Top 10 Best Radar Detectors for 2016, Buyer’s Guide
(Updated December 2016)
There’s lots of fantastic radar detectors out there that can all help you avoid speeding tickets and will pay for themselves many times over, but which one is the best and which one is right for you?
Everyone wants to know which radar detector is the “best,” but radar detectors are like cars or cell phones in that there isn’t one option that’s universally the best choice for every person in every situation. Which detector you should buy really comes down to your own personal preferences and where you drive and needs so it’s not so much about which radar detector is universally “the best” but rather which radar detector is the best for you.
The radar detectors I’ll recommend to you are all the very best on the market. Any one of them will do the job. They’ll generally give you plenty of time to slow down and avoid a speeding ticket while also filtering out many false alerts so that you’ll actually pay attention to it when it goes off. (False alerts are one of the biggest complaints with radar detectors so this is really important.) Some detectors may offer longer range or better filtering than others, of course, and every detector has its own specialty, kind of like how a sports car, an SUV, and a hybrid will all get you from A to B, but they offer very different experiences along the way.
Let’s take a look at which detector would suit you based on your personal needs, where you drive, your budget, and even your personality and preferences.
How to Choose a Radar Detector?
What should you look for when deciding which radar detector you should buy? What features and options actually matter? Here’s what to consider when selecting a radar detector:
City / Highway Driving?
If you drive primarily on the highway, especially in rural areas, a high performance detector offering maximum detection range is the really the main thing you’d need. In that case, the Escort Redline would be your classic highway detector.
However, if you also drive in the city, you’ll want a detector with GPS so that the detector can learn where all the stationary false alerts are located around town from shopping centers with automatic door openers and those “your speed is” radar signs and filter out all of the stationary sources of non-police radar around town such as automatic door openers from shopping centers, drugstores, as well as radar-based speed signs. GPS is also handy for alerting you to redlight cameras and speed cameras in use in your area. (GPS is also helpful on the highway to filter out shopping centers you drive past that are right next to the highway.) Some detectors have a GPS chip built in while others will require your phone running an app to use your phone’s GPS.
Easy to Use vs. Maximum Control
Some detectors are designed to be easy to use and plug-and-play so you can put it on your windshield and it does everything straight out of the box. The Max and Max360 are perfect examples. Other detectors like the V1 may be able to do the same things, but they’ll require more setup, configuration, and a cell phone to do the same thing, but they give you more control, more options, and sometimes even better performance so they’re popular with power users.
Windshield Mount vs. Remote Mount
Radar detectors come in two different designs. Windshield mount detectors are little boxes that attach to your windshield. Remote mount radar detectors are custom installed in the grill of your car and you put a controller and display somewhere inside your vehicle.
Windshield mount detectors are more affordable, easier to install, and there’s many more options. Remote mount detectors are more expensive and often require professional installation (though you can do it yourself), but in return they offer the very best in performance, you get a cleaner install, and your radar detector is out of sight to police officers and potential thieves.
Are Radar Detectors Legal?
Radar detectors are legal in 49 out of the 50 states. They are only illegal in Virginia and Washington D.C. (The penalty if caught is usually a small fine and no points, but they no longer confiscate detectors.)
They are also illegal on military bases, in commercial vehicles over 10,000 pounds, and in all vehicles over 18,000 pounds. (Penalties if caught include loss of your CDL if you’re a truck driver so this can be very risky.)
In Canada they are illegal in most provinces, with the exception of BC, AB, & SK where they are legal. (Penalties vary in different provinces and can include financial penalties and even confiscation or your car being impounded, even if your radar detector is turned off and tucked away.)
In areas where radar detectors are illegal, the police often use radar detector detectors (RDD’s) to find drivers who use radar detectors. There are two different types of RDD’s, the VG-2 and the Spectre. The VG-2 is an ancient RDD that most RD’s are now immune to detection from. A few police departments still use them, but many have since upgraded to the Spectre. There’s different models of the Spectre, but the Spectre’s can detect most RD’s and is what most officers use these days. Many RD companies will advertise immunity from the VG-2, but that’s virtually irrelevant since it’s the Spectre that we’re concerned with.
