Best Radar Detector 2017 – Buyer’s Guideby Steve Jackson | Last Updated January 1, 2017
Friends, reading this text – please, stop asking me through the private messages: “What radar should I buy?”! I am not even going to answer this questions again. I am so sick of it! I have already written you a big article. Why do you keep asking me the same question again and again?!
Practically every week I advise my friends and acquaintances. And every two days I explain to buyers and clients, what radar detector they should choose.
Probably, every driver received a traffic ticket by the mail at least once. No matter, how accurate you are, every once in a while you will get into the sight of a camera when leaving the bus lane or exceeding the speed limit. Anyway, the purchase of a radar detector becomes an absolute must for every car owner in these conditions. The only problem is that it is pretty problematic to sort out dozens of parameters in nearly six hundred models. You will have to figure out in the list of compatible frequencies, check dozens of reviews and
Nowadays many people are asking this question, since the market is constantly expanding and there becomes more and more options. Opinions vary – some people say one thing, some people – another…
After examining all available materials on the Internet regarding radar detectors, I decided to enlist the support of professionals and write down all basic knowledge as detailed as possible. Oops, I almost forgot to introduce myself. Hello, my name is Steve, and for the past three years I have been servicing speed cameras for the one of the most famous American manufacturers of these systems. Due to my profession, of course, I have to thoroughly study the technology of radar detectors.
At the same time, behind the wheel I am an ordinary driver, who does not like to find traffic fines in his mailbox. This is exactly why I am so interested in purchasing the most effective radar detectors, and yeah – my friends keep regularly asking questions about it.
Let me write about everything in order…
|Escort 9500IX||X, K, Ka, Ku||Yes||Yes|
|Beltronics Vector V995 (Editor’s Choice)||X, K, Ka, Ku||Yes||No|
|Escort Max 360||X, K, Ka||Yes||Yes|
|Valentine One||X, K, Ka, SuperWide Ka||360° Protection||No|
|Escort RedLine||X, K, SuperWide Ka||Yes||No|
|Beltronics GT-7||X, K, Ka||Yes||Yes|
|Radenso Pro||X, K, Ka||No||Yes|
|Uniden DFR7||X, K, KA, POP||Yes||Yes|
|Beltronics Pro 500||X, K, Ka||Yes||Yes|
|Whistler PRO-3600||X, K, SuperWide Ka||360° Protection||Yes|
Table of contents
Escort Passport 9500IX Radar/Laser Detector – Best Police Radar Detector
The Escort Passport 9500IX is one of the most technologically advanced devices, that provides both radar and laser detection. It gives enormous range and high accuracy with very low percentage of false alerts.
The 9500ix detects all radar frequencies: X-band, K-band and Ka-band. You can use the device to detect all of them at the same time or set some of them manually, depending on your needs. It also can detect radar guns using instant-on or POP modes. These highly useful modes on radar guns are designed to beat radar detectors.
Escort Passport 9500IX can also be used as a Lidar detector (laser radar detector), though this type of detection can not offer the same type of protection as usual radar detection. Radar alert always gives you enough time to adjust your speed before officer sees you, but laser alert only activates when a laser is directly aimed at your car – so it is more of a notification that somebody tried to record your speed, than a warning.
This radar has preloaded database with locations for hundreds of threats, such as speed cameras and common speed trap places. Escort Passport 9500IX will notify you about coming closer to these threats with messages on the display. Database can be updated, using a USB port which is placed on the side of the device.
Escort Passport 9500IX has convenient AutoLearn feature – already in a week or two of use it eliminated almost all false alerts! This is the most precise radar that I have ever used. Simply brilliant!
Beltronics Vector V995 Radar Detector – Best Radar Detector.
The Beltronics Vector V995 is a radar and laser detector, which offers complete protection against X, K, Ku, and Ka radar and the laser. The device uses both front and rear laser detection and has a nice AutoScan mode. This technology helps to prevent false alarms, while increasing the range of the radar detector, thanks to the use of built-in computer (which constantly analyzes all incoming signals).
