Best Radar Detector

UPDATED NOVEMBER 2018​

With a solid radar detector in your car, you can avoid speeding tickets and police officers. Our shopping guide tells you how to pick the best radar detector for 2018.

BEST RADAR
DETECTOR 2018

BOTTOM LINE

With 360-degree detection, this radar detector will identify police cars in all directions around you. It has a brighter than average digital display and a volume control for convenient use.

PROS

This handy little radar detector can notify you about any obstacles or police that you pass on the road. Not only does it tell you when it detects a signal, but it also tells you how close that signal is to your vehicle.

CONS

It can produce a false alarm because it picks up other signals around your vehicle. Some users thought it was better for highway use than in the city.

BOTTOM LINE

This Escort model is one of the best of the best because it has a longer range and can detect all types of radar used by law enforcement today. It is quite dependable too and won’t give you the false signals that others do.

PROS

With an extensive speed alert, this model can help you stay aware of police officers at both higher and lower speeds. It uses GPS to significantly reduce the false alerts you would otherwise get.

CONS

The iX is definitely cost prohibitive for some, especially those who have less money on hand. A few users also thought that the display was too dark.

BOTTOM LINE

As the R3 uses GPS satellites to find your current location, it produces fewer false alerts than other models do. It also detects all bands and shows you exactly what it found on a bright display.

PROS

Not only does the R3 keep you informed of police on the streets, but it can also tell you about upcoming red lights. This model filters out false results and alerts caused by other signals also.

CONS

Some found that this model came with a dead battery that would never charge or that the battery stopped charging later. There were issues with the radar detector shutting itself off too.

BOTTOM LINE

Thanks to a display that shows your current speed and other info, this model can replace your GPS unit. It detects law enforcement signals up to three miles away and runs quietly as you drive.

PROS

A lockout feature lets you tell the radar detector when it issued a false alert and keep it from picking up that signal later. Many like that it provides information about speed cameras and red lights too.

CONS

This model doesn’t have as many reviews as others, but it did have some complaints from shoppers who found that it shut itself down or that it produced too many false alerts.

BOTTOM LINE

As one of the top radar detectors for those who want one they can customize, this Valentine One model allows you to change the settings based on how you use it. This one also comes with a bracket for convenient use.

PROS

This Valentine One radar detector will pick up all bands used by police, including K and Ka bands. It has arrows on the front that light up to show you the direction of those signals in regards to your vehicle.

CONS

Some reviewers found that this model was too sensitive and that it picked up too many false signals. It is also one of the more expensive radar detectors available and may have too many features for you.

Shopping Guide for the Best Radar Detector

When you cruise down the highway and see those flashing red and blue lights behind you, you might feel your heart sink. A speeding ticket can cost you money and may require that you take a day off work for court too. Using the best radar detector of 2018 in your car can help you spot those cops on the road and lower your speed before that cop spots you. The best radar detector for you might be one that has a longer range or one with a mute feature that you can use when driving with your kids.

Some of the top radar detectors of 2018 also come with new features such as voice commands and monitoring features that will detect all types of bands. Both the local police departments in your area and the sheriffs use different bands to track speeders on the road. It’s important that you choose a model that can pick up all those bands to avoid all types of tickets. You may want to look at the display and whether it comes with mounting hardware too. Our shopping guide to the best radar detectors will help you learn more about these handy devices and to pick one for your own car.

Shopping guide for best radar

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Selection Criteria

There is no one size fits all approach to buying a new radar detector. Someone who spends hours on the road every day and puts thousands of miles on a vehicle each week needs a different model than someone who simply drives to work and back daily. The right model for you can also depend on where you drive. If you primarily drive on highways, you might need a different device than someone who spends more time on the city and residential streets. We worked with our team and with some experts to track down the five best radar detectors that are suitable for all types of drivers. The models that we found will help you as you drive in the future too.

