The 8 Best Radar Detectors to Buy in 2018

Avoid getting pulled over with these great radar detectors

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown

  • Best Overall: Uniden R3 Extreme Long Range Radar Detector at Amazon, “Offering 360-degree, full spectrum digital signal processing for, theoretically, no blind spots.”
  • Runner Up, Best Overall: Escort Passport S55 at Amazon, “Includes a built-in 720p video/audio webcam that’s easily mounted on a windshield as a dash cam.”
  • Best Splurge: Max 360 at Amazon, “Larger than most detectors on this list, but with great size comes a greater feature set.”
  • Best Value: Cobra ESD7570 at Amazon, “Offering 360 degrees of protection at a fraction of the price.”
  • Best Detection: Escort iX at Amazon, “Offering some of the longest potential range on a radar detector across the X, K, KA and POP frequencies.”
  • Runner Up, Best Detection Range: Valentine One at Amazon, “Helps identify the signal direction with one forward-facing and one rear-facing antenna.”
  • Best Cordless: Escort Solo S4 at Amazon, “Great for someone who switches cars often or travels frequently.”
  • Best Design: Radenso XP at Amazon, “Helps drivers avoid false alarms by allowing for customized GPS lockouts.”

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Uniden R3 Extreme Long Range Radar Detector

4.3

The Uniden R3 is a workhorse radar detector that offers a variety of features that’ll make it the perfect car companion, whether on long road trips or just driving around town. It offers a 360-degree, full spectrum digital signal processing that allows for, theoretically, no blind spots (great for detecting even the sneakiest of hiding cruisers). The built-in GPS functionality adds additional red light cam detection, a trap that many fall into even with simpler featured radar detectors.

They’ve included the requisite K False and KA False filters, a feature that will help to limit noisy interference from certain older makes of cars (such as Cadillacs). That last feature is crucial to eliminate the false positive radar detection. Finally, there’s limited voice control, so you don’t have to take your hands off the wheels, and there’s even quiet operation so that the only people who will know you’re using a radar detector are those that you want to know.

Runner Up, Best Overall: Escort Passport S55

Escort’s Passport S55 High Performance Radar/Laser detector more than lives up to its name with excellent all-around performance. However, the S55 adds another layer of excellence with a built-in 720p video/audio webcam that’s easily mounted on a windshield as a dash cam. Capable of providing long-range warning across all radar and laser bands (K, X, and KA), the included digital signal processing helps reduce the number of false alarms while providing a maximum range for detection. The included auto sensitivity mode helps to identify other radar sources from real threats to eliminate false positives. Escort’s own Traffic Signal Rejection is on-board, which helps to reject interstate traffic sensors to eliminate even more false threats.

The S55 is also compatible with Escort Live, the company’s real-time ticket protection network that alerts you of upcoming alerts provided by other users. This real-time threat detection helps give you access to local speed limit data that you otherwise wouldn’t have (especially if you’re driving on roads you’re otherwise unfamiliar with). Additionally, the Escort’s “V-tuned” radar receiver offers extreme long-range detection to help minimize the chances of a ticket. Beyond radar detection, the included 16GB memory card boosts the amount of storage the dashboard camera can record for extra protection while on the road.

Best Splurge: Max 360

Max 360
Courtesy of Amazon.com

At 1.9 pounds and 5.4 inches long, the Max 360 is larger than most detectors on this list, but with great size comes a greater feature set. With a similar feature set to the Passport Max2, the Max 360 adds enhancements like directional alerts to the display, which tells you the direction a radar ping is coming from. The Max 360 detects all the currently used law enforcement bands: X, K, Ka, Ka-Pop, plus laser detection. The Max 360 includes the “Auto” setting, which expands its detection range based on the speed of the vehicle (so you'll have a longer range on a highway and a shorter range on suburban streets).

As the name implies, the combination of GPS, Escort Live for crowdsourced results and 360-degree protection fills the Max 360 to the brim with features. Extra features include an over-the-speed-limit alert, display lights showing different types of radar detection and Bluetooth connection via your smartphone through Escort Live. The pre-installed Defender Database adds the red-light and speed cameras, though some Escort users have complained that the database is too small and that Escort doesn’t offer frequent updates.

Best Value: Cobra ESD7570

Backed by the Cobra name, the ESD7570 nine-band radar and laser detector offers 360 degrees of protection at a fraction of the price. Utilizing Spectre undetectable technology, the Cobra helps make you immune to Spectre I radar detector detectors, so you can get by using one without getting caught. The ultrabright display lets you know immediately when a threat is detected and continues to provide you with proximity alerts, so you know when a threat is passed. Additionally, the Cobra provides separate alerts for X, K and KA bands, as well as laser and VG-2 signals. The incorporation of both city and highway modes helps reduce the false alerts and includes a traffic warning system that helps distinguish real threats from false ones. Thanks to Cobra’s proprietary safety alert transmitters, on-board alerts keeps drivers aware of approaching emergency vehicles, railroad crossings or other road hazards that could be dangerous.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best radar detectors for under $100.

Best Detection: Escort iX

Intelligent and high performing, the Escort iX offers some of the longest potential range on a radar detector across the X, K, KA and POP frequencies. Buoyed by its superior sensitivity, the maximum range coverage is a real boost for drivers who are constantly on the road, especially on long stretches of highway where advanced detection can make all the difference. Escort’s DSP technology and its enhanced laser sensors provide one of the earliest warnings of speed-monitoring threats or traps that could be on the road ahead.

