The Best Radar Detectors

Radio Detection and Ranging (radar) detectors were introduced in the 1950s.

Most people will have seen a cop at the side of the road with a radar gun pointed and worried they’d been over the speed limit. By that time, it’s probably too late, and you’re either going to be looking at flashing red and blue lights in your rear-view mirror. Or you’ll be getting a citation in the post with a penalty to pay and in some states, points added to your license. Rack up too many points, and you could end up with a suspended license. Rack up too many tickets, and you could be looking at a hike in your auto insurance premiums, and if you’re really unlucky your life insurance premiums could be heading for an increase too!

Radar detectors give a visual and audible alert that a radar (or laser if your model is laser capable) gun or speed camera or red light camera is in use in the vicinity. Giving you time to check your speed and adjust it accordingly if you have unintentionally crept above the posted speed limit. In this respect, they enable the driver to decrease the recommended rate and reduce the likelihood that they will receive a speeding ticket. When used correctly they can be a useful tool to safer driving and allow drivers to concentrate on the road ahead.

They are not, however, a license to break the law by speeding or reckless driving! Such actions may result in the death or serious injury of you, your passengers and other innocent people.

ImageNameRating/ReviewsLowest Price Available
Cobra ESD75703.7/1527 Reviews
Beltronics RX65 Red4.1/713 Reviews
Escort Max 3603.6/380 Reviews
Escort Passport 8500X504.2/1013 Reviews
Escort Ix Long Range4.2/123 Reviews
Escort Passport 9500iX4.4/1887 Reviews
Cobra RAD4504.2/104 Reviews
Escort Passport X704.0/88 Reviews
Escort Passport S554.1/204 Reviews
Cobra Electronics DSP9200BT4.1/153 Reviews

How they work – the basic principles behind Radar Detectors

Radar detectors are simple devices that work using four central wavelength bands, Ku, Ka, K, and X. Here they use only Ka, K, and X. High-frequency radio waves emit from a camera, bounce off an oncoming car (cops usually aim at the number plate) and are reflected back to the camera. The time taken for the waves to return to the camera is used to determine the speed at which the vehicle is traveling and if they are speeding.

Doppler along with newer LIDAR detectors are the only two types of radar guns or cameras that can be detected using a radar detector. But since they are the main ones used that shouldn’t, for the time being anyway, be an issue.

Are radar detectors legal?

In short, yes. Radar detectors are perfectly legal to use in your car in the majority of States for passenger vehicles under the Communications Act of 1934, and the police cannot legally confiscate your equipment (of course there are exceptions).

Legal limitations to the use of radar detectors

The use of radar detectors is prohibited in:

  • Commercial vehicles,
  • Military bases,
  • The District of Columbia i.e. Washington D.C.,
  • And in The Commonwealth of Virginia.

If you live or drive in the states of California and Minnesota, you can receive a ticket if an officer considers any windshield mounted object is causing an obstruction to a driver’s view. So, you’d do best to check your local and states legislation concerning the use and positioning of radar detector equipment. Ignorance is not an excuse so check first and get it right.

What about Police Radar Jammers?

Police radar jammers are an entirely different gadget to radar detectors and shouldn’t be confused as while it’s perfectly legal (in most states, see above) to own and use a radar detector. If you attempt to use a jammer, it violates Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations and is a federal offense which could see you get a hefty fine. They take this stance because the use of jammers can interfere with equipment used by the emergency services; which could be putting people’s lives at risk.

Police Laser Jammers are again, another piece of equipment that is similar to a police radar jammer and not one that has anything to do with radar detectors. There is a gray area with laser jammers as while they only emit a beam of light and therefore cause less disruption to equipment than radar jammers. And (at the time of writing) are not yet Federally banned, many states have laws against their use or ownership.

Why do I need a radar detector, I always stick to the speed limit?

A person who believes they always stick to the speed limit would probably be surprised that in today’s’ fast paced and hectic lifestyles, there’s probably not that many people who consistently adhere to the legal set speed limit. On highways, it’s quite easy to increase your speed unknowingly as the roads are full and you get pushed along at the speed everyone else is driving. It’s incredibly easy to creep over the speed limit when you are late or passing a slower vehicle, and the last thing most of us want is a speeding ticket! Fines are usually around the $150 and change mark (that’s if you pay right away and don’t contest it, if you’re late they’ll slap on an admin charge!). But compared to Finn Jussi Salonoja from Helsinki who got a massive 170,000 Euro fine for speeding, I guess you could say, that’s pretty light! But combine your speeding ticket fine with some of these undesirable extras (that you seriously don’t want) and your day could be going from bad to worse! You don’t want to deal with things such as:

  • Traffic school,
  • Having points on your license,
  • Traffic court,
  • Suspended license,
  • Loss of freedom if you can’t use your car,
  • Loss of income if you lose your job because you can’t use your car,
  • Higher vehicle insurance premiums,
  • The increase in life insurance premiums.

Points and traffic school

Not all states use a points system for speeding violations, but a lot do. There are plenty of websites where you can check your individual state’s laws on how they handle traffic violations. Points black marks on your driving record, and they will show up when your auto insurance checks up on you. Get too many points, and it could lead to other surprises such as a suspended license and if you use your car to drive to work every day that could be a real issue.

Paying and then attending traffic school or a driving class can give you a chance not to receive points. After completing the 6 – 10 hours of instruction on driving safety and traffic, you can get the points removed from your driving record. You will need to complete the necessary paperwork and submit it to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the school you attend must be an authorized one in your state.

If you clock up too many traffic tickets, it may lead to the suspension of your license; this is a definite period in which you will not be able to drive. Rack up a few more traffic tickets, and you’ll be looking at the possibility of having your license revoked, an indefinite withdrawal of your right to drive. Serious traffic offenses could lead to the cancellation of your license, and that could be disastrous to you and your family. Having to find different ways to travel to work, pick up the kids from school or shop for groceries because you no longer have the ability to drive a vehicle could be costly and inconvenient.

Increased insurance premiums

Having car insurance is an essential part of responsible vehicle ownership but, it can be expensive and let’s face it, we’ve all got other things on which we’d rather spend our money. That’s why the majority of people shop around and compare before we purchase. But what about the insurance companies?