There are only a few radar detectors that are undetectable by all RDD’s including the Spectre. These are the Escort Redline, Beltronics Magnum, Escort 9500ci, Beltronics STi-R Plus, and Stinger VIP. There’s also a few radar detectors that are only detectable at very close ranges, like 15-25 feet, including the Radenso XP, Net Radar, Radenso Pro SE, or Radenso HD+.
Note: In many states like California, it’s also illegal to mount a radar detector to your windshield so you may want to consider a Blendmount and hang it underneath your rearview mirror.
Most good windshield mount detectors are in the $300-500 range. Remote mount detectors range from $500-3800, depending on options, plus installation. There are many less expensive cheapy ones, especially windshield mounts, but they’re generally a waste of money, give poor range, and do a lousy job at filtering false alerts so you’ll quickly get annoyed with it and want to throw it out the window. Opting for a quality radar detector is recommended. Considering that speeding tickets bring not only the cost of the ticket, but also hikes to your insurance premiums, potential court costs, and lawyer fees, etc., it’s generally recommended to get a quality product that offers you a solid level of protection. You gotta pay to play.
Not to mention that you’ll also want to get a good set of laser jammers as well since officers now use laser all over the country and radar detectors don’t help against laser. Laser jammers will generally run you $1000-2000 for the jammers plus installation so that’s something to keep in mind as well when putting together your countermeasure kit. Radar detectors and laser jammers go hand in hand as part of a complete kit.
If budget is the main thing you’re considering, take a look at this list to see the detectors categorized by price.
Best Windshield Mount Radar Detectors
Uniden DFR7: Affordable, Easy to use, Great all-around detector, City/Highway Driving ($299)
This is the standard recommendation for anyone looking for a good all-around radar detector for both city and highway driving, without breaking the bank. It offers a more performance and capability than most anything else in this price range, making it a great bang for the buck.
You’ll get great range on the highway plus it does a great job at filtering out cars with blind spot monitoring systems so you won’t constantly get bombarded with false alerts. It’s actually one of the best filters available at any price.
It also has a GPS chip built in which makes it very helpful around town. The GPS chip will allow you to teach it where the known false alerts are from your grocery stores and shopping centers nearby so that you don’t have to constantly keep pressing the mute button. It can also mute all alerts at low speeds when you’re not driving fast, plus it can alert you to redlight cameras and speedcameras around town so it makes a great detector around town to.
It’s for these reasons that it’s been such a popular detector. This is the updated version of the Uniden LRD950, its popular predecessor.
The DFR7 sells for $299. Since prices sometimes fluctuate, there’s two places I’d recommend you look to buy the DFR7.
Once you select the DFR7, here’s your tutorial on how to set it up.
Uniden DFR6: Affordable detector for highway drivers ($199)
If you drive mostly on the highway and you don’t need the GPS functionality, you can save $100 by getting the Uniden DFR6. It’s the same thing as the DFR7 with the same level of performance and ability to filter out blind spot falses, but you won’t get the GPS lockouts, low speed muting, or red light camera functionality. If you don’t need those features, the DFR6 is a great choice as well.
Honestly I still think the DFR7 is a better pick because those GPS lockouts are so helpful… Often times driving down the highway you’ll pass shopping centers or strip malls and will pick up false alerts from those automatic door openers nearby so the GPS lockouts are really helpful even on the highway. However, if you’re looking for the lowest up front cost, the DFR6 is the best inexpensive. detector I’d recommend. It can sometimes be hard to find it in stock so check both sites here to see if it’s available.
Once you select the DFR6, here’s your tutorial on how to set it up.
Radenso XP: Wonderfully Quiet Urban Detector ($399)
I live and drive in the city and the Radenso XP is the detector I constantly find myself reaching for. Not only does it offer plenty of performance, but the filtering options are amazing so it doesn’t annoy me or my girlfriend. The blind spot filtering is excellent (better than any other detector on this list), the low speed muting keeps the detector nice and quiet around town, you’ve got GPS lockouts, the redlight camera alerts are helpful, and Radenso is doing an awesome job of listening to their customers and implementing features that request so the detector keeps getting better and better over time.
