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Do Radar Detectors Still Work: Factors You Need to Consider

Do Radar Detectors Still Work

There have been lots of arguments about the effectiveness of radar detectors, especially now that traffic technology is progressing. Also, the answer to the question “Do radar detectors still work?” depends on a lot of factors. Thus, to fully understand this and to avoid getting a speeding ticket, we need to update our knowledge of the latest technology used by both the state’s police department and by radar detector manufacturers.

What Are the Laws and Interferences of the Land?

Where you live or travel to the most is a big factor when judging whether a radar detector can do its job effectively and whether it is legal to use one at all. As of this writing, radar detectors are legal in most states in the USA, except for Washington DC and Virginia. Officers there can confiscate your detector, and you’ll be paying more-or-less a $400 fine for possessing such.

Some states also restrict the use of radar detectors for commercial vehicles. There are also some states, like Minnesota, where you can get a ticket for mounting anything to your windshield that obstructs your view, so be very careful where you place a radar detector.

When it comes to interferences, radar detectors simply pick up radio waves from an enforcer’s radar gun and alert the driver if it detects those radio wave signals. If you drive in an area where there are establishments around that uses radar technology, such as garage door openers and burglar alarms, it’s highly likely that you will get a false alarm from your detector.

In this case, your radar detector sure works, but it may be inaccurate. Fortunately, there are now radar detectors in the market that can filter these false signals.

What Are the Devices and Tactics Used by the Cops?

The use of high-tech speed detection equipment such as LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) and Instant-On radar (also known as RF-hold or IO radar) is becoming more prevalent. This is why most drivers think that radar detectors don’t work anymore.

LIDAR is similar to radar guns, but instead of radar, it emits a laser beam. Radar has a far-reaching beam, making it difficult to distinguish which specific vehicle the device had read, especially if multiple vehicles enter the stream at the same time.

LIDAR has a narrower beam, so it’s easier for police officers to target a speeding vehicle. One tactic a driver can use is to drive with other vehicles, preferably behind some, to draw the aim of the radar so that you get an early warning from the radar detector. However, this tactic may now work if the police officers use other methods and devices aside from LIDAR, such as pacing and VASCAR (Visual Average Speed Computer and Recorder).

There are also radar units that can be operated in the Instant-on mode, which means that the radar is on, but it is not transmitting a beam so it cannot be detected. The police officer only switches the beam on when the target is within range.

In usually less than a second, the radar has already calculated the speed. Sure, a radar detector can detect the beams as soon as the officer switches his radar’s beams on, but it may be too late for the target to respond and slow down.

What Are the Best Radar Detectors?

Technology is only as good as our understanding of it. Just like any tool, radar detectors are tools with limitations, so it is only wise to invest in a radar detector that matches the current technology of speed detection devices used by police officers in your area.

A quick research on radar detector buying guides will tell you that, in most cases, the amount you spend on a detector is in direct correlation to how well it works. Radar detectors that are worth a few hundred dollars, such as those made by Valentine One, Escort, and Beltronics, will usually be worth their price and may actually save you from the higher costs of speeding tickets and court fees.

It is also important to remember to update your detector so that you’ll have the latest technology offered. Don’t bother getting the cheaper ones, as they may not match the technology used by traffic enforcers.

The pricier detectors also have features such as effective filtering and false signal rejection, rather than mere radar sensitivity. They can distinguish true police radar from junk signals. Further, if you incorporate things like WAZE or Escort Live, you can have pretty good protection.

Take note though that a decent radar detector is not a license to speed but to help drivers get informed of the traffic environment around them. The teamwork of WAZE or Escort Live and a state-of-the-art detector can be your best bet to avoid radar.

Do Radar Detectors Still Work?

In order to make radar detectors work to your advantage, you must have at least a basic knowledge of each of the factors above. Placing faith in technology we don’t entirely understand can lead to a lot more than tickets.

First, you have to be familiar with the place where you’ll be driving. If you’re going to a place you’ve never been before, research beforehand the laws that apply to radar detectors. You should also know if there are nearby establishments that may interfere with your radar detector’s detection. This is also where info-sharing apps can be useful since you can know precisely where you are most likely to get a speed trap or be targeted with radar.

Second, your safest bet would be to get a modern radar detector with high-performing features. They can be a bit expensive, but if you tend to speed, it is absolutely worth it. Do not waste money on cheaper ones as they will, most of the time, fail to do their jobs. Getting the most expensive radar detector does not guarantee you of success in not getting caught for speeding. Of course, you have to learn how they work and what tactics the police use to combat their use.


