Best Radar Detectors

Many people look for a radar detector to avoid getting speeding tickets, but trying to figure out which one is the best can be confusing and in some states they are even illegal. You also have manufacturers that make all sorts of claims and use high-tech terminology to try to make the case that their detector is the best.

The two most important capabilities users should look for include the detection ability on all bands and range. Other features you might want include GPS, red light camera warnings, easy-to-use controls, stealth technology to avoid radar detector detectors, and the ability to limit false alarms.

For these devices you truly get what you paid for. So, if you want the absolute best performance you will need to pay between $400-$600. While there are options below $100, many of them perform quite poorly and quite frankly just are not worth it.

When comparing and rating different models we tried to gather real-world user reviews and test cases in which each model is tested under the exact same circumstances. We compiled all this data to come up with our list of the best radar detectors and review each below. If you need more help see our radar detector buying guide. We also have a comparison chart at the bottom of this article to easily compare each radar detector versus each other.


9.4
#1)

Uniden R3

We selected the Uniden R3 as the best radar detector on the market today. At $399, the R3 is cheaper than Escort’s top detectors, yet it is by far the best for long range detection performance.

One of the best attributes of the R3, besides its amazing sensitivity, is its powerful filtering of K-band to false signals like modern cars’ collision avoidance systems. Other features of the Uniden R3 include GPS database of red light and speed cameras with free updates, undetectable by Spectre RDD, quiet ride which mutes the detector when under a certain speed, full color LED display, and comes with two windshield mounts.

About the only thing lacking on this unit is directional alerts to alert you to the direction of the radar. It also does not have a community sharing app like the Escort radar detectors.

Quite simply if want the longest range detection you can get on the K and Ka band and want a GPS database, then you should buy a Uniden R3 radar detector.


9.3
#2)

Escort Max 360

If you absolutely want directional alerts on your radar detector then we recommend the $556 Escort Max 360. This unit provides full 360 protection with colored directional arrows that alert you to the direction of the radar.

The Escort Max 360 does not quite have same detection range as the Uniden R3, but it still does provide a long range of nearly 8 times the capture distance of a radar gun. It also has excellent filtering capabilities to cut down on false alerts.

The Max 360 is GPS enabled, has a Defender database which contains locations of red light and fixed speed camera locations, and has an auto-learn feature which learns which sources are false over time. It also has a unique feature that is found on all the latest Escort models in the pairing with the Escort Live! app. You sync with the app on your smartphone via Bluetooth, and the app gives you access to a driver alert network in which all your fellow drivers alert you to all radar and laser encounters automatically.

However, the main downside to the Escort Max 360 is that you must pay $49.99 per year for the Escort Live App and $24.95 per year for Defender Database updates. You do get one year free for Escort Live and 3 months free for Defender Database updates, but you also don’t have to continue paying for these features if you do not use them. You can just use the Max 360 radar detector as a standard detector only.


9.3
#3)

Uniden R1

At only $299 the Uniden R1 is easily the best radar detector under $300 and probably the best value buy available. It has the same detection capability as the Uniden R3, with class-leading range while also having excellent filtering abilities and band segmentation.

The main difference between the Uniden R1 and the R3 is that the R1 does not come equipped with GPS and the GPS database. Otherwise they are virtually identical.

You simply will not find a better radar detector for the price, therefore we highly recommend it.


9.3
#4)

Escort Redline EX

The most expensive radar detector on our list is the Escort Redline EX which sells for about $597. This model has twin front-facing antenna for extreme detection performance which we rank just slightly better than the Max 360, but still worse than the Uniden R3 or R1. Laser detection is better, however.

One nice feature of the Escort Redline EX is that it is stealth to all radar detector detectors to let you drive undetected. Some other features include segmented bands and anti-falsing technology to reduce false alerts, the ability to detect MultaRadar CD/CT (currently used abroad and some parts of Canada), and an included magnetic quick-attach windshield mount.

While it also comes with the GPS enabled Defender database and the Escort Live app, just be aware you have to pay extra for those services just like on the Max 360.

Overall, if you are looking for an undetectable, high performance radar detector then the Escort Redline EX is for you.


9.2
#5)

Radenso XP

The $399 Radenso XP radar detector has excellent range on both K and Ka-bands – comparable to the Escort Max 360. It also has an outstanding anti-collision sensor filtering system, perhaps even the best of any radar detector.

The Radenso XP is also GPS enabled with a photo enforcement database that comes with free updates and GPS lockouts. This model provides lots of user customization that let you adjust the sensitivity and filtering among other features.

One thing that several people have complained about is that the XP comes with a tiny user manual that you need a magnifying glass just to read. Despite that, overall, the Radenso XP is an outstanding radar detector at this price and we do not hesitate to recommend it.


9.2
#6)

Escort iX

The $499 Escort iX is the successor of the highly popular Escort 9500iX. The detection range is about on par with the Max 360 and slightly below the Redline EX. It performs better on the 35.5 GHz Ka band than on K band and 34.7 GHz.

The Escort iX is GPS enabled, has solid false-alert filtering caused by blind spot monitors and other advanced car systems, and variable sensitivity based on current speed.

On the downside you must pay for continued access to the Escort Live app or the GPS Defender database. Also there are less user controls available to customize sensitivity/filtering options.

The Excort iX is best for users who want to use a radar detector with minimal involvement during driving.


9
#7)

Valentine One

The Valentine One, or V1, radar detector is an older model that is still highly capable and sells for $399 direct from the company. We feel it is equal to the Escort models in detection ability – it has great specs and can detect all bands and laser. It also works great on short-burst radar guns. Users all seem to love the fact that this model shows you which direction the signal came from with large LED arrows indicating direction. It also displays the number of signals, type of signal, and strength of the signal.

