The Best Radar Detectors
Avoiding speeding tickets and cutting down the costs of your insurance premiums is definitely a dream come true.
The easiest way to make this happen is by investing in a premium radar detector, and I’ve got just the ultimate list for you. I’ll go over the best, the worst and the most affordable ones to consider!
On top of that, I’ll also share ways to improve your safety on the road and even radar detectors that are undetectable by law enforcement.
All in all, if you’re looking for an easy way to stay ahead of law enforcement, then you’ll love this guide!
Table of Contents
The Best Radar Detectors Reviewed (2020)
The Uniden R3DSP is Amazon’s choice for the best long-range laser radar detector. What buyers found marvelous in this long-range radar detector was its ease of use, accuracy, and durability.
Plus, for a limited time only, paying for the Uniden R3DSP with an Amazon Rewards Visa card will slash $60 off its published price.
Moreover, the Uniden R3DSP is packed with loads of features such as:
- Pre-installed with a GPS where you can easily mark radars so you won’t be alerted if it’s just a false alarm.
- A voice notification that can say “User mark ahead” when you’re approaching an area that you’ve marked. It can even tell you that the Uniden R3DSP is picking up a Ka frequency band.
- Letting you enjoy a nice and quiet cruise by allowing you to mute all voice and tone notifications.
- It has a full spectrum digital signal processing that provides its buyers with no blindspot protection.
What makes the Uniden R3DSP a complete standout is how it just can simply do it all!
Based on buyer reviews, the Uniden R3DSP has provided really reliable radar detecting even on terrain roads, which is the true challenge with regards to getting a long-range radar detector.
K band detecting is a piece of cake with the Uniden R3DSP. Amazon buyers have claimed that this fuzz buster has worked so well with detecting the speed radars that police often put randomly on roads. In fact, the Uniden R3DSP has been called the best in 1.8-mile detection.
IIt is compact and sleek. You can also change up the colors of the LED depending on your mood.
Coming in next to Uniden R3DSP is the Escort Passport 9500IX. While it doesn’t have as many features as the Uniden R3DSP, Amazon shoppers still found this to be an equally durable choice that’s easy to install.
The Passport 9500IX has a powerful GPS intelligence that is pre-loaded with fixed red lights and fixed cameras that are spread throughout the northern part of America. Amazon Buyers are thankful for the helpful GPS that helps them dismiss false alarms that are attributed to garage doors.
Similar to the Uniden R3DSP, the Passport 9500IX from Escort also brags 360-degree protection for all its buyers and it’s all due to its front and rear monitoring. Here are additional features that the Amazon shoppers have truly enjoyed:
- An ultra-bright alphanumeric display that allows users to have a view of the band being detected so drivers can stay on the road safely.
- Auto-learn feature is the artificial intelligence that allows the Escort Passport 9500IX to recognize all the false alarms as you go on with your drive.
How does it work? Well, once the Escort Passport 9500IX’s monitor finds the same signals from a certain signal and is always a marked location three times, the device will recognize it as a false alert and will fix this signal to the same area. It will be removed from any future warning thus informing you of its choice with a single tone and shows you the locked signal band on the device’s LED screen.
With all of these features combined in a streamlined device, this might just be the device that’s right for you. Great for city driving and was found to be very satisfactory at filtering out false K-band alerts.
Coming in hot at third place is the Beltronics RX65 professional series radar detector. This radar detector was perceived well by Amazon shoppers for its good material quality and ease of use.
It comes in two LED display colors, red or blue, to match your preference. You can even get this radar detector at $60 off its published price if you’re an Amazon Rewards Visa Cardholder!
Despite being released in 2004, Beltronics RX65 continues to remain relevant in the radar detector market because of these awesome features:
Beltronics RX65 has an amplified detection for X, K, SuperWide Ka, and Safety Warning System radar capability, front, and rear laser detection. This radar detector is capable of doing so because it is equipped with a DSP or Digital Signal Processing. Through the DSP, signals are filtered out better thereby providing its users a quieter cruise with less false alarms.
Through its Signal Warning System or SWS, the Beltronics RX65 utilizes a special K-band radar signal that gives warnings to users when there is highway construction/maintenance, hazard zone advisories, weather alerts, travel information, even the speed of other moving vehicles. This special system devised for RX65 displays up to a total of 64 possible messages for such information which are valuable whether you’re just driving in your city or crossing inter-cities.
Provided that radar detectors are allowed in your region, Beltronics RX65 can serve as your companion whether you’re driving internationally or anywhere in the upper American region.
