A radar detector is an in-car device that’s designed to warn you of speed-detection hardware so that you can avoid speeding tickets, and also be extra cautious as an alert can indicate an upcoming emergency on the road ahead. Picking a reliable radar detector isn’t all plain sailing due to the deluge of products on the market.
In this article, we reveal our top picks for the 10 best radar detectors then follow up with a simple buying guide that will help you get the best bang for your buck, so stick around.
Escort MAX360 (Top Pick Overall)
The Escort MAX360 is one of the most sophisticated radar detectors on the market. It’s also one of the most sensitive devices out there with an ability to detect radars miles ahead of many other competitors. When it comes to readability and quality, the MAX360 is an extremely reliable unit.
This device uses GPS technology to prevent false alerts. Not only that, but it also uses it to keep you aware of how you drive. When it comes to ease of use, this device is unchallenged. It’s hard to find anything negative about this device, but the price tag is definitely not the most affordable.
- Response time and range are superb
- Sleek and aesthetically-pleasing design
- Features directional warning arrows
- Equipped with GPS auto-learning
- Highly effective false-alert filtering
- Expensive compared to its competition
- Pretty bulky design that’s hard to hide
- AUTOLEARN TECHNOLOGY - 360° protection and patented anti-falsing technology uses the power of GPS and the exact frequency to learn and remember false alerts from moving In-Vehicle Technology sources. You'll only hear what's important, nothing else
- REAL-TIME TICKET-PROTECTION - Using ESCORT LIVE! With iPhone or Android receive warnings of police threats around you reported by other Escort Detector users. Based on speed and settings, the alerts you receive will be tailored to fit your drive
- CLEAR VOICE ALERTS - Unique voice warnings allow for hands-free operation and provide crystal clear communication. Based on your speed, alerts are tailored to fit your location and movement. Allowing you to keep your eyes on the road with no distractions
- ESCORT ADVANTAGE - As threats increase, stay ahead of them with ESCORT LIVE and the Detector Tools. 1,000's of pre-loaded locations, and add your own "hot spots" to create Escort's DEFENDER DATABASE so you'll have protection wherever the road takes you
- STAY CONNECTED - To get the best performance, and stay ahead of the threats, download the most up-to-date threat locations, back up your data and update your software by connecting your radar detector to your MAC or PC computer via USB port
Whistler CR95 (Budget Friendly Pick)
If you’re looking for an affordable device that combines great aesthetics with high effectiveness, the Whistler CR95 is your best bet. This unit can detect X, K, and Ka bands, in addition to laser threats. Equipped with 360-degree coverage and POP-mode detection, you’ll pick up on radar threats from both front and back.
The advanced MMC technology grants this unit a great range and high sensitivity. Moreover, it has both Traffic Flow Signal Rejection and Field Disturbance Sensor Rejection functions that help it filter out false alerts effectively. This is the device to buy if you’re constricted by a budget.
- Excellent range and sensitivity
- An easily readable OLED display
- Can detect police laser easily
- Almost instantaneous detection
- Aesthetically-pleasing design
- Long-trailing detection alerts
- Hard to read in bright sunlight
- Maximum performance radar detector with 360 degrees of complete perimeter protection; Total laser detection identifies Laser Atlanta Stealth mode, Laser Ally, and LTI Truspeed S
- Features MMIC (Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit), providing maximum sensitivity and range; Includes Radar Signature ID (RSID), Laser Signature ID (LSID), and POP Mode with real voice alerts and bilingual (English/Spanish) OLED text display
- Traffic Flow Signal Rejection (TFSR) and 6 filter modes help eliminate alerts from radar based traffic monitoring systems
- Internal GPS provides speed and red light traffic camera locations in North America which can be updated via USB
- Auto Dim/Dark mode automaticlly adjusts to changes in lighting; Includes 12V power cord, windshield bracket kit, hardwire kit, and dash pad
The R3 from Uniden is a highly sensitive radar detector with a simple interface that allows users to control it with ease. Moreover, it boasts a pretty compact design, which makes it easier for the user to place it anywhere. The only negative thing we have to say about this device is that it isn’t capable of recording your activities automatically, so you have to map out the indicators.
