Did you know that there’s around 41 million drivers in the US alone gets a speeding ticket every year? With each ticket costing around $152 on average, a total of $6 billion is paid out for speeding alone.
I’ve had my fair share of speeding tickets too, but you know which one’s the worst?
It’s the one I got after buying a “good” radar detector from Best Buy and a license plate blocker. I paid hundreds of dollars to be safe from speeding tickets, but I ended up giving a couple of hundreds more and throwing out my device.
I don’t want to make that same mistake again. DO YOU? Because not all premium radar detectors are as great as they appear to be. Good performance isn’t just based on specs written on paper, but on how the device works – there’s a difference. So I’m sharing my thoughts and experience through this buying guide.
If you’re in a rush and don’t have time to read the full radar detectors comparison, here’s a quick analysis of the best products:
- Driving awareness – how helpful a device is in keeping a driver safe on the road and aware of driving conditions using city and highway driving modes, an intuitive display, prompt alert system, and GPS
- False alerts – measures how efficient a radar detector is in curbing notifications from non-police signals it detects such as traffic sensors, BSM systems
- Undetectability – pertains to how effective a radar detector is in being invisible against VG-2 and Spectre RDDs
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To make it easier for our readers to find the perfect model, we’re going to review seven of the best radar detectors on the market. We’ve made sure to choose a wide selection of these models so that each of you can find something that is in their price range and which fulfills their needs.
Ensuring that you have all of the info that you need about each of these detectors, we’re going to cover everything about them. First, we’ll go over their most notable specifications so you can have an idea of how they perform, and then we’ll discuss the important details that will help you make your purchase.
We research, test and recommend the best products you can purchase according to our review criteria. Let’s take a look at the selection of our 7 chosen best radar detectors for 2019:
- Best Overall Radar Detector: Escort Redline Ex
“Much like with the R7 that we started this review list with, this is an excellent choice for customers who are willing to pay more for a superior product.”
- Best Detection Range: Uniden R3
“Despite being relatively cheap, the R3 can still perform a lot of the tasks that you’d only expect to find in a high-end model.”
- Runner-Up, Best Overall: Uniden R7
“The Uniden R7 is one of the best options for customers that want something with high performance and don’t mind paying a little bit more money for it.”
- Third Best: Escort Max 360C
“The Escort Max 360c is the successor to Escort’s popular Max 360 radar detector, and the most notable improvement over the previous one is that this one is capable of connecting to wifi.”
- Best Value for the money: Escort Max 360
“While this radar detector does away with the wifi that makes its upgraded counterpart more convenient, it’s also a lot more affordable.”
- Runner-up, Best Detection Range: Valentine One
“All of this detector’s internal components are modern, and it offers performance which can rival some of the best ones on the market, but it still features a relatively classic design.”
- Best Stealth: Radenso Pro M
“The Radenso Pro M is also designed to be as stealthy as possible, reducing the likelihood of counter-detection.”
Our Best Radar Detectors Picks – 2019 Comparison
The Uniden R7 is one of the best options for customers that want something with high performance and don’t mind paying a little bit more money for it. While it features a higher price point than Uniden’s R3 model, it also expands on nearly all of its features, making this their new flagship product.
This radar detector has a range of features that will help you reduce the number of false alerts while improving your detection of actual radar guns. One of the first things that you’ll notice about this detector is that it’s equipped with directional arrows to let you know the source of the radar emissions.
The R7 features a windshield mount, and it’s one of the most advanced models in this category, with some of the highest performance. While windshield mounted radar detectors usually sacrifice performance so that they can be more convenient than other varieties, that’s not the case with the R7.
When you first get this detector, all you’ll have to do is glance through the instruction manual, and you’ll be ready to set it up. Since it’s so easy to install the windshield mount as well as the detector itself, this is one of the best for those who are just getting started with radar detectors.
The inclusion of a full-color OLED means that you’ll be able to keep track of every alert, no matter the ambient lighting conditions. Since the screen is capable of displaying colors, it will also be a lot easier to distinguish between different signals and other kinds of info on the display.
To ensure that you don’t get bombarded with false warnings, this radar detector is equipped with Honda and Acura BSM filtering. Thanks to its GPS compatibility, this device can also be used to keep track of red light and speed cameras, and it’s also compatible with manual GPS lockouts.
If you like to personalize your radar detector a little bit, then you’ll probably appreciate how you can customize the alert tones on this one, picking the sound which you can notice best. The only downside to this product is that it is more expensive than a lot of the competition, but we’d argue that the benefits make it worth the price.
