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Radar Detectors

  • Can police find out if you have a radar detector?

    Hiding a Radar DetectorA radar detector can be an effective countermeasure against police radar and traffic enforcement devices. A detector is also legal to own and use in most areas of the US, unless you are a commercial (CDL) driver, are operating a vehicle on a military base or are located in Virginia or Washington, D.C. If you drive in any of those scenarios, you can't have a radar detector. The problem is, if you own a radar detector where it is legal, but happen to commute to or travel through an area where it isn't, you could get in trouble quickly if law enforcement authorities discover one in your possession.

    But is it a real risk? Can police find out if you have a radar detector?

    Yes, they can! Absolutely they can, and it's easy. All they need is a radar detector detector.

    What is a radar detector detector?
    Simply put, a radar detector detector (RDD) is a device that detects the presence of a radar detector. These devices allow law enforcement to locate and identify vehicles in which a radar detection device has been placed or installed, and is in active operation. Many law enforcement agencies have them, especially in areas where radar detectors are restricted or not allowed.

    How do radar detector detectors work?
    A radar detector is a radio device, with the ability to search out and receive Super High Frequency (8.500-24.35 GHz) and Extremely High Frequency (33.4-36.0 GHz) radio waves in the radar bands used by authorities for speed and traffic enforcement. Although the detector is a receiver, it also emits or "leaks" radio frequencies (RF) of its own. All radar detectors produce these RF signals, and this leakage can be picked up by another receiver tuned to those frequencies. A radar detector detector is specifically designed to do this, and can do so from a considerable distance away.

    What are the types of radar detector detectors?
    There are different types of radar detector detectors. The VG-2 Interceptor was the first of its kind, and for a time, VG-2 was the standard used. It wasn't long before radar detector manufacturers designed their detectors to effectively defeat the VG-2, and nearly all detectors sold today have VG-2 protection. This rendered VG-2 ineffective. It is seldom, if ever, used by police today.

    Another type of RDD is Spectre. It eventually replaced the VG-2. The Spectre I was popular with law enforcement, and quite effective, until the manufacturers of radar detectors developed a countermeasure for it as well. The Spectre I was eventually replaced by the Spectre II, and in 2004, the Spectre III. The RDD currently used in the US is the Spectre IV, or Spectre Elite.

    Where are radar detector detectors used?
    Police typically use RDD in areas where radar detectors are not allowed or are illegal, although some may use them in areas where detectors are allowed for use by the general public. This is done in an effort to identify commercial vehicles that are not allowed to have them.

    Are some radar detectors undetectable?
    All radar detectors leak, some more than others. However, some detectors have shielding and other technology in place to minimize the leakage to varying degrees. Some are undetectable within a few feet of the RDD device. These are considered adequate for stealth operation, since most RDD units will be positioned outside that range.

    The stealthiest detectors avoid detection from RDDs within several inches of an RDD unit. This is especially important if the radar detector is installed in the vehicle instead of mounted on the dash, as the latter can be quickly disabled, turned off and put away if necessary, but a concealed detector is permanently mounted and usually powered on, risking discovery if the vehicle is pulled over.

    Which radar detectors are undetectable?
    Most radar detectors on the market today can defeat VG-2 radar detector detectors. When it comes to Spectre, however, the list narrows considerably. Since Spectre is the RDD system widely used, it is the one you need to watch for, especially if you commute, live or travel within areas where radar detectors are resticted or illegal. Fortunately we have a list of radar detectors that are undetectable. Questions? Leave a comment below, enter our chat at Buy Radar Detectors or give us a call at 1-800-584-1445 weekdays.

  • Which radar detectors are undetectable by police in 2019?

    Radar detectors are designed to hear and identify frequencies emitted from police radar guns. They also emit frequencies of their own, and can be detected by radar detector detectors (RDD). All radar detectors emit "stray" RF signals, but some are built with shielding to reduce or practically eliminate leakage. These are the radar detectors you want to use if detectability is a concern. The question is, which radar detectors are undetectable by police radar detector detectors?

    It's a valid question, because it can be a little confusing. There are different RDD devices in use with varying degrees of sensitivity. One type of RDD is VG-2. It is no longer widely used and can be defeated somewhat easily by many of the detectors available today. Another type of RDD is Spectre. The latest version, known as Spectre Elite, is rather effective at detecting radar detectors, and from a relatively short distance away.

    There are a number of radar detectors available on the market with various levels of undetectability. Some are undetectable from VG-2, Spectre, or both within a reasonable distance. A few are considered stealth, which means they are almost completely undetectable, depending on the position of the detector and the police RDD around it. A very few are considered fully stealth, meaning the detector is undetectable at almost any distance from any position or direction at all.

    The chart below lists radar detectors currently available from Buy Radar Detectors in 2019 for use in situations where RDD undetectability or stealth is desired.

    Stealth and Undetectable Radar Detectors
    Brand Model VG-2 Spectre Undetectability
    Cobra
    SPX 5300 ★★★
    Escort Redline EX ★★★★★
    Radenso SP ★★★
    XP ★★★★
    Pro M ★★★★
    Uniden DFR1 ★★★
    R1 ★★★★
    R3 ★★★★
    R7 ★★★★
  • Getting the most out of your radar detector

    Five Radar DetectorsYou recently received a ticket and after the initial shock, decided to take action to prevent it from happening ever again. So, you purchased a radar detector. You researched the products thoroughly, shopped around, and after weighing all the features and options, you made your choice, and it was a good one. You know this, because everyone who already had one raved about it relentlessly. This was THE radar detector. The ONE. The open road was finally yours to conquer!

    Then it arrived. Excitedly, you set up your new radar detector, turned it on and took off for a test drive.

    And you got another ticket.

    Angrily, you yanked it off the dashboard, put it back in the box, and called the company so you could send it back, because it didn't work. It didn't prevent the ticket! Why?

    One of the most common misconconceptions about radar and laser detectors is that the mere presence of one in a vehicle guarantees you will get the advertised performance expected of it out of the box, automatically. However, there's more to it than that. A radar detector isn't just a device to detect radar. It's a tool, an instrument designed to perform a specialized function. As with any tool, it requires an operator to understand and to use it.

    A fine brush won't paint a masterpiece. A high-end guitar cannot play itself. (I was going to say piano, but a player piano actually can.) Like any precision tool or instrument, one has to know how to operate it properly. Just like the vehicle you drive, a radar detector must be learned, understood and properly used to get the most out of it.

    If you pass a patrol car or checkpoint of some sort and your detector doesn't go off, it could be due to a number of reasons. Here are some common questions to consider.

    Is the detector powered on?
    Is the detector properly installed or aimed to pick up the threat?
    Is it configured to detect the radar or laser band(s) used in your area?
    Is the detector configured to filter out or ignore those frequencies or that band?
    Is there anything in the way of the detector's sensors or antenna to deflect or block the incoming threat?
    Is the detector set to mute any audible or visual alerts?
    Is there even a radar gun in use?

    As you can see, there is more to using a radar detector than simply slapping it on the windshield or attaching it to the dash. Before blaming the detector, check your operation. Remember, the key to getting the most out of your radar detector starts with an understanding of how it works and learning how to work it.

    What radar detectors do
    A radar detector is designed to detect and alert the driver to a specific range of radio waves or frequencies used for Radio Detection and Ranging, or RADAR. If the detector is also designed to detect laser, it should detect frequencies in the infrared spectrum of pulsed laser light used for Light Detection and Ranging, or LIDAR, as well. Radar and Lidar are both line-of-sight, which means that they must be within the range and view of the detection device in order for the device to detect them. In short, a radar detector must be properly placed or installed in the vehicle to accurately detect radar and laser threats.

    What radar detectors don't do
    A radar detector detects radar, not cops. Police officers don't emit radar. Radar guns do. Unless the LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) has a radar gun hand, it is turned on and it is aimed down the road in your general direction, your radar detector is not going to detect it. Even if the radar gun is on and aimed directly at your vehicle, it will only detect the presence of the radar gun. It certainly won't detect the cop holding it.

    Also, be aware that there are other methods of traffic enforcement that don't utilize radar technology, such as VASCAR. If one or more of those methods are being used in the area through which you are traveling, your radar detector won't detect those, either.

