Best Radar Detectors – Buyers Guide and Reviews 2017


Radar detectors are a great way to make sure that you’re not being monitored by police when you’re driving.

Police radar detectors allow you to get advance warning about law enforcement officers who may be lying in wait, monitoring the speed of traffic. This allows you to adjust your speed before you’re detected by the radar gun of a police officer, potentially letting you avoid costly speeding tickets.

Not all radar detectors are built alike, however. Some radar detectors are terrific, built with top-quality components and designed to give you advance warning about potential speed monitoring from thousands of yards away – and some cheaper radar detectors would have a hard time tracking a radar gun that’s a couple feet from your car.

It’s also important to note that most modern radar detectors don’t simply include radar detection. Laser devices like LIDAR are becoming more common for law enforcement officers to use, so most top-quality “radar detectors” don’t just track radar signals – they can pick up laser signals as well.

Since you’re going to be trusting your radar detector to give you accurate, useful information about your speed and if you’re being monitored by law enforcement, it’s important to choose a radar detector that’s durable, reliable, and accurate, with as few false positives as possible.

Of course, we don’t recommend speeding. Even if you have a radar detector, we recommend that you abide by the posted laws and regulations of any road. Failing to do so can cost you – in both fines and jail time.

However, if you would like to invest in a fuzz buster just in case you find yourself over the speed limit at a bad time, it’s a worthy investment – just one avoided speeding ticket can easily pay for the cost of your radar detector.

So read on, and learn about the best 7 radar detectors on the market, and about the basics of choosing the right radar detector for your specific needs.

The Pros And Cons Of Using A Radar Detector

While radar detectors such as a Cobra radar detector can be very useful, they’re not for everyone. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of using a radar detector before we get into our top 3 “quick pick” radar detector reviews.


  • Avoiding Speeding Tickets - This is obviously the biggest advantage there is to buying a radar detector.  A good radar detector can give you an alert before you are monitored by a speed gun, whether laser radar-based.  This allows you to reduce your speed and avoid a costly ticket.
  • Pays For Itself – Avoiding a single speeding ticket can be enough to cover just about the entire cost of a radar detector.
  • Gives You Peace Of Mind – You know that sinking feeling in your gut when you pull around a corner going 15 over and see a cop car on the side of the highway? You’ll never have to feel that again – radar detectors allow you to see cops before they see you. You can avoid nasty surprises – and drive in peace, knowing you’ll never be caught unaware of law enforcement.


  • Legality – Several states have banned radar detectors entirely. They may not be used in Washington, DC or Virginia, and federal law bans them from commercial vehicles entirely
  • Law Enforcement May Still Catch You – Even the best radar detectors can’t stop you from getting pulled over every time. And if a cop sees a radar detector on your dash, he’s going to be less likely to take things easy on you – and you could even be hit with an obstruction of justice charge, in rare cases
  • False Positives Are Common In Older Detectors – false positives are becoming more and more common in older, outdated radar detectors due to driver assistance technologies in modern cars which use radar and laser sensors.

If you’re worried about getting caught speeding, prefer knowing where law enforcement officers are, and live in an area where radar detectors are legal, you may want to invest in one – it can certainly pay for itself quite quickly.

On the other hand, if you’re not worried about speeding and would rather have the benefit of the doubt when pulled over, you may not want to purchase a radar detector – the chances are that it would be a waste of your money if you are not a habitual speeder.

Now that we’ve gotten the pros and cons of radar detectors out of the way, let's take a look at our top 3 picks – and then get into our full product reviews below.

Radar Detectors – Quick Picks

If you just want a quick look at the three most highly-recommended devices, here’s our summary.

1. Escort Passport 9500ci Enhanced If the price of your detector is no object and you’re just looking for the best radar detector out there – bar none – the Escort Passport 9500ci Enhanced is the best choice for you. It offers unparalleled performance and a completely hidden, stealthy profile that will keep it inconspicuous in case you do ever get pulled over by law enforcement officers.

2. Escort Max 2 Radar Detector – Do you want a radar detector that just works? With no set-up or customization needed out of the box? The Escort Max 2 Radar Detector is perfect for you. Unpack it, mount it, and plug it in – that’s it!

