Manufacturered by Voxx Electronics, the Prestige APS997Z is my pick for the best car alarm overall because it's one of the most affordable car alarms with a remote start system. It has all the same alarm features of a high-end alarms, but costs nearly $85 less. And while the two-way remote doesn't have the mile range of the Viper, it has better display.
The Prestige APS997Z costs about $123. This is an exceptional price for a car alarm and remote start system. Only the Avital 5305L is more affordable. However, the Avital isn't compatible with a car tracking device. Either way, when you compare features and specifications with high-end alarms, price counts for a lot. This is the primary reason why it beat out the Viper 5706V and Python 5706P as the best car alarm overall.
The Prestige APS997Z is compatible with CarLink, a car tracking device similar to CarLock and the Viper SmartStart GPS. This is an important consideration because car trackers like this are arguably better than car alarms because they provide direct alerts to your phone regardless of where you are on the planet, and they provide performance monitoring features. That said, it does require a monthly or yearly subscription.
Similar to every car alarm I've reviewed, the APS997Z has a dual-stage shock sensor to tell the difference between minor bumps and break-ins. The siren is 120-dB and it comes with a starter interrupt to thwart hotwiring.
The one alarm feature it lacks is the silent alarm. Car alarms with two-way pagers often include a silent option where the alarm's siren doesn't go off, but the alarm notifies the driver through the remote. In many ways, this is the better option because most people ignore car alarms, so activating a silent mode is great for your neighborhood, but you still receive the alarm.
The remote has a range of 2,500 feet. By comparison, the Viper 5706V's remote has a mile range, a main selling point. However, for most people, a 2,500 range is more than enough. How often do you roam nearly a half mile from your parked car? It's not unheard of, but it's also not common enough to justify the price difference.
The remote is two-way. This means the alarm is capable of sending you alerts and information, such as the cabin's temperature. A two-way remote is the biggest reason between the car alarms under $100 and the ones over. Without it, you must investigate every car alarm you hear because you have no other way of knowing if it's coming from your car. I also prefer the display of this two-way remote over others. The icons are easier to read and there's a lot more of them.
The remote-start system is arguably the main reason to buy the Prestige APS997Z. It's is a practical feature designed to improve your life, unlike an alarm, which has questionable value difficult to quantify because you're never around to see whether it deters thieves or is just a general nuisance. It's especially valuable in areas of extreme cold and extreme heat because you can start your car from the comfort of your home and wait for the internal temperature of the car to adjust. The two-way remote even tells you the internal temperature so you know when it's perfect to leave.
One consideration with a remote start, however, is the pollution from the idling. Unnecessary idling adds to the polluted air. It isn't a significant issue in some cities, but it can be. Smog causes and exacerbates health problems for a lot of people. With this in mind, the APS997Z shuts off if left idling for too long, but it's important to be mindful of it, especially if you live in a city prone to inversions and smog.
The Prestige APS997Z's other convenience features vary. With four auxiliary ports, you can expand the security sensors to add glass break sensors or tilt sensors, but you can also use the ports for adding other convenience features, like a trunk release.
The Prestige APS997Z is the best car alarm overall because it features an effective dual-stage alarm, compatibility with a car tracking device, a two-way pager, and a remote start system. And it does this at nearly $85 less than the high-end reptilian car alarms. The value is evident.