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Buy Radar Detectors Blog

  • The best place to mount a radar detector

    Where to mount a radar detectorIt's the universal question, discussed frequently in forums and social media groups, and is usually the first concern after someone purchases one to install in a vehicle for the first time. Where is the best place to mount a radar detector?

    We covered this over a decade ago in our article Where Should You Mount Your Radar Detector? But times have changed. Technology has advanced, and there are new rules of the road when it comes to traffic enforcement and countermeasure strategy. Considering this, does placement even matter anymore, or do the old guidelines still apply? Where is the best place to mount a radar detector today? Or is there one?

    Why is placement important?
    Placement of a radar detector is critical to its performance. Detectors operate by line of sight, meaning that the detector needs to be able to "see" the signal in order to detect it. Any obstruction can potentially diminish, deflect or block the incoming radar signal or laser beam entirely from the detector's view. It also needs to be aimed in the general direction of the signal to pick it up. This is important if it's a radar signal, but is even more important if it is a laser beam. Radar signals are rather broad, but a laser is very narrow, so the detector must be positioned to pick it up directly. Remember, if the detector can't see the signal, it can't tell you where it is, or if one is even there. Therefore, correct positioning is vital to the performance of any detector.

    Is the type of radar detector important?
    Before we go any go further, it is important to note that the answer to the mounting question depends somewhat on the type of radar detector used. There are two distinct types of detectors, portable and installed. The portable detector, also known as a dashmount or windshield mount detector, is exactly as these terms imply. It mounts somewhere on the dashboard or windshield of a vehicle, and is aimed through the windshield, over the hood toward the front. An installed or concealed detector is one that is actually installed or integrated into parts of the vehicle itself, with sensors usually concealed below the hood and around, on or behind the front grille. Additional sensors can be placed on the rear of the vehicle as well.

    Installed detectors
    The sensors for an installed detector are usually placed somewhat low. Since they are usually situated directly at the front and (optionally) rear of the vehicle, they have a clear line of sight for a broad, unobstructed view of the perimeter around it. This allows a lot more latitude for discreet, low mounting options.

    Where to place a dashmount detector
    Portable or dash mount detectors are a different story. Since they are typically situated behind the windshield, their line of sight is somewhat limited by the frame of glass around it, plus the obvious obstruction of the front hood. However, there are other obstructions that affect performance. Tinted windshields in the visor area at the top can greatly reduce detection. The angle of the windshield can also be a factor. Inspection, parking or other stickers can get in the way. So can windshield wipers. Built-in defrosters, sensors or coatings in the glass can also effect performance. Some states even have laws to regulate where you can or cannot place items on your windshield or dashboard. These are all important factors to consider, and some may greatly limit your mounting options. Consider them all before you mount the detector.

    Go high or go low?
    Ten years ago, the low or high mounting question depended largely on the type of signals your radar detector detected. If it was primarily radar, conventional wisdom was to mount high, preferably attached to a rear view mirror or visor. This was advised so the detector could see over the hood of the vehicle to maximize line of site for detection of radar signals. If it was primarily set up for laser, the general rule of thumb was to mount low, closer to the hood, to pick up the edge or scatter from laser beams aimed at the headlights or front plate of the vehicle. But that was ten years ago. Although police laser certainly existed, it wasn't widely used, and some radar detectors had limited capabilities for laser detection. Some had no laser detection at all.

    Today, radar guns are still the standard, but use of police laser for speed enforcement is on the rise. Fortunately, all of the domestic brand radar detectors marketed in the US today are capable of both radar and laser detection and it is now quite advanced. Many detectors offer multi-angle or 360 degree detection of laser. This changes the optimal position just a bit, because the detector needs to be low enough to get the laser beam from the front, yet high enough to also catch it from the rear of the vehicle. However, the general rule still applies. Mount low for laser, and a little higher for radar detection only. If detecting both, aim for the sweet spot.

    The sweet spot
    This may vary depending on the design of your vehicle, including the length and and height of your hood. It will also depend on the other factors mentioned above. The general rule though, is to mount your detector low, either from the the windshield or dash, and if it's dash mount, try to get close to the windshield to maximize peripheral line of sight and minimize obstructions. Although low mounting will shorten radar range, it should still be acceptable, and it will significantly increase detection of laser. Also, be sure the detector is level for a straight view through the windshield, and adjust for the angle of the glass if it is mounted to it. Don't let it point upward or downward, keep it even with the road ahead.

    Any detector can only alert you to the threats it can detect. To maximize its performance and value, the best place to mount a radar detector is from a similar vantage point to that of the driver, one that gives it the clearest, least obstructed view of threats on the road.

  • A closer look at the Escort EZ Mag Mount

    Escort EZ Mag MountRadar detector suction cup windshield mounts come in various shapes and sizes. Some are designed for specific models, others for a specific series of models or an entire brand. One can even find a universal radar detector windshield mount. No matter the mount, all perform the same basic function: they attach a radar detector to the windshield of a vehicle using the power of suction.

