You may have a lead foot, or maybe you are just out for a pleasant drive. It’s easy to get distracted by something like your cell phone, the scenery, or a conversation with a passenger, and the next thing you know, you get caught exceeding the speed limit.
Consider the consequences: the cost of the ticket, the probable increase in your insurance premium, and possibly the time you may have to spend attending a traffic school. This is why you should own a radar/laser detector. And if you are going to own one, you should make sure that you own one of the best. This review of seven of the best will get you started in your hunt.
Best Radar and Laser Detector – Top Picks for 2023:
|Uniden R8||Uniden R7||Uniden R4||Cobra DualPro 360°||Radenso DS1||Escort MaxCam 360c||Escort Max 3|
|Range||Extreme Long||Insane Long Range||Extreme Long||Extra Long Range||Extreme Range||Extreme Range||Extreme long range|
|Display||Full-color OLED||Multi-color OLED||Full-color OLED||OLED||Color OLED||Multi-Color OLED||Multi-color OLED|
|False Filter||K/KA Band Filter||Advanced K /KA Band Filter||K/KA Band Filter||AutoLearn Technology||X/K/Ka Band Filter||IVT Filter||In-Vehicle Filtering Technology|
|Red Light & Speed Camera Alerts||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Speed-based Auto Mute||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Price|| Find on Uniden.com|
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|Find on Uniden.com|
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|Find on Uniden.com|
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|Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on EscortRadar||Find on EscortRadar
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6 Important Radar/Laser Detector Features
With huge advancements in radar/laser detector technology, today’s devices are much more powerful than those constantly beeping detectors of yesteryear. Here are some of the important features of radar detectors that you should be aware of when you are shopping for one of today’s best detectors.
#1 GPS Capability – having GPS allows your detector to do several things. For one, the detector will be able to identify and lockout locations that can cause a false alert, like storefront door opening systems that you may pass daily. A detector with GPS will notify you of sudden (and possibly costly if you are ticketed) reductions in speed limits as you approach them. And having GPS, the detector may be able to automatically switch the detector’s mode of operation between city mode and highway mode.
Best Detector for GPS Capability: Cobra DualPro 360°
#2 City and Highway Modes – the mode of operation has do with the device’s sensitivity settings. In highway mode the detector is operating at maximum sensitivity. Detection range will be at its greatest. If you don’t have the option of switching to a less sensitive city mode while you’re driving in town, your detector will be constantly alerting to stationary store radars, road signs, and the Blind Spot Monitoring systems (BSM) of even parked cars.
Best Detector for Modes of Operation: Uniden R7
#3 Visual and Voice Alerting – when your radar detector senses a radar, it will alert you with a beep or a tone. The best detectors also have voice alerting, allowing you to be notified of the threat, how strong the signal is, and in which direction the threat is coming from, without having to take your eyes off the road ahead. The best detectors will also allow you to choose whether you want both types of alerts, or either visual or voice only alerts.
Best Detector for Visual and Voice Alerting: Uniden R8
#4 360° Protection – sometimes the radar source is not out in front of you. It could be coming from either side or from behind. This is especially true with laser and hand-held radar guns. If your radar/laser detector can’t protect you on all sides, you are at risk of receiving a speeding ticket and you have probably wasted your money on a subpar unit.
Best Detector for 360° Protection: Cobra DualPro 360°
#5 RDD Shielding Technology – RDD stands for radar detector detectors. These are devices used by police to track drivers using radar detectors where it is not legal to do so. This shielding technology enables radar detectors to instantaneously shut themselves off if they detect the presence of a radar detector detector (VG-2 and Spectre). Some radar detectors with this technology have the ability to continue to operate while making themselves virtually invisible to RDDs.
Best Detector for RDD Shielding: Uniden R8 or Uniden R4
#6 Smartphone or Tablet Compatibility – Smartphones and tablets have become part of the fabric of our society. The ability for your choice of radar/laser detector to connect with the online world is a real bonus, allowing instantaneous updating information concerning traffic conditions to be sent directly to and from your Smartphone, tablet, or radar detector using iOS and Android apps.
Best Detector for Smartphone/Tablet Compatibility: Escort Max 3
The Uniden R8 is the top of the line radar detector from Uniden and is consistently viewed as one of the best radar detectors around. It has demonstrated that it can detect in-use radar and laser signals from several miles under ideal conditions. It is also one of the very best at reducing unwanted alerts caused by radar sources like automatic doors and driver safety systems.
The R8 features a bright, multi-color OLED display that provides the driver with fast and easy interpretations of the sources of radar signals, strength, and the direction from which the signal is emanating. The auditory alert tone rises in tone as you approach a signal, making it simple to identify whether a threat is real or not. False signals will automatically be locked out after three times of passing the source. For our more in-depth review of this detector, click here.
- Incredibly long range
- Excellent false filtering capabilities
- Red light and speed camera alerts
- Automatic lock out feature doesn’t always work
The R7 offers extremely long range radar detection and can detect MultaRadar, red light cameras, and speed cameras. The R7 has built-in GPS capability, but lockouts are not automatic, the driver must manually input them. Because it has dual antennas, it offers great 360° protection and will indicate the direction of the radar threat.