- Features a convenient windshield mount design
- Arrows let you know the direction of the radar
- Filters out potential false alerts
- Full-color OLED is easy to see in all light conditions
- Can be muted when driving at lower speeds
- Capable of alerting you about speed cameras
- Stealthy enough not to be spotted by counter-detectors
- You can personalize the alert tones
The R3 from Uniden is a more affordable alternative to the R7, and it’s an excellent model for buyers who aren’t sure whether they’ll benefit from the full functionality of the more expensive one. This radar detector is designed to be as user-friendly as possible, making it one of our favorite options for beginners.
With a wide range of adjustable settings, you can go a long way when personalizing this radar detector. Most notably, you can organize the display so that you can see the metrics that you care about more clearly while minimizing the amount of clutter that you have to look through beforehand.
This model also has an excellent battery, lasting far longer than comparable products, and it does a great job of letting you know exactly how much of a charge you have left. There is a low battery indicator that will warn you when the device is close to dying, and it will even automatically shut down with a specific option.
This is also one of the most affordable radar detectors that have GPS, and it is effortless to update the firmware on the R3. All you’ll have to do is connect this model directly to your computer, and you’ll be able to get any required updates straight through the internet.
The R3 also comes included with everything that you need to get started using it, making it an even better choice for people buying their first radar detector. It comes packaged with a USB cable for more modern cars as well as a cigarette lighter adaptor for vehicles which don’t have a USB port.
It also comes with two different types of suction cup brackets, allowing you to choose the best one for your vehicle. The model with a single suction cup is a little less stable, but it’s easier to see past it. On the other hand, the two suction cup model keeps the device more secure.
Despite being relatively cheap, the R3 can still perform a lot of the tasks that you’d only expect to find in a high-end model. If you want to see some more options, see our guide of the best radar detectors for under $100. It can keep track of red light cameras, automatically mute itself at lower speeds, and a lot more. If you’re looking for a radar detector which offers excellent value for money, this model is a great choice.
- Digital signal processor helps improve performance
- With full GPS compatibility that can be updated for free
- Capable of alerting you of red light cameras
- Set the speed at which the detector automatically mutes itself
- Uses a full-color OLED
- Comes included with both single and double suction cup brackets
- Includes a cigarette lighter adaptor and a USB cable
The Escort Max 360c is the successor to Escort’s popular Max 360 radar detector, and the most notable improvement over the previous one is that this one is capable of connecting to wifi. Wifi connectivity helps ensure that this radar detector is a lot more seamless and easier to use than other models.
In recent years, keeping your radar detector updated has become a lot more crucial, especially if you want to use some of the advanced features that have been integrated into these radar detectors. For example, the red light camera detector on the Escort Max 360c will only work if its database can remain updated.
Instead of having you connect to your computer through a wire to download each update, this radar detector can instead do it alone, all through a wireless connection. You can even connect to the wifi at a coffee shop so that you can download any relevant updates to keep the 360c running at peak condition. Update processing is normally done in between five and fifteen minutes.
This radar detector is also capable of automatic GPS lockouts, which will filter out any false alarms that remain in the same area. This will make it easier to get rid of alerts for traffic signs and other sources which you may not want to be alerted about in the first place.
Escort has also updated the locations of the directional arrows on this device, having them spread around the periphery of the housing instead of clustered in one area like on the Max 360. This makes it easier to quickly determine the direction that the radar is coming from without having to focus on the device.
There are a few other features integrated to help reduce the number of false signals that you have to deal with when using this model. Band segmentation allows you to focus on the radar bands that you’re searching for, cutting out a lot of other sources of potential false alarms.
Build quality is another one of the main advantages of this radar detector (like most other Escort products). If you want a device that doesn’t feel like it’s cheaply made and that it will fall apart within a few months, then you’ll appreciate the effort and craftsmanship that went into the Escort Max 360c.
- The updated variant of the Escort Max 360
- Wifi means that this detector can update itself automatically over time
- Has a red light camera database so that it can provide warning
- Takes between five and ten minutes to update firmware
- Directional arrows are easy to see in the dark
- Band segmentation allows you to set the frequencies that the device scans for
- Auto GPS lockouts allow the device to filter out false alarms
If it sounds to you like the addition of wifi in the Escort Max 360c isn’t enough to warrant an increase in its price point, then you may prefer the original model, the Max 360. While this radar detector does away with the wifi that makes its upgraded counterpart more convenient, it’s also a lot more affordable.
While you’ll have to update this radar detector manually, it isn’t that much of a challenge if you have a laptop that you can bring out to your car, provided your wifi signal can reach that far. Despite lacking wifi, the Escort Max 360 still shares many of its features with the Max 360c.