Join the community of drivers with the Escort Live, which you can add to the Beltronics RX65 with a special Bluetooth cord. Through this add-on, you can receive alerts on your phone what your current location’s speed limits are, driving conditions, etc. to ensure your own safety on the road.
And since radar detectors can get a little pricey, you can simply remove the Beltronics RX65 from your car’s windshield because of its easily detachable mount. You can conveniently place it in its carrier which is a hard shell metal case and you’re off to go!
For many of its buyers, Beltronics RX65 is faultless with its features and its ease of use. Many praised the unit for its reliability on detecting signal bands well whether they’re driving on straight, curved, or hilly roads.
The Most Affordable Radar Detectors Reviewed
If a $400+ radar detector doesn’t suit your budget, Amazon shoppers have found the Cobra RAD450 to be a valuable option at less than $130.
It works in a similar way as the more expensive options without the hefty price tag. It’s easy to install and even easier to use that even a grade-schooler can operate it.
Cobra RAD 450 promises to deliver features that are comparable to the more expensive options such as:
- The IVT (In-Vehicle Technology), a Cobra-patented technology, and the Anti-Falsing Circuitry help the Cobra RAD450 eliminate many false alerts from nearby collided cars, garage doors, blind spot systems from other moving vehicles, etc.
- Instant-On Ready that allows the Cobra RAD 450 to catch laser signals quickly.
- A highly visible OLED display that provides you with information such as the type of signal and the signal strength. It also has a volume control situated conveniently at the side of the device for easier accessibility.
Aside from the above features, the Cobra RAD 450 is capable of detecting radars as far as 2 miles from your vehicle (on a straight road) with its laser detector that catches signals both front and rear. You can even set your language preference between English or Spanish!
As we mentioned earlier, the Cobra RAD 450 is considered by many of its buyers to be a really nifty purchase at its price point.
Still skeptical about spending the money on a Uniden R3DSP but would like to check the capabilities of their products? Why not start with the Uniden DFR3 radar detector?
It’s got the most basic specifications that you would need from a radar detector. It’s sleek and slim, made from quality materials, easy to install, and has a great value for money.
Do not let the low price tag fool you into thinking that Uniden went really cheap with the Uniden DFR3. Based on the Amazon shoppers testimonials, the Uniden DFR3 has a lot to offer such as:
- Two driving modes to suit your needs: Highway or City mode.
- Multi-colored and easy to read LED display.
- Sound alerts for specific band signals to alert you as you cruise without having to check on the display.
According to its buyers, the Uniden DFR3, despite sitting at a lower price point functions just as advertised and is a very reliable radar detector especially on highway travel.
Cobra Electronics Corporation can truly come up with affordable options for radar detectors that are just as competitive as the even pricier ones.
For example, the Cobra RAD 350 is for anyone who is looking for a radar detector with a budget of less than $100. Similar to the Cobra RAD 450, the RAD 350 is favored by Amazon buyers and in fact, it currently sits at #6 in Amazon’s best choices for this type of device.
Here are some of the features of the Cobra RAD 350 which makes it a favorite among its buyers:
- IVT (In-Vehicle Technology) and Anti-Falsing Circuitry that helps detect and disregard any false alerts which may come from non-police detector sources such as another vehicle’s collision systems, garage doors, and even traffic monitoring systems which are built on roads.
- LIDAR or laser detector that can track front or rear laser detector sources.
- Specific band icon and color to help guide its buyers on the type of signal it is picking up as well as the signal’s strength.
- The radar detector can also give off specific audio signals for the user in order to prevent distraction when driving on roads. It even has an Auto-mute option that rids any long and on-going alerts so you can stay focused while driving.
- A dedicated sensitivity button (SEN) to change between city or highway driving.
Overall, the Cobra RAD 350 has been praised for features that don’t hurt the budget. A truly reliable choice for a radar detector, as attested by its Amazon shoppers.
The Worst Radar Detectors Reviewed
Nanit offers a complete baby monitoring system that not only provides you with the video feed of your baby sleeping but also an analysis of how well baby has slept through the night. It has been rated high for its night vision mode quality, as well as its audio and video quality.
Since this is a complete baby monitoring system, data is fed to the Nanit baby monitoring app that uses the breathing rate data from the swaddle to give you helpful information that will only become beneficial to you and your baby’s health. The buyers have praised these features as this has helped them improve their overall sleep.
While this is not considered a medical device, many of the buyers were satisfied by the data it provides and were pleased to entrust their baby’s safety to Nanit’s complete baby monitoring system.
The whole baby monitoring system is also linked to WiFi. Such a feature was seen as valuable for parents who are often away from their baby, traveling, or even going on date nights. It helps provides the buyers with comfort knowing full well that they could watch their baby on their phone, but also check on their baby’s vitals.
