The Best Radar Detectors for 2024 – Gear Patrol

A prudent investment that can save you a costly headache — and a rate hike on your car insurance.
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Police officers use radar to assess whether you’re speeding. And despite what many people may think, if you don’t live in Virginia, Washington D.C. or Mississippi, it’s perfectly legal to use a radar detector to keep tabs on any 5-0 who are doing that.
The best radar detectors can be pricey, sure — but if they save you from getting points on your license and seeing your insurance rates spike, then well, we’d argue that they’re well worth the money.
Gear Patrol‘s motoring editors are on the roads more or less daily testing new vehicles and — preferably — not receiving speeding tickets while doing so. We tested every radar detector in this guide in both city and highway settings. We looked primarily for performance, but also factored in usability, portability and value for the price.
To learn more about our testing methodology and how we evaluate products, head here.
The Escort Max 360 MKII debuted in 2023 as an upgraded version of Escort’s popular 360 Max radar detector. The refresh brought a new look to the table as well as enhanced sensitivity and feature upgrades. Our tester enjoyed the Max 360 MKII’s combination of sensitivity — enough to satisfy the most paranoid of radar trackers — with tune-ability to reduce the noise from construction signs and other equipment as well as 360-degree protection.
This detector does lack the Wi-Fi capability of its sibling, the Max 360c MKII, but our tester has never used the Wi-Fi features outside of testing for this guide. And the Max 360 gets the slight nod for being markedly cheaper. It also comes in an attractive blue color — a plus for a device that emphasizes function over form.
The Escort Max 360c MKII is one of Escort’s flagship models. It offers Wi-Fi compatibility, allowing the detector to perform over-the-air software updates and employ crowd-sourced data from Escort’s Drive Smarter app.
Our tester found it to be a hair more sensitive than the Max 360 MKII and thought it did a superb job filtering out false signals from the true police ones. It almost performed too well, causing our tester to slow down for police signals that were a mile away or on other roads entirely.
The main differentiator between the Max 360 MKII and the Max 360c MKII is going to be cost and how valuable the Wi-Fi-related features are to you.
The RAD 700i is Cobra’s is a strong affordable option for the budget-minded consumer. Our tester found that it did a solid job picking up police radar bands — albeit not quite as early on as the Escort models. That was almost a virtue given how sensitive the Escort models can be. And the Cobra Rad 700i is about half the price of the premium model.
Opting for the more affordable option does not get you everything, however. The Cobra RAD 700i only offers forward-facing protection; it can’t detect that cop sneaking up on you from behind. It also features a dim display, which can be hard to read.
Dash cams can be a helpful tool to protect you during an array of incidents. But having a dash cam and a radar detector would be unwieldy and clutter your windshield. Fortunately, Escort also sells the MaxCam 360c, which — as the name suggests — is an Escort Max 360c with a dash cam attached.
Our tester appreciated the elite functionality of the Escort radar detector and the magnetic base that made the unit easy to remove and reattach without adjusting the suction cups. And the camera adds helpful features like G-sensor and Parking Mode to automatically capture incidents.
However, our tester thought the camera was better off left for emergencies. It’s difficult to use without a video display or even dedicated camera controls. Escort’s Driver Smarter app becomes slow and battery-draining when video gets involved. And adding a dash cam to an already pricey radar detector makes it even more pricey.
Cobra also makes the RAD 480i, which heads even further toward the affordable end of the spectrum. Our tester enjoyed how compact and lightweight it was, easily stashing it in his backpack while traveling (and in the glovebox when entering Ontario). Our tester also found the RAD 480i straightforward to use and the black and white display clear and easy to read in all light conditions.
But the RAD 480i, as you’d expect given the price point, isn’t quite as effective as more expensive options. Our tester found that it had a hard time distinguishing the signals from the noise on occasion, particularly in more urban areas. He also wished that it had a carrying case for protection

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