The best radar detector is an absolute necessity for leadfoots who hate seeing those flashing red lights in their rearview mirror but simply can’t reign in their need for speed. A good radar detector has the ability to detect the common X, K, and Ka radar bands law enforcement uses to catch speeders. The best ones can even locate cutting-edge MultaRadar detectors. Many radar detectors are also invisible to technologies police use to identify cars using radar detectors. 

In addition to detecting radio waves, today’s radar detectors also incorporate other technology to thwart traffic enforcement. They use GPS to eliminate false alarms and can even use crowdsourcing via your smartphone to alert you to speed traps and oncoming intersections with red-light cameras.

With so many technologies to consider, identifying what radar detector has the goods to keep you from getting pulled over can be complicated. Read on to learn more about today’s top radar detectors and find out why the models below are some of the best. 

Best Overall: Uniden R7
Best for the Money: Uniden R3
Best User-Friendly: Radenso XP
Best at a Premium Price: Escort Redline 360c
Best Undetectable: Valentine One V1

How We Picked the Best Radar Detectors 

Radar detectors are legal for the most part in the United States, though some exceptions exist. For a radar detector to do its job, it needs to meet very specific criteria. First and foremost, a good radar detector not only detects radar from law enforcement but also gives you time to react (otherwise, what’s the point?). With that in mind, the range was a significant factor in our selections. Since law enforcement uses a variety of radar types to catch speeders, a good radar detector must be capable of picking up the most commonly used radar technologies. The top models should be able to detect even newer radar technologies such as MRCD and MRCT. We also chose radar detectors that use other methods to alert drivers to potential traps. These phones use GPS and a Bluetooth connection to your smartphone to reduce false alarms and help locate speed traps and red light cameras via crowdsourcing. While price wasn’t a high priority, we did include a mix of affordable (yet effective) radar detectors along with some of the top models in the market. 

The Best Radar Detectors: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Uniden R7

Wide Range. Uniden

Why It Made The Cut: The R7’s reasonable price, coupled with its long range and ability to detect cutting-edge radar technology, makes it the best all-around radar detector you can buy. 

Specs:
Bands Detected: X, K, Ka, MCDT, MRCT
Dimensions: 3.9 inches long, 4.8 inches wide, 1.4 inches high
GPS: Yes

Pros:
— Tremendous long-range performance
— Can detect MultaRadar
— Multicolor display
— Reasonable price

Cons:
— Doesn’t support Bluetooth

Uniden’s R7 boasts one of the longest ranges of any radar detector on the market, and it can detect MultaRadar and Redflex photo speed limit enforcement systems. Those characteristics, coupled with the fact that it’s available at a very reasonable price, make it the best all-around radar detector one can mount to their windshield. 

The R7 allows you to choose between three sensitivity settings for better accuracy and has large directional arrows that clearly show where the radar signal is coming from. It also boasts a built-in GPS that allows you to program lockouts in areas that routinely give you false alarms. It also uses the GPS to give you real-time alerts regarding red-light camera and speed-camera locations, all of which are pulled from the Uniden database. 

You can also program voice alerts and set up notifications for speed zones, known speed traps, and school zones. It does lack the Bluetooth connection of more expensive radar detectors, so you won’t be able to use it for crowdsourcing speed trap information via your smartphone, but that’s a relatively minor omission for a radar detector that offers many of the same features found on much more expensive models. 

Best for the Money: Uniden R3

Good Value. Uniden

Why It Made The Cut: If you don’t need stealth from RDDs or require directional radar detection, then the Uniden R3 is a great radar detector for the price. 

Specs:
Bands Detected: X, K, Ka, MCDT, MRCT
Dimensions: 8.3 inches long, 7 inches wide, 3.2 inches high
GPS: Yes

Pros:
— Affordably priced older Uniden model
— Capable of detecting most radar types
— GPS connectivity provides speed trap alerts and low-speed muting

Cons:
— No directional arrows for radar detection
— Larger size

While the R7 may be Uniden’s top radar detector, the R3 can still hold its own on America’s roadways. The Uniden R3 is capable of detecting X, K, and Ka radar from extremely long range. Plus, it costs hundreds of dollars less than the top radar detectors on the market, making it a great option for those who are looking for a budget-priced radar detector. 

