We aren’t here to condone speeding, but we are realistic and know most Porsche owners likely bought their vehicles because of Porsche’s renowned performance. We definitely understand it’s not easy to stay under the speed limit while behind the wheel of a Porsche, and while we aren’t telling you to break the law, radar detectors do exist for a reason. Shopping for a radar detector can be confusing, with their long list of technical features and specifications largely consisting of what appears to be random numbers and letters. We’re here to help.
Below, you’ll find our top recommendations for the best radar detectors, followed by more information about them and how to shop for the right one. Before we get into our picks however, you should check your local state laws to see if using a radar detector is legal. At the time of publishing, radar detectors are not permitted in Virginia and Washington, D.C. The following states do not allow mounting a radar detector on your windshield: California, Florida, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. These local laws can change from time to time, so it’s recommended to check before buying.
Please note: Radar detectors are often the target of illegitimate vendors on Amazon. From time to time, you may see a radar detector at a significant discount, but make sure to check who is fulfilling the order. If the vendor seems questionable, you’re likely getting a fake product or it’s simply a scam. As they say, “if it’s too good to be true…”
1. Top pick: Valentine One Gen2
If you’ve ever shopped for a radar detector or talked to someone about them, there’s a real good chance you’ve heard of the Valentine One. For many, it is the only radar detector to consider despite its price tag. In fact, the company claims it invented Radar Location back in the 90s, when the Valentine One first gained its notoriety. Now, there’s the Gen2 model that’s designed to keep up with all the latest technologies found on today’s roadways.
Sporting a magnesium case, the Valentine One Gen2 is powered by an all-new and patented radar-seeking engine. According to the company, it’s adapted from a concept used by military CHIRP radars and is designed to locate fainter and further away targets with higher precision. As expected from a top-end radar detector, the Valentine One Gen2 detects all popular bands including X, K, Ka, Ku, and Super Wideband. It provides 360° protection against all types of laser.
If you’ve ever seen the original Valentine One, you likely recognize the directional indicator on the Gen2. It uses K-Verifier technology to help prevent false alerts caused by modern technologies such as blind spot detection and automatic door openers found at stores. There’s also new SAW-D2L and LNA technologies to help increase range over the original Valentine One.
Compared to other radar detectors, the Valentine One is widely considered the most accurate and can detect radar and laser from far away distances. The latest model also has built-in Bluetooth so you can pair it to your smartphone and take advantage of the V1Connection app that gives you a live stream of threat information.
This is the ideal radar detector for those who want the best performance and willing to spend the money to get it.
2. Runner-up: Escort MAX 360c MKII
Packed with a long list of high-tech features is Escort’s MAX 360c MKII radar detector. Like the Valentine One, this radar builds on its predecessor’s success with all-new filtering software to cut out the frequency of false alerts from collision avoidance systems and blind spot monitoring. Powered by the Blackfin DSP chip, this radar detector has a dual-antenna setup for quick and accurate alerts from long range with 360° coverage. One standout feature is Escort’s AutoLearn Intelligence technology, which is a GPS-based software that learns your route so it can reject repeated false alerts.
Compared to the Valentine One, the Escort MAX 360c MKII has a few more high-tech features and based on user reviews, it has comparable performance. This is an ideal recommendation for those who like to tinker with advanced features and want access to Escort’s Defender database, which is packed with alerts for speed cameras, traps, and red light cameras. It’s generally a more expensive option than the Valentine One, but it is future-proof, since it can receive over-the-air (OTA) updates.
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3. Best on a budget: Cobra RAD 480i
For more casual drivers who aren’t looking to spend $500 on a radar detector, consider a unit from Cobra. We recommend the RAD 480i, which offers good performance on a budget. Obviously at this price point the Cobra RAD 480i won’t offer the same performance or features as the Valentine One Gen2 or the Escort MAX 360c MKII, but it is a competent radar detector that covers all the basics with a few enhanced features.
Using Cobra’s LaserEye technology, the RAD 480i detects signals from the front and the rear of the vehicle, so if you want 360° coverage, you’ll want to look at our other options. It does feature an updateable IVT filter to reduce false alerts from vehicle avoidance and blind spot systems, as well as Digital Signal Processing (DSP) to provide faster alerts.
Cobra’s radar uses the iRadar app to provide its users with real-time alerts to red light, speed camera, and other law enforcement activity. The RAD 480i can connect to your device via Bluetooth. Overall, it’s the best of the budget bunch so if you’re trying to keep your purchase under $200, this is our recommendation.
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4. Also consider: Uniden R7
The Uniden R7 is another premium radar detector with 360° protection and a directional arrow display, similar to what’s found on the Valentine One V2. It’s equipped with a pair of antennas and advanced false alert filtering to cut out all the unnecessary noise. We particularly like the large colored OLED display, which is easier to read than all of our other recommendations, in our opinion. Another nice feature is using GPS technology to automatically remember and mute common false alerts along your drive route.
The R7 comes preloaded with red light and speed camera locations, but you can keep it updated with free database and firmware updates. And for those who can’t mount their radar detectors on their windshield and in line of sight, the R7 has voice alerts. Of course they’re configurable based on your driving style, so they don’t get unnecessarily annoying.
A popular option among car owners, the Uniden R7 offers comparable performance to the Valentine One V2 and Escort MAX 360c MKII, with a different way of presenting the information. It may come down to personal preference on which UI you prefer, and whether you want voice alerts from your radar detector.
5. Honorable mention: Whistler CR95
Our final recommendation is another more affordable unit and it comes from Whistler. The brand specializes in affordable radar detectors and has a wide range of offerings. But if you’re willing to spend a bit more than $150, consider the Whistler CR95. Unlike the Cobra RAD 480i, the CR95 offers 360° protection. It uses Traffic Flow Signal Rejection (TFSR) and six filter modes to help cut down on false alerts from advanced vehicle systems.
Compared to our other recommendations, this radar detector isn’t as user friendly. You’ll have to choose between different city and highway modes to reduce false alerts and the display is rather basic. There is no app support or preloaded data for red lights and other traffic alerts. It’s an ideal option if you didn’t plan on taking advantage of those other features, and you tend to hover 5 to 10 mph over the speed limit, so you don’t need the most accurate or long-range radar detector.
Are radar detectors illegal in the U.S.?
As we mentioned earlier, radar detectors are currently illegal in Virginia and Washington D.C., as well as military bases. The following states do not allow windshield mounting for radar detectors: California, Florida, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Local laws can change, so we recommend double checking before purchasing a radar detector.
Where should I mount my radar detector?
The radar detector should have a clear view of the road ahead and behind. That means you’ll want to avoid mounting it behind tint, parking stickers, wiper blades, etc. You also don’t necessarily have to mount the radar detector as high up as possible. It’s more important to have its view unobstructed than it is to be in a higher position.