Beltronics Vector V995 can do it all: it offers excellent detection, outstanding convenient features and solid construction for a long-lasting product life. The Vector V995 has a reprogrammable flash processor, that will allow you to update the internal software. It gives voice alerts with adjustable volume – this frees you from having to look aside while driving. The display brightness can also be adjusted as well as having a dark mode option for nighttime driving. Various sensitivity controls allow the radar detector to adjust from “Highway”, “AutoScan” and “City” modes. I prefer “City” mode – it detects well and provides the quietest work.
All of these features (and more) are packed into a soft travel case, so you can easily take Beltronics Vector V995 from car to car. Due to its wide frequencies support it can be used all other the world. You can simply disable any frequency not used in your country to minimize false alarms.
Escort Max 360 Radar Detector – Cop Radar Detector.
The Escort Max 360 – is a premium radar detector with directional alerts. The Escort – is a famous manufacturer, that once again proved to be the leader of the industry with this model. It gives exceptional range of detection with the lowest response time, highest precision and directional alert display.
This device truly has the unmatched detection qualities. Antennas of Escort Max 360 offer very fast scanning in all directions. It finds potential threats better and accurately than any other device, while having a low chance to cause false alarm.
The Escort Max 360 has five levels of filtering, giving you the quietest work. It includes three driving modes and is rated for all popular radar frequencies: X, K, Ka, Ka-POP. As you would expect, you can adjust the radar detector to use only specific frequencies in order to decrease false alarms.
The main feature of this device is its 360’s arrow indicator. This is a really cool and useful addition, that helps you to figure out exactly where is the threat is coming from and provides you with more than enough time to adjust your speed. I really like this feature – it reminds me of action games with similar maps – Escort Max 360 is working as fast as radars in video games!
It also has all the standard functions of Escort models: voice alerts, support of databases, AutoLearn feature.
Valentine One Radar Detector – Best Car Radar Detector
This radar detector does a great job protecting you from all kinds of signals. It has front and back protection – it is provided by its wonderful antennas. They alert you to threats coming in all directions.
One of the coolest features of Valentine One is the massive indicator on the front panel, that has big red arrows, showing you from which direction the threat is coming. It also detects the number of threats detected in area – if there are five police cars at the same time waiting ahead, the monitor will show the number five. It is very informative and convenient.
This device detects lasers and most frequencies: X, Ka, K. It also supports Ku band, so you can use it all other the world. The range of detection is impressive – eight kilometers, but it means that it can also pick up a lot of false alerts.
The Valentine One has a rectangular casing, made of metal, which prevents it from interference with other devices, but it also means that you can not place it on your windshield. The package includes a nice travel case and all needed instructions.
Escort RedLine Radar Detector – Best Radar Detector On The Market
As it is usual for Escort devices, this radar detector has three sensitivity settings: Auto No X, Auto and Highway. The last turns off all filters the device has and alerts you about any detected signal. It means, that “Highway” mode provides the driver with the longest listening range, but it can cause a lot of false signals, so it is almost impossible to use in city.
The Escort RedLine has dual antenna design, which gives it front and back sensors. Unfortunately, it can’t tell you the directions from where alerts are coming from.
The “Auto” mode uses digital signal processor. It will analyze all detected signals and check their validity. If you are having too many false alerts, try to use the “Auto No X” mode – it disables the X-band frequency, which is often used for garage door openers.
I owned a lot of units over the last five years and this one is awesome. It doesn’t have a lot of false signals and works well both in city limits and on highways. It is easy to use – there is no complicated controls and everything can be customized in a matter of seconds. It’s a perfect choice for beginners, that provides you with one of the safest and efficient work.
Beltronics GT-7 Radar Detector – Speed Radar Detector
The Beltronics GT-7 is a beautiful radar detector, which uses the latest technologies to keep you protected against any possible threat. Red-light cameras, highway patrol or speed traps – nothing will take you by surprise with this device.
The radar detector can be easily mounted on the windshield. Simply connect it to a cigarette lighter and here you go – the Beltronics GT-7 is ready to be used.
