Best Radar Detector of 2018, A Buyer’s Guide
Radar detectors can help you avoid speeding tickets, but some are definitely better than others. What are the best radar detectors with long range performance, effective false alert filtering, and the useful features that you need? Let’s help you pick the best one for you.
(Updated January 2018)
Best Radar Detectors: Windshield Mounts
There’s a lot of excellent radar detectors to choose from and each one has a sort of specialty. Here’s a simplified list of all the best radar detectors and the highlights for each detector with how they help keep you protected from speeding tickets.
#1: Uniden R3: Best High Performance Detector for City / Highway Drivers ($399)
The Uniden R3 is an absolute monster and is my go-to pick as the best radar detector. It’s the one I personally run on my windshield to keep me protected. For you guys looking for the best radar detector, this is one of the two radar detectors I’ll point you to. (This and the Max360 I’ll cover next.)
The R3 has the highest performance and longest range out of any radar detector ever produced, no matter the price, giving you the highest level of protection while also offering excellent false alert filtering capabilities too, and it only costs $399. When it comes to picking up radar at a distance to give you time to slow down, even in trickier and more difficult situations, while also giving you the false filtering you need so you pay attention when it alerts, this is it. For those of you guys who need an undetectable radar detector, the R3 will also keep you covered there too.
Now there’s actually two versions of this detector, the Uniden R1 without GPS and the Uniden R3 with GPS. If you drive in urban areas, the R3 is the one to get because it offers GPS lockouts (the ability to learn and filter out stationary false alerts from automatic door openers and speed signs), low speed muting when you’re driving around town slowly, as well as redlight camera alerts. If you drive primarily in rural areas where you don’t encounter those false alerts, the simpler R1 would be the way to go. Personally I’d recommend the R3 for most drivers as it’s a more well-rounded detector and the GPS functionality adds a ton of value. In short, it’s the best radar detector for the money and the best radar detector on the market.
Tip: R1’s and R3’s can be tough to find due to extremely high demand and are often on backorder. If you want one and they’re in stock when you check, GET IT. If it’s backordered, order one and get on the waiting list so that you can get one from the next shipment before they sell out again.
Once you select the R1 or R3, here’s your tutorial on how to set it up.
#2: Escort Max360: Simple to Use, Plug and Play, Arrows, All the Bells & Whistles ($649)
The other detector that I’d consider for the title of “best radar detector” for most people would be the Escort Max360. It doesn’t offer quite the range as the Uniden R3, but it offers a number of other benefits in return that make it very desirable. It’s the one I’d recommend to my brother or my parents, people who enjoy useful features but are not radar detector experts and have no interest in becoming one. 🙂
I’ve covered the Uniden R3 vs. Max360 in depth in this article, but the primary advantage of the Max360 is that it provides a ton of useful information while being very user friendly and easy to use.
For example, the Max360 adds arrows to help you locate the source of the threat which is quite helpful in practice. The GPS lockouts are completely automatic so as you drive around, the detector will automatically start learning and remembering false alerts around town without you having to manually teach it every time so it gets quieter the more you use it, all by itself. These two features alone can make a big difference your day to day user experience.
You can also pair it with your cell phone and connect it to the cloud to share realtime alerts with other Escort drivers so you benefit from their detections too before you even get near the cop while also providing them with advanced warning of what’s ahead. (You can do a similar thing by running Waze on your phone, but that’s again more manual.) The bluetooth capability will also let you change any settings directly from your phone as well as display the speed limit for the road you’re on right on the face of your detector.
BSM filtering has been improved over time and it now does a pretty good job of filtering out false alerts from other cars nearby with radar-based collision avoidance systems. If you’re driving in a banned area and you need RDD immunity, be aware that the Max360 is detectable.
Now it’s not the cheapest detector out there. In fact, at a retail price of $650 (though sometimes discounted online so check current pricing), 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 very good all-around performance in the majority of situations as well as all the bells and whistles while still being easy to use and doing everything for you automatically. It’s a very well-rounded detector.
Tip: If you want to get the Max360, Escort offers a “ticket-free guarantee” where if you get a speeding ticket while running your Max360, they’ll pay for the ticket! This only applies to the speeding ticket and not any potential court costs or hikes to your insurance premium, and some conditions apply. This added protection only applies if you buy the Max360 direct from Escort so if you want that added protection, buy the Max360 direct from Escort to get the speeding-ticket guarantee.
Tip 2: If you’d like to buy the Max360 from Amazon, make sure that it’s says ships from and sold by Amazon.com, not from a third party seller. This way you get a warranty from Escort.
Once you select the Max360, watch this tutorial to learn how to use your Max360.
#2A: Escort Max 360c with WiFi: Ultimate in Automation ($699)
If you have a WiFi hotspot built into your car, look at the new Max 360c instead. It an updated and redesigned Max 360 with WiFi which allows it to automatically update the detector’s firmware and redlight camera database, without you having to take the detector home and plug it into your computer. If you’re looking for that ultimate automated experience and you have a WiFi hotspot in your car (or you can pick up your home’s WiFi when you park), get the Max 360c.
