Best Radar Detectors in 2021

A radar detector is a compact electronic device that detects and informs the user about the presence of radars emitting radio waves or laser beams on the road. Basically, it’s a passive receiver that does not muffle signals.

Using radar and laser detectors is allowed in the U.S. The reason for this is that the device helps drivers to stay mindful on the road and control their speeds. Even considering the fact that laws vary from state to state, private vehicles are allowed to have radar detectors almost everywhere.

If you don’t have time to read the whole article, the best radar detector in our opinion is the Escort Max 360. It will make your driving peaceful and save you from any ticket threats by providing full 360-degree protection. This high-quality device features front and rear-facing antennas and knows exactly how to detect the threat in the most accurate way. 


How to Choose a Radar Detector


Here are a few main points to pay attention to when choosing a radar detector:

  • Construction type. Plus, you can choose from monoblocks, block structures, and combined detectors. The first option is the most popular, due to its ergonomics. The controls, hardware, and display are all in one housing. Block constructions include 2 modules – one contains sensors and another one contains parts. Combined models are equipped with additional features, e.g. a video recorder.
  • Complete set. Basic sets typically include the device itself, mount, charging cord, and USB cord to update the software through your computer. Some radar detectors also have a special connector to recharge your smartphone or DVR (dash cam).
  • Sound notifications. Not all models have volume control and a mute function. Notifications can also be male/female voice, short/long phrases.
  • Frequency range. All modern devices support all necessary frequencies, from 10475 MHz to 36000 MHz.
  • Operating angle (in degrees): all directions (360), oncoming, passing through.
  • Installation method. You can find models with sticky mounts, Velcro, and rubber mats. The first option is the most reliable. There are also built-in and non-built in radars.
  • Basic functions. Simple affordable models have a common set of indicators without a display. Middle-class radars are equipped with a display that provides more detailed information, including a distance to the radar. Premium devices have built-in GPS modules, better cope with interference, and are able to accurately determine radars at a considerable distance. Moreover, they display useful information, e.g. real speed, various modes, etc. 
  • Regional linking. Radar detectors designed by famous brands typically have a relevant geo-base, which is very useful.

Best Radar Detectors on the Market



The Max 360 – Best Escort Detector

For those of you who are used to rapid responses and a great number of features, the Escort MAX 360 will be as impressive as functional. Not only it features the Dual Antenna System but also detects X, K, Ka radar frequencies, and laser signals at 360-degree coverage. The device uses 360 Directional Alert Arrows to quickly and accurately indicate where the signals come from. It also comes with a convenient OLED display to provide as much useful information as possible.

There’s virtually nothing this smart device can’t do! Its GPS intelligence, along with IVT filtering, and AutoSensitivity, allows you to mark known speed traps on your route, plus, the detector learns from your route and varying sensitivity with vehicle speed to automatically block false alarms in the future (AutoLearn Technology). This is in addition to the Defender Database, which alerts you about speed cams, traps, and red-light cams across locations throughout Canada or the U.S. Then there’s also the ESCORT Live App, which can be instantly accessed via Bluetooth to get real-time alerts from the community (including one free year subscription for Premium users). 

All of the above-mentioned advanced technologies have their price but you can’t deny the level of detection performance and connectivity that the MAX 360 can provide.

Features

  • Bluetooth
  • Dual Antenna System 
  • AutoLearn Technology 
  • IVT Filter 
  • Defender Database 
  • ESCORT Live App 

Pros 

  • Rapid response
  • 360 directional alert arrows
  • Powerful false alarm prevention
  • GPS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi functions

Cons

  • Price
  • Not everyone needs Wi-Fi

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 1.360″ H x 3.60″ W x 5.43″ L
  • Operating bands:  X-band 10.525 GHz ± 25 MHz, K-band 24.150 GHz ± 100 MHz, Ka-band 34.700 GHz ± 1300 MHz
  • Laser 904nm, 33 MHz Bandwidth
  • Sensitivity – Highway, Auto, and Auto No XAUTO CALIBRATION CIRCUITRY
  • Display –  Directional Arrows, Graphic Multi-Color OLED, CruiseAlert, Bar Graph, ExpertMeter, 5 Levels of Brightness with Full Dark Mode
  • Power – 12VDC, Negative Ground
  • The set includes the Max 360 Radar/laser detector, StickyCup magnetic windshield mount
  • SmartCord power adapter, Quick Reference Guide, and a Soft-shell Case.