As it is usual for Escort devices, this radar detector has three sensitivity settings: Auto No X, Auto and Highway. On the “Highway” mode it will look for all radar frequencies at the longest distance. “Auto” will adjust the sensitivity of a device according to the type of signals you receive. “Auto No X” turns off the X-band frequency, which is often used for garage door openers, so this mode decreases the number of false signals. The Beltronics GT-7 also has useful “Over-Speed” alerts – they warn you when you exceed the speed limit. I find it very comfortable – after several months of using it I almost stopped doing that.
The device has a nice, beautiful display. It informs you with the type, strength and quantity of signals. It also shows real-time speed limit data via Beltronics famous speed trap application software. Additionally, the clear and easy to understand voice alerts will keep you focused on the road.
The package includes the radar detector itself, a SmartCord, windshield mount and a nice travel case.
Radenso Pro Radar Detector – Best Buy Radar Detector
Radenso Pro is one of the smallest and comfortable radars available on the market. It uses traffic sensor rejection feature, which makes the device almost immune to false alerts, caused by collision avoidance systems installed on new cars and frequencies of the K-band.
It has built-in GPS module, that gives you data about fixed speed cameras and speed tramps locations. The “Auto/City” mode automatically adjusts the radar detector sensitivity depending on your speed – it grants you the maximum effectiveness of the detection. Radenso Pro also uses GPS filtering to lock out known false alert locations. You can manually mark your own speed trap locations, using simple control buttons.
Unlike some other expensive models, Radenso Pro provides you with free lifetime GPS and firmware updates – you will need to simply plug the device into your PC and download the newest updates. It also has full 2-year manufacture warranty.
During a month of use I drove almost ten thousand kilometers with Radenso Pro on board. I was very satisfied with its performance – it’s quick and has the minimum amount of false alarms. The voice and tone alarms are easy to understand and doesn’t distract you from the driving process.
The package includes a manual, windshield mount (which is very easy to install), power cable and USB cable.
Uniden DFR7 Super Long Range Radar/Laser Detector with GPS – Radar Laser Detector
The Uniden DFR7 is a quality radar detector at the average place level, that can outperform some more of the more expensive models. All of its features are built-in – you will not have to pair the device with a smartphone phone in order to get the most important functionality, which is very comfortable.
Buying the Uniden DFR7, you are getting the long range detection, unexpectedly good filtering of cars with new blind spot sensors (which are considered as the toughest source of false alerts to deal with), and a GPS module built in, using which you can easily mark the sources of your stationary false alerts – such as your favorite shops and speed signs – the clever radar detector will mute them in the future. Such low speed muting will stop annoying beeping when you’re driving according to your regular routes (this is a very effective feature). Moreover, GPS is also used to protect you from red-light cameras, speed cameras and speed traps in the area.
The Uniden DFR7 is best suited for people, who do mostly city driving or a combination of highway/city driving. I enjoyed my experience with it – the device is very good for its price.
Overall, the DFR7 is a nice device with a good price/quality ratio. It is very affordable and reliable. Maybe, the display could be better (it is hard to read during a bright sunlight), but it is still OK.
Beltronics Pro 500 Radar detector with GPS – Best Hidden Radar Detector
The Beltronics Pro 500 is a radar detector with GPS for an average price. This device can work with all the popular frequencies: X, K, Ka. Moreover, it is also a Lidar detector (so you will be notified about laser guns). It gives laser detection in all directions – so you will be notified, even if threats are coming from behind you or hiding on a side road. The range is pretty good – according to my observations, it detects signals at the distance of 6 kilometers. This is impressive – especially with the low number of false alarms.
The main feature of this device is GPS module, with which you can mark your own locations of false alerts. It also includes hundreds of speed camera and red-light camera locations. You will have to buy a subscription if you want to update the database. I simply stopped using it when the trial period ran out.
