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Best Radar Detectors

Many police officers claim that radar detectors are tools for scofflaws and habitual speeders with disregard towards other road users. While I am not advocating reckless driving in any way, some areas are known for artificially under-posting the speed limit to create 'speeders' out of passing traffic. A speed trap is then set up to ambush those driving over the posted speed limit. A radar detector will help even the playing field so that you're less likely to be caught off guard. Take a look at our recommendations below and a close look at our buyer's guide to find the best radar detector for your needs.

Escort Passport 9500ix Radar Detector

The Escort Passport 9500ix is one of the most feature-laden radar detectors on the market today. Its main advantage over competitors is its GPS feature that allows it to lock out frequent false alerts and non-threatening radar such as automatic door openers. This means unnaturally quiet operation in urban areas that would cause non-GPS detectors to light up like a Christmas tree. With this capability, you can be assured that when the Passport 9500ix does alert you to the presence of radar, it is a genuine threat. Another advantage of the built-in GPS is the ability to issue alerts for static, non-mobile threats such as speed cameras and red light cameras. This feature is invaluable when driving through unknown areas, and ensures that you're never caught off-guard. The Passport 9500ix boasts ultra-high levels of sensitivity for X, K, and Ka band, and offers 360-degree laser detection. The Passport 9500ix also offers several different modes of operation, including an expert mode that displays the precise frequency of the radar being detected. The Escort Passport 9500ix is definitely up to the job of sniffing out police radar at extreme ranges without pestering drivers with confidence-sapping false alerts.

Escort RedLine

Escort's newest dash-mount radar detector is the ultimate in terms of sensitivity. The Redline addresses the criticism that was leveled at the otherwise excellent Passport 9500i-series, which featured outstanding selectivity and resistance to false alerts at the expense of ultimate response to radar threats. This high level of sensitivity is achieved through the use of two reception antennas as opposed to a single one, which can sniff out faint radar signals more effectively without needing to rely on the environment for a lucky break. The Redline also features multiple laser sensors in an effort to maximize the chances of detecting a stray beam, and long-range performance receives a boost as a result. A sensitive radar detector is more likely to raise false alerts, and Escort has covered this base with a digital signal processor which filters out non-threats. The Redline features a matte black magnesium case which cuts down on glare, and the red display is situated neatly behind the flat function buttons. Professionals can switch between different data modes, using a specific frequency display instead of the traditional bar graph. The Redline benefits from Escort's TotalShield technology, which seals the detector and prevents 'emissions' which can be picked up by police radar detector detectors. This essentially makes the Redline 'invisible', which is a handy feature if you insist on using a radar detector where they are illegal. The Escort Redline is very expensive at nearly $500 MSRP, but in the world of radar detectors, you get what you pay for.

Valentine One

The Valentine One, or 'V1' as most drivers call it, has been on sale in one form or another since the early 1990's. The most current model is obviously not the same as the original, what with high-end radar detection and best-in-class laser detection. The distinctive case of the V1 features arrows that point to the direction of the threat, and a 'bogey counter' which displays how many radar devices are in the vicinity. Using these, the V1 can pinpoint exactly where the radar threat originates from, and more often than not do so far enough away so that you can make leisurely speed adjustments before you drive by the speed trap.

However, the V1 does have flaws associated with it. Users of the V1 describe it as 'chatty' in the city, where false alarms are frequent. This is one area where the V1 falls short when compared to other high-end detectors, as the false alarms can get tiresome.

The Valentine One is a fine radar detector, especially considering that its price undercuts the best from Beltronics and Escort by a significant margin. The directional arrows and the bogey counter help make the V1 that much more useful, and you can count on the V1 to sniff out radar threats from a considerable distance away.

