Here’s a flowchart I put together to help make the decision of which radar detector you should buy. It’s designed to make things as simple and easy for you as possible. 🙂
Next, here’s a little explanation for each decision in case you’re not sure which one you should choose, along with the latest pricing information for every detector.
Windshield or remote mount: Windshield detectors are less expensive, more portable, easier to install, and you have more options. Remote mount units are more capable, offer a cleaner install in your cabin with nothing hanging on your windshield, but they’re more expensive and require professional installation.
Future-proof system: The STi-R Plus and Stinger VIP are both high end systems with top notch range, GPS lockouts, RLC alerts, immunity from RDD’s, and so on. The technology under the hood of the Stinger is much more powerful and it’s more easily updated in software to help filter out blind spot falses, improve its performance, and update the unit over time. You can also add an optional rear antenna to the Stinger to get directional information.
Are RD’s illegal?: Radar detectors are illegal in VA, Washington D.C., and throughout most of Canada. The Redline is immune to detection from radar detector detectors so it’s a better choice for those areas. If you don’t want anything visible and hanging on your windshield at all, the STi-R Plus and Stinger VIP are physically hidden and also RDD immune.
Do you often drive at least 25mph over the speed limit?: First off, please drive safely. If you’re in a situation where you really depend on your radar detector on the highway, radar detection performance should be the top priority and so the Redline is a good choice.
Budget: For detectors under the $200 pricepoint, there’s no better value than the two higher end Unidens. Higher end detectors will give you more range, more features, and better customer service. The Unidens are also being discontinued shortly so this should be considered as well. Otherwise you can get most of what many other detectors offer for a fraction of the price.
City/Highway driving: Some detectors like the Redline offer insanely good performance, but not so much in terms of filtering out false alerts in town. Other detectors may not have quite the range of the Redline, but they’re more usable as an all-around package.
Arrows: Arrows are very helpful for locating the threat so you know where to look when the detector goes off (ahead? behind?) as well as when you pass the source. You can often figure things out from the rampup of the audio alerts, but arrows make things much easier.
Automatic lockouts: Lockouts are super handy. The radar detector can learn where your stationary false alerts are from speed signs, shopping centers, and drugstores. The detector can either learn and lock out those signals automatically so your detector gets quiet over time as you make the same drive over and over, or you can manually tell it to lock out the signal when you pass it for the first time.
Pair with your phone: The Max and Max2 are the same detector except the Max2 has Bluetooth built in. If you want to pair your detector with your phone to have an external display, get alerts to and from the cloud, or configure the detector more easily, the phone is helpful. If you don’t need this, you can get the original Max.
Redline vs. Magnum: Anywhere you see the Redline, you can also substitute a Magnum. They’re the same detectors with a different look and sounds, and you can often pick up a Magnum a bit cheaper than the Redline.
Current Radar Detector Pricing
Pricing can fluctuate for some of these detectors, so here’s the current pricing you’ll find for each radar detector, and where I recommend to buy them:
Stinger VIP: Use my coupon code “VortexRadar” to save 10%.
V1 / YaV1: V1 is $400. V1C Bluetooth module is $50. Android phone either you already have or you can buy an inexpensive prepaid phone.
Please let me know how this helps and if you have any questions or suggestions for improvements. This guide will be updated periodically as new detectors come out, are discontinued, or are updated.
You can always learn more in depth information by reading my Complete Radar Detector Buyer’s Guide.
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Great chart…That’s exactly what I was looking for. A quick question….I know the Redline does not have a gps chip but but can you connect it to escort live for lock outs?
You can, yeah. That will give you lockouts in town if you want ’em.
The highway route I take daily passes quite a few false X and K bands. It would be nice to lock them out like my old Max used to do. You feel the Redline would be best along with escort live for my type of driving?
That would help, yes. Are you sure X and K band are in use there? You could always turn the bands off if they’re not. TSR, Auto Mode, and Lockouts will all help with filtering the falses.
Great flowchart; however, I would have expected to see options following each conclusion rather than a single suggestion. For instance, based on your prior reviews, I’m surprised that you didn’t list Radenso Pro SE where you listed “Max.” Otherwise, it’s a great tool to start with…
Agree with Adam in that I am also surprised not to see the RPSE. My assumption is that it is because it is still a work in progress… is that correct?
Correct. There’s a firmware update due out shortly and once it becomes a more reliable detector, it’d be one I feel would be a solid pick. Currently it’s a very capable detector but may be better suited to enthusiasts who are aware of some of the nuances.
Have you tested the escort passport IQ? I’m comfortable with the brand but wonder how it compares to the passport max or max 2. I like the idea of it looking like a gps. From what I read the actual gps is not very good.
My V1 is currently hard wired.
Can I use this V1 wire for a Max 360?
If so, are there any concerns with using the V1 wire on the 360?
Thanks in advance and you do a great job with all the info and videos you provide.
my friend vortex…you need to make a video how to config the Valentine V1 in all States, starting in Florida where i live 😉 I just bought the Valentine v1 with the v1 connection to android, and a mirror mount for it.
heh, I’ve done more videos on setting up the Valentine 1 than I have any other detector.
Here’s a tutorial for it: https://www.vortexradar.com/2015/12/how-to-quiet-down-a-valentine-one-and-maximize-its-performance/
and here’s a walkthrough of setting up everything from scratch: https://youtu.be/aq1Gui7gaaU
Finally, if you need local information, check here: https://www.rdforum.org/wiki/index.php?title=RDF_Geographical_Survey_-_Florida
where is x band still used and not used. what states? also….what about tsr?
See this post: https://www.vortexradar.com/2015/11/how-to-find-out-what-radar-bands-radar-guns-and-laser-guns-are-used-in-your-area/
why do you only review rx65 when the bel300 replaced it?
Generally because the RX65 was cheaper. The Bel300 is its replacement with better performance, but once you get into more expensive detectors, you have better options. The Uniden DFR6, for example, is cheaper now than both the RX65 and Bel300, yet it offers better performance and better blind spot filtering. Like I said in your other question, there’s better ways to spend your money these days.
can you compare v995 to rx65 to bell300?
There’s a zillion variations on Escort’s M4 platform. Same fundamental detector with different names, shells, slightly different feature sets, etc. I don’t review every single detector ever because I don’t want to and there’s not a good reason to. It’s better to stick with the best detectors that offer the best protection, the best value for the dollar, and are the best use of your money.