Do you know what the biggest cost is after getting a speeding ticket? If you guessed the ticket, you’d be wrong.
The EXTRA points and cost on your LICENSE and ANNUAL insurance premium can add-up to thousands more for years.
I made this buyers guide so you don’t have to gamble on the road. Here, you’ll see the best radar detectors to buy for the money, for all types of budgets. There won’t be any BS about brands that don’t pull their weight.
The TRUTH of the matter is that good radar detectors cost money, sometimes more than you would be comfortable spending. However, i’m here to give you the BIG picture and show you ALL the options available!
The Best Radar Detectors [Top 7 Roundup]
Let’s get straight to the point, the best radar detectors to buy. I went over at least 20 different detectors, and from the 20, only half made it on this list. From the 10, 7 are in the chart for the most recommended detectors to buy.
As you’l see in this chart, there are both detectors ranging from 200 to 300 dollars, to detectors getting close to 800 dollars. What I made sure to do is label each detector for WHY its there, along with the important pro’s and con’s.
Best Range & Features
Escort Redline 360C
Great Range & RDD Stealth
Great OVERALL Value
Valentine One (G2)
Enthusiast Grade Detector
Best Performing Non-Arrow Detector
Low-Profile and Powerful
Good Performance for Cheap
Radar Detector Picks (without Arrows)
The seven above I outlined for the absolute best out there, as of 2023. However, all 10 that made it on this list are listed below in order with reviews and all the details you should know about them. Starting with the detectors with no arrows, and ending with ones that do have arrows.
Arrows tend to be a luxury that some might be willing to spend money on, thus why there’s two category of detectors.
#1 Pick is the Uniden R4
Some would call the Uniden R4 a Uniden R3 on steroids, and it’s no joke. The sheer detection range from this radar detector blows everything out of the water for the non-arrow segment of these detectors.
One of the biggest reasons why the Uniden R4 has exceptional performance, is due to the fact that it has LNA (Low Noise Amplification). Weak signals are picked up much faster, allowing for earlier alert times.
Another notable aspect of the Uniden R4 is the ability to auto lockout false alerts, something that only the more expensive R7 and R8 are capable of doing. When you pass sources that keep giving you a false K-band alert, the detector will remember the source (using GPS data) and automatically mute the source.
In addition, the R4 has K-Block as a feature to further eliminate K-band false alerts 24.199 (+/-) and 24.168 (+/-).
Lastly, the Uniden R4 is the first detector to now enable Laser Gun Identification. When the detector picks up laser, it can detect most make and models of laser guns being used.
- Excellent detection range, considered the best non-arrow detector to buy
- Great at filtering out false alerts
- Has MRCD/T and GATSO detection available in the settings
- The price point of between 350 and 400 makes it a great deal
- Not fully immune to an RDD. It could be considered as “mostly” immune, but not all the way.
- K-Band auto lockouts can sometimes have a hard time sticking, in addition it still alerts to some Honda and Acura blind-spot monitoring systems (despite filters applied)
#2 Pick is the Redenso DS1
Redenso really knocked it out of the park with this radar detector. Since the release of the DS1, it has been able to compete with the R3, and many other similar radar detectors. I placed this radar detector #2 on this list because it’s not quite as good as the R4, but it’s much better than pretty much anything else beneath it.
If you weren’t aware, Redenso has been in the game of making detectors for almost 10 years. Their detectors tend to keep it simple, yet highly functional. The DS1 is categorized as a high performing non-arrow detector that provides EXCELLENT detection range (due to a specific, Magnesium Alloy Horn) and great K-band filtering.
This detector is almost on-par with the V1 for user interface. The buttons are laid out right in front of you, giving you ease access to the functions that matter.
Overall, along with the R4, this detector is an excellent choice for a unit that will do almost everything (for a fair price in my opinion).
Let’s dive into the pro’s and con’s of this detector, some of which weren’t mentioned in the overview.
- Exceptional detection range, especially agains Ka-band.
- BSM K-Band filtering is good and the detector is able to filter out quite a few car blind-spot monitoring systems.
- Included magnetic mount is easy to use and adjust.
- Easy to reach mute button and clear LCD screen.
- USB-C power cord, works great if you have other devices that use USB-C (to the contrary, the USB-C connection is solid and won’t let your detector fall).
- The detector can scan a more wide band of K-band frequencies, allowing you to detect more MRCD sources (something that Uniden R3 can’t do).