The XP also has some fantastic muting options that help make it one of the quietest detectors around. The lockouts are great for teaching the detector to mute the false alerts are in areas I’ve driven before, but what about in new areas? Well besides low speed muting, you also have the ability to tell the detector to audibly mute ALL X and K band alerts and only alert you visually. It will alert you if there’s Ka or Laser which is almost always a legitimate alert. Now muting K band can be risky because your detector won’t beep if police officers are using K band radar guns around you so to address this, the detector provides more visual alert options like blinking at you when it detects an alert or even keeping the screen off and only lighting up when there’s an alert to ensure it gets your attention. This way the detector can still get your attention and tell you what you need to know without constantly beeping and annoying others in the car in the process.
Radenso’s customer service is also excellent should any issues arise over time, they’re very active with their users to fix any bugs or add helpful new features, and they’re really dedicated to making an awesome detector. This detector reminds me of an Android or an iPhone in that it’s a great product that continues to receive updates and improvements over time. For example, they’re continuing to update and improve the lockouts, voices, alert presentation styles, ease of access of menu settings, and so on. It’s a great detector that continues to get better over time.
Once you select the Radenso XP, here’s your tutorial on how to set it up.
Escort Passport Max: Affordable, Easy to use, Plug-and-play, City/Highway Driving (~$299+)
If you like the idea of the Uniden DFR7 or Radenso XP, but you want something that’s totally automatic and plug-and-play, take a look at the Escort Passport Max. The Max, DFR7, and XP are direct competitors.
Both the Max and DFR7 offer basically the same features. The Max gives up a little bit of maximum performance in exchange for being the easiest to use and most automatic radar detector. The range is still good enough for most situations, practically speaking, and for people who truly want an easy to use experience, this is what the Max is geared towards.
Other detectors require you to recognize when a false alert is coming from a stationary sources like a speed sign, grocery store, or shopping center, and then press a button to tell the detector that this is a false alert so that it doesn’t alert you to it again. The Max has the ability to figure this out automatically after you pass the same which is great if you want a more hands-off approach. As you drive around with it, it will learn how things look in your area and begin quieting down automatically. This is why I say you don’t have to be a radar detector expert to use it. Just put it on your windshield, drive around for a while, and it’ll do the work for you.
Additionally, the detector has a much nicer display, plus you can change the colors of the display to match the interior of your car. (My car has red lights inside and my brother has blue so we can each change it to match our cars.)
The redlight camera database is also updated more frequently than the others so it has an edge in this category as well.
Now the Max is being discontinued which is why it can be found so inexpensively. It used to retail for $550 but can now be found online for about $299 or less while supplies last, though the price fluctuates quite a bit so be sure to check current pricing. Its successor, the Max2, will still be available, usually for a few bucks more. The Max2 adds a bluetooth chip inside the detector so you can pair it with your phone to make it easier to adjust your detector’s settings, use your phone as an additional display, and get realtime alerts to/from the cloud with other Escort owners via Escort Live (like Waze). You can add bluetooth functionality to your Max by purchasing an Escort Live smartcord or Escort Live hardwire cord, but if you’re gonna go that route in the end, get the Max2 instead because that’s a cleaner solution.
Once you select a Max or Max2, watch this tutorial to learn how to set it up.
Max360: Simple to Use, Plug and Play, Arrows, All the Bells and Whistles ($649)
If you like the idea of the Max2 with its plug and play capabilities and automatic lockouts, and you’d like to add arrows to help you locate the source of the threat, take a look at the Max360. This is actually one of my favorite detectors and it’s Escort’s best selling radar detector. If my brother or my mom wanted a radar detector, this is the detector I’d give to them because it’s got all the different features they’d want plus it’s a plug-and-play unit that doesn’t require them to understand all the different nuances and details. It can do everything for them without them having to become a radar detector expert. This is the big appeal of the Max360.
