Best Radar Detectors

Review & Comparison, Last Update February 20, 2020
Radar detectors will let you drive however you want without worrying about tickets. The best radar detectors will give you more than enough time to adjust the speed when there are radars ahead. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2020
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Type
Operating Bands
Detection Angle
Extras
Accessories
Dimensions
Warranty
 
PROS

The IVT Filter™ will be able to minimize false alerts that are coming from adaptive cruise control systems and collision avoidance systems. The ESCORT app will give you access to 1,000+ pre-loaded locations and even let you add your own locations. 

CONS

The app drains the smartphone's battery pretty fast. 

OUR VERDICT

Escort MAX360 will give you the Defender advantage, so you'll always know what lies ahead and be able to plan the route as efficiently as you want. Plus, the Dual Antenna System will not only be able to detect the radars nearby but also pinpoint their location. 

detailed parameters
Type

Radar detector / Laser detector 

Operating Bands

X-band: 10.525 GHz ± 25 MHz

K-band: 24.150 GHz ± 100 MHz

Ka-band: 34.700 GHz ± 1300 MHz

Laser: 904 nm

Detection Angle

360° (Dual Antenna System)

Extras

OLED screen, GPS receiver, Intelligent Speed Sensitivity, AutoLearn™ technology, Compatible with ESCORT Live app (available on iOS and Android), Voice notification feature

Accessories

Mounting bracket, 12 V power cord, travel case

Dimensions

5.43" x 3.6" x 1.36"

Warranty

1 year 

PROS

The All Threat Display setting will put the band, frequency, primary signal strength, and all frequencies' strength on the screen at the same time. The Dark mode will make the device less visible. You'll be able to adjust the brightness to make the information readable despite the sunlight. 

CONS

Contains false alerts when not adjusted properly. 

OUR VERDICT

Uniden R3 is among the most capable radar detectors we've looked at. It will be able to save you from countless tickets. The unit is easy to mount and no less difficult to dismount. The device will be reducing false alerts that happen due to collision avoidance systems and blind-spot monitoring systems.

detailed parameters
Type

Radar detector / Laser detector

Operating Bands

X-band: 10.525 GHz

K-band: 24.150 GHz

Ka-band: 33.400 GHz - 36.000 GHz

Laser: 800 nm - 1100 nm

Detection Angle

360°

Extras

OLED screen, GPS receiver, Voice notification feature

Accessories

2 mounting brackets, 12 V power cord, travel case 

Dimensions

4.33" x 2.72" x 1.16" 

Warranty

1 year 

PROS

The AutoLearn™ tech uses the GPS unit's built-in GPS module, IVT filtering, and automatic sensitivity settings to learn the routes and vary the sensitivity based on the car's speed. Using Bluetooth and the Escort Live app, you'll be able to utilize crowd-sourced alerts and reliable ticket prevention mechanisms.

CONS

The mounting bracket is relatively flimsy. 

OUR VERDICT

Despite the affordable price tag, Escort IX is highly accurate, precise, and functional. Plus, the unit looks aesthetically pleasing, able to blend into most cars' interiors without sticking out.

detailed parameters
Type

Radar detector / Laser detector

Operating Bands

X-band: 10.525 GHz ± 25 MHz

K-band: 24.150 GHz ± 100 MHz

Ka-band: 34.700 GHz ± 1300 MHz

Laser: 904 nm

Detection Angle

360°

Extras

OLED screen, GPS receiver, Intelligent Speed Sensitivity, AutoLearn™ technology, Compatible with ESCORT Live app (available on iOS and Android), Voice notification feature

Accessories

Mounting bracket, 12 V power cord, travel case

Dimensions

5.125” x 2.875” x 1.25”

Warranty

1 year 

PROS

The device comes equipped with a USB port that you can use to recharge various USB-enabled gadgets. The all-black housing lets the unit disappear into the surroundings. The screen even displays the altitude. You can set maximum speed limit alerts. 

CONS

The screen could use some anti-glare coating. 

