Best Radar Detector

Radar detectors have been available for approximately 40 years and during that time what made one-unit superior to the other has changed. In previous years, the most sensitive device that could alert you from the most significant distance was the most highly valued. However, recent improvements in technology have changed how consumers judge these devices.

What Is A Radar Detector?

A radar detector is a small electronic device that is used by drivers to detect whether or not their speed is being checked by law enforcement. These checks performed by law enforcement could be done from their own vehicles, through the use of radar guns or laser radar guns, or through the use of cameras.

Cameras are frequently employed to establish whether or not a motorist has stopped lawfully at a red traffic light, and modern radar detectors can detect these camera sensors and warn drivers. Radar detectors can detect a range of different bands and signals that use different wavelengths to communicate.

Most of the time, a radar detector is a tool to warn drivers so that they can slow down the speed they are driving and avoid getting a speeding ticket, but newer radar detectors have other capabilities beyond that and can even have custom settings.

Some radar detectors are sensitive enough to detect signals from everyday items such as automatic doors, and many are compatible with mobile devices and include GPS navigation capabilities.

Modern radar detectors can contain an impressive amount of computing power and can scan 360 degrees to find and alert drivers to threats. Some radar detectors scan in real time and share that information with other detectors as part of an online community database.

How We Chose Our Ratings

The best radar detector for your personal use will have multiple features and an easy installation that makes it user-friendly to use. Our ratings reflect real world testing from actual customers that have installed the product, tried out the features, and provided feedback on the user interface.

We’ve gathered data from multiple websites to corner any concerns surrounding false signals, and also ensure the best brand reputation and customer service.

Top 3 Radar Detector Models

The best radar detector can provide various alerts, GPS, and other features to a driver, but not every unit is equal when performing these tasks. Our list of top recommended products reflects feedback from many actual users testing products under real-world conditions.

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Beltronics GT360 - Radar/Laser Detector, Directional Arrows, Fewer...
  • LONG RANGE 360o DETECTION - Supercharged with a powerful Digital Signal Processing (DSP) microprocessor that finds...
  • EMPOWERING INFORMATION FOR QUICK DESICIONS - Defender Database informs you of 1,000's of red light & speed camera...
  • DIRECTIONAL ARROWS - Displays the location of the threat relative to your cars position. Using its High Resolution and...

The Beltronics radar detector works to cover your vehicle with 360 degrees of detection while also collecting data from the driving community about local speeding traps. It has five levels of filtering to create the most precise alerts possible and covers a variety of radar signals including X, K, Ka-POP, KA, and other laser signals.

This small unit is aesthetically attractive as well with easy to press buttons on the top and a small, discreet display on the front panel. It offers standard filtering, intelligent filtering, the ability to create a custom filter, an IVT filter, and an app-based filtering capability.

The unit weighs in at 1.52 pounds and measures 1.4 x 5.4 x 3.6 inches. The OLED display is power efficient, and also gives you information about where an incoming signal is originating. This radar detector also readily pairs with devices using Bluetooth.

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ESCORT MAX360 - Laser Radar Detector, GPS for Fewer False Alerts,...
  • AUTOLEARN TECHNOLOGY - 360° protection and patented anti-falsing technology uses the power of GPS and the exact...
  • REAL-TIME TICKET-PROTECTION - Using ESCORT LIVE! With iPhone or Android receive warnings of police threats around you...
  • CLEAR VOICE ALERTS - Unique voice warnings allow for hands-free operation and provide crystal clear communication. Based...

The Escort Max is another fully featured radar detector with 360 degrees of detection that also features a long range, DSP, and a high level of precision. The unit can detect both radar and laser detection and comes with a database that includes information on thousands of red lights, and other sensors all over North America.

This device claims to have four times the range that other devices have, and also comes with different levels of filtering that can be customized. It has voice alerts, dual language settings, and can connect to the web for faster updates and real-time information.

The Escort comes with a premium grade travel case, a specialized mounting system, and a multi-color display that shows the strength, direction, and type of signal that it is picking up. The Escort Live app provides an additional level of protection against law enforcement speed traps and other methods of detection. 

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Escort Solo S4 Radar Detector - Cordless, Escort Live Crowd Sourcing,...
  • CORDLESS FREEDOM - It's easy to own and operate. No more cords - just mount it, turn it on, and you're ready to go. The...
  • 9 CUSTOMIZABLE FEATURES - The SOLO S4 packs 9-user programmable features, allowing you to customize it for your driving...
  • HIGH-RESOLUTION DISPLAY - A new brilliant OLED display makes the SOLO S4 radar detector intuitive to use and easy to...

The Escort Solo S4 is another excellent device that features a uniquely long range of detection with 360 degrees. It uses DSP technology and multiple sensors to provide alerts using the OLED display. You can customize up to 9 different features and modes for easy use, and this unit is also uniquely cordless.

The Escort is decidedly more straightforward than other models on our list, and this simplicity is a real strength as it makes this unit more travel-ready should you frequently change vehicles. It comes with a travel case and quick reference guide as well as an easy to use mount, and the ability to detect threats in different bands.

This unit may have fewer features than some of the other units, but the quality makes it a high performer at a lower price point than other fancy radar detectors. Customers also report that this unit is far less complicated to use, and has an effective auto-sensitivity mode that reduces the number of false alerts. 

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Buyer’s Guide

 

There is a lot to consider when purchasing a radar detector, but by considering what specifics are most important, you can vastly narrow down your options to one that suits you best.

Features

All radar detectors will come with a user manual to help guide you through the initial set up and explain all of the features that may require customization. By working through the manual you’ll be in a better position to fully utilize the radar detectors’ features an implement them effectively in your vehicle as you commute.

User Experience

Many devices will connect to your mobile device via Bluetooth without much set up required. There are also a number of features that many radar detectors allow users to customize to their liking. How easy the customization is will vary from brand to brand, but many users find modern radar detectors to be very user-friendly.

Budget

Your budget for a radar detector will determine how many features and other capabilities that the device is capable of performing. There are a wide variety of devices available at different price points, and each one will have various features and accessories included.

Once you’ve established your budget for a radar detector, you’ll be able to narrow down your options and decide which features are most important. Pricier devices frequently have GPS features that update regularly and provide real-time data.

Even less expensive radar detectors can be very useful and accurate but will often come with fewer features and less complicated scanning capabilities. The displays will vary regardless of pricing, and other accessories fluctuate based on the brand of device.

Terms to Know

While shopping for the best radar detector for your needs, there may be some recurring terms that appear when the item's features are discussed. Here are the most commonly used ones that you'll want to know:

  • K-Band: This is a typical frequency used by radar guns which are handheld. Handheld radar guns typically operate in the range of 24.05 to 24.25GHz
  • Ka-Band: Law enforcement officers most commonly use this frequency which is in the range of 33.4 to 36.0GHz. Be advised that although this is the most frequently used range, officers have been known to use others as well.
  • X-Band: This band ranges from 10.5 to 10.55 and will catch all radar bands for things such as traffic sensors, law enforcement, automatic doors, and other sensors that are close enough.
  • DSP: Digital Signal Processing involves the use of a microchip that is designed to not only recognize different radar bands, but also prioritize them.

 

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