The R7 has a large, multi-colored OLED display that is easy to read and can display up to four different radar sources at one time. It has both visual and voice alerting and the voice alerts are programmable. The display is subject to burn-in so running the detector in its dark mode, where the detector only lights up for an alert, will increase display life. Click here for our more detailed Uniden R7 Review
- Top of the line detection range
- Directional arrows
- GPS lockouts
- MRCD/MRCT detection
- Red light/speed camera alerts
- GPS lockouts not automatic
- Not completely RDD invisible
- No Bluetooth capability
- Prone to false alerting due to sensitivity
- OLED display subject to burn-in
The Uniden R4 is an upgrade over the R3 and features the second-longest range of any detector by Uniden. It has a colorful OLED display that shows radar bands of detection and the frequency to help drivers recognize a real threat from a false one. It uses dual low noise amplifiers to capture distant signals, giving you time to slow down.
Advanced false filtering also helps this detector to be one of the quietest around. The R4 has a built-in database of signals used by various auto manufacturers for driver safety systems. The R4 also has an auto lockout feature that will help prevent common false alarms. GPS technology allows the R4 to warn you of red light cameras and speed cameras before you get too close.
- Excellent range and rapid detection speed provides more time to react
- One of the better false alert avoidance systems on the market
- No directional arrows to warn of threats
- Auto lockouts aren’t always reliable
Cobra DualPro 360°
The DualPro has a customizable 4-color display with 5 levels of brightness to choose from. It has GPS capability that will display your current speed and the speed limit for the road you are traveling. It also will perform automatic GPS lockouts.
You can lockout stationary radars that cause false alerts. False alerting, always an issue with radar detectors, is greatly reduced with the DualPro. The detector has AI-smart technology that allows it to ignore stationary radars like those found on storefront door opening/closing systems.
This Cobra model has dual antennas for 360° protection. The DualPro 360 can be synced to the iRadar app to allow you to connect with other drivers and receive real-time traffic information. Click here for our more detailed review of Cobra DualPro 360°
- Four-color OLED display
- GPS with automatic lockouts
- Red light and speed camera detection
- iRadar app
- Bluetooth and WIFI capable
- No directional arrows
- Display hard to see in bright sunlight
The Radenso DS1 stands out from the crowd with a sleek and modern design and a clear OLED display that helps quickly identify threats before you get in trouble. The DS1 has the capability to detect radar signals from farther away than almost any other detector on this list. Due to the single antenna, it does not provide directional information.
The DS1 has several neat features that make it a winner for the motorcyclists. It uses a threaded mounting hole to allow for the detector to mount using third-party accessories. Radenso also provides the DS1 with both Bluetooth and a 3.5mm headphone jack to allow alerts to be sent to an earbud. This makes the DS1 ideal for motorcycles. For our more detailed review of this detector, click here
- Attractive design and bright display look right at home in many vehicles
- Magnetic suction mount is one of the best around
- Lack of directional signals
Escort MaxCam 360c
Escort is one of the leaders in the industry because their products are innovative and push the boundaries of what you think they can do. Take the MaxCam 360c for example: it combines the excellent technology of the Max 360c with a dash camera to add another layer of safety to your drive or ride.
The MaxCam 360c shares much of its tech with the Max 360c, so you’ll have a radar detector with incredibly long range and a high level of sensitivity to give you plenty of warning along with false alert filtering to help reduce unneeded alerts. You’ll also have access to the Escort community of logged threats, red light cameras, speed traps, and other data that helps you be aware of threats as they change around you.
- Combines two of the most useful safety features – a camera and a radar detector
- Escort community opens up tons of possibilities to avoid threats
- Some features don’t function yet
Escort Max 3
The Max 3 provides premium range detection along with the ability to detect red light and speed cameras. It has excellent filtering for BSM systems that constantly cause false alerts in other radar detectors. The Max 3 is Bluetooth capable and can connect to several different navigation apps, like Waze.
A unique feature of the Escort Max 3 is its magnetic mount. No longer will hitting a pothole cause your radar detector to bounce off the windshield mount. Check comparison versus R4
- Excellent range and BSM filtering
- Excellent BSM filtering
- GPS with AUTOLEARN and Bluetooth
- EZ Mag mount
- Case quality design issues
- Prone to false K-band alerting
- Not great at laser detection
A great radar detector should be considered an investment in your vehicle. The better the detector’s range, the more time you will have to correct any speed issues before they get costly. GPS capability enables the detector to not only lockout false alerts along common driving routes, but plot your speed and the speed limits as you drive so as to alert you to possible upcoming threats. Great technology comes at a price. Don’t be fooled into thinking that a low-cost radar/laser detector will perform well enough to keep you ticket-free. Just the thought of a couple of speeding tickets along with higher insurance premiums will more than justify the cost of a higher-quality detector.