Cobra RAD 250 vs 350

cobra rad 250 vs 350 comparison

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, on average 112,000 drivers receive speeding tickets every day. The average cost of each ticket is $152. Most of these tickets are a result of the police use of radar guns. If you happen to be one of these 112,000 drivers, you have realized a little too late that your car should be equipped with a Cobra RAD 250 or RAD 350 laser radar detector. The big question becomes which Cobra model is the best choice for you to own.

Cobra RAD 250 vs 350 Side by Side:

Cobra RAD 250Cobra RAD 350
RangeLong RangeLong Range
Built-in GPSN/AN/A
False FilterYESYES
Red Light & Speed Camera AlertsN/AN/A
Speed-based Auto MuteN/AN/A
Updateable FirmwareN/AN/A
Price Find on Amazon Find on Amazon

Radar detectors are designed to pick up radar emissions from police radar guns long before the police radar gun can clock the speed of your car. Ease of use is one of the first things you should look for when deciding on which radar detector you should purchase. Both Cobra’s RAD 250 and the RAD 350 are easy to install and then easy to operate without taking your eyes off the road. Other determining factors should be the amount you want to invest in a detector and the overall effectiveness of the detector you select.

Radar Detecting Range

Detection ranges are always influenced by the terrain conditions that you are traveling through. The more hills, twists and turns there are, the more these terrain features will affect the detection ranges of any radar detector. A typical LIDAR (light detection and ranging) laser speed gun has a range of about 1,000 to 4,000 feet, just less than 1 mile. That said, there is a slight detection distance variation between these two Cobra units. The RAD 250 consistently detects radars at 1.5 miles while the RAD 350 has a bit more range at 2 miles. So if that extra ½ mile is important to you, the RAD 350 should be your choice (Find it on Amazon)

Radar and Laser Band Detection

Both the RAD 250 and the RAD 350 detect all radar signals including X, K, and Ka bands. They both also detect laser and VG-2 signals (VG-2 is used by some police forces to detect radar detectors in areas where they are illegal to operate). Both Cobra models receive high recommendations for their ability to detect VG-2 radars.

Both units also employ the same IVT filtering technology. IVT filtering reduces false alerts caused by stationary sources like automatic door openers or road construction signs that display messaging. Moving cars equipped with collision avoidance, blind-spot monitoring technology, and radar cruise control systems are another common source of false alerts. These false moving alerts can be particularly frustrating so a detector with IVT technology should be a requirement for the detector you choose. Both of these Cobra units also detect radar signals both in front of you and behind you. As far as type of band detection capabilities are concerned, the choice between these two units is a toss up, with neither one superior to the other.

Signal Indicators

A great feature of the Cobra RAD detectors is the different volume levels for the different signal strengths of detected radars. Both units emit unique audible tones when they detect different signal strengths and different types of radar bands.

The real contrast between the RAD 250 and the RAD 350 is their visual displays. The RAD 250 reminds me more of an old-style clock radio from the 1980’s. The RAD 350 has a larger, more colorful LED display that is both clean looking and easier to read at a quick glance. For this reason, I favor the RAD 350 over its less expensive cousin.


Cobra RAD 250

COBRA RAD 250 radarThe Cobra RAD 250 is easy to use right out of the box. Using suction cup mounting makes it simple to install and its size does not impair general visibility out of your windshield. The best place to mount your detector is in the bottom center of your windshield. Locating it there will give the detector a better “view” of what’s in front of you and of what is behind you.

The combination of lower cost and solid performance puts this radar detector in a class of its own. The low cost means that you are paying for the detection this unit will provide and not design of the unit.

One feature that I find very useful is that the VG-2 mode will automatically shut down the unit if a VG-2 band is detected. Nobody wants a ticket for just having a detector operating in his or her vehicle.


  • Ease of mounting and use
  • Adjustable sensitivity
  • Easy to read display
  • Unique tones for different radar bands


  • No GPS lockout capability
  • Lower distance detection range – approximately 1.5 miles
  • No Bluetooth technology
  • Older dot LED display

Cobra RAD 350

COBRA_RAD_350The Cobra RAD 350 is simple to set up and begin using and is a short step up from Cobra’s RAD 250. The mount attaches to your windshield with suction cups and the detector’s small footprint doesn’t block your view out of the windshield. The RAD 350 gives off fewer false alerts that other entry-level detectors due to its IVT technology.

You are paying for the 350’s performance (the software) and not Cobra’s design philosophy. The RAD 350 will however do a great job of differentiating between real signals and false ones, and also short burst radar.

The display is clear and easy to read despite being a little “old school”. With a quick glance, you can determine the incoming band and the strength of the signal, which will help you determine if the alert is a false signal.


  • Ease of mounting and use
  • Adjustable sensitivity
  • Above-average range in congested areas
  • Easy to read color display
  • Unique tones for different radar bands
  •  Less expensive than other comparable brands


  • No GPS lockout capability
  • No Bluetooth technology
  • The mounting bracket could use some beefing up

In Conclusion

At entry-level prices, either one of these detectors deliver great performance. Because of the RAD 350’s ability to detect radar at a slightly greater distance, I would recommend spending a little more money (>>> Check current price on Amazon) and gaining that extra ½ mile of detection capability. You might also want to check laser radar options from “United”

One thing that is important to remember is that radar detectors detect radar, not police or police cars that don’t have their radar guns turned on. The only 100% way to avoid speeding tickets is to not drive faster than the legal speed limit. The police are not trying to make money on you speeding, they are interested in keeping the roads safe for you and other drivers and passengers. Increased speed will affect your ability to react and control your vehicle when you encounter possibly dangerous situations and/or conditions.

If you speed and get caught, remember this Latin phrase: Nemo est supra legis, “nobody is above the law.” But that said, owning one of these two radar detectors can help keep you out of traffic court and keep that average $152 ticket price in your pocket.