While it may not offer the same level of customization as some of the higher-end radar detectors, you can program tones and add voice notifications. Built-in GPS offers camera speed alerts and low-speed muting with the ability to add up to 500 manual lockouts for areas that trigger false alarms. The R3 also conveniently places the mute, mark, and dimmer buttons on the front of the unit, where they are visible from the driver’s seat. 

It does lack the directional arrows that tell you from which direction the radar signal is coming from. While that’s useful to have, it’s not a crucial feature to have to keep you from getting pulled over. At 8 inches long and 7 inches wide, the R3 is one of the larger radar detectors on the market. But if you don’t mind its size, the R3 may just be the most affordable way to keep you from getting a speeding ticket. 

Best User-Friendly: Radenso XP

Ready to Go. Radenso

Why It Made The Cut: The Escort Redline 360 offers hands down the most comprehensive package for detecting speed traps than any other radar detector on the market. 

Specs:
Bands Detected: X, K, Ka
Dimensions: 4.5 inches long, 2.75 inches wide, 1.25 inches high
GPS: Yes

Pros:
— Ready to use out of the box
— Include GPS lockout capability
— Alerts you to red light cameras

Cons:
— No MRCD or MRCT detection

There are those who want a radar detector that offers numerous settings and features that allow them to enter blackout zones and fine-tune sensitivity. Then there are those who want to take the radar detector out of the box, stick it to the windshield, plug it into the accessory jack, and hit the accelerator. 

The RadensoXP caters to the latter. It’s ready to go right out of the box with no need to adjust any settings. And though it’s a plug-and-play radar detector, it’s no slouch when it comes to performance. The RadensoXP detects most bands and speed detecting technologies used by law enforcement with the exception of MRCD and MRCT, and it’s sensitive enough to detect radar up to several miles away. It also comes equipped with GPS, which helps to prevent false alerts while providing you with warnings for red-light cameras in 22 states. The RadensoXP also supports low-speed muting. If you choose to tinker with the settings and customization, there’s plenty you can do with the RodensoXP, including manually programming lockouts for common false indicators that you pass on common routes. 

Best at a Premium Price: Escort Redline 360c

Full Package. Escort

Why It Made The Cut: The Escort Redline 360 offers hands down the most comprehensive package for detecting speed traps than any other radar detector on the market. 

Specs:
Bands Detected: X, K, Ka, MDCT, MRCT
Dimensions: 5.1 inches long, 3.4 inches wide, 1.3 inches high
GPS: Yes

Pros:
— Can detect Multaradar technology
— Uses crowdsource data to locate speed traps
— Is RDD undetectable

Cons:
— One of the most expensive radar detectors on the market

If money is no object in your hunt for the best possible way to evade speeding tickets, then the Escort Redline 360c is the clear choice. This uber-powerful radar detector has the ability to detect Multaradar and laser along with the three common radar bands law enforcement uses to catch speeders. Similar to other radar detectors, the Redline comes equipped with four directional arrows that let you know where the signals are coming from. An LED screen gives simple commands based on what the unit is picking up, including “slow down” or “caution” when it detects a potential threat. The Redline 360c also grants you access to its Escort Live app, which alerts you of speed traps other radar users are encountering. 

The Redline is also RDD undetectable and has some of the best false alert filtering of any radar detector on the market. It’s equipped with GPS, which allows it to offer low-speed muting, red-light camera alerts, and automatic lockouts. If you want a state-of-the-art radar detector, the Redline 360c is it, but be prepared to pay for it. It’s one of the most expensive radar detectors you can buy. 

Best Undetectable: Valentine One V1

Full Package. Valentine One

Why It Made The Cut: Its stealth capability makes it the obvious radar detector choice for those living in areas where radar detectors are illegal. 

