Nowadays, it is common for drivers to want to speed up. Unfortunately, traffic laws do not tolerate over-speeding. And now you are stuck between desiring to go a little faster while not wanting to get caught at the same time. Sounds a bit absurd but investing in the best radar detector 2020 could be the solution!
It is common for the police to use radar guns to detect cars going past the speed limit. On the other side, radar detectors identify and alert the driver whenever such radar guns are currently present.
How do radar detectors work?
Radar detectors work by receiving the radio waves from radar guns. Radar guns emit specific wave frequencies that the radar detectors can then identify.
The radar detectors’ response depends on what kind it is, and what is installed alongside it. Some of them can jam the radar guns causing them to malfunction and making them unable to get a read. However, jammers like these are illegal.
Other radar detectors simply alert the driver of the radar gun’s presence. Speeding drivers can then slow down accordingly so as to not get in trouble. These kinds of radar detectors are legal in some states in the US.
Top Features to Look Out For
Cost of the unit
Radar detectors can cost as much as $500 but always remember that quality comes with price. For radar detectors, it would be fairly safe to say that you typically get what you pay for. However, it also doesn’t mean you won’t get a good bargain at a cheaper price. You can still get a decent item for a hundred bucks but you’ll be sacrificing some range capabilities.
Scope and range sweep
This is probably the most important factor to consider. The longer the range of your radar detector, the more time you have to slow down your speed – and not get caught in the process. It’s worth the investment if you use something with as high as a five-mile reach.
You should also consider how you’ll be able to mount a particular model. A larger car might do well with a larger unit; while a smaller vehicle may only need a smaller device too. The reason why mounting design matters is there are some states that prohibit mounting radar detectors to protect the driver’s vision.
We have prepared a more detailed and comprehensive guide after the review section just below.
The 8 Best Radar Detector 2020 review
#1: Uniden R3 – Long range radar detector
Uniden is one of the most popular brands that produce radar detectors. They remain quite reliable and you will get quality insurance whenever you buy a product from them.
The Uniden R3 is a straightforward model that does not have an overloaded amount of features. However, the few ones that it does have are all high-value additions.
The Digital Signal Processor (DSP) technology, for example, is a popular feature for adding that extra detecting range. Additionally, the built-in GPS allows the driver to know red light areas in advance.
There is also a K and KA band filter. This filter is a set of requirements for waves to be identified as radar gun waves. This prevents random waves from being identified incorrectly resulting in a false alarm.
Overall, this product works quite well. It has a strong multi-directional signal that can detect from a very long range. Its voice alert makes the situation quite clear for the driver. Lastly, due to its strong filter, incidents where the detector identifies radio waves that actually do not belong to a radar gun are significantly lessened.
One thing to note, however, is that due to the strength of the signal, it may detect some other radar guns that will not actually impact the car in any way.
• Has a voice alert
• Multi-directional detector
• Less false alarms
• Extra quiet
• Red light alerts
• May also detect non-threatening radar guns
• Have less extra fancy features
#2: Escort Passport 9500iX – Flexible radar detector
The Escort brand is also popular among radar detector producers. Their products generally have high reviews from customers, making them one of the forerunners in the industry.
If the Uniden R3 is straightforward, the Escort Passport 9500iX can be called flexible. The driver can input information to the device such as police hotspots.
It is also known that, in general, Escort devices have programmable systems. This means that whenever a new type of radar gun shows up, the device can easily be updated accordingly. It is useful for long-term use and is a good feature as a precaution.
The built-in GPS is also updated regularly to accommodate changes in infrastructure around the area. This allows the device to accurately output information as accurately as possible.
Customers looking for a more hi-tech device would like the Escort Passport 9500iX. It can adapt to changes in the area’s landscape, and it is also possible to further update it in accordance with new radar guns. Despite its many additions, its main function of detecting radar guns from a long range is not neglected.
Its flaws remain similar to most radar detectors – its presence can be identified. If radar detectors are illegal in your state, you may want to refrain from this product.
• Updates regularly
• Strong signal
• Customizable system
• Shows detailed information
#3: Escort MAX360 – Hi-tech radar detector
This is another great radar detector from Escort. Generally, models of the same brand roughly contain the same technologies save for a few features.
One of the most eye-catching differences between this and the 9500iX is the display. The MAX360 has a multi-color display in contrast to its counterpart. It will certainly not look out of place in a modern car.
The 9500iX’s strong features also carry over to the MAX360. It has a multi-directional DSP alongside its auto-update GPS technology. It has five levels of filters to ensure that false alarms are kept to a minimum.
An advantage in buying an Escort model is the EscortLive application that comes along with it. The app contains various features that help the driver gain more accurate and timely information.
The Escort MAX360 is one of the best radar detectors in the market. It combines function with design to make an elegant yet useful piece of equipment. The functions are organized to complement one another, and new updates are useful.
