The Best Bite Alarms

The Best Bite Alarms

by Aidan Bordiuk |
Updated on

Due to the time it can take for a bite to develop when fishing for carp or other specimen fish, one of the most essential items of kit an angler should have is a good bite alarm, or more commonly, because of the use of multiple rods, a set of alarms. They are invaluable when night fishing for carp but do come at a price, so what are the best bite alarms for fishing?

Alarm technology has come a very long way in a short space of time. Gone are the days when anglers would have big wires stretching from the alarm head back to the bivvy or shelter. Now many alarms can even be silent at the head end, with all the indications coming wirelessly to a receiver.

Whilst probably one of the more expensive tackle items for carp fishing, modern bite alarms do feature some impressive technology, with most being able to be adjusted to detect the slightest of indications, especially when paired with the best bobbins. Volume, tone and LED lighting colours are all things that are now customisable on the majority of alarms on the market, even budget carp fishing alarms of less than £50.

Best bite alarms at a glance

Best bite alarm for sensitivity: Delkim TXI-D - View offer on Total Fishing Tackle

Best bite alarm for adjustability: Fox RX+ - View offer on Total Fishing Tackle

Best bite alarm receiver: Wolf Icon Qi - View offer on Total Fishing Tackle

Best budget bite alarm: Fox Mini Micron - View offer on Total Fishing Tackle

Powering this vital tech has also been made significantly easier in recent years, with indications given for low battery and some options now even chargeable via USB or even controlled by a Bluetooth connection to the user's mobile phone.

Here, we will run through the best bite alarms on the market so you can decide which is the one for you...

Best bite alarm for sensitivity

Delkim TXI-D Alarms
Price: £134.99 (Each) , £499.99 (Set)

www.total-fishing-tackle.com

The latest version of what is now an iconic carp fishing bite alarm. The Delkim TXI-D features Delkim's highly developed vibration sensing tech, which is almost unrivalled in terms of sensitivity.
These expensive alarms also feature an advanced security system, alerting the angler should they be tampered with at night, something we obviously hope is never needed.

The LEDs on the TXI-D can be adjusted in terms of brightness with stealth mode and instant day-to-night settings.
Volume, tone and sensitivity can all be adjusted to suit the angler's needs, with the Delkim's classic and unique sound now being almost legendary in modern carp fishing.

Battery life is long on these alarms too, with low battery warnings and auto power down, alerting the user when it's time to boost the power.

One of all Delkim's biggest selling points, however, is their durability. Despite their advanced technology, these little beauties can really take anything you throw at them, from torrential rain to heavy frosts.

Pros

  • Unrivalled sensitivity.
  • Incredibly durable in all weather conditions.

Cons

  • LED colours are not adjustable, with popular colours often hard to get hold of.

Best bite alarm for adjustability

Fox RX+ Alarms
Price: £199.99, £659.99 (3 rod set)

www.total-fishing-tackle.com

The premier alarm in the Fox range and one of the best (and most expensive) options on the market, the Fox RX+ alarms are packed with features to improve their performance. New additions include deeper snag ears, adjustable LED colours (Red, Green, Blue, Orange, Purple and White), ergonomic sensitivity and volume/tone control.

Fox have improved the roller wheel on the RX+ to their Tru-RunTM, which has also been housed better to reduce the chances of the wheel freezing up during harsh, cold conditions, which would render an alarm useless. Sensitivity has also been improved, allowing the user to set the alarm to register bites depending on their circumstances, meaning reduced liners or annoying bleeps in the wind.

Pros

  • An alarm for all seasons, conditions and situations.
  • Customisable LEDs.

Cons

  • Larger than some other top-end alarms on the market.

Best classic bite alarm

Steve Neville Alarms haven't changed much over the years and have remained a very popular cult classic and for good reason.
These alarms are 100% weatherproof with a minimalist design and simple operating system, and they are an alarm for all conditions that can be used by new and seasoned anglers alike. Renowned for their reliability and great build quality, they have become a firm favourite of many top anglers over the years.

The alarms can be used in conjunction with a receiver with a maximum range of 500m, which can accommodate a total of 5 alarms and are available in a choice of seven LED colours and three volume settings.

The alarms can also be operated so the alarm stays silent, with bites only registering on the receiver, popular with anglers who like to keep things quiet or don't want to disturb other anglers around the lake.

Sensitivity is dictated by a four magnet roller wheel as standard. This can be changed to a two magnet roller if required, again with different coloured wheels available to match any angler's setup.

Pros

  • Simple to use.
  • Strong and durable.

Cons

  • Batteries require screwdriver to access.

Best bite alarm for versatility

Nash Siren R4 Alarms
Price: £219.99 (Single) - £459.99 (Set)

www.total-fishing-tackle.com

If you're looking for an alarm that has the most modern technology and features, the Nash Siren R4 alarm is well worth your attention. Every eventuality has been thought of when designing and producing these alarms to make sure they can excel in any modern-day carp fishing scenario.