The answer to the question "Do radar detectors still work?" is that radar detectors still work effectively if you, the driver, equips yourself with knowledge of the area and match your driving abilities with the traffic enforcers’ speed detection methods. Not all drivers have the ability to make a quick and informed judgment of what lies ahead and the patience to stay vigilant on the road. Radar detectors are, on their own, not a panacea to avoiding radar and speeding tickets.

What Does Laser Alert Mean on a Radar Detector?

What Does Laser Alert Mean on a Radar Detector

In the past, radar detectors can only give either an X, K, Ka, or Ku band alert, but nowadays, most modern detectors already come with a laser alert feature, and most of you might not yet be aware what does a laser alert mean on a radar detector. Hence, we will give you an overview of the five different bands in which police speed guns operate, then provide you the different meanings of laser alert.

What Are the Different Bands Used by Police Officers?

Before we dive into the world of laser-operated speed detection, it is important to understand the different bands used by police officers before this new technology was introduced.

1. X Band

Since many establishments use equipment, such as burglar alarms and supermarket doors, which also operates on this band and creates frequent false alarms, a lot of people now advocate turning the X band alerts off on their radar detectors. Unless you drive around a territory that you know very well or had made sure that police officers in the area are not using the old X band radar anymore, it is not recommended to turn it off just yet. This is because some police departments know that many people turn it off for the same reason and so they use X band radar guns on purpose to catch speed violators.

2. K Band

This band is in the 18 to 26.5 GHz range and was formerly a reliable warning of radar until supermarket door sensors and other equipment operating on K bands began corrupting it. As such, radar detectors may send false K band alerts as well, but unlike the X band, it is not that common, so police continue to operate on this band together with the Ka band.

3. Ka Band

This band, with a frequency ranging from 26.5 to 40 GHz, is the latest type of band. If your radar detector is kind of obsolete, it may find it hard to detect Ka bands. That is why police officers are more inclined to use speed radar guns operating on Ka band, and this is also why you should send your radar detector for an update or upgrade to a more high-tech one.

4. Ku Band

This band ranges from 12 to 18 GHz, though for radar enforcement, it is usually set at 13.45 GHz. This is more commonly used in Europe and is common in the USA.

5. Laser Band

Unlike the four bands mentioned above, which are transmitted through radio waves, laser speed guns, also referred to as LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), use light to detect an object's speed. Compared to radar, LIDAR emits a narrower beam, making it easier for police officers to target a speeding vehicle.

What Does Laser Alert Mean on a Radar Detector?

Now that we know the different bands transmitted by speed guns, we can now better understand how radar detectors pick up these bands, specifically LIDAR.

Unlike traffic radar, LIDAR can only be used in the "instant-on" mode, which means that a radar detector with laser alert cannot detect LIDAR until the officer pulls the trigger to clock it, usually when the target vehicle is already nearby. If such is the case, then what does laser alert mean on a radar detector and how can it alert you beforehand?

A laser alert is simply a feature in radar detectors that alerts a driver when it detects LIDAR. Once a LIDAR gun has been aimed at you, that’s the only time your radar detector can give you a laser alert, which may already be too late for you to take action as your speed has already been measured.

A detector with one laser sensor, though more costly, can detect laser beams in front of you, but not behind you or off to the sides. Models with 360-degree laser detection have two sensors that can also detect laser pulses behind and either side of your vehicle.

Making the Best out of Laser Alerts

The lightning-fast accuracy of a LIDAR speed gun makes it nearly impossible for a radar detector to do its job effectively. However, it is still better to have a laser alert feature than none at all since the use of the newer LIDAR technology is becoming prevalent already in many state police departments.

It may not save you on its own, but coupled with a jammer, community threat-sharing apps like Waze and Escort Live, proper strategy, and constant vigilance on the road, it can help you be better prepared and forewarned.

1. Laser Jammers

Some say that the only real defense against laser is a jammer, which is an electronic device that aims to confuse an officer’s speed gun by sending out a light on the same wavelength the gun emitted but at a higher intensity. The use of laser jammers is restricted in several states in the USA, so look up before switching it on. You also have to switch it off at once so that your jamming is not obvious.