3. Whistler CR93 Laser Radar Detector – The Whistler CR93 is a laser and radar detector that offers an incredible suite of options and customizable sensitivity – and even a GPS unit – for a low, low price, making it the best buy for anyone on a budget.

Reviews of the Best Radar Detectors on The Market in 2017


Escort Max 2 Radar Detector - Simplest Police Radar Detector To Use

Escort has long been one of the most popular manufacturers of radar detectors on the market, and with products like the Escort Max 2 Radar Detector, it’s not hard to understand why.

The best part about the Escort Max 2 Radar Detector is its simplicity. If you’re looking for an easy-to-understand, easy to use radar detector that’s “plug-and-play,” you’ve found it. There are radar detectors out there that are hugely customizable, upgradeable, and can be fiddled and tinkered with for perfect performance.

This detector isn’t one of them – and in this case, that’s a good thing. It’s easy to use – unpack it, stick it up on your windshield, and plug it in, and it’s already working. This is the best radar detector to pick if you aren’t willing to bother with setting up a specialized unit – just plug it in, let it work, and move on.

The easy-to-read LCD display will alert you if you’re speeding, and the built in Escort Live functionality allows you to look at local speed limits and receive alerts from other users who have encountered radar and laser detection in the area.

The Escort Live functionality of this unit also includes a pre-loaded map of stationary speed camera and red-light cameras all throughout North America, allowing you to avoid surprises, whether they’re from a cop on the side of the road or a stationary camera hidden in the bushes.


  • Easy to set up
  • Good false-positive protection
  • Reasonably priced
  • ​Very fast detection
  • ​Customizable color scheme to match interior of your car
  • ​Bluetooth support for Escort Live app
  • Accurate speedometer


  • Range can be slightly inconsistent
  • Peer submitted alerts are sometimes outdated
  • Does not show threat direction

Video Review


Escort iX Long Range Radar Detector:
Best Long Range Police Radar Detector With Everyday Convenience

The Escort iX Long Range Radar Detector is the latest in a long line of high-performance long-range radar detectors from Escort.

This unit has been built for early warning and a quick response across all radar and laser bands, including X-band, K-band, SuperWide Ka-band and POP mode, providing a comprehensive protection pacKage that can keep you ahead of even the most advanced radar and laser detectors.

One of the biggest benefits of this unit is its ability to filter out false-flags. As automotive technology increases, radar sensors, laser sensors, and other driver-assistance features are becoming much more common on consumer vehicles.

Outdated radar and laser detectors often had difficulty filtering these out, leading to huge numbers of false positive alerts that could render a detector totally unusable in extreme circumstances.

The Escort iX has been built with this in mind, offering incredible filtering for false-positives, but still easily detecting true cop radar detectors and laser guns. So you can rest easy, knowing that if you do hear an alert, you should slow down because you’re being monitored – not because the Lexus next to you turned on blind-spot assistance.


  • Bluetooth connectivity to Escort Live app
  • Great 360-degree coverage
  • Smart false-flag filtering
  • Fast response on all radar bands
  • Wide range of band coverage
  • Voice alerts
  • Sturdy windshield mounting


  • No directional arrows
  • Escort Live app requires your phone to use GPS the entire time it’s on – you’ll need an in-car charger
  • Some users report issues with the magnetic/suction windshield attachment system
  • Display can be hard to read in extremely bright conditions

Video Review


Beltronics 015007-6 STi Magnum Radar Detector:
Best for Stealth

The primary advantage that the Beltronics Sti Magnum Radar Detector boasts is its stealthy design that shields it from radar detector detectors.

Radar detector detectors are often used by law enforcement in an attempt to figure out if a driver is using some kind of radar detector or another mechanism to avoid speed guns, police radar guns, and laser guns.

Some law enforcement officers don’t take too kindly to folks who use radar detectors, and if you use this device by Beltronics, you won’t have to worry about any police officers discovering your secret.

The Beltronics Sti Magnum also has advanced laser detection capabilities that can track laser systems from multiple angles, ensuring you won’t be caught off-guard by an oddly-positioned law enforcement officer.

The Sti Magnum has also been designed to minimize false-positives as much as possible while on the road, and offers several specialized filter options that can be switched on when driving in the city – city driving often can confuse radar detectors and cause multiple false positives.

