Best Radar Detector Reviews

Updated July 16, 2020

The issue of driving speed continues to be an ongoing debate among vehicle owners. While some say that driving at inconsistent speeds—and not fast driving—causes accidents, others insist that it’s people who drive too slowly in high-speed zones that should be blamed for road mishaps.

The fact is, as vehicles become more sophisticated, their owners become more inclined to drive at speeds that are comfortable to them, which is usually on the faster side. Moreover, most drivers in the United States believe that they have to keep up with the current flow of traffic, even if other drivers are driving above the speed limit.

If you tend to drive fast, a radar detector will give you a regular reality check about your speed and warn you of the presence of police officers and unmanned radar signal sources that monitor speeding vehicles.

Here are some of the top radar detectors out there that will help you save on traffic tickets and keep you away from traffic court.

Best Radar Detectors

#PREVIEWProduct
1 Uniden - R7 Extreme Long Range Laser_Radar Detector Uniden R7 Radar Detector
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2
Best For Higher Budgets
2Escort MAX360C Radar Detector
Escort - MAX360C Laser Radar Detector
Best For Higher Budgets
Escort MAX360C Radar Detector
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3 Radenso - Pro M Radar Detector
Best Overall
Radenso Pro M Radar Detector
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4
Best For Low Budgets
4Uniden R3 Radar Detector
Uniden - 3 Extreme Long Range Laser_Radar Detector
Best For Low Budgets
Uniden R3 Radar Detector
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5 Cobra - DualPro 360° Radar Detector Cobra DualPro 360° Radar Detector
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1. Uniden R7 Radar Detector

Highlights
  • Dual antennas provide 360-degree laser detection 
  • Signal strength meter (8 levels)
  • MultaRadar detection and false alarm detection
  • Nearly immune to radar detector detection (RDD)
  • Quiet Ride

Uniden R7, the manufacturer’s flagship model for its R series products, has an easy-to-read OLED screen that flashes directional arrows that tell whether the dual antennas are picking up signals in front of your vehicle, its sides, or from behind.

This product can detect Multaradar systems, which vary in frequency unlike the “continuous wave”—only one type of frequency—radars previously used by police (already in use in Illinois, Maryland, New York, Texas, Virginia, and Washington DC). At the same time, it is nearly undetected by law enforcers’ RDD systems, particularly the Spectre I and IV.

Although it has pre-loaded red light and speed camera locations, you can also store up to 2,000 GPS lockouts in the device’s memory to ignore signals from automatic door openers at grocery or drugstores.

Meanwhile, its Quiet Ride feature allows you to mute the X and K band when you drive up to 90 mph or 140km/h, which is below the speed limit set in this menu. This Uniden radar detector also has a K-band filter that ignores blind-spot monitors, K, and KA band sensors of other vehicles.

Specifications

Warranty:
18 months

Pros

  • Preloaded red light cameras and law enforcement-monitored locations
  • Up to 2,000 GPS lockouts
  • Customizable voice notification, alert tones
  • Large, clear color screen

Cons

  • Can miss some false alerts
  • Unusual external build

2. Escort MAX360C Radar Detector

Highlights
  • Front and rear-facing antenna for 360-degree laser detection 
  • MultaRadar detection 
  • Defender Database
  • AutoLearn Technology
Best For Higher Budgets
Escort - MAX360C Laser Radar Detector

Stay alert about current and new ticket threats along your route with this Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz)-connected radar detector that connects you to a 3-million-strong community of drivers via the ESCORT Live app.

Besides signal detection from its two antennas and Escort’s app community, the device also displays known red light alerts and speed camera locations based on stored information on its Defender Database.

The Escort radar detector rejects false alerts through its AutoLearn Technology, which is a combination of its AutoSensitivity feature, in-vehicle technology filtering (from collision avoidance systems and adaptive cruise control), and GPS that remembers these “falsing” incidents.