We first turned to auto and tech experts to see which radar detectors they thought were the best buys of the year. Their advice led us to create a list of more than 20 models that we then found on Amazon. We removed models with outdated technology and those that produce a large number of false alerts. Then we looked at customer reviews and ranked the products based on those reviews. That left us with the five best models that are worth your investment.

Selection

Features Found on the Top Radar Detectors

  • Band detection
  • False alert/alarm detection
  • Price
  • Mounting hardware included
  • Software

Who Will Benefit from a Radar Detector?

No matter how carefully you pay attention to the road, you might miss out on a speed trap or a speed camera attached to a stoplight. A radar detector lets you keep an eye on your speed when needed and still drive as fast as you want. Those who might benefit from using one in their own vehicles include:

  • Anyone who likes taking long road trips with their family and friends
  • Drivers who use their own vehicles for work purposes
  • Shoppers who have one or more points on their licenses
  • Those who often receive speeding tickets
  • Anyone who drives through new areas on a regular basis

As long as you leave the radar detector on, it will continuously monitor all the areas around your car and detect the most popular radar and laser bands used by law enforcement professionals. It will beep and/or produce lights when it picks up on those signals. You can place one on your dashboard or use one on your windshield. Some models are small enough that you can place it in the console of your car too. Radar detectors are suitable for use in any type of vehicle, including commercial vans and trucks.

Dangers of Getting Multiple Speeding Tickets

  • High fines
  • Court costs
  • Points on your license
  • Higher insurance rates
  • Loss of your license
Who Will Benefit from a Radar Detector (1)

Though Cobra calls this a no-frills model, it still does everything you need a radar detector to do. It’s also one of the cheapest models we found, which makes it perfect for those who want to save money on a radar detector. This model can detect all the different signals that law enforcement professionals use and will let you know where those signals come from in the vicinity. It does a good job of both telling you when it detects a signal and how strong that signal is, which will tell you how close the officer is to your vehicle.

Best Radar Detector Cobra 9-Band Performance RadarLaser Detector
Cobra 9-Band Performance Radar/Laser Detector

We like that this model has 360-degree detection too. That means that it will monitor all areas around your car for any signals or technology that police use today. Some customers did find that it produced a false signal though, especially in residential areas where there are more signals. If you spend a lot of time driving on the highway though, you’ll like this model. It has a bright display to help you see all the alerts at night. The volume control on the side looks like a small knob and lets you change the volume of the alerts as needed.

Portable vs. Installed Models

When most people think of radar detectors, they think of the portable models that they used in the past. There is a second option, which is an installed model. To get one of these, you need to visit a mechanic or a car parts store in your area and buy the device. If you buy one from a mechanic, the shop can install it for you. When you buy one online or from a parts store, you’ll need to either install it yourself or find someone who can install it. The radar detector will become a permanent part of your car and part of your dash. The device will get energy from the motor.

As installed models are quite expensive and come with a number of problems, we focused on portable models for our list. You can use one anywhere in your car and switch it between vehicles as needed. Portable radar detectors are less expensive and usually sell for $500 or less. You’ll find some more affordable options too, which we’ll talk about in another section. Portable radar detectors do a good job of picking up any law enforcement radars or signals in the vicinity and will show you information about those signals.

Portable Radar WITH TEXT

Benefits of a Portable Radar Detector

  • Mounting options: With a portable model, you can mount the radar detector in various ways around your car. The most popular options include on the dashboard and on the windshield. Those used on a dash might move as you drive and slide around in your car though. Most models come with some type of mounting tools.
  • Charging choices: You’ll get a cord that helps you easily charge your radar detector without connecting it to your motor too. This cord plugs into the same cigarette lighter or adapter that you might use for your phone. Once the model charges, you can unplug it and use it without that cord.
  • Use in multiple cars: The number one reason why shoppers pick portable models over installed radar detectors is that they can use one in more than one car. You can pop it in your main vehicle when you drive to work every day and then use it your SUV before taking off on a road trip. Many also like that they can use one in their work and personal vehicles. Not only can you use your radar detector in your personal vehicle on road trips, but you can also plug it into the commercial truck or van that you drive for work.
Benefits of a Portable Radar Detector

What Signals Can a Radar Detector Pick Up?

