Uniden R3 vs. Uniden DFR9: Best Radar Detector Under $300?

The Uniden R3 and Uniden DFR9 are both two great radar detectors. Both offer good performance, helpful false alert filtering, and important GPS features like redlight camera alerts and manual GPS lockouts. The R3 is the more popular choice due to its extreme range and additional features, but the DFR9 is a little bit more affordable and will also work well on your windshield.

Uniden R3 and Uniden DFR9

Uniden R3 (left) and Uniden DFR9 (right)

Comparing the two, here are the main advantages of each detector:

Uniden R3

Uniden R3

Uniden R3 Advantages:

  • Longer range, especially in tougher situations like curves and hills
  • Better blind spot filtering for fewer false alerts
  • K Block to filter most Honda/Acura BSM’s
  • Uses a newer digital platform instead of older analog platform
  • MRCD/MRCT detection to pick up newer low powered radar threats
  • More compact and small
  • Ka band segmentation for additional control over swept frequency ranges
  • 3 digit frequency display instead of 2 digit
  • Receives more updates over time

Purchase the Uniden R3 here.

Uniden DFR9

Uniden DFR9

Uniden DFR9 Advantages:

  • Lower price
  • Ambient light sensor to automatically adjust display brightness instead of relying on time via GPS
  • Power cable port on right side of detector

Purchase the Uniden DFR9 here.

Uniden R3 and Uniden DFR9

Uniden R3 (left) and Uniden DFR9 (right)

Honestly, I think going for the R3 is a no brainer nowadays over the DFR9 for the extra performance and features.

The Uniden DFR7 (the DFR9’s predecessor) is/was an amazing bargain under $200, but that detector is in the process of being discontinued (and has been for a long time). You can still find it online occasionally for around $169 (check here), and if it’s still available, that’s what I’d recommend if you’re looking for the least expensive option.

Now with the DFR9 coming out at a higher price and the R3 dropping to a lower price, the price gap has shrunk significantly and so it doesn’t make as much sense to get the DFR9.

Originally the R3 was $400, but now it can regularly be found under $300 and now that it’s only a few bucks more than the DFR9, between the two detectors, the R3 is definitely the way to go.

Purchase the Uniden R3 here.

Purchase the Uniden DFR9 here.

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    • L Gonzalez on December 20, 2019 at 8:37 am
    • Reply

    Both units are solid choices for the average person running PSL+10. However someone who drives more spiritedly or drives in challenging terrain will definitely want the R3. My personal experience with a DFR7 (same internals as the DFR9) is that 33.8 and 35.5 KA Bands are not it’s strong suit compared to my R3.
    Be patient as deals appear where a new R3 can be had for around $250 and the DFR9 for $180ish if memory serves me correctly.

    • mzdial on December 20, 2019 at 9:14 pm
    • Reply

    Ariel, I upgraded to the R3 from the older LRD950 a few months ago on your recommendation (and affiliate link!) I’m using your advanced settings for the past couple months, and I find the detector is way noisy when it comes to BSM on Honda/Acuras. All the falses make it tough to treat legitimate threats as such. Any advice that I might be missing?

    Really appreciate what you do!

    1. Make sure you’re running firmware 1.50 and enable K Block. It will filter out Hondas/Acuras in the ~24.199 range, though any in the ~24.160 range will still get through. Luckily most are in the 24.199 range and so that filter will help.

      Does your LRD950 not false to those vehicles too? It should…

    • mzdial on December 21, 2019 at 7:11 pm
    • Reply

    Yep. I am running 1.50 and have K Block on. It just seems like if I’m near a Pilot, CRV, or an MDX (those are the ones I seem to notice) it falses.

    You are correct, the LRD950 behaved similar — I guess that was one of the reasons I upgraded (for the K Block) and the sensitivity. I think using your settings, it has helped (I live near Indianapolis) and the urban environment was too busy. I think I wrongly assumed that K Block would knock down most (not all) of the BSM falses.

    1. Yeah it’s specifically designed to only target Honda/Acuras in a specific frequency range. Despite the name, it doesn’t block all (or even most) of the rest of the BSM falses you’ll see. I wish there was one detector that could filter them all out. That’s what we’re hoping Theia will be able to achieve. It’ll be an industry first and a welcome change.

    • mzdial on December 22, 2019 at 5:47 pm
    • Reply

    Looking forward to it. It’s rare to have laser in our area — so a quiet detector that has AI would be killer!

    • Mitch on March 30, 2020 at 3:21 am
    • Reply


    Thanks for your reviews: I’ve been following you for over a year. I live in Spain and I was lookig to get something new. In Spain we only have 2 models as portable radar detector and are extremely expensive (over 700 USD). In Spain the radar frequencies are:

    34,2 to 34,4 GHz / 35,4 to 35,6 GHz and 24,0 to 24,2 GHz. Do any of your favourite portable units operate in thise frequencies? Thanks

    • Denis Kiseginov on November 17, 2020 at 8:21 am
    • Reply

    DFR9. Laser detection does not work. Detects only K and nothing else. An old radar detector detects a laser, this one does not see it, but it sees a bank, gas stations, all truckers. Maybe I did something wrong? The laser is on, but he does not see it, why?

    • Nate on January 10, 2021 at 12:27 am
    • Reply

    Hi Vortex,
    Thank you for the great review! I’m considering on getting a DFR9 or R1 but I’m afraid of the alarm being too early. I also live in Ohio so I will need a strong X band. Which one would you recommend? I want a R3 but I cannot afford that yet.
    Thanks again!

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