    The basic technology behind the suction method was always relatively simple, and while somewhat reliable when properly applied, it wasn't perfect. Then Escort introduced the Stickycup Mount, a heavy duty mount with a suction cup coated with a sticky gel. This was a game changer. Suddenly, the reliability of suction cup mounts rose dramatically. Radar detectors equipped with a Stickycup Mount stayed put, and fear of a detector suddenly falling on the dash diminished greatly. While still not completely hassle free, the Sticky Cup was definitely a step forward. For a fair comparison of the pros and cons, read Escort Sticky Cup vs. the standard windshield bracket.

    Now, Escort is taking the "sticky cup" concept to the next level, adding an instant, quick connect-and-release option for the radar detector itself. The result? It's the Escort EZ Mag Mount™.

    Designed exclusively for three specific Escort radar detectors, The EZ Mag Mount is essentially a Stickycup mount, but with an added twist. A traditional mount attaches to the radar detector using a metal tongue or bracket that slides onto or into the device and locks it into place; a button on the detector must be pressed to release it from the mount. The EZ Mag Mount has a "stubby like" bracket equipped with a magnet. The detector slides onto the bracket and the magnet holds it in place. Since the magnet creates the grip, release is instantaneous. To remove the detector, simply pull it off the mount!

    The EZ Mag Mount is a quick and easy way to mount your detector, and it works very well. The suction cup is easy to attach and is quite powerful, yet is surprisingly easy to remove from your windshield if necessary. Traditional metal bracket mounts required the user to bend the bracket to adjust the angle of the detector while on the mount. The EZ Mag Mount uses an adjustable tilt mechanism with a locking knob, allowing faster and easier angle adjustment with great flexibility.

    The unique magnet mount design currently limits compatibility to three Escort radar detectors, the MAX 360C, the Escort IX and the Redline EX. If you own one of these models, the EZ Mag Mount may be the windshield mount for you.

  • Are Radar Detectors Useless in 2018?

    Radar Detector in WebRecently we came across an article on autotrader.com written by Doug DeMuro called Radar Detectors are Useless Now. The article claimed that the recent developments in driver assist technologies are generating so many false alerts that traditional radar detectors are now rendered useless.

    In addition to the false positives, DeMuro also concluded that radar detectors are becoming more expensive and are "being beaten at their own game" by cheap and readily available mobile apps such as Waze, an online app that allows millions of other users to report speed traps, traffic incidents and road hazards and share the information in real time across the web.

    According to his article, DeMuro arrived at this conclusion during a cross country road trip, during which he encountered numerous false alerts from surrounding vehicles equipped with driver assist and collision avoidance technologies such as adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, parking sensors and the like. With confidence in his detector quickly eroding, He began to rely on his Waze app to navigate the roads and reach his destinations. Based on these experiences encountered on his cross country excursion, DeMuro was finally convinced that the overwhelming combination of modern vehicles equipped with radar based technology, coupled with smart mobile apps powered by commmunity based alerts in real time, now renders the traditional radar detector obsolete, and, therefore, completely useless to the modern driver.

    But is this true? Are radar detectors useless in 2018?

    At first glance, DeMuro certainly does have a valid point. Technology has advanced significantly in the last decade, and there are many vehicles on the road today that utilize radar bands and frequencies capable of triggering false alerts on a radar detector not originally designed to anticipate these signals, thereby confusing both the detector and the driver.

    But there's another side to the story.

    Fortunately, and perhaps unknown DeMuro, radar detection technology has also advanced. Sure, there are a lot more radar based signals out there now, and the classic detector is increasingly challenged to discern the difference between real traffic enforcement radar, and something else. But while this is true of much older detectors, and even more so those with few filtering features or no filtering at all, the latest detectors are designed and built with these new radar enabled technologies specifically in mind. Most of the newer radar detectors available today are smart countermeasure devices and are programmed to seek out, isolate and eliminate these false signals from the mix.

    Which detector was DeMuro using? We don't know, because he didn't tell us. Of course, there is the photo that accompanies the article. It is an image of a radar detector mounted on the windshield of a vehicle. The detector in the photo is an Escort Passport 8500 X50, an older, long discontinued model that was manufactured before driver assist technologies were added to the mainstream. The 8500 was a very sensitive device, yet was also equipped with advanced filtering capabilities to eliminate false alerts from many sources.

    But the Escort Passport 8500 X50 is long past its prime. It's an old, outdated model. While it was once one of the most solid, high performance detectors in its time, it was certainly not built to handle the advanced radar based technologies used on vehicles today. Interestingly, the author did not specify the make or model of the radar detector he used during his trip, which seems somewhat telling, and a little unfair. If this was indeed the detector he used, no wonder he received so many false alerts!

    As for price, after adjusting for inflation, the cost of the average radar detector today is roughly the same as a comparable model in the same tier almost a decade ago. Yet these devices now have newer technologies with more features, functionality and performance than their older counterparts. For example, The Escort Passport 8500 X50 was priced at $299. The Escort X80 has many of the same original features, adds advanced filtering and false signal rejection capabilities, plus compatibility with the Escort Live™ app, and is the same price. In other words, today's detectors are smarter and more powerful at about the same price point. This translates to higher performance and greater value.