- An additional thread right on top of the detector lets you add many different attachments, such as other types of mounts (great for motorcycles).
- Audio tone options are not the best
- Detector still manages to false to some blind-spot monitoring systems
- Bluetooth is enabled, however there’s nothing at the moment the detector can pair-to.
#3 Pick is the Escort Max 3
Third in line is the Escort Max 3. If you thought this detector looks a lot like the Escort iX, you’d be right. However, there are quite a few significant differences between the two. To make it clear, the Max 3 is far superior than the Escort iX, in filtering, range, and overall features.
If you wanted something that can keep up with some of the higher end radar detectors like the Uniden R7. In fact, the Max 3 managed to beat an Escort Max 360c during a few runs against Ka-band.
The Max 3 has bluetooth enabled, allowing you to pair the detector to Escort Live on your phone. From the phone, you can have easy access to features such as filtering, segmentation, and more.
Unlike some of the newer Escort detectors that use digital signal scanning with their antennas, the Max 3 uses the older, analog version, but with improved performance.
False K-band filtering is pretty decent, filtering out well some of the modern Honda’s and Acura’s. However, GM, Mazda and a few other manufacturers still seem to trigger this detector for K-band.
That’s the overview, now let’s break down all the pro’s and con’s of this detector.
- Good detection range against K and KA-band, beating the Max360c in most runs against all types of radar.
- It’s an easy to use, plug and play detector that comes with all the features necessary to make it mostly hands off once you install it.
- Included magnetic mount is easy to use and is quite sturdy.
- MRCD and MRCT detection is included in this detector, giving you the ability to detect the rare (but growing in popularity) low strength k-band photo radar.
- When placed in AUTO mode, the detection range against K-band is dramatically reduced (Highway or City mode is recommended).
- False Ka-band alerts happen and un-mounting the detector from the magnetic mount can trigger a false Ka-band alert (sometimes).
#4 Pick is the Uniden R3
After owning this detector for years, I thought the Uniden R3 would score higher on this list than expected. Nonetheless, out of all the detectors on the market, it takes a lot to get on the top 5 list of AvtoWow. So with that being said, this is the rare, great value detector that won’t let you down.
First and foremost, this detector is highly reliable. Unlike with some Escort models that have some quality control issues (at least in the past), the Uniden R3 has been holding up in the Florida heat (down here in south Florida) for a few years now. The detection range is something that blew me away on hundreds of occasions.
Against both K and Ka-band, the Uniden R3 performs exceptionally well and at one point, it was the best of the best. Now, it isn’t, but for the price, it’s very hard to beat the value.
The LCD screen gives you a fair amount of customization. Unlike the R1, this detector does have GPS enabled, giving you the ability to lock out false alerts manually.
One thing I’d recommend you do is keep the detector updated using the mini usb port on its side. While it can take a little bit of time to get the detector updated, issues and bugs can be sorted out by doing this once or twice per year.
While this detector was around 400 when I bought it brand new, right now, it can range anywhere between 275 and 300 dollars. For what it is, that is an AMAZING deal.
- Great detection range, against K and KA-band.
- Mostly undetectable to RDD’s. It’s enough for most applications, great for drivers in Virginia and Washington D.C.
- Allows for GPS lockouts, manually.
- You can turn ON & OFF bands, segment KA-band, turn ON certain filters and overall, give this detector a true “fine-tune”.
- The detector does not have auto lockouts.
- No ambient dim sensor that adjusts brightness of buttons.
#5 Pick is the Uniden DFR9
Last on our list is the Uniden DFR9. This radar detector was at one point one of the top performs, but now in 2023 it has been outperformed by many better detectors.
The reason why reason for this radar detector review, is to point out the great value. On average for between 200 and 225 dollars, it’s a great choice that isn’t quite as powerful as the R3, but it includes almost everything else.
When it comes to the range, it can keep up with many 200-300 dollar detectors on the market. At the same time, this detector is also stealthy to an RDD.
For this price, the DFR9 has GPS enabled, giving you low speed muting and red light camera warnings. The one thing it does not have, is auto lockouts.
Overall, it looks very similar to the R3 and for an all-around detector, it’s a GREAT choice.
- Good K and KA-band detection.
- GPS-enabled for red light camera and speed trap warnings.
- Ambient light sensor adjusts the detectors brightness automatically.
- Plenty of features that make it a great value for under 250 dollars.
- Undetectable to the Spectre III and Elite.
- No auto lockouts for false alerts.
Radar Detector Picks (with Arrows)
Do you want the best of the best? If so, radar detectors with arrows can delivery insane detection range (on top of even more features).
You probably know the Valentine One paved the way for directional arrows that identify where the threat is coming from. Below, I’ve listed the 5 of the best radar detectors on the market that have arrows, starting with the top pick!
#1 Pick is the Uniden R8
The Uniden R8 is their latest, flagship detector that is supposed to raise the standards across the entire industry. From the DFR7 to the crowned “king” of radar detectors, the R8 is exactly what you want, when you don’t want to compromise on anything.
Compared to the R3 and R4, the R8 features far greater detection range (and those detectors were quite good in the first place). The new and and slightly improved design gives this detector dual LNA antennas, giving it the exceptionally sensitive abilities.
Something that makes this detector stand out above its very close competitors below, is the ability to properly ramp-up on K and Ka-band. Detectors like the Redline 360c can sometimes ramp-up quickly in the beginning, and then level out and then, slowly ramp-up until the source is reached.
The R8 is far better at this and at least for me, it takes the cake.
The main key with this detector is the ability to indicate where the radar source is coming from. The bigger antennas allow for the detector to pick up signals from the front, and rear.
Despite the bigger rear-facing antenna blocks the laser sensor, in practice it does not affect the detectors ability to pick up laser signal.
- K and Ka-band detection is extremely good. It’s in the top 3 for range (depending on the scenarios). You can apply most of the filters on this detector against false alerts and it still performs very well.
K-band filtering is impressive.
- Arrows are a great addition to the detectors mighty capabilities.
- The new addition of AUTO mode for the detector allows it to automatically ramp-up or down sensitivity, depending on the speed you are driving.
- Improved MRCD detection range, and even the arrows can point as to which direction the MRCD source is.
- Auto lockouts can sometimes lockout false sources that shouldn’t be, such as car blindspot monitoring systems.
- Not reliability stealth against the Spectre III and Elite. It can be considered as “mostly” undetectable, but results vary.
#2 Pick is the Escort Redline 360c
The Escort Redline 360c is the evolved and improved version of not just the Escort Redline EX, but also the 360c (thus the name, Redline 360c).
As long as the name is, the detection range is even longer. This is on-par with the Uniden R8 and the Valentine One gen2 when it comes to K and Ka-band detection.
Of all the detectors, this one seems to be the best built. While plastic, the quality of the plastic is heavier duty.
Probably the biggest gripe with the Redline 360c, is the price. At almost 800 dollars, it’s more expensive than the R8 and all other arrow detectors on the market. Unlike the old Max360 and even the newer Max360c, this detector address many of the issues the old ones had, including K and Ka-band alert glitches that sometimes made the detector sleep randomly and not alert to anything.
Now if you don’t already know, the original Redline was known for not just excellent range, but also pure stealth against the Spectre Elite and Spectre III. This detector does the same and it scored the best when slammed head-to-head with the RDD’s.
- Exceptional detection range, exactly like the original Redline, but better!
- The arrows work well and are accurate for the most part when it comes to targeting the threat source.
- Solid sensitivity against MRCD, though it can trigger false alerts.
- Completely immune to RDD’s.
- Auto lockouts are built into the detector and don’t require any additional apps to get this feature working.
- Connect to the Escort Live app and automatically get speed limit data, as well as alerts of others in your area that use Escort Live.
- The detector can integrate with Escort ZR5 laser jammers.
- Detector does not differentiate between MRCD and MRCT, jus shows M when alert goes off.
- Detector is fairly bulky.
#3 Pick is the Valentine One (Gen2)
Coming in at number three on this list is the 2nd generation of the Valentine One. This is the radar detector that enthusiasts used for decades. The newest release of the detector looks all too familiar to many of us. Sticking to its roots, the detector continues to function exceptionally well, and better yet, the detector has really good detection range.
Against K and Ka-band, the detector does a good job at filtering out many of the false alerts, while at the same time alerting you well in advanced when a threat is nearby.
Thanks to a few app developers, apps like the V1 Driver and JBV1 allow you to adjust all the settings from your phone. This radar detector has bluetooth built-in.
One main gripe I have with this detector, is its lack of built-in GPS (despite that, it still have great filtering). You have to pair the detector with a phone to get additional settings that can mimic the GPS feature on other detectors.
- Great detection range, it won’t disappoint.
- 100% undetectable to RDD’s, unlike the previous gen radar detector.