When deciding on how much your insurance premium will be auto insurers look at your driving record, they’ll look at any traffic violations you’ve had, how many points are on your license and if you’ve got speeding tickets that will be most interesting. Why? Well, an insurance agent will see a person with prior speeding citations as more likely to have an accident and accidents could equal a claim on which they may be liable to pay out. These rules apply even if you haven’t ever made a claim yourself. To cover this the next time you take out insurance don’t be surprised if your premium hasn’t risen and it can rise by a lot! The more speeding tickets, the higher the risk, the higher your auto insurance.

As the Insurance Information Institute puts it ‘The better your record, the lower your premium. If you have had accidents or serious traffic violations, it is likely you will pay more than if you have a clean driving record.’

Most people forget that their financial information can be shared between providers so for example between your auto insurance and life insurance agents. And while most life insurance providers often forgive a single ticket through ‘ticket forgiveness,’ obtain multiple citations or get caught for criminal speeding and that’s not going to happen. Again, with life insurance it has to do with risk analysis and the higher the risk they perceive you to be, the higher your policy premium will increase.

Allstate insurance providers even look at your driving record when assessing your suitability and the pricing for home insurance policies too. Vice president of product operations Laurie Pellouchoud says ‘…Allstate started looking at driving records to learn about homeowners’ behavior.’

Holidays without the hassle or worry of a ticket

When you’re on vacation or visiting friends and relatives in a different state, you may wind up with a nasty surprise if you get caught speeding – which on unfamiliar roads is easy to do. Traffic citations can vary from state to state, and they are less forgiving for out of state drivers. Plus, it’s a fact that people are less likely to contest a ticket if they are from out of the state. And with no idea of where the local traffic cops set up to watch your speed, you’re more open to tickets. You want to focus on your vacation or business trip, not worry about traffic tickets.

Should you rent a car for your vacation and are unfortunate enough to be pulled over for speeding or receive a nasty surprise in the post in the form of a red light or fixed camera citation. You might be tempted to ignore it, especially if you were out of state right? Wrong! It’s never a good idea to ignore a ticket if you do the chances are the problem with only get bigger. And the credit card you used to hire your vacation car will have all your details on it. Don’t be surprised when you get your next credit card bill to discover an extra charge in the form of the speeding or traffic violation ticket amount, plus they will probably add a little something extra for administrative purposes because you failed to pay in the time scale stated on your citation. Not a great way to end a vacation.

Things to consider when purchasing a Radar Detector

There’s a huge market when it comes to radar detectors with a number of manufacturers all offering basically the same product but with different features. Some features are essential, others not so much. A few things to consider are:

  • Price,
  • Range capability,
  • Radio frequencies covered,
  • False alarm filter,
  • Size,
  • Portability,
  • Corded or cordless connectivity,
  • Cost of installation,
  • Additional features such as GPS,
  • Where you drive city, rural, highway for example,
  • How much driving you do,
  • Time of day you drive, rush-hour, school run, leisure for example.

Price

Units typically start at around $40 and can go upwards of $600 for the top of the range models with additional features such as GPS, Real Time Alerts, Bluetooth connectivity, etc. The models reviewed here have a broad price range, so there is something here for all budgets. But as with most things in life the old adage – you get what you pay for often applies! That being said it really does depend on what you want to get out of a detector and how much you think you’ll use one. If you plan to use it for your daily commute, drive often, and travel out of state, etc. then the features and benefits you will get from some of the top models may be well worth those extra bucks.

More inexpensive models may give off false alerts which can get real annoying, real fast! Worse you may get so fed up that you turn it off and get a ticket. And then consider this – a single speeding ticket cost around $150! It may well be worth spending the extra money.

Range/Coverage

For the maximum effectiveness and best chance of avoiding a ticket, your radar needs to have coverage out the back and the front to intercept any threats posed up ahead and from behind. Most units offer this as standard anyway. With some units offering 360o degree coverage for all round protection.

Radio frequencies

As mentioned earlier, the bands used in the US are:

  • Ka-Band – 34.2 to 35.2 GHz
  • K-Band – 24.05 to 24.24 GHz
  • X-Band – 10.5 to 10.55 GHz.

Most law enforcement establishments are now moving to a newer technology in laser detectors which have a narrower beam and are easier to target individual vehicles. These are called Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) equipment. And yes, these are perfectly legal for the cops to use in all 50 states. So, if you live in the city, drive on the highways (actually pretty much everywhere will move over to LIDAR eventually) it’s worth looking to ensure that the radar detector you purchase also has laser sensor capabilities.

False alerts

With an ever-increasing number of gadgets around there will be times when your radar detector comes into range of another appliance using the same radio frequency, for example, automatic garage doors or shopping mall automatic doors. You don’t want to have alerts every time you pass Walmart so choosing a detector that has a ‘remember’ function is a must. Radars with GPS can map or learn them, so they won’t alert every time you drive past.

Size and portability

Sizes can vary from pocket sized units such as the Cobra DSP9200BT which weighs less than a pound, to larger ones such as some of the Escort models; the Escort Max 360 weighs 1.8lbs. If you plan to remove your detector say perhaps to pop it into your work bag or purse while you are going to be away from your car; then you may wish to consider a smaller, lighter model. Having units which you can easily use in two vehicles or a rental car perhaps is really handy. Of course, you can’t do this if it’s hard wired into your car (something else you may wish to think about when choosing how to mount your new unit).

Cords

The majority of radar detectors come complete with a power cord (usually the coiled version) which plugs directly into the vehicle’s 12V cigarette lighter socket, generally located on or around your dashboard. Installation is quick and straightforward. The trouble is you might want to use your socket for charging your phone or the kids tablets on the school run. However, there’s an easy fix, 2-socket cigarette lighter adapters are readily available which will enable you to use both your detector and another piece of tech. Or consider the Cobra DSP9200BT radar detector, for example, as they’ve solved this by adding a USB input port to their power cord.

Installation

There are two ways to install most in-car radar detectors self-install right out of the box with the cord and windshield suction-cup mounting brackets etc. or professionally installed at a specialist shop. It will really depend on the type of radar detector you have purchased and where you’d like to install it in the car.

Check the owners manual supplied with the unit to learn more about the correct installation.