For example, it’s still equipped with directional arrows which will let you know where radar emissions are coming from, though they’re clustered in one area, which can sometimes make them harder to see. The Escort Max 360 is also still equipped with a few features to help reduce the number of false notifs that you get.
The inclusion of blind spot filtering technology allows you to slash down on the frequency of false signals, and you don’t even have to activate TSR to do so. If you don’t mind losing out on some detection speed, then TSR will let you filter out even more signals which can potentially trip your detector.
This model is still GPS-able, though you will have to pair it with your smartphone to benefit from the features that are facilitated by it. Mainly, you’ll benefit from a red light camera database which will be able to warn you if you’re getting close to any of them through the GPS.
As with the Max 360c, this model is also capable of automatic GPS lockouts, though it will still have to be connected to your phone so that you can use them. This model has plenty of aspects which help reduce the number of false alarms that you get, making this one of the quieter radar detectors around.
To make it easier to connect to your phone and similar devices, the Escort Max 360 features an integrated Bluetooth chip. This ensures that you won’t need an additional dongle so that you can connect to your device. The only issue that we had with this model is that it’s a little obsolete when compared to the Escort Max 360c.
- Directional arrows tell you the location of the radar source
- Automatic GPS lockouts allow you to reduce the number of false alarms
- Can be paired with a phone for basic GPS functionality
- Blind spot filtering allows you to reduce false alarms without TSR
- The customizable display lets you choose the right interface
- Red light and speed camera database
- With Bluetooth compatibility built-in
The Valentine One has a more quirky design than some of the other models on this list. All of this detector’s internal components are modern, and it offers performance which can rival some of the best products on the market, but it still features a relatively classic design.
Whether or not the design of the housing is a good or bad thing will depend on your preferences. If you’ve been using radar detectors for years, and you prefer a classic device with knobs and buttons, then you’ll probably appreciate the way that the Valentine One is designed. The downside is that this interface makes the device harder to use quickly and efficiently.
Despite looking like something straight out of the 1990s, this radar detector offers some of the most impressive performance in its price range. If you do most of your driving on the highway and you would benefit from increased range, then the V1 can help you detect radar signals from much further out.
Another thing that’s at odds with this radar detector’s seemingly retro aesthetic is that you can configure it directly through your phone, and we’d actually recommend it. Getting this model set up and functioning without the use of a phone requires much more intimate knowledge of how radar detectors work.
This is one of those models where you’ll need some additional knowledge to get the best performance out of it. If you’re an advanced radar detector user, and you don’t mind putting some extra effort into getting every last ounce of performance out of your device, then you should love the Valentine One.
The Valentine One is also equipped with some of the features that you’d expect to see on its modern competitors, including directional arrows which will tell you the source of a radar burst. If you want to mute alerts below a certain speed, you’ll need to use the SAVVY module that comes included with this detector.
One of the main downsides to this radar detector is that it is not GPS able, as Valentine believes that it can mask actual threats. While this is true for false alert mutes, there are extra benefits to using GPS that this model misses out on, losing it some points in the domain of convenience.
- Can be configured directly through your phone
- When paired with a phone, it also has GPS compatibility
- User-controlled muting and filtering allows you to program in your own false signals
- A host of third-party apps can help expand this model’s capabilities
- One of the longest ranges on the market makes this great for the highway
- SAVVY allows you to filter lower speeds out
- Directional arrows let you know the source of the radar
The Radenso Pro M is designed to be one of the more user-friendly radar detectors in its price range, making it yet another great option for buyers who are just getting into the hobby for the first time. It is also one of our favorite highway models since it is equipped with a longer range than a lot of the competition.
Along with radar detection, this model is capable of detecting lasers too, making it a great all-in-one defense solution. Thanks to this radar detector’s GPS compatibility, you can benefit from helpful features like red light and speed camera alerts, as well as GPS lockout for any persistent false alerts.
The Radenso Pro M can also automatically mute itself if you’re traveling at lower speeds, allowing you to chop down on the amount of annoyance that it causes you. To further filter out any false alerts and cut down on the noise even further, this radar detector features blind-spot monitoring.
TSR allows you to trim down on the number of false alerts even further, though if you enable it, you will also make the detection rate of the device more sluggish, so it’s a bit of a trade-off. The OLED display is amber, and it’s easier to see in the night without needing a separate source of light.
There are a few different display modes which allows you to optimize this detector for use at certain times of the day. Bright mode is perfect for the day, Dim mode works in the evening, and Smart Dark and Dark modes will both activate the display when you get an alert, allowing you to preserve your night vision.
This radar detector is fully updateable, and you can improve the firmware and the camera database over the time that you own it. When you purchase this radar detector, you will also get lifetime updates for both of these for free, allowing you to keep it running for as long of a time as possible.
