

Like with the Compustar remote starter, customers complain about the lack of help for starter installation due to the poor instructions. Some customers have even tried to contact the company for help but didn’t receive a response.

"Excellent product, however this is not a DIY project. The manual is written for experienced installers. You will need the blade bypass module as well. I have some installs under my belt, but this one was a 12-hour deal."

- Ronald Richardson via Amazon

Remote Car Starter

Best Car Starter Buyer's Guide

Buying a remote starter isn’t as simple as picking the first one you see. When looking for the best car starter, you'll want to consider some of the following features:

Range

The range of your remote car starter is the distance of how far away you can start or unlock your car. You’ll want to think about how far your car is from your house or apartment along with the other places you frequent, like the grocery store and office, to determine how much range you need.

Remote Type

There are three types of key fobs or remotes.

One-Way

With a one-way remote, your remote is only capable of sending signals to your car, meaning it can't also receive signals from the car. This type is usually the cheapest option.

Two-Way

All of the products in this review are two-way, meaning the remote can send a signal to the car and receive a signal from the car. For example, you can tell your car to start, and it will tell you it has received your request by displaying a notification on the remote screen. This type of starter is usually pricier.

Smartphone Control

The newest remote car starters may allow you to start or unlock your car through a smartphone app instead of a key fob. However, you may have to pay a monthly or annual fee for cell signal so it can receive commands from your phone.

Cutoff Switch

A cutoff switch allows you to manually shut off the starter. This function is useful when you or a mechanic is performing maintenance on your car. You don’t want someone to get injured if the engine starts while they’re under the hood, so look for a cutoff switch in the starter you buy.

Car Type

Most remote car starters are designed for automatic transmission cars that use unleaded gas. If you drive a diesel or manual car, you’ll either want to buy an aftermarket starter specifically designed for your vehicle or contact the company to see if its remote starter will work for you. During our research, we found reviews for the Viper products that mentioned them working for manual transmissions, and the Compustar CS4900 advertises use with diesel engines.


FAQ: Best Remote Car Starters

How do remote car starters work?

Your remote starter system will come with a small box that acts as a receiver. This box has to be placed in your car and wired to your ignition switch, power wire, starter wire, and any other wires necessary for the starter to perform all its functions. Once that happens, you can use your remote to send a signal to the box so the car unlocks or starts from a distance.

Are there times when I can’t use the remote starter?

Yes. Here are a few of those situations:

  • When the hood is raised
  • When the car battery’s charge is low
  • When the check engine light is on
  • When the car is not in park

Can I install a remote car starter myself?

Yes. However, the process can be complicated even with an instruction manual, especially for newer cars with more complex electrical systems. If you don’t have any electrical knowledge, we recommend paying a professional to install it for you.

What are the benefits of a remote car starter?

Here are some of the biggest advantages of installing a remote starter system:

  • Ability to unlock your car from far away
  • Ability to turn on the air in the summer
  • Ability to turn on the heat in the winter
  • Increase in your car’s value when you’re looking to sell

Will installing a remote car starter void my warranty?

No. As long as the remote starter is properly installed and doesn’t damage any parts, your warranty will still be applicable.