Self-installation

Most manufacturers will provide you with everything that you need to install your new piece of kit including sucker cups to attach it to the inside of your windshield and a cord to plug into your cigarette lighter. It is possible to mount units either on the sun visor or the interior, rear view mirror.

Mounting in this way makes the unit easy to move either from car to car or for safety if you will be leaving your vehicle for extended periods of time to avoid the theft. There are some small models which can easily be slipped off the mount and tucked into your purse or work bag.

It is essential that your detector does not cause any obstruction to your field of vision when you are driving to avoid any unnecessary loss of concentration which could result in an accident or incident. So place your detector where it will be efficient and safe.

Each state has differing laws regarding the placement of such devices so be sure to understand your state’s requirements before you install it. As indicated above California and Minnesota have strict regulations regarding placing things on your windshield so keep this in mind if you want to avoid a citation.

Placing the detector horizontally and as low down as possible gives a much better detection rate. For the rear sensor to work, you must position the unit between the rear headrests, so they don’t block the signals from behind.

Radar and laser signals will pass through the glass on your windshield but not through other objects such as:

  • Mirrored sunscreens,
  • Windshield wipers,
  • And cars with dark tinting at the top of your windshield.

Check individual dealers if you have heated windshields such as Installer on some Ford vehicles and Electriclear on General Motors (GM) cars, as this may affect the efficiency of the detector.

Professional installation

If you chose to have your unit permanently installed in your vehicle, this is usually best undertaken by a professional fitter as it requires internal connectivity and may require drilling into your car’s structure. Radar detectors professionally mounted do tend to be more efficient, and they are certainly neater. Plus you won’t be using up that valuable lighter socket which you may need to charge your cell phone. Of course, the downside to having a detector wired into your car is that it’s not so easy to remove which if you use a couple of vehicles regularly, may be an issue.

If you’d like to have your detector professionally fitted you have the option to include this when you purchase your unit from some suppliers. Doing this is quick and easy, and a local expert will arrange to set up your new detector either at their shop or if that’s not convenient at your home or place of business. Saving you time and ensuring you’re up and running as soon as possible. They’ll have all the right equipment and the knowledge to make it all work the first time, plus if you have any questions, they can answer them straight away and help you set up any functions you’re going to use.

Type of alert system

Different makes and models will each have differing ways of alerting the user to the presence of a radar or laser threat. On the entry level devices, this could be as simple as a set of beeps, often increasing in intensity as you near the threat. While on higher spec units you can choose voice alerts; the Escort Max 360 (among others) for example, gives users the option of having voice alerts in either English or Spanish. The visual display may tell you the range, position, and strength of the signal and if your speed is under the posted limit.

Display/volume

The displays may be one color or multi-colored, some with graphs, etc. Some people don’t want to be bothered by an audible noise while they are driving so you can auto-mute some models but keep in mind then that there’s more onus on your to keep checking your speed. The volume can be adjusted to suit your driving surroundings, and more expensive models have automated volume features which can mute your radio when an alert sounds. This ensures you never miss a critical alert even when you are singing along (probably badly, let’s face it!) to the radio.

Red Light camera database (‘Safety Camera Database’)

It’s not only speeding that you need to worry about anymore as intersection traffic lights are now frequently being equipped with cameras to help catch drivers cutting the red lights. If you do trip the lights, then it’s likely you’ll receive a nasty surprise in the mail in the coming weeks. Your traffic violation notification usually has a photograph of your car along with the time the offense occurred. Fines can range from around ‘$50 in North Carolina’ to an eye-watering ‘$490 in California’.

Found in detectors with GPS capabilities this feature alerts to red light cameras on intersections across America, a useful addition for people who do a lot of driving especially in cities and the suburbs.

The two different types are dependant on the make and model of radar detector that you choose. They will come either pre-loaded like Escort’s Defender Database or via an app such as Escort Live which then updates in real time. The great thing about these features is they are continually updating so you should hopefully not be caught out by new cameras. There might be a cost associated with using databases or apps but this is usually not that expensive, and regarding the benefit small in comparison to the ticket you may receive. Another thing to consider is that such devices may require you to use your mobile data allowance, fine if you have an unlimited package. Not so great if you have a monthly limit. So keep this in mind if you are particularly interested in this feature.

Real-time alerts

Another feature that is fast becoming standard on a lot of models is the ability to have real-time alerts by other road users. Drivers report the position of cameras, red-light cameras, and traffic cops to warn each other of possible threats, so you know where the cops are well in advance. This feature is available on models such as the Escort Passport S55 which is compatible with ESCORT Live a free to download app compatible with both Android and iOS cell phones.

Real-time alerts are a great way to stay connected to ever changing road conditions and will update you to emergency vehicles which are in the area so you can keep out of their way and let them pass quicker. Road or lane closures will be evident too so you can change your course to avoid lengthy hold-ups and congestion. Connectivity to the internet will be needed to use these services so keep in mind that you will be using your mobile data allowance to take advantage of such features. But given the scope of usage and the time these sorts of features may save you, they could prove hugely beneficial and for people who drive a lot certainly something to look out for when choosing a radar detector.

Remember

There is no substitute for safe, careful and considerate driving and any detection system is not a license to speed. Speeding causes thousands of deaths and serious, life-changing injuries each year. Don’t put yourself, your family, friends nor anyone else’s loved ones, in danger by driving recklessly.

Law enforcement doesn’t just use speed cameras and speed guns to catch speeding motorists so you shouldn’t rely solely on your radar detector – it isn’t a replacement for careful, considerate and above all, safe, driving. But having a radar detector will greatly improve your chances of not getting a speeding ticket or citation if fitted and used correctly following the manufacturer’s recommendations. It can give you peace of mind so think of it as another insurance policy.

Best-Selling Radar Detectors

1 – Cobra ESD7570 9-Band Performance Radar/Laser Detector with 360 Degree Detection

Back in 1948, Carl Korn founded the Central Television Service Company focusing on repairing television sets, this became B & K Electronics and later Dynascan Corporation. The Corporation produced the first Citizens Band (CB) radio called Sidewinder. Following the creation of the Cobra CB radio, its name was soon synonymous with technology innovation. The company changed their name to Cobra in 1993 and now sells mobile communication and navigation products to 75 countries and has 55,000 storefronts across the globe; they’re still US based with their headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.