Unfortunately, since the model design is very great, it can also be relatively pricey. Furthermore, despite the features that it has, it still is detectable which makes it unusable in states where it is illegal.
• Fancy multi-colored LED monitor
• Strong 360 DSP
• Compact design
• Multi-layered filter
• Compatible with the EscortLive application
• Generally more pricey
#4: Radenso Pro M – Underdog radar detector
Uniden and Escort, the two popular brands, were already mentioned. Radenso, on the other hand, is not as famous as the other two. However, this does not mean that Radenso produces unreliable radar detectors. In fact, it’s the opposite.
The Radenso Pro M has a neat feature named ‘GPS lockout technology’. Whenever it detects a wave which ends up being a false alarm, you can input the command to ‘lockout’ that particular wave. The next time, the device will simply ignore that specific source and identify it as non-threatening.
Even though this model is unique in some aspects, it also has features that are commonly present in various radar detectors due to their practical use. Speed camera alerts and red light alerts, for example, are some of them.
This model is quite practical and simple. Despite that, it offers useful functions that are easy to use. Furthermore, it has its own filtering system that may work better for the customer depending on their location. It is important to note that despite its lack of eye-catching attributes, the model does work pretty well.
Even though the Radenso Pro M may be good on paper, it is still more risky to buy than more well-established brands. It also does not have many distinguishable features save for a few.
• Relatively cheap
• Lockdown feature
• Simple design
• Unpopular brand
• Not many unique features worth mentioning
#5: Valentine One – Sensitive radar detector
The Valentine One model, just like the Radenso Pro M, is a radar detector made by a lesser known company.
This model has a double-antennae structure. It has one for the front and one for the back. It is not quite rare but it works wonders for the sensitivity. Users can be sure that this model will not let any radar gun slip by without being identified.
It may be obvious at this point, but rather than being straightforward, the Valentine One tries to be as versatile as possible. In fact, it can detect various kinds of wave frequencies that will help the driver be extra vigilant.
Due to its sensitivity and a wide range of receivable wave frequencies, the Valentine One is good for drivers who like to travel to different areas. It may help them against radar guns that are different from the ones typically found in their home area.
This model’s biggest strength might be its sensitivity. However, it can also be its greatest weakness. It can pick so many kinds of signals that the amount of false alarms is also high. Furthermore, the design is nothing to brag about.
• Wide range of detectable frequencies
• Rear-end antenna for more coverage
• High sensitivity
• Different filter system
• Bland design
• Many false alarms
#6: Escort Solo S4 – Convenient radar detector
This is yet another product from Escort. Due to this, you can be assured of its effectiveness.
What sets the Solo S4 from the other models of the same brand is its design. This model operates without a cord. The model is designed to have the most convenience possible for the driver.
Users can simply turn it off and pick it up. The cordless design allows the user to effectively use it in different vehicles. Not only is it portable, but this model also offers ease of access. It is easy to install, easy to use, and easy to remove.
To top it all off, the Escort Solo S4 provides you with functions befitting of being one of the best radar detectors in the market.
This is the best option for people who either have multiple cars or those who simply frequently use rental cars. Radar detectors are not cheap. Therefore, needing to only buy one detector even when you are using multiple cars is a huge cut in costs.
Since the Escort Solo S4 is designed to be as convenient as possible, it is inevitable that its detecting strength is slightly sacrificed. Hence, if you are mostly using only one vehicle, the cons may outweigh the pros of using this radar detector.
• Easy to use
• Cheaper than corded models
• Removes the need to buy multiple detectors
• Less detection range and strength
#7: Escort MAXII Platinum – Simple radar detector
The Escort MaxII Platinum is another model of the Escort brand.
While other models of the same brand have fancier features, this model is simpler in design. This is somewhat Escort’s equivalent of Uniden’s R3 in that it does not overload you with features, but is still designed to work reliably.
It does, however, contain technologies exclusive to Escort. The MAXII Platinum is still compatible with Escort Live to help you know about locations ahead of time. It has an AutoLearn technology that allows the radar detector to automatically register previously registered radar guns and false alarms.
Various data is presented in the screen upon encounter. Things like laser band type and signal strength can be displayed. Other necessary features are also present such as camera and red light alerts.
If you think the Escort brand line is the most reliable, and if you do not care much about unnecessarily fancy features, then this model might be for you. It is cheaper than the other models, yet it works quite as well.
The MaxII is not known for its protection against false alarms. Due to its simpler design, its filter system is also lacking. It may be cheap, but it also looks cheap. The construction quality is sacrificed to offer more practical use.
• Simple design
• Relatively cheap
• Escort Live compatible
• Has Escort’s built-in exclusive technologies
• Weak filter system
• Cheap and somewhat old design
#8: Escort MAX360C – Strong radar detector
The Escort Max360 C is the last product in the list. It is from the Escort brand line still. The list does not have much variety in terms of brand. However, it is also a testament to how reliable the brand is. They put out models worthy of being called the best radar detectors.