  • Electronic garage doors
  • Radios signals
  • Garage door openers
  • Automatic store doors
  • Television signals

Corded vs. Cordless Radar Detectors

Though there are both corded and cordless radar detectors available, most drivers find that one fits their needs better than the other does. Cordless models are popular with those who drive more than one vehicle on a regular basis. You can set it in your console or use it on your dashboard. It comes with a charger that lets you charge it either in your home or in your car. The biggest downside to this type is that it will often move around in your car. If you take a corner too quickly, you can expect to see the device slide across the dash and land in your floor.

Corded models are popular with those who want to avoid false alerts and get accurate information. These radar detectors mount on your windshield and have a cord that you’ll plug into your cigarette lighter or adapter. As this type sits higher up in your car and has a clear view of the outside world, it will typically produce more accurate alerts and warnings. Corded radar detectors tend to produce fewer false alerts too. Some of these models have an internal battery that you can charge with the cord before unplugging it and using it as a cordless model.

Cons of Corded Radar Detectors

  • The cord can interfere with your field of vision when driving
  • You may find that the cord keeps wrapping around your body or the steering wheel
  • The cord can fray and show some signs of wear and tear
  • You risk damaging the cord as you drive
Corded vs. Cordless Radar Detectors

Though Escort radar detectors are more expensive than others on the market, you’ll find that the iX is worth its higher price. This handy little device helps you avoid those expensive tickets that you pick up for driving too fast and can reduce some of the false alerts that you usually hear too. The iX uses a long-range technology that allows it to pick up radar and laser signals faster than others can. That creates an early warning system that tells you when to slow down. The technology that Escort designed also detects all the bands that different law enforcement groups use.

Best Radar Detector Escort iX Long Range Radar Laser Detector
Escort iX Long Range Radar Laser Detector

As one of the most dependable models on the market, the iX might just be the only radar detector that you ever need. It works just as well in cities as it does on highways. Though some shoppers had problems with the display, you can use voice commands instead of that display. The voice command feature will share the same information that you would otherwise see on the display. This model also comes with a USB port for connecting your phone to the radar detector. You can instantly download updates right to the device too when needed.

Laser Detection

One of the most important features you should look for when examining radar detectors is 360-degree detection. Police officers sometimes sit in their vehicles and point their radar guns straight at the street to see how fast people drive by. Their radar guns give them the exact speed of your vehicle. While you might think that you can easily spot that officer and lower your speed ahead of time, factors such as plants and trees on the side of the road and other vehicles around you can interfere with your line of vision. Some radar detectors will only monitor the area ahead of you, which will keep you from spotting officers in other areas.

Laser Detection1

The best models offer 360-degree detection. This means that the radar detector will continuously monitor all the angles and directions around your vehicle. It can send out a signal when an official police vehicle comes up behind you or when you pass an officer sitting in a parking lot. You can think about this is the same way that you would AC. Would you prefer having a fan pointed right at your body or central AC that surrounds your body? With 360-degree detection, you get all the protection that you need.

Radar Detector and Sensitivity

A false alert occurs when the radar detector picks up on a signal that it should not and releases an alert. Depending on how often and where you drive, those signals can occur more often than you would like. You really need to look at the sensitivity of the radar detector to get an idea of how many false alerts it will issue. The sensitivity also lets you know whether it can pick up radars and lasers further away from you.