Specifications

Warranty:
12 months

Pros

  • Mobile app-enabled
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Quick digital signal processing
  • Display has 5 brightness levels

Cons

  • Not battery-operated
  • Quite pricey

3. Radenso Pro M Radar Detector

Highlights
  • Stealth feature
  • Filters out blind spot monitor (BSM) systems from other vehicles, traffic sensors
  • AutoCity Mode adjusts sensitivity between city road and highway driving
  • MultaRadar detection
Best Overall
Radenso - Pro M Radar Detector

This device allows your vehicles to go undetected by a VG2 gun or Spectre ELITE, tools police officers normally use to spot radar detector-equipped vehicles.

The most compact radar detector in our list (just 2.375 inches wide, 3.625 inches long, and an inch thick), this radar and laser detecting unit also boasts being the “quietest” radar detector on the market, thanks to its filters that block out various systems such as BSM from Acura, Ford, Honda, and Mercedes, false alerts from automatic door openers, and non-police K-band radar sources.

Meanwhile, the Radenso Pro M can detect Multaradar and Gatso RT3 (red light cameras) signals used by law enforcers to monitor speeding vehicles. Its red light and speed camera database (currently containing 6,000 locations) can be updated for free for the entire duration of your ownership.

Specifications

Warranty:
12 months

Pros

  • Compact
  • GPS lockouts
  • Voice alert
  • 4 display modes (smart dark, dark, dim, bright)

Cons

  • Somewhat tough button feel
  • Yellow-colored display can be hard to read in bright sunlight

4. Uniden R3 Radar Detector

Highlights
  • Nearly RDD immune
  • Strong K and KA band filter
  • Signal strength meter (5 levels)
  • Quiet Ride
Best For Low Budgets
Uniden - 3 Extreme Long Range Laser_Radar Detector

The GPS technology of this Uniden model makes it a notch better than the R1 model as it detects red light camera signals and allows the device to identify and remember fixed false alerts.

Due to this memory feature, this radar detector can be set on mute when passing through these locations. However, it can only record a fourth of locations that R7 can remember for emitting false alerts. Moreover, the R1 can only measure radar signal strength in 5 levels, unlike the 8-level gauge of R7.

This unit has a Quiet Ride feature and a K-band filter, just like the R7. Like the newer Uniden model, the R3 model has a maximum speed warning system.

Specifications

Warranty:
12 months

Pros

  • Stores up to 500 GPS lockouts
  • Voice notification
  • Headphone jack for motorcycle riders or for plugging in an external speaker
  • Cost-effective

Cons

  • Only one front-facing antenna
  • Display doesn't flash directional arrows indicating where radar comes from

5. Cobra DualPro 360° Radar Detector

Highlights
  • Mobile app-enabled
  • Dual antennas 
  • Patented false alert filtering system

Be a part of the 3.5 million vehicle owners who share and receive more than 100 million real-time alerts—instant speed camera and red light alerts, live traffic and speed limit data—annually via the Radar App.

The Cobra radar detector’s AutoLearn is a patented technology that automatically silences unwanted noise and ignores repeated false alerts. At the same time, its front and rear antennas plus high-speed digital signal processing offer 360-degree detection and early warnings about radar and laser transmissions.

The product’s high-resolution screen shows the type and intensity of radar threats. Directional arrows also indicate the origin of these threats.

Specifications

Warranty:
12 months

Pros

  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Voice alerts available in English and Spanish
  • Preloaded red light cameras and law enforcement-monitored locations
  • Headphone jack

Cons

  • Access to Defender Database is subscription-based
  • Not iOS-compatible

Radar Detector Buying Guide

What Is a Radar Detector? 

Radar stands for Radio Detection and Ranging. A return pulse is created when a radar signal, which travels at about 186,000 miles per second, strikes and bounces off a moving car or motorcycle. 

These pulses return to the radar and are detected by the radar antenna and processed by the radar receiver and signal processor. In the case of radar guns, the radio wave spreads like a lightning bolt over a wide area. X-band signals can detect objects 2 to 4 miles away while K-band signals, which many law enforcers use, have short wavelengths and can only detect objects 0.25 to 2 miles away. 