OUR VERDICT

Uniden DFR7 is something that we would recommend to calm drivers. All you'll have to do is use the suction cups to mount the unit and you're good to go. The accessible settings and intuitive interface will make it easy enough to quickly figure things out.

detailed parameters
Type

Radar detector / Laser detector

Operating Bands

X-band: 10.525 GHz

K-band: 24.150 GHz

Ka-band: 33.400 GHz - 36.000 GHz

Laser: 800 nm - 1100 nm

Detection Angle

360°

Extras

OLED screen, GPS receiver, Voice notification feature

Accessories

Mounting bracket, 12 V power cord, travel case

Dimensions

4.33" x 2.72" x 1.16" 

Warranty

1 year 

PROS

The QuietDrive™ will let you quickly mute all alerts when necessary. You can choose between English and Spanish notifications. The backlit screen will allow you to comfortably read the information even during nighttime.

CONS

There's no GPS module. 

OUR VERDICT

Cobra RAD 450 won't be able to tussle with the most expensive radar detectors but the price more than reflects that. Nevertheless, the LaserEye™ tech will make sure the device is always able to recognize laser signals and act accordingly. 

detailed parameters
Type

Radar detector / Laser detector

Operating Bands

X-band: 10.525 GHz ± 50 MHz

K-band: 24.150 GHz ± 125 MHz

Ka-band: 34.700 GHz ± 1300 MHz

Laser: 904 nm ± 50 nm

VG-2: 11.500 ± 0.250 GHz

Detection Angle

360°

Extras

OLED screen, LaserEye™ technology, Voice notification feature

Accessories

Mounting bracket, 12 V power cord 

Dimensions

4.35” x 2.8” x 1.3” 

Warranty

1 year 

Escort MAX360

No False Alerts

Escort MAX360 will make sure you're able to avoid all threats. There are not too many detectors out there that are as precise and sensitive as this one. Before that though, let's address the device's profile. Measuring 5.43" x 3.6" x 1.36", this thing is a little less compact than most radar detectors but not much. It will be easy to find enough space and mount this device. Plus, the increased size makes sense due to this joystick-esque setup next to the screen that lets you easily and comfortably manage the device's settings.

The OLED screen makes these settings accessible too, enough to quickly figure them out and fine-tune the tech. Like most detectors, this device boasts 360-degree protection, which is not necessarily something to write home about considering the product's price tag. We cannot say the same about the company's patented anti-falsing tech though. Using GPS and the exact frequency, the tech learns and remembers false alerts from the moving In-Vehicle Technology sources. These sources include collision avoidance systems and adaptive cruise control. In other words, you'll only be hearing what is important and nothing else.

The voice warnings will enable hands-free operation, providing crystal-clear communication. Based on the speed you're moving at, the alerts will be tailored to fit the location and movement. To rephrase, you'll have no issues keeping your eyes on the road without any distractions.

Review of Escort MAX360 Laser Radar Detector

Defender Database

High performance and long detection range are not the only things that sell the company's products. These days, the ESCORT app does that as much as anything. The app will send you police threats warning that's been reported around you by other Escort Detector users. You'll be receiving the alerts tailored to fit your drive based on various factors like speed and the device's settings.

As these threats increase, the app's Detector Tools will let you stay ahead of them. These tools include thousands of pre-loaded locations. Plus, you'll be able to add your very own "hot spots" too, creating what the company refers to as Defender Database that will provide protection wherever the road may take you.

The application drains the smartphone's battery pretty quickly though, which is the only thing we have against the company's app.

Besides that, Escort MAX360 will let you avoid any trouble and drive comfortably without worrying about tickets and warnings.

Escort MAX360 Laser Radar Detector in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Uniden R3DSP R3

Remember and Mute Them

The Uniden R3 is more accurate than most detectors. That being said, it is not as newbie-friendly as these devices usually are. You'll have to make sure to adjust its sensitivity properly. Otherwise, you'll be hearing false alerts galore. That's pretty much where the product's disadvantages end though.

The company's advanced false alert tech, when used right, will make sure you're able to drive without any distractions. It will have no issues blocking most alerts coming from collision avoidance tech and blind-spot monitoring systems.

Plus, using the built-in GPS module, this device will let you "remember" and mute common false alerts (like retail store automatic doors). In other words, you won't have to listen to the same false alerts twice when driving standard routes.