    But what about the Waze app? Is it the end of the radar detector as we know it?

    Ah yes, mobile apps. They've also come a long way, and there is certainly a lot to be said for them. We first wrote about such apps in 2012, when we tested one called- wait for it- Radar Detector. We tested it thoroughly and published our results in the aptly titled Do radar detector apps for smartphones work? To summarize the article, it didn't.

    Since then, of course, apps have become much smarter. Apps such as Waze utilize the power of social community based reporting and the Internet to monitor and report on everything from traffic incidents to road hazards and, obviously, speed enforcement activities in real time, more or less. There are many advantages to using such apps, and many drivers now opt to use them.

    However, these apps come with hazards of their own. Some of them are well documented in the local, national and even international press. We won't go into detail here, but an online search will find numerous cases of miscalculations and mishaps due to the over reliance solely on the app.

    In spite of the hazards, mobile apps are still powerful and potentially effective countermeasures against traffic enforcement radar. Considering this, do they make radar detectors useless and obsolete? Absolutely not. On the contrary, mobile apps can enhance the capabilities of radar detectors, and the detectors, in turn, can enhance the capabilities of these apps.

    Manufacturers of radar detectors know this, which is why many detectors have either an app or updateable database option available for direct or indirect access on the web. For instance, Escort offers Escort Live!™, and Cobra has iRadar. These aren't merely stand-alone apps, although they sometimes can be used as one. They are designed to work in tandem with the detectors they support. These mobile apps, when combined with a traditional, physical radar detector, provide a networked, super smart detection system for a more complete, high tech solution to the challenges of filtering out the new smart vehicle technologies while navigating traffic enforcement on the modern road.

    Given the facts, all the facts, are radar detectors useless in 2018? Of course not. In fact, based on the facts provided, and the fact that the article didn't mention what radar detector the author used, the available facts only seem to lead to one logical conclusion.

    Mr. DeMuro needs to buy a new radar detector.

  • Updated Whistler CR Series Radar Detectors video

    Whistler retired the original six radar detectors in its CR Series product line and replaced them with four new models, the CR68, CR73, CR88 and CR93. These updated models improve features and performance for even greater value.

    This video hosted by Rick Savoia introduces each of these four detectors in the Whistler CR Series and compares the features of each model. Buy Radar Detectors is an authorized Whistler dealer.

     

  • Whistler Elite Series Radar Detectors video

    Whistler radar detectors are notable for great value, delivering high performance at a very reasonable cost. The Whistler Elite Series raises the bar with three detectors in tiny packages boasting really big features, the 5000EX, 5025EX, and 5075EXS.

    This video hosted by Rick Savoia introduces the Whistler Elite Series radar detectors and compares the features of each model. Buy Radar Detectors is an authorized Whistler dealer.

     

  • Uniden DFR5 video

    Uniden was once a familiar name in the radar detector industry. Now it's back with a line of radar and laser detectors known as the DFR series. The mid-range model is the Uniden DRF5.

    This video hosted by Rick Savoia introduces the Uniden DFR5 radar detector and lists some of its features. Buy Radar Detectors is an authorized Uniden dealer.

     

  • Cobra RAD Series Radar Detectors video

    Cobra radar detectors have a long history with drivers, and are some of the most popular radar detectors around. Then the company introduced the RAD Series, improving performance with modest pricing. The RAD Series includes basic three models, the RAD 250, RAD 350, and RAD 450.

    This video hosted by Rick Savoia introduces the Cobra RAD Series radar detectors and compares the features of each model. Buy Radar Detectors is an authorized Whistler dealer.

     

  • Escort iX Review with the Veil Guy

    For many years, the Escort 9500ix was the innovative, high performance radar detector to beat. Then Escort retired this venerable classic and replaced it with the Escort iX, an updated model in a sleek, modern shell. Is it better than its predecessor, or just the same thing in another package?

    In this video, Danny Feemster from Buy Radar Detectors asks Bob Rosania aka The Veil Guy and the creator of Veil G5 Stealth Coating for his thoughts on the iX and finds out if it is worth the price.

    The Escort iX is available from Buy Radar Detectors.

  • Escort X80 Review with the Veil Guy

    The Escort X80 Radar Detector boasts high performance with long-range warning, a sharp, multi-color OLED display, and dual language options in English or Spanish. But is it any good? Is it worth the Escort price?

    In this exclusive video interview with Danny Feemster from Buy Radar Detectors, Bob Rosania aka The Veil Guy reviews the X80 and gives us his take on the performance and quality of this Escort model.

  • Escort Solo S4 Review with the Veil Guy

    Escort essentially cornered the cordless detector market its Solo S3 radar/laser detector, which combined the performance of a Passport series model with the convenient portability of a cordless detector. It was recently replaced with an updated model, the Escort Solo S4.

    In this exclusive video interview with Danny Feemster from Buy Radar Detectors, Bob Rosania aka The Veil Guy reviews the Solo S4 and tells us what he thinks of this new iteration of an Escort cordless classic.

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