Once you select the Max 360c, read this tutorial to learn how to use your Max 360c.
#3: Uniden DFR7: Best Bang for the Buck Radar Detector ($299)
If you guys are looking for the best bang for the buck and don’t want to drop the cash for the R3 or Max360, the mid-tier Unidens would be my recommendation. The DFR7 is a good all-around radar detector for both city and highway driving, and it won’t break the bank. It offers a more performance and capability than most anything else in this price range, and very effective BSM filtering, GPS functionality, and it retails for under $300.
Range on the highway is pretty good, especially on the more popular police radar frequencies like 34.7, but it’s a bit weaker on others. The R3 offers insanely good detection range on all bands so you don’t have this trade-off which is the primary reason I prefer the R3, but it does cost more.
In terms of filtering out false alerts, the DFR7 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. Thanks to the GPS chip, you can get your GPS lockouts to filter out known stationary false alerts, low speed muting for driving through town, as well as redlight camera alerts. If you need RDD immunity, the DFR7 is undetectable.
Once you select the DFR7, here’s your tutorial on how to set it up.
#4: Uniden DFR6: Best Inexpensive Radar Detector ($199)
For those of you who are looking for the most affordable detector that is still halfway decent, you can save some cash 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, except it doesn’t have a GPS chip so you won’t get the GPS functionality for extra filtering and features around town. If you drive mostly in rural areas, are on a tight budget, and/or you don’t mind constantly pressing the mute button on your detector, you can save some cash and go with the DFR6.
Honestly I still think the DFR7 is a better pick because those GPS features are so helpful around town. Personally I don’t want to use a detector without GPS. It’s just so helpful. It’s mostly useful for around town, but often times even driving down the highway you’ll pass shopping centers or strip malls with 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 low priced detector I’d recommend. This is the best detector you’ll find under $200. Prices fluctuate and so there’s two places I’d recommend you check for the best price on the DFR6: Amazon and BRD.
Once you select the DFR6, here’s your tutorial on how to set it up.
#5: Radenso Pro M-edition: Best Canadian Radar Detector with MRCD (CAD$849)
In Canada, the Uniden R3 or Max360 would typically be great choices, particularly in the southeastern provinces. (Radar detectors are only legal in BC, AB, and SK. The Max360 is easily detectable by RDD’s while the R3 is stealth.) However, in several provinces in Canada including Edmonton, Alberta and around Quebec, there’s a difficult to detect low powered photo radar gun called the MultaRadar CD or MRCD for short. Unless you have a detector that’s specifically designed for MRCD detection, your radar detector won’t help against it. Fortunately there’s a number of good options out there and the best windshield mount MRCD-capable radar detector is the Radenso Pro M-edition.
It offers long range radar detection performance, excellent false alert filtering, the all-important GPS chip for filtering around town, not to mention that it’s specifically designed for MRCD detection while also offering good MRCD false alert filtering. It’s also undetectable to police driving past you with a radar detector detector.
If you’re driving in Canada where the MRCD is in use and you’re looking for the best windshield mount radar detector, the Pro M is the one to get.
It retails for CAD$849. You can use the coupon code “VortexRadar” to save $25.
#6: V1 & YaV1 or V1Driver: Arrows, Control, & Customizability for Tech Savvy People ($449)
Finally here’s a detector that I’ve run for a long time and holds a soft spot in my heart. If you want all the bells and whistles like the Max360 like the arrows and GPS lockouts without paying for the full price of a 360, if you’re more technically minded, you don’t mind pairing your detector with a phone, and you’re cool with taking more time to learn the detector and program some advanced features, the V1 is an excellent option. It pretty chatty straight out of the box (many people complain it falses too much before they learn how to program it properly and they’re right), 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 that other detectors offer on their end.
Once you get it fully set up with your phone, 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, more advanced lockouts, and all at a lower price.
The downsides are that setup and configuration is more complicated, you’re tied to your phone for basic GPS features like lockouts, the display uses red dots to denote bands so it can be hard to differentiate between radar bands at a glance, and performance is starting to lag behind the competition. It is also detectable by radar detector detectors. Nevertheless, it is a capable radar detector.
Tip: Don’t buy the V1 new from Amazon or anywhere other than direct from Valentine. Otherwise you’ll pay more than full retail ($399) and get no warranty. Buy the V1 direct from Valentine.
Best Radar Detectors: Custom Installed Remotes
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 simply prefer a cleaner and more factory look in your cabin, a remote mount radar detector is the way to go. These are also necessary options if you drive a higher end luxury car like a Mercedes, Porsche, Range Rover, or Tesla that has a heated or metallic windshield that interferes with various electronics like GPS receivers, toll passes, or radar detectors. If that applies to your vehicle, you’ll definitely want to opt for a remote detector instead.
Remote detectors will 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 the install yourself.
I have multiple remotes installed on my car for comparison and testing purposes. I’m finding there’s a lot of great options, each with their own pros and cons of course, but none of them is far and away the “best” detector. There’s several top contenders, however, so let’s take a closer look at the very best remotes.
