Best radar detectors for 2024

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It’s important to obey posted speed limits and the other rules of the road, but we all occasionally make mistakes, and sometimes it can be helpful to have a radar detector in your car to potentially prevent an expensive ticket because of a momentary lapse in judgment. Radar detectors are illegal for use in Virginia and Washington, D.C. However, if you’re in an area where it’s legal to use a radar detector, check out this list of 6 of the best radar detectors on Amazon. 

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$139.00 at Amazon

The Cobra RAD 480i is the best-selling radar detector on Amazon. This tool features front and rear radar detection, long-range detection, and early warnings, and it can even be used with the downloadable iRadar app. It comes with a “12V vehicle power cord, suction cup car windshield mount, and a hook and loop fastener for dash mounting.” If you’re just looking for a popular, reliable solution to avoid laser guns, this should be your first stop. It’s Bluetooth compatible and works with the iRadar app to provide real-time alerts about speed cameras and law enforcement activity. The IVT filter and anti-falsing tech to help reduce false alarms. Reviewers 

Key Specs

  • Power source: DC
  • Display type: OLED
  • Voltage: 12 Volts
  • Special featrues: LaserEye, iRadar App

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$129.00 at Amazon

The Cobra RAD 450 is similar to the RAD 480i above, but with only slightly fewer features it could save you a few bucks. Like the 480i, it has long-range capabilities, an IVT filter to reduce false alarms (though, the 480i has a slightly newer one) and an early warning system. The biggest things you’ll likely be missing out on with the 450 are the newer IVT filter, the iRadar app connectivity and the “front and rear detection,” but for many, these features aren’t essential and the lower price will be well worth it. The 450 has up to 2 miles of range, is instant-on ready for “very fast” monitoring, and voice alerts. It comes with a 12V vehicle power cord, windshield mount, and manual. Positive reviews cite good performance, value, high quality, and ease of use as pros for this product.  

Key Specs

  • Power Source: DC
  • Display Type: LED
  • Voltage: 12 Volts
  • Smartphone compatible

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$53.95 at Amazon

If you’re looking to spring for an Uniden radar detector but don’t want to spend the hundreds of dollars it costs for an R3 or R7, this Uniden DFR1 may be the best radar detector for budget-minded drivers. It’s a significantly more affordable way to try to avoid laser detection and features long-range sensitivity, front and rear protection, multiple driving modes, false alert filtering and a mute button. It even comes with its own suction cup mount. At this price point, it’s tough to ignore. Features long-range sensitivity with false alert filtering. Front and rear protection. Includes 3 modes: Highway, City and City 1. Saves user’s most recent settings when disconnected from a power source. Includes a power cord, dual suction cup window mount, hook and loop fastener tape and a spare fuse. Positive reviews pointed out the good value this radar detector offers and its accuracy. 

Key Specs

  • Power source: corded electric
  • Display type: LED
  • Voltage: 12 Volts

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$499.95 at Amazon

The Escort MAX 360 MKII is a high-powered radar detector with a slew of great features. Its dual antennas provide full 360-degree awareness and an exceptional range of detection. Advanced filtering helps process all incoming signals and weed out false alerts. The GPS component does something similar by learning your route after repeat trips. Like the Uniden R7, the Escort MAX 360 MKII also has directional arrows to point you in the direction of the incoming signals. This is another great choice if you’re looking for something a bit more performance. It uses dual antennas to provide 360-degree awareness and exceptional detection range. “The enhanced Blackfin DSP chip and advanced false alert filtering intelligence processes legitimate signals immediately so you are notified of the upcoming threats with plenty of time to react and adjust your speed.” Directional arrows point you in the direction of the threat. False alert filtering helps reduce CAS (Collision Avoidance System) and BSM (Blind Spot Monitoring) alerts. GPS can learn and remove false alerts. Shared network alerts. Positive reviews pointed out that this unit is easy to setup, accurate, and has good range and performance. 

Key Specs

  • Power source: DC
  • Display type: OLED
  • Voltage: 12 Volts

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$448.99 at Amazon

The R7 is the most powerful option on our list, with Uniden describing the range on the model as “insane.” It features a dual antenna design and offers 360-degree protection, with directional arrows showing up on the screen of the detector to point you in the direction of the threat. The large multi-color OLED screen is a nice touch and displays all kinds of customizable information. The R7 also offers programmable voice alerts, red light and vehicle speed camera alerts, and more. Like most others, this radar detector features protection against false positives and it even comes with its own windshield mounts, power cord, sleeve and carrying case. If you’re wondering, there is, in fact an even newer version of this radar detector, the Uniden R8, and while that version does add some increased functionality, it’s also several hundred dollars more expensive. You can check it out here if you want, but we think the R7 should be more than enough detector for the vast majority of people. If you’re looking for one of the best radar detectors around, this one is certainly up there.

Key Specs

  • Power source: corded electric
  • Display type: OLED

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$279.99 at Amazon

This Uniden R3 is packed with features at a fair price. The scanner features “advanced false alert filtering” as well as smart GPS technology so the scanner can “remember and mute common false alerts (such as retail store automatic doors) along your regularly driven routes so you never have to listen to the same false alert twice.” It also has red light and speed camera alerts, and programmable voice warnings. It has over 7,000 ratings on Amazon, with a fantastic score of 4.6 out of 5 stars.

Key Specs

  • Long-range detection
  • Advanced false alert and K/KA Band filtering
  • GPS functionality helps the R3 disregard common false alerts
  • Red light/speed camera alerts
  • Updateable firmware
  • Multi-color OLED display

Frequently Asked Questions

‘What is a radar detector?

A radar detector is a device, often used in a vehicle, made to detect and alert drivers to signals that could be coming from police radar guns or speed cameras used by law enforcement. Drivers typically use them as a heads-up to avoid speed traps and speeding tickets. Most radar detectors can pick up on multiple types of signals, some of the most popular being K band and Ka band. Some include GPS functionality, IVT filtering and more to add to their reliability. Keep in mind, while radar detectors are legal in most states, they’re not legal everywhere, so be sure to check your local laws before picking one up. 

How do radar detectors work?

Put simply, radar detectors work about how you’d expect, by using radio frequency receivers to detect the signals used by radar guns or speed cameras and alert the user that there’s a radar signal around. Some detectors are even advanced enough to show you the exact direction the signal is coming from. 

Are radar detectors legal?

Radar detectors are legal in non-commercial vehicles in most U.S. states with the exception of Virginia and the District of Columbia. However, If you drive a large truck or commercial vehicle, it may be a different story. In addition, radar jammers, which go a step further than detecting radar signals to outright jam them, are illegal in all 50 states. Laser jammers, different still, also have varying levels of legality. Please be sure to check your local laws before getting hands-on with a radar detector.

How much does a radar detector cost?

Depending on how high-end you want to get, the best radar detectors can run you upwards of $1,000. However, you should be able to find one that fulfills most basic needs for anywhere between $50 on the low-end to around $300.

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