FAQ

Is the Escort Max 360 undetectable?

The Max 360 is NOT undetectable to RDDs (Radar Detector Detectors).

How much is the Escort Max 360?

The new Escort Max 360 will cost you $499.95. You can also get a bundle that includes the main device + the Escort Radar M1 Dash Cam at $699.90. You can also sell your old Escort radar detector (Trade-In Program) and get credits towards a new device.

How can you set up the Escort Max 360?

You can set up your Escort Max 360 in 2 ways – through the device itself or through your phone. 

  1. Press and hold the Brightness button (BRT) on the left and the Sensitivity button (SEN) in the middle to access the main menu. You can press the BRT button again to access different menu options, including Pilot Mode, Arrow Mode, Display Color, etc. If you need to adjust a certain parameter, you press “+” or “-” (Volume controls) near the MRK button. For instance, you have 4 different color options to choose from. Once you’re done, you should press the Power button to make your choice.
  2. Alternatively you can also make adjustments through your smartphone if you download the ESCORT Live App for Android/iPhone, which is more convenient and looks better. After you pair it to the detector, go to the Settings page and check all the different options you can choose from. 

There are many functions you can “play” with. There are different brightness modes, e.g. the Auto mode that will automatically make the screen brighter or darker during the day or at night. You can choose the Dark mode to keep your radar’s display totally black, and it will alert you through sound alarms. In this case, your phone’s display will be your “eyes,” which is really handy. You can also choose the best Sensitivity mode (“Highway”) to get the best performance, i.e. the best sensitivity on all radar bands. In its turn, the Auto mode will help you handle some of the false alerts when driving around the city. AutoNoX is almost the same as Auto mode but it also additionally disables X band radars (which can only be needed if you live in New Jersey, Ohio, or Oregon). Moreover, you can also choose how the radar will display information about multiple alerts on the screen. 

There are many other important and interesting features of the radar to check – you can read about them all in the Owner’s Manual here.

The Judge 2.0 – Best Rocky Mountain Radar Detector

The Judge 2.0 by Rocky Mountain is a high-quality and quiet device with an adequate operating range (up to 5 miles away). Apart from that, it also features radar and laser scrambling function, GPS, TSR filtering, voice alerts, Bluetooth connectivity, OLED display, and a powerful voltage meter. There are a few other important functions and useful features that many drivers will definitely appreciate. Basically, this device is the best choice if you want to stay focused on the road and avoid any speed ticket threats. 

The Judge 2.0 will keep you at peace on the road as it’s able to provide advanced warning alerts of speed traps. It can also connect to other detectors in real-time (e.g. Escort devices) to provide feedback on what other radar detectors are seeing. It allows you to fully focus on real alerts (not on all false ones coming from other cars on the road)  without any annoying noises. You can fully focus on Ka and K bands and enjoy full 360-degree radar detection.

Features

  • OLED Dot Matrix Display
  • City/Highway mode
  • Mute function
  • Dim function
  • GPS

Specifications

  • Frequencies: 24.125 Ghz, 33-36 GHz, 904 Nano-meter
  • Sensitivity: K – 120 Dbm, Ka Wide – 115 Dbm, Laser <.5 microwatt
  • Frequencies: 8.0-38.2 Ghz
  • Antenna: Dual Ridge Cast Wave Guide
  • Mixer: Custom MM Wave Schottky
  • Doppler: Pseudo-Random Digital Noise Generator
  • LIDAR Scrambler: full Laser coverage using a synchronous pulse position modulation to confuse the LIDAR computer.

Pros

  • Long-range detection
  • Undetectable to police
  • Clear OLED display
  • Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit (MMIC)
  • Micro-scan technology (faster detection)
  • Effective filtering of BSM signals (no false alarms)

Cons

  • Price
  • Scrambling is not always working
  • Cannot detect POP radars
  • Alerts can’t be muted by hand

FAQ

Are Rocky Mountain Radar Detectors any good?

Yes. Most of Rocky Mountain devices are easy to set up, eliminate false alerts, provide reliable protection on a long-range distance, and work just like promised. The manufacturer says that they will pay your ticket if you get one using their equipment.

How do you set up the Judge 2.0?

Using the Judge 2.0. by Rocky Mountain is very easy. It’s a simple detector with only the most important functions and buttons. Basically, there are 4 buttons responsible for certain functions of the detector. Thus, the first two buttons are used to go sort of left and right through the Menu. Then, Mute and City buttons are used to change the settings. 

When you turn on the Judge 2.0 radar detector it will run a Self Test mode, which takes some time. But you can switch it off for a faster startup. By pressing the first button on the left (Menu), you will be able to turn On/Off the Voice function, the next button (DIM) will take you to the next Menu option (Language). Then you can choose your Tone, turn On/Off X band, Ka band, and Laser detection. You also have Ka Wide and Narrow functions. Then you can turn On/Off K band filter, TSF filter, voltage meter. The Scrambler feature is Off by default so you will have to turn it on to use it. The last function is Reset, which will let you go back to the default settings. You can also choose between different brightness levels, mute modes, and a city or highway mode.  

RAD 480i – Best Cobra Detector

If you want to avoid speed tickets while driving, you need a radar detector that is fast, reliable, and over long distances. With the powerful radar and laser detection technology in the Cobra RAD 480i, you can drive peacefully and focus on the road to get an impeccable driving experience. The device quickly detects and alerts you about various police radar signals in the typical X, K, and Ka bands (and the Ku bands used in Europe), and covers 360 degrees for laser signals. It even alerts you if nearby cops use VG-2 or Spectre RDDs in areas where radar detectors are not allowed (Virginia and Washington, DC).

The affordable, lightweight, and compact RAD 480i is easy to install, set up, and use. With suction cups included in the set, the detector can be safely mounted on the windshield and a 12V power cord connects it to your car’s power source. Even without more advanced, bright features such as GPS or Bluetooth, it offers many comfortable functions. Three brightness levels include an Ultra-Bright mode. The alarms can be automatically turned off when you stop or move slowly around the city. The ability to switch between Highway and City modes helps reduce false alarms in busy areas, although, users note that it may still be too sensitive to false alarms.

Features

  • Adjustable sensitivity and filter modes
  • 2nd-generation IVT filter
  • LaserEye detection system (front and rear detection)
  • DSP function (provides rapid in-advance warnings on all radars)
  • iRadar App (real-time alerts, the largest database, and community of users)
  • Improved accuracy 
  • Patented false alerts filtering

Pros

  • Low price
  • Ultimate detection range
  • 360-degree protection
  • Bright OLED display
  • Smart detection technology
  • iRadar App access
  • Adjustable sensitivity
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Red light and speed cam detection
  • Easy to use and set up
  • Lifetime updatable firmware

Cons

  • Does not have GPS
  • May send false alerts
  • No bright functions
  • High K-band sensitivity

FAQ

How do I update my Cobra RAD 480i radar detector?

The Cobra RAD 480i comes with lifetime software updates. To update the device, connect it to your computer using a standard USB-A to USB-micro cable.

How do you set up the RAD 480i?