Another great thing that The Beltronics Pro 500 has is an Auto Learn feature, that is using GPS to detect your geographical location and blocking out repeatedly received signals. For instance, if you often drive through the same traffic light with a radar (some traffic lights use them to analyze traffic flow), the device will remember it and will block that specific frequency in that location. Very convenient. As I already said, you can also manually mark locations of false alerts.
Whistler PRO-3600 Pro Series Installed Remote Laser-Radar Detector – Good Radar Detector
The Whistler PRO-3600 Pro Series is an affordable remote radar detector. It has a waterproof antenna (that has to be mounted in the grille), a speaker module and an LED display (it can be customized – you can choose yellow, red or green color and turn on or off the blinking during alerts).
Optionally you can purchase a second rear radar antenna, a GPS antenna and a remote laser-detection module. Of course, the device will stop being so budget after all these purchases, but it will warn about all speed cameras, speed traps and red light cameras.
The Whistler PRO-3600 Pro Series has four filter modes, that increase the time needed to process the signal, but decrease the amount of false alarms. It can be set any time using the preferences menu. I was too lazy to do any adjustments and just used the “City” mode.
As you would expect, it supports all popular frequencies and you can set only specific ones to decrease the number of false alarms. The radar is extremely sensitive, but a bit noisy – you will have to deal with some false alerts. Once It detected a police car at the distance of seven kilometers! I bought the additional rear antenna and the detection became even better.
The Whistler Pro 3600 definitely improves driving experience. It is very easy to use and even false alarms will not annoy you, because they can be quickly muted.
Antiradar or radar detector?
Because of the sales assistants some people still doesn’t know the difference between an “antiradar” and a “radar detector”. It looks like salesmen just got tired from explanations, so sometimes in online stores I find the whole sections called “antiradars”. In general, for a start we need to know, what is what.
Radar detector is a device for passive receiving of radio signals emitted by radar systems. The device works at the certain frequency range and in the case of detection the specific signal it alerts driver. The fundamental point is that radar detector in no way affects the received signal, only acting as an informant.
On the other hand, antiradars are the active suppression devices, that create radio interference, this means the open prevention and blocking of the normal operation of radars. In most countries it is not only forbidden to use or install it, but you also can not sale it. In order to avoid the responsibility, you can prove that you need the radar for “individual receiving of the broadcast television and radio programs” – no one has ever done that yet.
From which radars a radar-detector will protect you?
First of all, I have to tell you that nearly all modern radar detectors detect all radar modules, including radio and laser. Worse or better, but if you see X and K range in stats, it means that you will be warned about all possible threats. The different question is how many false alarms you will get and, most importantly, on what distance it will detect it. We will talk about all these details later.
And now I will start to answer the question with stating the operating frequency rates, that you can see in parameters of radar detectors.
X-band (10,525 GHz). This frequency range was used by the first radars during the nineties. From the first January of 2012 It is forbidden by the law to use such models. The reason is that all radars has to have photo and video fixation threads.
K-band (24,150 GHz). Nowadays most devices are using it. About 90% of the speed control devices use this frequency.
Ka-band (24,10 GHx). The pioneer of radars with such range is USA. Up to the modern days this frequency is popular there and in several European countries. Don’t be very excited over a good job of a radar detector, if it detects a Ka-band signal. This is most certainly a false alarm and it is probably caused by military equipment (for instance, there Is an army base nearby) or professional radio equipment.
Ku-band (13,450 GHz) – at first this frequency was used in radars of Western Europe, by this moment it is practically “dead”. The reason was the fact that its frequency is same as that of satellite television. Different sources mention that the Ku-radar can still be found in a number of CIS countries (particularly, in Belarus), but it is not possible to find concrete evidence and names of systems. The main proof of irrelevance of the Ku-band is its absence in modern radar detectors.
Laser range – radar on its base are being used since 2001. These are just a few models, that remained unknown due to their high prices. The operating principle of the laser radar – it is in fact works as a rangefinder: the device sends a pair of signals, measures the distance to the object for each of them and based on the time of “firing” measures the vehicle speed.
WHY DOES A RADAR DETECTOR NEEDS GPS?