One thing you need to consider is whether the device has separate modes for highway and city driving. Cities are full of bands that your detector can pick up as radar or laser bands, including the opener you use with your garage door and the television that your family watches. Highway mode is much more sensitive than highway mode. It has a much wider focus and can pick up more types of bands. City mode has a much narrower sensitivity and will typically reduce the false alerts that you hear. Many of the models we looked at come with highway mode as a default setting. You can change it to a city setting before or while driving through a residential area.

Common Bands Used by Law Enforcement

Radar Detector and Sensitivity

Internet Access

You may want to narrow down your radar detectors to only those that are internet compatible. To connect a device to the internet, you can either use a WiFi connection or Bluetooth. With Bluetooth, you’ll turn on the radar detector and wait a moment before checking your phone. You should see the device listed in your Bluetooth settings. Once you select the radar detector, you can connect it to the internet through your phone. Some models have a wireless internet setting and will work via a wireless connection. Both methods are handy when you’re away from home.

That connection allows you to access crowdsourced apps from official manufacturers and third-party developers. The next time that you find yourself in traffic, you can log into the app and add a note about what you see. If you access the same app via your radar detector, you can view info posted by other users. This helps you avoid traffic jams and other problems while on your way to work or when you’re on vacation. Many of these apps also allow users to share details about any things they saw such as speed traps they spotted or any speed cameras that they encountered in the area.

What is a Speed Trap?

A speed trap is essentially a trap set up by a police department to catch speeders. You’ll often find them in small towns and on two-lane roads. The speed will suddenly drop from 50 to 60 miles per hour down to just 35 miles per hour. If you do not reduce your speed fast enough, a local officer can catch you.

Internet Access

False signals can leave you wanting to tear your hair out, but the R3 from Uniden is a radar detector that weeds out some of those signals. This keeps it from detecting the signals used by a neighbor’s garage door or the automatic doors at your favorite store from setting off the radar detector. It uses a signal processor that actually processes every signal it encounters and only sends those you need to know about to you. This model is much more sensitive than others and can pick up signals at a greater distance than other radar detectors can.

Best Radar Detector Uniden R3 Extreme Long Range Laser Radar Detector
Uniden R3 Extreme Long Range Laser Radar Detector

The R3 comes with a quiet mode that is great for those who like silence when they drive. This feature allows you to mute the radar detector and view the info that you need on the display. It also uses GPS to find your current location. The R3 then uses those satellites to tell you about red lights before you come up to one. This model comes with two brackets attached to a suction cup for easy mounting it on your windshield. You also get a cigarette adapter that plugs into any car outlet for fast charging of the radar detector while on long road trips.

Do You Need an Instant On Feature?

When a member of law enforcement shines a radar detector at you and picks up your speed, it is proof that you went over the posted speed limit. It does not matter if you didn’t notice a new sign or if you didn’t know that the maximum limit changed. That officer has the right to pull you over and issue a citation. The officer may give you a warning rather than a ticket. Some drivers find that their radar detectors are a little too slow and that they don’t pick up the radar used in a local jurisdiction until the gun already determined their speeds. If you want to avoid as many tickets as possible, you should look for a device with an instant on feature.

The instant on gives you a few extra seconds to bring down your speed. This feature detects bands directly in front of your car. As soon as it notices any band, the device will issue an alert and instantly come on. This gives you enough time to bring your speed down to a legal limit before that gun goes off. Even if you can’t get down to the legal limit, you can significantly reduce your speed in those few seconds.

WARNING:

Though you might see a few commercials or ads about products that will deflect radar guns, you should never use one of these products in your car. Every state in the country prohibits the use of any device that will change or interfere with the signal from an official radar detector.

Do You Need an Instant On Feature

Voice vs. Visual Alerts

Car shoppers today often complain about vehicles that come with touchscreen controls rather than push buttons. You spend years hearing people tell you to always keep your eyes on the road and suddenly need to look down for a second to adjust the AC or change radio stations. That is just enough time for an accident to happen. If you want to avoid your chances of suffering a car accident, you may want to look for a radar detector with a voice command feature. Though this is a little more expensive than the lights and display found on a base model, it’s worth the extra money.