Specs:
Bands Detected: X, K, Ka
Dimensions: 4.5 inches long, 2.75 inches wide, 1.25 inches high
GPS: Yes

Pros:
— Is invisible to radar detector detectors
— Is able to detect faint signals from long range
— Directional signal tells where the signal is coming from

Cons:
— Does not detect multaradar

If there’s anything worse than getting pulled over for a speeding ticket, it’s getting pulled over because you’re using an illegal radar detector to avoid getting a speeding ticket. If you’re traveling in Virginia or Washington D.C., the two places in the country where radar detectors are illegal, police use what are known as RDD (radar detector detectors) to locate vehicles that are using them. Even if you don’t live in one of these areas, it’s still not a good idea for police to know you’re using a radar detector. Valentine can evade Spectre RDD, which is what law enforcement commonly uses to detect radar detectors. Of course, how stealthy the Valentine is wouldn’t make much difference if it wasn’t able to do its job. The Valentine does, thanks to an impressive range that it achieves by using the same technology the military uses. Valentine uses a CHRP radar that can pick up targets from a longer range while reducing the number of false alarms. The radar detector is capable of identifying X, K, and Ka bands and also has an arrow that lets you know where the radar signals are coming from. Those technologies coupled with stealth make the Valentine one of the best radar detectors you can buy. 

Things to Consider Before Buying a Radar Detector

Technology

In the cat-and-mouse game of catching speeders, law enforcement continues to improve new radar technology while radar detector manufacturers follow suit by creating new technology to counter it. Case in point, any radar detector worth the plastic and circuit boards used to construct it will be able to detect X, K, and Ka bands, but only the top radar detector will be able to locate the new MultaRadarCD (MRCD) and MultaRadarCT (MRCT) devices that use photo radar technology. 

Anti-RDD

Many police departments use devices that allow them to detect radar detectors. At best, this allows law enforcement to keep a closer eye on your vehicle. At worst, you can end up with a ticket if you’re running a radar detector in Virginia or Washington, D.C. The best radar detectors have cloaking technology that makes them undetectable by RDDs. 

Customization

When purchasing a radar detector, it’s important to think about how tech savvy you are. Some radar detectors allow for a lot of customization, while others are ready to go out of the box with little need for changing settings. 

Range and False Alerting

Radar detectors vary in the range that they offer. Range is critical as it provides you with more time to react when the radar detector picks up a signal. A false alerting filter is also important to prevent radar detectors from picking up interference, such as a grocery store’s automatic door or a sensor on a traffic signal. Detectors with GPS tracking and intelligence will learn to automatically filter those false alarms out for locations you pass by frequently. 

FAQs

Q: How much does a radar detector cost?

That depends on the quality of the radar detector. Basic models that still provide adequate protection to make them useful start at about $300. Top-of-the-line radar detectors that are able to detect the latest law enforcement speed detection technologies MRDC and MRCT can cost as much as $800. 

Q: What is the most effective radar detector?

The most effective radar detector is the Escort Redline 360c, which is capable of detecting all radar bands, including multaradar and laser. In addition, the radar detectors also have anti-RDD technology and use built-in GPS to filter out false alarms and alert you to known speed traps. It also happens to be the most expensive radar detector on the market. 

Q: Are radar detectors worth it anymore?

That depends on the radar detector. If you’re willing to spend at least $300, you can purchase a radar detector that will detect the most commonly used speed radar technologies used by law enforcement. Higher-priced radar detectors offer more comprehensive protection with their ability to detect Multaradar and use GPS and even your smartphone to locate speed traps and red-light cameras. 

Q: Can I use my phone as a radar detector?

You can use your phone as a radar detector, but not in the way a true radar detector works. Radar detectors are able to detect the actual radio wave put out by a radar device, then alert the driver before they enter the device’s range. Your smartphone isn’t able to do this. However, smartphone apps such as Waze use crowdsourcing to alert you to speed traps by allowing users to tag speed trap locations and share them with other app users. 

Q: Which radar detectors are undetectable?

Most higher-end radar detectors have technology that makes them undetectable by RDD, including the Uniden R7, the Escort Redline 360c, and the Valentine ONE V1. 

Q: Can police detect radar detectors?

Law enforcement agencies that use radar detector detectors (RDDs) can detect vehicles that have a working radar detector unless that detector has technology that makes it invisible to RDDs. 

Final Thoughts

You very much get what you pay for when shopping for a radar detector. While you may be able to find budget-priced models, they often have older technology that limits just how effective they are at keeping you from getting pulled over for a traffic violation. With that in mind, it’s best to invest in a radar detector that has the ability to detect radar types that law enforcement most commonly uses to catch speeders. At the very least, a radar detector should be able to detect X, K, and Ka bands.

This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.


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