 Escort’s proprietary false-threat detection combines with GPS to automatically detect and fix false alarms for drivers. Syncing to Escort’s Live community, iX users are afforded real-time ticket protection against photo enforcement, caution areas and live police alerts, thanks to the huge number of users working behind the scenes to protect against threat detection and the 10,000 radar and speed cameras inside the United States.

 

Runner Up, Best Detection Range: Valentine One

Valentine One
Courtesy of Amazon.com

When it comes to detection range, few radar detectors do it better than the Valentine One. The 10.6-ounce, 6 x 2.5 x 4-inch detector promises excellent range performance, thanks to multiple radar antennas. With one forward-facing and one rear-facing antenna, the Valentine will help identify the signal direction. The Valentine can detect laser, as well as the X, K, Ku and Ka bands. While unconfirmed from the manufacturer, online reviews have pegged the Valentine’s signal reach to almost five miles.

When a threat is detected, Valentine’s auto-mute feature goes to work providing you a full volume first alert, then dialing down the sound with each consecutive alert to avoid annoying the driver. Unfortunately, it lacks up-to-date features like GPS technology that helps avoid many false signal reports or early warning for red light and speed cameras. The interface itself is simplified, although not as digital or advanced as today’s more current options. The main knob turns the Valentine on and off, adjusts the volume and offers just the right amount of information you need, such as the band being detected, strength, etc.

Best Cordless: Escort Solo S4

Powered by two AA batteries, Escort’s Solo S4 is the lone cordless radar detector on this list, but it separates itself from the pack by adding a convenience factor. Setup is just as easy as its corded rivals, just place it on the windshield or dashboard and drive. If you’re someone who switches cars often or travels frequently, the lack of a necessary power cord makes the S4 an immediate consideration. The S4 can detect the usual spread of radar, pop and laser frequencies, and it even offers a safety signal alerting you to emergency vehicles in close proximity. Unfortunately, while running on battery detection range is more limited, however, it can still provide ample coverage for driving in most city and urban environments.

To aid in battery conservation, the S4 will automatically switch off after a vehicle has stopped for more than 25 minutes. Overall, the battery life of the S4 will be around 30 to 40 hours (even with the battery conservation functionality) before requiring new batteries. Beyond its cordless identity, the S4 offers a standardized feature set in line with its Escort siblings, including a high-resolution OLED display that identifies signal strength, type of threat and four brightness levels. Auto, highway and city mode are available, which enables the S4 to determine the appropriate range to identify threats and reduce false alerts. Unfortunately, it lacks GPS alerts, which means it does not offer red light or speed camera detection. But, if you’re a traveler that moves cars often, the S4 is a great choice that goes anywhere you do.

Best Design: Radenso XP

Stay sharp on the road with this sensitive, extremely quiet device from Radenso. The 2.75 x 4.5 x 1.5-inch detector can provide radar alerts up to several miles away. It also helps drivers avoid false alarms by allowing for GPS lockouts. Simply press and hold an easily accessible button to add a lockout which enables the device to remember common false alarms along your regular routes. 

The Radenso XP comes with a built-in red light and speed camera database with lifetime free updates and can be set to three different modes including Highway, City and AutoCity. When the detector is active, it will alert you when you approach a threat and let you know how many feet away you are from it. The device comes equipped with more than 260 different voice alert messages. Once you have successfully passed the alerted threat, the XP will beep so you can relax again.

The XP's OLED display comes with four different modes (bright, dim, smart dark and dark) so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. With all these features, the Radenso XP helps avoid threats while creating a customized driving experience.

Tested by

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent 12 hours testing one of the most popular radar detectors on the market. To get the most thorough results possible, they took them out on the road — from side streets to big highways — and observed their strengths and flaws firsthand. We asked them to consider the most important features when using this radar detector and we've outlined them here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look For in a Radar Detector

Range - The better the range of your radar detector, the more time you’ll have to slow down. Range depends on the number, direction, and quality of the antennas. Some of the best devices out there can score you up to five miles of signal reach.

Design - As mentioned above, in some states it’s illegal to mount a radar detector on your windshield as it may affect the driver’s vision. When comparing designs of radar detectors, consider how you plan to mount yours. Also think about the size and weight of the detector, as a smaller car might demand a smaller device.

Price - Radar detectors can easily run up in price, with some premium models costing as much as $500. You can get a perfectly decent one for less than $100, though the range might not be as good.

Test Results: Uniden R3 Extreme Long Range Radar Detector (Best Overall)

Uniden R3 Extreme
4.3

What We Like

  • Simple setup

  • Car-charging plug with built-in USB port

  • Detects wide range of wavelengths

  • Nighttime mode

What We Don’t Like

  • User mark feature

Uniden R3 Extreme Detector
Uniden R3 Extreme Radar Detector
Uniden R3 Extreme
Uniden R3 Extreme

One of our testers reported that this detector saved him from getting a ticket — not once, but twice! Our reviewers also believed its slightly higher price point was worth it. “I have had other radar detectors at the lowest price point and the difference between the two is unmeasurable,” one tester said. ”The low-priced detector had loads of false alarms and was very sensitive, while the one I tested seemed to effectively filter out all the false alarms.” However, our reviewers weren’t crazy about the fact that the user mark feature sometimes made alerts a bit repetitive (in the cases of false alarms in user-marked areas).