• Buying the right radar detector

    Dash mount
  • remote mount set up
  • Valentine 1
  • Escort Passport X8500
  • Whistler Pro
  • Cobra
  • Bel Vector 995
  • diagram of police radar

When searching for a Radar detector you need to know what you are going to be using it for? How much you are willing to spend? What are the needed features? Do you want Dash Mount or Remote Mount? Radar detectors are constantly changing, and are being upgraded often. They are getting better.

How does a radar detector work?

It’s simple, when police uses radar to detect speed, they shoot a beam across the section of road they want to monitor. These beams are essentially a police broadcast at X, K, or super wide Ka bands. These bands are like AM or FM radio bands, they can vary in wave shape and frequency. As the radar bands hit a moving object, it returns to the source gun with a different frequency. Based on the difference in frequency, the radar gun can determine the speed hat the object is moving.

Buying the right radar detector
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diagram of police radar
Functions of a radar detector

The function of the radar detector is to listening for broadcasts on these bands that possibly are police radar signals. Radar detectors do one thing only and that is to let the driver know which band they are receiving and the signal strength. That information describes the distance of the police radar. Most of the time the radar tells you in enough time for you to hit the brakes, but it is not 100% guarantee that it will always give you enough time, or sometimes even warn you.

What should I look for in a radar detector?

It is important to get the widest range of detection that you possibly can, and try to buy one that detects X, K, Ka, and laser bands. You should also have different indicators for each one of these bands, and separate light or sound for each. Make sure that the unit has a good visual display and either a mute or a volume button so that you could adjust the settings to your likings. Try to find a radar detector with at least 10 decibels (db) of sensitivity. Look for models with city/highway mode, which helps to vary in sensitivity to limit any false alarms.


Extra features you might like are, Vg-2 Alert and Vg-2 Non Detection. These are helpful in areas that do not allow radar detectors; such as Virginia and D.C. They are helpful because they become undetectable by police radar detector detectors, which is good for the states where radars are illegal. Voice is a great safety feature, so the driver does not take their eyes off the road. Safety Alert and SWS settings are not important features.

A radar detector should provide easy-to-understand audio and visual warnings.

If you plan to own one for a long time, some radar detectors allow for easy reprogramming of the operating software. The Bel Vector 995, Escort Passport 8500 X50, and the Valentine 1 are upgradeable, but having that option makes the radar detector more expensive.

A cordless radar detector can look nicer, but running on a battery gives less performance, and many users do not recommend it.


"POP" Radar Technology

The POP is new instant-on technology that may make a whole new generation of radar detectors unstoppable. These radar guns work at low frequency until they are turned on to determine a driver’s speed, this leaves a radar detector little opportunity to scan and detect the radar signal.

POP radar may sound unbeatable, but new models of radar detectors offer POP radar detection. Sometimes Pop detection is not, by default, enabled automatically; users must turn it on in the settings menu.

Manufacturers probably choose to disable Pop detection by default because its increases sensitivity, which also increases the amount of false alerts.

Dash mount radar detectors

The best place to mount dash mount radar is as high as the rearview mirror.

The Valentine 1 is the best money can buy, but Bel vector 995 and the NEW 8500 Escort are very close to the Valentine 1. These are top-end detectors offering the best in performance.

Buying the right radar detector
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Dash mount


Remote radar detectors

Remote detectors are more expensive and mount behind the grill of you car. The controls are under the dashboard to hide and protect against thieves. They require professional installation, but are less prone to theft. Escort, Beltronics and Whistler are quality remote detectors, which offer good detection. K40 remotes have had many problems.

Buying the right radar detector
- image 153210
remote mount set up

Types of radar dectectors

Valentine 1

Price: $399.00

This radar detector is probably the most expensive and best radar you could buy. It looks very well built and designed, it is not the best-looking design but it has been the same design for the past few models.

It also has two antennas, one that faces forward and one behind. This gives the Valentine 1 the ability to detect radar frequencies all around the car. This feature also allows the radar detector to tell you in which direction the frequency is coming from and which band. It does so by lighting up the directional arrows on the detector. 

The newer models come with the new POP feature.

More information on the Valentine1: http://www.Valentine1.com
Buying the right radar detector
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Valentine 1


This is another expensive, but worth it radar detector. The rating of this detector does not fall far from that of the Valentine 1.

The Escort is available in red display for $299.95 or blue display for $339.95. The reason for the price difference in the blue display is that the gases used to make the blue cost more then the red.

This radar detector, just like the valentine, comes with 360- degree radar and laser detection. The newer models also come with a highway/city and auto sensitivity mode, which reduces false alarms. POP selectable mode is also included, along with easy programming allows instant customization.

To find out more information on the Escort Passport: http://www.escortradar.com

Buying the right radar detector
- image 153206
Escort Passport X8500

Bel Vector (Beltronics)

Prices: STi Driver $449.95, Vector 995 $299.95, Vector 965 $249.95, Vector 955 $199.95, Vector 940 $169.95

This brand of radar detector is just about even in ratings with the Escort Passport. All the Beltronic models come with 360 laser detection, POP mode, text display, Automute on/off, and three city modes.

The best model to buy is the Vector 995. It is the best model for people who want a simple and moderate price.

Each model comes with there own special features, and selectable features.

For more information on the Bel Vector and the different models: http://www.beltronics.com

Buying the right radar detector
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Bel Vector 995


Whistler is the mid-class detector. It comes with features such as highway/city mode, 360 protection, POP mode, and quiet mode. It can range in price anywhere from $275 - $94, depending on the model and type of mounting.

To find out more information on the Whistler: http://www.whistlergroup.com

Buying the right radar detector
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The Cobras and Unidens are near the bottom of the list. They range in price anywhere from $139-179. They have all the basic features such as 360 laser detection, compass, and Strobe Alert® warns you of approaching emergency vehicles.

To find out more information on the Cobra: http://www.cobra.com

Buying the right radar detector
- image 153209
Whistler Pro

To get more information on different radars and their rating just go to: http://www.radarbusters.com

About the author
What do you think?
Show Comments


  (1) posted on 10.15.2015

Overall your article is pretty good, but pretty dated so if it is ok would like to add a few comments.

One of the most significant developments in the radar detector industry is the anti-collision sensors installed on most new cars today. These operate on the same exact K-band frequency as police radar guns use so all the detectors you have in this review would be blasted by false alerts.

The only detector that has the filtering capabilities to block these out is the new Passport Max360 - https://www. radarbusters.com/Escor t-Passport-Max-360-Rad ar-Detector-p/passport -max360.htm

  (375) posted on 03.2.2010

Fancy gadget. But, if a driver is being attentive and is following the rules and regulations of the road, there wont be any need for any radar detector.

  (5) posted on 07.27.2008

The Rocky Mountain Radar unit is a complete waste of money. It has been tested on love TV in the USA. It’s been on ABC news 20/20. All reviews of rocky mountain radar sh*t show one thing. None of their products work as advertsied. Why can’t rocky mountain radar demonstrate their products actually working on video? Because they don’t work! If you want to see some test videos of these types of gadgets go to the "LaserJammerTests" website. They have test videos of all types of jammers.

  (2) posted on 07.23.2008

You get what you pay for....and why was that POS Rocky Mountain Radar even in the topic??? It does not jam any type of radar or laser.

  (5990) posted on 02.14.2008

they are very useful
i use it when racing

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