In today’s world, everybody wants to have a stress-free drive without any surprises like speed traps. A smart way to do this is by using some of the best radar detector apps to download on your smartphone.
Apps like Waze are great because they not only tell you where the police radars and speed cameras are but also give you tips and updates from other people using the app. In this article, we will tell you about the top 7 apps that can help you know what’s on the road ahead. Whether you drive every day or just now and then, having one of these apps can make your trips easier and less worrying.
Let’s take a look at the apps that can help you stay informed and avoid tickets.
Top 7 Radar Detection Apps to Consider
1. Waze (iOS & Android)
The Waze mobile app is the first and currently top pick. You can download this application on either iOS or Android devices, and best of all, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay work seamlessly with this app.
What makes Waze different from other map apps is the massive community behind it. Anyone can easily report real-time traffic conditions, accidents, speed traps, and other road incidents, helping everyone know what’s happening at any moment.
To start using Waze, you only need to download it from your App or Google Play Store and take about 1 minute to set up an account. From there, the application lets you customize various settings that make this a TRUE partner to any other police countermeasure setup (like a radar detector).
To sum it up with the Waze application, here’s a list of the primary benefits that make it worth downloading the app:
- Police Alerting: Waze is the gold standard for crowdsourcing police alerts. The sheer volume of users makes the app the #1 choice for getting alerted to police presence.
- Real-Time Traffic Updates: Waze offers real-time traffic info, including accidents, road closures, detours, and a lot more.
- Community-Reported Alerts: Being known for this, users can report various types of incidents, such as police presence, speed traps, various hazards, and more.
- Route Optimization: Much like Google Maps, Waze is constantly looking out for you and trying to optimize the best and fastest route. Voice-Guided Navigation: As you’d expect, being a Google product, Waze can guide you to your next destination with a variety of voice selections.
2. Escort Live (iOS & Android)
The Escort Live App is one of the oldest and most well-known radar detector apps on the market. While it was never truly free to get all the features, the price to pay is pretty reasonable if you live in a populated area.
Escort recently started to make this app free for a period of time when you purchase a radar detector from them. In case you don’t, you can always subscribe and take advantage of all its features.
From our experience, this app is nowhere near as good as Waze, with limited users and a monthly/yearly fee to pay to access the key features. However, if you are a hardcore enthusiast, we recommend paying the extra fee and pairing this app to an Escort radar detector to make your police spotting go that extra mile.
- Real-Time Alerts: Escort Live has a vast database that lets you see all the local crowdsourced alerts. Unlike Waze, where you have to do it manually when paired with a radar detector, this enables the app to upload police radar locations to the cloud automatically.
- Speed Limit Data: You can drive on any given road and see the speed limit posted on the screen. We noticed the application does a decent job of keeping up when it changes.
- Compatible with Escort Radar Detectors: This should be no surprise. Escort made this app work hand-in-hand with most of their modern radar detectors. By pairing the two brings out the full potential of what Escort has to offer.
3. Highway Radar (Android)
The Highway Radar app is designed to help drivers stay aware of various factors that can affect their driving, not only police presence but also weather and traffic congestion.
One of its primary functions is to alert you about potential speed traps and police presence up ahead. Especially when paired with a Bluetooth-enabled radar detector (like the Uniden R4 or R8), the application truly comes to life (much more than Escort Live, quite frankly).
The app is super easy to set up, with only requiring that you download the, install it, and start using the app. Unlike Waze or Escort Live, the Highway Radar app is only available for Android phones, so if you’d like to run this app in your vehicle, consider getting a dedicated Android cell phone.
Let’s take a look at the exact reasons why downloading this app is 100% worth doing so.
- Crowd-Source Data: The Highway Radar app allows you to get access to crowdsource information when it comes to accidents, traffic, and police reports.
- It’s Free, with NO Ads: This app was created by a radar detector enthusiast who only takes occasional donations in exchange for keeping the app running smoothly. While this may not be the case forever, it is now, and this is only a small reason why you should download it.
- Heatmap Threat Map: Who would have thought that a heatmap of a collection of dozens of reports across the entire area you drive could create a cool-looking heatmap that lets you know how likely it is for you to encounter police radar? Be sure to pair your Uniden radar detector to make this app work like it’s on steroids.
4. JBV1 (Android)
JBV1 is a mobile app designed to work alongside Valentine One. When you pair it successfully with the Valentine One radar detector, the JBV1 app enhances the detector’s functionality by a large degree.