Setting up the device is easy. You can simply pair it up with a smartphone app and scroll down to choose the right settings for you. If you’re going to set up the detector using its buttons, then press Power -> Menu and then use the DIM and SEN buttons to choose the settings you want to turn On/Off or adjust. Thanks to its long detection range, the device lets you know where all the cams, speed traps, and various police radars are in advance. You can easily filter out false alerts, adjust the sensitivity, brightness, mark spots, mute, and other important settings with user-friendly button controls of the device. Plus, the radar also shuts off automatically when you shut your car off.

R7 – Best Uniden Radar Detector

The Uniden R7 is the upgraded version of the Uniden R3, which was once the king among the best radar detectors on the market. Now, the R7 model is born! It’s a high-end radar detector with an ultimate performance that provides the highest level of protection and saves you from speed tickets on the road. This smart device is packed with some fresh cool features. Plus, it has directional arrows for more precise detection. The R7 has a wide multi-color OLED display, which allows for more useful information, an additional rear antenna, which provides sufficient arrow support, and an angled housing to face the driver. It has large, clear, and easy-to-access control buttons on the top and left side of the unit. 

The best thing about the R7 is its super-long range of detection, which will impress you with its extreme sensitivity. There’s also a BSM filtering function for real alerts. The new K Block function lets you filter out fake alerts from Honda/Acura cars. Thanks to the Low-Speed Muting function, you can easily keep the device quiet when driving around the city. It’s also very handy when you ride across new areas of the city, where you don’t yet have GPS lockouts. By the way, the device has enough memory to store up to 2,000 of those! GPS in R7 is similar to that of AutoLearn Technology in Escort devices – it knows when the threat is real and doesn’t bother you because of fake alarms. But you can also mute the device manually if you want. Thus, when you drive through your every-day commute, the detector will stay quiet. The R7 will also help you identify the MRCD and MRCT low-powered radar guns in advance. These guns are not that popular yet but they will be! Thanks to the built-in GPS, the R7 radar detector will also alert you if it notices redlight cameras and speed cameras around town. You will know what the speed limit is in advance. By the way, the R7 can even tell you how fast your vehicle is going.

Features

  • Directional arrows
  • Ultimate long-range performance
  • GPS lockouts
  • Dual Antennas 
  • Wide full-color OLED display
  • Low-speed muting
  • Red-light and speed camera alerts

Pros

  • Adjustable alert sound
  • Advanced K and Ka band filters
  • Almost invisible to RDDs
  • Auto mute volume levels 
  • Automatic Dim function
  • MRCD / MRCT detection support
  • Headphone jack
  • Voice alerts
  • Wide range of operational temperatures
  • USB port

Cons

  • Bulky design
  • OLED display may be damaged by direct sunlight

FAQ

Is the Uniden R7 worth it?

Yes. It’s totally worth its price. Of course, every device has a room for perfection. But if you liked the Uniden R3 and need more performance, the R7 will bring it to you with its directional arrows and new features. With it, you will be fully prepared for RedFlex or MultaRadar. This is undoubtedly the detector that will bring sheer, high-quality performance.

Does the Uniden R7 have Bluetooth?

No, it does not, which does not affect the device’s long-range performance in any way.

How do I update my Uniden R7?

Based on customer feedback, Uniden is known to release firmware updates for their radar detectors from time to time. These useful updates bring cool new features and fix various bugs. You can simply go to their official website, download the updates for Windows or Mac, and update your detector using your computer and a standard USB cord. Just don’t forget to turn off the detector itself. Check when the updates are available on the website and you will know what to do.

How do you set up the Uniden R7? 

Setting up the R7 is easy. You have a few buttons on top of the detector, including a Menu button, Plus, and Minus buttons to go through the menu and adjust the volume, and a Power button. After you turn off the device, you press the Menu button and choose the setting you want to adjust. If you press the Menu button again, when looking at a certain option, you will be able to set up what you need. After you have everything adjusted, to get back to the main menu, you just press and hold the Menu button. There are also a couple of buttons on the left side of the detector, namely Mark (to mark trap locations on the road) and Mute/Dim (to manually mute the detector when you’re on the road). 

