A Radar detector is a lot like your insurance for traffic tickets and fines. And just like your car insurance, higher premiums give you a better protection.
Although even the best radar detector can’t totally guarantee you a ticket-free life, it will certainly give you a superior level of confidence and more freedom on the road.
The latest and top-rated radar detectors will provide you the protection you need while being easy to use and good at filtering false alerts in the city.
Best radar detectors 2017
So how much is avoiding a ticket worth to you? You should keep in mind that the real cost of one traffic ticket includes at least the amount of ticket fine and potentially insurance premium hikes and potentially lawyers fees, the headache, hassle, etc …
However, more expensive is not always equal to more value, that’s why we’ve also tested the best budget radar detectors too.
Best Overall Radar Detector for 2017
Best Value Radar Detector for 2017
Also Worth Considering
Best Radar Detector under $200 for 2017
Best Radar Detector under $150 for 2017
If you live in states or provinces where radar detectors are illegal, such as Virginia and Washington D.C. in the USA and most provinces in Canada (except BC, AB, & SK), we would not recommend purchasing a radar detector, even one that claims to be difficult to detect.
How do radar detectors work?
If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles. – Sun Tzu
The only way your radar detector detects anything is if someone (e.g. a police officer) is transmitting a signal (with a radar gun or laser gun) within a range your radar detector can pick up. Your hope is while the officer is reading other vehicles speed, you detect it in time for you to slow down and prevent a costly ticket.
But if for some reason you happen to be the first vehicle to be radared using one of the methods below, you will definitely get a ticket. This is not your radar’s fault, but just bad luck. Your radar detector only detects other radars when they are emitting a signal.
There are four different ways that police officers use a radar gun to get your vehicle speed:
This is the simplest mode. Basically, the police officer turns their radar gun and leave it on the whole time, scanning anybody and everybody. By doing so the radar gun read the speed of all passing vehicles. Mostly used when driving around in the city by police officers, this is easiest to detect because they are blasting the whole time.
Because of the fact that when using “Constant On” anyone can easily detect the police officer radar, since it’s constantly blasting the signal, using “Instant On” the officer wait and only transmit when he sees a car to target. This too is not an issue to pick up for the best radar detectors on this list. Basically, you will have to be the first car to be targeted within your detector range to get caught.
This is very similar to “Instant On”, the only difference is that the officer has to turn the radar gun on and off very quickly. Doing so, it tries to defeat radar detectors by briefly transmitting the radar signal hoping to be faster than your radar can detect. That’s why getting a sensitive detector is very important if you really want to avoid tickets, which all on this list do very well.
This is a more advanced and faster version of “Quick Trigger” with a 67 millisecond burst of radar frequency. Although all the current radar detectors can pick this up, it’s best to run your radar detector with POP detection turn off. Why? For one, it’s proven that POP radar is quite inaccurate since it’s almost impossible to read the speed within such a short amount of time. Secondly, it’s not legal for issuing tickets. Turning POP off also gives you better performance and fewer false alerts.
Radar Detector Buyer’s Guide – What to look for when buying a radar detector in 2017
There are a couple factors you want to look for when buying a radar detector.
This is one of the most important factors to consider things to in a radar detector. More range will allow you to slow down after you have received an alert. It’s not simple to determine the range of a radar detector because it depends greatly on the environment. However, under the same conditions, some detectors are clearly better than others.
False alerts filtering
Many different things produce same frequencies of radar like automatic doors, red lights cameras, speed traps, police radar guns, and security systems. The best radar detectors are really good at filtering false alerts from real ones. If you are mostly driving around town, you should buy one that’s really good this. Some detectors allow you to manually correct these, others do this automatically.
There are some really cool features you can now get with your radar detector that can make your experience just that much better. Things like voice alert, digital compass, LED display, dual antenna, safety road warnings can help to avoid getting tickets but really optional. Some are just added to increase the perceived value. If you are on the budget, make sure to steer away from trivial features and focus on performance and alert filtering capabilities.
Ease of use
Some radar detectors are just really too complicated to use and setup. If you want don’t want to spend a lot of time setting up mobile apps, bluetooth and other gizmos the Redline Max360 is the easiest to use of the bunch. It’s also one of the most expensive.
