How to Get the Best Radar Detector For The Money?
Skip to the good stuff:
- 1 How to Get the Best Radar Detector For The Money?
- 2 Police Radar Basics – What is RADAR and how’s it used?
- 3 How Much Do Radar Detectors Cost?
- 4 Why Should I Invest in a Radar/Laser Detector?
- 5 Best radar detectors reviewed – 2018 updated
- 6 Best Radar Detector for the features: Escort Max 360
- 7 Final Thoughts
If you’re like us at ScannerAnswers.com sometimes you can’t help but drive a little over the speed limit. Many of our readers also have the similar “lead foot” condition and this has prompted the question, what is the best radar detector for the money? That’s why we’ve put together a list of our favorite “fuzz busters” to help you avoid any unplanned tickets. Although please, for the sake of yourself and those around you, we do not condone speeding.
*Editor’s note – We’ve updated this article to be more updated for the year 2018. If you find that we’re still missing something, please contact us!
Police Radar Basics – What is RADAR and how’s it used?
If you’re reading this article, then you already know that the 5-0 has the ability to harness frequency bands to determine how fast your Nissan GTR is travelling. The most common frequency band are the KA-Band and the K-Band (more info here), and you might also hear of the X-band. The X-Band is being slowly phased out but still exists in areas like New Jersey.
So how does Johnny Law use their Radar gun to nail you with a speeding ticket? Well, there’s two ways:
- Constant-On (or CO)
Constant-ON RADAR does just what it sounds like; it’s always on. These are the easiest to detect and hopefully avoid.
RF-Hold is operated manually by the officer. Typically this setup will be used by a parked Law Enforcement officer hidden somewhere just barely in site. When you come smoking around that corner at 97mph in your 2016 Z06 Corvette, the officer simply presses the button and BANG! Congratulations! You’ve got a speeding ticket.
How Much Do Radar Detectors Cost?
Investing in a detector can be nerve-racking. There are so many options and they can cost anywhere from $50 to $500. So which one should you get? Well, it depends on your situation.
Our advice: Don’t be a tight wad.
If these detectors save you from even a single speeding ticket, it will be an investment that pays for itself.
Why Should I Invest in a Radar/Laser Detector?
A good radar detector can save you a lot of heartache in terms of traffic tickets and expensive penalties. Unluckily for us, there are now speed cameras or radar traps that were specifically developed to prevent us from driving faster than the road speed limits. If you wish to make sure that you’re not left with a pricey fee whenever you drive your car, then you will want to look for the best radar detector which can help in solving this costly problem.
But, there are plenty of laser detectors available on the market, and they all have different features. The best radar detector for you might be different than someone else. This is why we have reviewed a few detectors that the guys and I at ScannerAnswers use in our own hotrods. From our personal experience, here are the top radar detectors for the price.
Best radar detectors reviewed – 2018 updated
Below you’ll find our top picks for radar detectors. These “fuzz busters” are all listed in a table with a brief summary of each detector, but keep scrolling to find more info! I wanted to curate this list of all the detectors that Vince and Mike and I have all used and hope it helps you!
|Name||Frequencies Detected||Range (Ft)||Top Features||Price|
1. Escort Max 360
|X, K, Ka, Ka-POP, and LASER||~2,700||360-degree protection - Dual antennae - directional arrows||$$$|
2. Escort Passport Max 2
|X-band, K-band, Ka-band, and LASER||~2,000-2,500||GPS and Bluetooth connections - connects to smartphones - solid performer||$$$|
3. Valentine One
|X, K, Ka, and Super Wideband Ka||~3,000||Most recommended by Police - Simple and awesome unit||$$$|
4. Whistler CR90
|X, K-Band, Ka-Band, VG-2||~2,200||Low priced entry-level option with decent coverage||$$|
5. Escort Redline
|X-band, K-band, Ka-band, POP, and LASER||~2,900||UNDETECTABLE - plus all the other goodies that the other Escorts have||$$$|
6. Beltronics RX65
|X-band, K-band, Ka-band, and LASER||~2,200||Lowest priced - 1 year warranty||$$|
Best Radar Detector for the features: Escort Max 360
Key Features: Dual antennas provide the best detection available - Directional arrows show you exactly where the radar is - Autolearn feature detects and remember false positives
The Escort Max 360 is probably the most expensive detector that I’ve tested, but for a good reason. This windshield installed device is stuffed with practically every useful feature that a modern radar detector could have including two antennas, directional arrows that indicate threats, and smartphone match-ups to assist you to network with all other speedsters in your area. Yeah, it’s pretty high tech for a radar detector!
Within the heart of the unit sits a strong digital signal processor or DSP that uses a microchip to immediately identify and prioritize radar bands commonly applied by the authorities, making certain that unique signals from other devices like automatic doors and blind spot detection systems won’t affect your drive. Furthermore, the Escort Max 360 carries a GPS-powered AutoLearn function which reduces false alerts by recording unimportant emissions and disregarding them the next time you pass by.
Bottom Line: If you don’t mind spending the extra cash for the best, the Escort Max 360 is the top radar detector for you.
There’s a single disadvantage in the device.
The directional arrows which can be slow to react should you or the radar source moves, which means the 5-0 could, in fact, be behind you while the 360 is still pointing to the left. In case you won’t want to bother with that, choose the less expensive Escort Passport Max 2, which features basically identical DSP chip as the Max 360 plus provides almost all of its features and entire responsiveness. However, the 360 is still the fastest, most precise, and most feature-packed radar detector I’ve ever owned.
