10 Best

Radar Detectors

of December 2022

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Radar Detectors--For More Responsible Driving

Yehudah Posnick

A person drives more cautiously when they know that they’re being watched. Radar detectors have been used by drivers for decades--ever since radar engineer Dale Smith’s “Fuzzbuster” in 1968--to inform drivers if the police are operating any radar guns in the area. But they’re not just a way to circumvent the law. They can spare you the expense and hassle of getting a speeding ticket. And tickets can mean even more expenses--such as higher insurance premiums. And many of them include a GPS, and alert you to speed zones and speed traps. They can also notify you if there are specific places to be cautious coming up, such as a school zone or road construction.

Police radar gets more sophisticated all the time--and so radar detectors have to also upgrade in order to keep up. It used to be sufficient to detect a radar gun a mile away, giving you plenty of time to slow down. But now police radar can measure speeds instantaneously--and that’s a much bigger challenge to detect. You’ll see that there are radar detectors that detect radar in a full 360-degree range. And many are equipped to avoid “false alerts” when you enter an area with other radio sources. 

This buyer’s guide goes over some specs of today’s radar detectors, to help you choose the right type of detector, select the right brand, and get a feel for what customers are saying about the product that they bought.

What reviewers say

  • Complicated models: Some users say that the Uniden R7 may be too difficult for someone just starting out, who isn’t familiar enough with how radar and radar detectors work. It requires firmware updates and that you adjust its sensitivity so as not to get too many false positives. It might be easier to start out with a cheaper, simpler model like the Cobra RAD.

  • GPS lockouts are essential: When you have GPS on your radar detector, you can filter out known radio sources that give you false positives.

  • Updating the model: A radar detector that has a USB cable can be hooked up to the Internet, in order to receive important updates to the road information.

  • Best to be able to detach it: Some users prefer a radar detector that can be easily removed and carried around with you so that there is less of a threat of it being stolen. That’s especially true for the expensive models, like the Radenso Pro M, which can go for $450.

Important Features

  • Radar detector mount: There are a number of ways of mounting your radar detector. Some have a suction cup, to allow you to attach the radar detector to your windshield or dashboard. There is also a radar mount mirror bracket, allowing you to attach it to the rear-view mirror.

  • Wiring: How will your radar detector get its power? There is an adapter that you can buy that you plug into the car’s cigarette lighter. It provides your radar detector power via a USB port. Many times the adapter comes together with the radar detector, but you can also buy them separately. An example is the FouceClaus Power Adapter.

FouceClaus Power Adapter for Radar Detectors

  • Radar detector bands: You’ll see that radar detectors alert you to particular radar bands. There are three radar detector bands in use nowadays. +

    • Older radar detectors alert you to the X band, which ranges from 8-12 GHz. (This was in fact the band that the original Fuzzbuster was designed to detect.)

    • The K band is radio frequencies from 18-27 GHz--but it may be the signal emitted by some other radio source--like an automatic door in a shopping mall, or even a garage door opener.

    • There is then the Ka-band, ranging from 33.4-36 GHz. The Ka-band is the most challenging to detect, since it can only be detected within 1 mile of the radar gun, and the police radar can be using any one of 5 frequencies in the Ka-band.

  • Instant-On: Another concern is that there are police radar guns that a police officer will operate for only a few seconds, instead of being constantly on. This is called “Instant-On”, or “I/O” mode. A police car can be waiting at a certain position, and aim his radar gun directly at your car for as little as 67 milliseconds, and still be able to detect your speed! Fortunately, there are radar detectors that can detect even these police radar signals. For example, the Escort Passport 9500ix alerts you to X, K, Superwide Ka, and Instant-on POP modes.

  • GPS: The more advanced radar detectors include a GPS. This will help you map out and eliminate any sources of false positives, such as from an automatic door that works on an infrared signal.

  • Low-speed muting: Some radar detectors have “low-speed muting”, where they don’t bother detecting radar in the area when your speed is well below the speed limit. That way, your detector won’t needlessly inform you of radar or laser sources in the area.

  • Where to place the radar detector: Experts recommend placing the detector somewhere high in your car. But avoid placing it behind the tinted part of the windshield (if the windshield is tinted). It’s best that it is placed level, free from any obstructions, and directed straight ahead.

  • Laser detector: Besides radar guns, police also use infra-red lasers to measure your car’s changing distance, and thus your speed. Most radar detectors will detect lasers as well.

Top-Rated Brands

  • The Uniden R7 Extreme Long Range Laser/Radar Detector provides real-time alerts, with both front and rear antennas, and directional arrows to display where the threat is located. It detects radar from all 4 directions, displaying the band and the signal strength. It can eliminate false infrared sources and it gives you a voice alert as well. (The Uniden R3 Radar Detector has only a single front-facing antenna, while the Uniden R1 doesn’t alert you to radar guns in a full 360-degree circle.)

Uniden R7 Extreme Long Range Laser/Radar Detector

  • The Escort MAX360C Laser Radar Detector uses an onboard WiFi connection and can send an alert to your iPhone or Android device. It provides you with a voice alert and compares your present speed with the speed limit.

Escort MAX360C Laser Radar Detector

  • The Radenso Pro M Radar Detector detects the X, K, and Ka radar bands, as well as MultaRadar Compact Distance (= MRCD, where the police radar changes its frequency constantly--a particularly challenging thing to detect). Its database can store 6000 red light and speed camera locations, to keep you alerted.

Radenso Pro M Radar Detector

  • The Cobra RAD 350 Laser Radar Detector is able to detect X, K, and Ka bands and tell you the signal strength, as well as laser signals and VG-2 (which police use to tell them that a radar detector is in the vicinity. It can detect radar guns that are using Instant-On monitoring and can change its mode from city to highway settings.

Cobra RAD 350 Laser Radar Detector

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