These City Standard and City NoX modes can be switched on when you’re in a busy city and need to avoid false positives – and turned off once you’re back on the highway, or on a country road.


  • Loud, highly informative voice alerts
  • Smart false positive filtration systems
  • Multiple levels of false positive filtration
  • Good laser detection from multiple angles
  • Bright display with auto-brightness function
  • Easy setup and configuration
  • Comes with a carrying case


  • Some users report difficulty picking up K-band radar signals or false alarms on the K-band
  • Configuration can be difficult to set up properly for inexperienced users
  • Performance drops somewhat if you’re driving 20-30 mph over the speed limit (but you wouldn’t do that, now would you?)

Video Review


Valentine One Radar Detector:
Tried And True - Built For Tinkering

Valentine is one of the oldest, most well-established radar detector companies. Along with Cobra radar detectors, Valentine has been one of the most reliable radar detector brands and their flagship Valentine One has long been a go-to product for radar detector enthusiasts.

This modern incarnation of the Valentine One is no exception – it’s a fantastic police radar detector, and its simple, yet aggressive styling makes it as beautiful as it is powerful.

The highlight of the Valentine One series has always been the dedicated, specialized arrow indicators that light up to show the directionality of a received laser or radar signal. These arrows respond to changes in the direction of radar signals almost immediately, allowing you to quickly determine the location of law enforcement officers monitoring speeders.

Knowing the direction of the police speed gun makes it easier for you to avoid tickets, and with such a bright, conspicuous arrow and a loud chime that goes off when radar or laser devices are detected, you’ll never miss an alert.

Of course, Valentine hasn’t fallen behind the times. This isn’t just a radar detector – the new Valentine One offers 360-degree laser protection with smart laser recognition modules incorporated into the design.

The Valentine One also provides detection over all commonly used police bands: X, K, Ka, super-wideband Ka, and even KU – no matter what tools law enforcement is using, you’ll be one step ahead with the Valentine One.

As can be expected from a high-quality radar detector, the programming and filtration options are extremely customizable. If you enjoy tinkering with your cop radar detectors and setting them up to perform exactly how you want them to, you’ll love playing around with the Valentine One.


  • Sturdy mount with smart, driver-angled design
  • Arrows switch direction almost immediately
  • Incredible laser detection – easily one of the best on the market
  • Versatile customization and setup options for tinkerers


  • Can be confused by some modern driver-assist systems that use lasers
  • No built-in GPS – must pair with phone
  • Incorrect setup can lead to multiple false positives
  • Not super user-friendly for newer radar detector enthusiasts

Programming the Valentine One


Escort Max 360 Radar Detector:
Long Range Police Radar Detector With Great Connectivity Options

The Escort Max 360 sets it apart from the rest of Escort’s police and motorcycle radar detectors by being the first model to incorporate directional indicator functionality.

The new indicator arrows plus the quick response DSP (Digital Signal Processing) design and extremely long range of this product have made it an instantly popular among radar detector enthusiasts.

As the name may indicate, the Escort Max 360 specializes in detecting laser and radar signals from every direction – even from strange, oblique angles that other detectors can have trouble picking up.

Another great feature of the Escort Max 360 is speed-based sensitivity – the scales on which this system operates can be user modified, and as the user increases in speed, the sensitivity of the Escort Max 360 system increases in parallel. This allows you to avoid numerous false-positives when driving in the city but gives you plenty of detection capability on highways, country roads, and other areas where it’s easier to pick up speed.

False alerts can also be dealt with easily – the Escort Max 360 can pair through Bluetooth with the Escort Live app to detect areas that have been flagged for false positive signals and filter these out, allowing you to get a better radar detection experience the more you drive with your cop radar detector.

The Escort Live app also allows you to see the locations of known speed traps, red light cameras, and the locations of law enforcement as reported by other users of the application.