2. Info-Sharing or Community Threat-Sharing Apps

One of the recent features that most top radar detectors have is the ability to share information with other radar detector users through a community threat-sharing app. To do this, your radar detector must connect to your smartphone so that you can download and use your detector’s partner app such as Cobra iRadar, Waze, or Escort Live; likewise, GPS must be installed.

Through these apps, you can tag GPS locations for the presence of active laser guns, speed traps, and speed cameras, and vice versa. That way, you can see when and where other users have tagged active lasers. Belonging to such a community can make you feel more informed and secured.

3. Causes of False Laser Alerts

Just like radar, there are also instances when a LIDAR not coming from a police laser gun is detected by your radar detector; thus, giving you false laser alerts. To distinguish whether a laser alert is a false or a genuine alarm, know which things also emit laser so that you can look out for them. Some of these things include:

  • Bright lights: A low setting sun or when the sun is low on the horizon.
  • Vehicles with laser-guided cruise control: These are vehicles with a laser-based system for blind spot monitoring.
  • LED tail lights: Rain-sensing windshields where sensors are typically mounted in the rearview mirror.
  • Navigation devices mounted too close to a high-voltage backlit LCD screen
  • Some of the latest cell phones
  • Some of the major and larger airports

What Does It Mean?

To sum it up, a laser alert on a radar detector may mean two things.

First, it could mean that your detector has picked up LIDAR from a police laser speed gun, and during which, you should act quickly to mitigate the possible risk of getting caught for speeding. Proper timing of using a laser jammer, checking info-sharing apps from time to time, and remaining alert on the road are things that can help you maximize the effectiveness of a laser alert.

Second, it could also mean that your detector has picked up LIDAR from things other than that of a police speed gun. You will know if it’s a false laser alert if you notice that there are no patrols around and aiming at you. In that case, you can assume that the laser alert could be just because of some nearby device also operating on LIDAR, or just the sun.


Knowing what does laser alert mean on a radar detector and distinguishing between the two, genuine laser alert versus false laser alert, is essential so that you’ll know how to respond— either take proper, immediate action or just shrug it off.

Have a peaceful driving journey and speed safely!

What Does a Radar Detector Do and What Else Is There to Know?

What Does a Radar Detector Do

Ever wonder why petrol heads and gear nuts often take time to consider which radar detector would best fit their needs and blend in with their dashboard? Ever wondered what does a radar detector do exactly and what else is there to know about this futuristic device?

This electronic device that often sits at the center of the dashboard usually gets the flak from conservatives who feel that it only enables individuals who are only out to break the law and cause trouble for everybody else. Their concerns are not really off track, but not everybody who wants or is using a radar detector has a criminal mind to speak off; some of them just want to get to their destinations faster.

What Does a Radar Detector Do?

In a nutshell, radar detectors filter out radio waves until only the signal profiles of the different frequencies that law enforcement agencies use with their radar guns are left. Once radar detectors receive signals from the said frequencies, they then notify the driver that they are nearing or have passed an area that is being monitored for speeding and that the driver should slow down to avoid being apprehended.

Speed detectors work by sending out radar or laser beams through the air and whatever is reflected towards the source is measured for its relative distance and the speed to which it approaches the point of origin. This effectively measures the running speed of a target object, and this is an accurate way of catching speedsters and people who are up to no good, with their cars, of course.

The signals that radar guns send out usually travel in a straight line and stops once it hits an object going in a different direction. This means that moving vehicles directly behind another moving vehicle has a lower chance of being detected. This also means that radar guns are ineffective if placed near corners or when there is a hill in its path.

Types of Radar Guns

Commonly, police radar gun is the handheld radar speed gun that you would usually see in movies and police serials. It's shaped like a gun, hence the name, and consists of a radio transmitter and a receiver. It applies the basic principle used for radar systems--sending out a radio signal in a narrow beam and then parsing the returned signals via the receiver through a computer that calculates the distance and estimated speed of an oncoming object.

Radar guns can come in the following models:

  • Moving radar guns

These radar guns are used while the person holding it or the vehicle it is installed in is motion. This model contains a more complex algorithm as it can compute the relative distance and speed of the target while it is in motion.

  • Stationary radar guns

These radar guns are often used while the operator is parked somewhere, maybe on a bridge spanning across a freeway or behind a huge ad that hides them from aspiring speedsters.

  • Directional radar guns

These radar guns are used to measure the relative speed and distance of vehicles moving towards and past a fixed point. This kind of radar gun can be modified to block out signals coming from the opposite direction to address false alarms.