Its long history and expert knowledge of the field means this company produces some of the top rated radar detection systems in the business and so it’s no surprise to find three of their excellent products in this top ten list of bestselling radar detectors.

An entry-level, inexpensive model, the Cobra ESD7570 would suit someone who does a moderate amount of driving as Cobra themselves say it’s ‘No-frills radar detection.’ But it has everything that’s needed to alert the driver that there is a threat approaching using a Signal Strength Meter which appears on the UltraBright Data Display showing you which band has been detected. The LaserEye also detects the presence of laser signals.

With City and Highway modes it reduces the risk of false alerts from such things as electronic storefront doors for example.

The actual controls on the exterior of the display are easy to see, understand and adjust with large buttons and easy dial up or down the volume control on the side.

Features

  • 9-band,
  • Extremely compact,
  • UltraBright Data Display,
  • City/Highway mode,
  • Safety Alert transmitters,
  • LaserEye 360o degree detection
  • Extremely lightweight and compact,
  • FCC Compliant.

What’s in the box

  • Cobra ESD7570 Radar Detector,
  • Suction-Cup Mount Windshield Bracket Kit,
  • Coiled Power Cord,

Product dimensions

  • 7” long,
  • 33” wide,
  • 1” high.

Product weight

  • 32 ounces.

Customer reviews

  • 6 out of 5 stars

Positives

  • Compact and lightweight,
  • City and Highway modes,
  • Ultra Bright Data Display with three brightness settings.

Negatives

  • No external connectivity so unable to learn or update to changing threats,
  • Not so useful with lasers,
  • No GPS,
  • No auto mute function so you may miss alerts if your radio is loud for example.

Conclusion

An entry-level, no-frills radar detector, which has some of the features that are useful such as City and Highway mode which will help cut down on false alarms. But it doesn’t have enough features for someone who does a lot of driving. There is no connectivity to gain real-time alerts via other drivers, and the display is basic and could be confusing.

There have been mixed reviews from users, and the old adage may well apply here – you get what you pay for, but having said that it’s certainly not a bad detector. However, the features are limited and this might become increasingly apparent as detection methods change. A model which could date easily, and you’d want to replace quickly. In this instance, it may well be worth spending a little more to get a model which is more future proof and will provide more information and better alerts.

Click Here To See Today’s Discount on Cobra ESD7570 Laser Radar Detector

2 – Beltronics RX65 Red Professional Radar Detector

Established back in 1967 this American based company has its headquarters located in Cincinnati, Ohio, and manufactures a range of radar detectors and other electronics.

The RX65 is a well-priced model with a lot of the standard detector features. However, it lacks features such as Bluetooth connectivity and community-based alerting apps seen on other models which may prove beneficial. These features are increasingly popular and prove to be extremely useful as more and more speed traps, cameras and red light cameras come into use.

It’s capable of detecting all bandwidths currently used such as X, K, SuperWide Ka, and POP mode.

Features

  • Ultra-Bright LED Display,
  • Highway and City settings,
  • Front and rear laser detection,
  • AutoScan helps counter false alarms.

Installation

  • Can be self-installed using the included power cable or
  • Professionally installed.

What’s in the box

  • Beltronics RX65 RED Professional Series Radar,
  • Hard shell metal case,
  • Coiled SmartPlug,
  • Quick release windshield mount,

Product dimensions

  • 5” long,
  • 11” wide,
  • 2” high.

Product weight

Customer reviews

  • 2 out of 5 stars.

Positives

  • Relatively inexpensive, entry level detector,
  • Easy to understand and operate,
  • Three modes – Highway, City and Autoscan,

Negatives

  • Basic model,
  • False alarms are high especially in urban areas,
  • No GPS,
  • No Bluetooth,
  • No auto learn so you may get repeated false alarms,
  • Only able to alert to Active police radar,
  • No community-based

Conclusion

A basic, entry-level radar detector which is probably better suited to the novice owner who wants an inexpensive, easy to operate detector that they plan to use locally for short journeys. It doesn’t have the features to benefit someone who drives a lot and wouldn’t help travelers from outside of an area for example, as it has no external connectivity to update on red light or speed cameras etc.

Click Here To See Today’s Discount on Beltronics Radar Detector

3 – Escort Max 360 Radar Detector

Another leading radar manufacturing company with its headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio; Escort have been designing, engineering and manufacturing technology products for over 30 years. And have ‘…sold more than 10,000,000 detectors and automotive products that help you Drive Smarter.’ It’s no wonder then that six out of the top ten in this Best Selling Radar Detector list, are produced by Escort.

According to Escort, ‘20% of all drivers will get a ticket this year’ with an average cost of $150 per citation, not to mention points on your license! Following that Escort also advice that just that solo ticket will cause an increase in insurance premiums of $900 (‘average increase in insurance over three years’ (with one ticket), which is pretty alarming.

Escort have packed every available feature into this unit making it one of the most accurate detectors currently on the market. The Digital Signal Processing (DSP) microchip scans, recognizes and prioritizes radar bands leading to less false alarms; giving the user only the real threat alerts that they need to know. With the AutoLearn feature, it is always learning and recording as you drive ensuring you get the information needed in a way that you understand all from a crystal clear ‘high-resolution multi-color graphic display.’

Your actual real speed is displayed along with directional arrows to indicate exactly where the threat is i.e. front or behind. And with a choice of English or Spanish voice alerts, it covers a lot of bases and provides a wealth of information.

It benefits from Escorts EscortLive app which is free to download and compatible with both Apple and Andriod devices. There may be additional costs for some features and remember you may need to use your data allowance. It is Bluetooth enabled and comes preloaded with Escort’s Defender Database which gives drivers access to ‘thousands of red light and speed camera locations.’ With the installation of new cameras, nationwide, the ability to update the Database is an excellent asset. It is necessary to take out a subscription to Defender Database following the initial trial period. But given its enormous potential benefit, definitely, something to consider purchasing if you chose any of the Escort detectors with this feature.

Features

  • High-Resolution Multi Color Graphic Display,
  • Three driving modes,
  • Bluetooth equipped,
  • Voice alerts in English or Spanish,
  • Front and rear antennas,
  • AutoLearn using GPS, maps your regular routes, eliminating false alerts,
  • The kit includes a Premium Travel Case.

