Speaker 1: Listen to the Mockingbird, listen to the Mockingbird, still singing over her, listen to the Mockingbird, listen to the son of a, you ever do that thing where you have so many different radar detectors, you can't decide which one to plug in. So you don't plug any of them in first [00:00:30] world.
Speaker 2: Problem. Am I right? Tell you
Speaker 1: What let's find out, which one of these is best for you, so you can pick one and stick with it. Hang on just a second. Have Constable, what can I do you for? Do you want cash or credit?
Speaker 2: [00:01:00] So you want a radar detector? Hmm. What evil things did you have in mind? A new cross country speed run, or just sticking it to the man? Well, in any case, it's helpful to think of these little boxes as data collectors. Yeah. There's radar, but laser two and GPS, Bluetooth, wifi XPA KKA and Malta radar. There are APIs involved, open and proprietary shielding [00:01:30] from radar detector detectors. Yeah, that's a thing point is it's a lot. So instead of just diving into our picks with this one, we're going to provide a primer on radar detector, basics and, and how to shop for one. Now, if you're some kind of know itall and just wanna skip to the good stuff, go to this flashing time code right here. No, no, let's say, let's say over here, they hate it. When I do that, see, I can stick it to the man too.
Speaker 3: [00:02:00] Getting
Speaker 2: Started. Let's talk about how radar measurement works and how a little box like this zero frills Whistler model can prevent a ticket. So when a police officer uses a radar gun, they shoot a burst of radio waves toward a moving vehicle. Now those waves bounce back with increasing frequency, depending on the closing distance between the vehicle and the radar origin. This is called Doppler shift. [00:02:30] The radar gun measures, the increasing frequency of the returning waves and voila. You have a speed in miles per hour or kilometers per hour. If you're from one of those countries where they say things like voila, but back to that fence, see graphic, see those it's all those bouncing radio waves that give radar detectors an edge as a radar gun fires, a signal, the wave spread beyond the intended target and proceed to bounce off other surrounding objects, sending them in many unintended [00:03:00] directions, radar detectors sense this stray radiation and are able to identify it as the kind of signal likely to have originated from a speed enforcement radar. But how has that likeliness determined? Huh? Good question. Me. We only had some sort of like radar master who could help us out.
Speaker 4: Sure. So I don't know if I'd call myself the master. I'm just a guy who loves
Speaker 2: This stuff
Speaker 4: Close enough. My name is Ariel. Everybody knows me as vortex vortex, radar. Uh, I just [00:03:30] love testing and learning all about radar detectors. So spending a ton of time testing, um, using different models, uh, testing out different police equipment to kind of see how everything works
Speaker 2: Unseen to the human eye. Radio pollution is all around us. You can't see it, but it's there. And without knowing what to look for radar detectors would be going 8 24 7. So detectors are limited to alerting when they detect specific signals, you'll see X, K, or KA, maybe even K U if you're in Europe. [00:04:00] Woo.
Speaker 4: All that really means is police radar guns that can operate on different frequencies. Uh, a lot like your car stereo can tune to different radio stations that transmit a different frequencies. It's the same thing with different police, radar guns, uh, kind of what you need to know is expand. You'll see, that is at this point, a pretty outdated tech. It's really big, huge, massive antennas. It's not really used much in the us anymore. Um, Ohio and New Jersey are probably the two big exceptions. K band is also pretty common. That's still used across the country [00:04:30] annoyingly. Most of the false alerts that you'll see also operate on K band. Uh, the third one is gonna be KA band. That's the newest technology. It's got the most compact and small antennas, which is really nice for officers. Um, KA band is almost always gonna be legitimate if you see it on your radar detector
Speaker 2: To sum it all up in terms of threat levels, X is high, K is higher and KA is the highest. And that leaves a lot to your interpretation. But remember, radar detectors are data gatherers, you, the [00:05:00] driver determine and what to do with that information speed up or probably slow down. But that's your choice, which brings us to the issue of course, of false alerts.