Unique to the Siren is their homecoming feature, which compromises an LED on the back of the alarm that can be illuminated for safe and precise navigation back to the rods when boat fishing during the night.

Nash have dedicated time to eliminate false indications, a blight facing many who use alarms. Incorporating a Drift Sensing Safeguard and Wave Sensing Technology, they are hoping to have overcome this by manipulating how line speed affects the roller wheel. With weed on the line or movement when fishing from a boat, the pressure and movement is not sufficient to trigger the Speed Sensing System.

Pros

  • Feature-packed, technically advanced.
  • Perfect for boat fishing.

Cons

  • Buttons rather than dials may not suit all anglers.

Best bite alarm receiver

Wolf Icon Qi Alarms
Price: £764.99 (3 Rod Set)

www.total-fishing-tackle.com

The Qi is the flagship model in the Wolf range of alarms, and for good reason. Designed and manufactured in Britain, the Wolf Icon Qi offers an incredible range of features that can't be found on any other alarms. Extensive testing has led to a sophisticated, very reliable product being made available to carpers worldwide.

The fully rechargeable battery boasts up to 1000 hours of standby time, whilst other features include a night light function and 7 adjustable LED colours. Vibration Detection system VDS and High Sensitivity Roller Wheel Detection (RWD) have created an environment where even the most minimal activity will be detected whilst also having the fail-safe of two methods of detection to ensure no indication will ever be missed. 

The range of the receiver is up to 2km, now, we don't advocate being that far from your rods, but it demonstrates the strength of the transmission.

Pros

  • Rechargeable battery.
  • Strong receiver.

Cons

  • Not the most discreet/visually pleasing alarms on the rests.

Best phone operated bite alarm

New Direction Tackle K9s Alarms
Price: £209 (Set of 3)

Whilst relative newcomers to the tackle market, the New Direction Tackle K9 alarms are certainly going to draw a lot of attention to the NDT stable. Not only are they full of smart tech, but they are also fully waterproof, giving full peace of mind to the angler.

This bite alarm is also fully customisable via a smartphone, by downloading the app, anglers can adjust LED colour, volume, brightness and sensitivity, which saves leaving the bivvy, especially in bad weather.

Another clever feature is the mute function. It allows the muting of the alarm for 30 seconds, so no need to turn the bite alarm off or annoy other anglers whilst adjusting the line and setting the bobbin. This also prevents the chance of forgetting to turn the alarm back on and missing a take whilst it's off, something we have all experienced before.

Pros

  • Mute function is a real winner.
  • Can be controlled from your mobile phone.

Cons

  • Not the cleanest-looking alarms on the rests.

Best compact bite alarm

You would be hard-pressed to find a carp angler that hadn't heard of the ATT alarm from Gardner. An alarm built on the premise of being simple yet robust and reliable enough to never fail an angler in any situation. 100% watertight, with no buttons and very little to go wrong, they have certainly achieved that.

Included with the alarms is an "intelligent" hardcase cover, not only there to provide protection but is also there as the means to turn the alarms on and off. As the cover is removed, the alarms go live, as the cover is replaced, the alarms are put to sleep. 

Indications are registered on the receiver as whilst the heads light up, they don't make any sound. The alarms are ultra-compact, some of the smallest available, yet still packed with all the features you would come to expect from a modern alarm.

Pros

  • Very compact.
  • Ultra reliable.

Cons

  • With no sound at the alarm head, you need to make sure you don't forget your receiver.

Best budget bite alarm

The original Microns were regarded as one of the best alarms of the time, and you'll still come across them on the bank. The new Fox Mini Microns are continuing the legacy. These improved versions have a different design but still pack great features and value for money like they always have.

A very compact alarm with basic settings that make it very easy to use, appealing to new and seasoned anglers alike who just want a budget alarm that will do the job. Considering the price and size, the alarms still have plenty to adjust as you would come to expect, such as tone, volume and LED brightness.

Pros

  • Great build quality and ultra-reliable.
  • Compact design makes them easy to move about.

Cons

  • Can't be linked to a receiver.

Best bite alarm for features

The premium offering from Prologic is their R2L alarm. A totally waterproof alarm, it is built for the most adverse weather conditions, with features included for even the most demanding sessions.

Utilising a unique infra-red light and roller wheel system, the most minimal movement (2mm) on the line can be detected, ideal for use when fishing to snags or using zigs when indications can be very subtle. Snag ears are built into the alarms, which increase their versatility, a simple screw mechanism allows the ears to be lifted up out of the head, so no additional ears are required.

Two LEDs are incorporated, with their own dedicated function, with one for drop-back bites and one for takes, giving the angler all the information of what is going on with their rigs. The memory function on the receiver will also highlight which rod has given out an indication should you have missed it, so you're always aware of what's happening out in the pond.