In 2018, the Escort Max 360 is still my favorite radar detector and if you can afford it, buy it today!
If you cannot find this detector in the stores, I recommend purchasing it from Amazon here: Escort Max 360
The best radar detector for the price: Escort Passport Max 2
Key Features: Displays your speed and the current speed limit - Pre-loaded with red light and speed camera locations - Weekly updates to warn of upcoming alerts
The Escort Passport Max 2 is truly one of the greatest radar detectors you will find available. It’s very similar to the Max 360, except it doesn’t have the directional arrows showing right where the radar is. It is much cheaper than its big brother, and has the same awesome chip, with all the features.
The Passport Max II is used by more than a million drivers worldwide. Everyone I’ve spoken with loves this detector and warmly recommends it.
One of my favorite things on the Escort passport max 2 is the speed limit alert. It means that it is going to alert you whenever you drive faster than the lawful speed. It really is a useful feature that many radar detectors do not have. It also has three different modes: highway, auto and auto no x.
I picked up this detector here from Amazon: Escort Passport Max 2
When positioned at highway mode, the radar detector comes with a range of 6 miles (on a flat road of course!). This means it will pick up the police or traffic stop and give you a few precious seconds to react and slow down
I chose the Escort Passport Max 2 as one of the best radar detectors today because it is one of the most advanced detectors on the market, and has saved my speeding butt more than once!
2018 update – For guy who already spent his allowance and is begging his wife to let him spend a couple more bucks, this is the detector I’d suggest you grab! For the features you get for the price, it’s a steal.
Lifetime protection: The Valentine One
Key Features: Picks up all radar bands - 360* coverage - Dual antennae for maximum detection - Great detector that will last your whole life
The Valentine One radar detector is maybe one of the oldest radar detectors in the industry and most likely the most recognized one. We have a few friends in blue on the (Police) force and we asked which detectors they would suggest the average Joe use. They all chose the Valentine One. Why? Because it’s one of the oldest detectors out there, has maximum coverage, no “frills” like *cough* Escort *cough*, and it simply gets the job done.
The Valentine One includes two sensor antennae located in the front and rear front and to detect both radar and laser signals. This device will be a boon to DIY enthusiasts and comes with a full load of features. Radar detection features all 4 bands, plus POP protection, and protection for non-U.S. bands such as the Ku-band. Moreover, it registers all 820-950 nano-meter traffic lasers.
Bottom Line: Grab this detector if you need reliable, 360 degree coverage and don’t want to break the bank with unnecessary features!
You can easily customize what bands you want the Valentine to detect for increased accuracy in your area and reduced false detects. The display screen is kind of limited (it shows the number of assailants, band, and the direction of the threat and strength of the detected signal). But with an additional accessory you can hook it up to an iPhone or any Android device. This enables you to view the information in a larger screen. I never used that feature on the test device we got, but it sounds pretty sweet. 🙂
The Whistler CR90 – for the budget conscious
Key Features: Good Budget friendly option - Provides 360* coverage - KA-ID lets you select custom bands to monitor
The Whistler CR90 is a lot more budget friendly radar detector than some of our other scanners listed here. But just because it’s affordable doesn’t mean it skimps on features! It discovers Laser Atlanta Stealth mode, LTI TruSpeed S and Laser Ally laser bands, but also comes with some traditional brand radar monitoring just in case.
This radar detector contains GPS and have the capacity to keep track of driver alertness and create warnings in case of drowsiness. Filter modes as well as traffic flow signal rejection, could also be helpful in reducing false positives when it comes to laser detections.
The Top Undetectable Radar Detector: Escort Redline
Editor Update: This detector is still a decent choice, but in 2018 it is slightly outdated and I cannot find it anywhere online. I’d suggest looking into a different one 🙂
Key Features: One of the longest range detectors available - Undetectable (Blocks RDD's so Police cannot see that you have a detector) - Plays a different warning tone for each radar band
If you live in a state where radar detectors are illegal or frowned upon, then check out the Escort Redline. It blocks RDD (“Radar Detector Detector” – I’m not kidding 😛 ) that cops use to see that you’re using a detector. The Escort RedLine offers probably the most excellent range you can find. We think that this is one of the best radar detectors because it is very effective, has a great range and it is very easy to use. This detector has one essential disadvantage. It does not support GPS, so it is quite useless against red light cameras, speed traps or speed cameras. On the other side, this radar detector does not have large amounts of false alerts. Then again, it is well known that some garage door may even trigger an alert. On top of that, this is one of more expensive radar detectors available on the market.
Best radar detector for the money: Beltronics RX65
Key Features: Very affordable detector - 1 year warranty - Easy to setup and use
If you’re on a budget and still want a quality detector, then take a look at the Beltronics RX65. It comes with a 1-year warranty so you can rest assured that your investment will pay off. We also like the user friendly features.
Lots of higher-priced detectors have so many features that they can be frustrating to setup, but not the RX65. Within 5 minutes we had it connected to Mike’s car and took it out for a test drive. The range on this thing is incredible! We were able to “see” cops from a longer distance, which felt like miles to be quite honest.
Needless to say that this detector is one of the best for the money. Buy it now, and you won’t regret it. If it saves you even a single speeding ticket, it’ll pay for itself!
Our friends at 10BestRanked wrote a buyer guide that we would recommend checking out if you still haven’t found the perfect detector: Best Radar Detector
Any questions about how to find the right radar detector for your needs? Drop a comment below and we’ll help!