What to Look For in a Radar Detector
Portable radar detectors allow you to drive with confidence and relax knowing that you have the tools you need to protect you in most driving scenarios. There are plenty of simple radar detectors on the market, but the best models come with plenty of advanced features like GPS, Bluetooth, ergonomic designs, and integration with your smartphone.
They’re convenient and affordable, protecting you from speeding tickets and other driving hazards. Knowing how these portable detectors work and the options available will help you choose the one that fits your needs the best.
Types of Detectors
When buying a portable radar detector, you can choose from cordless, corded, or remote mount. Corded varieties mount to the windshield and have the best range of detection. Cordless radar detectors can be easily moved from one vehicle to another if you have more than one. They install cleaner without all of the cords. Remote mount detectors are even cleaner, because they mount permanently to your vehicle without any visible wires and are virtually undetectable.
You can choose between one-laser sensors that detect beams in front of you, or a 360-degree laser detector that can identify pulses from any direction. A one-laser sensor will not be able to detect radar from any other direction but forward. A 360-degree detector is more reliable, but costs more, too.
Highway and City Mode
This distinction refers to how sensitive your radar detector is to the radar that may be around you. Highway mode is the default detection mode for most, and gives you a wider range of detection to help detect radar sooner at higher speeds.
City mode reduces the sensitivity so you don’t get as many false alerts from radar that doesn’t come from radar guns. On occasion, things like automatic doors that have sensors in them will trigger your radar detector, so this feature is helpful when you drive through the city.
You may also want to consider that radar detectors with higher selectivity are able to tell the difference between bands of radar and laser, and can also retrieve signals from roadside signs and emergency vehicles. It will display the signal type and strength, so you know where it’s coming from and what to look out for.
Radar Detector Detection
In some places, using a radar detector is illegal. Check your municipality for more specific restrictions. If you live in an area where this is the case, you may also be dealing with a police force that uses technology to detect whether or not you have a radar detector.
To combat this, many radar detectors come with the ability to shield their emissions so they’re undetectable, or they turn off if they detect a radar detector detection device nearby. Types of radar detector detection include VG-2 and Spectre.
Visual and Voice Alerts
Voice alerts will tell you what’s going on with your radar detector so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road. Visual alerts give you an easy way to see if your radar detector has detected a signal. You can typically choose which type of alert you want as your default, but you can change it later.
Radar detectors with GPS can update you constantly via satellite to help you drive safely and protect you against speed traps, sudden drops in speed limits, and all kinds of other scenarios. These devices know exactly where you are and can store information in a map to help you in the future.
A radar detector with GPS poses a significant advantage over a normal radar detector, because they GPS knows where you are and how fast you’re traveling. It can adjust its own sensitivity based on this information, which eliminates the need for you to switch back and forth between highway and city modes.
These radar detectors can tell you when you’re going faster than the posted speed limit or tell you of an impending drop in the posted speed limit to prepare you to slow down. Especially if you regularly drive through areas where there are steep drops, this is extremely helpful.
You can program these radar detectors to tell you if you’re approaching areas where there are commonly speed traps, speed cameras, or red-light cameras. You can access databases of downloadable information on enforcement locations and program your detector to alert you.
There are plenty of ways to connect your radar detector to your smartphone. You can get apps that work with your radar detector to provide alerts and allow more interaction from drivers. You can input enforcement areas in the app to alert other drivers nearby.
If you have a radar detector that connects to your phone via Bluetooth, you can use the screen on your smartphone to receive notifications, making the blueprint of your radar detector even smaller and less visible inside your car.
Getting the Most Out of Your Radar Detector
If you’re looking for the best, consider some of these upgraded features. They’ll cost you more, but your device will be much more effective and you can customize it to make it work for you in all of your specific driving situations.