Best Radar Detector Consumer Reports

Best Radar Detector Consumer Reports, Tips, Reviews, Ratings, and Guides in 2022

Are you looking for the best radar detector? Consumer Reports can help. We have tested many different detectors and can recommend the top models based on your needs. Whether you are looking for a budget model or one that is more advanced, we have you covered. Keep reading to learn more about what to consider when purchasing a radar detector and see our top picks.

What is a radar detector?

Radar, which is short for radio detectors and ranging, is a type of technology that allows police officers to know when someone is speeding. The detectors work by detecting the radar signals being sent out by police officers on traffic patrols. They can detect these signals faster than the human eye can see because radar detectors are built with an internal microchip. This lets drivers know exactly where there are police so they can adjust their driving accordingly. When the detector senses a signal, it gives an audible or visual warning to let you know that one has been detected nearby.

Most Common Types of radar detector:

Types of Radar Detectors

There are four types of radar detectors available: corded models, cordless models, laser jammers, and safety app-controlled units. Below are the pros and cons of each type.

Corded Radar Detectors: One of the benefits of a corded radar detector is that it will not stop working if your car battery dies or you forget to charge it before leaving home. They can also be moved from car to car easily because they have cords with cigarette lighter adapters. This makes them useful for people who share their vehicle or want something they can use in multiple cars. The downsides are that you cannot put them away when not using them, like with mounted models. Another issue is that the cord needs to be long enough so both ends reach the cigarette lighter, which takes up valuable cup holder space.

Cordless Radar Detectors: One benefit to these units is that they don’t have cords that can be tangled or wrapped around other items, which makes them great if you are using the cigarette lighter for another product. Another benefit is that you can store them away when not in use since they have a built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery. They are also lightweight and small. The downside is that it needs to be recharged every 15 to 20 hours of use, so it will need to be plugged into an outlet on long trips. Laser Jammers These models work by intercepting the signal sent out by the police officer’s laser gun before it reaches your car. They project their beam, which confuses the speed detection device, preventing you from getting a ticket. There are some downsides though. First, they are illegal in some states. Second, police officers have started to find ways around them.

Safety App-Controlled Radar Detectors: These models connect to your smartphone with an app that can warn you when you go over a certain speed limit. However, if your phone’s battery dies or there is no service where you drive, the benefits of these models disappear. These also do not eliminate speeding tickets; they just make it less likely that you will get one for going faster than the posted speed limits.

Factors to Consider before buying Radar Detector:


Price: You can find a budget detector for less than $100 that will do a decent job of alerting you when police are nearby, but models with more features may cost up to hundreds of dollars. It’s important to remember that an expensive model isn’t necessarily better than one you could buy at Walmart, and it also doesn’t mean that the cheaper option won’t get the job done.

Detection Range: The range is the maximum distance that the device can detect signals from laser guns or police radio bands. The farther your detector can sense signals, the safer you are on the road because you will have more time to react when being pulled over. Most units have a shorter range at night because there are fewer signals around compared to during daylight hours when drivers are using their headlights.

Identifying Signal Strength: While some radar detectors have LED screens that display signal strength, advanced models will also include arrows that point in the direction of where the signal is coming from so you can safely know which way to drive when being pulled over. Advanced units also have GPS receivers built into them so you can update your detectors regularly with information about speed traps or red-light cameras in your area.

Features: There are many types of common features found on modern radar detectors such as IntelliMute technology, auto-sensitivity mode, and voice or visual alerts that can be turned on or off depending on whether the driver wants them activated. Many also feature GPS chips that allow users to update their radars with information about speed traps and red-light cameras in their area. Some high-end units can also be programmable with the help of websites that offer software updates for use on your computer.

Radar Detector Brands: The brands that are currently most recognizable include Escort, Valentine One, Cobra, Whistler, Beltronics Pro 500, and Uniden R3. These companies have been around for decades and are known to be leaders in creating models that can detect all kinds of signals whether they come from police radar guns or other sources such as automatic door openers. Many ex-police officers who used to work on patrol recommend these brands because they know what cops across the country are using today.

Display:  The LED or LCD screen where the device displays signal strength is important because it gives you an idea of how close you are to the police, allowing you to adjust your driving habits so that the device doesn’t go off every time a car drives by.

Length: Detector length can vary depending on whether you want to install it in a car with a hidden display, but some models come with suction cups on their backs or clips that make them easier for drivers to attach to their windshields.

Number of Bands: Some devices will only monitor one band while others can monitor up to five simultaneously, giving users access to more information about what kind of signals they are picking up on the road. It’s all a matter of personal preference because some people like to minimize the number of things, they must plug into their cigarette lighters and others want as much information as possible about what is going on outside their windows.

Other Features: Some radar detectors have built-in GPS so that additional information can be added to their database. This is very useful for drivers who commute a lot and want to know about speed traps or red-light cameras in their usual routes across town, meaning they won’t have to install separate apps or devices just to get this service. You can also find some models that are compatible with smartphone apps, allowing users, even more, control over the kinds of notifications they get on the road.

