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How to Select the Best Radar Detector for Your Budget

With over 93,000 speeding tickets written each hour by police in the US I can say that there is pretty good odds that you’re visiting my site right now to find the best solution to keep your license as ticket free as possible.

First, let me briefly introduce myself and how I can help you.

I’m a retired cop and certified traffic radar instructor and in 1995 I launched this website to help people just like you beat tickets and make the best investment when it came to buying a radar detector.

Now, I just don’t sell any radar detector. I only sell the detectors that have passed my rigorous testing, and which I would use myself in my own personal vehicle.

I know that it can be difficult to find the radar detector that is just right for you.

So, in order to help you make the right decision for you, I have taken my 40 plus years of experience as both a police officer and a speed counter measurement expert and bottled it all up in this article on How to Buy the Best Radar Detector for Your Budget.

How do police radar detectors work?

First off, you need to have a brief understanding of what a radar detector is.

A radar detector is basically a microwave radio receiver used to detect police radar.

This means if the police radar gun is off, or a officer doesn’t have a radar gun, your detector will never alert as it's not a cop car detector.

Police Radar Bands

There are only 3 bands used by police in North America and those are X band, K band and Ka band.
Radar Detector Bands
X Band:
10.5 to 10.55 GHz

X-band is the oldest of the three radar bands and the only state that still has an open contract to buy these guns is New Jersey.

Now, one of the biggest complaints of radar detector users is false alerts and X-band is the dirtiest band of the three. So unless you’re driving on the Garden State Parkway or New Jersey Turnpike turn off this band.

K-Band: 24.05 to 24.25 GHz

The most common of the bands is K band, which was introduced in 1978.

Ka Band: 34.2 to 35.2 GHz

In 1987 the FCC opened the newest police radar band, Ka band. Today this band is growing in popularity. Now because of the wide band spectrum of this band, inferior radar detectors have a problem scanning it and giving a timely alert.

Radar Detector Laws

Radar Detectors are legal in all passenger vehicles in all states with the exception of Virginia, Washington D.C. on all military bases and in several national parks.

Also the use of a radar detector in all commercial vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds is prohibited across all 50 states.

To enforce these laws the police use a device called the Spectre to detect radar detectors, therefore it is highly recommended to make sure that your radar detector is stealth to these devices if you’re a professional driver or who drive in the areas where they are prohibited.

What are the Most Important Features of a Radar Detector?

The two most important features you should pay notice to when shopping for a radar detector is the sensitivity and range.


My rule of thumb when I select a detector to use in my personal vehicle is that is should have 4x times the capture distance of a police radar gun.

This will enable your detector to alert to faint instant on signals miles away, giving you plenty of opportunity to slow down to the posted speed limit.


The chief complaint of people that own inferior radar detectors is all the false alerts they receive.

Thus the filtering capabilities of the detector should be a primary factor when selecting a detector that is just right for you.

Cost of a Good Radar Detector

Remember the old adage you get what you pay for? This also applies to radar detectors.

The cheapest entry model radar detector that I would recommend would be from Whistler starting off at $150.

However you will not be getting into the sweet spot of getting a quality unit unless you can step up to at least the $300 mark for an Escort or Beltronics unit.

Things You Should Consider When Purchasing a Radar Detector

Here are some things you should consider when purchasing your radar detector.

1. Can I return it if I don’t like it?
2. Is the seller an authorized dealer?
3. Is there support available if I need it?

We offer a 30-day no risk guarantee, which basically means that you can drive around with it for the next 30 days and if you don’t like it return it, no questions asked.

We're also an authorized dealer for all the products we sell, which ensures that you are covered by the manufactures warranty.

And our trained staff and I are here before, during and after the sale to make sure that you are getting the level of service you deserve for your investment.

Radar Detector Star Ratings
RadarBuster's Star Ratings

In order to assist you in selecting the radar detector that is just right for you, we break down my selection into 5 categories based upon the performance of the detector.

Now the detectors I rank in the 5 Star category are the best detectors.


Because of the superior range filtering and the features of them all GPS enabled detectors puts them into a class by themselves.

Next we have the 4 Star category which are all detectors that have Escort’s patent M3 dual antenna. This enables these detectors to have extreme highway range and be stealth to all radar detector detectors. Thus they are the perfect detector for the road warrior and/or professional driver.

Now my 3-Star category of radar detectors are all based up Escort’s patent M4 antenna design providing you with ample range and performance for typical highway and city driving.

Then in my 2-Star category we have detectors that I estimate as having 3 times the capture rate of a police radar gun. This means that you have plenty of time to slow down in constant on radar scenarios, however you’re leaving yourself vulnerable not being able to detect instant on radar miles ahead of you or when driving in mountainous terrain.

Now we have my 1-star category, these are typically the worst detectors.

And again, unlike my competitors who will sell you anything to make a buck, I refuse to sell them.

Radar Roy’s Top Three Picks

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About Radar Roy

Radar RoyThis site is owned and managed by "Radar Roy," a retired police officer and certified traffic radar instructor, who is considered a leading expert in the speed counter measurement industry.

To learn more about Roy, read his radar detector reviews or download his free radar detector eBook click here.

Return Policy

Dash Mounted Radar Detectors, Accessories, Mounting Systems: These products come with our 30-day money back guarantee provided that they are returned in resalable condition. This requires that all parts, accessories, warranty cards and packaging are returned.

Installed Products: Any radar detector/laser jammer product that requires installation is exempt from our 30-day return policy if the product is removed from the packaging and/or if the buyer installs and/or attempts to install the product on a vehicle it becomes a nonreturnable product.

This exception includes all laser jammers, installed radar detectors, and the Veil Stealth Coating.