One of the best things about JBV1 is that it offers real-time alerts about police radar locations, where they hide, traffic conditions, and other road hazards. Like Waze and Highway Radar, it leverages the existing community of users who share live updates about what’s happening on the roads.
Something that Waze does not do, JBV1 also provides weather updates, helping you anticipate weather conditions that might affect your driving.
Aside from a handful of apps on this list, to use JBV1, you’d need to download the app and pair it with a compatible Valentine One radar detector. Unlike most people who don’t have a V1, you can run this app in standalone mode and take advantage of the user source data that lets you spot cops. You’ll notice the similarities between JBV1 and Highway Radar because JBV1 runs on the same frame as Highway Radar. In our personal opinion, JBV1 has a better-looking interface.
- Integration with Valentine One Radar Detectors: Enhances the functionality of Valentine One radar detectors, providing a rich set of features for more informed driving.
- Real-Time Alerts: Give you notifications about police radar locations, speed traps, and other road hazards based on community reports.
- Weather Updates: Keeps you informed about current weather conditions on your route, with real-time small Doppler radar display.
- Speed Limit Display: This shows the current speed limit of the road you’re on at any given time.
- Customizable Alerts: You can customize almost anything you can think of when it comes to receiving alerts about police, traffic, and more.
5. Cobra iRadar (iOS & Android)
The thing about Cobra’s iRadar app is that it’s now just like Escort Live. Frankly, at first glance, one would assume it’s a lost cause, which is likely the case. However, while still on the iOS and Android marketplace, at least on the Google Play Store, there are over 1 million downloads and an average 4.1-star rating. In a nutshell, this app is identical to Escort Live, except that you can pair this app with many modern Cobra products, including radar detectors made as far back as a few years ago.
If you have $4.99 to spare monthly, sign up for this app only if you have a decent, compatible Cobra radar detector. While Cobra detectors aren’t top-of-the-line, some newer ones are pretty decent for the money. This application would bring out the best in them from experience.
- Real-time alerts: The user base for this app is surprisingly more extensive than Escorts, with almost 500K users. When you sign up and begin using the app, if there are users around you, it will notify you on the screen.
- Customer service: The customer service is relatively easy to reach. You can do so within the app or visit Cobra Radar’s website.
- Easy to use: The app is easy to use, that’s obvious. The 1+ million downloads and a decent rating speak for themselves.
- Relative low cost: The monthly and yearly price is reasonable if you drive a lot. If this app saves you at least 1X, it would pay for itself.
6. Google Maps (iOS & Android)
Everyone knows Google and the infamous Google Maps that comes standard on almost all Android devices. Towards the end of 2019, Google started to give people the option to report the police that they encountered on the road. This has gained slow adoption, but in the next few years, it will be at the level of Waze. While Google owns Waze, it makes sense why they have yet to put as much emphasis on making this a key feature. After all, people use Google Maps as a primary navigation app more than anything. Waze users use the app for police spotting and reporting features (on average).
Here are the few main benefits of using Google Maps to spot police.
- Familiarity: Everyone knows Google Maps. In addition, the app is easy to use.
- Police Reporting: You can report speed trap locations on the map and get warned by others.
7. Apple Maps (iOS)
Apple Maps is, arguably, one of the easiest to use and smoothest navigation apps on the market. In the last few years, they joined the race to gain market share for users who preferred having the option to receive and report speed traps ahead. While it is rather lowkey, the function works incredibly well with the app’s process. If you are a frequent driver that uses Apple Maps, consider having this app open IN ADDITION to Waze (just like if you were using Google Maps primarily). There are still not enough users to get more reliable reports, but when you have two apps open side by side, you’ll see precisely where Apple Maps can be lacking.
Help the local drivers out and report police while driving on Apple Maps.
- Ease of Use: The app is easy to use and just as easy to report “Speed Checks” on the map. The user base is still building, so it’s just a matter of time before you can exclusively use this app.
- High-Resolution Map: The user interface of this app is incredible.
Would it be better to use a radar detector instead?
The thing about apps that locate police is that half the time, police aren’t even running radar. Even if you drive past them above the posted speed limit (unless it was obviously way beyond the posted speed limit), they would not even notice you. If you get a radar detector, you could set it up in a way that looks stealthy. In addition, you can also get one that is relatively quiet, giving you few, if any, false alerts while still allowing you to detect police radar from quite a distance away.
For anyone new to radar detectors, it’s essential to learn how to read a radar detector. It’s not difficult, but you’ll need to read up on it to understand what each frequency means.
I recommend getting a good radar detector that pairs well with an application. My personal favorite is Highway Radar paired with the United R8.