Best is often a matter of whatever someone's specific spin happens to be. What radar detector experts know is this:
1. Like other current technologies, you have to spend enough to have capable technology so a visit to the local discount store or a $99 detector website is a waste of your time and money because at that level of spending, the parts and technology just aren?t possible to protect you. You have to spend enough on the cost v. performance curve to make sure that your detector has the technology and the parts to cover all the guns, all the bands and w/ enough range to do you good. In other words, if you buy a $99 detector, you will still be exposed to some of the guns and some of the bands and you won?t have any range to give you time to respond. Economically, it makes more sense to drive without a $99 radar detector and not be fooled into thinking you are protected than to buy one just to have a radar detector. The best advice is to exercise wisdom and not waste your money on a detector that doesn?t work, that being a cheap detector.
With that said, you might want to consider then, that your investment ought to give you future returns by keeping you safe against all the guns, all the time. When you visit radar detector blogs, many professional review sites (such as CNET), experts and bloggers are correct when they suggest the top brands Escort, Bel and Valentine. All 3 brands see all the guns w/ enough range to help you react in time to take preventative measures and not get stopped.
Beyond radar detection protection, you may also want to consider the rare but possible, "dead in their sites laser gun" attack - only Escort and Bel (in our list of detectors to consider) have add-on systems that completely disarm the laser gun and prevent it from targeting and tracking you for purposes of being stopped. Both the Escort and the Bel systems are tremendous in their operation and relatively easy to add on once you have purchased their windshield mount detectors, ie, you don't have to buy all the pieces immediately but instead you can always add the 'shifters'/'blockers' when you're ready. All of their models work w/ their affordable laser 'shifting'/'blocking' systems. Valentine does not have this option.
Another item to consider, and maybe most importantly (as we are speaking of investments), you need to make yourself aware of the single greatest increasing threat of being stopped today - the rapid placement of red light and speed cameras being deployed all across North America. Thousands are already active w/ more being added/installed every single day. Only Escort and Bel have a detector that is fully prepared to asses and alert you to these threats accurately and only Escort and Bel offer you web ready detectors for instant, easy downloads that allow you to keep your increasing threat database updated on all of these imposing new threat locations. Again, no technology of this type is available from Valentine.
One more important point to consider ? have you ever driven in an urban area w/ a RD? If you have, as many of your friends in the blogs have, you will get dozens of alerts from your detector ... and none of them will be real threats. That's because many of the security systems installed in many businesses around you and nearly all of the automatic door openers at all of the local stores, businesses and corner gas stops, operate in the same bands as do law enforcement guns. All other brand detectors have no technology to know the difference and so they work as simple receivers (dumb receivers) and alert you to all of these non-threats! Again, only Escort and Bel have patented technology to analyze and eliminate these false alert threats and let you drive w/ a detector that works as a detector and not as a simple, false alert noise generator.
some links for your use: