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In order to make our list of best radar detectors of 2023, 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 – making this an essential car accessory.
What is the top radar detector for your particular car 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.
Award: Top Pick/Best AutoLearn Technology
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.
One of the best radar detectors is the Max360, offering all around protection, easy setup, and an intuitive smartphone app. After using the Max360 for a few weeks, I can honestly say it’s one of the best radar detectors on the market. It’s bordering on perfect, and the price, while a bit high, is easily justifiable since Escort will pay for your first ticket if you do get one while using it. Another option from Radar is the MAX360C. You may also want to read about the best radar gun.
Award: Best Escort Radar Detector
WHY WE LIKE IT: If the 9500xi 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.
Read Full Review: Escort Radar Detector
Although the price point on the Escort iX is a little high, it still does it all, except jam lasers. It has superior radar and laser range made possible by front and rear facing antennas for 360-degree protection, a digital signal processor that helps filter out false alarms, and features speed based sensitivity so that when you’re driving around a parking lot at low speeds the radar detector will ignore things like automatic doors. And just like the 9500xi Enhanced, the iX comes loaded with the Defender red light and speed camera database to help sound alerts of their locations. Last but not least the iX pairs with the Escort Live smartphone app to receive real time alerts and help recognize speed traps submitted by other drivers using Escort and BEL radar detectors. The best police radar detector can also help.
Award: Best Radar Detector For the Money
WHY WE LIKE IT: Uniden offers some of the best radar detection products on the market, and it’s clear to see why in the R3. With extreme range radar detection and added sensitivity, this radar detector runs laps around speed detection systems. Learn how to jam police speed readers with our best radar detector laser jammer.
Read Full Review: Uniden R3 Review
The Uniden R3 offers robust protection at a very reasonable price range. It features a sleek and professional design with a colorful OLED display which is miles ahead of competing products. With this display, you’ll be able to easily adjust settings on the device and read alerts as they come in.
This radar detector offers 360 degree protection, so you’ll be protected from speed detection devices no matter where they are. And with digital signal processing, you minimize blind spots so the sneakier cruisers can’t catch you by surprise. Finally, the R3 offers red light camera detection, as well as K False and KA False filters to limit interference.
With extended radar detection ranges and a higher level of sensitivity, the Uniden R3 offers comprehensive and reliable protection no matter where you’re driving. Also, check out the best Cobra radar detector.
WHY WE LIKE IT: Super affordable with plenty of features to keep your speed unreadable.
Read Full Review: Escort Passport S55 Review
At first glance, the Escort Passport S55 doesn’t seem like it would be made by the same company as detectors such as the Escort Max360 and Escort iX Long Range. It features a different design and seems stripped of many of its features, but carries with it a super-affordable price tag. Speaking of affordable, check out the best satellite radio for your car.
However, none of this is to say that the S55 isn’t a good radar detector. In fact, it’s super easy to use and comes with digital signal processing (DSP) to increase its range. At a long range, it can detect on radar frequency bands ranging from Superwide Ka to X to K. The S55 can also pick up on laser speed detection.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for something simple, efficient and affordable, consider checking out the Escort Passport S55.
Award: Best Police Radar Detector
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.
Read Full Review: Escort Passport 9500ix
The 9500xi radar detector is the most robust offering and the priciest. But the top radar detector on the market comes with a hefty price tag as the Passport 9500xi Enhanced will run you close to $2,000 (~$1500 on Amazon). The price is high due to the included laser jammers – which give you peace of mind knowing that you’ll essentially never get a speeding ticket. Traditional radar detectors without laser jammers have the ability to detect laser only if the vehicle in front of you is being targeted via laser, but if a 5-0 is specifically targeting your vehicle and you don’t have laser jammers – then it’s too late to slow down to avoid a ticket. Programmable features on the Escort Passport include a power-on indication, SpeedAlert, AutoLearn, Signal Strength Meter, AutoMute, AutoPower, Units, Voice, Dark Mode, and more.
One of the neatest features of this system is its AutoLearn capability. The 9500xi uses GPS to remember where false alarms are detected. If a false alarm is detected three times in the same location the detector will not sound off an alarm the fourth time that location is passed. If all that wasn’t enough, the 9500xi takes it a step further by tapping into a national database of red light and speed cameras to alert you of where they’re located to give an extra level of defense against the system and ensure you don’t get caught breaking the speed limit.
If you speed (for good reason), this is the top radar detector (and laser jammer) system you can buy. That all said, it’s also discrete, so cops won’t spot it from afar even when you’re not using it, which can often further implicate you into a speeding ticket.
Speed cameras and red-light cameras take photos of your car and its license plate if you’re driving above the posted speed limit. Therefore, 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 and to warn you about the possibility of upcoming police cars or other law enforcement. 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. Keep in mind the various state laws regarding users jamming a police radar gun.
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 skyrocket 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. We also recommend purchasing a model over $200 as there aren’t a ton of good options under this price point.
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:.
Although in the US radar detectors are legal to use in a non-commercial vehicle, it’s important to know that radar detectors are illegal in Virginia, Washington D.C, and U.S Military bases. Plus, there is a Federal ban on their use in commercial vehicles 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 using 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 judgment when leveraging the power of a radar detector.
Other models to consider include the Whistler CR65, the Radenso Pro M, the Beltronics PRO300 and the Uniden R7. The CR65 is equipped with 360-degree Maxx Coverage technology alongside Traffic Flow Signal Rejection. The kit also comes with a windshield bracket kit, a 12V DC power cord, and an instruction manual. The Pro M is a windshield-mounted radar detector featuring GPS lockouts for false alerts, a red light/speed camera database with free lifetime updates, amber OLED display, firmware updates, and more. The PRO300 can detect many different frequency bands and the latest laser technology. Plus it’s equipped with traffic signal rejection. Alternatively, the R7 offers false alert filtering, GPS technology, red light/speed camera alerts, and more.
And…if you’re wondering why the Valentine V1 didn’t make the 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.
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