    The types of radar bands
    There are specific radar bands and frequencies used for speed detection and enforcement.

    • X Band (10.525 GHz)
    • Ku Band (13.45 GHz)
    • K Band (24.1 GHz)
    • Ka Narrow Band (33.8-35.5 GHz)
    • Ka Wide Band (33.4-36 GHz)

    X band is an older band, and not used much by law enforcement in most areas. However, is still used occasionally in some rural locations, so it should not be completely ignored.

    K band is actively used by law enforcement, but is also often used by other radar emitting devices as well, such as vehicle assist systems and automatic door openers. This opens the door (pun intended) to false alerts, so some filtering of this band is needed.

    Ka band is popular with law enforcement today and is commonly used to detect speeders. If your detector is not properly set up to detect Ka, you will probably get a ticket if an officer tags you on that band.

    Ku band is used in Europe and is not used in the US. Unless you live in the EU, don't worry about Ku band.

    The difference between radar and laser detection
    Radar and Laser are two different methods used for speed enforcement, and each requires a different method of defense. Knowing the difference between the two can help you more effectively manage the operation of your detector to defend yourself against a speeding ticket.

    Radar signals are very wide, and cover a broad area. Radar is somewhat slow compared to Lidar (laser) and is the most common technology used by police for speed enforcement. It is also used for many other devices on or around roadways, including speed cameras, traffic monitoring systems and automatic door openers, to name a few. In addition, radar is used in vehicles for collision avoidance and driver assist systems. Because of this, the potential for false alerts has increased dramatically in recent years.

    Laser signals are very narrow, with a wavelength of about 900 nanometers (nm). They also travel at the speed of light, so they are extremely fast, allowing an officer to clock a driver in less than a second. This is a real danger to the driver, because it does not allow enough time to react to a laser alert. By the time you get the alert, the officer already tagged your speed. For this reason, radar detectors that also detect laser are often referred to as ticket notifiers. While not as commonly used by law enforcement as radar, its use is increasing. The threat from laser is real, and growing.

    If laser is used in your area of travel, it is advisable to include additional laser defense products in your countermeasure system, such as a laser jammer or Laser Veil.

    Optimizing range
    Some radar detectors have higher sensitivity than others, and can detect radar waves at greater distances. This is known as range. Choosing a detector with greater range can be a definite asset on the road.

    But sensitivity isn't the only factor in determining range, or performance. It also depends on where you mount your detector. The general rule of thumb is to mount it higher for radar detection only and lower for laser. The optimal position is to mount it centered in the vehicle, low to the dash, and close to the windshield, preferably directly to the windshield itself if laws allow. This allows the detector to have a wider field of view to detect both radar and laser threats from the front of the vehicle, where the majority of threats originate.

    Filtering out false alerts
    Great range alone won't do the job. Your detector also needs to determine the difference between a radar signal and a radar threat. As mentioned earlier, there are numerous sources of radar on the road and detecting or ignoring the wrong ones can confuse both you and your detector. It could also get you into trouble quick. This is why your detector should be configured and optimized to discern a false alert from a real one.

    There are many new technologies that utilize radar on the road. They need to be identified, some as real threats, and others to be filtered out. Technologies such as MultaRadar (MRCD and MRCT) are used with traffic and red light cameras and need to be identified. Radar used for collision avoidance systems and traffic assist on newer vehicles need to be filtered out. Many of these systems are fairly new, so older radar detectors do not have the ability to recognize them for what they are. If you have an basic detector or one that is very old, there is a good chance it will either alert you to everything, or not alert you at all. Either way, it won't do the job.

    Newer detectors, such as the Radenso Pro M or the Uniden R3, are designed with advanced filtering for many of these systems built-in, allowing you to adjust and optimize your detection system to filter out the noise and detect the real threats for maximum protection.

    When to be confident
    The time to be confident is when driving in normal traffic, with vehicles all around you. This is an optimal scenario for a radar detector because it would likely go off when a LEO tags a vehicle in front of you, behind you, or in the next lane. That warning should provide ample time to check your speed and avoid a ticket yourself, before the radar gun is aimed at you.