Also, if you want to lockout a false alert (e.g. a speed sign or a grocery store with an automatic door opener), you can double-press the mute button when you come across that alert (it will show “Mute Memory” on display). The detector will filter out for you in the future. If you press and hold the Mute button, you will get into the Dim options. This is where you can change the display brightness. Hint: apparently, you will want to stick to the Auto mode most of the time. As for the sensitivity, you will need “Highway” for the best performance out of the city, and “City” to calm down false alerts when you are, obviously, driving around the city. The detector is updatable and you can download the entire GPS database for the official Uniden’s website, to be notified about the speed cameras and red-light cameras on the road in time. 

One V1 – Best Valentine Radar Detector

The distinctive feature of the V1 is that it has two antennas (front and rear), which allows for reliable 360-degree protection at a long-range distance. Another feature is the well-coordinated work of all elements of the radar detector and the microprocessor that controls them. The V1 detects up to 8 radars simultaneously at a distance of up to 5 km with minimal errors. This makes the detector almost equal to, or even higher than Escort Passport 8500 X50 and BEL RX65. All portable control devices on the roads (including lasers) are “prevented” by the V1 stably and in advance. 

The radar detector is perfectly designed and looks stylish. A huge detection range, superior to all existing radar detectors. For example, the Whistler Pro 78SE radar detector can “catch” a signal from a low-distance area of 500-600 meters. The V1 will trigger almost 2 times earlier! With all its attributes and features, this device is a Rolls-Royce in the world of radar detectors. It’s just as correct, solid, and has everything a VIP radar detector should have. With this device, you can forget about speed tickets!

Features

  • Adjustable filters;
  • Long-range 360-degree protection;
  • X, K, Ku, Ka, and Super Wideband Ka detection;
  • Front and rear antenna.

Pros

  • Long detection range;
  • High sensitivity; 
  • Bluetooth connectivity;
  • Front and back control.

Cons

  • Bulky design
  • Overpriced
  • Misses certain cameras and arrows

FAQ

How much does it cost to upgrade Valentine 1?

It all depends on your V1’s age and model. The price range was from $90 to $300 on average. You can check it here

How do I check my Valentine 1 version?

Press and twist the main Control Knob of your V1. Don’t let go and hold it down. After all the lights turn on, you can let go of the knob. Press the main knob one more time. You will see the figures running in a cycle on the display. That’s your V1 version number.

How do I reset my Valentine One?

Press and hold down the Main Knob. The front arrow will light on, and all programming features will get back to their default condition. Press the Knob one more time to exit.

How do you set up the Valentine One V1?

You just twist the Main Knob and watch the V1 launch up. Then you just press the knob to see all the options that it has. Arrow Down means that a certain option (e.g. X band for number 1, K band for number 2, and so on) is Off, and Arrow Up means that it’s On. A smartphone can be connected to the Bluetooth adapter for setting up the radar detector and advanced data output. With it, for each signal source, you can see not only the direction of the source but also the power level and frequency of the signal. You can read about all the programming steps here


Best Radar Detector Under 200


The Cobra RAD 480i is not just your regular cheap radar detector. This buddy can give a head start to many expensive devices. Apart from being super budget friendly (only $150), it also comes with lifetime firmware updates. It will help you prevent any unpleasant situations with red-light and traffic cameras and alert you about the police in advance. The RAD 480i is just a perfect device for low-sensitivity background control, as you’re driving around the city at fairly low speed. You can always adjust the sensitivity of the detector, get to active alerts, or turn down the volume to focus more on the road. Thus, for those who are looking for an affordable and accurate radar detector, which is ridiculously easy to use, the Cobra RAD 480i is the best choice.  


