The Best Bite Indicators & Fishing Alarms | 2020 Review

best bite indicators and fishing alarms
best bite indicators and fishing alarms

The Best Bite Indicators & Fishing Alarms | 2020 Review 

Bite alarms are an incredibly useful piece of kit to use when carp fishing. As bite indication is key when hunting for large carp, watching the tip of your rod all day is tiresome and can lead to missed chances. This is where bite indicators & alarms can help. Bite alarms allow anglers to relax, take in their surroundings, play on their phone, or work on their next rig without ever missing a bite.  Bite Indicators, such as bobbins or swingers, can be used as a visual indicator in the absence of an alarm but can equally assist alongside the fishing alarm for the ultimate carp fishing setup.

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If you dont have much time to read the whole article, all the products we recommend can be found in the eTackle bite alarms & bite indicators sections. Alternatively please skip to your required section  by clicking in the table of contents below or read on to find out what products we recommend .

A bit about bite indicators

bite indicators

Often, bite indicators, such as bobbins or swingers, are attached to the alarm and the fishing line to give anglers a visual method of identifying potential bites. A bleep of your alarm or a  movement of the bobbin is enough to alert the angler that a fish is interested in the bait. Bite alarms are an extremely effective method of bite indication and provide anglers with a blood-pumping adrenaline rush when they get a bite; there is no better sound than a bite alarm screaming as a carp takes your bait.

A bit about fishing bite alarms

Bite alarms are very popular in the carp fishing community. They are especially popular with anglers that like to fish overnight sessions as the alarm will wake the angler when a fish is hooked. As many carp anglers fish with multiple rods, they are also great for identifying which rod has the fish on and also provides anglers with a well-deserved break from constantly watching the tip of their rod for bites.

fishing bite alarms

How do Fishing Bite Alarms Work?

Bite alarms are available in many different shapes and sizes with a variety of specifications and features to choose from.  Bite alarms operate via a magnetic roller wheel or a sensor that detects movement of the fishing line and triggers a sound to alert the angler.

Anglers simply attach the bite alarm to a rod holder and slot the fishing line through the sensors on the bite alarm. When a fish begins to take interest in the angler’s bait and the line is disturbed, the bite alarm will detect movement and emit an alarm. Anglers are able to distinguish between a fish moving the hook bait and a hooked fish due to the continuous beeping as the fish takes the line.

What to look for in a fishing bite alarm

  • Tone - Bite alarms often come with various tones and sounds to choose from. This is particularly helpful when fishing with multiple rods as it enables you to set different tones for each rod.
  • LED Lights - Many bite alarms come with different colour LED light options. Light indicators are perfect for overnight fishing sessions as they allow anglers to differentiate between their rods in dark conditions.
  • Sensitivity - The sensitivity of bite alarms depends on what type of weather you are likely to be fishing in. If you’re fishing in windy weather, or on a water with a strong current, be sure to choose an alarm that allows you to adjust its sensitivity levels to ensure the alarm isn’t activated every time the wind blows.
  • Waterproofing - As carp fishing is an all-year-round sport, anglers should expect to fish in wet weather, especially in the UK. Most bite alarm manufacturers will state that the alarm is 100% waterproof as a feature on the packaging or in the description. Be sure to keep an eye out for this as not all bite alarms are waterproof.
  • Snag Ears -  Snag ears are a great tool for securing your rod in place in case of a big catch or a violent tug. It isn’t uncommon for rods to be pulled from the rod rest in the likelihood of a side take, and in many cases, anglers have lost their rods. Some bite alarm models come with retractable snag ears included but if not, they should certainly be considered if targeting big carp.

For information on bite alarms and how to set them up, check out our bite alarm set up guide. 

What are bite indicators and why are they useful?

Bite Indicators, such as bobbins, swingers, hangers, and monkey climbers, are used in conjunction with bite alarms. They are an exceptionally useful piece of kit that conveys a variety of information to the angler. As the bite alarm detects a fish tugging at the line, the bite indicator will give the angler subtle clues as to what is happening under the surface of the water. For example, if the indicator rises up then the fish is swimming away from you, and if your indicators drop to the ground, which is commonly known as a ‘drop-back’, this indicates that the fish is swimming directly towards you - some bite alarms are slow at detecting ‘drop-backs’, making bite indicators particularly useful in this instance.

Bite indicators also help the angler to see how their rig is being played. This kind of information is vital to know before you strike and start the battle to bring the fish to the bank. There is a selection of bite indicators to choose from, however, the two main distinctions are:

1. Bobbin

A bobbin bite indicator is simply a weighted clip that is attached to the bottom of your bite alarm via a chain. It is fixed directly to the line and gives anglers very accurate readings as the only time it moves will be when a fish is hooked.


2. Swinger

A swinger bite indicator, sometimes referred to as a hanger, hangs below the line and is attached to the bottom of the bite alarm via a fixed bar. Swingers are less prone to false readings due to the fixed bar that attaches to the bite alarm, compared to a bobbin’s chain which is susceptible to moving around in high winds.


Bite indicators are a small, yet crucial part of your fishing gear. As carp are getting smarter and wise to anglers’ ever-evolving tactics, it is important to stay ahead of the game with the latest equipment. A quality bite indicator will give you ample skills and knowledge to outsmart the fish and help you on your way to the catch of a lifetime. Take a look at our selection of the best bite indicators currently on the market:

Best Bite Indicators

fox slik

The Fox Black Label Slik Bobbin is the overall best bite indicator on the market we tested as it gives carp anglers the sensitivity they need, no matter the weather conditions. Its ‘Slik Clip’ means it can be used in a variety of ways and its fully interchangeable parts allow anglers to create different types of indicator for every possible situation on the bank. Available in a variet of colours, the Fox Black Silk Bobbin would certainly be at home in every carp anglers tackle box.

