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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
|K-Band, Ka Band
|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|
|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|
|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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.