One of this device’s best features is its ability to detect radars from extremely long distances. It’s able to send alert prompts almost instantaneously after radar detection, giving you plenty of time to slow down. This radar detection can function in off-axis directions and also in the presence of rivers, mountains, and curves. Overall, a very effective and affordable device.
- Extremely easy to install and use
- It rarely gives out false detections
- Highly sensitive and undetectable
- Compact and lightweight design
- Can function in off-axis directions
- The alert sounds are customizable
- Can’t be set to a horizontal position
- Comes with low-quality accessories
- Doesn’t have an auto-learning system
- 360 Degree Digital Signal Processor
- GPS With Red Light Camera Alerts
- Quiet Ride - User Set Speed Auto Mute
- K False Filter / KA False Filter
The Cobra Rad 450 is a pretty basic radar detector as far as options go, but it is very accurate which is why it’s our pick for the best radar detector under $200. This device is able to detect the three main police radar bands: K, Ka, and X. Your expectations shouldn’t be too high when it comes to the range and sensitivity of the 450, again it’s just a basic detector.
Despite its short detection range, the Cobra Rad 450 will give you enough time to slow down. In perpendicular scenarios, this radar seems to fall short with a detection range of just 0.35 miles, but that shouldn’t be a problem if you’re not going too fast.
- Probably the most affordable radar detector
- It’s able to detect primary police radar bands
- The design is pretty compact and lightweight
- Subpar detection range and sensitivity
- Not the best-looking design out there
- Fewer false alerts with cobra's patented technology! The IVT filter TM system reduces false alerts from sources like collision avoidance systems so you hear only what you need to hear
- Long range! In flat, Open conditions The range is at least 2 miles. Please note that shorter range can occur if the officer is hiding behind a hill, around a Curve, of if the officer is using an instant-on Radar gun
- Eye-catching OLED display: high quality display features band identification icons and numeric signal strength meter for an accurate and informed drive
- Instant-on ready: quickly detects Radar guns so you have fast speed monitoring capabilities ready to go at all times
- Buy confidently with cobra's 1 year limited warranty valid only from "ships from and sold by Amazon.Com" and "ships from and sold by Cobra electronics official
The original 8500 from Escort was once the most sought-after radar detector on the market and now the 8500X50 is reviving its legacy. This unit can detect laser bands such as Ka, K, and X. it features 280 LED alert lights and has a reliable sensitivity mode for filtering out false alerts.
The great thing about this unit is that it weighs less than a pound and measures at just 6 inches. This ensures that it doesn’t damage your dashboard or windshield. The controls are pretty basic and easy to understand and you can modify the microprocessor to pick up on other band types.
- A highly affordable price tag
- The sensitivity is adjustable
- False alarms are very rare
- Has a great detection range
- Doesn’t alert non-radar threats
- No support is offered for this unit
- Blistering All-Band Protection
- 360-Degree Radar and Laser Detection, Advanced Digital Signal Processing, AutoSensitivity Mode Automatically Reduces False Alarms, EZ-Programming Allows Instant Customization
- Operating Bands : X-band 10.525 GHz ± 25 MHz, K-band 24.150 GHz ± 100 MHz, Ka-band 34.700 GHz ± 1300 MHz, Laser 904nm, 33 MHz Bandwidth.
- Radar Receiver / Detector Type : Superheterodyne, Varactor-Tuned VCO,Scanning Frequency Discriminator,Digital Signal Processing (DSP)
- Laser Detection : Quantum Limited Video Receiver,Multiple Laser Sensor Diodes
This mid-range radar detector, just like most of Uniden’s products, offers an incredible detection range that allows you to see speed traps coming from miles away. This unit can also detect the rather outdated laser-detection technology. It features a built-in GPS for optimal accuracy.
The display screen is easily readable and it offers a variety of important information such as the battery voltage, position altitude, maximum speed, and frequencies of the bands around you. It also features a max-speed alert that warns you when you’re close to the speed limit.
- Sleek and compact construction
- Comes with great suction mounts
- It can detect red-light cameras
- Bright and easy-to-read display
- The alerts are annoyingly loud
- Gives out occasional false alarms
- Ultra-Performance, Super Long Range Laser Radar Detection
- GPS Built-In with Red Light Camera Alert and Speed Camera Alert
- MAX Speed Warning System
- Ultra-Bright OLED Display: Radar Band Frequency Display, Current Speed, Battery Voltage, Altitude, and Clock
- DC Charging Cable and Suction Mount Included
No more false alarms with the Radesno Pro M. this unit searches for false positives reported in your area and eliminates them completely so that you never have to run into them. We’re in love with the display screen because it only shows important information and doesn’t cram a bunch of useless information onto a single line.
