What’s the best radar detector for 2022? The best three are the Uniden R8, Escort Redline 360c, & the Valentine 1 Gen2. They are the best performing radar detectors with good false alert filtering plus directional arrows to help locate the threats around you. I’m a fan of all three. These detectors also have some notable differences in terms of how plug and play they are, their photo radar detection, and some of the additional features you can add in using Bluetooth or WiFi.
Each of these detectors are optimized for different people. None of them are perfect and they each have pros and cons so no one detector is best for every person in every location. It’s really more of a question of which one is best for you.
Due to supply chain issues, all three of these detectors have regularly been sold out and on back order, so for that reason I’m also going to recommend two similar options that you can usually find pretty easily: the Uniden R7 and the Escort MaxCam 360c. In fact, depending on your budget and needs, these may even be a better choice for you than the three “best” detectors I’ll talk about.
- Uniden R8: Best for Overall Radar Detection
- Escort Redline 360c: Best Plug-and-Play Detector
- Valentine 1 Gen2: Best for Radar Detector Enthusiasts
- Escort MaxCam 360c: Best RD / Dashcam Combo
- Uniden R7: Best Affordable High End Radar Detector
Be sure to check out my comparison review of all the best radar detectors at all different price points. In this article we’re going to take a closer look at just the very best high end windshield mount radar detectors.
My go-to daily driver is the Uniden R8. It has replaced the Redline 360c that used to be my daily.
I like the R8 because it offers great range, good false alert filtering, arrows that work pretty well, and its key features like GPS are built into the detector (no phone required).
Additionally, it’s responsive to brief alerts that other detectors may miss, both at close range and at a distance. This really sets apart the Unidens from the competition and it gives me confidence that it will alert me to all types of police radar signals. Unlike the Redline 360c and V1 Gen2, the R8 can respond to quick radar bursts on both K and Ka band, even with false alert filtering enabled. The Redline 360c is sluggish on K band due to false alert filtering. It can be sped up on Ka, but you need to cut out a bunch of segments on Ka to do so, potentially risking missing a detection altogether. The V1 Gen2 is very quick on Ka even scanning all Ka frequencies, but it’s much slower on K band. Only the R8 gives me good responsiveness on K and Ka which I appreciate in addition to long range detection.
It’s also excellent with photo radar including MRCD, MRCT, and Gatso. The Redline 360c only detects MultaRadar, not Gatso. Comparing the two detectors, the R8 offers longer range, fewer falses, a unique alert tone, and arrows that work against MultaRadar. The V1 Gen2 isn’t designed to detect these systems at all.
The R8 also can identify laser guns when you get hit with laser, though its laser sensitivity is admittedly the lowest of the three detectors, not that that’ll save you from a ticket in the first place. For true laser protection, I’d recommend adding a set of laser jammers to run in tandem with your radar detector.
Moving on to weaknesses, first off the R8’s autolockouts don’t always fully mute signals and so you may need to use manual lockouts initially (by double pressing the mute button) to teach it where stationary false alerts are located from speed signs and shopping center door openers. This is an issue that’s carried over from the R7 to the R4 and now the R8. I think this should have been fixed a long time ago, but in the meantime you can work around it by using manual lockouts when first driving around with your detector.
The R8 is also not fully RDD immune. It can be picked up by the Spectre radar detector detector at close range, but most people (myself included) don’t need that capability. It can be beneficial if you drive in VA, Washington D.C. or any Canadian provinces other than BC/AB/SK. If you do that feature, I’d advise you consider the RL360c or V1 Gen2 instead.
Note: If you’d like to learn more about GPS lockouts or RDD immunity, watch this video.
The R8 has Bluetooth for apps, but Uniden hasn’t released any apps. Additionally I have no idea when Uniden will release firmware to enable the R8’s Bluetooth functionality. Third party developers can create apps, but so far it’s just Highway Radar for Android that’s adding support for it. JBV1 will not support it and I don’t know of anyone on iOS developing Uniden apps.
The R8 also lacks WiFi like the Escort so it can’t update its firmware or speed camera database in the car while you drive. You’ll need to take the detector home and plug it into the computer to update. Uniden’s newer update software definitely streamlines this process so it’s not a big deal, but it is an extra step compared to the competition. Even Valentine lets you update in the car using their free phone app now.
Finally there have been some initial reliability issues, specifically display failures. Fortunately the issue has been identified and resolved with the latest batch of detectors so I wouldn’t worry about that anymore.
Should You Buy the Uniden R8?