Best Budget Radar Detector


The Whistler CR70 is your choice if you are looking for an even more affordable radar detector. It can’t boast with an app or long-range detection, when compared to the Cobra RAD 480i, but it still works really well. It features sleek design, it’s compact, plus, it has an easy-to-use full-color display, a POP mode, and laser detection. Though, it may have some problems with crowded areas and store alarms. But you can be sure that no tree on the highway will set off this detector. The Whistler CR70 will notify you about every (possible) threat on the road, save you from speed tickets, and provide reliable 360-degree protection against various radar guns at the 1/2-mile distance. There’s also the Whistler CR93 model that provides even better performance, but the price is $162 at the moment.


Radar Detector FAQ


Are radar detectors still effective?

Absolutely! High-quality radar detectors, which detect both red-light cameras, speed cameras, and lasers, are complex devices that are easy to use. These radar detectors are designed to save you from radar and laser guns in a truly wide range. A radar detector designed by professionals can detect a signal sent by a police radar even before it bounces off the object (in front of the vehicle) and returns to the radar. Yes, a good radar detector is a really useful thing and a must-have that will save you from speed tickets and allow you to focus on the road.

Are radar detectors worth it in 2020?

Definitely. Radar detectors have no analogues to date, but new features appear quite often. New advanced devices include a well-developed base of fixed cameras, many also come with lifetime upgrades and unique features for the best performance. Additionally, most radars have adjustable sensitivity and software algorithms for elimination of false alarms. If you live in a big city and often drive on highways or unfamiliar routes, then you definitely need a radar detector. In addition, you can use it through convenient mobile apps with excellent functionality. They will facilitate the setup and use of the device.

Which radar detector has the longest range?

Undoubtedly, Escort Max 360.

Can a cop tell if you have a radar detector?

Yes. And it’s not that the device itself can be detected by a police radar. But because most drivers will start braking when a cop turns on the radar, they give themselves away. Meaning that the headlights dip down or brake lights come on, indicating your awareness. But if you’re not living in Washington D.C. or Virginia, you have nothing to worry about.

What should I look for when buying a radar detector?

Aim for a well-known brand (Escort, Valentin, Uniden, Whistler, Beltronics, Cobra, etc. Check the detection range and if the device provides full 360-degree protection (dual antennas, long range, X, K, Ku, Ka, and Super Wideband Ka detection, etc.). Make sure your chosen model has every function you need, depending on your driving routes, style, and other conditions. Voice alerts, adjustable modes, sufficient sensitivity, frequency range, convenient installation method, and ease of use. Last but not least, check if there’s a USB cord included and the software can be updated through your PC.

How can I hide my radar detector?

The most expensive way is getting a stealthy radar detector that features a radar detector detecting technology (the one that can hide from RDD-equipped radar guns). These detectors are designed mainly by Escort, Uniden, and Beltronics brands. Secondly, you can simply mount your radar detector right above the rear view window to make it less visible. But the main thing to remember, is to stay calm and do not slam on those brakes once you get an alert.

What does “Ka” mean on a radar detector?

This is the latest type of radar band frequency on the market used by police these days. Ka bands operate on radio waves between 33.4 GHz and 36.0 GHz. It is considered to be the most promising range due to the even shorter period of time and higher energy potential, allowing these devices to have a detection range of up to 1.5 km with high accuracy in a very short time. This range has the widest bandwidth (1300 MHz), so it was called SuperWide (super wide) and the complete absence of household and other obstacles that interfere with the speed determination of the targeted object.

Where should a radar detector be mounted?

The best place is on your rear view window. Mounting on the windshield is illegal in some states.

Does Window Tint affect radar detectors?

Yes. It’s like you cover your radar detector with a blanket. The thing is that some tinted windshields use metal, polymer, or ceramic films, coatings, etc. which are not good for radar microwave signals. Plastic and fiberglass can be OK at times, but metal is a different story. This can negatively affect the ability of your radar detector to detect a laser gun.

Do truckers use radar detectors?

No. Commercial truck drivers can never use a radar detector as it breaks the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) law.

Editorial Staff

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