Pros

  • Customisable snag ears built in.
  • Infra-red technology for sensitive bite detection.

Cons

  • Relatively large alarms in comparison to others on the market.

Best value bite alarm set

Feature-packed with lots of clever little tech additions, the Carp Spirit HD5 alarm punches way above its price point. 
As expected, the case is weatherproof and includes a nightglow function that illuminates the alarms for ease of use in the darkness and makes the setup look pretty cool!

The alarms have receiver compatibility up to a range of 150m and a vibration function that, when used in conjunction with the silent setting on the alarm, allows for a total stealth approach where required.  All settings such as volume, tone and sensitivity can be controlled via dials on the alarm, which are then saved by the memory function within, so once you have them set up to your preference, they don't need to be recalibrated every trip. 

To make the alarms suitable for every eventuality, they come with rubberised rod support and an extra long thread to allow snag ears and bobbins to be fitted with ease, perfect when that extra security is needed when fishing to weed or snags.

Pros

  • Memory function saves your preferred settings.
  • Remote range self-testing means receiver is reliable.

Cons

  • Incorporated snag ears would have been nice.

What to look out for when buying a bite alarm

All bite alarms perform the same function, and whether you spend £10 or £300 on one, they will all register a bite. However, the more expensive alarms have more features, are fully waterproof and will last much longer than cheaper options thanks to their construction.

If you are an angler that usually does day sessions with the odd overnight trip now and again, there is no need to spend a fortune, budget alarms are fantastic quality and will be up to the job perfectly. If, however, you go in all weathers and for longer periods, it's best to look for a waterproof alarm with reliable sensitivity settings so even in the worst conditions, you can fish effectively.

All quality alarms will allow some level of adjustment to volume, tone and sensitivity as standard. So the choice really depends on how precise with these settings you want to go. LEDs on many alarms nowadays are now adjustable, too, so you can have the whole set in matching colours or chop and change so you can identify each rod easily.

One of the essentials for modern-day bite alarms is the facility for a receiver. This means the angler can turn the alarm down at the head for stealthier fishing and keep the receiver by their side so they never miss a bleep. All receivers these days are wireless, yet some vary in range and signal strength.

Alarms Glossary

LED: Light emitting diode, this will light up when you get an indication on a bite alarm.

Roller Wheel: A small wheel in or on the alarm head where the line sits. When the line is moved, the wheel moves in conjunction with it, triggering the audio and visual cues of the alarm.

Bobbin: Small plastic or metal item that clips on the line to keep tension on it.

Snag Ears: Strong metal bars that can be mounted on your bite alarms in order to keep your rod secure, preventing it from being dragged off the rest.

Receiver: An electrical box that wirelessly connects to the bite alarm. It provides audio signals to alert the user to a bite.

Sensitivity: A setting on a bite alarm that alters the amount the mechanism must move to trigger an indication.

Tone: A setting on the alarm that will alter how the alarm sounds.

Bite alarm FAQs

How do you set up a fishing bite alarm?

Setting an alarm up couldn't be simpler. There is a metal screw thread at the base of the alarm head, which attaches to either a bank stick or pod system. Your rod then sits on top of the alarm, with the line running over the detection mechanism, which is generally a wheel or plate, depending on the manufacturer. A bobbin indicator is clipped between the alarm and the reel to create some tension to emphasise line movement.

What do all the settings do?

Modern alarms tend to come with a variety of settings such as sensitivity, volume, tone and the ability to vary LED colour.

Changing the colour is purely for aesthetic reasons and won't affect how the alarm performs. Some anglers choose to have their alarms in different colours so they can identify which rod has a bite during the hours of darkness.

Tone and volume merely change the sound and volume the alarm makes. Tone can make your alarms more identifiable to you depending on how you set them up. Volume is personal preference, with some people choosing to have their alarms silent and others at full volume if they struggle to hear them.

Sensitivity is the only setting that directly impacts how an alarm performs. By adjusting the sensitivity, you are determining how much movement is required to trigger the alarm. Some anglers opt for the highest setting, meaning a minimal amount of movement is needed, in particularly windy conditions, a low sensitivity setting can eliminate any annoying false bleeps.

What is a receiver and do I need one?

A receiver is an electronic box with LEDs and a speaker that works the same as your bite alarm. Once they have been connected, every bleep on your alarm will transmit to your receiver. They are particularly useful if you are set up in a swim where the rods are quite far away, you struggle to hear, or you have to step a safe distance away from the rods. Some offer a vibrating function, a great way of alerting people who are deaf they have got a bite.

Author Aidan Bordiuk is an enthusiastic angler who enjoys all fishing disciplines from match fishing to beach casting. He is currently occupying the position of Commercial Content Writer at Angling Times.

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