7 Best UK Radio Scanners in 2023 Reviewed

7 Best UK Radio Scanners in 2023 Reviewed

There are many decisions to make when choosing a new radio scanner. Affordability, ease of use and whether to opt for digital or analogue are critical concerns for most enthusiasts.

As well as covering those three key issues, this review drills down into that all-important detail that can be hard to access without actually buying and trying: What makes each scanner the best?

We have tested all of these radio scanners ourselves plus researched what other users have to say about them. You can find the results here, with each selection prefaced by a handy indicator for what it rates best in class for, in our best UK radio scanners reviews.


  EDITOR'S CHOICE            
Type Handheld Handheld Handheld Desktop Handheld Handheld Desktop
Frequency Range 25-1300 MHz 29-512 Mhz 25-960MHZ 25-1300 MHz 100-1300 MHz 0.05-1300 MHz 25-1300 MHz
Digital mode Yes Analog Analog Yes Yes Yes Yes
Channel Memory 200 400 500 200 2000 1200 Dynamic
UK Band Plan Yes No No Yes No No No


1. Best Overall Choice/Editor’s Choice – Whistler TRX-1E



The Whistler TRX-1E is the best overall in our selection of radio scanners. The ease of use is unbeatable, and it comes with a fantastic range of features. 

This handheld scanner features the latest technology and has a backlit screen for night usage. Scan, pause and skip buttons on the front allow users to move between features without going back to the main menus.



  • Ease of use – The scanner comes with a USB cable to connect to your Windows PC with simple updating and programming options, plus you can use your PC to upgrade the CPU and firmware.
  • Quality build – This is a high end scanner, robust and solid, with excellent build quality and finish.
  • Good receiver of DMR – The Whistler TR1-1E Digital Desktop Scanner receives both amateur and DMR with crispness and clarity; it also receives analogue modes very well.
  • Multiple customisation options – Install scan lists for different categories, assign a different LED colour to each group, and set the light to flash.


  • Price – This scanner is at the higher end of the price band, but it does have a fantastic range of features. It's value for money if you want to spend that much.
  • Programming – Beginner users might find the initial programming a little challenging.
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2. Best Budget – Whistler WS1010


Affordable and user-friendly, the Whistler WS1010 Analog radio scanner offers all the most popular transmissions. A friendly ergonomic design means you can use this scanner just like a walkie talkie and take it out and about.

A quick search button finds the most common frequencies, including FM radio bands, air and HAM. You don’t have to spend ages on complicated searches when you have this device.



  • Priority channel - Set the scanner to monitor your favourite channel for new transmissions every two seconds.
  • 200 channel memory – Store your favourite frequencies in ten separate storage units for quick and easy access.
  • PC programmable – Avoid manual programming and use your PC to programme all the frequencies you want using third-party software.


  • Programming for beginners – The Whistler 1010 Analog is tricky for novices to programme.
  • Lengthy battery recharge time – You can charge the batteries for the scanner when it is on, but it takes a very long time. We advise purchasing an external battery charger and two sets of rechargeable AA batteries.
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3. Best Handheld – Uniden UBC-125XLT



The Uniden UBC-125 XLT handheld is an analogue scanner with 500 selectable frequencies. It is lightweight, sturdy and well made.

An analogue scanner may seem outdated to those under a certain age used to digital technology. Still, it can open up a whole new world, particularly for areas where digital signals are weak.



  • In-built banks – The Uniden UBC-125 XLT has in-built banks to search through for marine, CB radio and civil aviation.
  • Close call feature – Picks up nearby transmissions and alerts the user.
  • Programmable using software – This eliminates the need for manually selecting and inputting channels and then saving them.


  • Restricted usage during charging – You can’t operate the scanner whilst charging or from the USB power, only from the batteries.
  • Weak antenna – The antenna supplied is only suitable for close-range or close signals, so it may need upgrading with a telescopic antenna.
  • Less traffic – Many services are digital now or encrypted, so dependent on location, you may find that traffic is limited and quite dull.
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4. Best Desk Top – Whistler TRX-2

The Whistler TRX-2E Digital Desktop Scanner is a multi-system adaptive scanner. It is a serious scanner for committed enthusiasts.

Moonraker have worked with Whistler to customise a UK band plan. It ensures the radio covers UK bands in the correct steps and mode and delivers the maximum received station.

The Whistler TRX-2E Digital Desktop Scanner offers excellent features and transmission capabilities. It arrives pre-configured with all the possible frequencies for airband, including Civil, Military, Marine, DMR Simplex, DMR Repeater, and the FM equivalents. As soon as you switch it on, it will start scanning. 



  • Quality build – This is a heavyweight scanner, robust and solid, with excellent build quality and finish.
  • Free updates to firmware and programming software – These come without cost from Whistler.
  • Good receiver of DMR – The Whistler TRX-2E Digital Desktop Scanner receives both amateur and DMR with crispness and clarity; it also receives analogue modes very well.
  • Ease of use - The Whistler software suite and programming options are easy to use but you will require a PC to set up.


  • Price – The initial outlay is high, but on the plus side, this scanner does represent value for money.
  • Programming – Beginner users might find the initial programming a little challenging.
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5. Best Features – AOR AR-DV10



The AOR AR-DV10 Digital Handheld scanner is one of the most advanced portable scanners used by government departments worldwide because of its range.

It supports a variety of digital and analogue modes, delivering massive functionality in your hand on the move.

The superior features of this scanner use a simplified circuit backed by the latest SDR digital processing technologies. It comes equipped with an Altera Cyclone IV FPGA and an Analog Blackfin DSP.

Another feature that distinguishes this exceptional handheld scanner is its IPX5 water-resistant rating. The rating follows the IEC 60529 protocol.



  • Digital Auto-Mode Feature – A received signal is instantly recognised, and the scanner automatically switches to the applicable Digital or Analogue mode.
  • Weatherproof for outside in the field – IPX5 water-resistant.
  • Large full-dot matrix display – The display clearly shows mode, user setting and menu selection.


  • Price – this scanner is a serious outlay.
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6. Best Coverage – Alinco DJ-X11

Alinco’s pocket-sized scanner will give you a tiny window on the whole world. The X11 has a built-in internal bar antenna for mediumwave and receives AM/FM/WFM/SSB and CW signals.

This wideband receiver covers from 50khz to 1.3 GHz. It is also portable, so you can clip it to your belt and go.

The DJ-X11 purrs with power, too. The standard 1800mAh lithium battery pack gives up to 15 hours of continuous operation.



  • Huge memory channels – The Alinco DJ-X11 has an impressive 1,200 Alphanumeric memory channels for easy station storage.
  • Quick response – Three selectable scan speeds mean you will never miss out.
  • Monitor two frequencies simultaneously – A popular feature is the ability to monitor two frequencies at the same time.


  • Poor shortwave performance – Shortwave performance can be a little noisy.
  • Speaker output is not massive – Unsurprising as this scanner fits in your pocket.
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7. Best Digital – Uniden SDS-200E

The SDS-200E by Uniden may seem similar to the handheld SDS100, but it kicks it up several notches with speciality features.

Uniden have given this scanner the moniker ‘the world’s most advanced scanner radio’, and with the massive choice of options and customisation settings, it seems a worthy title. 



  • Best digital decode performance – The SDS-200E features True I/Q receiver technology, offering the best digital decode functionality even in challenging receiving environments.
  • Easy initial setup – Although this scanner has almost unlimited options and settings, the initial setup is pretty straightforward. You can be up and running in minutes with the easy user interface.
  • 8GB memory – The memory card with its 8GB capacity hold the complete database of the US and Canadian radio systems still with room left to record 100 hours’ worth of audio.
  • Fully customisable display – Customise the display with different colours to suit your requirements, plus a backlight for better nighttime viewing.


  • Price – There are plenty cheaper, but the easy usage and advanced technology make this scanner well worth the money for many radio users.
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The top seven scanners that have made it into our review offer something for everyone, whether a beginner with a small budget right or an experienced radio user with a deep pocket.

Based on our trials, we have steered products towards specific categories or types of users, so if you have a priority like best coverage or best features, you can hone straight in on a particular review.

The best reviews come from people who understand the tech and use the products. What we say is authentic and designed to help you make an informed purchasing decision, thereby landing the scanner you need.