  • Great 360-degree coverage for instant alerts about both radar and laser speed guns
  • Escort Live app provides great connectivity functionality
  • Directional arrows give you a better idea of the location of law enforcement officers
  • Bilingual support – choose between English and Spanish
  • Clear display with highly accurate speedometer information and real time speed limit data when connected to Escort Live
  • Speed-based sensitivity allows you to minimize false positives while increasing sensitivity as the speed of your car rises


  • Some users report quality control issues with Bluetooth connectivity
  • Phone must have GPS turned on at all times to make use of Escort Live app services – no built-in GPS
  • Unshielded design can be easily detected by radar detector detectors

How To Setup The Escort Max 360 - Video Guide


Escort Passport 9500ci Enhanced:
Absolute Best Quality Cop Radar Detector

We can confidently say that the Escort Passport 9500ci Enhanced is the best police radar detector on the market today. Its price tag may raise your eyebrows, but if you’re truly looking for the Cadillac of cop radar detectors, you’ve found it.

The cost of the Escort Passport 9500ci may be high, but when it’s integrated into your dash by a professional installation service, it’s completely undetectable and totally blends in with the interior of just about any car.

The Escort Passport 9500ci doesn’t come with a radar jammer – these are illegal under US federal law – but it does include a laser jammer, which is completely legal in every US state, and is extremely helpful in avoiding more hi-tech, LIDAR laser guns that some law enforcement departments have begun using.

There’s also a GPS module integrated into this device, allowing it to “learn” the locations of false alarms quickly and automatically. If you drive past one area and a false alarm triggers more than three times, the unit will begin ignoring that signal in the future. This ensures that you have an absolute minimum of false positives.

The integrated GPS module also allows your device to access the Escort database of speed cameras and red light cameras without requiring a phone to be synced over Bluetooth.

And because this unit is completely hidden, you won’t be implicated further if you are pulled over for a speeding ticket. Cops won’t even see the minimalistic display.

This is especially helpful because of the laser jammer – law enforcement officers often become suspicious if they can’t get a solid read on your car with a LIDAR gun, and may pull you over to check if you have laser jammer – even though they’re legal. But they won’t spot this one – that’s a guarantee.


  • Completely undetectable when installed in your car
  • Built-in GPS module
  • Extremely sensitive laser and radar detectors
  • Laser jammer
  • GPS module allows “learning” of false-positive locations


  • Extremely expensive
  • Professional installation required to avoid voiding warranty
  • Some users report difficulty upgrading firmware and software with newer computers

Pro Demo of Laser Interceptor Jammers


Whistler CR93 Laser Radar Detector:
Best Cheap Radar Detector

This product by Whistler is a bargain compared to most of the other products on our list – but don’t let that fool you. It’s every inch a fully functional police radar detector and is a fantastic choice for anyone who is looking for the best budget radar detector that won’t break the bank and still provides top-of-the-line features.

This little unit even has a built-in GPS – some units that are twice the price lack this feature, making it a truly exceptional radar detector. It’s extremely sensitive on the K-band, Ka-band, though some users report somewhat lacking performance in the more rare X-band.

The built-in GPS allows this scanner to access national databases of red light cameras and speed traps, and to learn the locations of common false positives as reported by other users to minimize unnecessary alerts.

The scanner also has a LIDAR/laser detector which is extremely accurate – offering similar performance to units that much more expensive.

Overall, this unit is easy to setup, use, and boasts some surprisingly powerful features for a value-priced police radar detector. It’s a great choice if you’re looking into buying a radar detector but aren’t interested in spending a ton of money on a high-priced detector.


  • Fast radar and laser detection times
  • GPS module
  • Directional arrows
  • Terrific value
  • 3 driving modes for variable sensitivity


  • Some users report excessive false positives
  • Difficult to update

Product Feature Video

What To Know About Buying Radar Detectors

Confused about laser and LIDAR?

Don’t know the difference between a scanner, detector, or a jammer?

Couldn’t tell a Ka-band from an X-band with a gun to your head?

Never fear! We’re here with a breakdown of common radar detector features, terminology, and other important information that can make your shopping experience easier. Read on, and learn with us.

How Do Radar Detectors Actually Work?

This is actually quite simple. You can think of the speed gun that a police officer uses as a transmitter – it’s built to beam a signal at a particular object, and then receive information about the speed of that object by analyzing the time that the signal took to reach the target and then “bounce back” to the speed gun.

Radar is just another form of electromagnetic energy – and that means that it can be detected by a specialized receiver. So if the speed gun is the “transmitter,” your radar detector is the “receiver.”