Voice alerts actually let you know when there are radar guns and speed traps around you but do not require that you check the display on the detector to see that information. Voice alerts will tell you when and what type of gun or trap it found and the general location of it. Some cheaper models use visual alerts. You might see arrows that change colors based on the band found. We recommend those with arrows that light up too because the arrows point in the direction of the band. If you often have passengers in your car, you might feel comfortable using a radar detector with simple alerts.

What is Radar Detector Shielding?

The manufacturers of radar detectors sometimes offer a shielding feature. This is a feature that essentially shields your radar detector to stop other devices from spotting or finding it. It is legal to use this feature, but you can also legally drive with a radar detector too.

Voice vs. Visual Alerts

Benefits of Built-In GPS

  • Reduce false alarms: One big benefit of a device with a built-in GPS unit is that it will significantly reduce the false alarms that you usually hear. This is especially helpful if you follow the same route or drive the same streets regularly. You can let the detector know when it issued a false alert. This lets the device find out what caused the alert and block it from going off again in the future.
  • Camera tracking: You can also use one of these detectors to track and identify the cameras that you pass every day. These cameras help police departments catch speeders, those who run red lights and drivers who break other laws. The detector can keep track of those cameras and let you know when you need to drive more carefully.
  • Database access: Some models also give you access to one or more databases that include information submitted by other users. You can view maps that show you regular traffic patterns, speed traps and any hazards that you need to know. Those maps also show you where officers often hang out and where there are cameras. That information helps you stay safe and avoid speeding and other tickets.
Benefits of Built-In GPS

A top choice for those who spend a lot of time on the road is the XP from Radenso. This model is sensitive enough that it can detect a signal several miles ahead of you. It does a good job of picking up all the signals that different police departments use. The XP also picks up the blind spots that other models miss and will monitor the traffic around you to prevent false alerts from coming through. This has a lockout feature that we really like. This feature allows you to tell the radar detector when it picked up a false alert and keep it from ever detecting that same signal in the future.

Best Radar Detector Radenso XP Radar and Laser Detector
Radenso XP Radar and Laser Detector

An auto mute feature gives you the chance to instantly mute the radar detector whenever you need. It also comes with custom features such as a volume control and a dim setting on the display. With the included access to online databases, you can upgrade your model to tell you about any red lights you might hit and any speed cameras that you come across. Not only does Radenso provide you with different types of support, but it also gives you a one-year warranty on the XP.

Does it Alert You of Emergency Vehicles?

Emergency vehicles feature lights and sirens that come on to alert others of those vehicles. This type of vehicle includes both fire trucks that take off during fires and the ambulances that transport patients to the hospital. The drivers of those vehicles can turn the lights and sirens off as needed. You may find one traveling behind you on the road that suddenly turns on its sires and screeches by you a few miles above the speed limit. This can occur because those inside just received an alert about a nearby emergency. When those lights come on, you might jump because you didn’t even know the vehicle was there.

Some radar detectors have a built-in feature that will notify you about emergency vehicles. Those vehicles use bands similar to the ones that law enforcement use. Your radar detector can pick up on those bands and let you know when a vehicle is close to you, even before the lights and sirens come on. Some models will issue other warnings based on the information available too. You might buy one that can let you know when there is a construction area ahead or when there is a railroad crossing along the road.

Does it Alert You of Emergency Vehicles

Expert Tip:

Some radar detectors can access maps with information submitted by others. Those maps tell the radar detector when there is an accident ahead. This lets you know when you need to follow a different route to avoid that traffic.