Another radar detector that failed to impress its buyers was the Whistler XTR-130 that only received an average rating of 3.4 stars out of 5.
Surely, it’s sleek and easy to install but lacked a little bit on the performance aspect. Here are some of the features that you can expect from the XTR-130 should you decide to purchase it from Amazon:
- Gives buyers total band protection from X, K, Ka, and even lasers. Depending on the interference detected, the device will give you a specific symbol on the display or a specific sound to alert you of the interference being gathered.
- Set the device in four different modes, 3 cities, and 1 highway mode, to match your current driving requirements. With the varying settings, the device can either have increased or decreased sensitivity as you drive. City Mode eliminates a lot of the alerts when the device is detecting interference from automatic doors.
- Undetectable by police with its VG-2 Detection Mode. According to Whistler, this technology allows the device to remain hidden from police detectors so you can drive safe knowing that the XTR-130 will remain discreet in your vehicle.
Despite the seemingly helpful features, not a lot of its buyers were impressed. Some of the Amazon shoppers that left a 5-star rating for this device defended it by saying that the detector is good enough for its price.
Sadly our list for the worst radar detector finds on Amazon has another entry from Whistler with its XTR-543 battery-operated laser radar detector.
It failed to impress its buyers mostly in terms of battery performance and poor design. Yet, despite these negative findings, the XTR-543 has features such as the following:
- Able to detect X, K, Ka-band radar, and laser that is shown on the small LED display. For the driver’s safety, the detector provides specific alerts per signal detected. This allows the driver to focus on the road while receiving information from the XTR-543.
- Battery operated removes the need for any cords attached to the car’s lighter outlet and thus allows for less distraction on the dashboard.
- A dedicated CITY button reduces the sensitivity of the device from specific bands which are often used in the operation of automatic doors and garages.
Among the reasons why buyers called this detector to be poorly made is how the battery isn’t living up to its expectations. Buyers were expecting that the device will operate for longer hours not just a day’s worth of driving.
How To Install A Radar Detector
Now that you’ve found the best radar detector for you, the next thing to do now is to install it. The installation of a radar detector is fairly easy. Consulting the user manual usually does the trick. But, just in case you lost it or don’t feel like reading from a book, here’s a step by step instruction to installing your radar detector:
- Check and make sure that you have all of the components to your radar detector purchase. Some radar detector manufacturers include a mount and it usually comes with basic suction cups.
- With the suction cups, position the radar detector right in the upper area of your windshield. This is the ideal position of putting your radar detector to ensure that even lasers can be detected. Placing it right on your dashboard would just be counterproductive as the device may have difficulties catching the signals.
- Once mounted, you can immediately turn on your device if it is battery-powered like the Whistler XTR-543. But, in case it needs an outlet, you can directly plug the power cable right into your car’s cigarette socket. In this manner, the radar detector will run just as you have your car running.
- Aside from these two options, you can also hardwire your radar detector into your car’s wiring interface. To do this, you will need to turn off your engine. You may also require some aftermarket wiring tools/add-a-circuit fuse tap kit to make the job easier:
Rearview Mirror Option:
- Remove the plastic cover of the wiring for the rearview mirror.
- Once opened, locate the wiring harness and once found, unplug it so you can input your radar detector’s wiring. Keep in mind that the red is positive and the black is either ground or negative.
- Secure the wires so your device will run smoothly. You can do this with electrical tape and cable ties.
- Place your radar detector on its mount and plug in to power. Once connected, test run by starting your engine so you can check that the wiring is all correct.
- Once you’re satisfied, put the plastic protective cover back in place.
Hardwired to The Fuse Box:
Another method of powering your radar detector is by hardwiring it to the car’s fuse box. Using this method may do a lot of wiring placements and working around your windshield so that the power cord will not get in the way of your view and driving.
- Locate your fuse box and open it. If this is your first time seeing your fuse box, you will be welcomed with color-coded male connectors that complement its female counterparts. Some of these fuse boxes will come with a fuse remover tool, spare fuses, as well as a map that shows the layout of the fuses.
- The colors correspond to the voltage/amperes of each. This is why it is important to consult your radar detector’s guide to determine the power requirement of the device. Most of the time, radar detectors only require less than 3 amperes to operate.
- Once determined, you can cut your radar detector’s power plug, retain the telephone plug, and strip the wire coating. Strip away just a little so that it could fit the add-a-circuit receptacle.
- Connect your radar detector’s exposed live wire to the circuit adder.
- When looking at the add-a-circuit, the top is usually the slot for the original amp that you removed from your car and the bottom is the amp for your new device.