What’s in the box

  • Escort Max 360 Radar Detector
  • Premium SmartCord,
  • Magnetic StickyCup Mount,
  • Instructions,
  • Premium Travel Case.

Installation

  • Can be self-installed using the included power cable or
  • Professionally installed.

Product dimensions

  • 36” long,
  • 6” wide,
  • 43” high.

Product weight

  • 9lbs.

Customer reviews

  • 9 out of 5 stars.

Positives

  • High-quality unit,
  • Indicates if threat from behind or in front, including directional arrows,
  • GPS
  • DSP,
  • AutoLearn minimize false alerts,
  • Bluetooth enabled,
  • Defender Database,
  • Escort Live app,
  • Overspeed Alert,
  • Multi-color LED display,
  • Voice alerts in English and Spanish.
  • Expensive,
  • Fee required to use Defender Database after initial trial period expires,
  • Separate SmartCord needed to use Escort Live,

Negatives

  • One of the more expensive models available,
  • One of the heavier models on offer,
  • Continued subscription required for Defender Database,
  • Additional Smart Cord needed for Escort Live usage.

Conclusion

Escort has created a high quality, high tech device filled with almost every conceivable means of detecting radar and laser threats in this, the Max 360. A well-liked model which consistently gets good reviews from buyers despite its high price tag. And one that looks likely to continue to do so.

With many features including the brilliant Defender Database and community sharing app Escort Live, to help you keep up to date with new threats or those sneaky speed traps. To AutoLearn and GPS which will continue to learn as you drive to limit annoying false alerts leaving the warnings you hear, those that are relevant. This unit has ‘unmatched precision, ’ and the display is easy to understand and keeps you alert, showing your actual speed and that of the speed limit on the road you are driving on. Attention to this can make you a safer and more alert driver.

Indeed a considered purchase but a model which, if you drive a lot, travel out of state, or just want the best possible protection against speeding and red light citations, could be a sound investment.

Click Here To See Today’s Discount on Escort Max 360 Radar Detector

4 – Escort Passport 8500X50

According to Escort, ‘20% of all drivers will get a ticket this year’ with an average cost of $150 per citation, not to mention points on your license! Following that Escort also advice that just that solo ticket will cause an increase in insurance premiums of $900 (‘average increase in insurance over three years’ (with one ticket), which is pretty alarming.

A simpler Escort detector, one that doesn’t contain so much of the high technology features as some of the others in the Escort family of radar detectors such as the Max 360 or the iX Long Range. It is still a good radar with the ability to change between modes such as City and Highway which will reduce false alarms as will the IVT filter.

But without Bluetooth connectivity or access to the Defender Database, this unit can’t be updated as much as some of the others. You can connect to the driving community through the Escort Live app, and this should keep you up to speed with some cameras and speed traps, etc. But you will need to purchase a separate SmartCord and download the app which will use your cell phone data allowance, to utilize this feature.

The AutoMute facility means you’ll never miss an alert as it automatically lowers the volume of your radio etc., so you clearly hear warnings. Escort’s Ultra Bright LED display with three brightness levels includes the ability to dim for nighttime (some people like to be less visible at night time to avoid the interest of law enforcement officers) stealthiness.

Features

  • Ultra-Bright display with three brightness settings,
  • Compatible with Escort Live app,
  • AutoMute,
  • City, Highway and Auto modes,
  • Long range V-tuned radar receiver.

What’s in the box

  • Escort Passport 8500X50 Radar Detector,
  • Coiled Smart Cord,
  • Quick Release Windshield Mount,
  • Travel case.

Installation

  • Can be self-installed using the included power cable or
  • Professionally installed.

Product dimensions

  • 32” long,
  • 25” wide,
  • 85” high.

Product weight

Customer reviews

  • 2 out of 5 stars.

Positives

  • AutoMute for clear alerts,
  • Three modes – city, highway, and auto,
  • Bright display with three brightness settings,
  • Compatible with Escort Live app for Android and Apple devices,

Negatives

  • No AutoLearn GPS,
  • Not Bluetooth compatible,
  • No Defender Database,
  • No color display.

Conclusion

Escort have a lot of technology encased within this little detector, but it is limited and quite pricey. Though it does cover the basics with its extended range capability, compatibility with the Escort Live app and AutoMute. It doesn’t have a lot of the features present in the newer models that make spending this sort of money, really worthwhile. Updating with tools such as the Defender Database allow motorists the best opportunity to avoid tickets from speed cameras, and red light cameras and as law enforcement is increasingly utilizing these it’s vital to be up to date with their locations if you want to avoid a nasty surprise in the mail.

Not having AutoLearn also means you can’t update your work route, for example, so you may face false alarms, though IVT filter should help with this.

Click Here To See Today’s Discount on Escort Passport 8500X50 Radar Detector

5 – Escort Ix Long Range Radar Laser Detector

According to Escort, ‘20% of all drivers will get a ticket this year’ with an average cost of $150 per citation, not to mention points on your license! Following that Escort also advice that just that solo ticket will cause an increase in insurance premiums of $900 (‘average increase in insurance over three years’ (with one ticket), which is pretty alarming.

The Escort iX is a long range, high-performance radar, and laser detector which is smaller than the Escort Max 360 but shares a lot of its features and benefits. It also costs less so if you are looking for a detector which has a lot of the functionality of the Max 360 but in a more compact size and a lower price than this might be the best radar detector for you.

Benefiting from Digital Signal Processing (DSP) which locates and processes threats faster and more accurately. AutoLearn working with the GPS capability learns your routes, cutting down on false alarms from automatic garage doors, etc. And combined with the DSP dramatically cuts down on those annoying alerts that on other detectors may make us less inclined to react when a real warning occurs.

The Escort Live app, available for both Android and Apple devices, shares information from a community of road users to keep drivers up to date with police speed traps, red light, and speed cameras, so you know in advance where the threats are. This a great feature that does give you an edge and along with the Defender Database should make you less likely to get a ticket as you know where the threats are. The only issue with both of these is the additional costs associated with them. To use Escort Live, you will need to purchase a Smart Cord separately and to continue using the Defender Database after the trial period; you will need to pay either an annual fee (cheaper) or a monthly fee. But given its benefits, this is something to consider seriously.