It’s essentially a Max2 with a rear antenna to give you arrows, plus it has some additional improvements such as improved build quality, a darker case which is less reflective in your windshield, and the OLED display is tucked farther back in the shell so it’s less likely to get washed out in the sun. They’ve also made some other small changes like removing some of the annoying high pitched beeps in the Max.
Now it’s not the cheapest detector out there. In fact, at a retail price of $650, it’s actually the most expensive windshield-mount detector on the market. There are other detectors that offer longer range at a comparable or even lower price. What you’re getting with this detector is not the absolute highest performance on the market, but rather enough performance to protect you in the majority of situations while also being easy to use and doing everything for you automatically. That’s the main appeal of this detector.
You get reasonable performance, pretty good BSM filtering, automatic (!) GPS lockouts, redlight camera alerts, and a modern screen, all without having to do any complicated setup. It’s why for most people who are just starting out, this may very well be the top pick for the “best” radar detector.
For more information, you can check out my complete Max360 review.
Once you select the Max360, watch this tutorial to learn how to use your Max360.
V1 & YaV1 or V1Driver: Arrows, Maximum Control, & Customizability for Tech Savvy People ($449)
If you want all the bells and whistles like the Max360 like the arrows and GPS lockouts, but you’re more technically minded, you want more performance and control, and you don’t mind pairing your detector with a phone, the V1 is a great option. It’s fairly limited and chatty out of the box, but you can improve it considerably by pairing it with a cell phone and running an app to configure it more and add the GPS-based functionality.
Once you get it fully set up, you’ll have an experience very similar to the Max360 (this is what the Max360 is actually designed to directly compete against), except with more control, better performance, more advanced lockouts, and all at a lower price. It’s a very appealing package, but it takes more external accessories (bluetooth module, phone, multiple apps) and setup and configuration to do what the Max360 can do automatically. For a more info, check out my complete comparison between the Max360 and the V1/YaV1.
If you’re running an Android, you can pair it with an Android phone and run the free app YaV1. There’s definitely a learning curve to setting this app up, but my tutorials will guide you through it. You’ll need the Android bluetooth module (V1Connection) to do this. (Note: There’s been an update to allow Android phones to use the V1C LE which the iPhone uses, but YaV1 still requires the Android only V1C so get that one.)
Now honestly I don’t really run the V1 much anymore. The reason is in order to get the full level of performance out of it, you have to disable some of the filters like Ka Guard which are designed to filter out false alerts from other drivers near you with poorly designed radar detectors. Because of this, my V1 falses pretty regularly on Ka and there’s not much I can do about that, even with some of the other muting options in the phone. It didn’t used to be this way, but because more and more people are running those other detectors and the V1’s design prohibits us from being able to filter out the false alerts I see around 33.6xx and 33.7xx GHz while still retaining top level performance, this can be pretty annoying.
If my parents wanted a radar detector, since they’re not very tech savvy and they’d want a simple plug-and-play experience, I’d recommend the Max360 for them. The V1 is great, but it really does require your phone to get all the functionality and information you’d want, plus you need your phone to do some of the more advanced and important programming. The Max360 lets you do all this stuff in one integrated package. This is where it largely comes down to your personal preferences.
If you decide on the V1, I’d actually recommend you NOT buy from Amazon. If you do, you’ll pay more than full price and get no warranty. People resell them there at a profit. Buy a V1 directly from Valentine. If you’re considering a used V1, watch this video first. Finally, once you purchase a V1 ($400), Android bluetooth module ($50), and pair it with your Android phone, check out this tutorial to set up your V1 / YaV1. If you go for the iPhone version, get the iPhone version of the bluetooth module and purchase V1Driver. V1Driver is basically ready to go out of the box, but it does have some options which are all explained within the app itself.
Escort Redline: Long Range Performance for Rural/Highway Drivers (~$399)
If you drive primarily on the highways, particularly on rural backroads, and you don’t need all of the city filtering capabilities or redlight camera alerts, take a good look at the Escort Redline. It is the gold standard for long range detection and is commonly known as the King for that reason. It’s the benchmark that all other detectors are compared against when it comes to performance and range.