Types of Radar Detectors

On the other side of the road lies radar detectors, the chief nemesis of radar guns and the best device in a gear head's arsenal. These devices can be best classified into three types:

  • Corded radar detectors

These radar detectors are typically plugged into the cigarette lighter port of your vehicle and then mounted on the windshield using suction cups. Corded radar detectors are easy to install and can detect all frequencies and do not need batteries.

  • Cordless radar detectors

These radar detectors are just like corded detectors sans the cord. They are also mounted on the windshield using suctions cups although cordless detectors have a shorter range and battery life. It is not that effective when detecting POP frequency signals.

  • Remote Mounted radar detectors

These radar detectors often include signal jammers in its features and are usually mounted by professionals as it can be hidden from plain sight. Most remote mounted detectors are undetectable, almost stealth-like even.

Each of these three radar detector types may have their set of features that vary from model to model, maker to maker.

Misconceptions About Radar Detectors

Aside from knowing what does a radar detector do, understanding the different misconceptions about radar detectors can also be worth your while, especially in the following:

  • Radar detectors contribute to the rising incidence of speeding. Going over the speed limit is a conscious effort to go over the limit. No technology can force you to push that pedal without your consent and adding a radar detector to your dashboard smorgasbord wouldn't make any difference when it comes to flooring it or slowing things down.
  • Radar detectors are illegal. In some cities radar detectors are illegal, but it is slowly being embraced as a means to address speeding, in a reverse-psychology kind-of-way.
  • Owning a radar detector makes you dangerous. Similar to its contributing to speeding, owning a radar detector does not make you a criminal per se. It's what you do with it that defines that fine line between criminally aggressive speeding and speeding for the sake of saving time.
  • Radar detectors equal radar jammers. Not all radar detectors would have radar jammers that aim to interfere with all frequencies, which is illegal. Radar detectors only detect and notify, although newer models tend to have jammers hidden as a feature.
  • Radar detectors can save you from speeding tickets. Well, it can and it cannot. It really depends on the scenario as radar guns also evolve together with radar detectors. There are also several factors that affect how effective a radar gun would work.

Radar detectors are a good way for drivers to remind themselves of how fast they are going, so they can pay close attention to the way they drive. Most speeding accidents result from carelessness, and the speed to which the vehicle has been going affects how much damage would result from the impact.

How Effective Are Radar Detectors and Why Should You Use It?

How Effective Are Radar Detectors

Just how effective are radar detectors when it comes to stopping traffic tickets from flying in through your door every time you feel like flooring the pedal? Not a few drivers use this device to get away with their speeding habits which can really pose a danger to society, especially those that are around them.

This is primarily the reason why law enforcement agencies use radar guns to monitor speed to keep everyone safe. However, several individuals and motorists find the imposed limit to restricting and finding ways to go around it without getting caught has been their motivation in determining how effective are radar detectors.

What Are Radar Detectors?

Radar detectors are electronic devices that most motorists and drivers use to monitor and detect if their speed is being monitored by radar guns that are often used by law enforcement agencies. Radar detectors are designed to blend in with the dashboard while still being able to notify the driver to slow down when needed.

Radar guns, on the other hand, are electronic devices that use the principle of the Doppler effect to detect and determine the speed of moving vehicles. This device can be hand-held, placed atop a dashboard or remain static on a lamp post or a speed detecting column. These guns can also be used in determining speed in spectator sport like baseball and racing.

Advantages of Using Radar Detectors

Radar detectors can save time and money that you would usually use to attend court proceedings to get your license back if you're caught anyways. Imagine getting caught, and you'd have to spend money on documentation, as well as a lawyer that may get you off with a lighter sentence. Couple that with all the fees and fines, as well as other related expenses, which do not come cheap.

Summarizing these two advantages of using a radar detector would make you realize what the greatest advantage of using such a device is; no hassle. It frees you from all that stress that you are bound to get if you are not alerted on time that there are some folks monitoring speed levels and such.

How Do Radar Detectors Work?

Radar detectors work much like how your AM/FM radio works. It receives radio signals that are scattered all over the air and converts it into to a visible signal that alerts you if a source that runs the same frequency is trying to avoid us nearby. Radar guns use the same frequencies to detect speeding vehicles and radar detectors are attuned to that frequency, with some models being able to compensate for slight variations.