Escort Passport 8500 X50 Black Radar and Laser Detector

The Passport 8500 has always been one of the top-performing radar detectors on the market (with a good value message to boot), but Escort has not been sitting around idly. The nature of this industry is such that manufacturers are constantly forced to upgrade and innovate, or simply wither away and disappear into obscurity. The upgrades done to the 8500 series in the X50 Black both subtle and obvious. The previously silver-colored outer casing has been swapped for a matte black one, which is better for cutting down on reflections and distracting glare. Escort has made some changes to the internal components as well, and are now claiming to have unlocked '40% more performance' compared to the standard X50 (silver) model. Even if this claim is overly optimistic, there's no question that the new Passport 8500 X50 Black is still one of the best performers in its price range. Escort offers the Passport 8500 X50 Black in two models - one with a blue display, and one with a red display. There is no difference between the two except for the color of the display, so choose the red display model if you want to save a few bucks.

Beltronics STiR Plus Radar Detector

When new models which share the same name and design as previous products are released on a regular basis, it can get tricky to keep track of which is which. The Beltronics STiR Plus is an update to the highly rated STi-R 'installed' model. Eagle-eyed shoppers will notice that the control unit for the new STiR is identical to the Escort Passport 9500ci - this is because the two are electronic twins (to a point). To ease some of the confusion, the new model drops the dash in the name. Compared to its predecessor, the STiR Plus bumps performance up another notch while adding some key features that make this a better radar detector than ever before. The STiR Plus is built on Beltronics' most capable platform, and thus offers unbeatable radar detection range combined with total invisibility from even the latest radar detector detectors. The STiR Plus closes the gap between it and its stablemate, the Escort Passport 9500ci, by offering a built-in GPS receiver and a preloaded database of known positions of speed cameras and red light camera-equipped intersections. However, the main reason why you would want to spend over $1000 on the STiR Plus is not the amount of features it comes with, but for its amazing performance when it comes to detecting police radar. The STiR Plus offers more range and sensitivity than even the best high-end dash-mount detectors, and can interface with laser jammers for added protection against LIDAR. Despite the high price, the Beltronics STiR Plus is an excellent value. If you can afford to have such a system installed on your vehicle, there is nothing better.

Valentine One

The Valentine One, or 'V1' as most drivers call it, has been on sale in one form or another since the early 1990's. The most current model is obviously not the same as the original, what with high-end radar detection and best-in-class laser detection. The distinctive case of the V1 features arrows that point to the direction of the threat, and a 'bogey counter' which displays how many radar devices are in the vicinity. Using these, the V1 can pinpoint exactly where the radar threat originates from, and more often than not do so far enough away so that you can make leisurely speed adjustments before you drive by the speed trap.

However, the V1 does have flaws associated with it. Users of the V1 describe it as 'chatty' in the city, where false alarms are frequent. This is one area where the V1 falls short when compared to other high-end detectors, as the false alarms can get tiresome.

The Valentine One is a fine radar detector, especially considering that its price undercuts the best from Beltronics and Escort by a significant margin. The directional arrows and the bogey counter help make the V1 that much more useful, and you can count on the V1 to sniff out radar threats from a considerable distance away.

Escort RedLine

Escort's newest dash-mount radar detector is the ultimate in terms of sensitivity. The Redline addresses the criticism that was leveled at the otherwise excellent Passport 9500i-series, which featured outstanding selectivity and resistance to false alerts at the expense of ultimate response to radar threats. This high level of sensitivity is achieved through the use of two reception antennas as opposed to a single one, which can sniff out faint radar signals more effectively without needing to rely on the environment for a lucky break. The Redline also features multiple laser sensors in an effort to maximize the chances of detecting a stray beam, and long-range performance receives a boost as a result. A sensitive radar detector is more likely to raise false alerts, and Escort has covered this base with a digital signal processor which filters out non-threats. The Redline features a matte black magnesium case which cuts down on glare, and the red display is situated neatly behind the flat function buttons. Professionals can switch between different data modes, using a specific frequency display instead of the traditional bar graph. The Redline benefits from Escort's TotalShield technology, which seals the detector and prevents 'emissions' which can be picked up by police radar detector detectors. This essentially makes the Redline 'invisible', which is a handy feature if you insist on using a radar detector where they are illegal. The Escort Redline is very expensive at nearly $500 MSRP, but in the world of radar detectors, you get what you pay for.