What it lacks is a modern BSM filter and a GPS chip which means that it’s not all that effective at filtering out other newer cars around you with blind spot monitoring systems which is why it’s recommended for more rural areas. It also doesn’t have a GPS chip to do things like GPS lockouts, low speed muting, or redlight camera alerts around town. This detector is really focused on raw detection.
One other killer feature about the Redline is that it is completely immune to detection by radar detector detectors. Radar detectors are illegal in certain areas or in certain vehicles (watch this video for more info) and so a detector that is immune to RDD’s can be desirable in those areas. That said, for obvious reasons, it’s recommended that you simply obey the law.
The retail price of the Redline has gone up from $499 to $549. However, you can now find it online for around $399.
Note: If you do spend some time in the city and want the Redline for its level of performance plus the ability to lock out false alerts and/or get alerted to RLC’s, you can purchase an Escort Live smartcord or Escort Live hardwire cable for $99 which is a power cable with a Bluetooth chip, allowing you to pair your detector with your phone and using your phone’s GPS and the Escort Live app (available for Android and iOS), filter out stationary false alerts in town. Alternatively, if you want the Redline level performance but you want that GPS built in for the city, you can take a look at the Radenso Pro SE which I’ll cover next.
Once you get the Redline, here’s my tutorial on how to set up and configure your Redline.
Radenso Pro SE: Long Range Performance, City/Highway Driving ($499)
If you like the idea of the all out maximum performance of the Redline but you want a GPS chip built into the detector for all the city-based functionality like the GPS lockouts, low speed muting, and redlight camera alerts, take a look at the Radenso Pro SE. This is your well-rounded yet high performing city/highway detector.
This detector offers high end range on par with the Redline, but in a much smaller package, its blind spot filtering capability is better, plus it has a GPS chip built in so you get your lockouts and all without depending on a cell phone. For most people, I think this is a better solution than the Redline because of its improved BSM filtering and city filtering capabilities.
The Redline costs about $100 less than the Radenso Pro SE, but the improved filtering capabilities mean that it’s a more well-rounded detector for use not just in rural roads and highways, but also in the city and on busy highways.
A little quirk to bring up: It doesn’t display an exact frequency when you detect radar with it. Knowing the exact frequency is helpful for telling the difference between different sources of radar, but most people won’t care or use this feature. It will tell you if the signal is around 34.700 or 35.500, for example, but not if it’s exactly 34.726 or 35.493. This is something that many enthusiasts look for, but for most people, a ballpark frequency is really good enough.
So as it stands, you get a very compact radar detector (the smallest one here) yet you get a ton of performance in that little package. It has a pretty good blind spot filter, has a GPS chip for all your city-based driving needs, not to mention you get free lifetime updates and a warranty that’s twice as long (two years) as most everyone else.
There is also a lower performing version of the Radenso Pro SE, known as the Radenso Pro, and it retails for $349, but I feel that stepping up for the $499 Radenso Pro SE is really the way to go. It will do a better job at helping you detect radar at a distance where it counts.
Once you get the Radenso Pro SE, here’s my tutorial on how to set it up and configure it.
Best Remote Mount Radar Detectors
Now if you don’t want a radar detector hanging off your windshield that’s visible to police officers, other drivers, and potential thieves, or you prefer a cleaner and more factory look in your cabin, a remote mount radar detector is the way to go. These are also great options if you drive a higher end luxury car like a Mercedes, Porsche, Range Rover, or Tesla that has a heated or metallic windshield because those windshields may prevent electronics like radar detectors, GPS receivers, or even toll passes from working properly. If that applies to your vehicle, you’ll definitely want to opt for a remote detector instead.
Remote mount detectors offer top of the line performance, equal to or better than windshield mount detectors. They will also require professional installation since the radar detector antenna itself is installed in your grill, you’ll install a controller and display somewhere in your cabin, and you’ll have it permanently installed and wired in your car. If you’re handy with electronics and wiring, you can do it yourself instead.