Speaker 4: So radar detectors, they're not police car detectors, and they're also not police radar detectors exclusively they're detecting radar signals if cops are using radar. Um, but there's a lot of other things that also cause radar detectors to alert because they also transmit radar. Some of the most common examples are like when you walk into [00:05:30] an automatic door opener at a grocery store, those door openers use radar that can trigger false alerts on your detector. And so detectors have different filters to deal with those. Um, probably the biggest one that we're seeing these days is a lot of cars are getting smarter with collision, avoid systems and smart cruise control and blind spot monitoring and all that. A lot of those also use radar. And some of those, the signals look a lot like police radar.
Speaker 2: So we are looking through sources of radar, letting the machine do some of the sorting and doing some ourselves to determine what's around the next corner. Yes, radar [00:06:00] detectors are about situational awareness, but they're about one very particular type of awareness spotting the police before they spot you. So if you start to think about it, little sketchy, right? My point is, are these things even legal, obviously, if you are a radar detector manufacturer, that would be a bit concerning.
Speaker 5: My name is Joe Shandi. I'm the director for the radar category at [00:06:30] Cedar electronics. So Cedar electronics has, uh, the escort and Cobo brands. So radar detectors are legal and, uh, they are legal in every state with the exception of Virginia and Washington, DC.
Speaker 2: That exception also extends to all military bases, commercial vehicles beyond 10,000 pounds and non-commercial vehicles passed 18,000 pounds. So if you fit into one of those categories about you're out of luck, but for the vast majority of drivers, it's a, okay, [00:07:00] of course there are some edge cases, certain states, for instance, prohibit anything that could be obscuring the view out of the windshield.
Speaker 5: Yeah. So like, uh, California, for example, has in their laws, basically a place on the windshield where they allow for you to put devices like a radar
Speaker 2: Detector. Every state is, is different. So check your local regulations, but in California, well, you have a choice between mounting your device and a seven inch square on the passenger side, lower corner, or a five inch square [00:07:30] on the driver's side corner. So make sure you bring a ruler or in this case, it happens to be machinist scale to recap. We know how works, how to understand alerts, what some of the pitfalls can be, and that it's mostly legal, but how do you actually choose the radar detector? That's right for you.
Speaker 5: I look at it, uh, like, like you're shopping for a car buying tires, right. So, so know you're driving style. Uh, um, you know, [00:08:00] and as you look at that, that's certainly a factor as you're considering where on the product screen, you're gonna be looking for a radar detector.
Speaker 4: I mean, there's so many different models and everybody's always like, well, what's the best radar detector or, you know, when you're like, okay, well kind of, what are you looking for? Everybody always says, you know, I want something with really good range to gimme plenty of advanced warning. And I want minimal false alerts. The lower end, really super cheap ones are gonna have really poor range and they don't give you a ton of advanced warning. Um, and then they also just gonna do a ton of false alerts. So most people wind up [00:08:30] just returning. 'em throwing 'em out the window, whatever, like they're usually
Speaker 2: Not worth the money. Our testing bears this out. And while we have a few budget models later in this video, they come with caveats. If you can afford a mid-priced model or better shop for those, the longevity and reduced frustration are worth the extra cost. Radar pollution is everywhere. And a good mechanism for silencing false alarms means a more satisfying experience.
Speaker 5: You know, you've got several different things like collision [00:09:00] avoidance systems, blind spot monitoring. All of these are emitting K band signals. Basically you'll typically pick those up on the highway. And our filtering basically helps to remove a lot of that out. Moving
Speaker 2: Into models priced at $200. And how also gets you tech that will make your experience better in almost every way built in GPS, for instance, can keep an eye on your speed automatically switching into a more filtery city mode that quiets the detector at lower speeds. Hmm, [00:09:30] no, no. Filtery is a word I would know. I was quoted in Miriam Webster once. Look it up folks. Meanwhile, Bluetooth and wifi serve to keep your detector up to date with changing speed trap locations and false filtering algorithms.