Features

  • Long range radar and laser detection,
  • Includes all bandwidths, instant-on and POP mode,
  • Off-axis coverage,
  • DSP technology,
  • GPS,
  • Voice Alerts in English and Spanish,
  • Bluetooth connectivity,
  • Multi-color OLED display,
  • Escort Live and Defender Database available,
  • Complete with travel case.

Installation

  • Can be self-installed using the included power cable or
  • Professionally installed.

What’s in the box

  • Escort iX Long Range Radar Laser Detector,
  • Coiled cord,
  • Windshield suction cup mount,
  • Magnetic StickyCup mount,
  • Travel case,

Product dimensions

  • 13” long,
  • 88” wide,
  • 25” high.

Product weight

  • 4lbs.

Customer reviews

  • 4 out of 5 stars.

Positives

  • Smaller than the Max360 with a lot of the same high spec features,
  • AutoLearn cuts down on false alerts,
  • GPS and Bluetooth enabled,
  • Escort Live app community sharing of traffic speed cameras, speed traps,
  • Defender Database preloaded with traffic cameras and red light cameras,
  • Extended range capability for earlier warnings,
  • Voice alerts in English or Spanish.

Negatives

  • Expensive unit but packed full of features,
  • If you plan to use the Escort Live app, you will need to purchase a separate Smart Cord,
  • Defender Database subscription required after the initial trial period ends.

Conclusion

As you would expect from Escort, this is another high-quality, high-performance radar detector, and laser detector. It is cheaper than the Max 360 and smaller but still has a lot of high specification features that make the Max 360 is popular.

It’s Bluetooth and GPS ready and of course, you can use the community-based knowledge when you download the Escort Live app and connect with other road users. A great tool for up to date road conditions and speed traps etc. Combined with the Defender Database, which has preloaded the details of red light and speed cameras across the country; you’re chances of getting a ticket, should be significantly reduced.The only issue with both of these is the additional costs associated with them. But if you drive a lot, are on vacation in a different state where you don’t know the roads, or just want to be as protected as possible than the added expense related to these could well pay off.

Escort make high-quality products, packed with the latest technology, all with one aim – to keep you from getting a speeding ticket. One to consider if you do a lot of driving.

Click Here To See Today’s Discount on Escort Ix Long Range Radar Laser Detector

6 – Escort Passport 9500iX

 

With the Passport 9500iX, there is so much more functionality than merely alerting you to the fact, a traffic cop is pointing a speed gun up ahead, and you should slow down! With this machine, you can keep an eye on the road and know what’s up ahead and around the corner.

When the alert sounds you will get a visual indication of your current speed, this allows you to slow down gradually and safely without the need to glance at your dashboard speedometer or slam on your brakes. If you don’t want this feature, it’s simple to change it, so it’s not displayed.

One of the great features on the Passport 9500iX is the Safety Warning System (SWS) again this is something that you have to select in your Preferences as it will arrive switched off. But it’s a handy tool – however, it’s still early days and transmitters are not that widespread so at present your SWS warning texts will be limited. Working a bit like a text message on your cell phone, you will receive an SWS warning message on your detector screen displaying warnings about the state of the highway if there’s construction ahead, and in the future weather warnings or the presence of emergency vehicles in the vicinity. Get set for this to grow in the future as more safety radar signals begin to be more commonplace.

The new AutoLearn feature allows you to map your route, cutting out false alerts, leaving you without a barrage of warnings.

It’s always useful to personalize things, and your Passport is no exception, it’s ten user-selectable Preferences allow you to select the items that will best help you in the environment in which you’ll be using it. So if you will mainly be in the city, you’ll want to put on the City Mode or using the Highway swap to Highway mode, this again helps to cut down on unwanted false alerts.

Features

  • Voice alerts,
  • Available in either Red or Blue displays,
  • AutoLearn,
  • Coiled SmartCord,
  • Pre-loaded red light and fixed position speed camera locations,
  • Front and rear laser sensors,
  • 280 LED Alphanumeric display with five brightness levels,
  • GPS,
  • EasyMount windshield bracket.

Installation

It’s possible to install radar detectors yourself, and the enclosed Owner’s Manual has details on how to do this. However, some people prefer to have an expert install their new radar detector for optimum results. You can choose this option if you wish when you purchase the item.

Remember – if you live in either California or Minnesota then it is illegal to affix anything to a windshield that traffic or police officers consider to be an obstruction to a driver’s vision. Don’t take a chance of getting a citation consider mounting your new Passport 9500IX on the sun visor or mirror using a specialist mount, available separately.

Always ensure that your detector isn’t obstructing your view and consider removing it from your car when you will be away from your vehicle for long periods. Sliding your radar detector off the EasyMount couldn’t be easier. And it’s lightweight, and compact size means you can easily move it into your glove box or take it into the office or pop it into your purse.

Product dimensions

  • 9” long,
  • 35” wide,
  • 4” high.

Product weight

  • 32 ounces.

Customer reviews

  • 4 out five stars.

Positives

  • Defender Database preloaded with red light and speed cameras,
  • Escort Live community-based alerting app,
  • Over speed alert aids alertness for safer driving,
  • Able to detect instant-on and POP mode devices,
  • GPS,
  • AutoLearn reduces false alerts.

Negatives

  • Requires the 12v cigarette lighter socket for power,
  • Subscription needed for Defender Database after initial trial period,
  • Purchase of a separate Smart Cord needed to use the Escort Live app,
  • Not Bluetooth enabled,
  • No multi-colored display,

Conclusion

The Escort Passport 9500iX radar detector benefits from high-quality features similar to other models across the broad range of Escort detectors. A bulkier design that weighs slightly more than some of the others in this review, at 1.4lbs. So if you are looking for one that you can quickly pop in your purse or briefcase, you may wish to consider some of the smaller more lightweight devices on offer.

It does have a good range of features including the community-based Escort Live and the Defender Database both of which are beneficial in obtaining up to date information regarding ticket threats. Compared to some others though it is a little on the expensive side especially when you consider that it doesn’t have Bluetooth connectivity.

Click Here To See Today’s Discount on Escort Passport 9500iX Radar Detector

7 – Cobra RAD450 Radar Detector

The RAD450 features both English and Spanish voice and text alerts. A compact and extremely lightweight model which weighs less than a pound, so it’s ideal for anyone who wants to remove their detector and carry it with them. It doesn’t take up much room on the windshield so should not cause any visibility disturbance.