You'll also be able to mark geographical points where you usually encounter radars (school zones, red-light cameras, and those places where the authorities frequently monitor traffic). Once that's done, the detector will announce that these points are ahead when you're approaching them.

With the Uniden R3, you also get an extensive pre-loaded red light and speed camera locations database that is regularly updated to make sure you're never caught off-guard.

Review of Uniden R3DSP R3 Dsp Extremely Long-Range Radar Detector

The Right Screen

Of course, what separates these devices before anything else is the tech. Having said that, when the tech is top-notch but the unit is inconvenient, uncomfortable, and/or inaccessible, these products do not sell as great as you'd think. That's not an issue here though.

Measuring 4.33" x 2.72" x 1.16", the unit is very compact. The large buttons make the controls and settings easily accessible.

At the same time, the multi-color screen is large and easy to read, displaying more useful information at once than most detectors. As you would imagine, with more info immediately accessible, the device is able to improve your overall situational awareness.

What's more, you can adjust the screen's brightness, making the information easy to read even under direct sunlight.

Long story short, the Uniden R3 more than justifies the price. Setting its sensitivity and advanced tech aside, the device's plenty practical, easy to mount yet just as easy to disconnect from the mounting brackets.

Uniden R3DSP R3 Dsp Extremely Long-Range Radar Detector in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Escort IX

Aesthetics Can Tip the Scales Too

Escort IX is up there with the smartest detectors. Though we're referring to the device's tech before anything else, we can very much extend the same sentiment towards its sleek and streamlined profile.

Mixing silver and black, the unit looks smooth and polished, something that we do not necessarily value that much as far as these devices are concerned but also something that makes the product that much more attractive and able to flow with cars' increasingly high-tech interiors more than most detectors.

Despite its polish accents though, the unit is highly accessible. The buttons are not especially large and even somewhat grouped together yet large enough to let you comfortably manage the device's settings without misclicking.

You definitely won't be able to miss the massive mute button, which is great since that's the button you'll be pressing the most and the button you'd want to be able to find and push as quickly as possible.

The OLED screen's not what we would describe as sizable yet wide and spacious enough to accommodate multiple values/information pieces simultaneously.

Before pivoting towards the device's tech and settings, the relatively standard package includes this nice little travel case that will let you comfortably carry and bring the unit with you, the 12-volt power cord that powers the device and the mounting bracket that, surprisingly enough, lets you mount the unit. The bracket is relatively flimsy, especially when compared to the oddly tough device, so we would recommend treading with caution.

Review of Escort IX Laser Radar Detector

AutoLearn™ Technology

Now, the AutoLearn™ tech is where things get fun. Using GPS intelligence, IVT filtering, and automatic sensitivity faculties, the tech is able to all but eliminate false alerts, learning the routes you take and varying the sensitivity according to the vehicle's speed.

Generally speaking, the device provides all the information you need to make the best decisions possible. From vehicle speed to laser band and signal strength, the screen displays them all to make sure you're fully informed.

At the same time, the Escort Live app will let you share and receive 100+ million alerts, including red-light and speed cameras' locations, live traffic updates, speed limits, and police radars.

Bottom line, the Escort IX will make sure you're able to avoid any trouble without driving especially conservatively. Add to that the affordable price and you can easily recommend this reliable device to most drivers.

Escort IX Laser Radar Detector in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Uniden DFR7

More Than Accessible

The Uniden DFR7 keeps things relatively simple (as simple as these high-tech devices can be). Though the tech is all there, the device comes without various gimmicky settings, making things quickly and easily accessible.

The unit measures 4.33" x 2.72" x 1.16", meaning that it is even more compact than most radar detectors, obscuring the view even less than these devices usually do. Despite the decreased size, the device is very easy to use. The Mute and Mark buttons have been moved beside the screen, making the standard power, menu, and volume buttons easy to separate.

The Menu button also doubles as the Dim button that you can use to dim the bright screen when necessary. You probably won't be doing that especially often though since, despite its brightness, the screen has no anti-glare coating, so you'll need all that brightness to be able to read the information under direct sunlight.

On the upside, the said information includes the band frequency, current speed, altitude, battery voltage, and even the clock. You can make the screen display all these values at the same time or separate them.