    When to be cautious
    The time to be most cautious is when traffic is light, there aren't cars ahead of you, or you are traveling on a lonely road. With few or no other vehicles around, your vehicle is most likely to be tagged by a LEO. While not completely ineffective, in such cases a radar detector is not going to be much help on its own, especially if a police officer is using an instant-on radar gun or laser gun to tag you. In this scenario, you need to stay alert, watch your speed and ease off the pedal when approaching curves, hills or potential roadside obstructions where a LEO could hide.

    Use common sense
    A radar detector by itself will not prevent you from getting a ticket. As we've said many times, it is only one component of a complete ticket protection system, albeit a very important one. simply pulling a budget bubble pack unit from the shelf and putting it on your dash isn't going to do the job. You need to learn how it works, learn how to work it, and operate both it and your vehicle using a common sense approach for every unique situation on the road. In other words, drive smart. Only then can your radar detector help you avoid a speeding ticket.

  • Choosing the right radar detector

    Radar Detector PuzzleSo, you want to buy a radar detector, but you don't know where to begin. You're not alone. It's a common dilemma faced by many drivers, usually after they've received an unexpected and very expensive speeding ticket. Indeed, choosing the right radar detector is very important, as it can mean the difference between getting a ticket protector, and ticket collector.

    There are many radar detectors on the market, and they vary greatly in form, features, and function. There are some good detectors, and some great detectors. There are also some marginal models, and some very poor performers. Not surprisingly, there is also a wide variance in price. There are premium priced radar detectors with premium features, and low priced models with few or no frills.

    But don't let the prices fool you. There may be more value in that discount detector than detectable by the lower price. Conversely, there are a lot of bells and whistles (pun intended) on current high priced models, some of which are important and some of which are not worth your money or your time. Just because it costs more doesn't necessarily mean it's the best radar detector, or even a good detector for you.

    So, how do you choose? Before you plunk down some serious dough for a detector, it's important to know how to choose the right detector for your situation or your needs. When choosing a radar detector, here are the key differentiators to consider.

    Performance / Range
    We're going to start with the hard one: range. The range, or what some manufacturers term the performance of your detector, directly determines how much time you have to react to a radar alert. Range refers to the distance a radar detector can detect a potential radar threat. The farther away it can detect the radar, the greater the range. The greater the range, the more time you have to react. You need to know that there is a police officer ahead before he has a chance to get your speed, and a half mile of warning is much better than 500 feet.

    Okay, so what is so hard about range? It's not an easy thing to measure, so most people aren't going to be able to figure out for themselves if one radar detector has better range than another. If you search around for performance information online, you'll find that most of the published results are performed by companies paid by detector manufacturers, radar detector dealers, or affiliates of dealers. How can you trust results when there is possibly a big incentive for a reviewer to be dishonest? You're starting to see the problem.

    So, what do we recommend? Don't simply rely on the words "high performance" printed on the box. We think the best route is to study the results of several tests and look for consistent performers and outliers.

    Filtering
    This one may be listed second, but it's just as important as range. Police radar guns use X, K, and Ka band radar, but they're not the only devices that use these radar bands. Automatic doors, traffic sensors and driver assist features on other vehicles are just a few possible sources of radar detector interference. If your detector isn't properly filtering out this interference, you're going to hear dreaded false alerts. What happens when your detector gives you lots of false alerts? That's right, you'll train yourself to ignore them all. This is a bad habit, and a potentially dangerous one, because the next alert you ignore could be your next ticket!

    If you're going to buy a radar detector, get one that you can trust. You'll thank us later.

    GPS
    GPS is not an absolutely essential feature, but if you have room in your budget then we would recommend it. The following are several nice features that are enabled by GPS, but please note that not all GPS enabled radar detectors support all of these features.

    • Camera Database - A built-in, updateable list of the locations of fixed red light and speed cameras in the country. Red light cameras don't use radar or laser, so keep in mind a radar detector alone will not detect or alert you to them.
    • Marking False Alert Locations - A false alert can be blocked based upon the location and the band. If you drive the same route often, this can seriously cut down on noise.
    • Speed Based Alerts - GPS enabled detectors know your speed, so they can lower sensitivity or mute themselves when you're stopped or driving slowly.