It is capable of detecting instant-on cameras as well as the traditional radar and laser guns and cameras.

With an OLED display that is easy to read and voice alerts, you aren’t likely to miss a threat alarm. To mitigate false alarms, it uses updateable In-Vehicle Technology (IVT) which eliminate sources such as collision avoidance systems, etc. Reducing unnecessary interruptions and possible breaks in concentration allowing the user just to drive and concentrate on the road ahead.

Features

  • Laser detection both front and rear,
  • IVT,
  • OLED display,
  • English and Spanish voice and text alerts,

Installation

  • Can be self-installed using the included power cable or
  • Professionally installed.

Product dimensions

  • 2” long,
  • 64” wide,
  • 35” high.

Product weight

  • 4 ounces.

Customer reviews

  • 2 out of 5 stars.

Positives

  • ‘English and Spanish voice and text alerts,’
  • Tones identify signal strength and band identification,
  • Updateable IVT Filter reduces false alerts,
  • OLED display,
  • Compact, lightweight unit.

Negatives

  • Not Bluetooth enabled,
  • Quite blocky with an old-fashioned look.

Conclusion

This unit uses voice alerts which leave the driver able to concentrate on the road and not having to look at the detector screen. Voice alerts in English or Spanish. Able to detect the increasingly popular instant-on radar guns along with the usual radar and laser cameras you are more likely to be alerted to a potential threat in time to reduce your speed and hopefully avoid a ticket.

A model that perhaps doesn’t look quite as modern as some of its competitors, it is very blocky and the display quite simple. But the buttons are easy to see, and it’s simple to use and understand. You can dim the screen if you wish. Another compact unit which doesn’t take up too much space on the windshield and is easy to remove should you need to say for use in another vehicle etc. Mounting is simple thanks to the included mount and suction cups.

Considering the price and the functions that it offers, it is not a bad unit. It might not be the best choice for someone who does a lot of driving as it doesn’t have the range of functions necessary for a driver who spends a lot of time behind the wheel, but for the price, it is a good detector.

Click Here To See Today’s Discount on Cobra RAD450 Radar Detector

8 – Escort Passport X70

Along with other detectors from Escort, this unit is also able to display information from other drivers such as speed traps and also gives information such as speed limit changes which could be vital if there are roadworks, etc. Information is passed using an app called Live Radar, download available for both Android and Apple devices. Also compatible with Escort Live a community-based app for the camera, and speed traps, etc. Both of these apps will require mobile data allowance so consider this if your cell phone package doesn’t have unlimited data usage.

Moving forward from the use of bandwidths such as the traditional Ka, K, and X-bands this detector also detects instant-on POP mode guns and lasers which are increasingly being used across the country to catch speeders and red-light jumpers.

The display is bright and well laid out with a choice of how the information is shown for example using a Bar graph, Expert Meter or Spec Display. It is simple to understand and allows the user to see their speed and the limit on the road on which they are driving, helping drivers to keep within the speed limit posted.

Features

  • Small and lightweight,
  • AutoSensitivity mode eliminates other sources of interference, reducing false alerts,
  • Detects laser and POP mode radar guns as well as bands Ka, K, and X,
  • Volume reduction of music or radio while alerts are transmitted, so you never miss a warning,
  • Live Radar app keeps you up to date with speed traps as reported by other users,

Installation

  • Can be self-installed using the included power cable or
  • Professionally installed.

Product dimensions

  • 5” long,
  • 3” wide,
  • 1” high.

Product weight

  • 8 ounces.

Customer reviews

  • 3 out of 5 stars.

Positives

  • Includes detection of POP mode radar guns,
  • Compact, lightweight design ideal for multiple vehicles uses,
  • Clear, easy to understand display,
  • Live Radar app compatible with both Android and Apple devices,
  • Live Radar alerts to speed limit changes and reports from other drivers,
  • Automute automatically lowers surrounding noise, so you never miss an alert,
  • And the kit includes a travel case.

Negatives

  • Not Bluetooth enabled,
  • Live Radar app requires data usage,
  • When considering the features, it is a little on the expensive side.

Conclusion

As you would expect from Escort, this is another great unit. It is compact and lightweight making it ideal for anyone who needs to use it in more than one vehicle for example. The multicolor OLED display is sharp with three brightness levels. It’s easy to understand, giving you the information you need to drive safely and avoid a ticket. A choice of how the data is displayed allows you to personalize it the way you like it.

Along with the usual features, it is great to see that radar detector manufacturers understand the industry is moving on. So they must continually find new technology, etc. to combat law enforcement’s uses of speed cameras and tools that don’t rely solely on the use of radar. The Passport X70 is capable of detecting laser and instant-on POP mode radar guns. It gives drivers more opportunity for earlier threat detections, enabling them to react and slow down.

Offering the Live Radar app allows drivers to pass on information about speed traps etc. This type of feature is increasingly popular with manufacturers and drivers alike. Compatible with ESCORT Live and available for Android and Apple devices. Mobile data usage may be needed for these apps so take this into consideration if you chose to use it and don’t have an unlimited data plan.

Considering other models in this price range, it is a little low on features.

Click Here To See Today’s Discount on Escort Passport X70 Radar Detector

9 – Escort Passport S55 High-Performance Pro Radar and Laser Detector with DSP (High-Intensity Red Display)

A compact and lightweight unit, weighing in at just over a pound, handy if you plan on taking your detector with you when you park your car for long periods, at work or college for example.

Claiming to detect all the usual bandwidths along with laser and ‘instant-on’ including POP mode.’ ‘Instant-on’ is an increasingly popular choice for law enforcement out on the highways etc. as they look for new ways to catch speeding motorists. Digital Signal Processing (DSP) offers a long range while cutting down on false alarms, in this respect, it also utilizes Escorts particular AutoSensivity mode filtering out non-threat radar sources such as electronic garage door openers, etc.

As with an increasing number of models, you can also connect with other motorists using the ESCORT Live app. Available to download for either an Android or Apple device. The app is free, but you may have to pay for some other services. Also be aware that to use this you will need mobile data, and it could eat into any allowance you have. It’s a useful feature with increasing numbers joining in to post speed trap hotspots and cameras etc. nationwide.