Escort Passport 9500ix Radar Detector

The Escort Passport 9500ix is one of the most feature-laden radar detectors on the market today. Its main advantage over competitors is its GPS feature that allows it to lock out frequent false alerts and non-threatening radar such as automatic door openers. This means unnaturally quiet operation in urban areas that would cause non-GPS detectors to light up like a Christmas tree. With this capability, you can be assured that when the Passport 9500ix does alert you to the presence of radar, it is a genuine threat. Another advantage of the built-in GPS is the ability to issue alerts for static, non-mobile threats such as speed cameras and red light cameras. This feature is invaluable when driving through unknown areas, and ensures that you're never caught off-guard. The Passport 9500ix boasts ultra-high levels of sensitivity for X, K, and Ka band, and offers 360-degree laser detection. The Passport 9500ix also offers several different modes of operation, including an expert mode that displays the precise frequency of the radar being detected. The Escort Passport 9500ix is definitely up to the job of sniffing out police radar at extreme ranges without pestering drivers with confidence-sapping false alerts.

Beltronics Pro RX65 Radar Detector

Before the introduction of Beltronics' current flagship models (STI Driver and GX65), the RX65 was the company's top offering. Now, the Beltronics RX65 is one of the best value radar detectors on the market thanks to its combination of high performance and a comparatively lower price. It features excellent sensitivity for all North American police radar bands (X, K, Ka), as well as the rarely encountered Ku band. The RX65 is capable of beating out other radar detectors in terms of detection range, and can compete with the best for giving advance warning of police presence. The RX65 also features 360-degree laser detection with high sensitivity - useful for areas where police officers like to rely on laser. While the laser sensitivity is not as high as the Valentine One, the RX65 can still compare to detectors costing hundreds of dollars more.

Escort Passport 8500 X50 Black Radar and Laser Detector

The Passport 8500 has always been one of the top-performing radar detectors on the market (with a good value message to boot), but Escort has not been sitting around idly. The nature of this industry is such that manufacturers are constantly forced to upgrade and innovate, or simply wither away and disappear into obscurity. The upgrades done to the 8500 series in the X50 Black both subtle and obvious. The previously silver-colored outer casing has been swapped for a matte black one, which is better for cutting down on reflections and distracting glare. Escort has made some changes to the internal components as well, and are now claiming to have unlocked '40% more performance' compared to the standard X50 (silver) model. Even if this claim is overly optimistic, there's no question that the new Passport 8500 X50 Black is still one of the best performers in its price range. Escort offers the Passport 8500 X50 Black in two models - one with a blue display, and one with a red display. There is no difference between the two except for the color of the display, so choose the red display model if you want to save a few bucks.

Beltronics STiR Plus Radar Detector

When new models which share the same name and design as previous products are released on a regular basis, it can get tricky to keep track of which is which. The Beltronics STiR Plus is an update to the highly rated STi-R 'installed' model. Eagle-eyed shoppers will notice that the control unit for the new STiR is identical to the Escort Passport 9500ci - this is because the two are electronic twins (to a point). To ease some of the confusion, the new model drops the dash in the name. Compared to its predecessor, the STiR Plus bumps performance up another notch while adding some key features that make this a better radar detector than ever before. The STiR Plus is built on Beltronics' most capable platform, and thus offers unbeatable radar detection range combined with total invisibility from even the latest radar detector detectors. The STiR Plus closes the gap between it and its stablemate, the Escort Passport 9500ci, by offering a built-in GPS receiver and a preloaded database of known positions of speed cameras and red light camera-equipped intersections. However, the main reason why you would want to spend over $1000 on the STiR Plus is not the amount of features it comes with, but for its amazing performance when it comes to detecting police radar. The STiR Plus offers more range and sensitivity than even the best high-end dash-mount detectors, and can interface with laser jammers for added protection against LIDAR. Despite the high price, the Beltronics STiR Plus is an excellent value. If you can afford to have such a system installed on your vehicle, there is nothing better.

