A radar detector can help you evade police who are actively looking for speeders. And thanks to a slew of modern features, the best radar detectors can also improve your situational awareness so you can be smarter, sharper and more alert on the road. The best radar detectors give you the upper edge against those dreaded speeding tickets, making it a win-win for you and your wallet.
Many radar detectors monitor both the active police radar bands—such as our top radar detector pick, the Uniden R8—and the lasers police departments use to measure speeders. Some detectors even know about red light cameras and permanently mounted speed cameras, and can warn you accordingly with tonal, displayed or even spoken alerts. Based on our research and testing, we’ve rounded up the best radar detector options for your vehicle.
How We Chose The Best Radar Detectors
We combined research with hands-on testing and experience, and we spoke with product experts and industry leaders to help us determine the products that made the cut. We carefully evaluated each radar detector’s design, features, price and more. We also paid attention to what sets each radar detector apart from its competition.
Do Radar Detectors Still Work In 2023?
Yes, radar detectors are still very effective. The best radar detectors can detect even the latest radar and laser devices used by law enforcement. Keep in mind, however, that radar detectors have limitations. For example, they can’t detect speed check techniques that don’t involve some kind of radiation. For example, if an aircraft is used to time your travel between two fixed points, no technology in your car can detect or warn you about that.
Can Police Detect Radar Detectors?
Often, yes—police can detect radar detectors. They can do this in three ways. First, many radar guns can sense radar detectors passing through their firing zone. Second, your own behavior as a driver can often give away the fact that you have a radar detector (for example, if you brake suddenly when illuminated by radar).
Does A Radar Detector Help Against Laser?
No. Most traditional radar detectors do not incorporate laser abilities, so they are useless against laser detection. However, you may be able to find a hybrid model that incorporates both a razer detector and a laser detector in one.
Is A Radar Detector Legal?
Before you buy a radar detector, it is essential to ensure that it is legal in your state. Mississippi, Virginia and the District of Columbia, it’s illegal to use a radar detector. In others, it may be illegal to mount it to your windshield. This includes California, Florida, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Before using a radar detector in your vehicle, be sure to check the latest laws of your state.
Are Radar Jammers Legal?
Absolutely not—devices that jam police radar are illegal on all federal roads and within most states. It’s difficult to find and buy one of these devices, but if you do, be aware that you should never attempt to use it on any kind of public road. That said, laser jammers are not yet illegal under federal law, although many states have banned them altogether. We advise not to purchase or use one.
How Much Does A Good Radar Detector Cost?
While it’s easy to find a decent quality radar detector for less than $300, if you want one with the latest technologies that includes laser and Lidar detection (plus a slew of other features), plan on spending upwards of $500. And depending on your driving habits, it may be better to have your selected radar detector directly wired into your vehicle, as opposed to relying on the 12-volt power cord that plugs into your car.
Why Trust Forbes Vetted
The Forbes Vetted tech team brings decades of experience in the technology sector, using our expertise and testing to provide comprehensive, well-rounded reviews that you can trust. A couple of staffers, including Dave Johnson, our deputy editor, have even authored a number of books on the subject. The tech vertical is overseen by Rebecca Isaacs, the consumer tech and electronics editor at Forbes Vetted.
This story in particular was written by Jason R. Rich and Lena Borrelli, who specialize in all things tech-related as a Forbes contributors. Jason has accumulated hours of in-depth product research and has conducted firsthand testing, including for the writing of this story.
Lena has spent several years within the tech space, first working for a web marketing company and now as a freelance writer for her company, LilyMarie Creative. Her work has most recently been published on sites like ZDNET, TIME, ADT and Home Advisor.
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