If you live in Canada, which radar detector and laser jammer is best for you? Well my complete radar detector buyer’s guide will be applicable for you even though it’s geared towards US drivers. Adding to that, there’s a few things to go over that Canadian drivers need to focus on specifically.
Radar Detector Legality
Unlike in the US, radar detectors are illegal in most of Canada.
If you drive in BC, AB, or SK, it’s legal to have a radar detector.
If you drive in the other provinces where radar detectors are illegal, you should be careful because the penalties may be pretty stiff if you get caught. Ontario comes to mind…
As far as the different types of radar and lidar guns that are used in each province, you can learn about the specifics by checking out the RDFGS Canada.
If radar detectors are legal where you drive, all the usual suspects apply. The main exception is that Valentine only ships the V1 to BC, AB, and SK so if you want a V1 in the other provinces, you’ll have to either get Valentine to ship it to a legal area instead or pay some third party person to flip it to you with a markup. You’ll get no warranty if you do this (ie. Amazon or eBay) so arranging to get it through Valentine would be the preferred way to go.
Radar Detector Detectors
To catch people who use radar detectors, police use a special radar detector detector called the Spectre. The Spectre is designed to alert the officer when it locates a nearby radar detector and then help officer figure out which car has a radar detector inside of it. It can be rotated to point towards different cars and the closer the officer gets and the stronger the signal is, the stronger it will alert.
Now there are a few radar detectors that are immune from detection from radar detector detectors because they have been specifically developed with special stealth technology that helps prevent them from leaking the energy that the Spectre can pick up on.
RDD-immune Radar Detectors
Most radar detectors are detectable by the Spectre. The only ones that are not are the M3-based detectors made by Escort/Beltronics, as well as the Stinger VIP. Let’s go over the different options.
The most affordable option for an RDD-immune detector is to go with a windshield mount option. These cost the least and are much easier to install.
Escort Redline & Beltronics Magnum
For windshield-mount detectors, you basically have two options: the Escort Redline and the Beltronics Magnum. The two detectors are basically the same thing, each with monster performance. These are long range beasts and in radar detector shootouts, they are the detectors that all other radar detectors are compared to.
Between the two of them, they have a different name, different case, and different sounds. The Redline sometimes has a slight edge in performance, but generally not much. The Magnum you can often find online for less money. Both are top of the line radar detectors with some of the best performance in the business, and both are immune from RDD’s.
To learn about the Redline, check out my Redline review.
To learn about the specific differences between the two detectors, check this article out.
If you want to go for a Redline or a Magnum, here’s two places I would recommend that you check out:
Windshield-mount RD Accessories
If you go for the Redline or Magnum, there’s two helpful accessories that you can pick up.
Sun Visor Radar Detector Pouch
First is a sun visor pouch for your detector. Because you don’t want your detector visible to police officers, you can hide it in your pouch so that no one will see it.
There’s a whole bunch of places online that sell these if you google for them. For example, here’s one I found on eBay. I haven’t used one myself so I don’t have a specific one to recommend and I can’t vouch for any one in particular, but I’ve seen a few different styles online. Any one should do the job.
You’ll also want to get a hardwire cable. Rather than plugging your detector in to your cigarette lighter which will obstruct your vision and make it obvious that you’re running a RD, you’ll want to get a hardwire cable that you plug in to your fuse box.
You basically have 3 options for hardwire cables.
1. Standard Hardwire Cable:
This one will power your detector and can easily tuck the cable out of sight. It’ll run from your fuse box up your A-pillar, across your headliner, and finally down into your radar detector.
2. SmartCord with a mute button and alert LED’s:
If you’d like to be able to mute your detector without reaching up to your sunvisor, you can get a cable that adds a little plastic controller than you install in your vehicle. It has a mute button you can press to mute your detector remotely plus an alert LED that blinks to let you know you’re getting an alert which is handy if you can’t see the detector’s display.
3. Escort Live cable with Bluetooth to pair with your phone
Finally there’s also a version of the SmartCord that has a bluetooth chip inside that lets you pair your detector to your Android or iOS phone. By doing this, now your phone becomes your display so you can see your signal strength, frequency information, and so on. Plus you get some extra functionality like the ability to configure your detector from your phone, realtime alerts to/from the cloud with other Escort Live users (similar to Waze), and perhaps most importantly, you can use your phone’s GPS and the app to tell your detector where the false alerts are in town so it can learn then and lock them out in the future, staying quiet next time you pass by that false alert source again.
Remote Mount Radar Detectors
Here’s where we get serious. When it comes to stealthiness, you can put your radar detector in a sun visor pouch or something, but if you really want to have an out of sight install, I’d suggest going for a remote detector. These are radar detectors that are custom installed somewhere in the grill of your car or behind your bumper. The idea is you have nothing hanging down off your windshield for a police officer or thief or anyone else to see. You’ll then put a little display and controller somewhere in your cabin and there ya go. It’s out of sight to police officers plus immune from detection from radar detector detectors so it’s the best of both worlds.
When it comes to remote mount detectors, there’s basically two good choices:
Beltronics STi-R Plus
The STi-R Plus is the remote version of the Redline/Magnum. It’s the same radar detector platform just repackaged for remote installation. You have the radar detector antenna which goes into your grill, a small controller and display that goes into your cabin, and a GPS antenna and main control box that you can tuck away inside your car somewhere.
This gives you a much stealthier setup than having a box on your windshield or hidden somewhere in your cabin.