Because a lot of modern speed sensors are theoretically undetectable. For instance, look at the “Avtodoria”. How do you trace it, if it doesn’t have a radar at all? There are cameras – one after another – that do photographs, and the timer fixates the difference between sequential frames, thereby helping to calculate the speed of the car. The microwave radiation is not needed at all.
The only solution is to use the map with the coordinates of such systems, which is impossible without a GPS-module.
Buying guide. Radar detectors. The operating principle and parameters.
What is a radar detector and why does a driver needs it? We will try to figure it out and answer to all your questions in this article.
Radar detector – is a police radar radio receiver, designed to measure the speed of a moving vehicle. Radar detector warns the driver when approaching to a dangerous areas of road where the speed is tracked. Rader detector not only helps to save money, but can also save the health and life of the driver, his passengers and pedestrians.
When radar detector detects a signal of a police radar or speed camera, it alerts the driver with audio and visual alarm. In most cases radio signal of radars and cameras tracks down by the device long before entering the dangerous zone, so the driver has enough time to decrease speed and avoid traffic fines. Radar detector often pays off after the first week of use.
If earlier police officers were wary of the use of such electronic devices, today modern models of radar detectors are actively promoting road safety. Knowing that more and more drivers are using radar detectors, police often set beacons before the dangerous section of road – ‘false’ radars, the signals of which causes drivers to reduce speed.
What is a radar and what types of police radars are being used nowadays?
Radar is a technical tool designed to measure the speed of vehicles. There are two main types of radar: radio frequency and laser.
Radio frequency radar emits a high-frequency radio signal in the direction of a moving car. The principle of operation is based on the Doppler effect: the higher the speed of the object, the greater the difference frequency of direct and reflected signals recorded by the receiver. The radio signal reflected from the object is returned to the radar, but with an altered frequency. After receiving the return signal, the radar computing module detects and displays the speed of the car, which was carried out in the direction of measurement of speed.
The second type of police radars is laser radar, or – how do you call it…- optical. Lidar emits short impulses of laser towards the moving direction. These impulses are reflected from a vehicle and returns to laser radar. The difference in time between emission and reception of the laser radar computing module converts the distance to the measurement object, based on a change in sequential distances calculates and displays vehicle speed. The difference between the budget price of devices and the premium is that the former can sometimes miss the signals speedometers police or inform about them too late, and the second always works confidently and reliably.
Another distinguishing characteristic of radar detectors is the stability and immunity to interference and false signals. The low-cost devices, interference may have a significant impact on the work, the premium radar detectors confidently cope with them, letting the driver to see only those signals that come from the police units.
From what distance the radar detector can warn a driver?
The maximum distance, at which the data of the police radar stays stable and sufficient for reliable measurements and fixing the vehicle speed is 300-350 m radius of the high-speed mode of operation of fixing the camera – 50-100 m.
The driver, who uses a radar detector, always have time to reduce vehicle speed and avoid unpleasant fines. And when the device detects the signal provided with false radar, informing its owner of the dangerous section of the road – it significantly reduces the risk of harm health and lives of the driver and his passengers.
What are the differences between a radar detector and antiradar?
Radar detector is a passive radio signal receiver, that doesn’t affect the signal – it only informs about approaching dangerous places.
Antiradar is an active suppressor of the received signal. When a signal of a certain frequency reduction mode is activated – the radiation has a stronger signal with a distorted modulation (noise). The use of such devices is forbidden by law, in many places because such devices are powerful transmitters of radio signals in frequencies, prohibited the use of individuals. In some countries you will even have to serve a term in prison for this kind of things. I would not put my life under such risks – no way!
For the use of active devices, which emit signals distorted and disturbing the work of police radar in particular, there is a decent penalty: confiscation of equipment and fines. All devices that are represented in the retail sales points – is only radar detectors – passive radio receivers police radar, erroneously referred to as “radar detector”.
How to properly install the radar detector in a car?