There are a number of different remote mount radar detectors out there. Depending on your setup and budget, these are the Top 3 Remote Radar Detectors that I’d recommend:
Stinger VIP: Top of the Line, High Performance, All the Bells and Whistles (~$2,500-$3,800)
If you’re looking for the very best radar detector available, the answer to that would be the Stinger VIP. This detector offers just about everything you could possibly want. It’s a very advanced and sophisticated detector that offers long range performance, excellent BSM filtering, low speed muting, GPS lockouts without requiring a phone, the lockouts are automatic, you get red light camera alerts, complete immunity from radar detector detectors, an optional rear antenna to get directional information, MRCD detection… the works.
Now when this detector originally came out here in the US it sounded great on paper with all these features, but the more we tested it, the more we found that the detector was actually really buggy, many features like BSM filtering and autolockouts didn’t work as advertised, it would sometimes inadvertently mute police radar, and on. Because of this, Stinger has completely rewritten the firmware from scratch and it’s finally turning the detector into the ultimate dream detector that it was born to be. There’s still some features currently that still need to be reimplemented with the new firmware such as getting the arrows to work properly, but all the initial testers are reporting a significantly improved experience, the BSM filtering is now excellent, and most of the bugs that we saw earlier have now been addressed. Personally I need to spend a bunch more time retesting the detector and getting more familiar with the nuances and details before I can firmly give it my own personal stamp of approval, but the initial test reports that people are sharing are sounding great and Stinger’s customers are now much happier with their systems.
You can purchase the VIP directly from Cliff at Stinger USA. Cliff can help you find the ideal antenna placement options for your specific vehicle since that is very important. The standard Stinger VIP retails for $2790. The optional rear antenna is available for an additional $1500. To save some money, use the coupon code “VortexRadar” to save 10% off your purchase of the Stinger VIP. Once you do this, the Stinger costs $2511 for the standard single antenna setup or $3861 for the dual antenna setup.
Net Radar Antenna: Remote Detector with Fantastic Filtering to Integrate with your AntiLaser Priority ($499 – $899)
This is quickly becoming one of the most popular remote detectors out there. If you’re running the AntiLaser Priority laser jamming system (currently the best laser jammer on the market), it has the ability to integrate with several different remote radar detectors. You can take the radar detector antenna, plug it into your ALP, and your ALP serves as the “brains” for the radar detector antenna giving you a fully integrated radar detector and laser jammer package.
The Net Radar is designed to be an all-around excellent radar detector giving you a huge bang for the buck. In my testing I’ve found that it can hold its own relative to other top end radar detectors on the market. Other detectors may offer a little better range, but the Net Radar is designed to offer you plenty of advanced warning time while also offering outstanding blind spot filtering capabilities, the ability to do GPS lockouts when paired with a phone, optionally add multiple antennas to get arrows, all while doing this at a reasonable price. It’s designed to be the best bang for the buck.
With the Net Radar, you can run it with one, two, or even up to three antennas simultaneously.
Your primary antenna will be facing forward and acting as your traditional radar detector antenna.
You can add a second rear facing antenna ($399) to give you directional information (arrows) like the V1, Max360, or Stinger VIP. Note: The directional information does not work yet. That feature is being developed so you can go ahead and purchase and install the rear antenna to get better rear detection capabilities and then once the updated firmware is released in early 2017, you’ll be able to get directional information as well.
Finally, you can add a third antenna specifically for MRCD support if you live or drive in Canada, just like the Stinger VIP offers. The MRCD is a specialized low powered radar gun that is very difficult to detect and requires some specialized hardware to pick up. It is primarily used overseas, but in North America we’re seeing it in Canada in Alberta and Quebec. If you need this capability, you can purchase the MRCD antenna for $299.
This detector is not completely stealth to RDD’s, but it’s only detectable if the officer is driving straight towards you and within 24 feet away. Driving around your vehicle, the officer’s Spectre won’t alert.