However, most police officers equipped with new-tech radars operate on the Ka band. They usually turn on such devices for an extended period instead of driving up to you and turning it on. 

Radar detectors are electronic devices that detect radio waves produced by radar systems. They can identify different types of radio waves and prompt visual and audio alerts so you can avoid getting into trouble with the authorities. 

The sales, ownership, and use of radar detectors by non-commercial vehicles are considered legal in the US, except in Washington D.C. and Virginia.

Top Brands

To get hold of a good radar detector, select models coming from any of these four brands.

Escort 

The Ohio-based designer and manufacturer of radar and laser detectors was established in 1987. It specializes in windshield and custom-installed detection systems as well as detector, navigation, and security accessories. 

Autoweek Reader named the company as its Choice Top Pick for Best Radar Detector Brand in 2019.

Escort even offers to pay the radar or laser speeding ticket of their radar detector buyers under its Limited Ticket Guarantee.

Cobra 

Cobra Electronics Corporation has been in the business of making drivers’ accessories since 1961, starting with two-way mobile communication devices and on to GPS systems for truckers, dash cams, and jump starters that are distributed in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. The Illinois-headquartered firm has international offices in Ireland and Hong Kong. 

Its DSP 9200 BT digital radar detector, Cobra iRadar® ATOMTM, and SPX7800BT radar-laser-camera detector won awards at international technology trade shows from 2013 to 2016.

Uniden

Founded in Japan, this 54-year-old company develops and sells wireless communications equipment and digital home appliances. The US unit, which was set up in 1979 and is now based in Texas, distributes electronic parts and electronic communications equipment. It became the world’s leading cordless phone manufacturer in the 1980s. The company currently operates in Japan, the USA, Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand.

Whistler

Whistler introduced its first radar detector in 1978 and became one of the leading brands to produce and market this product in the US in the 1980s, which was also the decade that marked 35% average annual market growth in radar detector sales. Its HQ is in Arkansas but it also has business offices in Massachusetts and China. 

Whistler radar detectors feature Radar Signature ID for identifying police radar frequencies and Laser Signature ID for identifying the pulse rate of police lasers and radar guns.

Type

Corded Radar Detector

Radar detectors that are inserted in a cigarette lighter plug usually offer the best range of detection. They’re mounted on your dashboard or windshield using suction cups. They can also be hardwired into your fuse box so that no cables will hang from your dash.

Cordless Radar Detector

This type, which needs to be charged unless it uses batteries, spares you the trouble of having to deal with dangling cords from your windshield. Because you can install it anywhere, you can mount it on a spot that’s not easily visible from outside your vehicle. 

However, experts advise that detectors be installed high for optimal radar detection. This design also makes it easily transferrable, especially if you switch vehicles often within the week. 

Hidden Radar Detector

Also referred to as remote-mount, concealed radar detectors require permanent and customized mounting, usually in a hidden area such as behind your vehicle’s front bumper grill. 

Bluetooth Radar Detector

Products with Bluetooth connectivity can be operated using your smartphone or any other device with a Bluetooth feature through a mobile app or software.

Uses

Owners of two and four-wheel drives have unique needs when it comes to the type of radar detectors to use. 

Motorcycle

Cordless motorcycle radar detectors that draw power directly from the vehicle are the most convenient type of product to use for your two-wheeler. It automatically turns off when you stop your engine. 

Choose a weatherproof device with a base mount that will keep it in place even over rugged terrain.

A radar detector with warning light technology that’s visible even in sunlight is better than a voice alert that you can’t hear anyway while you’re zooming down the freeway. Otherwise, a device with a headphone jack will be necessary. 

Products such as the Helmet-Assisted Radar Detection from Legal Speeding are also practical and safe tools for motorcycle riders. Users see a flashing LED light inside their helmet when their detector recognizes a radar threat.