    Smartphone Connectivity
    The ability to connect to a smartphone gives a detector access to the internet. From there, it can share your alerts to the cloud and bring down alerts from other drivers. This has the effect of extending the range of your detector.

    Some radar detectors use the phone to provide GPS data. This allows them to offer GPS features without the need for a built-in GPS chip, which can save you money.

    Display
    You'll see some detectors with fancy, large, full color screens. While those are certainly nice and easy on the eyes, we wouldn't classify the display as a critical feature. Remember, you're driving. Your eyes should naturally be focused on watching the road, not your radar detector. As the responsible driver you are, you'll be listening much more than watching. More important than general screen fanciness is its visibility and how it handles glare.

    Directional Arrows
    This is not a critical feature. Radar detectors with directional arrows will show you which direction that the radar detector signal is coming from. It is nice to know if the officer is behind you or ahead of you, but only the most expensive models currently have this feature, so for many it might not be worth the added expense. Bonus tip: in order for a radar detector to know which direction the signal is coming from, it has to have both a front and a rear facing antenna. Most detectors only have a front facing antenna, so getting a model with directional arrows should also mean you're getting great rear range!

    Compass
    Don't choose a radar detector model just because it also has a compass. While it can be a useful feature for general navigation, it isn't needed for a radar detector to operate effectively, and it won't help you avoid a speeding ticket. If you want a compass that badly, just buy one. They're cheap.

    Choosing the right radar detector isn't rocket science, but it does require more effort than referencing a simple comparison chart or a list of prices. You need to consider range, filtering and other key functions, decide which features you really need, and work within your budget from there. By extending your range with research and filtering through the hype, you can choose the right radar detector that will be your ticket protector.

  • We are an authorized Radenso dealer!

    Since the founding of the company in 2002, Buy Radar Detectors has led the way in providing quality radar detectors, accessories and service for the discerning driver at competitive prices. We constantly strive to offer quality products and services to our customers. We don't just offer everything on the web. We are particular about who we partner with and what we sell, and that's why we are excited to announce that we are now an authorized Radenso dealer!

    Radenso is quickly gaining a reputation as a respected manufacturer of high performance, quiet, and low priced radar and laser detectors with impressive range and top notch filtering. Radenso radar detectors meet or exceed the performance of other models in their class, and at a much lower price point! In fact, Radenso is so confident in their products, they offer free updates for the life of the product, plus a one year, ticket free guarantee!

    Three windshield mount radar detectors are now available, as well as a full complement of Radenso accessories for them. These models include the SP, XP and Pro M.

    Radenso SP Radar DetectorRadenso SP
    Like other detectors in its class, the Radenso SP detects X, and K, band, narrow and Ka wide band signals and police laser threats. It has a city and highway mode and can filter out traffic sensors and blind spot monitor systems from other vehicles in range. In addition to filtering, the SP is also virtually invisible to VG-2 and Spectre radar detector detectors. This is a feature not usually offered on a lower tier detector and gives the SP a step up over a lot of its competition.

    The Radenso SP features an orange-red OLED display that is easy to read, multiple threat display, dim settings, voice alerts, volume up and down buttons, a mute option, voltage display, and test mode. It has a USB port to update the firmware and these updates are free for life. How many other budget friendly radar detectors do that? Not many. Our Price: $199.00.

    Radenso XP Radar DetectorRadenso XP
    The Radenso XP has all the same detection as the SP, and more. It has the ability to filter out traffic sensors, blind spot monitor systems and collision avoidance systems, adds another City mode called CityAuto, and throws in GPS capability, including GPS lockouts for stationary false alerts. Like the SP, it also has VG-2 and Spectre invisibility. According to Radenso, it us considered one of the quietest radar detectors.

    The Radenso XP has an orange-red OLED display with 3-Digit Frequency Display and 6 display modes. It has voice alerts with 260 different messages, Low Speed GPS auto-muting, red light and speed camera alerts, and 3-Digit Frequency Display. Other features include Fully directional RLC/Speed Camera database With Free Updates, auto mute, volume up and down buttons, voltage display, test mode, and free updates for the life of the unit. Our Price: $349.00.