Features

  • Compatible with ESCORT Live for real-time traffic updates from other users,
  • DSP,
  • Long-range warning,
  • All bands, laser and ‘instant-on’ detected,
  • Compact and lightweight.

Installation

  • Can be self-installed using the included power cable or
  • Professionally installed.

Product dimensions

  • 4” long,
  • 1” wide,
  • 2” high.

Product weight

  • 1lbs.

Customer reviews

  • 2 out of 5 stars.

Positives

  • Lightweight and portable,
  • Uses DSP for maximum range and minimal false alerts,
  • Compatible with Escort Live for up to date positions of speed cameras and speed traps etc.

Negatives

  • Using ESCORT Live will require the use of mobile data,
  • Display is in red only, not color,

Conclusion

The Escort Passport S55 is a well-priced device with a host of features that will assist in avoiding expensive tickets for speeding. Along with its long range detection and ‘High-Performance Laser Protection,’ it’s also useful for the instant-on POP mode.

With the Escort, Live app users can connect and share information, and this connectivity and constant updates are vital in managing the ever increasing threat of law enforcement. Having such connectivity is an almost essential tool and something to look for when deciding which radar detector to choose.

Click Here To See Today’s Discount on Escort Passport S55 Radar Detector

10 – Cobra Electronics DSP9200BT Radar Detector

This Cobra model is a mid-range detector which is probably one of the smallest available. If you need a highly portable unit which you plan to use in more than one vehicle or want something that will easily fit in a purse or work bag, then this could be the right choice for you due to its price and size.

One of the annoying things about using a radar detector is having to use your cigarette lighter for power which effectively means you lose the ability to charge your cell phone or use a GPS device. Cobra has added a USB input port on to their power cord which neatly solves this issue. Or you can purchase a double socket, so you have the ability to use two devices.

Cobra rates this as their ‘best’ detector with an updatable IVT filter and full color OLED display it is their first digital detector which they claim ‘substantially improves the detection range and performance…through use of digital signal processing (DSP) it identifies real alerts…’

Features the iRadar app, downloadable for both Android and Apple devices, allowing you to keep up with reported police activity ahead, speed and red-light cameras, etc. so you are one step ahead. With a whole army of users updating with new information this is a great feature as it does give you a heads up as to what might be around the corner. From a community of users that Cobra says is currently over a million! That’s a lot of eyes and ears keeping a watch out there. As well as this the iRadar can also be used as a simple navigational tool.

It’s worth noting though that as with all the companies that offer this service, it does require the use of mobile data so be aware of this if your cell phone contract has a capped limit or you pay for data per use.

Features

  • Compact, lightweight design,
  • Digital Signal Processing (DSP) reduces false alerts,
  • Cobra iRadar app gives real-time alerts from other road users,
  • USB input port on power cable,
  • IntelliShield False Signal Rejection,
  • AURA Alerts,
  • Color OLED display,
  • Voice alerts.

Installation

  • Can be self-installed using the included power cable or
  • Professionally installed.

Product dimensions

  • 35” long,
  • 28” wide,
  • 1” high.

Product weight

  • 8 ounces.

Customer reviews

  • 3 out of 5 stars.

Positives

  • iRadar app is Apple and Android compatible,
  • Included power cord has USB input port,
  • Small size and lightweight,
  • Claims to be the ‘best’ detector,
  • First digital detector.

Negatives

  • Use of the iRadar app will require you to use your cell phones data allowance but, you don’t have to use this feature if you don’t wish to.

Conclusion

An excellent, mid-range priced detector that is compact and lightweight making it ideal for those needing a unit they can pop in their purse or work bag, so it’s safe while they leave their vehicle. The app allows you to keep up with imminent threats whether that be traffic cops, red-light cameras or fixed speed cameras. A fantastic feature, enabling motorists to work together to warn others of upcoming hot spots, etc., keeping us all safe and ticket free. However, some might find that having to use their data allowance for such a service makes it expensive or they simply don’t have data available in their package to use the feature.

It is a quiet unit which doesn’t have a high false alarm rate due to the DSP usage which actually cuts out unwanted noise, leaving you with just the alerts that matter. You can have voice alerts too if you prefer this option.

It is a step up in price compared to some of their other models, but you get a lot of features packed into a small, neat package. It might not necessarily be something that a soccer mom who only does the school run and some grocery shopping might need. But if you do a lot of highway driving then this is well worth looking at because it packs a lot into this small unit and reviewers have consistently given it high praise.

Click Here To See Today’s Discount on Cobra Electronics DSP9200BT Radar Detector

Overall conclusion

The units in this Best Selling Radar Detectors collection all have the same basic aim – that is to alert you to a speed gun, fixed speed camera or red light camera if they have this feature. As with all products these range in price from cheap, basic models that just alert to current threats in the vicinity and can’t be updated. To more expensive models which have the functionality to detect LIDAR, red-light cameras and include GPS, Bluetooth connectivity, and Real Time Alerts which share information between drivers to create a fuller picture of where the traffic police may be, etc. To decide what’s best for you look at how and where you drive, your budget and what you hope to achieve by getting a radar detector.

But there seems little doubt that purchasing a Radar Detector seems a practical addition to any vehicle and could save you well over the price you pay for the unit (if choosing some of the entry level models) versus having to pay for a speeding ticket. And above saving you some money, there is the safety factor that comes with such a purchase. If you are using your detector correctly, they should make you a more aware and safer driver. With alerts to warn you if you are driving over the speed limit and the relief that you have by knowing you have back-up and don’t have to search the roads for speed cameras or worry about traffic cops pulling you over for speeding or cutting a red light.

There’s a detector in this guide for everyone regardless of what car they drive or how large, or small, their budget. With most having simple easy to follow instructions, mounting systems and easy to set-up units whether you wish to have a portable, lightweight, and small unit. To larger units which feature additional features such as different modes depending on where you will be driving be that highway or city streets to GPS and community-based apps.

This guide is intended to give the reader information so they can make an informed decision about what is the best radar detector for them. Radar detectors are not a substitute for safe driving at a sensible speed related to State laws and the road and environment conditions. Remember speeding may result in the deaths of yourself, your loved ones and other innocent people – Please Drive Safely.