Car

Like all other radar detectors, car radar detectors need a line of sight for the device to properly tell you where a radar signal is coming from. 

As mentioned earlier, you can mount it at just the right height on your windshield where it or the cords won’t obstruct visibility (and as long as it’s not against your state’s laws), hardwire it by your rearview mirror, or have it installed behind your front bumper cover or in the cutout area near the fog lights.

Radar Detector App

The ESCORT Live app and Cobra’s iRadar app are examples of radar detector applications that you can download on your smartphone and pair with the brand’s radar detecting device.

Some navigation apps like Waze are dual purpose and can also operate as a radar detector app because they show the location of traffic cameras and police officers’ parked vehicles. 

Other alternatives include Glob (GPS, Traffic, Radar, and Speed Limits), Police Detector, Radarbot, Radar Beep, Speed Camara Radar, and Sygic Navigation.

Pricing Range

Affordable devices can range from below $100 (Whistler Z-15R) to around $2,000 and higher (Escort Max, Radenso, Net Radar), including installation. They can cost more than $3,500 if you bundle your detector with a laser jammer.

But if you’re looking for the best radar detector for the money, we recommend either the Radenso Pro M or Uniden R7. Both models can detect more advanced Multaradar. Although Uniden R7 is superior in terms of detection distance, the Radenso Pro M seems to have an edge in VG-2 and Spectre invisibility plus false alert reduction, resulting in more quiet drives based on tests and feedback from other buyers. 

It’s also lightweight and has free lifetime access to its database of red light and speed camera locations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the best radar detector on the market?
A:

The Escort MAX360C is a good choice in the high-end segment because it balances its radar and laser detection capabilities with filtering technology, picking up only the alerts that matter. Moreover, it is backed by a community-based Escort Live app that strengthens your protection against police radar threats through updates from fellow drivers.

Meanwhile, Uniden R7’s wide range and Radenso Pro M’s BSM-filtering are our top recommendations in the mid-range segment.

Q: Can cops tell if you have a radar detector?
A:

Yes, they can. Police radar detector detectors (RDDs) are used in places where private vehicle owners are prohibited from using radar detectors. RDDs pick up signals emitted by their radar detectors. Authorities can detect so-called “leaky”—usually cheap and poorly designed—radar detectors from over a mile away.

The first of RDD systems was the Canada-made VG-2 that detects oscillations on a single frequency. However, US manufacturers started rolling out VG-2-proof detectors in the late 1990s. This led to the creation of Spectre technology, which operates on several frequency bands.

Q: How to hardwire a radar detector?
A:

Instead of hooking up your radar detector into the cigarette lighter, or positioning it on your dashboard or windshield, you can mount your radar detector way up near your headliner—preferably behind your tint strip near your rearview mirror—and connect it to your car’s fuse box using a dedicated power cable.

This makes your radar detection system look cleaner as well as keeps it out of sight from potential thieves or even the police. A professional radio installer can do this for you. You can also use a hardwire or direct wire cable, add-a-circuit fuse tap kit, and T-Tap (optional) if you want to do it yourself.

Check your car manual to find your fuse box and take out an accessory fuse, usually your radio fuse. Take a circuit adder and insert the radio fuse in the bottom hole parallel to the wire and another fuse (1-10 amp) on the top hole. On the other end of the circuit adder, insert the power wire of the hardwire cable and crimp the two ends together.

Meanwhile, secure the other wire—called the ground wire that has a round tip—to your car’s chassis. You can then plug the add-a-circuit in the slot where you originally took out the radio fuse. Run the cable through your dashboard, and tuck it up in the headliner behind the mirror until you reach your mounted detector.

Our Verdict

A good radar detector should be highly sensitive to police radar systems but at the same time selective in detecting non-police sources such as automatic door openers and other vehicles emitting radar.

It provides good visual and audio cues regarding upcoming threats based on real-time detected signals, preloaded speed cam locations, or community-fed alerts.

Most of all, the best products are future-proofed to detect more state-of-the-art radar and protect you from RDDs.