To find the best Cobra radar detector we sought out units that can provide you with not only an immediate alert, but ones that can also limit false alarms (aka false positives). These features make Cobra units much easier to use, which is why our #1 pick is the powerful Cobra Road Scout, combining radar detection with an excellent dashcam. It also features an amazing OLED display and red light camera detection. Keep reading to learn more about our favorite Cobra radar detectors to find out which one will be the best for your car and driving.
Looking for more power? Check out our best radar detector list, which rounds up the latest and greatest.
- 1 Top 5 Best Cobra Radar Detectors Compared
- 2 How We Choose the Best Cobra Radar Detector
- 3 Why You Should Buy a New Cobra Radar Detector
- 4 What to Look for in the Best Cobra Radar Detector
- 5 Mistakes to Avoid
- 6 What Else You Should Think About
Top 5 Best Cobra Radar Detectors Compared
#1 Cobra Road Scout – Top Pick/Best with DashcamWHY WE LIKE IT: The Cobra Road Scout is a new addition to the Cobra radar detector line up and it brings dual functionality to the table. With both dashcam and radar detection capabilities, the Road Scout is perfect for anyone who needs more versatility and safety on the road.
Running radar detection and a separate dashcam on your car can get cluttered and crowded quickly. This is where the Cobra Road Scout comes into play. It combines the radar detector and dashcam into a single unit so you don’t have to worry about a bunch of different accessories on your dash. While this does make the Road Scout a little bulkier than other Cobra radar detectors, it’s well worth the added functionality you get with it.
Apart from the dashcam, you’ll still get the same high-quality radar detection you should come to expect from Cobra radar detectors, including both long-range detection and improved accuracy. The Road Scout even includes pre-loaded red light camera alerts based on crowd-sourced data and your GPS location. The unit is also compatible with Cobra’s iRadar app, which enables real-time updates and speed trap tracking. You’ll also access your dashcam footage via the app. It’s not a stretch to say this is the best Cobra radar detector on the market in terms of the wealth of features it offers.
#2 Cobra iRAD 0180003-1 – Honorable Mention/Best Long RangeWHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re looking for long-range detection of a wide variety of signals, consider checking out the Cobra iRAD 0180003-1 radar detector. With a sleek, simple design and crystal clear voice alerts even at long rage, this Cobra radar detector is an excellent choice.
Don’t let the Cobra iRAD’s super simple and low-profile design make you overlook this excellent radar detection unit. Contrary to how it looks, this radar detector contains some of Cobra’s most advanced and cutting-edge features to date. For starters, you get long range detection for a wide variety of signals, including x, ka, and back, along with a signal strength display that gives you an estimate of how far away the source of the signal is. You also get clear voice alerts when a signal is detected so you don’t have to constantly watch the display. These voice alerts can also be muted with the touch of a button, a design feature we especially liked.
You also get access to Cobra’s cutting-edge iRadar community/app, which is a crowd-sourced database of known speed traps and red light cameras based on your GPS location. This can all be controlled via the iRadar app, another excellent feature. Unfortunately, the Cobra iRAD 0180003-1 doesn’t feature 360-degree protection, but this was a minimal downside when compared to the long-range detection and iRadar network. The iRAD suffers from some false positives in heavy traffic, but its truly exceptional anti-falling circuitry prevents almost 100% of all false alerts that typically come from traffic monitoring systems and other in-vehicle tech. If you want a cutting-edge Cobra radar detector with long-range detection, the Cobra iRAD 0180003-1 is definitely one of the best options.
#3 Cobra RAD 450 – Best Value/Best DisplayWHY WE LIKE IT: The Cobra RAD 450 is one of Cobra’s most popular radar detectors, and it’s easy to see why. With a stellar OLED display, long-range detection and user-friendly interface, the RAD 450 is a reliable choice for newcomers and experienced radar enthusiasts alike.
As one of the most popular Cobra radar detectors, the RAD 450 comes to the table packed with features and reliability at an extra-affordable price. While this isn’t the cheapest option on our list, it definitely comes close, making it another good choice for anyone on a budget. The stand-out feature of this radar detector is its stunning OLED display. While simple, this display is crisp and clear in any lighting, making it so much easier to read on or off the road.
You’ll also get voice alerts and a user-friendly design with only four total buttons, plus a volume control wheel. The buttons are quick to respond to your touch, a feature which can be hard to find in radar detectors today. We were pleased with overall performance, as well, noting that detector picked up most signals, though not at super long ranges. Another stand-out feature here is the RAD 450’s unique IVT filter system, which aims to eliminate false positives. While it isn’t as accurate as the iRAD’s anti-falling circuitry, it still eliminates most false alerts.
#4 Cobra SPX 900 – Best CompactWHY WE LIKE IT: Sometimes, you don’t want everyone around you to know you’re using a radar detector, and the Cobra SPX 900 can help with. It’s the most compact on our list while still offering all the features you need, making it the perfect pick for someone wanting to not draw attention to themselves.