Speaker 5: Uh, you might be looking for, uh, database coverage. So for example, um, traffic like cameras, speed cameras, things like that, that you could be alerted to through the radar detector. So these can be a pretty, pretty big investment for people. Um, having that ability to update it, uh, with, [00:10:00] uh, you know, new database information, better filtering, et cetera, better, uh, processing for radar detection or laser detection. That's, that's all factors in the update
Speaker 2: Ability. And if you're looking to future proof, your purchase, that is absolutely key. If you want to know whether the detector you're shopping for will be regularly supported, take a look at the download section on the manufacturer's website, see how often they release updates. And when the last one was while we're on the subject of future proofing, [00:10:30] let's add one more technology to the list because I don't know why not. It's called mal radar or photo radar, and this fun, new innovation by speed enforcers sweeps quickly up and down the frequencies of the K band, making it invisible to detectors that aren't designed for it.
Speaker 4: We're seeing that in a couple states throughout the country, um, it's really popular overseas and it's slowly starting to make its way here in the us as well. So something with photo radar detection can be really nice. I mean, not everybody's gonna need it, but it's nice to [00:11:00] maybe have the option in case it shows up in your area, but a lot of 'em are gonna be stationary. They're not moving anywhere. So it's like a, a photo radar camera on a pole or something. And so GPS can let you know, um, Hey, you're approaching a speed camera. And uh, some of them are mobile. It's like a, a camera and a radar system attached to the front of a vehicle and they can drive around. And so in situation, GPS is not gonna help and you're gonna be reliant on actually detecting, uh, the radar coming out of those photo radar vehicles.
Speaker 2: If you're planning to spend big and go in on one system that you'll live with for the next few years, mal to radar [00:11:30] and consistent updates are essential. And you'll find these features in some of our top picks later in this video. But let's conclude of this section with one feature everyone can use today, no matter where you are. If I were to pull you aside, Dustin Hoffman in the graduate style, I'd have one word for you. Are you listening? Yes, I am arrows. Exactly. How do you mean, well, I'll tell you or rather [00:12:00] aerial Bray will. Good
Speaker 4: Question. So if we grab, uh, a detector that has arrows, um, here's the Valentine one, gen two, for example, the newer version, uh, any detector that has arrows, they're gonna have not one, but two antenna. You'll have one antenna that points out the front and you're gonna have a second antenna that points out the rear. And then the radar detector can compare as a signal stronger in the front, or is a signal stronger in the rear and comparing the two antennas that can then determine if the signal is well in the front
Speaker 2: Or behind. If that doesn't sound like a game changer, think of that time, a chirping [00:12:30] cricket got in your house and you had no, I idea where that noise was coming from. Now. Imagine if you had some magic arrow that pointed in the direction of the bug, so you could go to sleep. Got it good. More than that. Arrows come in handy, spotting the cop, clocking you from behind.
Speaker 4: That's a common thing. A lot of people don't realize that yes, they can definitely get you while they're moving and they can also get you, uh, from the rear of their vehicle as well.
Speaker 2: That's a little bit unfair. It's an unfair advantage for you said [00:13:00] it, bud, but you know what else is unfair, misleading marketing claims designed to make you think a radar detector's worth should be measured in bullet point lists longer than a CVS receipt?
Speaker 2: Yes. As we've made abundantly clear, there are a handful of technologies that combine to make a radar detector useful in the modern age. But some quote unquote features are pure BS. One of the units we had in for testing sported, a list 29 items, [00:13:30] long top of that list, maximum performance, spoil alert, alert that wasn't one of our winners. One thing to be wary of is the claim of 360 degree protection. Well, every radar detector can do that. It doesn't mean it has directional arrows to truly locate the source of the threat. Another off repeated phrase is instant on or pop technology. Again, not all claim just, well, not at all unique.