Working With Your Phone

You may want to look for a radar detector that is compatible with your phone too. This is especially true if you carry a smartphone everywhere with you. When you connect your phone to the radar detector, you gain access to a map that lets you share information about the places you go and view the information provided by others. That information can include:

  • Any accidents that blocked traffic ahead
  • New construction areas where the speed limit drops and delays are common
  • Shortcuts that can save you a significant amount of time
  • Speed traps and other hazards such as red light cameras
  • Information about locations where police officers often hang out

When you find yourself stuck in traffic, you can post your own updates to the maps located within the apps that you can use on your phone. This also lets you view any areas marked by other users on those maps. Choosing the right radar detector that is compatible with your smartphone is also important because some of these devices do not have a screen. They simply send information to your phone that you can then view on your phone’s screen to see cops and other hazards on the road.

Working With Your Phone (1)

Do You Need Voice Activation?

Android smartphones today come with a handy feature that lets you do an online search without typing on your screen. You can simply state a voice command, which will cause Google to open and do a quick search. This same feature lets you find items for sale, get directions to a restaurant and even read reviews of hotels before you book a stay. Depending on your phone, you may even have the option of stating commands to send text messages or make phone calls too. A good option for those who want a more convenient way to check traffic patterns and to look for radar guns is with a radar detector that has a voice command feature too.

Let’s say that you want to do a quick scan for radar bans while driving to pick your kids up from school. With these devices, you can simply tell the detector to do a scan and then read that information back to you. You can also use commands to switch from a city mode to a highway mode as you travel to new locations. Voice commands can also let you adjust the brightness of the display or the volume of the voice alerts.

Valentine One gets high ratings for its radar detector, which you can customize based on how you drive and how you want to use it. This model offers 360-degree monitoring of the areas around your car and lets you know instantly when it picks up a signal. When you look at this radar detector, you’ll see arrow buttons right on the front. Those buttons light up to show you where those signals are in relation to your current position. This can help learn about speed traps and cameras before you reach one, which comes in handy when driving through new and unfamiliar areas.

Best Radar Detector Valentine One Radar Detector
Valentine One Radar Detector

This is one of the only models we found that can detect signals behind your car too and let you know about officers you passed and those coming up behind you. It comes with a mounting device that has two suction cups, which make it easy to stick it right to your windshield and run the included cord to your cigarette lighter or outlet. Valentine One offers a service that allows you to send any radar detector back for software upgrades when they become available. Depending on the model you buy, you may need to pay extra for this service though.

Accessories You May Need

There are a handful of accessories you might want to look at using with your radar detector too. Not all models come with these accessories, but you will have the option of buying them separately.

  • Travel case: A must-have for those who travel frequently and those who use multiple cars is a travel case. This case often has hard sides and compartments inside that hold the radar detector. This keeps the device from sliding around inside. You’ll also find some cost cases that have a zipper on the outside.
  • Remote control: Some drivers prefer models that come with a remote control. This is a common accessory that comes with installed models, but it’s harder to find one that works with a portable model. The remote lets you hit any of the buttons on the top to turn the detector on or off and to adjust some of its settings such as switching between the city and highway modes.
  • Mounting kit: We highly recommend radar detectors that come with a mounting kit. This kit comes with everything necessary for mounting the radar detector in your car, which lets you drive freely without the device getting in your way.

What Comes in a Mounting Kit?

Accessories You May Need
  • A bracket that holds the radar detector
  • Suction cups for adhering it to the windshield
  • Directions on installing the detector
  • Window cleaner (optional)

What to Consider in the Display

  • Number of colors: One thing to look at when comparing displays is the number of colors that each one shows. Some actually prefer those with fewer colors because they think these displays are simpler and easier to read. Other drivers prefer more colorful displays that show dozens of shades or more.
  • Brightness: You need to make sure that the display is bright enough that you can see it the middle of the night. If you find yourself driving through the night to get home from vacation, you want to make sure that you can see all the information and features on the display. Some radar detectors have a display that might be dimmer than you would like.
  • Adjustable settings: The top models come with a display that is adjustable. You can use buttons on the top of the radar detector to make the display look brighter or dimmer. This comes in handy when you drive during both the day and the night.
  • Touchscreen: You may want to consider a device that has a touchscreen display too. With a touchscreen display, you and any of your passengers can mute the device or change between modes and bands with one simple touch.