As mentioned above, yes you can save money by going with a less expensive detector, but when you factor other potential costs if you get caught speeding you quickly realize that the higher price is pretty much your insurance policy. If you are depending on this product to help you out, that’s not an area to cut corners and try saving money. You may agree or not, that’s totally cool but that’s my take on budget radar detectors.
Our Radar Detector Reviews
Finding the best radar detector for your needs can be a little overwhelming. With so many choices it’s hard to really identify the ones that will serve us best.
As we mentioned the start, if you just want to know which one to get, the Escort Max360 is the radar detector you should go for.
However if you would like to know exactly why we like each of the radar detectors on our list, read on and we will delve into each one in more detail.
Escort Max 360 Radar Detector Review – Our Best Overall Radar Detector
The Escort Max360 is the definitely the best radar detector for most people. It’s incredibly easy to use and comes with a lot of features.
Unlike most radar detectors where you have to pair it with your phone, the Max360 is an all-in-one unit. The automatic GPS lockout is a great feature which works great, but you also have the option the manually mute false alerts.
Since it has the bluetooth chip built-in, you can easily pair it with your phone without additional hardware and have that nice interface where you can get all kind of information right in your hand.
One of the main complaint for the Escort Max360 is that it’s not as good at filtering blind spot radar alerts as the Radenso XP or the Valentine One. Aside from that, this radar detector is the go-to choice if you don’t want to become an expert in radar detection.
Escort iX Long Range Radar Detector Review – Best Value Radar Detector
The iX is one of the newest models of the Escort line. It comes packed with all the features of the Escort Max360 except the directional arrows to indicate where the threat is coming from.
This is also one of the best radar detectors at filtering out false alerts, so if you are not too worried about where the radar is, you just want to know it’s there, this is an excellent choice.
So if you are looking the best performance in terms of range, plus being easy to use, at just under $500, the Escort iX is the bang for your buck.
Unlike the Escort Redline, the Passport Max2 comes packed with a lot of great features. Despite this fact, the Max2 still lack behind the Redline in terms of performance.
Also just like the Max360, you don’t need anything external such as your phone or any bluetooth adaptor module as it comes with one built-in. You can add some extra stuff to it but everything it needs comes all built-in with the detector.
The Max360 display offers a lot of information that usually needs a phone app to read but now is accessible right on the device and is easy to read and interpret. You can customize the screen to display information such as signal strength, frequency information, speed limit and more.
If you are looking for a powerful yet affordable radar detector for both city and highway driving, the Escort Passport Max360 is a great choice.
Uniden DFR6 Review – Best radar detector under 200$
Despite its entry-level price, the Uniden DFR6 offers a great performance for a relatively cheaper price. For a such a low price you get a performance similar to high-end radar detectors such as the Passport Max2 or the Radenso XP. Additionally, you get a very capable detector at filtering blind spot alerts.
What you sacrifice for the price is that it doesn’t have a GPS chip so it won’t be the best radar detector to use in town. When filtering false alerts this is going to be the big difference between this detector and other more expensive detectors on this list.
If you are primarily going to be driving on the highway and can’t afford more than $200 for a more capable unit, then the Uniden DFR6 is your best choice.
Beltronics RX65-Red Professional Review – Best radar detector under $150
You should keep in mind that X and K bands are outdated technologies and are mostly used for automatic door openers. Most law enforcement officers use Ka bands radar detectors. So if you buy this detector and you are getting a lot of false alarms in the city, remember to turn off the K and X bands.
If you only have a small budget to spend, this is the best detector to buy.
There you have it. If you have more questions, just leave a comment below.
- 1 Best radar detectors 2017
- 2 How do radar detectors work?
- 3 Radar Detector Buyer’s Guide – What to look for when buying a radar detector in 2017
- 4 Our Radar Detector Reviews
- 4.1 Escort Max 360 Radar Detector Review – Our Best Overall Radar Detector
- 4.2 Escort iX Long Range Radar Detector Review – Best Value Radar Detector
- 4.3 Escort Passport Max2 Review
- 4.4 Uniden DFR6 Review – Best radar detector under 200$
- 4.5 Beltronics RX65-Red Professional Review – Best radar detector under $150
- 4.6 Related