Escort Passport 9500CI Radar Detector

Escort Passport 9500CI Radar Detector

The Escort Passport 9500ci (with 'ci' meaning 'custom-installed') is an undetectable remote radar detector - the only one on the market besides the Beltronics STI-R. The Passport 9500ci offers extremely high levels of sensitivity on all bands of radar, and comes with an integrated laser jamming system (Escort calls this laser 'shifting'). On top of that, the Passport 9500ci system is GPS-equipped, allowing it to automatically filter out false alarms and keep a database of speed camera and red light camera locations. The Passport 9500ci comes with a blue display and a small controller, both of which can be hidden with ease. Professional installation is required to properly set up the Passport 9500ci, unless you're extremely knowledgeable with setting up remote radar detectors. The Escort Passport 9500ci is not cheap, but the amount of useful features it comes loaded with makes it worth the price.

Escort Passport 9500ix Radar Detector

The Escort Passport 9500ix is one of the most feature-laden radar detectors on the market today. Its main advantage over competitors is its GPS feature that allows it to lock out frequent false alerts and non-threatening radar such as automatic door openers. This means unnaturally quiet operation in urban areas that would cause non-GPS detectors to light up like a Christmas tree. With this capability, you can be assured that when the Passport 9500ix does alert you to the presence of radar, it is a genuine threat. Another advantage of the built-in GPS is the ability to issue alerts for static, non-mobile threats such as speed cameras and red light cameras. This feature is invaluable when driving through unknown areas, and ensures that you're never caught off-guard. The Passport 9500ix boasts ultra-high levels of sensitivity for X, K, and Ka band, and offers 360-degree laser detection. The Passport 9500ix also offers several different modes of operation, including an expert mode that displays the precise frequency of the radar being detected. The Escort Passport 9500ix is definitely up to the job of sniffing out police radar at extreme ranges without pestering drivers with confidence-sapping false alerts.

Beltronics Pro GX65 Radar Detector

The Beltronics GX 65 may be lost in the shadow of its sibling, the STi Driver, but this does not mean that the GX 65 is any less of a supremely capable detector in and of itself. The GPS circuit means that false alerts are no longer a concern in 'high-false' areas, which means that every alert you get is most likely a genuine threat. The GX 65 also comes with a database of known red-light camera and speed camera locations, so you're never caught off guard. In terms of radar and laser detection, the GX 65 is up there with the best. The highly sensitive receiver can warn you of the presence of radar, often a precious few seconds before most other detectors pick up on the signal. For all around protection, the Beltronics GX 65 is a hard act to beat.

Beltronics STiR Plus Radar Detector

When new models which share the same name and design as previous products are released on a regular basis, it can get tricky to keep track of which is which. The Beltronics STiR Plus is an update to the highly rated STi-R 'installed' model. Eagle-eyed shoppers will notice that the control unit for the new STiR is identical to the Escort Passport 9500ci - this is because the two are electronic twins (to a point). To ease some of the confusion, the new model drops the dash in the name. Compared to its predecessor, the STiR Plus bumps performance up another notch while adding some key features that make this a better radar detector than ever before. The STiR Plus is built on Beltronics' most capable platform, and thus offers unbeatable radar detection range combined with total invisibility from even the latest radar detector detectors. The STiR Plus closes the gap between it and its stablemate, the Escort Passport 9500ci, by offering a built-in GPS receiver and a preloaded database of known positions of speed cameras and red light camera-equipped intersections. However, the main reason why you would want to spend over $1000 on the STiR Plus is not the amount of features it comes with, but for its amazing performance when it comes to detecting police radar. The STiR Plus offers more range and sensitivity than even the best high-end dash-mount detectors, and can interface with laser jammers for added protection against LIDAR. Despite the high price, the Beltronics STiR Plus is an excellent value. If you can afford to have such a system installed on your vehicle, there is nothing better.

Escort Passport 9500CI Radar Detector

Escort Passport 9500CI Radar Detector

The Escort Passport 9500ci (with 'ci' meaning 'custom-installed') is an undetectable remote radar detector - the only one on the market besides the Beltronics STI-R. The Passport 9500ci offers extremely high levels of sensitivity on all bands of radar, and comes with an integrated laser jamming system (Escort calls this laser 'shifting'). On top of that, the Passport 9500ci system is GPS-equipped, allowing it to automatically filter out false alarms and keep a database of speed camera and red light camera locations. The Passport 9500ci comes with a blue display and a small controller, both of which can be hidden with ease. Professional installation is required to properly set up the Passport 9500ci, unless you're extremely knowledgeable with setting up remote radar detectors. The Escort Passport 9500ci is not cheap, but the amount of useful features it comes loaded with makes it worth the price.

