Radar detectors are merely tools designed to help you avoid costly traffic tickets while giving you a superior level of confidence and more freedom on the road.
Regrettably, even with the best radar detector in the galaxy, you can still get a ticket.
It’s rare that a cop just seats there with his radar always on. He usually only pulls the trigger to get the speed of the desired vehicle he sees coming.
This means that your radar detector must be really good at detecting these pulses aimed at checking the speed of cars far enough ahead so you can slow down. The cars around you are bait to coax the police radar out of hiding otherwise, you won’t know it’s there until it’s already too late.
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
If you live in states or provinces where radar detectors are illegal [Virginia and Washington D.C. in the USA and most provinces in Canada (except BC, AB, & SK)], it’s important you buy a stealth radar detector, which is immune to radar detector detectors. The Beltronics STI Magnum included in this is a great choice but the more expensive Escort Redline is the best alternative.
Also, radar detectors won’t protect you from laser guns which are getting popular in certain states. You can get more information about laser jammers here.
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 differents ways that police officers use a radar gun to get your vehicle speed:
Constant On: 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.
Instant On: 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.
Quick Trigger: 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.
POP: This is a more advanced and faster version of “Quick Trigger” with a 67 milliseconds 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 buying guide
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 on 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 set up. 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.
Like 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.
Best Radar Detector Reviews
1. Escort Max360 – Best radar detector on the market
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 complain 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 detections.
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. If you one the top of the line in radar detection and don’t care about the arrows then the Escort iX is your best choice.
On the reverse, if you absolutely want the arrows but can’t afford the Escort Max360, the Valentine is the best alternative.
That’s really it for the competition for this detector. At just under $500, the Escort iX is the bang for your buck if you are looking the best performance in terms of range, and convenience in terms of being one of the best radar detectors at filtering out false alerts plus being easy to use.
3. Beltronics STi Magnum – Best undetectable radar detector
Just like the Escort Redline the Magnum is immune against radar detector detectors. So if you are in areas where radar detectors are illegal this detector should be on your list.
Essentially the Escort Redline and the Beltronics STi Magnum are very similar in terms of price, performance, and false alert filtering. The Redline beats the Magnum in terms of sensitivity while the Magnum offers a better driving experience in the city with superior filtering.
If maximum performance is on top of your list but you will be driving mostly in the city the Beltronics STi Magnum is your best radar detector.
4. Escort Passport Max2 – Best radar detector under $300
Also just like the Max360, you don’t need anything external such as your phone or any bluetooth adaptor module as it comes with one built-in. You can add some extra stuff to it but everything it needs comes all built-in with the detector.
The Max360 display offers a lot of information that usually needs a phone app to read but now is accessible right on the device and is easy to read and interpret. You can customize the screen to display information such as signal strength, frequency information, speed limit and more.
If you are looking for a powerful yet affordable radar detector for both city and highway driving, the Escort Passport Max360 is a great choice.
5. Uniden DFR6 – Best radar detector under 200$
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 detector 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.
6. Beltronics RX65-Red Professional Series – Best radar detector under $100
The Beltronics RX65-Red is a great affordable radar and laser detector. Under the $100 price, it really had to find a radar detector you can trust. Although not as good as performing as the high-end detectors on this list, you still get Full X, K, and Ka bands support but it’s better to turn X and K bands off to reduce the number of false alarm.
You should keep in mind that X and K bands are outdated technologies and are mostly use for automatic doors 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 $100 to spend, this is the best detector to buy.
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. If money isn’t an issue and you can afford the best of the best, the Escort Max360 is the radar detector you should buy now.
There you have it. If you have more questions, just leave a comment below.