Speaker 4: [00:14:00] Every radar gun these days has instant on all it is, is just hitting a button and telling it to transmit. And so not all the guns are transmitting continuously. Every gun you can tell it to transmit or not. So there's not really instant on technology. It's hitting a button to say transmit. So every detector is gonna be able to pick up when a, a radar gun's operating. If it's not operating that can, can't pick
Speaker 2: It up. Others to add to the claims of shame S Ws or safety warning system alerts and VG two detection, both are outdated technologies that will only cause your detector to beep unnecessarily. [00:14:30] If you actually turn them on one giveaway that these claims are pointless manufacturers usually default them to off before the product arrives on your doorstep. Okay. Trigger warning, laser brains. This one might be controversial, but we stand by it. The most overblown technology is laser detection. Yep. Laser sounds cool. And gets top billing on radar detector boxes that don't have much else to brag about, but in real world use [00:15:00] it's a dud. Do they technically work? Eh,
Speaker 4: Yes, but not in a way that's gonna reliably protect you. I mean, you're definitely gonna hear stories of people who've gotten safe waves from 'em. Uh, I think maybe a good example is like playing the lottery. Like, yes, you can win the lottery, but it's not gonna be something you can reliably count on to win on any sort of regular basis. You
Speaker 2: Know, in principle, LIDAR guns work the same way as radar guns, but instead of radio waves, these guns send out precision light pulses measuring [00:15:30] the difference in the reflection times as the vehicle gets closer or farther
Speaker 4: Away, laser guns look like this. Um, they're similar to radar except an officer has to be hand holding it like this. And they'll actually look through the view finder and they're still gonna just point at whatever car they wanna target and they can just pick off individual cars. Uh, so
Speaker 5: Basically if, if you can imagine it's, it's hitting your vehicle, uh, at a distance, like go hula hoop, um, at a thousand feet, uh, that can range anywhere from about 30 inches wide to about 20 inches wide, depends on the technology that the police are using. [00:16:00] So typically they're sweeping the front of your car to get a reflective surface. Uh, the technology is so accurate it's point and click. So once they got you, they got you basically the speed of light.
Speaker 2: Yes.
Speaker 4: Because the beam coming out of the laser gun, it's so thin and small, uh, they're gonna be targeting your headlights, your front, grill, your front plate, rear plate, things like that because they're targeting kind of down lower in the grill, your radar detector on the windshield. A lot of time is not even gonna alert at all. And even if it does, it's basically a ticket notifier. There's [00:16:30] not really any useful advanced warning laser.
Speaker 2: So LIDAR detection turns out to be a case of the emperor's new clothes while you really can't get a radar detector without the feature these days beware. If it's the product's biggest selling point to really achieve an effective countermeasure against LIDAR guns, we have to Wade into the subject of laser jamming, but with its murky legality and complicated implementation, that is a conversation for another day. So [00:17:00] check out the written version of this buyer's guide firstname.lastname@example.org for our favorite laser jammer pick. Now that you know how radar and laser detectors work, how to interpret their alerts and what features to shop for or ignore the time has finally come let's reveal our favorite radar detectors. One thing to know all of the units on this list [00:17:30] detect the common north American radar bands. That's X, K, and KA, as well as laser consider that a given
Speaker 2: Kicking things off here is the radar detector we think is the best overall buy for most people. This is the Valentine one generation two, and know this slab sided box is not a CB radio from the nineties, break a breaker, good buddy, smile and comb your hair. We got a town clown hunker down just south of the haircut, palace of stars and bears, unless you want [00:18:00] drive an award over. And now despite its bare bones aesthetic, the Valentine one G two is one of the most advanced radar detectors. You can eye for the money operated by enthusiasts and transcontinental record breakers alike. Some version of this device has been around for 30 beers. V1 was the first detector to feature arrows that indicated the direction of radar signals, which made it an absolute game changer with its patent expired Valentine main, no longer have [00:18:30] the market cornered on directional tech, but the feature is still extremely useful in locating a potential threat, light up arrows.
