(see below for individual radar detector reviews)
From range and frequencies to false alarms and localized detection equipment, it is important to understand the features that will matter and those that can be ignored. For those that are on the market for the best radar detector for the money, here is a breakdown of the most essential hardware and software features to keep an eye on before making a purchase.
What many customers may never hear is that radars are often highly localized. There are over 17,000 law enforcement agencies throughout the nation, and many one of these agencies use slightly different detection tools and methods. As new radars are placed on the market, law enforcement will often do away with old equipment, so this is why it is ideal to get a good idea about state and local laws in order to get the best radar detector for their money. Along the same note, it is essential to avoid old or even used models as the hardware could be outdated and will no longer have the ideal range or currently used frequencies.
Once state laws have been explored, it is time to take a look at the range of a radar detector and how this will affect one’s driving. The best radar detector for the money will give the driver enough time to make the appropriate adjustments to their speed once they have heard the signal. This will not provide complete immunity to tickets, however, especially in unique situations such as the use of law enforcement airplanes. In completely ideal settings, these devices can pick up a signal as far as 1 mile or slightly longer. Unfortunately, not all roadways are flat, straight, and have no obstructions for the signal to bounce off of. In an urban environment with countless turns, other vehicles, and large obstructions, drivers can expect around a quarter of a mile warning depending on the brand and model.
Along with the range of the detector, customers will also need to take a look at the frequency or frequencies that it will utilize. Newer models often have the ability to sweep through X, K, laser, and Ka bands in order to most effectively detect incoming signals, but this can also lead to false alarms. Other models have the ability to select the band that is to be detected, a great feature for those that have a good grasp on their own local law enforcement frequencies.
As stated previously, false alarms can become a major factor and is typically one of the top features marketed by the manufacturers. False alarms can happen for a wide variety of reasons, and both private technology and law enforcement technology could trip a false alarm. An example of this is the garage door openers that have been installed in recent years that operates on the X frequency and cold trip the detector.
From this point, there are countless minor options such as the power supply, location of the device, or even interfacing options for smartphones, but many of these come down to the personal preferences of the customer so that they can get the best radar detector for the money. Finally, while there are no federal laws concerning radar detectors, a number of localities have outlawed these devices including Virginia and the District of Columbia for any size vehicles and within New York and Illinois for larger vehicles.
Radar detector review: