It’s hot and muggy and your car has been burning in the sun for hours. Or at another time, the temperature is well below freezing, the car windshield is icy, and you need gloves to grip the steering wheel. In times like these, a remote starter would be a welcome blessing.
From the comfort of your home, apartment or office, you simply press a button on a key fob, finish your coffee and wait for the interior of the car to reach the right temperature before even stepping outside.
There is a wide range of remote control car starters available, from simple short range remote start systems to more sophisticated systems with an integrated safety system, a one mile range, two-way communication with the key fob (called a transmitter or control module in industry parlance) and even smartphone control and GPS tracking.
Prestige APS997Z : Best overall value
CrimeStopper RS7-G5: Best Runner-Up
Prestige APS787Z : Best disposable system
CrimeStopper RS4-G5 : Best for a tight budget
CompuStar CS4900-S : Optimal for smartphone control
Prestige-APS997Z Remote Car Starter
The Prestige APS997Z is the best overall value we’ve seen. It offers you a range of high-end features at a reasonable price. This two-way system has a one-mile range and an LCD-equipped key fob that makes it easy to see what’s happening to your vehicle. It includes keyless entry and security, and can be used with CarLink to allow smartphone control and GPS location. The system comes with two five-button key fobs and a glass antenna with LED light and valet switch. It allows selectable running times and start modes, even a parking meter countdown.
CrimeStopper RS7-G5 Car Starter
The CrimeStopper RS7-G5 is another well-equipped two-way system. It’s slightly cheaper than the Prestige APS997Z, but has a shorter range (3,000 feet) and no built-in security system. There is also no way to control it with a smartphone.
The system features two five-button transmitters that, in addition to starting the vehicle, provide keyless entry, let you lock/unlock the doors, and operate a trunk release or sliding door. There is a lifetime limited warranty.
This model is very similar to the Prestige APS997Z but without the two-way communication and LCD key fob. It comes with two five-button transmitters that work up to a mile and allow for a range of features including keyless entry. The APS787Z includes an integrated security system, an antenna with LED light, a valet switch and allows selectable run times and launch modes. It also works with the CarLink system to allow smartphone control. Overall it’s an excellent system if your vehicle is normally nearby and visible.
CrimeStopper RS4-G5 Remote Starter
For a budget-friendly price, the CrimeStopper RS4-G5 packs some impressive features. This one-way system comes with two five-button transmitters that give you keyless entry, remote lock/unlock, and the ability to operate a trunk release or sliding door. It also has a reasonable range of 2,000 feet. If all you need is a remote start system with no two-way communication, this is for you and still gives you some extras. There is a limited lifetime warranty.
CompuStar CS4900-S Car Remote
While the CS4900-S is the most expensive system here, it’s a great value for a smartphone-enabled system. This two-way system’s transmitter uses an LED for confirmation and has a range of 3,000 feet. Those are modest perks, but if you primarily use a smartphone, you don’t have to pay extra for more features. The DroneMobile X1 LTE smartphone controller enables “limitless” range over a cellular network and GPS tracking of the car and displays vehicle information in the app. But it requires a service plan. If you want an extended one-mile range, a security system and an LCD key fob, go for the CompuStar CS8900-AS.