Are Radar Detectors Worth it – Do Radar Detectors Work?

speed ticket
02nd Oct,2023

The question, “are radar detectors worth it?” isn’t only heard from skeptics, but those who are considering buying themselves one. Sure, there are very cheap options for a radar detector in the market, but let’s be honest, we want one that we know could hold up for a considerable amount of time. And when we shell out money for a device, we want it to be worth the price we pay.

Summary: Radar Detectors are worth it because you will pay way more when you will receive a speeding ticket, which can also get you points or license suspension. Read more about the best radar detectors here.

Ranging from $150 to $400, the best radar detecting devices out there can save you speeding tickets that can cost up to $1,000 in some states like Georgia and North Carolina (varies per location all over the world).

So if you have a police radar finder that can effectively prevent the police from catching you when your speeding, then purchasing a well-performing device for that purpose would be worth it, right?

While this train of thought could easily convince a lot of people, we’re sure there are still some who might have done some “research” themselves and have read from not-too-reliable sources. So, allow us to clear up some of the common myths about radar detectors.

Radar detectors myths

Knowing what is true and what is false about all the detector information out there on the Internet can lead you to the answer to the hovering question, “are radar detectors worth it?” Here are some well-known myths:

  • Radar detectors are illegal
    It’s been a common notion that radar detectors can have you apprehended, fined, and even put to jail. While this may be true for two states in the US (Washington DC and Virginia), for the rest of the country, it is legal to own and use a radar detector.

Other places in the world restrict the use of radar detectors too, but it’s wrong to automatically dismiss the possibility of using radar detectors with the common thinking that they are illegal. Always check your local laws regarding it before throwing away a good solution for a better driving experience. Check more about radar detectors laws here.

  • Radar detector and radar jammers are the same devices
    Another common mistake of people is interchanging the terms “radar jammers” and “radar detectors” as if they are the same thing.

A radar detector just scans for police radars and notifies the driver when police presence is detected. Radar jammer, on the other hand, uses a certain signal to disable or jam a police radar, which is illegal, so they are banned across the world.

With the signals that radar jammer emit, they can also affect communications between airplanes and ground air control.

  • Using a radar detector will make you drive faster
    This is another myth that is completely wrong and baseless. Using a radar detector wouldn’t make a car faster. It can even slow down the speed of a car—but not by directly affecting the car machinery, but by giving out warnings to the driver if the maximum speed limit has been reached.

This way, the driver can take it easy on the accelerator and drive more carefully.

  • Radar detectors are useless when the weather is bad.
    This isn’t correct as well. Radar detectors and jammers use the latest technology, so they can detect police radar equipment in any weather. So, are radar detectors worth it even when you’re in a city or location that’s often exposed to rain and storm? Yes, they are!

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Are radar detectors worth buying?

Radar detectors are not very expensive. However, they aren’t usually found in a local store or a shopping mall. The best way to get a new radar detector is to order it online and the best place for that is Amazon. Before ordering, you should pay attention to several factors. First, check with your local police department whether radar detectors are allowed in your city or not.

police officer with speed camera

Second, make sure that the radar detector you would buy is brand new and comes with a warranty. Third, always order devices from well-known expert companies. And lastly, check the shipping price. Most radar detectors come from distant countries, so shipping isn’t cheap. In general, you can find an excellent radar detector for $100-200.

When are radar detectors useless?

We know exactly what awesome radar detectors can do to improve your daily driving experience, but we are not saying that’s it’s a foolproof device as well. In some cases, police can use tricks to make radar detectors useless. For example, most police cars have speed radars on the back or the front and a police officer can turn them on at any moment.

This means that common radar detectors won’t have enough time to detect police radar. A way to work around this issue too is to purchase a detector with an extremely fast response time, which can work send warning signals in just a few seconds.

In some cases where police officers may be hidden in the blind spots of a radar detector (sometimes on the sides), you should make sure to get a 360-degree radar detector, or else you will have a hard time detecting a police radar.

Are radar detectors worth it if they cost less than $100?

Buying cheaper devices isn’t highly recommended because they can be less durable than what you’d expect, or worse, they don’t detect police radar at all. One of the best radar detectors is Valentine One, which costs around $400. While it may be tougher on the budget, it is a dependable radar detection device that can last for a long time, so you can surely get your money’s worth with your radar detector.

Also, some of these cheap radar detectors won’t protect you from new detection devices used by police. A new detection system being deployed by police is MRCD or MultaRadar CD. This type of detection uses a different frequency wave that most cheap radars won’t be able to detect.

Some drivers are also using the illegal radar jammers that interfere with police equipment, instead, devices used just to detect police radars on time. To understand why and if they do work, you should know how radar detectors work, here’s a quick overview:

A radar detector uses radio signals to detect the Doppler radar used by police departments, this is how radar detectors work. Faster than the laser beam used by police radar guns, it can alert the driver before a traffic officer can even use a Lidar (with infrared light technology) to determine a car’s speed.

are radar detectors worth it

This becomes problematic when it comes to cheap radar detectors. Because they have weak transmitters, they detect police radars too late, or in a worst-case scenario, they cannot detect at all.

Detectors under $100

Are radar detectors worth it if they are older than 5 years?

Police are constantly improving radar and laser technology. This means that modern and latest radars are more accurate and faster in determining the speed of a car. The radar detector technology works the same way. This means that using an old radar detector isn’t a wise idea.

So if you have a collection of old devices you might still want to use, you should ask yourself if the risk to be detected is worth it. They are usually not effective, they have slow detecting capabilities, and their design is obsolete. There is no single reason why you should use an old radar detector.

When are radar detectors worth it?

Buying a radar detector that will let you avoid ALL police radars is an illusion. However, you will have better chances not to get a speeding ticket. Radar detectors are especially useful if you travel by car a lot. All drivers drive faster at some point, so having a device that can warn you of a police radar is recommended.

On the other side, these devices have a positive effect on drivers. Their driving speed can be monitored so they can easily maintain a healthy speed limit as the radar detector alerts them when they go beyond the limit. This means that these devices are useful and they increase safety on highways.

Why are radar detectors worth it?

Radar detectors can significantly improve any driver’s experience while on the road. It doesn’t only measure a car’s speed and alert drivers when they drive above the speed limit, they can also warn of the driver about a nearby police presence. So combining these two advantages that can prevent a driver from getting those expensive speeding tickets and traffic violation fines, then definitely, radar detectors are worth purchasing and using.

Do Radar Detectors Still Work?

A lot of people debate whether or not radar detectors still work and if they worth it, but the short answer to this question is a resounding “yes” – radar detectors still do work. There are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to how effective a radar detector is, including the technology being used by police in the area you are driving. It is important to get a good radar detector that will work well to protect you from speed traps. If you’re not interested in a getting a radar detector, check out the option to use a license plate cover.

William Johnson

William Johnson is the owner and founder of He writes about car accessories, with his passion stemming from a deep enthusiasm for all things automotive. His website, RRD, focuses on in-depth reviews of car accessories to help people find the best and latest products in the market.