- Now that you’ve plugged your amps, it’s time to test your connection. Plugin the circuit adder back into its slot in the fuse box and start your car and turn it off.
- After observing that it goes just as it should, you can now mount your radar detector on your windshield and run its wires by tucking it inside your car’s panels so your field of vision is free from any annoying wires.
- Close your fuse box and enjoy your newly installed radar detector.
Most Asked Questions on Radar Detectors
Do radar detectors actually work?
To determine whether radar detectors work is to also look into the mechanism of the entire system.
Police guns work by emitting certain waves. By the laws of physics, these waves bounce off objects and create a signature return signal. In the case of the moving cars versus a police radar, the signature return signal indicates the speed of the moving vehicle.
Radar detectors receive these waves that come off the police radar and as such, will be registered on your radar detector. Radar detectors are built to listen to the common bands that police officers use including lasers.
Going back to the question whether radar detectors work, yes, it does. And if installed properly and used properly, its benefit will mainly be helping you become safe on the road.
Can a Radar Detector Be Detected by Police?
Since radar emits waves and so, in a similar way that your radar detector can detect a radar, your radar detector can also be detected by the police.
Think of Frodo putting on the ring in the Lord of the Rings. To others, Frodo becomes invisible, but to the Nazgul, he is seen.
In a similar fashion, the Nazgul can only sense the ring when it is being used. Just like when a police’s radar is on, it is the only time that your radar detector can sense it.
Which States Allow Radar Detectors?
There are a lot of states that allow the use and ownership of radar detectors. If you can’t see your state in this list, it’s better to consult your state laws for more specific information regarding the laws:
- ALABAMA (AL)
- ALASKA (AK)
- ARIZONA (AZ)
- ARKANSAS (AR)
- COLORADO (CO)
- CONNECTICUT (CT)
- DELAWARE (DE)
- FLORIDA (FL)
- GEORGIA (GA)
- HAWAII (HI)
- IDAHO (ID)
- INDIANA (IN)
- IOWA (IA)
- KANSAS ( KS)
- KENTUCKY (KY)
- LOUISIANA (LA)
- MAINE (ME)
- MARYLAND (MD)
- MASSACHUSETTS (MA)
- MICHIGAN (MI)
- MISSISSIPPI (MS)
- MISSOURI (MO)
- MONTANA (MT)
- NEBRASKA (NE)
- NEVADA (NV)
- NEW HAMPSHIRE (NH)
- NEW MEXICO (NM)
- NORTH CAROLINA (NC)
- NORTH DAKOTA (ND)
- OHIO (OH)
- OKLAHOMA (OK)
- OREGON (OR)
- PENNSYLVANIA (PA)
- RHODE ISLAND (RI)
- SOUTH CAROLINA (SC)
- SOUTH DAKOTA (SD)
- TENNESSEE (TN)
- TEXAS (TX)
- UTAH (UT)
- VERMONT (VT)
- WASHINGTON (WA)
- WEST VIRGINIA (WV)
- WISCONSIN (WI)
- WYOMING (WY)
What is the penalty for being pulled over with a radar detector?
Penalty for being pulled over for having a radar detector varies according to the state laws. These are the stated penalty:
- Virginia and Washington, DC
When you are caught using a radar detector in Virginia or in Washington, DC, you will be ticketed with no more than $300 for possession and use.
There used to be cases of confiscation, however, some of the law enforcement officers have shied away from this practice because they will become liable for the property.
Having radar detectors isn’t a license to speed. Being careful of your speed when driving not only helps protect you as a driver, but protects other drivers on the road as well.
Furthermore, a radar detector is truly handy when you drive across states every day. Which can prove to be very helpful in helping you stay alert while you’re on the road.
There are a lot of choices on Amazon for the best radar detector out there. Based on consumers’ reviews, the three standouts are Uniden R3DSP, Escort Passport 9500IX, and the Beltronics RX65. Each of these radar detectors was chosen by many of the Amazon shoppers for their ability to detect the police radar excellently with less false alerts.
For budget choices, Amazon shoppers have chosen between Cobra RAD 450, Uniden DFR3 or the Cobra RAD 350 because the devices, though affordable, did not skimp out on features.
Having a radar detector is a huge power. It isn’t a tool to be used to break the law. When used correctly and responsibly, it is a helpful tool to keep you safe and help save you money by keeping your insurance premiums at bay.
We hope that this guide will not only help you find the best radar detector or help you install it on your car but will also serve as a reminder that these radar detectors should always be used responsibly.
For more helpful tips, trusted reviews and buyer’s guides, be sure to always check out GentleReview.com. See you!