Also on the upside is the unit's completely black finish which allows the device to basically disappear into its surroundings, making the detector less visible to the prying eyes.

Review of Uniden DFR7 Super Long Range Radar/Laser Detection

Ample Reaction Time

Performance-wise, the device's nothing to complain about. It is able to detect radars within 0.45 miles, which is more than enough time to adjust the speed and more than most detectors within this price range will give you.

From the alert features standpoint, the most standout one is the over-speed alert. You can set any maximum speed limit you want and when you're starting to exceed that limit, the device will make sure to notify you. In other words, this speed detection mechanism will let you comfortably maintain the allowed speed without relying on the device finding the radars beforehand.

At the same time, the features are somewhat limited. You cannot set the device to automatically mute the alerts, so you'll always have to do so manually. The unit also does not tell you where the radar is coming from but that's always the case with detectors within this price bracket.

To sum this up, the Uniden DFR7 is an excellent choice for people who usually do not drive especially crazy but would like to avoid the occasional tickets nonetheless. The device does not match its high-end peers' performance but outshines most detectors that come at similar prices.

Uniden DFR7 Super Long Range Radar/Laser Detection in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Cobra RAD 450

Rad Enough

The Cobra RAD 450 is pretty rad, despite its flaws. Well, flaws plural is not necessarily accurate. As far as we're concerned, the only issue with this device is the lack of a GPS module. Apart from that, there's not much separating this product from most detectors. The overall dimensions are fairly standard, measuring 4.35” x 2.8” x 1.3”.

The unit looks less modern and streamlined than the detectors we've reviewed above but these devices' aesthetics are not something that drivers usually care about.

What's more important is that the buttons are huge and easy to access. The screen is pretty small but the values' design is eye-catching and unique enough, with large identification icons and numeric signal strength meters.

The fact that the volume buttons have been removed in favor of this little toggle wheel on the side is a pretty smart decision too since that enabled the people behind this product to make the other four buttons larger.

The Dim button will let you quickly increase and reduce the screen's brightness, the Sensitivity button will enable quick sensitivity adjustments, and the Mute button will allow you to quickly mute the alerts. Last but not least, you'll be using the Menu button to access the device's various settings, including backlighting that lets you comfortably use the device come nighttime.

Review of Cobra RAD 450 Laser Radar Detector

Still Enough Time

Of course, considering the fact that the device costs 2-3 less than most radar detectors, its performance is not as impressive as these mid-range and high-end detectors. That being said, this budget unit will usually have no issues detecting the three radar bands that police use these days (K-, Ka-, and X-bands). The relatively short range (usually around 0.3 miles) compared to more expensive detectors still gives you enough time to adjust the speed when you receive the alert.

As far as highway driving is concerned, where the radar gun's aimed down the road and not at any angles (also, with no obstructions), the range extends to 2 miles, which is the case with most detectors. Needless to say, when there are obstructions involved and the radar gun is angled at least 90 degrees, the range shortens exponentially.

Last but not least, you can make the alerts as loud and as quiet as you want, that somewhat goes without saying. You can also choose between English and Spanish announcements, which is not something that we can say about most detectors' firmware.

In short, the Cobra RAD 450 is as good as radar detectors below 150 bucks come.

Cobra RAD 450 Laser Radar Detector in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

What Is a Radar Detector?

Driving a car is usually the only convenient way you can get from point A to point B. The issue here is that convenience is a relative term, especially as far as the moving speed is concerned. Sure, sometimes speed limits make more than enough sense.

Sometimes though, they're completely nonsensical. There's nothing wrong with speeding when you don't go too overboard but the authorities do not necessarily agree with that, hence these radar detectors.

Using these devices, you'll be able to ease your mind knowing that you'll be warned about radars beforehand, so you can focus on enjoying the drive. Usually, these devices measure no more than ~5” x 3” x 1.3”, so you can easily mount them onto the window without obstructing too much view.

Sure, high-end radar detectors are relatively expensive but you'll receive that money back from not paying the speeding tickets sooner than you'd expect.

LED fog lights will work wonders together with these detectors, letting you comfortably drive at night without slowing down, while these brake pads will significantly extend the brakes' service life.

