The In-Depth Buyer's Guide 2019

Best Radar Detectors

Top 10 Reviewed Radar Detectors


Winner: Escort Max360


9.6 out of 10

Learn about the best radar detectors and negate the chance of that next speeding ticket with our list of top picks.


In order to make our list of best radar detectors of 2019, each unit had to match or exceed the following criteria: dual radar antennas, superior range capabilities, false positive filtering, GPS, auto sensitivity adjustment, and radar detection protection.

As an added plus, we also sought out a model that could block laser traps, which can’t be detected but rather thwarted.

What is the top radar detector for your particular driving needs? Whether you are on the highway or in the city, the latest radar detectors come equipped with app compatibility, new customization options, and a longer range than older models. Here are some of the best options around.


Top Radar Detectors Compared

- August 2019

How We Decided


4 main factors come down to picking the top radar detectors.

​Radar/Laser
Range


​GPS
Speed/Red Light


Protection
Dual Antennas

$50-$2000
Value

Best AutoLearn Technology

Editors Choice

 Escort Max360

9.4
out of 10
Pros
Cons
  • Remarkable range and responses time
  • The GPS AutoLearn remembers spots with false alerts
  • Great design
  • Pricey compared to its competitors

Why We Like It: The Max360 provides 360 degrees of protection (hence its name), auto learns where the false positives are for your daily commutes via GPS, and has a fairly intuitive iPhone app.

Best Escort Radar Detector

 Escort iX Long Range

Pros
Cons
  • Alerts are clear and easy to understand
  • Quick release magnetic mount
  • Able to filter X-band and Ka-band while remaining in Auto modes
  • Price is a little high
  • Radar range isn’t quite as long as Max 360
  • Control buttons are too small

Why We Like It: If the 9500ci Enhanced is a bit beyond your budget (don’t feel bad), then consider the Escort iX as it performs on a comparable level but without laser jammers and is not remotely mounted. 

Best Police Radar Detector

 Escort Passport 9500ci Enhanced

9.8
out of 10
Pros
Cons
  • Highly accurate
  • Possesses a wide range of features
  • Custom installation makes it easy to hide
  • Expensive

Why We Like It: If you are looking for the Lamborghini of radar detectors, then you’ve come to the right place. This best rated radar detector comes with all the bells and whistles, including laser jammers, remote mounted radar for discreet installation, false alarm Autolearn to filter out annoying automatic door alerts, and so much more.. 

Best Radar Detector
For the Money

 Beltronics GT-7 (An Honorable Mention)

9.1
out of 10
Pros
Cons
  • Red light camera alerts
  • Long radar range
  • Locks out nuisance signals
  • Dim display

Why We Like It: Like other Escort products, the GT-7 is good at filtering out false alarms with its powerful digital signal processor and uses AutoLearn to remember the location of nuisance signals like automatic doors when doing city driving. 

Why You Should BUy A New Radar Detector?


The most obvious reason to buy a new radar detector is to have the latest technology available to help lessen the chance of getting a ticket. Older model radar detectors are annoying due to their high occurrence of false alarms, thus conditioning drivers to ignore legitimate threats when they occur. Newer radar detectors use GPS and databases of red light/speed cameras to help alert you of areas and intersections where you should slow down and take caution.


Newer radar detectors also commonly use AutoLearn to weed out automatic doors and similar nuisance alarms when driving around the city, making your driving experience much more enjoyable and anxiety free. Another feature of modern radar detectors is that they integrate with smartphone apps to leverage community based input on speed traps, thereby enhancing the base functionality of the detector to a scale never seen before.

By far the best reason to get a new radar detector is to ensure that your insurance rates don’t sky rocket after getting a speeding ticket. According to Forbes, a single speeding ticket can increase your insurance premiums by up to 22%. Think of a radar detector as insurance against high insurance premiums.

How We Choose the Best Radar Detector

It’s obvious from the list above that there is a bias towards Escort/BEL radar detectors. Originally I included the infamous V1 (Valentine 1), but couldn’t recommend it in good faith as modern radar detectors have left V1 in the dust. From my experience the V1 encounters an excessive number of false alarms and the current hardware does nothing to mitigate them the way Escort does with AutoLearn.

The following are the criteria for selecting a modern radar detector:.

1

Dual radar antennas - (front/rear) 

Not all radar detectors use two antennas but it’s a plus.

2

Range

All of the detectors mentioned above demonstrate a superior radar/laser range (Radartest.com has a lot of data on ranges).

3

False Alert Filtering

Using digital signal processors & AutoLearn. 

4

GPS 

Since photo enforcement is prevalent, you need a GPS based radar detector that cross references a database of speed/red light cameras with your GPS location to help warn you of their locations.

5

Automatic Sensitivity Adjustment

At lower speeds sensitivity is dialed back to prevent the radar from detecting nuisance signals like automatic doors.

6

Radar Detector Detector Protection

Police in Virginia may use RDD (Radar Detector Detector) devices like the Spectre to detect the use of illegal radar detectors. Most radar detectors made today are immune to Spectre detection but it’s a good idea to check your radar detector if you’re doing any driving in Virginia or Canada.

7

A Plus

Laser Jammers (Also referred to as ‘Shifters’). Traditional radar detectors that have laser detection depend on the cars ahead being targeted by laser to alert you. But if there are no vehicles ahead of you and a police officer targets your vehicle via laser, then it’s probably too late and you’ll get a ticket. However, if you are willing to invest the money and are interested in full and almost guaranteed ticket prevention, then laser shifters are the way to go. What is the best radar detector for the money?

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Why You Should Trust Me


I’m an automotive engineer and the founder of CarSumo, and have used just about every radar detector brand on the market today, including but not limited to Cobra, Valentine and Escort radar detectors.

If you’re wondering why the Valentine V1 didn’t make sure list, it’s because it lacks the essential features that a modern detector has, such as GPS, false alert filtering, AutoLearn, and Smartphone integrations. Moreover, you have to purchase a separate dongle to make it compatible with your Android or iOS device.

What Else To Think About

answers

It’s important to know that radar detectors are illegal in Virginia, Washington D.C and U.S Military bases. So if you plan on using one in any of the aforementioned states, I suggest purchasing our #1 pick, which is concealed upon installation. Sure, it’s expensive, but the opportunity cost to use another model, which can be seen, will likely net out at a greater cost (i.e. fines).

That all being said, speeding is illegal, so in effect you’re still breaking the law, just avoiding the punishment. To that end, while speeding may seem justifiable in order to get from one point to the next faster, there is no piece of technology that can reverse an accident or worse, death. So we have to suggest practicing caution while exceeding the posted speed limit and using sage judgement when leveraging the power of a radar detector.


Who Contributed to this Review

​Conner Flynn

Editor

Jordan Goodson

Contributor

Josh Noriega

Editor

Kyle Schurman

Editor

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