The biggest selling point of the Cobra SPX 900 is its compact design, making it less of an obstruction on your windshield. It also keeps a low profile, which is always a nice thing for radar detectors. When it comes to performance, the SPX 900 doesn’t do amazing at long ranges, but it offers a ton of variety for detection. It can detect up to 14 different bands, including VG-2 and Spectre detection, which is sometimes hard to find in today’s radar detectors.
On top of covering 14 bands of signal, the Cobra SPX 900 also offers complete, 360-degree protection, meaning you’ll pick up signals coming from behind or around you instead of just in front of you. This is an incredibly helpful feature, especially in city environments. You also get compatibility with the iRadar community features and GPS support, but the unit itself lacks Bluetooth, so you won’t be able to use it in conjunction with your smartphone.
#5 Cobra ESR 800 – Best Budget/Best 360WHY WE LIKE IT: The Cobra ESR800 is the cheapest option on our list, but that doesn’t mean it sacrifices too much on performance or quality. You get the best 360-degree protection on our list and a good variety of signal detection.
If you’re on a budget, you likely know you won’t be getting the most cutting-edge Cobra radar detector out there, but you’re still expecting to get a reliable and accurate experience. Fortunately for you, the Cobra ESR 800 checks all of these boxes. It’s the cheapest detector on our list, but it still offers plenty of excellent features without sacrificing accuracy and performance. For starters, this detector features the best 360-degree protection we tested. It was able to detect signals from all around, as long as it wasn’t obstructed from view.
We were also impressed with its 12-band signal detection capability. This can detect most signals that you’ll experience on the road and the handy voice alerts keep you informed without the need to look at the device itself while driving. This is good because the display isn’t the greatest we tested. All in all, you can’t go wrong with the Cobra ESR 800 if you’re on a budget. Sure, there are other detectors that feature more advanced capabilities, but they also typically. cost more than double this price.
How We Choose the Best Cobra Radar Detector
When it comes to selecting the top radar detector from Cobra, having the ability to do hands on testing of different models and brands is a great help. And it’s certainly important to keep an eye on the latest models, as the technology behind radar detectors – whether they’re from Cobra or other manufacturers – continues to evolve. One example is the instant-on technology you’ll find in many of our top picks. It responds instantly when detecting an active radar, which is something other units may struggle to do.
A top Cobra radar detector needs to appeal to a wide variety of users, so we sought out a model with a mid-range price point. Certainly, some users will need more power and features so they’ll want to spend more, and we’ve looked closely at those Cobra units too. But detectors with a middle-of-the-road price work great for many different users, giving them plenty of appeal, especially to those who are new to Cobra or to radar detectors in general.
Why You Should Buy a New Cobra Radar Detector
As mentioned earlier, the technology upgrades in modern Cobra radar detecting units are impressive, making a new unit well worth exploring for the driver who tends to have a lead foot (like me). For example, the Cobra devices on our list do a better job than their predecessors of sorting false K-band alarms from the real radar traps. At the same time, the detector has to be fast to respond, giving you plenty of time to avoid a radar trap. Our top pick, the
A modern Cobra model will be able to use GPS technology to mark locations where false positives occur, eliminating those alarms. And the latest software included in modern radar detectors gives the unit a strong success rate in identifying and limiting false alarms overall.
Perhaps the best new technology found in today’s detectors is the ability of the unit to communicate with smartphone apps to find locations of radar traps, mounted speed cameras, and red light cameras. In testing radar detectors during city driving, having the latest information available is invaluable in giving you a higher success rate when it comes to avoiding tickets from radar-happy cops.
What to Look for in the Best Cobra Radar Detector
Types of Alerts: Radar detectors use different methods of providing alerts, including voice, visual, and alarms. Pick a unit that has the type of alerts that you primarily want to use; some people prefer a voice alert to an alarm, for example. And many Cobra units allow you to use more than one type of alert, which can be helpful if you have multiple drivers using the same detector and each person prefers a different type of alert.
Smartphone Connectivity: The latest feature for radar detectors is Bluetooth connectivity, which allows the detector to connect with a smartphone to make use of realtime information. You will need to have some knowledge of how to set up Cobra radar detector and a smartphone through Bluetooth to make this handy feature work, but it’s well worth the time.
Mistakes to Avoid
Know Your Local Laws: Radar detectors are legal in most states, but some still have laws against radar jammers, against windshield mounted radar detectors, and against using radar detectors in commercial vehicles. Before you purchase and install a detector, understand the laws in the states where you plan to drive the most often.
Don’t Leave the Unit in Plain Sight: Those looking to steal something will gladly grab your radar detector from a parked car. Most units are designed to be removed from the mounting bracket when they’re not in use, so make sure you select one of those designs if you’re concerned about thieves.
What Else You Should Think About
The detectors that made our list provide quite a few great features, qualifying them as a best Cobra radar detector option. Learning more about how radar detectors work can help you figure out which features are most important to you. We also have a series of radar detector reviews published on the site to provide even more information. We’re confident that once you learn a bit more about these helpful devices that you’ll agree with us on our pick of the best radar detector from Cobra: The Cobra Road Scout.
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