What Features to Compare

Type

Before anything else, you have to understand and choose the right detector type. Old detectors are only able to detect radio bands, which is not great since radar guns these days usually use light detection and ranging as much as they use radio waves. That's why you should be looking into the units that are able to do both - detect laser signals and radio interferences.

Operating Bands

Police change the operating bands all the time, so these devices should be able to detect the bands that the finest use. Of course, detectors come equipped with radio receivers that let you adjust and switch between different bands and frequencies. At the same time, most people usually don't want to waste time on these settings, so the people behind these devices make sure to set them to the police's operating bands from the get-go. Apart from that, there's also the laser range, usually somewhere around 900 nm to give you enough time to adjust the speed.

Detection Angle

Generally speaking, the police hide radars behind different obstructions and angle them to confuse these detectors. That's why the best radar detectors should be able to detect directional signals as well as front and rear signals, providing 360-degree detection.

Extras

These include various different parts and elements. First, radar detectors usually incorporate OLED screens since these make the information more readable. Typically, these devices come equipped with GPS modules to avoid collision avoidance systems, mute common false alerts, learn the routes, and more. When that's the case, these devices are also usually compatible with companies' apps that provide you with pre-loaded locations and different tools to enable the most accurate and informed drive.

Other than that, some detectors are adopting various Automatic Learning mechanisms that use IVT filtering, automatic sensitivity systems, and various technologies to minimize false alerts, adjust the device's sensitivity according to the car's speed, and so on.

The housing matters too. Usually painted black, these devices become much less noticeable, which is what you normally want from them.

Accessories

There's not much that you receive with these units besides mounting brackets and the 12-volt power cord to utilize the cigar lighter socket. Sometimes, the companies throw complementary travel cases/pouches to make transportation more comfortable.

How These Things Work

Even the most law-abiding citizens speed because the speeding limits can be arbitrary and even downright ridiculous sometimes. This phenomenon is so prevalent and accepted everywhere that there are even these specialized electronic devices called radar detectors that often allow drivers to get away with speeding. These devices have been around since the 1970s and they're only becoming more and more popular.

Measuring the Speed

To figure out how these devices work though, we first have to understand what they're detecting. As you would imagine, measuring the vehicle's speed is not necessarily the most complicated/complex concept. The speed guns that the police use are basically receivers and transmitters packed into one unit. Using radio waves, these devices are able to detect and record different objects' speed. Technically speaking, these guns are unable to detect the object's speed. They are, however, able to measure the distance between the incoming object and the unit and calculate the time it'd take the object to reach the unit, basically figuring out its speed.

Radio Approach

Since these radars are using radio waves, that means they're sticking to certain frequencies. More often than not, these are the X-band (~10.525 GHz), the K-band (~24.150 GHz), and the Ka-band (~34.700 GHz). Radar detectors are usually able to detect when there are radar guns nearby (0.2 - 2 miles, depending on factors like guns' angle, obstructions, and more) scanning the area. Of course, these operating bands change from time to time, hence the race between the police and the people behind these detectors to outwit each other.

Lasers?

Setting radio waves aside, cutting-edge radars are also able to use lasers to detect the object's speed. First, the gun calculates the time it'll take an infrared light burst to reach the car, bounce off the vehicle, and return back to its starting point. Then, the system multiplies the results by the speed of light, figuring out the distance between them and repeating the aforementioned formula that radio guns use to calculate the object's speed.

Despite the police efforts, radar detectors these days are usually able to battle these laser signals too. Sometimes, they're able to jam the signal. Sometimes, these devices detect the beam beforehand, giving the person behind the steering wheel enough time to adjust the speed.

Caution is Always Necessary

Of course, as sophisticated as these devices are, it is important to remember that even the most expensive detectors do not work 100% of the time. Sometimes, that's the case because the police have introduced new tech and the people behind the detector's firmware have been unable to update the software. Sometimes, the new tech makes these detectors obsolete, so you're forced to dump the device and purchase a new one. All that being said, these detectors are still worth the investment, even when you do not drive especially recklessly all that often. The tickets are just too much, so there's nothing wrong about trying to avoid them. As long as you exercise common sense, you should have no moral qualms about using these devices.

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Publish Date: 2020-02-20 15:42:56