    Radenso Pro M Radar DetectorRadenso Pro M
    The Radenso Pro M is the top of the line, and it has the bells and whistles to prove it. It has all of the radar and laser detection of the other two models, plus MRCD, MRCT and Gatso radar bands. It has all of the filtering too, and is also invisible to VG-2 and Spectre Elite radar detector detectors. And, yes, there's more.

    In addition to GPS capability and many of the other standard features found on the XP, The Pro M has an amber colored OLED display with 7 selectable display modes. It also features voice alerts with Frequency Announcement. The firmware and pre-loaded red light/speed camera database include free lifetime updates. These are features one may expect from on a radar detector priced at $600 or more, but the Pro M undercuts them all. Our Price: $449.00.

    All three models comes with windshield suction cup mount, 12-volt DC power cord, mini-USB to USB date cable, carrying case, owner's manual. Any questions? leave us a comment below, enter our online chat or give us a call.

  • The pros and cons of cordless radar detectors

    Cutting the CordThe age of mobility brought about the concept of cord cutting, and manufacturers of radar detectors were early adopters. For a time, there was a healthy selection of cordless detectors, and it was not uncommon to find them mounted to the windshields and dashboards of many vehicles. Today, however, the number of cordless radar detectors has dwindled significantly. In fact, at the time of this article, there is only one cordless model from a major brand currently available, the Escort Solo S4.

    Does this mean cordless radar detectors are relics of the mobility age? Not necessarily. What it does mean is that the priorities of the average modern driver have possibly shifted, and their requirements may be different than they were at the beginning. When it comes to cordless radar detectors, they do have their pros and cons.

    The Pros and Cons of Cordless Radar Detectors

    Features vs. Portability
    Pro: Cordless detectors are extremely portable, easy to carry around and can be quickly moved or removed as needed. For instance, it is often advised to remove valuables from your vehicle to deter theft, and a radar detector is an attractive enticement to thieves. A corded detector needs to be disconnected from power before it can be removed. With a cordless detector, simply grab it and go. Some driver even operate their cordless detector from a shirt pocket! You can't do that with a corded detector.

    Con: Cordless detectors tend to have fewer features than corded models, or some features may be scaled back. This is often done for power considerations, because cordless detectors operate on batteries. The more features a detector has, the more power it may consume to activate and manage them. This can affect battery life.

    Power Requirements
    Pro: Cordless detectors have lower power requirement, and thus consume less power than corded detectors.

    Con: Lower power consumption means the detector has a lower range of detection. In some circumstances, range may only be one factor to consider, in others, especially on the highway, it can be the most critical to avoid a threat.

    Operability
    Pro: Cordless detectors do not need power from a vehicle and are not dependent on a vehicle to operate. This can be a considerable advantage when power options are limited or a corded option is simply not feasible.

    Con: Battery life limits operating time on longer trips. When the batteries are drained, the detector stops working, and if it happens while on the road, the driver must pull over and replace the batteries or face the risk of threats while the detector is out of operation.

    Power Save Features
    Pro: Cordless radar detectors usually have built-in power save and auto shutoff features to conserve battery life and extend operation.

    Con: The reliance on battery power requires frequent battery replacement, resulting in down time to replace batteries and higher costs to purchase new batteries.

    Accessibility
    Pro: Cordless detectors can serve as secondary units or backup detectors. Some drivers have more than one detector on the dash or windshield, but don't want too many wires in the way. A cordless detector can serve as an effective secondary unit without adding to the clutter. Also if the primary detector goes down, simply stick a cordless detector up there and turn it on, without having to stop and wire it up. It can definitely help in a pinch.

    Con: Cordless detectors generally have lower performance than corded detectors due to lower range and built-in power save options. This can also reduce their effectiveness as a replacement for a primary detector.

    Convenience
    Pro: Cordless detectors are a convenient option for temporary use in a second vehicle or rental car. If you switch vehicle often or are renting one for a day or two, a cordless detector can be setup quickly and easily without intrusion.

    Con: Few cordless models are available on the market. At this time, the only cordless radar detector on the market is the Escort Solo S4. This severely limits the choice of a cordless option.