- Enthusiast-grade radar detector by keeping the main things that made it popular in the first place.
- Directional arrows can point at multiple directions of radar. Front, rear, and left/right. According to Valentine, its called a “Bogey Counter”.
- No built-in GPS.
- To access all the detector features, you need to connect to a third-party app.
#4 Pick is the Uniden R7
Uniden is back at it again with their R7 for the #4 spot. If you want the performance of the Uniden R4, but with some Uniden R8 features, look no further than the Uniden R7.
Truth be told, the R7 came out before the R8, so naturally, the detector was is the predecessor to the (current) longest range detector.
Right off the bat, you’ll notice the radar detector is bigger and wider. With 360 degree antennas, you can get pin-point location of where the radar threat is coming from (just like the R8 and V1).
The range against K and Ka-band is to no surprise, really good. I thought the R3 when I first got it was good enough, but it wasn’t until I ran both head-to-head, that I saw the major improvement in sensitivity. Some would say the R7 is “too sensitive”…
Overall, for less than 500 dollars (sometimes dipping below 400), it’s the best value on the market right now. If arrows are a must, I recommend the R7 as the best radar detector to buy. With that being said, let’s break down the major plus and minuses of this thing.
- Excellent detection range, right on-par with the V1, Max360, and a few other top-tier models.
- Directional arrows are a great addition to the accuracy of this detector.
- Bigger screen makes it easier to read and sort out when an alert comes up.
- Solid exterior button placement for easy and quick reach. The mute button especially is in a good spot.
- Not entirely undetectable to the RDD.
- Build quality is somewhat cheap (hollow), but mostly solid.
- Suction cup included is somewhat weak for this detector.
#5 Pick is the Escort Max360c MK2
Last, but certainly not least, is the Escort Max360c MK II. This is the new and improved version of not just the Max 360, but also the Max 360c.
Escort came out with their Max360 years ago. It was the first radar detector to directly compete with the V1 after their patent expired. While that was a decent detector (with a fair bit of bugs to fix), the newer and improved Max 360c MK2 version is a solid pick that will not let you down.
Detector range between K and Ka-band during a few tests managed to beat out the old versions (in every test).
False alert filtering is pretty good with the auto lockouts. Their BSM filtering system works exceptionally well, being able to filter out many Mazdas, Chryslers, GMC’s, and more.
While this is the new and improved version, as of 2023, there’s still a fair bit of bugs to sort out with the detector. One of which is having a hard time detecting the Decater Genesis II Select K-band radar source. On multiple runs, the detector didn’t even alert to it.
In addition to that, there’s a few more bugs that I’m sure Escort is working on fixing. Overall, this is why the radar detector is #5 on this list. On paper, it has exceptional performance and features, but if they could just iron-out the kinks in the functionality, it could easily move up on this list.
- Good detection range against all radar sources.
- Arrows work well at pointing out the radar threat.
- One of the best detectors for BSM filtering.
- Bluetooth enabled and can connect to Escort Live.
- Not stealth to an RDD.
- Bugs with the K-band detection of the Decatur Genesis II Select.
- WiFi connection issues and a few minor bugs that can make usage inconvenient.
Best Radar Detectors for Each Category
Now that you saw the top 10 detector picks with and without arrows, I’d like to narrow down the top picks based on each, specific category.
I know as much as anyone else looking for a detector that there’s criteria that meet our requirements. Wether you live in a flat state but there’s too much false alert sources, you want a great filtering detector.
On the flip side, you live where there’s hardly any false alerts, but a lot of obstacles are in the way that absorb radar signal. With this scenario, a maximum range detector is needed. Let’s break down the primary picks for each category, starting with the easiest to use radar detector.
Top Choice for Ease of Use
Picking the detector that is easiest to use is rather touch because this matter is objective. As a detector enthusiast, most are very easy to use and I’d consider, “plug-and-play”. However, allow me to narrow it down to just one and also name an honerable mention. Starting the Redenso DS1. this radar detector has a fair amount of features, but what makes this detector a solid choice for most people is the lack of too many buttons and the ability to scroll through the menu with ease.
Unlike with many other detectors where you get a lot of customization options, and to be fair, this detector has that too, Redenso makes it simpler.
Not to mention, this radar detector is almost half the size of most other detectors and at the same time, it has exceptionally good performance against K and KA-band.
An honorable mention would be the Valentine One (Gen 1 & Gen 2). If you don’t plan on pairing this detector with anything else (like phone application), this is for you. There’s very few buttons to press and the only things you’ll be shown are: X, K, KA, Laser and a Bogey counter. They keep it simple.