Now unlike some of the other antennas out there, this one comes with the Radar/GPS module you need to connect this to your ALP ($99) plus the GPS antenna ($59) so it’s a better deal than your other options where you have to purchase those accessories separately. Additionally, if you also pick up the Bluetooth module ($99), you’ll be able to see the frequency on your phone, change settings and update your ALP’s in your car without having to download a file to your computer and bring it out to your car on a USB stick which is super handy, and you can also get GPS lockouts. The lockouts are sort of manual, sort of automatic and they require your phone (Android or iPhone) to work.
If you don’t want to pair it with your phone, you can use the HiFi module ($99) which is essentially an external speaker for your ALP. This makes the alerts louder so they’re easier to hear when driving, plus you get voice alerts to tell you what radar band or laser gun you’re detecting. It also makes it much easier to navigate the menus. With the Net Radar, you will want to add either the HiFi module or the Bluetooth module. They are $99 each and are not included. You can run both at the same time too which is what I do. This way you get the GPS lockout functionality and update things through your phone as needed. When running both, the bluetooth takes priority so the audio will play out of your phone or your car’s stereo if your phone is paired with your stereo. If you don’t have your phone with you or aren’t using it, the system will fall back to using the HiFi module and play through its dedicated speaker. If you run Bluetooth only without the HiFi module, everything will still work, but if you’re not running your phone, the sounds will play through your standard’s control pad and they will sound different so I recommend the HiFi for louder and consistent alerts.
So to summarize if you do a lot of driving in the city and want your GPS lockouts, or if you want to see the radar signal frequency, get the Bluetooth module. That’s the recommended solution.
If you don’t want to putz around with your phone and don’t need lockouts, the HiFi module is the way to go.
If you want to use the lockouts and phone but want your system to work even if you aren’t using your phone, get both.
STi-R Plus: High Performing Custom Installed Radar Detector ($1,299)
Like the Stinger VIP, this is a custom-installed standalone remote detector good for the city and highway. It offers the performance of the Redline while also including GPS like the Max so you get your automatic GPS lockouts without requiring a phone, low speed muting, and redlight camera alerts. In fact it’s pretty much a remote version of the Redline but with a GPS antenna. It’s also a completely standalone radar detector so unlike the Net Radar detector, it doesn’t require a laser jammer to integrate with. It also offers complete RDD immunity so it’s fully undetectable as well.
The biggest differences between the Stinger VIP and the STi-R Plus are that the Stinger offers superior performance and is much better at filtering out annoying blind spot falses alerts. The STi-R Plus offers great performance but the hardware is getting a bit long in the tooth and isn’t be updated to a more modern platform. That’s probably its biggest limitation. However at $1300, the STi-R Plus also costs about half the price of the Stinger. The Plus also has a small control pad and LED display while the Stinger has a single larger LCD touchscreen which is its controller and display.
Note: The STi-R Plus is basically the same thing as the Escort 9500ci, except that the 9500ci comes with a blue display instead of red and Escort’s inferior laser jammers, the Laser ShifterPro. I’d recommend saving your money on the 9500ci and putting the extra cash towards top end jammers like the AntiLaser Priority.
Compared to the Net Radar, the STi-R Plus offers complete RDD immunity, the lockouts are completely automatic and they don’t require a cell phone, the blind spot filtering isn’t as good, it’s more expensive, it only supports one antenna, and it’s completely standalone so it doesn’t matter which laser jammer you choose to run with it, if you even want to run one at all.
For a standalone remote radar detector, it’s a great option that’s more affordable than the Stinger VIP.
So Which Radar Detector Is Best?
Boy I wish there was a simple answer to that because it really depends. They each have their pros and cons, as you can see, so let’s summarize.
This is your standard go-to recommendation for your all-around detector with good performance and good false filtering for both city and highway without dropping too much cash. The DFR7 is a good general pick in the bang for the buck category. Click here to purchase.
If you want to spend less money than the DFR7 or you drive primarily on the highway, you can save some cash by getting the DFR6. It’s the same thing as the DFR7, just without the GPS functionality. This is the least expensive detector I’d recommend. Click here to purchase.
If you do a lot of driving in the city, this is a top pick. It’s great for the highway too of course but really shines in the city. Great features, awesome customer service, and it continues to get better thanks to continued firmware updates. If you don’t need arrows and you’re cool with pressing a button to teach it where false alerts are around town, this is a great choice. Click here to purchase.