Who’s the R8 best for? Anyone who’s looking for a high performance and long range radar detector that excels at detecting all forms of police radar including traditional radar, brief radar signals, and even photo radar. If you wanna know if police are using radar in your area, the R8 will do the best job of that. Additionally if you’re okay with using some manual GPS lockouts initially, you don’t need full RDD immunity, and you don’t want to rely on your phone for core GPS-related functionality, the R8 is a solid choice.
The Uniden R8 is the one I pick as my go-to daily driver.
Escort Redline 360c
The Escort Redline 360c is the best plug-and-play high end radar detector on the market. If you’re looking for a top performer that’s convenient, easy to use, and takes care of everything for you, this is the one to get.
Redline 360c Strengths
The Redline 360c is Escort’s long range windshield mount radar detector. Compared to the R8, its autolockouts work better and it offers some additional features thanks to its Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities.
Using Bluetooth, you can use the free Escort Live app for iOS or Android to more easily change detector settings or to share alerts in realtime with other drivers, adding an additional layer of protection. Plus it’ll let you display the current speed limit of the road you’re on right next to your current speed.
Connect it to your in-car WiFi and you can get the same cloud alerts without requiring a phone, plus it lets the detector check for firmware updates and redlight camera / speed camera updates over the air and automatically update as you drive. In short, it makes the detector even more convenient. After the initial pairing process, it makes things very automated for you.
The Redline 360c is also fully undetectable by radar detector detectors, it offers MultaRadar photo radar detection, plus its build quality makes the detector feel more solid than the plasticy R8.
Redline 360c Weaknesses
What downsides should you know about?
First off, it can be sluggish to alert to brief signals, despite Escort’s advertisements about its rapid response time and how it alerts faster than ever before. In practice it’s slow to alert on K band due to its built in filtering and it’s also slow on Ka band unless you segment down to just 3 Ka segments, 2/5/8. I prefer adding additional segments to cover radar guns around me that transmit outside this range, but that starts to slow back down.
Additionally the audible signal strength ramp-up isn’t amazing. As you get closer to the source, the detector will start to beep more rapidly like any other detector, but I find that it doesn’t do a great job of communicating how close you are to the signal. It seems to ramp up and beep aggressively well before you’re close to the source. Additionally compared to the R8 or V1 Gen2, false alerts may sometimes alert more strongly, making you think you just got hit by close range instant on K band.
The Redline 360c also costs $100 more than the Uniden R8.
Why did I switch from the Redline 360c to the R8 as my daily? Personally I prefer the focus on radar detection over bonus features like WiFi. I like the WiFi, the speed limit display, the auto updates, the build quality, etc., don’t get me wrong, but I feel the R8 does a better job at the core capabilities of performance, responsiveness, and communicating what’s going on around me.
Should You Buy the Redline 360c?
Who is the Redline 360c be best suited for?
It’s best for the driver who wants a high performance radar detector that’s easy to use, especially if you want something that you can pop onto your windshield and it’ll take care of filtering and updates automatically.
Range is great and the false alert filtering is pretty effective. While I’ve given it some flack for responsiveness, you can work around much of that with Ka band segmentation. Ultimately it is the best plug-and-play radar detector on the market.
Note: Due to supply chain issues, the Redline 360c is almost always sold out. Every month or two a few come back in stock and they sell out within a few hours. I typically post availability notifications on Facebook and Twitter, but you can check current availability here. In general I recommend purchasing direct from Escort. If you need one sooner though, you can occasionally find people flipping them on Amazon or eBay, but you’ll usually find them selling for more than full retail.
Valentine 1 Gen2
The Valentine 1 Gen2 is a top pick among radar detector enthusiasts who love having a ton of information and control. If you’re tech savvy, you can pair this with third party apps and add some pretty incredible functionality.
The V1 Gen2, when paired with the Android app JBV1, is my preferred solution for long drives and road trips.
V1 Gen2 Strengths
At $499, the V1 Gen2 is $200 cheaper than R8 and $300 cheaper than Redline 360c while still offering outstanding long range performance, great build quality, and excellent arrows.
It lacks integrated GPS, but using Bluetooth you can add in many of the GPS-related features using your phone’s GPS and an app. Additionally some of the GPS-related features may function even better via an app than they do being integrated. (Apps use more advanced GPS lockouts than built-in lockouts, for example.)
It is undetectable by radar detector detectors like the Redline 360c, plus it’s more sleek and slim which is helpful for remaining physically hidden too. The V1’s magnesium case also feels more premium than the R8’s plastic case.
If you love to get hands-on and tweak stuff, there’s more capabilities and control available with the V1 using third party apps compared to any other detector.