Top Choice for Driving Enthusiasts
When it comes down to the radar detector that driving enthusiasts use, the Valentine One (both generations) are excellent choices. They have been known for exceptional range, clear and easy to understand screens, and for the longest time, arrows.
Whether you choose to go with the V1 gen 1 or gen 2, you will not be disappointed.
If you end up going with the V1 gen 2, you’ll be pleasantly surprised as to how much of an improvement this detector is over the previous generation.
The detection range is really good, along with the K-band false alerts and if you live in VA, it is completely stealthy to an RDD. It’s like Valentine looked at one of the major complaints, and completely improved on all of them.
An honorable mention would be the Uniden R7, giving you arrows and a lot of customization options without the need for an external application.
Top Choice for the Money
It may seem biased for the number of radar detectors I mention that are made by Uniden, but that is simple because they have stepped up their game and Escort is no longer the dominant force (for the most part).
The best detector for the money when it comes to the NON-ARROW segment, is the Uniden R4. Being able to perform better than the R3 in every way, while only costing 30-70 dollars more (on average), it’s an obvious choice. It implements ease of use, features, range, and cost in a way that makes it a good value.
For the arrow segment, the R7 would be the next best value detector, hovering between 425 and 500 dollars. It has even better range, but on top of all that, it has arrows. In the world of radar detectors, arrows are very helpful for narrowing down where the threat is coming from.
As a current R3 user, the R7 is next on the list for me.
Top Choice for Pure RDD Immunity
For all you Virginia, Washington D.C. and most of Canadian drivers, I have two radar detectors to choose from.
The top picks for the most undetectable detector is the Valentine One Gen 2. Unlike the previous generation, this one is completely stealthy against the Spectre (up to about 2-3 feet away). This detector tested well against the Spectre Elite and the Spectre III.
The honorable mention here would be the Escort Redline 360c, the evolution of the original Escort Redline. This detector is just as stealthy, but it cost almost 200 dollars more.
If you want the easiest to use without needing to download any apps to get extra features, go with the Escort Redline Max360c. However, if you want the cheaper, equally as powerful detector, the Valentine One gen 2 is the better option.
NOTE: For the bang for the buck detector that is undetectable, consider the older Uniden R3 as a good choice. No arrows and not as good detection range, but it’s good enough and it’s stealthy.
Top Choice for Detection Range
There’s at least a dozen good radar detectors that have range that is more than enough for everyday driving. However, some people want the best of the best when it comes to sensitivity for K and Ka-band. With that in mind, there are two detectors that have the best detection range are the Uniden R8 and the Escort Redline Max360c.
What makes both detectors great is that they are more or less in the same range of detection, and both have arrows.
The place where the two start to part ways is the price. The R8 is usually around 650 to 700, while the Redline Max 360c often ranges from 750 to 800. In addition, while the Redline is pricier, it offers total immunity against an RDD, where-as the R8 is about 75% immune.
Top Choice for K-Band Filtering
While no radar detector is able to filter out all false alerts, there’s some that do it better. When it comes to blind-spot monitoring systems and other false sources of K and even Ka-band, there are two that come to mind.
Starting out with the Escort Max 360C MK2 and its plethora of options for filtering out false alerts. The auto lockouts and BSM filtering options are great, in addition to the detectors ability to detect MRCD and MRCT photo radar sources. Oddly enough, enabling those settings makes the detector even quieter.
A close runner up is the Redenso DS1 with its simple, yet highly functional ability to hush down false alerts. I admire this detector for keeping it simple and small. What Redenso managed to do with this detector, is squeeze out as much range as possible, make it compact, make it immune to RDD’s, and also make it exceptionally quiet against K-band false alerts.
At the moment, I’d recommend the DS1 as the quietest detector.
Top Choice for Overall Number of Features
When it comes to the most features of any radar detector, I’d say most of Escorts new detectors would be your best bet. However, when I narrow it down to just one, i’d have to give it up to the Escort Redline Max 360c.
Allow for me to list off just a few of the features that are crucial in a radar detector:
- Stealth against RDD’s
- Directional arrows for more accurate detection
- GPS for auto lockouts of false alerts
- Redlight and speed camera warnings
- WiFi and Bluetooth enabled
- K and Ka-band segmentation
- It can show your speed and posted speed limit of where you are driving.
- Detect MRCD and MRCT photo radar.