Escort Passport Max
If you like the idea of the DFR7 but you want something more hands off and automatic, if you don’t need arrows, get the Max. It’s a good choice for an affordable and plug-and-play radar detector for both city and highway driving if you don’t want to have to mess with your detector. Click here to purchase.
If you’re the type of person who likes having all the bells and whistles, you want arrows to locate the threat, you don’t want to have to rely on a phone for basic functionality, and you want automation and no complicated setup, get the Max360. Click here to purchase.
Valentine One with YaV1 or V1Driver
If you want a good all around package with arrows and to have a solid understanding of the threats around you, if you’re tech savvy and are cool with a bit of a learning curve, get the V1 with YaV1. If you’re an iPhone user, run V1Driver with your V1. Click here to purchase.
If you do mostly highway/rural driving and want to give yourself the best possible opportunity to pick up radar at a distance, the Redline is your tool of choice. It can work as a city detector if you pair it with your phone using a Live cable and run Escort Live to manually lock out falses. Click here to purchase.
Radenso Pro SE
If you want the high end performance of the Magnum with the helpful city features without relying on your phone, the Radenso Pro SE is a great pick. It still needs a bit of fine tuning, but it’s a good high performance detector for both city and highway driving. Click here to purchase.
If you want the most capable and advanced radar detector available, the Stinger VIP is the way to go. It’s also the most future-proof, supports multiple antennas, it’s continually being updated and improved, and it’s the top of the line option out there. (Use the coupon code “VortexRadar” for 10% off.) Click here to purchase.
If you’re running an AntiLaser Priority, the best radar detector to integrate with it is the Net Radar antenna. You get good performance, filtering, and manual GPS lockouts if you add your phone. You also have support for multiple antennas. Click here to purchase.
Beltronics STi-R Plus
If you prefer nothing hanging off your windshield, another popular remote detector is the STi-R Plus. You get high end performance similar to the Redline, along with GPS which helps in the city. The blind spot filtering isn’t the greatest, but it’s otherwise a great standalone radar detector. Click here to purchase.
Hardwire cables: Radar detectors come with a cigarette lighter power cable. You can optionally upgrade to a hardwire cable for a permanent and clean installation with no unsightly cables hanging down your dash and taking up your cig. lighter port. Click here to see your hardwire cable options and click here to read the installation guide.
Blendmount: Radar detectors come with a suction cup mount to attach to your windshield. In some areas it’s illegal to mount things to your windshield and it’s also nice to not have suction cups on your windshield or even suction cup rings when you remove them so a nice upgrade is the Blendmount which hangs your detector under your rearview mirror. Click here to learn more about the Blendmount.
Waze: Waze is a free navigation app for your phone like Google Maps that allows drivers to report traffic, accidents, and where police officers are positioned in realtime. When you see an officer on the side of the road looking to give tickets, you can mark him in the app and alert other drivers. You can also see alerts from other drivers in realtime so it’s a great complement to your radar detector to add an additional layer of protection. You can download it for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
Laser Jammers: Radar detectors are great against radar but they don’t help against police officers running laser. To combat laser you’ll want a set of laser jammers for your car. Fortunately the choice for jammers is much easier and the best on the market in this case is the AntiLaser Priority. Proper setup and configuration is critical with jammers so you’ll also want to check out my complete ALP setup guide as well.
No matter which detector you choose listed here, you’re going to wind up with an excellent unit. It will do a great job of picking up police radar, it can help you filter out those pesky false alerts, and it can easily pay for itself many times over by helping you avoid speeding tickets from police shooting radar.
I’d also recommend reading about the Top 10 Questions About Radar Detectors to better understand some of the most frequently asked questions about how they work, legalities, where to mount them in your vehicle, and so on.
If you’ve found this guide helpful, please share it online so others can benefit from it too. When you purchase, you can use the links I’ve included which supports me without costing you a dime. If you’d like to support my site personally, you can sign up and contribute as a Patreon member as well.
Happy driving and enjoy. 🙂