However, the one negative seems to be the number of false alarms. However, new Valentine One models are programmed with a new filtering system to help cut down on these false alarms which is pretty effective. It is not GPS capable so it does not have a database or learning capabilities to block out false signals. So it can get a bit annoying at times, but users can still figure out which signals are not from police based on the directional arrows along with the type of signal displays.

Overall we feel there are better options available, however if you want directional alerts you should definitely consider the Valentine One.


9
#8)

Uniden DFR7

The Uniden DFR7 is the best radar detector under $300 with GPS selling for around $279. While it is not as sensitive as the Uniden R3 or R1 it does provide excellent range – just a touch below some much more expensive Escort models. The false-alert filtering is pretty good as well.

The DFR7 is GPS equipped and features a photo enforcement database that has free updates. The GPS location of false alerts can also be logged do they don’t alert you anymore.

Overall the Uniden DFR7 is a great choice for anyone who want a more affordable radar detector with GPS while not sacrificing much.

It is also available at RadarBusters.com.


8.9
#9)

Uniden DFR6

We chose the $182 Uniden DFR6 as the best radar detector under $200. It has a detection range that is nearly comparable to any Escort or Radenso model on most bands, although the X-band is just a bit weaker.

The DFR6 is the exact same as the DFR7 except it is lacking GPS capabilities. So, with good range and false-alarm filtering, we feel that the Uniden DFR6 is an amazing value at this price. In fact we highly recommend this radar detector for anyone who needs a cheap version and does not mind that there is no GPS functions.


8.5
#10)

Whistler CR93

The $161 Whistler CR93 is the cheapest radar detector that we recommend. It has about half the range of other pricier mid-tier models on this list and good sensitivity to laser.

The CR93 has GPS technology with a photo enforcement database which you can update for free. You will still get some false-alerts with this detector, but it does have a decent filtering capability. The OLED display is nice and users do have some programming options to customize the way it works.

Frankly, any other model below this price we didn’t think was worth it. So if you want a cheap radar detector that actually still works decent then you should consider the Whistler CR93.


Best Radar Detectors Comparison Chart

Full Name Rating Best Price Sensitivity
Settings
Appx Detection
Range
K-Band, Ka Band
& X-Band
Laser
Detection
Directional
Alerts
False-Alert
Filter
Over-Speed
Warning
GPS GPS
Database
Bluetooth Community
Sharing App
Auto-Learn Paid Services
Uniden R3 9.4 $399.99 3 12x Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Free GPS Database updates
Escort Max 360 9.3 $556.81 3 8x Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Escort Live Yes $49.99 year for Escort Live App, $24.95 year for Defender Database updates
Uniden R1 9.3 $299.99 3 12x Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No No No No No
Escort Redline EX 9.3 $596.48 3 8x+ Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Escort Live Yes $49.99 year for Escort Live App, $24.95 year for Defender Database updates
Radenso XP 9.2 $399 3 8x Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Free GPS Database updates
Escort iX 9.2 $499.99 4 7x Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Escort Live Yes $49.99 year for Escort Live App, $24.95 year for Defender Database updates
Valentine One 9.0 $399 3 8x Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No
Uniden DFR7 9.0 $278.95 2 7.5x Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes No No No Free GPS Database updates
Uniden DFR6 8.9 $182.37 2 7.5x Yes Yes No Yes No No No No No No Free GPS Database updates
Whistler CR93 8.5 $161.25 4 4x Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes No No No Free GPS Database updates

Radar Detector Buying Guide

The first thing everyone has to understand when looking for a new detector is how do police radar guns work. They send a beam of high frequency radio waves in the microwave range at a vehicle to determine the speed. The bands used in the US are X (8 to 12 GHz), K (18 to 27 GHz), and Ka (27 to 40 GHz). However, the X band is becoming much less common and it is also the same band that is used in shopping markets’ automatic door openers which can set off false positives on your detector. The newest and fastest growing form of detecting speed is laser, also known as LIDAR. LIDAR uses a narrower beam which works better at longer range and only has to be on for less than a second to work – this means that by the time a detector can detect laser, your speed might have already been obtained.

Detection

Radar detectors work by listening for radio waves on the most common bands and many now include LIDAR sensors to detect laser. If they detect a signal they alert the driver with noise and many display which band and the signal strength so you can slow down if needed. It is important to get one sensitive enough that it excels at detecting all bands, especially the Ka band which is the hardest to detect.

Range

Long-range radar detection is extremely important or else what good are they to you? The range will be affected by the environment such as being in the city, on a straight stetch of freeway, and on a hill or curve. The best units can detect signals from 2000 to up to 4000 feet away even in terrain that makes it more difficult like hills or an urban environment.

False Alarms

False alarms, false positives, or false alears are when your detector goes off, but it is not caused by police radar. With new automotive technology on cars like lane assist technology which often use the K-band, this can mean even more false alarms than ever. This can be frustrating if you are constantly getting false alerts and it can be hard to distinguish when you actually are getting police radar. The best units limit these false positives, or at least have different settings that can be used in the city when false alarms are more likely.

Stealth Technology

In some states using a radar detector is illegal. Police use radar detector detectors (RDD) to catch people using them. A few models now inlude stealth technology which makes them nearly impossible to detect.

GPS Equipped

GPS enabled units offer additional features that many people find useful. They use a database (some of which can be updated with a subscription you pay for) to alert you to red light and speed cameras. Some are also smart – they can learn where non-police signals are and lock those signals out to give you less false alarms.

Recommendation

If you want the best protection then we recommend spending the most money you can afford to get a model that will easily detect the all bands including LIDAR from as far away as possible. We also recommend getting a radar detector with GPS capabilities to reduce false alarms and alert you to red light cameras.


You Might Also Be Interested In