We get asked all the time what is the best radar detector to buy but unfortunately there is no simple answer. What could be the best radar detector for one person's driving habits use might not be the best for another person. Many factors come into play like do you drive more in the city or highway? Do you travel through areas where radar detectors are illegal?
The performance of a radar detector is based on the sensitivity of the antenna and how quickly the detector can take received information, filter out false alerts and give you an alert leaving you enough time to react. When purchasing a radar detector this is one of the most important features to look for. We will only discuss and recommend detectors with good sensitivity.
If you need a custom installed radar detector then the answer is pretty simple because one remote detector stands out from the rest and that is the Beltronics Sti-R Plus - The Sti-R plus is a serious custom installed remote radar detector for the person who wants the best and can afford it. This is not an inexpensive unit but its the best overall remote installed radar and laser detector.
For windshield mounted radar detectors there are several top choices and the types of driving that you do will distinguish which one is best for you . Windshield mounted units are the most common radar detectors since they just plug in the cigarette lighter and you suction the mount to the windshield.
Best Radar Detector Under $500 - The best overall unit you can get if you do not live in Virginia or Washington DC and you will also use it for city driving is the Escort 9500ix If you do live in Virginia or Washington DC or drive mostly on highways the best unit would be the Escort Redline. The Escort Redline is by far the most sensitive windshield mounted detector but in the city because of its blistering sensitivity it could pick up many false alerts. For a more detailed comparison between these two best windshield mounted radar detectors visit the Escort 9500ix vs Escort Redline comparison page.
Best Radar Detector Under $400 - In this price range clearly the winner is the new Beltronics Pro-500. The PRO-500 shares the same platform as the higher priced Escort 9500ix but lacks only one feature (Auto Learn). Visit our Beltronics PRO 500 vs. Escort 9500ix comparison page for a listing of all the differences. Performance is the same with both of these radar detectors but there are some feature and packaging differences.
Best Radar Detector Under $300 - The Beltronics PRO 300 which recently replaced the long standing RX65. It has increased sensitivity over the old model which gives you more time to react when it goes off but it also give you less false alerts because of the improved filtering. The only RX65 also could not alert to some of the new laser guns on the market but the new PRO-300 does. If you dont need GPS and under $300 is your budget this is the unit to get.
Best Radar Detector Under $200 - There are a few good units in this price category. Whistler just refreshed their lineup and introduced the new CR Series. Two of these units are excellent detectors for their price range and worthy to be in the best under $200 category. The Whistler CR85 ($149.95) is their new high performance radar detector and the Whistler CR90 ($189.95) is the same as the CR85 but it adds an internal gps antenna, This enables the CR90 to also give you red light camera and fixed speed camera protection.
Best Radar Detector Under $100 Unfortunately detectors under $100 do not necessarily qualify for the 'BEST' title because they can not complete with the performance of the higher priced units but if you are on a budget we would recommend the Whistler PRO-68SE for $99.95 as a decent entry level radar detector.
We will update this listing with raw test results which will give you more detail and clearly show the performance difference between these models very shortly.