By being built to detect the wavelengths used by radar guns, your radar detector can pick up the electromagnetic signals of a radar gun – usually far in advance of its functional speed-tracking range.

This protects you because most radar speed guns don’t operate well outside of about a half mile – and radar receivers can pick up information about upcoming radar guns far in advance, giving you time to lower your speed and avoid a speeding ticket.

X-Band, K-band, and Ka-band – Understanding The Differences Between Radar Bands

It can be hard to make heads or tails about the differences between the different bands in use by radar guns – or understand why they matter. So here’s a quick breakdown.


The X-band is the oldest frequency band allocated for police officers using radar guns, spanning from 10.5-10.55 GHz. This high-powered, low-frequency band is extremely easy to detect. Usually, X-band signals can be detected from 2-4 miles away – but can only get an accurate reading on the speed of a car from about 0.5 miles. Because they’re so easy to detect, X-band radar guns have fallen out of favor with most law enforcement agencies.

X-band signals are also the most common sources of “false positives” – microwaves from radio towers, garage door openers, and other common hi-tech equipment can often trigger false positives on radar detectors.


The K-band is the most commonly used band for law enforcement agencies, spanning from 24.05-24.25 GHz. This band can offer an accurate reading for a law enforcement officer at about ¼ mile, making it a lower-range band than X-band. However, it’s also harder to detect. Depending on your detector and the conditions of your road and the weather, the range of detection is anywhere from 2 miles to ¼ mile.


The Ka-band is the most recent band allocated to law enforcement agencies by the FCC.Today, Ka-band includes Ka-wideband, Ka-super-wideband, and Ka-band. This band ranges from 33.4-36.0 GHz. Usually, this band is used with a “stalker” radar gun – these guns can be set to operate anywhere within the 33.4-36.0GHz Ka-band, so they can only be picked up by detectors that support all-band Ka detection – K and X detectors won’t pick up their signals.

What Does This Mean For Me?

Well, all radar detectors will offer detection on these common frequencies – but not all performance is the same. Most radar detectors now focus on K-band and Ka-band frequencies, as X-band frequencies have fallen out of favor in most areas of law enforcement.

It’s a good idea to learn about the commonly used radar guns in your specific state and the performance of your chosen detector on each frequency band – this will allow you to make a smart choice that will give you the most time possible to detect and avoid speed guns.

LIDAR, Lasers, And You – What You Need To Know

Radar is not the newest technology in use by law enforcement agencies. LIDAR and laser technology has offered another way that law enforcement officers can track the speed of individual cars incredibly effectively – but this technology isn’t without its drawbacks.

To put it basically, LIDAR is useful because it uses a very tightly focused beam of electromagnetic energy which can target a specific vehicle with incredible precision, and minimizes the time needed to get a speed reading – usually within a half-second.

However, most cops still don’t use LIDAR. Why? Three reasons:

  • LIDAR guns are extremely expensive compared to traditional radar guns
  • LIDAR can’t be used from a moving vehicle
  • LIDAR requires a tripod or other heavy mounting device for accurate readings – most officers prefer to use their guns from within their cars.

Can Radar Detectors Detect Lasers and LIDAR?

Yes. All modern radar detectors have incorporated some kind of laser detection into their design – but not all are built alike. Laser detection is different than laser jamming.

Laser detection can alert you to a LIDAR gun monitoring your speeds, but generally only if the laser is monitoring the speed of a car or another object very close to you – meaning that you don’t have much time to react. This is what most value-priced radar detectors use.

Laser jamming is a different technology entirely. These high-tech devices monitor the 904nm infrared wavelength – the laser wavelength used by LIDAR – for any disturbance or signal coming from a LIDAR gun. When the signal is detected, the jammer emits a high-powered signal of its own that effectively cancels out the signal of the law enforcement officer, rendering a speed reading of 0.

Laser jamming is currently legal under federal law in the US, though some states – California, Virginia, Illinois, Colorado, Minnesota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Texas, and Oklahoma have outlawed laser jammers.

Some high-end devices incorporate laser jammers, as these are the only foolproof methods of avoiding a ticket from a LIDAR gun. However, if you live in one of the above-mentioned states, use of a laser jammer is illegal – and can get you pulled over, regardless of whether or not you were speeding.

Do I Need A Laser Jammer?

