Top 9 Best Remote Car Starters

Remote car starters offer the convenience of starting your vehicle while you are still in your home or another location. This is especially welcome on those cold days when you’d like to warm the interior before you set foot in the car. We show you the best remote car starter here.

These systems have been around for a number of years and were generally available by the mid-1980s. Remote starters were pioneered in Canada, but have since become available in most regions. Once considered a luxury item, these accessories have come down in price and are now more common.

In some cases, a remote starter can be included with the purchase of your vehicle, but it is most often an aftermarket add-on. 

If you are savvy with wiring, you can attempt to install it yourself.

Conversely, this accessory can be installed by a trained technician, often in under an hour. In either case, it’s important to verify that the installation won’t void your warranty, which could negatively impact the future maintenance of your new car purchase. Various kinds of alterations may void the warranty, but today most car starter kits are acceptable.

In this article, we list our top nine picks for remote car starters in three categories: high-end, mid-range, and low-cost. Within each category, most of the starters have different models that vary in price.

If you are drawn to one manufacturer but think the price is too high, there is most likely a lower-cost alternative. If you think a mid-range item is great, but are looking for more features, check for an upper-level model from that manufacturer.

Prices have come down over the years and features have proliferated, so you can make a choice that fits both your wallet and the options you desire.

The Best Remote Car Starter of the High-End Models

Our definition of high-end is based on cost. Car remote starters currently priced over $200 fall into this category. In no particular order, they are as follows:

MPC 2380 Factory Fob Activated Remote Start Kit 

MPC 2380 Factory Fob Activated Remote Start Kit for Select Ford &...
  • REMOTE START PACKAGE OVERVIEW - This is a complete remote starter kit for Ford vehicles. The kit includes an all-in-one...
  • REMOTE START FEATURES - Use your factory OEM key fobs to start your car. Start your vehicle by simply pressing the...
  • [COMPATIBLE VEHICLES] FORD Escape: [2013-2016], FORD Edge: [2011-2014], FORD Explorer: [2011-2015], FORD F-150:...

PROS

CONS

  • Good range and has a rechargeable battery
  • Some reviews say that it is too bulky to carry around

QUALITY

PRICE

OUR RATING

$$$

This kit features an upgraded OLED monitor and has a range of up to one mile. It includes extra security sensors to help prevent theft, as well as a second remote with five buttons for advanced control.

This Viper system has a SmartStart app available for use with your smartphone and includes other options not available with lower-end systems.


MPC Factory OEM Remote

Remote Start Kit for Jeep Wrangler 2007-2018 Key-to-Start -...
  • ✅ REMOTE START PACKAGE OVERVIEW - This is a complete add-on remote starter kit for 2007-2018 Jeep Wrangler - JK -...
  • ✅ REMOTE START FEATURES - Use your existing remotes to start the car by pressing the "lock" button three times. No...
  • ✅ AVAILABLE OPTIONS (available at additional cost) - Smartphone Module - (U.S. Based ONLY)...

PROS

CONS

  • SmartStart compatibility, a simple, user-friendly interface and a 1-mile range
  • Lack some security and convenience functions, such as an alarm and a cold start timer

QUALITY

PRICE

OUR RATING

$$

The MPC Factory OEM Remote features a one-mile range. It has an LCD remote, SmartStart app compatibility and cabin temperature monitoring. It also features SuperCode encryption to help protect your system from being hijacked. Unfortunately, it does not have an alarm function, but this can be added with other modules.


Bulldog RS82-I Do It Yourself Remote Starter

Bulldog RS82-I Do It Yourself Remote Starter - Automatic Transmissions...
  • Designed to enable convenient remote starting of the vehicle
  • Features a 2-button remote transmitter. Runtime 15 minutes
  • Equipped with dedicated start and stop buttons

PROS

CONS

  • S3-mile max range, USB rechargeable, IPX-7 waterproof remote kit
  • Some reviews says "unclear instruction manual"

QUALITY

PRICE

OUR RATING

$$

With a three-mile range, the Bulldog RS82-I Do It Yourself Remote Starter remote start has an updated interface and is waterproof. It is USB rechargeable, can control heated seats and comes with a three-year manufacturer’s warranty. Another feature is the ability to control front and rear window defrosters, which will be an added bonus for those winter engine starts. 