Speaker 2: Make it easy to know when you're approaching a radar signal when you've passed it. And whether it's safe to ignore with the gen two Valentine has combined old school smarts with a slew of new and a familiar package that fans will recognize making this detector. A true standout is exceptional long range pickup, top notch, false positive filtering, plus [00:19:00] Bluetooth, and an open API among its few shortcomings is a glaring lack of GPS integration where other detectors use location and tracking to lock out non-police sources of radar pollution. Valentine relies solely on its advanced algorithms to do the filtering on the fly while predictive technology isn't as effective as GPS, lockouts it's close. And besides that's what the Bluetooth is for pair the Valentine with one of the many [00:19:30] apps available on Android or iOS and the units capability and features extend well beyond anything, baked into the hardware apps at geolocation, crowdsourcing, and much more in real world use Valentine's implementation is brilliant. If you are used to lower end radar detectors, you'll wonder why the V one is so quiet. The fact is this unit is silent, but vigilant only speaking up when there is a legitimate concern. Sure. It looks a little clunky. I mean [00:20:00] a red segmented L E D just wow, but the Valentine one gen two is all skills, no frills. Just the way we like it to learn even more about the detector and check the current price. Make sure you visit the link in the description box below.
Speaker 2: If budget isn't in your vocabulary, you simply can't go wrong with the escort red line 360 C. This beast of a radar detector is our [00:20:30] pick. If money is no object, like the Valentine one escorts detector is directional and features four L E D arrows around the front perimeter of the device. They indicate whether signals are coming from the front sides or rear, but does it also have GPS? Yeah. And Bluetooth. Yes. Wifi. Yes. To that too. It detects new multi radar speed readers. And the 360 C can also expand its capability further by controlling laser [00:21:00] jammers sold separately by escort it's false alert filtering is among the best in the business and it detection range meets or exceeds the V1 as with the Valentine. You may question whether this escort is even working at times because it's so good at only bothering you when the threat is genuine. GPS gets you all the usual goodies, low speed, muting red light camera alerts. And of course, automatic lockouts life.
Speaker 2: The red line 360 [00:21:30] C also connects to the escort live app via Bluetooth. And this allows you to tap into the hive, mind of escort and Cobra radar users here, you can be alerted of speed traps and other threats in real time, which may be outside of detection range. In our testing, we had very few kni to pick with the escort red line 360 C. We prefer the more obvious directional arrows of its competition and felt its default doorbell like alert to be underwhelming, [00:22:00] but we were able to change the sound in settings. And also while we liked the sturdy magnet on the unit here, self the windshield suction cup is a little bit less robust, all in all. If you've got the money for it, this detector is the real deal. And absolutely the one we would choose
Speaker 2: If you have less to spend, but still want best in class performance. The unit in R three is our a mid range winner. [00:22:30] While this detector lacks some of the niceties of higher end models, you still get things like GPS, photo, radar detection, and OED screen and competitive range in independent testing. The R three detected radar at distances that surpassed other brands sold for nearly twice. The price, the biggest feature missing here is directional arrows to help locate signals in this price range. That emission isn't surprising. And it's certainly not a deal breaker. Cobar [00:23:00] looking at usability. This detector is on a short list of window mounted devices that assign front facing real estate to frequently used buttons. Other detectors, banish controls to the dreaded fumble zone, fumble zone,
Speaker 3: Fumble zone zone.
Speaker 1: What? No, not menu. How do we back out of this son of Dan? No,
Speaker 2: A [00:23:30] no pet peeve, maybe, but kudos to unitin for positioning the mute and mark buttons where you can actually see them right up here and now from a pick from unitin for those on a budget, let's switch gears to check out a pick from unitin for those on a budget. Okay, well like a budget budget, just not budget budget budget. We'll get to that later. The unit at DFR seven initially went on sale in 2016 [00:24:00] and despite repeated price drops sometimes into the sub $150 range, it still continues to receive firmware updates from unit and remains a strong performer. Even when pitted against some of the best detectors on the market, like it's bigger brother GPS connected GPS is built into this unit and provides the benefits of low speed muting to reduce false alerts. You're also able to manually mark up to 100 location.
