Speeding tickets are one of the biggest pain points for today’s motorists. Though the fine itself is often small, local governments add taxes and fees that can make even a small speeding ticket into a major expense with each violation. Radar detectors are designed to help motorists overcome speeding tickets by automatically watching out for the signals that radiate from professional radar guns. When the radar signal is picked up, radar detectors sound an audible alert that gives the driver at least a few seconds to slow down and be on the lookout for both visible or hidden traffic cops. This small lead-time can make the difference between a large fine and avoiding a traffic stop. Though many options are available to today’s motorists, 10 radar detectors stand out as the best of the bunch.
1. Cobra XRS9370
The Cobra XRS9370 radar detector is a jack-of-all-trades, detecting common radar gun varieties used in both Europe and the United States. For American buyers, the Cobra comes with detection capabilities for either VG2 or Spectre I/IV+ radar gun models. The detector can also sense Ku Band radar guns, which are currently only used in Europe. It is expected, however, that these radar guns will make their way to the United States in the next few years. Motorists with the compact XRS9370 will be ready when it does.
2. Escort Passport 9500ix
In the past, radar detectors were certainly not considered “smart” equipment for the car. Today, however, the best radar detectors on the market are equipped with new sensors and displays that make them even more useful than their cutting-edge predecessors were a few decades ago. A case in point is the Passport 9500ix model from Escort. The system features a user-facing display for any alerts sounded, and features built-in GPS that can track speed cameras as well as more typical radar guns. A unique signal filtering system embedded in the Passport 9500ix allows the system to automatically block false radar signals, preventing the detector from going off when an actual traffic cop is nowhere to be found. This is a vast improvement over more basic models currently on the market.
3. Cobra XRS9470
The Cobra XRS9470 comes with a bright, user-facing display that features several symbols as a way to convey the type of alert detected. In addition to the use of an intuitive display, the XRS9470 features audible voice alerts that specifically identify the type of radar gun, laser system, or speed camera that is being used just ahead. This Cobra model works with all major radar brands used in the United States and Europe, and is fully capable of detecting up to seven radar signals, six laser signals, and one safety sensor signal. It’s an excellent addition to any driver’s dashboard as a result.
4. Cobra ESD7570
This nine-band radar detector is decidedly an upgrade from the XRS9470 model mentioned above. In addition to its nine-band radar detection, this model can alert drivers to the presence of emergency vehicles on the road ahead. This isn’t limited just to police cars. In fact, the detector can alert drivers to ambulances, fire equipment, and other emergency vehicle types at a moment’s notice. Compatibility with all major radar and laser guns in the United States and Europe comes standard, with detection of up to 18 different signal types on the open road. A front-facing alert panel works alongside audible alerts to make driving less distracting and safer as well.
5. Whistler CR90 Radar Detector
The Whistler CR90 is one of the most popular radar detectors on the market, and for good reason. This model is highly affordable and comes with a 360-degree radar detection system that can “see” emergency vehicles and radar guns far in the distance. In fact, it can even sense radar presence when it’s over a hill, down in a ditch, and hidden from plain sight. Like many of the best models on the market, the Whistler CR90 comes with a front-facing display for alerts, though audible noises are played when a radar gun, laser, or speed camera is detected as well. This model is also compact enough, with optional dimming settings, so that it can be placed on a dashboard in states where radar detectors are illegal, all without being noticed.
6. Escort Passport 8500X50
The Passport 8500X50 is one of the most “extreme” radar detectors on the market. Unlike its competitors, this Passport model works with all currently known and used radar bands in the United States, Europe, and Asia. That makes this model one of the most versatile that drivers can add to their collection. The Passport 8500X50 comes with 360-degree detection and sensing, though the radar detection hardware can be finely tuned so that it doesn’t sound false alarms based on other radio frequencies present near the roadway. This makes it a great fit for more advanced radar detector users.
7. Cobra Vendetta Ultimate Detection SLR
Radar detectors are known for being pocket-sized radios, but the Cobra Ultimate SLR is just the opposite. This model breaks the mold by shipping with a full color LCD screen. The screen actually helps this model evade detection by making it look similar to a typical GPS unit that most drivers already own. The larger size of this model allows it to detect all know bands and brands currently in use, whether they’re using radar or laser technology. The color screen displays specific alert types, while an audible alert system gives the driver time to react.
8. Escort Passport Max2 HD
The Passport Max2 HD is designed for compact installation. Its small size and basic front display might be considered a negative set of features by some users, but they actually help this radar detector blend into the dash when passing a police officer on the side of the road. Easy mounting can take place on or under the dash, or on the windshield, fitting perfectly into virtually every car.
9. Escort RedLine Radar Detector
The RedLine radar detector from Escort gets its name from the user-facing display used when an alert is within range. The detector uses a five-bar system to express the proximity of a radar or laser gun, and sounds an audible alert when drivers approach the detected threat. With a compact size and dimmable display, this radar detector is easily able to evade detection.
10. Escort Solo S3
Powered by either batteries or a charging cord, the Solo S3 can easily be placed on a seat, in a cup holder, or in the more traditional dashboard area. This model comes with a bright display that shows the proximity of radar guns, and uses audible alerts when drivers come within range of radar or laser speed detection systems.