Looking for the best radar detector? Well, the device should have the following key features. First, the ability to control volume in case of false readings. Secondly, the unit should have a long-range sensor while the range of the electronic frequency should include Ka, K, and X bands that are used by police officers. And finally, those who happen to drive at night would find it helpful to have a device with an LCD display. We believe that Whistler radar detector fits all the essential criteria and will really help drivers to avoid speeding fines.
Why have we picked it? This is a high-performance laser radar detector. Apart from having a volume control and light-up display, the device has a range that includes X, K, Ka, V, and L bands. And finally, it has multiple benefits, such as 360-degree protection, voice alerts, and internal GPS.
This guide examines TOP-5 best radar detectors and the differences between their types. What are the advantages and downsides of corded, cordless, and remote-mount models? Learn how these devices work and whether the detector will be able to sense a radar even though it is not being pointed at the driver. A comparison chart is intended to make it easier for you to decide which model is more suitable for you.
What You Will Learn From This Guide:
- How does a radar detector work?
- What are the types of best radar detectors?
- TOP-5 best radar detectors
If you are not a tech person, you probably do not know what a radar detector is. If you do and you have always thought that they are expensive extras for enthusiasts to get and use a couple of times, then you would be surprised just how useful and beneficial using one in the span of a few years can be.
How Does a Radar Detector Work?
A radar, like those the police use to see how fast a car is going, emits radio waves that are unseen to the human eye because they travel at the speed of light. The radio waves bounce off of where the radar is pointed at and back to the radar for a reading.
This is when a detector comes into play, sensing the radio waves that are directed at it and reacting, usually by making noise or blinking depending on the product.
One of the biggest concerns people have with them is if the detector will be able to sense a radar even if it is not being pointed at them. The answer can vary from product to product, but it is usually yes since radio waves are direct, they tend to bounce off objects like other cars.
What Are The Types of Best Radar Detectors and Their Differences?
The three main types of radar laser detectors are corded, cordless, and remote-mount and these all mainly pertain to how and where they are mounted and less with their functionality.
Corded ones usually need to be mounted on a windshield, typically by a suction cup. They tend to be more reliable, but easier to spot by police. This can be a legal issue since some states specifically have laws from attaching objects to the windshield.
Cordless ones are favored for their transferability between vehicles and their easy to install process.
Remote-mount ones are not for people who plan to get rid of their car soon since they are permanently installed into the vehicle. They are nearly impossible to be seen from the outside of the car if they are installed correctly.
TOP-5 Best Radar Detector Review
Take a look at a review of TOP-5 products at a price ranging from $70 to $400. Some of them are more portable while others have a wider range. All these models have a volume control and light-up display and come with a warranty and a 4-year protection plan.
9-Band Cobra Radar Detector with 360 Degree Detection | ESD7570
Starting off with one of the most affordable choices, this detector has the typical design and shape, rectangular with angled corners. When first looking at it, you can see that it has colored text on the screen which allows it to be read easily in a quick glance.
The mounting bracket and suction cups are less noticeable than they appear, almost being completely unseen if positioned right. Also, the larger than average buttons are all far enough apart that it would be pretty difficult to accidentally press one while you were trying to press another. One thing that is a little harder to notice is the small volume wheel that is on the left side beside the dim button.
Because of how reliable it is, the fact that it is FCC compliant, it provides 360-degree detection, and has a safety transmitter that can alert you when there is a train, emergency vehicles, or road hazard conditions, it is one of the most popular products out there.
Cobra Radar Detector ESD7570: Check the current price
ESCORT Radar Detector with Voice Alerts
Having more of a flat design along with a silver color, a less common trait, this product is a little more tricked out with the extra features. All of the basic controls are on the top of the detector which includes the power, volume, and range controls.
However, it also comes with Bluetooth that links with your phone GPS to memorize where any and all false readings are where you have been in the past and prevents them from going off again.
It also comes with an escort advantage, having access to many different locations that have been marked as "hot spots" where there is a lot of radar activity. Then, a voice warning goes off so that you do not have to look at it. Another extra feature that it has is it has its own speedometer so that if it does go off and you look at it as a reflex, you will instantly know how fast you are going. Escort is also recommended as a motorcycle radar detector and can be used in the cage.
ESCORT Radar Detector IX: Check the current price
Professional Series Beltronics Radar Detector | RX65-Red
Another product that is silver and has all controls on the top, one of the physical differences it has with the others on this list is that the text on the screen is only red. Despite what many people think, it is still bright enough to be seen while it is on.
The biggest performance feature it has when compared with the others, it can be programmed with up to 7 different options depending on your preference while you are driving. That, and it has an auto-scan setting that helps to differentiate actual radars from things that would cause a false reading.
Like one of the earlier products, it has a safety warning that goes off with the same hazards, but this one also has weather warnings as well. If you like everything it has and comes with, but you do not like the red light, which is the case for some, then you should be relieved to know that this same model is also available with blue lights instead of red ones.
Beltronics Radar Detector RX65-Red: Check the current price
Whistler Radar Detector with Internal GPS | CR90
Looking a lot like the first product, this detector has a slightly more professional and stylish look between the green text on the screen and the green accents near the mounting area.
The button arrangement is a little different though since there are a few more. The turning volume control is on the left side while the power outlet is on the right. The top buttons are paired together, two on each side, with the dark and quiet setting on the left and the city and highway setting on the right.