This model has the Digital Signal Processing (DSP) built. Along with its Rapid Scan technology, its detecting range and strength is quite good. Unlike MaxII, the Max360 C has more false alarm protection. Its filter system is improved further.
GPS technology allows the user to be alerted against red lights and speed cameras in real time. It also has an auto-update feature to ensure that it is as accurate as possible. You can connect to the Wi-Fi and crowdsource your information if necessary.
Overall, this model is a well-rounded one. It does not have the fanciest of designs, but it is full of different features. Its biggest strength is in its long range and its fast and accurate detection largely due to the DSP.
The MaxII is not without flaws. Users have commented that can it be hard to use and customize precisely for their own use. Some of its features may also fall flat. Crowdsourcing from the database, for example, is only ever useful if people are actually information on it.
• Simple design
• Long range
• Strong detector
• Escort Live compatible
• Contains unnecessary features
• Hard to use and customize
Best Radar Detector Buying Guide: Things to Look Out for in a Radar Detector
If you are new to buying radar detectors, you may find it hard to know which model to choose from among many others. This section is here to help you decide.
The product brand is probably the most important part of radar detectors.
There is less risk involved in buying from well-established brands due to the number of people already using them. You can easily go to a review section of a product from a well-established and you can see hundreds of reviews on what people think about the product. You can then decide accordingly.
Another thing to note is that most detectors nowadays are hardly unique when it comes to features.
360 detection range, red light alerts, GPS technology, and other features are already more of a necessity rather than exclusive features. Without these, the product simply cannot compete in the market. If you stumble upon models like these, it is best to avoid them unless they are what you can afford.
Since exclusivity is hard to come by, any advantage you can get is crucial. Popular brands do well in this regard.
Famous brands such as Uniden and Escort have their own exclusive patented technologies. These technologies are quite useful. They are always tested, improved, and updated time and time again.
You may not have enough understanding of the features of the different radar detectors. Here are some explanations.
• GPS Technology – This technology allows the radar detector to update the user in real time about red lights and upcoming speed cameras. Although it may be useful, sometimes the alerts come too late. Whether the alert comes fast enough will depend on the quality of the radar detector.
• Digital Signal Processing Technology – DSP refers to any technique that improves digital communication. It can largely improve the range and strength of the detector for little cost. Radar detectors with any DSP technology have a large advantage over their competitors.
• Rear antennae – Some radar detectors have a rear antenna. Since there is also an antenna in front, this technology is often referred to as the ‘Dual-Antennae Technology’. This technology allows for more sensitivity for the radar detector.
However, having a rear antenna also has its flaws. Due to the heightened sensitivity of the detector, it can also detect many more irrelevant signals. This results in having more false alarms. It is up to the user to decide whether the cons of having this technology are justified.
Other features you may look out for
Some other features may not be as important. However, they may also be worth considering.
• Undetectability – In some states in the US, using radar detectors is illegal. Hence, this technology is used to be skirt around that law.
However, it is strongly not recommended to use radar detectors illegally. Even if your radar detector has a ‘stealth’ function, once it’s discovered, you can land in big trouble. Therefore, it is simply best to avoid it as much as possible
• Side application – This refers to the application that can connect with the radar detector. The prime example for this is the Escort Live application. Depending on the app, you can do many things with it.
For example, you can have free updates of any changes in the landscape in the area around you. You can also interact with other users on where unexpected cameras and radar guns may be.
• Alerts and display – A multi-colored display is certainly fancier than a black-and-white one. It allows the detector to present more information on the screen. There are also many kinds of alerts. Some are voiced, and some are simply beeping noises.
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do radar detectors really work?
A: Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. This is why you should not simply rely on the device 100%. This is also the reason why the quality of the radar detector is very important.
The reason why it fails can be due to different factors.
• The detecting strength is not enough – If the quality of your radar detector is low, radar guns may outperform it. If they detect your car before your detector can identify their radar guns, then your device may not be of much use.
• The detecting range is not enough – It is also not much use if, by the time your detector detects the radar gun, your car cannot slow down in time. This is why the range is important.
• The detector cannot identify the radar gun waves – There are different types of radar guns. Your radar detector may not be equipped to identify the wave frequency that a particular radar gun emits. This is why upgradable systems are great since they can adapt to new types of radar guns.
Q: Are radio detectors illegal?
A: In some countries they are, and in some countries, they are not. Even in the US, different states can have different laws, although most of them do allow radar detectors. The best way to avoid trouble is to simply research the laws in a particular place.
Although radar detectors are generally legal and acceptable, jammers are the opposite. You should do well to avoid radar detectors that also jam and hinder radar guns.
Finally, you have learned about the best radar detectors of 2020. You also finally know how to distinguish the features among them. Quality is more important for radar detectors than any other additional features. Hopefully, with this, you can choose the perfect radar detector for your own use