Best Radar Detectors for us roads
Radar detectors continue facing more difficult challenges on the road in 2019. The best radar detector used to be considered to be one that was the most sensitive and alerted to police radar from the farthest distance but this hasn’t been the case for some time now. The best radar detectors today offer plenty of radar detection and alerting range and selecting one solely on the basis of range and sensitivity to police radar is not something that I would recommend as there are other aspects of performance that matter equally much of which will be mentioned below.
Avoid radar detectors that are discontinued or outdated. Their prices may look attractive, but they are not up to the radar RF environment that exists today. Examples of these include the Beltronics RX-65, Escort Passport 9500ix, Passport S55. Sites that feature them are simply affiliate marketing sites that are outdated but made to look current. Purchasing one of those radar detectors will likely result in disappointing experience for you which we would like to help you avoid. The following radar detectors are the current models you want to consider for purchase to ensure the best overall ownership experience. Also you can take advantage of the review top 5 radar under 300$ of our good friends from New Real Review.
Radar Detector Review Introduction
Things continue to change in both the best radar detectors and traffic enforcement industries. Today, the best radar detectors have to successfully balance two opposing dynamics: sensitivity and filtering (signal rejection). If you have been driving with an older radar detector, it may be time to make the jump to one of the newer more sophisticated radar detectors that are now being produced. Now more than ever, the best detectors have to successfully balance two opposing dynamics: filtering (signal rejection) and sensitivity.
While there are some detectors that filter very well, there are those that will leave you exposed because they during that time of signal “interference,” the sensitivity to real police radar is so compromised that your radar detector is essentially rendered deaf, dumb, and blind.
Also keep in mind that today, most detectors offer plenty of sensitivity and will alert to radar (especially to continuous operation radar) at more than sufficient alerting distances, generally giving you ample amount of time to react. But today, more than ever, other attributes or features of radar detectors matter more than they used to.
The latest challenge facing drivers using detectors in North America is the appearance of ticketing systems that have their origins from abroad. These systems are known as MultaRadar, a frequency hopping low powered K-band radar used in photo enforcement. Systems derived from MRCT (as it’s called) are being used by a U.S. company called American Traffic Systems (ATS) and the company behind that radar technology (Jenoptik) now has an office in the United States.
The problem with these new radar systems is that they appear similarly to the K-band FMCW radar of collision avoidance systems that can be found on many new cars today and the leading radar detector manufacturers have been diligently working on effectively filtering these radar systems so your radar detector doesn’t pummel you with nearly continuous false alerts while you’re driving in heavy suburban or urban highway traffic. The trick then is to be able to differentiate between these radar systems and alert to the genuine MRCT radar and not to alert to the vehicle radar based systems. No small task, indeed. It requires some heavy duty signal analysis and no one radar detector does it perfectly, but some radar detectors do it better than others.
The good news, at least in the U.S., is that these systems are only found in a small number of areas and are by-and-large installed at fixed locations near intersections to issue both redlight and speed on green tickets. Therefore, the best radar detectors have very good quality photo enforcement databases which can often alert you to their presence. Escort’s GPS radar detectors still have the most complete and up-to-date red light and speed camera database. Their parent company (Cedar Electronics) has combined the Escort Defender database with Cobra’s iRadar system and this combined database can be used with all of their radar detector brands.
The same holds true for Redflex photo radar. While not employing FMCW radar, Redflex makes their systems extremely hard for radar detects to detect its radar by polarizing their radar transmissions perpendicular to the polarization of all currently made radar detectors. This reduces alerting range to well less than a 1000 feet, and sometimes less than 500 feet! Only the best detectors can alert to it in time that can make a difference. Fortunately, there are not many areas where Redflex is operated.
Like previous years’ top-ranking best radar detectors list, I’m going to provide a quick summary for each radar detector’s ranking, followed by a more detailed review of each radar detector. In some cases, individual more in-depth radar detector reviews are linked to, to help you learn even more about the specifics and nuances of each radar detector.
For 2019, I have included two new ranking requirements–quality of construction and long-term reliability. To make it on this list this year, each radar detector must meet both of those criteria, because there is little point to purchasing what may first appear as a high performance radar detector only to find that it either quickly breaks or that its performance appreciably declines over time. Obviously, you want a radar detector that will last and maintain its level of performance. The inside of your vehicle is a very unforgiving space on a radar detector.
During the summer, it’s not uncommon for temperatures to exceed 140 degrees fahrenheit, which means your radar detector must be able to withstand being “baked” on nearly a daily basis.
On the flipside, a radar detector must be able to take the extreme cold temperatures of winter. Repeated cycling between hot and cold can wreak havoc on a poorly constructed radar detector. Only the best detectors are built to endure such conditions to maintain peak performance over their lifetime.
Along with our best detector rankings, we make recommendations on where to purchase your radar detector. We don’t sell radar detectors, Veil manufacturers a police laser and IR photo enforcement countermeasure that can be effectively used with them. So we want to make sure you have the radar detector most suited to your needs.
With the continuing challenges of the RF landscape plus the increase in more difficult to detect radar, I recommend more than ever, to stay current with the most capable radar detectors available.
Be aware that all radar detectors are also laser detectors. I have also prepared a laser detector review, where I’ve rated the best detectors at detecting police laser.
Please consider using these links below to my personally recommended sources. I strongly suggest avoiding sites like Amazon or sales affiliate review sites linking to them. Such sites are often outdated, inaccurate, rank discontinued detectors, push you to products they make the most commission on, or are very light on truly useful information. Amazon doesn’t offer any meaningful product technical support and now nationwide state taxes make purchases on that marketplace even less favorable.
Radar detectors can be complicated to configure and use and if you are not familiar with them or with how police radar or laser traffic enforcement works, your experience may not be as good as it should be. The specialized radar detector and countermeasure vendors recommended below are the most knowledgeable and supportive both before and after your purchase and are readily available for your support questions by phone and can help you properly configure your detector.
Best Radar Detectors of 2019
#1 Best: Escort Max 360c Radar Detector
Retail Price: $649, associated iPhone/Android App is free for basic functions, but becomes $49/year for a premium version
#2 Best: Uniden R7 Radar Detector
Retail Price: $599
#3 Best: Uniden R3 & Uniden R1 Radar Detectors
Retail Price: $299 for the R1, $399 for the R3 Radar Detector
#4 Best: Escort iXc Radar Detector
Retail Price: $449
#5 Best: Escort Redline EX Radar Detector
Retail Price: $599
#6 Best: Valentine One Radar Detector
Retail Price: $399 for the V1, $49 for Bluetooth module, associated iPhone/Android App is free
#7 Best: Radenso XP & Radenso SP Radar Detectors
Retail Price: $349 for the XP, $199 for the SP Radar Detector
#8 Best: Radenso Pro M Radar Detector
Retail Price: $449
#9 Best: Whistler CR97 & Whistler CR95 Radar Detectors
Retail Price: $249 for the CR97, $199 for the CR95
#10 Rated: Uniden DFR9 & Uniden DFR8 Radar Detectors
Retail Price: $329 for the DFR9, $229 for the DFR8
#11 Best: Escort X80 Radar Detector
Retail Price: $299
#12 Best: Adaptiv TPX Pro Radar Detector
Retail Price: $399