Audio:   Some devices will give a verbal or audio alert to warn drivers they are approaching police officers, whereas others will only advertise via their LED screens. It is up to the driver to decide whether they want a radar detector with voice alerts activated because these can be distracting and make it more difficult for motorists who want to focus on driving besides being entertained by talking machines that tell them when they’re speeding.

Alerts: Most units have an auto-mute feature that allows users to set how sensitive they want them to be depending on where they are in town. This means you could set up your unit so that it doesn’t go off every time you pass a grocery store but still has enough sensitivity to detect cops around schools and other places where you don’t want to get caught speeding. Some will also let users enter their manual mode, allowing them to press the buttons whenever they see cops or red-light cameras around oncoming traffic.

Installation: All you need is a screwdriver and some tape if you want to install your new radar detector in about five minutes like some models can be without any help. Otherwise, most devices come with detailed instructions that make it possible for drivers of all skill levels to install them on their own within a few minutes.

Size:  Radar detectors come in all shapes and sizes, but most are designed to fit right between your rear-view mirror so that it is easier for you to adjust the angle of the detector when necessary. This does not mean that you can’t place them wherever you want or buy an aftermarket mount if the one that’s included isn’t what you’re looking for.

Corded vs Cordless: Some models are cabled which means you must plug them into your cigarette lighter for power, but cordless versions come with internal batteries so they can be used anywhere in the car. There is also a model called the BlueTooth radar detector that uses an app on smartphones to display signal strength instead of using their internal LED or LCD screens, allowing users to rest their phones and still get alerts about what’s going on outside their window.

Low Battery Alert: Most devices will alert drivers when it’s time to change out their nine-volt battery and this feature is extremely helpful for those who forget where they put the extra one that came with their device. This way, if officers catch someone speeding without a working battery installed then there won’t be any excuses for not having a working radar detector to alert them about the presence of police officers around the corner.

Discreet: Although radar detectors are legal in many states, they aren’t always something drivers want to advertise. That’s why some companies have designed their units to be as small and discreet as possible, so the police won’t find any reason to pull you over if they see that you’re using one of these devices.

Design:  A radar detector’s design is extremely important to some users because they want a device that can blend in with their car, fits well into the windshield without obstructing their vision, and doesn’t take up too much space. It all comes down to what drivers are looking for when it comes to discrete units that don’t stick out from the car or become a distraction while driving.

Warranty:  When it comes to radar detectors, many consumers have a love-hate relationship with manufacturers because they offer limited warranty periods, and this means you will have to pay for any repairs out of your own pocket if something happens to go wrong within the first year.

Construction: The quality of materials used in construction is extremely important when it comes to units that are designed to last for years without breaking down or falling apart. This means buyers should consider how durable everything from the power cord to the screen appears before they buy a particular model and stick with only those that come with a minimum five-year warranty period.

Style: Most radar detectors are designed to be as durable as possible because they must stand up to the wear and tear that comes with driving around for hundreds of miles every day. However, some companies will use bright colors like orange or pink in their designs, but this is usually meant to catch drivers’ eyes more than anything else.

Noise Cancellation: This feature works by using two antennas instead of one which tells the device it’s time to shut off once an alert has sounded. By doing this, it will eliminate any false alerts caused by other devices like baby monitors, cell phones or even other radar detectors mounted next to each other on cars’ windshields. Since most police officers don’t care about what your neighbor owns, all false alerts should be eliminated with this feature alone.

Spy Detection: Radar detectors have been around since the 1970s and that means all kinds of police departments across the country have found ways to beat their technology, but one of those methods is widely known as the super-wide Ka-band used by many agencies today. A radar detector’s spy detection feature can automatically change frequencies once it senses law enforcement trying to trick your device into thinking there are no officers around.

Material:  Not all materials that go into the construction of radar detectors are created equal and this means one company’s device may be better than another’s because it uses materials like Kevlar, stainless steel or even rubber instead of the cheaper plastic counterparts’ others use.

Ease of Use:  For consumers who don’t know how to work a complicated unit, ease of use becomes extremely important because you don’t want to spend an hour trying to figure out how to mount it properly before your first time using it on public roads. These products should also come with user manuals that make learning how to operate them simple enough for anyone who needs help.

Speed Sensitivity: The speed sensitivity feature tells the device when there is no real need for detecting police officers around the bend and this means you shouldn’t see any alerts if you’re driving at a safe speed. False alarms only create more work for the people who use these devices so they should tell drivers to slow down, or it will automatically turn off if nothing is there anyway.

Durability: Three factors come into play when durability is being judged and they include water resistance, shock absorption, and how well it stands up to the heat created by direct sunlight over prolonged periods. Many radar detectors use plastic cases around important components which means the information inside could be damaged if dropped because there’s no way for this type of material to protect them from impact damage.

Accessories: There are several accessories available on the market today and these include windshield mounts, cases to carry your devices with you when you’re on the go, and even remote controls that work from anywhere inside a car. Since people who make use of radar detectors know how useful they can be if they don’t cause distractions while someone is behind the wheel, most will offer extras like this as soon as buyers spend money on their first unit.

The Pros and Cons of radar detector:


First, knowing where the traffic cameras are located can save you a lot of money in fines if you break traffic laws.  Second, they can be used to warn drivers of any changes in the speed limit on roadways; this way drivers do not have to constantly look up new speeds as they travel unfamiliar roads during long trips. Third, they give you immediate alerts for police officers so that you can adjust your driving habits if needed. Finally, many models come with GPS technology that provides additional features such as showing the locations of nearby shops or restaurants along your route and listing how much time until you arrive at your destination.


There are several disadvantages to these devices, including the fact that they are illegal in some states. If you are caught, there can be stiff fines involved, especially if you have one installed on your windshield or dashboard. Another disadvantage is that many laser jammers will make it harder for drivers behind you to see because their emitters point back toward the road. Finally, models with GPS technology can still alert others nearby of your presence even when you are driving well under the speed limit since they will not know whether you received a ticket or just saw where the traffic camera was located ahead of and slowed down because of it.


How does a radar detector work? 

For a radar detector to work it must be paired up with antennas that are used to pull in very low-frequency radio waves from police anti-collision radars. This information is then sent to a microprocessor that filters out any data the device doesn’t need before an alert is sent through a speaker or display screen.

Where does a radar detector pick up signals?

These units are designed to work around cars and trucks first which is why many motorists purchase them for their protection before using them on other people who drive alongside them on the road. If you’re trying to protect yourself with this device, look for high-end models that offer 360-degree coverage, so you won’t miss out on any information about things around your vehicle.

How do police catch people using radar detectors? 

Since radar detectors are outlawed in many states for drivers who want to always control their speed, local law enforcement agencies have access to special equipment that works with the same type of technology. This allows them to pinpoint the origin of any radar detector device located around a car or truck and pull anyone over who is using one without permission.

Do radar detectors work?

Radar detectors work well if they are paired up with antennas to pick up signals from the police. These units can fight off false alerts by removing any data that would normally be flagged as a red light or speed trap, so you’re not bothered by anything around your vehicle while trying to enjoy driving.

Does a radar detector detect red light cameras?

Many of these devices can be used to scan a car’s surroundings for red-light cameras so you don’t have to worry about being caught on camera while driving through an intersection. When pulled over by local law enforcement, you’ll have no worries because everything should be working fine, and the officer won’t know you were trying to avoid something like this.

Is it illegal to use radar detector?

In most states it is illegal to use a radar detector without the proper license. If you want one that works for all cars and trucks, then look at high-end models that allow this type of feature to be used in any location without facing charges once they’re pulled over by police.

Where can I buy a radar detector?

The most popular place to get these devices is online where international vendors offer everything you need to fight off speed traps while driving around town or interstate highways. Since many websites are updated regularly, you’ll find the lowest prices here rather than investing money in places like your local police department who may try to take advantage of drivers who simply want an extra helping hand on the road when speeding violations occur.

How do I use a radar detector? 

When driving around town, you’ll want to look for high-end models that are linked up with antennas to pick up frequencies from police radars in the area. This type of information is then sent into a microprocessor which will filter out noise before an alert is made through your speaker or screen on the unit itself. When used right, radar detectors can fight off any speeding violations better than most people who don’t use them while driving around town.

Does a radar detector work in different countries?

Since many people enjoy taking trips abroad, they might want to invest in a model that can be used around the world without facing any speeding violations. This type of technology is going to be linked up with antennas that pick-up information from radars nearby and do not care where you’re located if it’s helping you avoid something like getting a speeding ticket.

What’s the best brand of a radar detector?

Unfortunately, choosing the best brand of radar detectors is difficult and may not even be worth investing money into. Since this device is going to be used as a tool to avoid speeding violation tickets from police officers on patrol, it’s only important that you choose one that does not have any flaws or technical issues.

Can radar detectors be used in stealth mode? 

Yes, some models come with a stealth mode which can be used to escape unwanted attention from local law enforcement. This will filter out any information being picked up on the radar detector so you’re not bothered by it during patrol times of operation.

What is the POP mode?

 POP mode refers to occupancy patrol, which is a term applied to areas where police officers are assigned to look for speeders around an area. This type of technology can scan the area and detect POP mode, so you don’t have any speeding tickets filed against your name.

What causes false alerts?

False alerts can be triggered by any electronic device used in the car that is picking up information from the air including a radar detector. These units go into a self-checking mode when they’re being used to avoid false warnings from triggering while driving down the road.

How do I know what my radar detector detection range is?

 The detection range on most radar detectors is around two miles and can be linked up to antennas that pick-up signals from police radars nearby. Longer ranges are available in some models that use military-grade technology to help you avoid speeding tickets while driving through town or interstate highways.


If you are looking for an option to avoid speeding tickets, then buying a radar detector is not the answer. Radar detectors can protect drivers from being caught speeding, but they do nothing to change the behavior that led to the ticket in the first place. The best way to avoid being caught by police officers who use speed detection devices is to always drive below the posted speed limits. If you do not speed and drive safely, a radar detector will be useless.