Viper 4105V Remote Car Starter

Click & ADD Viper 4105V Remote Car Starter 1-Way Two 4-Button Remotes...
  • Our Click & ADD special combo package includes: 1 Piece- Viper 4105V Remote Car Starter 1-Way TWO 4-Button Remotes...
  • Start your engine from up to a quarter of a mile away with this entry level Viper remote start system.
  • This system comes with two 4-button remotes and several features, such as keyless entry and SmartStart compatibility.

PROS

CONS

  • It's compatible with the Viper SmartStart GPS car tracker
  • It's expensive

QUALITY

PRICE

OUR RATING

$$$

This remote includes a six-stage alarm system as well as a warning alarm. With a one-mile range, it features an LED remote along with a second one-way button remote. It has a SmartStart app and works with manual transmissions in most cases. 


Avital 4105L Avistart Remote Start with Two 4-Button Controls

Avital 4105L 1-Way Remote Start System with 4-Button Remote
  • Avital remote start system includes two 4-buttom remotes with up to one and a half mile range
  • Lock, unlock, trunk release, and remote start
  • Fault-proof starter interrupt - Keep your car where you parked it with this layer of protection against “hot-wiring”...

PROS

CONS

  • Provides one of the most robust and easy to use remotes
  • Must be installed by a certified dealer

QUALITY

PRICE

OUR RATING

$$$

The Avital 4105L Avistart Remote Start with Two 4-Button Controls is chock-full of security enhancements. It includes a two-stage impact sensor, a weatherproof horn alarm, shock sensors for intrusion alert, a silent alarm and ignition shutoff in case your car has been hijacked. It has a 2500-foot range, two-way communication and a second one-way button remote. 


Universal Immobilizer Bypass for Remote Start

Universal Remote Start Interface w/selectable key windings (Working...
  • Compatible with most alarms for wide-ranging use
  • Bypasses factory antitheft systems for using a remote starter
  • 2-wire connection for simple installation

PROS

CONS

  • The two-way remote has a mile-long range
  • It's very expensive

QUALITY

PRICE

OUR RATING

$$$

Compustar CS800-S 1-Way Remote Start

Compustar CS800-S 1-Way Remote Start with 2 4-Button Remotes 1000 Feet...
  • 1-Way Remote Start System with Keyless Entry
  • 4-button transmitter with LED indicator
  • 4-button sidekick transmitter

PROS

CONS

  • There are 31 programmable features in total, which makes this a very versatile system
  • It has a maximum range of 2,000 feet, but offers no security options

QUALITY

PRICE

OUR RATING

$$


The Best of the Low-Cost Models 

In this article, we list low-cost systems as priced below $100 at the time of writing. Here is our selection in this economy range: 

Avital 4103LX Remote Start System

Avital 4103LX best remote car starter

PROS

CONS

  • As an additional safety feature, this remote system has a built-in starter kill feature
  • The remotes do not have an LCD panel to let you know the status of your car when you pressed and held a button

QUALITY

PRICE

OUR RATING

$$

The Avital 4103LX offers a simpler installation than many others. It has a kill switch for the ignition upon locking the doors. It comes with two one-way button remotes. 


Compustar CS800-S 1-Way Remote Start

Compustar CS800-S best remote car starter

PROS

CONS

  • This remote car starter operates with a 1-way system and is powered by amplitude modulation
  • It is only a one-way system and the range is only limited to 1,000 feet

QUALITY

PRICE

OUR RATING

$$

The Compustar CS800-S rounds out our budget winners. It features sturdy remotes with a 1000-foot range. The kit is considered to be universal with an easy setup. 

About Our Ratings

We gathered data from numerous customer and professional reviews and looked across many other rankings to come to our conclusions. We believe that these car remote starters represent the best in each of our categories. As with any review and ranking article, we recommend doing further research prior to your purchase, but we believe these models represent a good starting point as you gather information.

Without further ado, here are our best-of rankings for high-end, mid-range and low-cost categories.

Best Remote Car Starter First Look: Features 

There are a number of features found in remote start kits that make the systems more robust. Some of the newer functions require a smartphone and the use of an app. These new options continue to be optimized and updated, and new features can be added more easily without any changes in hardware. These do require a two-way system, as opposed to a one-way system, which is explained later in the article. 