If avoiding tickets is your top priority and money is no problem, yes. A laser jammer is a great device to have to prevent tickets.

However, most law enforcement agencies rarely use LIDAR, so if you don’t want to invest too much money into your radar detector, a standard detector with laser detection is probably going to protect you from 90% of tickets.

And if you live in a state where laser jammers are prohibited, you’re likely to be hit with an obstruction of justice charge if you’re pulled over, and you’re using a laser jammer, so ensure that you follow all applicable state and federal laws regarding laser jammers.

What’s A False Positive?

The modern world is extremely technologically advanced, and we’re constantly surrounded by devices that emit EM – electromagnetic – signals. These signals are not usually on the same wavelengths as K, Ka, and X-bands, but sometimes powerful signals can reach the same frequencies of common radar detectors.

This leads to a false positive. Your radar detector will go off despite there being no radar gun or speed trap around. This can be extremely frustrating – nothing’s worse than constantly being alerted about nonexistent law enforcement officers.

This is becoming more common – as cars become more advanced, they incorporate driver aid devices like lane keeping, parking aids, and blind-spot monitoring that can use laser and radar sensors – causing your detector to give off a false positive.

There are a few ways to deal with these issues. User-submitted false positive tracking can be used by some devices to ignore well-known signals. Advanced signal processing can also be used to analyze signals and determine whether a signal is coming from a radar gun or an external source.

One of the most common ways that radar detector companies deal with false positives is with speed adjustment and custom “city” modes.

Selectable modes give you the option of several different sensitivity levels.

The idea is that you can turn your sensitivity down when you’re driving in the city – you’re less likely to be traveling quickly, and more likely to get interference, so the risk of having a slightly lower sensitivity is worth it to avoid false positives.

You can then turn your sensitivity up outside of the city, when you’re on a highway or another road where you’re likely to be traveling quickly, and out of range of interfering radar and laser signals.

The best police radar detectors can do this automatically – within user defined parameters, of course. As your speed sinks, they will become slightly less sensitive, and as you continue to rise in speed, they will become more attuned and sensitive to signals.

This allows you to avoid speeding tickets while still reducing the number of false positives rendered by your unit.

Radar Detectors Laws: Are They Illegal?

We addressed this quickly in our “pro” and “con” section, but it demands further discussion.

The answer for most non-commercial drivers is “yes”. Unless you’re on a military base, in Virginia, or in Washington, DC, radar detectors are completely legal for your personal use.

However, law enforcement officers will often see a radar detector as a signal of “intent” in a speeding situation. Basically, if you have a radar detector, they will assume you are a habitual speeder and are less likely to let you off the hook gently.

If you are pulled over with a radar detector, it’s likely that the law enforcement officer will remove it, catalog it on the ticket, and give it back – it is not legal for them to take your radar detector permanently, or destroy it. If this occurs, you may have a legal case against the officer in question.

For more info and to see specific laws - click here.​

Conclusion – The Best Police Radar Detector

The world of radar detectors can be confusing – but with a little research and knowledge, it’s easy to find the perfect device for your needs.

If money's no object for you and you live in a state where laser jammers are legal, you should buy the Escort Passport 9500ci Enhanced radar detector. It offers unparalleled sensitivity, smart adaptability to prevent false positives and a fully integrated design that won’t be noticed by law enforcement if you’re pulled over.

The best mid-range option is the Escort Max 2 Radar Detector. If you need a plug-and-play, simple solution that won’t break the bank, you won’t find any police radar detector better suited for the job.

And if you’re working on a tight budget, your best choice is the Whistler CR93 Laser Radar Detector. This inexpensive unit is surprisingly customizable, and it comes with a GPS unit and quite a few other bells and whistles that make it a great budget pick.

Whatever your budget or particular needs, we’re sure that you can find the right radar detector for your needs by reading the radar detector reviews and recommendations in this article.

So find your perfect radar detector, install it, and drive worry-free. But remember – speeding is dangerous. Follow all posted speed signs and applicable regulations. Just having a radar detector doesn’t mean you’re immune from liability, speeding tickets, or potentially dangerous situations caused by speeding.

Stay smart. Stay safe. And stay informed with one of these top-quality radar detectors. And let us know what you think of our choices below! We’d love to hear from you.


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