In terms of performance, it is very similar to the second product since it has voice alerts and an internal GPS. What sets this one apart is the USB port opposite of the volume control which can be attached to a phone to update the map on speed limits and red light locations, and it has 6 different filter modes that help to reduce or completely stop false readings, helping to make it one of the more popular choices.
Whistler CR90: Check the current price
Long-Range Radar Detector | Uniden R3
This model is possibly one of the more unique looking since it has a simplified design with a low-resolution screen and front and top buttons. The top buttons are the power, menu, and volume controls while the front ones are the mute/dim and mark buttons.
The most noticeable part of the design is that the suction cups are all black and not clear at all, which is more likely to be noticed unless you have tinted windows. Many people do not bother with replacing these suction cups, and they just install them right under or around their rear view mirror which can hide it pretty well.
Otherwise, it is very similar to the last product, minus a few of the extra bells and whistles. It comes with a GPS that gives off alerts when nearing a red light with a camera, has a quiet mode so that the speed monitor does not go off frequently, and it has several filters to prevent or stop false readings.
An additional feature is that it comes with a single and a double suction cup bracket for your own personal preference.
Uniden R3: Check the current price
Comparative Chart of Radar Detector Effectiveness
Cobra Radar Detector ESD7570
Dimensions: 2.7 x 1.3 x 4.1 in
ESCORT Radar Detector IX
Dimensions: 5.1 x 2.9 x 1.2 in
Beltronics Radar Detector RX65-Red
Dimensions: 6.5 x 11 x 2 in
Dimensions: 4.93 x 3.12 x 1.31 in
Dimensions: 9 x 4 x 7 in
What to Look for When Buying
While false readings are not as common in the higher quality radar detectors, they still happen, and this can cause it to go off for a while. If you are the type of person that gets easily distracted while driving, especially by a continuous noise, then this is a very important feature to have.
Many long term users of detectors have said that many of the cheaper priced ones are equally cheap in quality. This is usually because their sensors are so poor that they cannot filter out frequencies from anything nearby and think that everything is a radar.
Some cheaper quality ones also have very poor sensors that only get a signal when you are a few dozen feet away, which is not exactly effective if you are driving relatively fast.
In the case of quality and reliability, the more expensive ones are worth the money for a well-working product.
This can mean one of two things when talking about detectors: the physical range that it can sense the radar and the range of the electronic frequency that it can detect (Ka, K, X, etc.).
Physically, you should consider getting a radar with a long-range sensor. Not only will it give you an earlier heads up, but it is also far less likely to be a false reading since these have higher quality sensors.
In terms of the range of frequency, since police officers use Ka, K, Ku, and X most often, the radar detector should have at least half of these if you want to be able to have a good chance to sense them. Most detectors come with at least two or three of these plus a few extras.
If you are fond of driving at night, having a detector that has an LCD screen, especially an adjustable one, is something you might want to have. Many if not all of these do come with LCD screens, but there are a few out there, even the high-quality ones, that do not.
City and Highway mode
False alerts are especially common in cities with high-quality detectors, especially the big metropolitan areas. If you use one with a low-level sensor, then you would not get a reading quick enough when you aren't in the city.
Having a detector with a control that can switch between high and low sensitivity can be more reliable and dependable.
What is the best radar detector?
Out of this top 5 list, the best one is probably the Whistler CR90 High Performance Laser Radar Detector: 360 Degree Protection, Voice Alerts, and Internal GPS, which was the fourth on the list. It came pretty close to the second product, the ESCORT IX, but because of the design, the features, and the higher quality performance, the Whistler CR90 won.
It is also one of the more affordable and popular models, too.
Is this device illegal?
It can vary from state to state and even country to country. Most states do not even have any laws about using a radar detector in your car.
Can radar detectors be detected?
Visually, yes, they can. Many are designed to be mounted front he front dashboard or on the windshield, depending on the design. While these can be a dead give away, there are some radar detectors out there that are 'stealth' meaning they can be installed in areas that will not be easily seen.
How many bands should a radar detector have?
Simply put, bands are just the frequency that the radio waves are being operated at. These frequencies are grouped by a set range, also known as a band. Out of the 4 bands that are used by police, X, Ku, K, and Ka Band, the only ones that are really used regularly are X, K, and Ka.
What does K band mean on a radar detector?
Looking back on the last question, K is a band or range of the frequency that the radio is operating at, and it is also called Kurz which is German for "short". The Ku, K, and Ka frequency range between 12 and 40GHz collectively.
Pros & Cons
One of the most obvious pros that come with using police radar detectors is that they can save you a lot of money when it comes to speeding tickets. It can outweigh the biggest con that they have: they are very expensive.
The average cost of a decent to well working detector is between 200 and 500 dollars. What you may not realize is that just in the span of 3 to 5 years, it can save you 500 to 700 dollars or more in speeding tickets and the costs that come with them like insurance fees.
Another con that makes people nervous is the fact that these are not entirely legal. However, a pro that overrules it is that they are legal in almost every state in the US and very few have a law against using and owning them.
Now that you know just exactly what they are, how they can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars, which are the best on the market right now, and the legalities behind them, are you considering getting one? If you are, keep an eye out for some of the newer products that will be released within a few years, because every year, the manufacturers make them more and more accurate and reliable from further and further away.