Best Radar Detectors For 2023 – Forbes

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No matter how well Waze alerts you to police speed traps, a clever app will never outsmart a physical device that detects police radar signals in real-time. Radar detectors have been doing that for decades. Now they’re more powerful, connected to their own crowdsourced apps, and can identify an evolving, complicated mix of police radar through the clutter of signals from other cars, traffic signs, and automatic doors.
Radar detectors alert you to active radar signals, whether it’s from a police car, a handheld radar gun, a speed camera, or other device. But the newest and most sophisticated police radar can easily outsmart older or inexpensive detectors. MultaRadar is growing across the U.S. and is nearly undetectable without the newest and best radar detectors (see FAQ). The proliferation of radar sensors in newer cars, such as for adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring, is another obstacle for detectors since they run on similar frequencies as standard police radar. Fortunately, several leading radar detector manufacturers have the processing power and software algorithms to separate real threats from false threats—and with plenty of warning time. Unfortunately, as before, this kind of radar performance is pricey.
Since range and accuracy are the entire reasons to buy a radar detector, we have eliminated any new radar detectors priced below $300 from consideration. Radar detector testers know that cheap detectors have only a fraction of the range, throw too many false alerts, have limited to no connectivity, and deliver inferior performance. Considering how a speeding ticket can cost well over $300 in many jurisdictions—to say nothing of a potential arrest, suspended license, and insurance penalties resulting from a traffic stop—spending more is worth it.
The MKII is the second version of Escort’s number-two detector (the top model is the Redline 360c that retails for $100 more) and promises 50-percent greater range. But there’s a reason MAX is all caps: It’s arguably the best choice. Filtering works flawlessly for most reviewers while the GPS has an auto-learn feature that recognizes where you regularly drive, blocks false alerts, adjusts its sensitivity based on your road speed, and displays speed limits. Directional arrows for the front and rear antennas frame an OLED screen, which has several color themes. More importantly, the MAX 360c comes with Wi-Fi for software updates and Bluetooth for connecting the Drive Smarter app (essentially, Escort’s version of Waze that crowdsources other Escort users’ alerts). For full performance and functionality, it’s hard to beat.
The Uniden R8 offers an overwhelming amount of detail, such as the ability to set the exact speed the detector runs in city mode or identify the exact laser gun a police officer is using. It’s compatible with Gatso speed cameras (and identifies those, too) and reviewers laud its MultaRadar detection plus its filtering and range are very good. Directional arrows flash on the sizeable screen. Uniden redesigned the R8 to include two buttons on the front panel instead of the side. But considering its price matches the Escort, the R8’s GPS auto-learning doesn’t always work and its build quality and bulky size are significant demerits. There is no wireless connectivity or app, either. In city environments or areas with a lot of speed traps, the Uniden may be the best choice.
Valentine One pioneered directional arrows decades ago by being the first and only radar detector to have both forward and rear antennas. Its exceptional performance has been rivaled by many detectors, but not in stealth. Radar detectors detect signals, but in doing so they also emit digital noise of their own. Police can use devices called “radar detector detectors” (or RDD) to pinpoint which vehicles are using radar detectors in areas where the devices are illegal. The Valentine V1 Gen2 is known for its undetectability by the commonly used Spectre RDD.
The V1 Gen2 features an all-new magnesium case and radar-seeking technology adapted from a concept used by military CHIRP radars to find fainter targets farther away with higher precision. The unit’s substantial range increase over the original V1 teamed with false alarm reduction, built-in Bluetooth and a breakthrough in stealth earned the Valentine One Gen2 a top spot on this list. But there’s no GPS, the app is very limited in functionality and updates require a firmware change that mandates sending the V1 back to the company at a cost.
Having the option to control your radar detector via a handheld remote allows you to control and customize it while keeping your eyes on the road. This is an especially important feature to have for the K40 Electronics Platinum100 radar detector, which has hundreds of customizable features. K40 even offers one-on-one consultations with senior engineers to optimize the unit for your location, the way you drive and which alerts you prefer to receive. The unit also features LNA long range performance engineering enhancements for increased range and sensitivity. It offers MultaRadar detection, and K40 boasts a ticket free guarantee.
The Uniden R3 is a popular entry-level detector for a reason. Though it’s not the latest and greatest model, it still offers the best bang for your buck with its long range, GPS capabilities, state of the art false alert filtering and reliable red-light camera and speed alerts. The device’s high sensitivity does require more optimization resulting in a longer initial setup time, but in turn it offers extra reassurance that it won’t miss a beat. It also offered MultaRadar CD detection, which the more expensive Radenso XP does not.
The Radenso XP is designed to operate quietly with GPS-based filtering. It comes with limited adjustments but has enough options to satisfy the needs of most drivers. Radenso claims the XP is undetectable by RDD from at least 14 feet away. The XP automatically adjusts sensitivity to your speed, comes with free firmware updates and has 260 types of voice alerts. The OLED display is legible even during the sunniest of days. But there is no companion app or wireless connectivity, it will not automatically filter GPS locations like the Escort, and its range falls behind the leading detectors.
Radar detectors are radio receivers that pick up frequencies used by police radar guns. They look for specific frequencies on X, K, and Ka bands. While they emit radio noise (hence why they can be detected by an radar detector detector), they do not actively transmit any frequency. How far a radar detector can sense a signal, how well it can filter out false alerts and how quickly it can process multiple radar signals comes down to each individual detector and the physical environment in which it operates.
Radar range depends on the target vehicle’s size and shape, the vehicles around it, obstacles such as buildings and bridges, and weather conditions such as fog. Typically, according to, police can accurately log your speed from as far away as a quarter mile to fewer than 700 feet. Depending on conditions, the best radar detectors may sense police radar from miles away, but at that distance it’s very weak. Because radar waves bounce off objects and their path widens with distance, police must clock you at close range to obtain an accurate speed reading on a single vehicle in traffic.
Traditionally, the radar that police officers use operates at a fixed frequency, also referred to as Continuous Wave radar. The new MultaRadar CD (MRCD) and the even more recent MultaRadar CT (MRCT) function by varying the frequency. Not only does that variation elude many detectors, it’s the angle. Instead of firing a radar signal at a vehicle head-on, police using MultaRadar aim the radar at an angle. This capability may be less crucial in a detector today as MultaRadar is not widely used across the U.S., but if you want to future-proof your detector, it’s an essential feature.
We ranked radar detectors based on our personal experience with Valentine One and Escort detectors along with referencing highly thorough testing by dedicated radar detector reviewers. We only sourced reputable detector manufacturers that have been in business for decades. Radar detectors are highly specialized equipment and a radar detector company’s research and engineering are just as important as their claimed performance. While we looked at the option for stealth against radar detector detectors (RDD), we did not factor that into overall consideration (except on the Valentine One, where stealth is one impressive part of its capability). Range, accuracy and filtering were essential in our rankings. Extra features such as wireless connectivity, companion apps and available GPS auto-learning also factored into our choices. But we did not choose any new detectors priced below $300. The Radenso XP, at $299.99, is in the lowest tier of radar detectors we felt confident to recommend.
We evaluate all radar detectors based on these weighted metrics:
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