Signs of a High-Quality Radar Detector

  • A solid display made from one thick piece of plastic or glass
  • Buttons that feel whole and solid when you press them
  • A case with thick sides that does not show any signs of damage such as cracks
  • Lights that are bright and easy to read
  • A power/charging cord that plugs into the radar detector without drooping or falling out
What to Consider in the Display

Other Things You Should Consider When Buying a Radar Detector

One other thing worth considering is whether the radar detector has a mute feature. Most models will produce a loud beeping sound and have lights that flash when it detects a specific band. Those lights will blink at a rapid pace and the beeps will become much louder as you get closer to the radar gun. With a mute feature, you can speak a command into the device and mute this feature. Those that lack a voice command have a mute button that you can press instead. A quiet detection mode is fairly similar. This feature comes in handy when you drive on open roads through populated areas. You can keep it set to the same mode but turn off some of the alerts that you would otherwise hear and see.

It’s also helpful to look at how easily you can both use that radar detector and set it up in your car. To make things a little easier for you, we’ll give you some tips on mounting and using one. We also recommend choosing a model that detects both laser and radar bands. Though some smaller police departments still use radar guns, many of the larger departments in bigger cities now use laser guns.

What to Look for in a Radar Detector Warranty

  • Coverage that lasts for at least one full year
  • Protection that applies to both the radar detector and any included accessories
  • A money back guarantee that lets you exchange the product or get a full refund
  • Customer support/help that you can get over the phone and online
  • The chance to return the radar detector for any necessary repairs
Other Things You Should Consider

Questions to Ask Before Buying a New Model

  • Where do you primarily drive? If you spend more time in the city, you’ll want a model that releases fewer false alerts. Those designed for primarily driving on the highways will often issue fewer false alerts in the city and will remain fairly quiet on the highway.
  • Do you want radar blocking? Radar blocking is a feature that will block any of the signals produced by your own device. If you opt for a model that lacks this feature, you may receive some false alerts caused by the band used by your own radar detector.
  • What hazards do you encounter every day? This is an important question to ask because it will determine whether you need one that can also identify and alert you of speed traps and traffic cameras. Those notices will let you know to stop at a yellow light or to slow down when passing through a small town.
  • Do you need a basic model or a fully loaded radar detector? You can get a basic radar detector for around $100 or less that will meet most or all of your needs. If you want a fully loaded model that is compatible with different smartphones and will respond to voice commands, you’ll want to spend more.

What is Accelerometer Logic?

Accelerometer logic is a term that the manufacturers of radar detectors use to describe the way the radar detector turns itself off when you come to a complete stop. It also refers to the way it slowly picks up bands as you come up to speed. This keeps the radar detector from issuing alerts when you’re stopped or at a slow speed.

Questions to Ask Before Buying a New Model

Benefits of Using a Radar Detector

  • Save money: A simple ticket can cost you hundreds of dollars based on how fast the gun clocked you going. Just one speeding ticket can significantly increase your insurance premiums too. With a radar detector in your car, you will know when to slow down to avoid those tickets.
  • Save time: If you decide to fight your ticket in court, you’ll need to take at least a few hours off work and wait to speak to a judge. The judge may not only make you pay that ticket but require that you pay court costs too. It’s far easier to avoid those tickets with a radar gun than to waste time trying to fight one in court.
  • Works with new technology: The top manufacturers of these devices now make models that you can connect to the internet when it’s time for an upgrade. Though you may need to pay extra for that upgrade, it ensures that your model has access to the same features as newer ones do and that you have access to the latest forms of technology.
  • Traffic patterns and more: With the newest models, you can now gain access to traffic patterns in your area and loads of other information too. You can find out about new speed traps and see where the highest concentrations of police officers are in your city.