Escort Passport 8500 X50 Black Radar and Laser Detector

The Passport 8500 has always been one of the top-performing radar detectors on the market (with a good value message to boot), but Escort has not been sitting around idly. The nature of this industry is such that manufacturers are constantly forced to upgrade and innovate, or simply wither away and disappear into obscurity. The upgrades done to the 8500 series in the X50 Black both subtle and obvious. The previously silver-colored outer casing has been swapped for a matte black one, which is better for cutting down on reflections and distracting glare. Escort has made some changes to the internal components as well, and are now claiming to have unlocked '40% more performance' compared to the standard X50 (silver) model. Even if this claim is overly optimistic, there's no question that the new Passport 8500 X50 Black is still one of the best performers in its price range. Escort offers the Passport 8500 X50 Black in two models - one with a blue display, and one with a red display. There is no difference between the two except for the color of the display, so choose the red display model if you want to save a few bucks.

Beltronics Pro RX65 Radar Detector

Before the introduction of Beltronics' current flagship models (STI Driver and GX65), the RX65 was the company's top offering. Now, the Beltronics RX65 is one of the best value radar detectors on the market thanks to its combination of high performance and a comparatively lower price. It features excellent sensitivity for all North American police radar bands (X, K, Ka), as well as the rarely encountered Ku band. The RX65 is capable of beating out other radar detectors in terms of detection range, and can compete with the best for giving advance warning of police presence. The RX65 also features 360-degree laser detection with high sensitivity - useful for areas where police officers like to rely on laser. While the laser sensitivity is not as high as the Valentine One, the RX65 can still compare to detectors costing hundreds of dollars more.

Beltronics Vector 995 Multi-Band Radar Detector

The Beltronics Vector 995 is an extremely popular radar detector for a good reason - its performance far outstrips its price. The Vector 995 features high levels of sensitivity to X, K, and Ka bands, and will provide you with plenty of advance warning in case police radar is present. The Vector 995 is also one of the few radar detectors on the market that can detect the Ku band which is rarely used in North America. The Vector 995 has laser detection modules to give you all-around laser protection, for the areas where LIDAR is the favored enforcement method. With this much performance and a price tag that comes in at a couple hundred dollars under the top models, it's no small wonder that the Beltronics Vector 995 is a consumer favorite.

Buyer's Guide

Radar Detector Buyer's Guide

A radar detector is a tool or utility, and is best treated as such. When combined with high levels of situational awareness and making intelligent decisions, a good radar detector acts as an extra 'sense' in paying attention to the road. Radar detectors are primarily designed to detect the usage of radar within its operating range, hence the name. The mere presence of a police car is not enough to trigger an alert unless a radar device is active.

Not all radar detectors are created equal. The ones worth any consideration are usually pricey, so buyers must decide whether the investment is worth it compared to the cost of even a single ticket. There is no such thing as a 'budget' radar detector - only good ones and bad ones. We've narrowed down the wide array of radar detectors offered for sale to recommend only the best since the difference between a 'close call' and a speeding ticket can be quite expensive.

Sensitivity
A sensitive radar detector will alert users to even the slightest hint of radar presence. The best radar detectors on the market will sound an alert if there is an active radar trap around the corner, over a hill, and way out of visual contact. The more sensitivity a radar detector has, the more likely it is to alert you to the presence of a radar speed trap. Unfortunately, this also often includes non-threats such as automatic door openers, microwaves, and even other poorly shielded radar detectors. False alerts can get annoying and tedious, though many of the newer GPS-equipped radar detectors can automatically lock out false alarm signals at the source. For more information about this feature, scroll down to the 'features' section.

LIDAR is becoming increasingly popular with some police agencies. Instead of using sound waves as a medium to measure speed, LIDAR sends out invisible laser pulses and calculates the closing speed. This laser beam is extremely narrow compared to radar, and traffic enforcement officers can use a LIDAR gun to pick out a single car from a crowd. LIDAR is also extremely quick and does not have the same 'spread' as radar, making it very difficult to detect. The car in the next lane could be targeted by an officer using LIDAR, and your detector may not even alert. By the time your own detector alerts you to LIDAR, you have already been clocked.

