How do you figure out which radar detector is best? There’s lots of great options that would work well on your windshield so you could read lots of reviews to figure it all out, try out a bunch of detectors yourself, or check out my comprehensive radar detector buyer’s guide. In an effort to make this decision as simple as possible for you, however, let’s take a look at the very best radar detectors available at every price point so that you can decide based on your budget and easily see what you’ll gain by dropping more cash.
Now there are lots of other radar detectors available that aren’t on this list, but these are among the very best. There’s also many cheaper ones than what are on this list, but there’s nothing down there I’d solidly recommend below these price points. The two main issues with the cheaper detectors is that the range is very limited so you won’t get much advanced warning time, plus you’ll get a ton of false alerts and will wind up either wanting to chuck the detector out the window or you’ll ignore it when it really counts… so considering you’re looking to avoid the cost and headache of not only expensive speeding tickets, but also any insurance premium hikes, points, court costs, and lawyer fees that come with the ticket, I’d recommend you avoid the bottom of the barrel cheapy detectors. They’re simply not worth the money.
Additionally, no matter which detector you choose, you’ll also want to run Waze on your phone (free) so you can see where cops are setting up speed traps in real time as well as pick up a set of laser jammers to help protect you from laser. Radar detectors are designed for radar. Laser jammers are designed for laser. I’d recommend you get the AntiLaser Priority as it’s currently the clear winner, without question. If only choosing a radar detector was this simple. 🙂
So anyways, let’s take a look at the different radar detectors, starting from the most affordable and basic entry level radar detectors up to the top performing and most feature-rich detectors.
This is the least expensive radar detector that I’d recommend. It offers the performance of many of the higher end detectors and does a great job at filtering out false alerts from cars with blind spot monitoring systems around you which is unusual for detectors in the price range and is what makes it stand out. However, it’s a pretty basic detector and lacks a GPS chip to help it learn and filter out false alerts around town and it lacks some of the other helpful bells and whistles that other detectors offer. It’s a great entry level detector. It’s best suited for primarily highway driving.
This adds a GPS chip to the DFR6, making it a very well-rounded detector for both city and highway driving. Again it offers the performance of many higher end detectors and blind spot filtering as good as or better than many other detectors, but the added GPS chip really helps out in the city so you can teach it where stationary false alerts are from speed signs and automatic door openers in shopping centers (or when you pass them driving down the street or highway), plus you get low speed muting to quiet things down around town and redlight camera alerts for added protection. I think this detector really hits the sweet spot for price/performance with all the different detectors around.
Escort Passport Max
Think of this as an easier to use and more refined version of the DFR7 that may be a better choice for most typical drivers because the lockouts are automatic so it can learn where false alerts are around town without you having to teach it which alerts are false and which are real every time, the display is nicer, the redlight camera database is updated more regularly, and the colors can be customized to match your vehicle’s interior. The blind spot filtering is slightly less effective so I’d give the edge to the Uniden in that department so the Uniden ultimately will be a slightly quieter detector in the end. The Max’s forte is giving you an easy to use and plug-and-play experience. This detector is being discontinued so the price has dropped considerably from its normal price of $550. You can now pick it up around $300’ish.
Note: Depending on where current pricing is since it does fluctuate, you can also consider the Max2 which is a Max with a bluetooth chip built in so you can pair it with your phone so you can not only use your phone as an external display or configure your radar detector’s settings more easily, but you can also share realtime alerts with other drivers in the cloud using the app Escort Live (Android and iOS). It’s only a couple bucks more to step up to the Max2.
If you took the DFR7 and added more refinement, more useful features, better customer service, you’d basically have the Radenso XP. It also offers good range, excellent BSM filtering, manual GPS lockouts, more advanced filtering and muting options to quiet things down better such as the ability to delete individual redlight camera alerts plus a feature I like to think of as “happy wife mode” where you can temporarily audibly mute all future X/K band signals while still getting high priority Ka and Laser alerts no matter what to minimize the audible nagging for other passengers in your car. It offers more fine tuned control over the experience than most other detectors and is quickly becoming popular among enthusiasts.
For maximum long range performance above all else on highways and backroads, the Magnum’s outstanding sensitivity makes it ideal for both flat open deserts and curvy mountain roads where picking up a signal ahead is the number one priority. It doesn’t offer the greatest filtering capabilities, plus it lacks a GPS chip, so you won’t want to use it as much in an area where there’s a lot of false alerts. That’s why I’d suggest it as a highway detector, especially for more rural highways without lots of other cars around with blind spot monitoring systems. Additionally if you drive in Virginia or Washington D.C. where radar detectors are illegal, this is a popular choice because it is fully immune to being detected by radar detector detectors.
Valentine 1 with YaV1 (Android) or V1Driver (iOS)
This is one of my favorite all-around setups. It’s rock solid reliable, offers great performance and lightning fast reaction times, provides tons of useful information, has the best arrows around, and effective BSM filtering. It lacks a GPS chip so you’ll need to pair it with your phone and run an app to add the functionality that other detectors can offer right out of the box. As such, it requires more parts like a phone, bluetooth adapter, and third party app, plus it involves additional setup and configuration so it’s best for those who like to tinker with stuff. Once you get it all set up, it’s an excellent all-around package. The apps will add the additional audio muting capabilities to help quiet down the false alerts, but the alerts will all still show up and blink on the V1’s display so it can be a very visually active detector with all the blinking lights and arrows, especially around town.
If you’re running iOS, you’ll want to purchase the iOS version of the bluetooth module called the V1C LE, download the app V1connection, and purchase the app V1Driver from the app store. If you’re running Android, you’ll need to purchase the Android only version of the bluetooth module called the V1C and then download the app YaV1. Note: The V1C LE is now also compatible with Android and you’ll see it recommended for Androids, but YaV1 is only compatible with the V1C so you’ll want to make sure you pick that one up to ensure everything works properly.
Radenso Pro SE
If you want maximum long range performance comparable to the Magnum for driving on the highway or backroads plus a GPS chip to get all the filtering options you’ll need in the city, the Radenso Pro SE is the way to go. It’s a very compact detector that packs a powerful punch. When it was originally released it had a number of bugs that needed to be fixed, but now that it’s running well with the latest firmware updates, you’ve got a great all-around detector with really long range, good blind spot filtering, and advanced muting options for false alert filtering around town, backed by some of the best customer service in the business.
If you want a fully loaded detector packed with all the bells and whistles where everything works straight out of the box and is easy to use, take a look at the Max360. Other detectors may have the edge in one or two areas like all out range or blind spot filtering, but this is more like the jack of all trades. Plus it doesn’t require you to add a phone and use third party apps to get the necessary core functionality you’ll need. In one integrated package you get good performance with plenty of advanced warning time in most situations just like all the other detectors here, pretty good blind spot filtering, multicolored arrows, completely automatic GPS lockouts, low speed muting, redlight camera alerts and a frequently updated database, and a nice and customizable modern display. Like the Max2 you can pair it with your phone if you like (Android or iOS) and run the app Escort Live to add some extra bonus features like changing settings from your phone or sharing realtime alerts with other drivers through the cloud. I do wish the blind spot filtering was a bit better and more on par with some of the other options, but at the end of the day for your everyday driver going down highways and city streets who wants all the bells and whistles in one integrated and easy to use package, the Max360 is the one to get.