Speaker 2: Lockouts information is displayed [00:24:30] on a monochrome O lead screen and voice alerts are an option as well. False alert filtering in the unit in DFR seven is excellent and it keeps the unit from alarming. Every time you pass a crossover that has blind spot detection, the check out the current price of either of these unitin click the links in the description box below or visit the roadshow.com. We think the DFR seven is the best detector you can get on a budget, but I already hear you in the comments, [00:25:00] Greg, great video. You're my favorite roadshow host, but I need something more cheap at when you are going to review Z 19 R plus Whistler unsup first, take it down a thousand second. The name is Craig with a C as in crackpot for those drivers on a razor thin budget. Here it is the Z 19 R plus, this is one we recommend with some serious caveats.
Speaker 2: [00:25:30] As for the good alerts are displayed on a bright green OED readout and voice alerts are optional in both English and Spanish filter modes are manual there's highway, city, city one and city two city two, not the mode intuitive UI we've seen. Now. GPS is absent here, which means no custom location alerts or low speed muting. And truthfully this thing was really chatty in our testing. Several false [00:26:00] alerts from surrounding vehicles and traffic sensors got past the filters that said it definitely alarmed to legitimate threats too. And if we can get past its boy who cried Wolf matters, maybe it's worth your money still based on experience and expert advice. We think it's better to save up your dollars for a detector with a few more features. If you've gotten to this point and you're rethinking your life choices with all the Ks Xs and radars Malta, [00:26:30] that's okay.
Speaker 2: A for an easy to use first timers radar detector, we think the Cobra rad four ADI is the way to go priced in the sub $200 range. This unit has basic features, but skips other nice to haves like GPS and R D D immunity. Now that may sound pretty meth, but Bluetooth app integration saves the day, the Cobra four 80, I grants you access to the free I radar app available on [00:27:00] iOS and Android. It's a virtual will twin of the escort live app. You get when you buy a red line 360 C, here's the nice part as a Cobra user, you're getting the benefit of data in the cloud from drivers with more powerful escort detectors. Meanwhile, the I radar app itself is colorful and intuitive to use while the rad four 80 not have built in GPS or the best detection range. The app fills in a lot of holes with warnings of upcoming speed traps, [00:27:30] photo radar, and more. Now, yes, this detector consists of hardware on the more inexpensive end of the spectrum. So prepare for more false alerts and missed hits still. We think it is a good off to consider on a limited budget, a quick warning here for those of you with sensitive stomachs, we're about to do a complete 180 followed by a 360. So hold on to your ocean handles until the ride comes to a complete stop. Ready. [00:28:00] Let's talk about a setup that starts at 3,600 bucks, not including installation costs. This right here is the escort max CI 360
Speaker 2: More accurately. This is what the max CI 360 looks like when not yet professionally and permanently installed into a vehicle. And it is our pick for the best remote radar detector. You, I aimed squarely at the James Bond set. This detector is for when discretion [00:28:30] is a must. This form factor ditches, the windshield box for buttons and displays that can be seamlessly integrated into the dashboard. And it adds a set of laser jammers to boot. If you like the sound of our splurge, pick the red line 360 C, then the max CI 360 should be just as appealing once installed this aftermarket solution integrates GPS front and rear radar receivers, Bluetooth display and control modules and four laser shifters. [00:29:00] Really the main advantage of a remote detector is superior aesthetics. And the max I 360 is an attractive package paired with escort's best technology. If you're going to drop some serious coin on a radar detector, do it here to get an installation quote for your party wagon, visit the link in the YouTube description or go to the roadshow.com to check out our full article.
Speaker 2: [00:29:30] That completes our list of the best radar detectors you can buy in 2021 as usual sound off in the comments with all the reasons I'm wrong. Also the first person to claim they're still using their original fuzz Buster from 1978, earns my little hero of the week award. We've got lots of great reviews and first looks for you coming as the world starts opening back up. So hit that subscribe button and ding the bell. Now I have an important, uh, [00:30:00] car reveal to get to. So I'm gonna need a few of these, but I'll see you later definitely want the CB
Speaker 3: Two.