We’re yet to encounter something that can hide from this device. Stationed troopers, red lights, or even stationed troopers can be detected with this device. Also, the detection range is superb compared to other competitors. This is a costly investment, but it’s totally worth your while.
- Nothing can hide from this detector
- Features super long-range detection
- Free database and location updates
- Eliminates false alerts completely
- The display screen is very convenient
- The price tag is on the expensive side
- The suction cups can be improved
- EXTREME RANGE - Incredible sensitivity provides up to several miles of range, giving you protection from even the longest-distance threats.
- USA SUPPORT / WARRANTY / RADAR TICKET GUARANTEE - Telephone and e-mail support from the USA. 1 Year Radenso Manufacturer Warranty. Full money back guarantee within 30 days. All of our detectors are backed by the Radenso 1 Year Radar Ticket Free Guarantee.
- EXCELLENT FALSE ALERT FILTERING - By analyzing the DNA of radar signatures, the Radenso Pro M filters out most false alerts caused by cars around you using radar cruise control, blind-spot monitoring systems and traffic speed sensor devices.
- GPS LOCKOUT TECHNOLOGY - Using GPS, the Pro M remembers common false alerts along your regularly driven routes so you never have to listen to the same false alert twice. Simply press and hold a single button to add a GPS lockout. Additional features include automatic muting below a user-selectable speed and automatic sensitivity adjustment based on current speed.
- RED LIGHT AND SPEED CAMERA ALERTS - Preloaded database includes more than 6000 red light and speed camera locations. A built in USB port allows free monthly updates to be performed at home and ensures your detector will never be out of date.
This radar detector has been around for years due to its insane popularity among detectorists. It’s widely known for its extreme detection range and simplistic classic design. It’s considered as the best radar detector when it comes to police laser sensitivity. It’s also super sensitive to X, K, and Ka bands.
This unit features directional arrows bring awareness to the location of all radar threats from the front and rear. It also comes with a bogey counter that lets you know how many signals around and which ones are most important to pay attention to. Overall, a very reliable unit that stood the test of time perfectly.
- Extreme detection range and sensitivity
- Very Accurate signal strength alerting
- Well built both internally and externally
- Can filter out collision avoidance systems
- Exceptionally quick detection ability
- Doesn’t feature GPS functionality
- It lacks an auto-muting function
- Can easily be detected by RDDs
- X, K, Ka, and Super Wideband Ka Detection
- 360° Protection against all types of Laser
- Rear Radar Antenna
- Ku Band Detection
- Arrow Directional Indicators
The Radenso XP is a mid-range detector that functions very well on X-band and laser primarily. It works on other bands too, but just not as sensitive. It’s equipped with GPS, so you can lockout false sources manually and configure the sensitivity to your liking.
This unit comes pre-loaded with an expansive database of red-light cameras. You can also use a USB cable to update the database. With Radenso XP, you can actually display frequencies of police radars. The display is bright and easily readable. However, we think the unit is a bit overpriced for what it has to offer.
- Good detection of police radar bands and laser
- Can be segmented for better Ka-band detection
- It’s equipped with GPS technology
- Pre-loaded with an updatable database
- Subpar X-band performance
- Complicated programming procedure
- Overpriced compared to its competition
- LONG RANGE & FALSE ALERT FILTERING - Top-flight sensitivity delivers radar alerts up to several miles away, while best-in-class blind spot monitor/traffic monitor filtering prevents false alerts.
- GPS LOCKOUT TECHNOLOGY - GPS Lockout capability lets the Radenso XP remember common false alerts along your regularly driven routes so you never have to listen to the same false alert twice. Simply press and hold a button to add a GPS lockout.
- LOW SPEED MUTING & RED LIGHT / SPEED CAMERA ALERTS - Additional features include automatic muting below a user-selectable speed, automatic sensitivity adjustment based on current speed and a built in red light and speed camera database with free updates.