This is not all doom and gloom, however. There are inherent drawbacks to laser speed detection, and several instances of case law acknowledge this fact. LIDAR also operates on a light principle, which means variables such as humidity, precipitation, and other weather factors can affect the reading. On top of that, there are highly effective countermeasures available. While high-end radar detectors can sometimes alert drivers to LIDAR before they themselves become the target, laser jammers can prevent a LIDAR gun from registering a speed.

Range
The detection range of a radar detector is another important factor. A highly sensitive radar detector is of little practical use if it cannot detect the presence of speed traps past 500 feet. On an open road, some of the best radar detectors sold today such as the Escort RedLine and Beltronics STI Driver can pick out radar from more than 10 miles away. Better detection range always works in your favor to buy you time before you fall within ticket range. When looking at potential radar detectors to purchase for yourself, prioritize the ones which offer longer detection range even if you plan on driving mostly in the city.

LIDAR is a different story. At further ranges, a radar beam can be hundreds of feet wide. A speed-measuring laser pulse is never more than a few feet wide, even past a quarter mile. Though the accuracy of LIDAR at that range is questionable, the beam itself is still present and can be picked out by more capable radar detectors. This means that even if the car in front of you is being targeted, you have a chance to react before your speed can be measured. The Escort RedLine, Beltronics STI Driver, and Valentine One are particularly talented at picking out laser from a distance.

Features
These days, 'radar detectors' are no longer just simple devices which sniff out radar frequencies. The general trend nowadays is that manufacturers are including GPS capabilities with their high-end detectors, combining ultra-high sensitivity and range with a GPS function which can pinpoint the location of false alerts. This means that the radar detector will stay quiet until a genuine threat is encountered. Models like the Escort Passport 9500ix and Beltronics GX 65 come with pre-loaded databases of photo enforcement locations, making it much easier to avoid any problems before they come up. You can also program these models manually in case the auto false alert lockout fails for whatever reason.

Some radar detectors feature signal shielding so that they are undetectable to a police radar detector detector (RDD). For passenger cars, radar detectors are illegal in Virginia, District of Columbia, and on military bases. Federal regulations prohibit the use of radar detectors in commercial vehicles over 10,000 pounds. Radar detectors are also illegal in most of Canada, with the exceptions being British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. If you fall into any of these categories and insist on using a radar detector, do so at your own risk. Models such as the Beltronics STI Driver and Escort RedLine are undetectable to the latest Spectre RDDs used by law enforcement, and provide class-leading detection capabilities. However, Bestcovery.com does not condone skirting the law, and you can expect stiff fines and penalties if you are caught using a radar detector illegally.

The Valentine One (popularly called 'V1') radar detector deserves a special mention in this category due to its unique display system. Directional arrows and a 'bogey counter' allow the detector to pinpoint where the threat is coming from and how many threats exist. This is made possible by the dual antenna arrangement, though the Valentine One is not the only radar detector which comes equipped with multiple antennas. The V1 has one antenna facing forwards and one facing backwards for all-direction threat detection capability.

Price & Value
This is a tricky segment for radar detectors. While spending $400-$500 for a box to sit on your dashboard may seem absurd, you need to keep detection performance in mind. At nearly $500, a radar detector like the Escort RedLine is better priced and is a much better value than something you can buy for $49.99 at a local electronics store simply because it offers superior performance. A radar detector which will not alert you to police speed traps is a waste of money at any price while one that will spare you those precious few seconds before you're clocked is worth every penny. This is something to keep in mind when considering which radar detector to purchase.

Additional Resources


https://www.guysoflidar.com/radar-detector-test-august-2009/radar-detector-test.html

https://radartest.com/

https://www.radarbusters.com/radar-detector-info.cfm

https://www.speedzones.com/Site_6/opening_page_sz_2011.html

Bestcovery Staff
Our research team searches out the best of everything so that you can confidently pick the perfect products and services for your needs.
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