New Direction Tackle T10 Spring Bite Indicator

New Direction Tackle’s T10 bobbins are easily one of the best bite indicators on the market; the reviews speak for themselves. The carbon bobbins are certainly different from the ‘normal’ bobbins, however, it is easy to see why they are the best-reviewed bite indicators on Amazon. It features a unique spring system that gives constant tension on the line, enhances bite detection, and gives greatly enhanced drop-back bite indication when fishing with a tight line, while still showing small movements when slack-lining. It also features a dual functional line clip; the line can either rest under the twin balls at the top, in the manner of a conventional swinger, or it can be slid down inside the head and clipped into place between the two soft ‘blades’ at the base.

snz chubby

The SNZ range of wingers and hangers are very popular and are amongst the best bite indicators on the market as they register even the smallest of line movements. The SNZ chubby long swing indicator features an innovative solution on the line clip that allows anglers to use a traditional stainless steel ball line clip if they want the fishing line to slide freely. The bobbins’ bodies are made using an ultra-bright high-vis transparent acrylic to aid visual bite indication in low light environments, making them perfect for anglers that fish through the night. The indicator set is also supplied with spare bobbins and additional weights.

Fox black label stealth

Fox is synonymous with quality and perfection, and its Stealth Bobbins are no exception. Featuring a sleek, machined aluminium body and hockey stick connection, the Stealth Bobbins allow anglers to easily adjust the line tension to suit short or medium range fishing, which gives anglers that added indication and bite sensitivity needed to bag that bite. The midsections have also been narrowed to create specialised viewing slots, giving anglers the ability to see the glow from their isotopes from any angle. The Black Label Stealth Bobbin’s high performance, durability, and style from an angling brand you can trust make them one of the best bite indicators for carp anglers.

zer one LED illuminated

5. Zer One LED Illuminated Bite Indicators

Priced at the higher end of the market, due to their quality and durability, it’s easy to see why Zer One’s 4 piece bobbin set are amongst some of the best bite indicators. The LED illuminated bobbins ensure carp anglers can get the most out of their session no matter what time of the day it is. Day or night, Zer One’s bobbins flexible design and wear-resistant materials will ensure that anglers will never miss a bite. It also comes with its own storage box to keep the bite indicators safe from damage when carrying your gear to the bank.

jrc radar ds

The Radar DS Swing indicator is an innovative illuminated swinger from JRC. Perfect for short range and long distance fishing, the innovative swinger is definitely one of the best bite indicators on the market. The latest micro-programming has made it possible to change the colours of the LEDs and adjust the brightness of the light, enabling anglers to personalise the indicator for specific situations. With a clever aerodynamic profile and an adjustable weight system, the swinger is extra sensitive yet stable in all weather conditions, ensuring anglers don’t miss any bites.

bzs carp bobbin

The BZS carp bobbins are one of the best bite indicators currently on the market, in terms of affordability. Perfect for fishing on calm waters on sunny days, the carp bobbins are super sensitive which means you won’t miss any bites. The bobbins use black anodised chains with adjustable line clips, making them perfect for anglers that fish with different size diameter lines. With a high-quality matt black finish on the chain, tips and base, the bobbins are available in red, green, blue, and purple.

What are the best fishing bite alarms?

Bite alarms have evolved alot since the original optonics in the 1970s / 80s with many brands now available. The question of what is the best fishing bite alarm really depends on your fishing type and budget. For ease we have listed what we consider the best fishing bite alarm of all time for all fishing situations alongside the best alarm for pike / predator fishing and finally the best value bite alarm for those on a budget. So here goes...

1. The Best Fishing Bite Alarm

Delkim Txi-D Bite Alarm

Delkim Txi-D Bite Alarms

In the late 1970’s, carp anglers DEL Romang and KIM Donaldson put their names together to form DELKIM. Today the Delkim brand is world famous within the Carp Angling circuit particularly for fishing bite alarms where the quality is second to none. The TXi-D version, ticks every box needed to cover every eventuality when Carp Fishing in 2020.

2. The Best Value Fishing Bite Alarm on a budget

TF Gear Reaction Bite Alarms

tf gear alarm

TF Gear Reaction bite alarms are a dependable and efficient bite indication system that are perfect for anglers that like to keep busy on the bank. The Reaction alarms bring the latest digital technology to the bankside at a very affordable price. With a powerful wireless signal that provides anglers with instant bite detection combined with high visibility latching LEDs and a highly sensitive roller system, the TF Gear Reaction bite alarms provide anglers with unsurpassed results and reliability.

3. The Best Bite Alarm for Pike / Predator Fishing

JRC Radar C4 Bite Alarm

JRC Radar C4 Bite Alarm

JRC is a top brand within the angling community and has a reputation for providing great quality at affordable prices, and its bite alarm range is no exception. The Radar C4 is a highly functional, fully waterproof bite alarm that features adjustable volume, tone, and sensitivity.  The sensitivity adjustment makes this alarm ideal for Pike fishing with the use of a drop off indicator. Its bright LED tower combined with its Magento-Dynamic speaker with digital amplifier ensures that anglers will see and hear every bite. The Radar C4 is an affordable bite alarm that is suited to all anglers. From entry-level anglers to professional carp / predator anglers, the C4 is a premium product without the premium price tag.

For more information on the best bite indicators and fishing alarms on the market, check out our bite alarms & accessories page at eTackle.

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