This offers high end performance just like the Redline/Magnum in a more stealthy package. It also includes a GPS antenna which adds some helpful functionality like GPS lockouts (without requiring a phone), low speed muting to keep it quiet around town, and redlight camera alerts for additional protection.
The Beltronics STi-R Plus is basically the same thing as the Escort 9500ci except that the 9500ci comes with Escort’s not so great laser jammers that won’t effectively jam all the laser guns used in Canada. Because of this, I’d recommend skipping the 9500ci, getting the Plus instead, and putting the extra money towards an awesome laser jammer that is effective all over Canada. I’ll talk about my recommended laser jammers in the next section. If you’re looking for a good remote detector that’s immune to RDD’s, the STi-R Plus is a great choice.
This is the mac daddy of radar detectors. It provides you with the best performance available, period. Think of the Stinger VIP as like the STi-R Plus cranked up to 11.
Detection range will meet and exceed what you’ll see with the Plus so you get even better chances of picking up radar at a distance before you get clocked.
The false alert filtering is far more sophisticated and capable. The Plus isn’t that great at filtering out blind spot falses and isn’t being updated for them. The Stinger is being updated regularly to filter out more and more of those annoying falses as time goes on.
You can also add a rear antenna to get directional info and help locate the source of the threat.
More an awesome discussion talking about the differences between the Stinger VIP and M3-based detectors like the Redline/Magnum/STi-R Plus, check out this thread.
In short, if you’re going to be spending the money for a high end radar detector and you want the very best in performance and false alert filtering, especially if you want something that’s more futureproof, check out the Stinger VIP.
Purchase the Stinger VIP here. (Save 10% with the coupon code “VortexRadar”)
Police also like to issue tickets using lidar guns. Against lidar, a radar detector won’t help. You’ll need laser jammers to combat laser. (Laser and lidar are used interchangeably.) A jammer will prevent the lidar gun from getting a reading off your car, giving you enough time to slow down, turn off your jammers, and allowing the officer to get a reading on your car. When you do this, the officer won’t know they’ve been jammed and off you go. This is the proper way to use them, no matter if they’re legal or not.
Like radar detectors, laser jammers are legal in BC, AB, and SK and illegal in all the other provinces.
Now there’s a variety of different laser jammers on the market. However, there’s some very difficult to jam lidar guns in use in Canada with advanced anti-jamming capabilities and it’s for that reason that you’re going to need the most sophisticated laser jammers in order to effectively jam the anti-jamming lidar guns. For these it comes down to just two laser jammers.
The AntiLaser Priority is the most popular, most effective, and most commonly recommended laser jammer on the market. It is now the standard recommendation of what jammer to get. Yes there’s other jammers made by Escort, K40, Blinder, Laser Interceptor, and a few other companies, but with one exception, they are unable to jam the guns that are commonly used in Canada.
You’re always going to want coverage in the front of your vehicle and in many places you’re also going to need protection in the rear. Generally it’s recommended to protect both areas. The laser jammer heads are custom installed in your grill and near your license plate area, the main control box is tucked somewhere out of sight in your vehicle, and you have a small control pad that you install in your cabin.
Check out my complete AntiLaser Priority setup guide to give you all the information you need to know about what to buy, how to properly install your jammers, how to set up and configure your ALP’s, the different accessories you can add on to customize your system, and so on.
There’s two things I want to mention about that guide specifically for Canada.
First, ALP’s are region locked meaning that if you live in Canada you need to buy them from a Canadian dealer, not an American dealer. The Canadian dealer is Alex at kmph.ca so he’s the man to talk to to get you set up with ALP’s.
Second, if you live in Edmonton, they these difficult to jam anti-jamming guns from the rear more than from the front. It’s for this reason that rather than doing 3 heads in the front and 2 heads in the back like you’ll do in most locations (the standard setup), you will want to consider flipping it and instead do 2 heads up front and 3 heads in the rear.
Other than that, go through my ALP setup guide and you’ll be ready to rock and roll.
If you’re going with the Stinger VIP for your radar detector, you should also consider Stinger’s laser jammers. They are designed to integrate specifically with the Stinger VIP radar detector (unlike the ALP which is standalone and can therefore work with any radar detector) and it can also jam the tough to jam anti-jamming guns.
A big advantage with the Stinger VIP is that it offers the smallest heads available and they look even more like parking sensors so they are more stealthy and harder to see. Both the ALP and Stinger offer very small heads, but the Stinger’s square heads are smaller, especially with the optical super tiny fiber optic transmitters. Click here to see more size comparisons between the Stinger VIP and AntiLaser Priority.
Now Stinger’s engineers are still fine tuning their jammers currently to give completely solid performance. Currently they’re still having trouble getting their jammers to be able to completely jam guns and prevent them from getting a reading at any point, but their engineers are actively working on addressing that now and it’s something that should be taken care of shortly. You can read more about that here.
In any event, Stinger offers the smallest heads around and they are also capable of jamming the toughest anti-jamming guns around too so if you want something that is very small and hard to spot, these are a great choice.
Purchase the Stinger VIP here. (Save 10% with the coupon code “VortexRadar”)
Finally, now that you’ve got a good idea of the equipment that you need, to learn more about the specifics of what you’ll encounter all across the different provinces in Canada, I would recommend that you visit the Canada discussion section at RadarDetectorForum.org. That’s one of the best resources you’ll find to talk to fellow Canadians running radar detectors and laser jammers.
Get the setup that suits you best, install it properly, learn how to use it, and you’ll drive with an awesome level of protection.