Factors That Determine the Cost of Your Speeding Ticket

Benefits of a Portable Radar Detector
  • The posted speed limit
  • Your tracked speed
  • Whether there were children in the vehicle
  • If you were in a construction zone
  • Whether you violated any other laws

Tips for Mounting a Radar Detector to Your Windshield

  • Decide where to place it: Before deciding where to place the radar detector, you need to check the cord. You must make sure that the cord is long enough to plug into your vehicle from the spot where you want to mount the radar detector.
  • Clean your windshield: All you need to clean your windshield is some water and a soft cloth. You can rub the water onto the glass and wipe it off with the cloth to create a smooth surface. If you have cigarette smoke or dust clinging to the glass, you may want to use a glass cleaner instead of water.
  • Breathe on the suction cups: We recommend that you take a deep breath and then slowly exhale onto the suction cups. This creates a light mist that helps the cups cling to the glass.
  • Apply the suction cups: Once you know where you want to mount the device, you can place the suction cups against the glass and press down. It should only take a small amount of pressure to form a connection between the two materials.

Other Spots You Can Set Your Radar Detector

  • In your glove box
  • On your passenger's seat
  • Inside the car's console
  • On your dashboard
Tip for mounting a radar detector to your windshield

How to Set Up and Use Your Radar Detector

Once you decide where to place and set the radar detector in your car, you need to know how to use it. It’s usually a simple matter of pressing the power button and waiting for the lights to come on across the display. You should take a few minutes to look at all the buttons before you begin driving and to make sure that you understand what each one does. Some of these buttons switch between the modes, but you’ll also find buttons and knobs for muting the detector or adjusting the volume. If you buy one with both a city and a highway mode, you should select the right mode based on where you will drive that day. You can always switch to a different mode when you move into a new area.

It’s also important that you check the signal strength of the device. Most models have an area on their displays that use long rectangles to show you the current strength. You typically want to see three or four rectangles, which will indicate that the radar detector is at its maximum strength. Moving the radar detector slightly higher or lower in your car can change its signal strength.

Expert Tip:

If your radar detector constantly issues false alerts because of other radio signals in your area, try experimenting with some of the settings. You can also look for one that lets you ignore false alerts.

How to Set Up Radar

What is the Average Price for a Radar Detector?

A speeding ticket can easily cost you $150 to $200 or more. It depends on the speed limit and how fast a police officer tracked you going. You can get a radar detector for around that same price, which will help you avoid some of those tickets. The base models typically cost around $100 to $150, but you may find some that retail for less than $100. Cheaper models are more prone to false alerts though. You may find that it picks up signals from any of the garage or automatic doors that you drive by and even when you pass some electronic signs.

The best radar detectors range in price from $200 for a base model with some added features to more than $400 for one of the top of the line models. Valentine One makes a model that sells for more than $400. A nice feature about this model is that you can send it in for upgrades in the future. This lets you use the same radar detector for years. You’ll also find models that sell for between $300 and $400. Some of these radar detectors let you use an internet connection to access databases and to upgrade your software.

Cost of the Best Radar Detectors

Frequently Asked Questions

A: You can legally drive with a radar detector in your vehicle in 49 different states. Only Virginia prohibits the use of these devices. You cannot use one in Washington DC either. Some areas of Canada also ban the use of radar detectors.

A: Though some of the more modern radar detectors will alert you of upcoming red lights, not all models will do so. Radar detectors cannot identify all stoplights either. Some lights have pressure pads that pick up the weight of vehicles waiting on the road. Those pads let the lights know when to change colors. Radar detectors will only work with lights that use lasers and other forms of technology to change.

A: No matter what type of radar detector you buy, there is a chance that other vehicles on the road can interfere with that device. Those vehicles can block the way in which the device detects bands around you. You generally get the best readings and protection when you drive on an open road. Some of the newer models will do a better job of working when there are other cars around though.

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