    Versatility
    Pro: Cordless radar detectors can easily be mounted or used on motorcycles. Without the need of wiring coupled with simple mounting requirments, the cordless detector is a natural choice for use on motorcycles.

    Con: Except for the limitations already listed above, when it comes to using cordless radar detectors for motorcycles, is there a reason not to have one?

    Do you need a cordless model, or is it better to stick with the standard corded, portable, windshield mounted, detector? To make the decision easier, This handy chart lists the pros and cons of cordless radar detectors.

    Cordless Radar Detectors
    Pros Cons
    Portable - easy to switch from one vehicle to another Fewer features than a vehicle powered portable
    Low power requirements Lower power consumption means lower range
    power save options requires frequent battery replacement
    Great as a secondary detector or backup Lower performance due to lower range and power save options
    Great for temporary use in a second vehicle or rental car few cordless models available
    Not dependent on a vehicle to operate battery life limits operating time on longer trips
    Can easily be mounted or used on motorcycles

    Based on the this chart alone, one would think that the pros outnumber the cons. But, do they? The truth is, it depends on what you need in a radar detector, and how you plan to use it. If performance is imperative and portability is not important, it's probably best to go with a corded model. You'll get reliable power, greater range, and higher performance overall.

    However, if you need ultra portability, ride a motorcycle, need a backup unit or you just don't like wires hanging down your dash, then a cordless radar detector may be just the thing. Either way, it's your choice.

    For more information on cordless radar detectors, watch our Escort Solo S4 Video Review with the Veil Guy!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • An Introduction to Police Radar Guns

    Radar guns are commonly used by police for speed enforcement in the US, but how do they really work? How are they used? More importantly, are there any limitations that can give drivers an advantage when using a good radar detector?

    In this video hosted by Danny Feemster from Buy Radar Detectors, Bob Rosania, aka The Veil Guy and the creator of Veil G5 Anti-Laser Stealth Coating displays some popular radar guns used by law enforcement in the US and explains how they are used. He also reveals the advantages and limitations of radar guns and how a driver who understands them can use a radar detector to maximum advantage.

  • Why are radar detectors illegal in Virginia?

    As of October 2018, radar detectors are legal for use in each of the United States except one (Washington D.C. is not a state). That state is the commonwealth of Virginia. Recently a reader of our blog asked, why are radar detectors illegal in Virginia? While it may seem like an innocently nescient query to some, and a purposefully rhetorical statement to others, it is a genuinely perplexing one, especially considering the fact that, out of all fifty states, Virginia is the sole hold-out, and seemingly rather defiantly so.

    As for why the law exists, the general argument is that radar detectors encourage drivers to break traffic enforcement laws, particularly in regards to speeding. However, according to opponents of the law, the ban on radar detectors does nothing to prevent speeding, and can actually make the problem worse. They contend the law is archaic, and is unfair to those who live in surrounding states where radar detectors are allowed and travel or commute over the border with the device in their possession. Also, Virginia uses other methods for speed enforcement that a radar detector cannot detect anyway, so the presence of one in those cases has no effect at all, and therefore does nothing to circumvent the law. Yet this logic seems all but lost on the majority of Virginia lawmakers.

    The law banning radar detectors in Virginia has yet to be repealed, but it's not for lack of trying. In 2010, The Virginia House of Delegates voted down HB674, a bill to repeal the ban on radar detectors introduced by Delegate Joe May(R) - House District 33, who argued that the law was unfriendly to travelers through the state. In January 2015, Del. Dave LaRock [R] introduced House Bill No. 2079, "A BILL to repeal §46.2-1079 of the Code of Virginia". On January 28, the Virginia House of Delegates voted to table the bill, and on February 11, 2015, passed the buck to the Virginia House Transportation Committee, where it was "Left in Transportation", and is still sitting as of the date of this article.

    Why are radar detectors illegal in Virginia, still? At the end of the day, it is a question that only the lawmakers of Virginia can answer, because it's their law. Whether it is by the will of the people of Virginia or just its delegates remains unclear, but nevertheless, as draconian as it seems, and until further notice, it is still their law.

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