- USA SUPPORT / WARRANTY / TICKET GUARANTEE - Telephone and e-mail support from the USA. 1 Year Radenso Manufacturer Warranty. Full money back guarantee within 30 days. All of our detectors are backed by the Radenso 1 Year Radar Ticket Free Guarantee.
- READY OUT OF THE BOX - Simply unbox the Radenso XP, mount to your windshield and plug in. No need to change settings, we have it ready to go for you!
The Escort IX is another mid-range radar detector that provides a reliable performance but lacks a super long detection range. As far as false alert filtering, the performance again seems to be in the middle. The unit is equipped with automatic GPS lockouts for your convenience.
Other features include automatic sensitivity adjustment based on speed, AutoLoK sensitivity, multi-color OLED display, and Bluetooth integration via the Escort Live app. The unit also gives out speed camera and red-light camera alerts.
- Sleek and compact design
- Equipped with auto-learning
- Easily readable OLED display
- Automatic GPS lockouts
- Hard to read in bright sunlight
- Can’t detect speeding cameras
- AUTOLEARN TECHNOLOGY - 360° protection and patented anti-falsing technology uses the power of GPS and the exact frequency to learn and remember false alerts from moving In-Vehicle Technology sources. You'll only hear what's important, nothing else.
- ESCORT ADVANTAGE - As threats increase, stay ahead of them with ESCORT LIVE! and the Detector Tools. 1,000's of pre-loaded locations, and add your own "hot spots" to create Escort's DEFENDER DATABASE so you'll have protection wherever the road takes you.
- CLEAR VOICE ALERTS - Unique voice warnings allow for hands-free operation and provide crystal clear communication. Based on your speed, alerts are tailored to fit your location and movement. Allowing you to keep your eyes on the road with no distractions.
- SPEEDALERT - the iX provides all of the information you need to make the best possible decision when you need it most. Vehicle Speed, Laser Band, and Signal Strength displayed to make sure you are fully informed during an alert.
The Buying Guide
Before heading out to buy a radar detector, there are a number of factors that need to be taken into your consideration to ensure getting the most value for your money. These factors are:
High sensitivity is by far one of the most important factors to look for in a radar detector. A unit that features high sensitivity will allow you to pick up radar signals more efficiently. Even if your unit has a great range, its performance can be subpar without great sensitivity.
Depending on the detection range of your unit, you can either have enough time to slow down if you’re speeding or you can catch a speeding ticket and wonder why your radar detector didn’t see it coming. The broader the range of your detector, the more time you have to slow your car down before you drive past a speed trap.
There’s nothing more frustrating than false alarms when it comes to radar detectors. This is why accuracy and consistency should be one of your concerns when you buy a detector. Look for a radar detector that can accurately pinpoint radar signals whenever present and that stays silent when there are none around.
Ease of Use
Drivers need to be less focused on the technical stuff and more focused on the road, so it’s a no brainer to buy a detector that’s easy to use and configure. We can’t stress enough how crucial it is, a reliable and easy-to-use detector won’t only spare you of speeding tickets, but it will keep you safe from accidents.
Most radar detectors are designed to either sit on the car’s dashboard or the windscreen. We’d recommend going for a model that sits on the windscreen using suction cups because it can be hard to see and adjust the models that sit on the dashboard.
It’s important to know that laser speed guns are a lot more accurate and faster than radar versions. Having a detector that picks up on laser speed guns will help keep speeding tickets away from you. Laser speed guns are less frequent than radars because they must be held completely still to function properly, but that’s not an excuse for not getting a radar detector that can pick up on them.
Radar detectors that don’t feature 360-degree protection can only detect upcoming speed traps and won’t be able to detect the ones behind your car. Models that feature 360-protection are more expensive than their regular counterparts, but they’re a lot more effective. It’s important to keep in mind that tinted glass can affect the performance of the radar detector negatively. So if you have tinted glass installed, it’ll be a waste of money to buy a 360-degree detector.
We’re well aware that all of the above-mentioned products are above the $100 mark, and that’s because models that are cheaper than that price point tend to be utterly useless and give out a lot of false alerts. We strongly recommend steering away from cheaper models as they’re pretty much a waste of your money.
Hopefully, the information we’ve provided today has helped you decide which radar detector you should buy.