A few of the more significant options for the remotes are:

  • Lock/Unlock 

  • Trunk release 

  • Car finder 

  • Panic mode 

  • Keyless entry 

  • Range 

  • Two-way communication 

  • LED remote 

  • SmartStart 

  • SmartPark 

  • Roadside assistance 

  • Alarm features 

  • Climate monitoring 

Lock, unlock and trunk release are the same as the key remote on most new car purchases. Although not adding anything new, they can be conveniently located on the same remote as the car starter. 

Panic mode, used for scaring away undesirables, is also often found on the new car remote, along with the beeping car finder and keyless entry. Once again, having them on the car start remote will save time because there’s no need to look for and operate another fob in your purse or pocket. 

A unit’s range and two-way communication are important considerations.

The range is the distance the remote can communicate with the in-car components. A stronger signal means a longer range. In instances where the information is transmitted through objects, for example, a packed parking lot, the range is reduced. This is important to keep in mind as you look at range choices. 

Two-way communication lets the remote “speak” to the car and the car to “speak” back. This allows information, like engine RPMs, to be displayed by the remote. One-way communication is when the remote can signal the car, but there is no information returned to the user. 

An LED remote allows a system to visually display what is happening with the car. It lets the user see more information, and is a step up from a fob with only buttons. 

As the remote is limited in size, when you only have a certain number of buttons for a large number of tasks, the input can get complicated and create a potential for errors in communication. With a LED monitor, you can see directly via an interface and react accordingly. 

SmartStart is a set of apps across manufacturers of remote start systems. They work on a smartphone and give the user expanded options in accessing their car functions.

Included with most of these apps is a SmartPark system that lets you locate your car via a map provided by the interface. SmartStart is only available with certain remote start kits. Features may also vary between manufacturers and their associated apps. 

Roadside assistance is another advanced feature that may come with your system. This function allows you to send out an alarm and speak with a representative who will get help to your stranded vehicle. This assistance can also be included in other car onboard systems, as well as your phone, but having this option available can grant additional peace of mind. 

Alarm features can include everything from smart monitoring utilizing vibration sensors all the way up to adding a full car alarm that communicates with the remote system.

Beyond lowering your insurance costs via discounts, this support gives added peace of mind for the security of your new car purchase. Included with some systems is an engine-lock feature that can re-engage this anti-theft feature after it has been disabled. 

One of the most convenient options in a car remote starter kit is climate monitoring, which requires a two-way communication system. The information is sent to the remote so you know how warm or cold the interior temperature is at that moment. 

As a remote start is often purchased to warm a car on a wintry day, this feature might be the cherry on top and represent the ultimate creature comfort for this accessory. Going a step further, there is control of heated seats as well as front and back window defrosters. 

Other Considerations 

As you begin your review of the best remote car starter, it is important to understand that not all car starters work with all makes and models of vehicles. 

If you’ve settled on a car or already own the car, review the compatibility notes on the remote starter systems to verify that it will work with your car. Also, it’s important to understand your car warranty and verify that you won’t negate it by installing this accessory.

In most cases, there are no issues, but it’s best to look into the fine print so you are informed of any negatives that may occur due to installation. 

When you review compatibility, you should also check to see if you will need to buy any extra parts to pair your car with the new system. 

For example, an adapter harness may be needed to secure the kit, or an interface module might be needed in certain circumstances. This will help with the understanding of overall cost and might affect your choice of manufacturer and model. 

Once again, a short time spent researching might have a big impact on your choice. 

As mentioned earlier, installation of these systems can include wiring and advanced knowledge of a car engine and safety procedures. If you are unsure of what you are doing, it is best to let a professional take care of the installation. This will be an added cost, so it’s good to look into the numbers as you make your final decision. 

Some installers may also sell the kits, making the purchase and installation seamless. When inquiring about professional installation, it might be prudent to ask if they have experience with the type of system you are contemplating. More experience means fewer mistakes

Your Remote Car Starter 

We hope that this article will serve as a good primer and starting point as you begin the journey to purchasing the best remote car starter kit. There are many options for the modern-day starter, as well as many considerations that will affect the final price. 

Whether it’s a gift for a loved one or a gift for yourself, this cool accessory can be a fun item as well as added security for your car. Adding extras to your car can be rewarding and make your vehicle even more personalized. Take your time, do the research and most importantly, have fun! 

Good luck with the purchase of your new remote car starter! 

Featured image: depositphotos.com, with text, banner, and logo added.

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