Manufacturers usually offer several types of mounting the radar detector in the vehicle: on a windshield (using vacuum cups) and on the control panel (using Velcro). Mounting set is included in package for every device. Sometimes manufacturers add magnetic radar-detector. Some radar detectors have to be mounted into the dashboard. It will require some time and knowledge, but such devices are usually cheaper and look really fitting.
Install the device only horizontally, according to the direction of the car. For successful work you need to choose such a place, that will give the maximum field of vision of the carriageway. Nothing should interfere between the device and windshield. Some types of tinting and the electric glass heating can block signals, which will negatively affect the work of a radar detector.
What are the false signals and how to minimize the number of false alarms on a radar detector?
False signals are the signals of devices, working at police frequency, like automatic doors of trading centers or garage doors, that can work in X-band and K-band. Some radar detectors even have the function to turn off some of the frequencies in order to decrease the number of false alarms. Collision avoidance systems, installed on new cars, can also cause false alarms.
Is it possible, that the radar detector can notice the threat too late and after radar?
Absolutely not. Radar detector “sees” on a longer distance, than a police detector. The fact is that the speed calculation is based on the Doppler effect – a frequency shifts of the reflected signal from the object which is moving.
Since the early 1990-ies there appeared laser rangefinders and speed measuring devices, the principle of which is based on a focused laser beam reflected from the obstacles.
The speed was calculated according to a simple algorithm, by applying a few short impulses through a well-defined period of time by measuring the distance to the target from each of the reflection pulse. The result is an average component, which is showed on screen.
The principle is simple and has not changed since then and until today, but with each new year of the progression of such range finders changed the rate and the length of the laser beam. Almost all modern radar detectors have built-in sensors for receiving the laser range. The received wavelength ranges from 800 nm to 1100 nm.
There are some drawbacks, that are common to devices, using laser range – they don’t work very well during fog, rainfall and so on, these devices are being used only during the dry weather. Laser range can be useful mostly in big cities, where police officers use expensive equipment.
Important parameters for a radar detector:
- Identification of all used ranges and radar modes;
- The signal detection range;
- The percentage of false signals;
- Speed of the processing of the received signals;
- The reliability of the result;
- Reliability and durability;
- Additional functionality
Using a radar detector on a motorcycle
The radar detector is a valuable device for all vehicle owners. It will help you save time, money and a lot of trouble. Traffic fines can make a big hole in your wallet. Most of the people use this device in cars, but there are other popular road users – bikers. In fact, radar detectors are not made for motorcycles, but today more and more drivers install these devices on their trustworthy bikes. In order to learn more about using radar detectors on motorcycles, read the following information.
In order to get the right choice for a motorcycle, you will have to make a little a little research. Many radar detectors can be modernized and reprogrammed for your own settings. It is better to choose devices with both sound and visual alarms. The perfect choice is the model, that has a speaker, that can be mounted in a helmet. You will receive voice messages or audio signals without looking away from the road.
To install the radar on your motorcycle you should better go to professionals. There is not enough free space, so you will have to make changes in the dashboard. Moreover, you will have to deal with the electronic parts of the motorcycle – so, probably, it is better to use the help of specialists.
After purchasing and installing the radar detector, you can safely go on a journey, but always remember, that the Traffic Laws are made for a reason, and breaking them you are endangering your own life, as well as lives of other people.
Final Words – Conclusion
So, what radar detector should I buy?
It depends primarily on your preferences. The availability of GPS and the ability to manually mark points of stationary radars and false alarms can significantly affect the price of the device. If you drive mostly during the daytime, the night mode will not be necessary for you. Choose a radar detector you liked from the rating, check its features and read reviews, and only then go to the store.
During the boring routine in traffic jams the radar detector is, of course, absolutely not needed. But if you are driving on an empty direct road on a powerful vehicle, especially in the countryside – the temptation to accelerate is very great, but you also do not want to be spotted! This is where radar detector would be very useful. Though, of course, you should be rational – there are reasons to limit the speed. Not a single radar detector can save you from a car accident… Overall, radar detector will tell you, if your speed is being measured – and you can think for yourself, if you should exceed the speed limit or no.