Net Radar Antenna DSP: Best Radar Detector to Integrate with your AntiLaser Priority ($649)
My favorite bang for the buck remote radar detector is the Net Radar DSP. If you’re running the AntiLaser Priority laser jamming system (currently the best laser jammer on the market and I highly recommend that you get this jammer), it has the ability to integrate with several different remote radar detectors. The best one to use is the one that’s specifically designed for the ALP, the Net Radar DSP.
The Net Radar DSP is designed to be an all-around excellent radar detector giving you ton of performance for the money along with excellent false alert filtering. It offers performance comparable to the Uniden R3, but in a remote form. You also get excellent blind spot filtering capabilities, the ability to do GPS lockouts when paired with a phone, MRCD detection is built in, you can add a second rear-facing antenna to get directional information, and it’s easily one of the most affordable remote radar detectors you can buy. It’s designed to be the best bang for the buck and it delivers.
Once you select the Net Radar DSP, here’s your tutorial on how to set it up.
Escort Max Ci & Max Ci 360: Excellent Integrated Radar / Laser Protection ($3000 – $3500 plus installation)
I haven’t had a chance to test this one out yet so I can’t give it my own recommendation based on personal experience, but it’s been tested quite a bit by several other radar detector enthusiasts I trust highly and it’s looking very promising. This is Escort’s brand new remote radar detector. It’s a modernized version of the M3 used in the high performance Redline and 9500ci so it gives you long range performance like the previous generation detectors, except it now adds more advanced BSM filtering which is proving itself to be quite possibly the very best blind spot filter available which is a big accomplishment.
It also comes with Escort’s new laser jammers called the ShifterMax jammers. You have to buy the radar detector with the jammers and it’s currently unavailable without the jammers. The jammers are looking good against older laser jammers, almost as good as the ALP’s, and they’re able to jam some of the older variants of the DragonEye Compact, but again not as thoroughly as the ALP’s. However, for most people they will be okay.
The radar detector / laser jammer combo is available in two versions: The front-only Max Ci ($3000) with a front facing radar detector and two laser jammers, or the front and rear Max Ci 360 ($3500) which adds a second rear facing radar detector along with two additional laser jammers to protect you from behind. The 360 also adds arrows to let you know where the radar source (but not laser) is located. Both detectors offer long range performance, great BSM filtering, automatic GPS lockouts with no phone required, Bluetooth support to share realtime cloud-based alerts with other Escort owners, and RDD immunity.
With most remote radar detectors you have the option of either purchasing online or directly from your local installer, but with the Max Ci series detectors, officially you can only purchase them through a local installer, which is what Escort intends. You can sometimes find the detector brand new on eBay, but if you buy it new on eBay, your warranty will be through your seller, not through Escort, and Escort is actively trying to stop people from selling the detectors online. I know many people would like to save money on the purchase and/or install by buying online and doing the installation themselves, but Escort wants us to purchase through an installer and have a professional do the install for us. You can find a local installer here.
Best Radar Detectors of 2018
So which one 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, but let me give you my top picks from this list to simplify things a bit.
- Uniden R3
One of my two recommendations for people looking for the “best radar detector” is the Uniden R3. It’s an absolute beast in terms of performance, giving you the best possible ability to detect police radar (arguably the most important job of a radar detector) while also effectively filtering out false alerts both on the highway and around town, making it a top notch all-around detector. Click here to purchase.
- Escort Max360
If you’re the type of person who likes having all the bells and whistles, you want arrows to locate the threat, and you want the detector to do everything for you so you get an easy to use experience, pick the Max360. Click here to purchase.
- Uniden DFR7
This is the 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. If you’re looking for the best bang for the buck, I’d say the DFR7 is it. Click here to purchase.
- Uniden DFR6
If you’re looking for more of an inexpensive entry level detector, the DFR6 is your best affordable choice. It offers great performance and blind spot filtering. Without GPS it can’t filter out nearby speed signs and shopping centers, but if you’re constantly doing highway driving in new areas, this is the most inexpensive detector I’d recommend. Click here to purchase.
- Radenso Pro M-edition
If you drive in Canada, especially in Alberta or Quebec, you’ll want a detector with MRCD detection and the best one on the market is the Radenso Pro M-edition. (Save $25 with the coupon code “VortexRadar”) 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.
- Net Radar DSP
If you’re running an AntiLaser Priority laser jammer and you want a remote radar detector too, the Net Radar is a top pick and the best bang for the buck. You get great performance, filtering, and manual GPS lockouts when you add your phone. You also have support for multiple antennas to add arrows to help you locate the threat. Click here to purchase.
- Escort Max Ci or Max Ci 360
If you’d like a well-integrated remote radar detector and laser jammer setup that does just about everything and does it well, the Max Ci or Max Ci 360 would fit the bill. 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, not to mention suction cups sometimes fail which means your radar detector would fall down on your dash, 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.
Thank you, happy driving, and enjoy! 🙂