V1 Gen2 Weaknesses
Downsides? First off, without integrated GPS, you’re going to be tied to your phone for basic core features. That means both some extra initial setup and ensuring you always have your phone with app running when driving. You can automate the reconnection every time you get in your car, but most people typically prefer a detector that can do everything on its own. There is also a pretty steep learning curve with learning to use some of the apps.
While there are some good iOS apps, the best stuff is on Android which means we iOS have to run a second phone, mount, and power cable. It’s an extra thing to remember to take with you, to take down when you park, and to reinstall when you resume driving. It’s not a big deal to do occasionally, but it gets tedious to do on every drive and in case you forget your phone, the battery dies sitting in your car over the weekend, the phone overheats in the sun, etc. suddenly you’ve lost access to key features like GPS lockouts, a frequency display, and so on. For this reason I think it’s best suited to Android users.
False alert filtering from nearby vehicles is pretty good, but I do notice more falses from certain vehicles like Hondas, Acuras, and Mazda CX-5’s. Additionally K band falses will sometimes alert as 8-9 signals instead of just 1. This has been improved with newer firmware versions, but it still happens.
A more critical issue is that while some of the newer firmware versions have improved the performance on Ka band, many people have reported significantly increased Ka falses. I experience them now too and fortunately some of them you can knock out using Custom Frequencies, but unfortunately some of the falses happen on legit police frequency ranges and so there’s nothing you can do to eliminate the V1’s Ka falses. On top of that, some people have reported the detector muting legitimate police officer Ka alerts thinking it was a junk false alert. I’m okay with some K band falses, but excessive Ka falsing is another story. Hopefully Valentine fixes this in a future update.
In terms of photo radar detection, unlike every other detector discussed here, the V1 Gen2 simply hasn’t been designed to pick them up so it lacks some of the future-proofing available with other detectors.
V1 Gen2 Apps
Given that apps are so important for the V1, let’s quickly run through the different options you should know about.
V1connection is Valentine’s free app available for Android and iOS. It’s a basic app that lets you change settings, do low speed muting (but no GPS lockouts), and update the detector’s firmware. I use this app strictly for settings changes and firmware updates. For driving I use more feature rich apps.
V1Driver is my favorite iOS app, though it’s available for Android too. It costs $12 and it adds your GPS features like low speed muting and, most importantly, automatic GPS lockouts. I keep this app running in the background so that it adds the false alert filtering I need, plus it can display alerts on my phone and even my Apple Watch.
JBV1 is my preferred app for the V1. It’s a free app available only on Android and it basically turns your V1 into a rolling command center with not only the GPS-based low speed muting and automatic GPS lockouts, but crowd-sourced alerts, police aircraft notifications, speed limit alerts, TMG laser integration, and way way more. This app itself has convinced many people to buy a V1. In fact I often run it in standalone mode even when I’m running another detector just to get many of the non-radar features it offers. There is no iOS version available or planned.
Should You Get the V1 Gen2?
The V1 Gen2 is best for radar detector enthusiasts who love diving into their detector and using apps to extend core functionality. It works fine for iOS owners, but the maximum capability is really available for Android owners. That said, I would be careful running the V1 at this time due to the Ka falsing issues that many people have experienced. Personally I’m not okay with a detector that falses excessively on Ka band, plus I don’t like something that relies on a phone for core functionality, but I think it’s still a great package and it makes sense that many diehard radar detector enthusiasts happily run V1’s.
Regarding availability, the V1 is almost always on backorder. Usually it ships within a few weeks, sometimes up to 1-2 months. Valentine displays estimated ship dates for the next batch on their website. Their trade-in upgrade program for current V1 owners is paused for time being. If you’d like to buy a V1, only purchase it direct from Valentine. I would not recommend purchasing from resellers on Amazon since the warranty is only valid if you purchase directly from Valentine. The primary situation where it could make sense to purchase a V1 Gen2 from Amazon is if you live outside of the US or three provinces in Canada where Valentine ships to (BC/AB/SK) and so you’ll need to purchase it somewhere else.
Escort MaxCam 360c
If you’d like a high end radar detector with a 1440p dashcam built-in for additional protection, the best one to get is the Escort MaxCam 360c.
Additionally the MaxCam is a good alternative to the Redline 360c in case the Redline is out of stock and on backorder again.
Given the convenience of having one device for both radar and dashcam protection with just one mount and one power cable, the MaxCam is now my rental car travel detector.
MaxCam 360c Strengths
Like the Redline 360c, the MaxCam 360c is focused on convenience, building everything into the detector and making it easy to install and get a ton of useful features.