The Radenso Pro M is also designed to be as stealthy as possible, reducing the likelihood of counter-detection. Unlike some of its competitors, this radar detector also has a warranty and a radar ticket free guarantee. Both of these last for a year from the time of your purchase, and are a nice show of faith in the product from the manufacturer.
- Quiet alerts are still audible but won’t get annoying like the other models
- Longer range means that this is a great choice for highway use
- Capable of filtering out blind false alerts
- Manual GPS lockouts for less frequent false alerts
- Mutes itself at lower speeds
- With red light camera alerts
- Designed to be stealthy against counter-detectors
The Redline EX is our last radar detector, but it’s not the least, as this is one of the most impressive high-end models on our list. Much like with the R7 that we started this review list with, this is an excellent choice for customers who are willing to pay more for a superior product.
This radar detector is more likely to detect any incoming signals than competing models, and it also features a longer range, making it a preferred choice for use on the highway. There are also a few different features that help filter out false alerts, making this model quieter than many cheaper detectors.
One of the most useful false alarm reduction features is the inclusion of K band BSM filtering, which ensures that the device only detects potential threats. This radar detector also has a GPS chip built-in, allowing it to take advantage of GPS-only functions like a red light camera database and auto lockouts.
If you’re driving around the city and you don’t want to deal with a bunch of radar alerts, this model also features low-speed muting. The Redline EX can even display the speed limit in the current area on the display, allowing you to spot it at a glance without having to keep an eye out for a road sign.
The inclusion of Bluetooth functionality makes it a lot easier to connect this device directly to your phone so that you can change the settings or share alerts with other people on the roads. Impressively, this model is also capable of detecting radar internationally, ensuring that it isn’t restricted by region.
Stealth is another one of this model’s advantages, as it’s a lot more difficult to detect than many of the other products, even when you compare it to detectors within the same price range. Several alert lights will let you know when the device needs your attention, including one on the power cord and one above the display.
The magnetic mount also impressed us, as it was easier to install and also more secure than those that came included with some of the other detectors on this list. Overall, this is an excellent radar detector for anyone that is willing to pay for it.
- Excellent performance and longer range than the competition
- Equipped with K band BSM filtering for fewer false alerts
- The inclusion of a GPS chip allows for auto lockouts and a red light camera database
- Capable of muting itself at lower speeds
- Shows the speed limit on the color display
- Integrated Bluetooth compatibility makes it easier to connect to your phone
- Comes with a sturdy magnetic mount
- Equipped with an alert LED on the power cord and on top of the display
Tested by RRD.org
How we tested?
If you’re unsure how we completed the list above, here’s your answer: Our reviewers tested the most popular radar detectors on the market and made it as diverse as possible (meaning, we took the options from different brands). More importantly, we have conducted tests of our own on different driving conditions, and then compared the results we have garnered with the available data online that is supplied by other enthusiasts. This took some days short of a week and then some wonderful help from our supporters.
Coming up with the list above also meant looking into the factors that matter to customers who are eyeing to own or replace radar detectors. These considerations are performance, durability, ease of use and price. The first has been determined by taking the chosen pieces of equipment on the road, and so were the second and the third considerations, albeit not completely. The last is, of course, a concern that cannot be taken out of any purchase. So how to choose the right one for you?
What to look for in a radar detector
- Performance on the road matters because it will keep you speeding ticket-free. Knowing the strengths and limitations of a radar detector will help you maximize your purchase. This is dependent on certain factors such as range, promptness of alerts, covered bands, and accuracy, among others.
- Few things are more annoying than deciding to buy a radar detector and then regretting it because the device has given up on you sooner than expected. Durability is partly dependent on how careful a user handles the device regardless if it is used on a car or mounted on a bike by motorcyclists, and partly on how sturdy the material of the radar detector is in the first place.
- Ease of use is equally important to new and veteran users. Being on the road requires all of your attention; your radar detector should have an intuitive design and should not require much of your attention unless there is a threat present.
- Some radar detector falls under big purchases. It is inevitable to factor in price to make sure that you are getting your money’s worth.
Test Results: Escort Redline EX (Best Overall)
Picking out the best radar detector can be challenging, but we hope that we’ve been able to make the job a little easier for you. Out of all of these radar detectors, the Redline EX is the best radar detector for a customer that is willing to spend the extra money to get the best performance possible.
If you prefer value for money and you don’t mind missing out on some extras, then you’d probably prefer the Uniden R3. However, be sure to go through each of these models so that you can see which one will fit you best, as there is no single radar detector that will be able to fulfill every potential buyer’s needs.
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