It offers range almost as good as the Redline 360c, but with even better blind spot filtering, upgraded WiFi that supports the faster 5 GHz WiFi used in many newer cars, and of course it adds a dashcam that records in 2K to capture everything going on on the road ahead of you. Plus if you hook it up to your car battery, it can also record while you’re parked, giving you even more protection. For the extra $100 over the Redline, I think it offers some valuable extra benefits.
The false alert filtering on K band is really good on the MaxCam. In my experience, it has the fewest false alerts and is the quietest out of all the detectors mentioned here, arguably one of the quietest detectors period.
There’s also some nice design improvements like the dial on the front that makes it easier to adjust the volume or zip through the different settings and options.
I’ve tested many different radar detector / dashcam combo units and most of them have a decent dashcam with a pretty lousy radar detector. This is the only one I’ve seen that offers both a good radar detector and a decent dashcam too.
MaxCam 360c Weaknesses
The main issue with the MaxCam is that Escort’s new app Drive Smarter is pretty lousy and buggy. The app is used to change settings on your radar detector and dashcam, initially pair it to a WiFi hotspot, and to view/download dashcam footage to your phone.
Until Escort fully fixes Drive Smarter, the workaround is to use Escort Live instead to change radar detector settings and get your cloud alerts over Bluetooth. If you want to create the initial connection to WiFi or to change certain dashcam settings, you can use DS temporarily as needed. To view/download saved videos, I just pop the memory card into my computer instead.
Once you get it paired to your WiFi hotspot and/or rely on Escort Live instead, you get a much better experience.
There are a few other things to be aware of including it’s not fully RDD immune, unlike the stealthy Redline. It’s also physically wider given the added dashcam. Dashcam video quality is decent in sunny weather, but below average in the shade. Parking mode recording works, but its functionality is pretty basic compared to a traditional dashcam. There’s also some occasional Ka falsing, though not as frequent as the V1 Gen2. Finally there’s a few small bugs still like the lowest volume level is loud for some reason so you’ll want to use the second lowest setting if you want a quiet, but not fully silent detector.
Should You Get the MaxCam 360c?
If you’d like an easy to use and plug-and-play detector, but the Redline 360c is unavailable, the MaxCam 360c is a good alternative. Range is almost as good, the false alert filtering is even better, plus you get a very useful dashcam to go with it. It’s not RDD immune, but most people don’t need a stealth detector so this is generally no big deal. The MaxCam 360c is the best all-in-one radar detector / dashcam combo unit available.
Unlike the Redline 360c, the MaxCam 360c is almost always available for purchase so if you want one, order one online, use Drive Smarter to get your initial setup done, and then run Escort Live if you need to change settings down the line. This way you can have the best experience possible.
The Uniden R7 is the best bang for the buck among high end radar detectors. It costs $200 less than the R8 while sitting in the sweet spot between features, performance, and price.
It also offers excellent range, automatic GPS lockouts, MultaRadar photo radar detection, and a big multicolor OLED display, and in exchange for the reduction in price, it does without some features that many people might not need in the first place.
Uniden R7 vs. Uniden R8
The Uniden R7 is the better bang for the buck while the R8 is your top performing option. Is the R8 worth it? Let’s look at what the R8 compared to the R7.
- 3 Main Differences:
- R7 has very good range, R8’s is even better thanks to LNA’s for increased sensitivity
- Auto Mode can vary sensitivity around town, so fewer false alerts in the city
- Front facing mute button instead of mute button on the side is easier to press
- Additional minor differences:
- Gatso photo radar detection
- Can identify laser guns when shot
- R8 has Bluetooth (not currently activated)
- Compatible with Uniden’s unreleased remote control pad
- Compatible with Uniden’s upcoming and unreleased laser jammers
In short, the R7 is 90% of the R8 for $200 less, plus it often goes on sale below $499, not to mention it’s almost always in stock, unlike the newer R8.
Should You Get the R7?
If you’re looking for the best bang for the buck, yeah definitely pick up the R7. The other more expensive detectors do have some additional features or a little longer range, but you’re definitely getting into the law of diminishing returns.
The R7 costs around the same price as the V1 Gen2, or a few bucks less, but it has GPS built-in instead of relying on your phone and third party apps which makes it better and more convenient for most drivers.
At the end of the day, the R7 is one of the most popular radar detectors on the market, and for good reason.
That was a lot, I know, lol. So if we were to boil everything down as simple as possible, here’s how the best radar detectors all compare:
- Uniden R8: Best for Overall Radar Detection
- Escort Redline 360c: Best Plug-and-Play Detector
- Valentine 1 Gen2: Best for Radar Detector Enthusiasts with Apps
- Escort MaxCam 360c: Best RD / Dashcam Combo, Redline 360c Alternative
- Uniden R7: Best Bang for the Buck, R8 Alternative
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