However, radio wave frequencies are limited, and some non-law enforcement institution and devices have taken to using the same frequency which can lead to false alarms and notifications; sometimes leading to accidents or tickets. These said devices that use the same frequency include adaptive radar cruise controls which are found in newer car models, as well as automatic doors found in supermarkets and hotels.

To combat this, some newer radar detector models now come with software that can filter these extraneous sources and provide better and more accurate alerts. However, the police all the other traffic enforcement agencies are keeping up with the game and have begun moving to a newer technology that is harder to detect.

Radar Detector Bands

As previously mentioned, radar detectors are receivers that filter through the different electromagnetic waves that litter the air around us and detect the band to which they belong under. Of course, these devices use software that is attuned to what most law enforcement agencies use, so it can alert you as soon as a signal under that radio wave band is detected broadcasting towards you.

There are different radio wave bands that radar detectors can detect, and this includes:

  • The X BandThe original band which is radar speed guns. This band is usually between 10.5-10.55 GHz, and it is considered to be the easiest band to detect, even from a distance.
  • The K BandThis is the most widely used bands and run between 24.05-24.25 GHz, and the waves sent off through this band is low and has a small wavelength compared to the others on this list.
  • The Ka-BandThis band is a superband of sorts as it is composed of three other radio wave bands; the basic Ka-band, Wide Ka-Band, and the Super Wide Ka-Band. The combination of all three makes it more difficult to detect, and it operates using the frequencies between 33.4-36.0 GHz.
  • The Ku BandThis band is mostly used for European countries and are often used for satellite communications. This operates at 13.45 GHz and is quite easy to detect, unlike the Ka-Band.

How Effective Are Radar Detectors?

Given that law enforcement units now use newer technology like Lidar, this means that radar guns are slowly being phased out and replaced with guns that are equipped with Lidar. LIDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging, and it functions by illuminating a target with laser light and then measuring the reflection with a sensor.

Given that LIDAR uses a focused beam of infrared or laser light, this means that the most common target is a specific spot on a moving vehicle, primarily license plates. This makes it even harder to detect as radar detectors won't be able to detect it as much, especially with all the interference coming from other sources.

So, are radar detectors still effective?

It's always been a game of cat and mouse when it comes to avoiding tickets and thinking of ways to further avoid it. Lidar and radar guns are used together to apprehend speeding motorists, but detectors are constantly evolving as well with increasing bandwidth detection and even LIDAR detection as well.

Its effectivity is also dependent on the kind of road traffic and terrain that you are driving in. City driving can present problems like false alarms with all the automatic doors while suburban driving presents the danger of having too many speed towers trying to apprehend the usual speeding suspects.

Are Radar Detectors Worth It?

Are Radar Detectors Worth It

Did you know that around 41 million speeding tickets are issued every year in the US? Perhaps per personal experience and assessment, you have proven or foresee yourself as 1 out of 5 drivers that will get a speeding ticket this year. That’s why you’re here, asking yourself, “Are radar detectors worth it?

Before we weigh in on whether a radar detector is worth the investment, here are some not-so-fun facts about speeding tickets:

  • In the US, the average cost of a speeding ticket is pegged at $150. That’s also the average weekly grocery bill for a family of four!
  • In some European countries, fines are based on how much money the driver makes. Take for example Nokia executive Anssi Vanjoki who was fined 116,000 euros in Finland and a repeat offender Swiss millionaire who had to pay £180,000 in fines.
  • Speeding ticket fines rake in a whopping $6.2 billion of revenues in the US.
  • Besides fines, a speeding ticket may cost you jail time or required community service depending on national or state laws.

In this light, it seems like the answer to the question is pretty obvious. Whether you live in the US or Europe, making big bucks or not, radar detectors can save you some moolah especially if you’re somewhat—to put it gently—lead-footed. That’s, of course, if they work, which then brings us to our second question.

How Do Radar Detectors Work?

When a radar-gun-wielding traffic police officer fires at your direction, a concentrated radio wave in X, K, Ka, or Ku band is set in motion. When it hits your car, some of the electromagnetic energy ripples back to the police’s radar device. This speedy going back and forth of radio signal helps the speed gun to calculate your speed.

Now, if your car is equipped with a radar detector, then it can sense these ripples of energy signals even when you’re not the direct target. It then sends off an alarm that a radar gun is in operation. How well it can detect the radar gun signals depends on the waveband compatibility of your radar detector with the one the police are using.

Say, if you have a radar detector operating in a wide range of frequencies, then it may catch X to Ku band radar guns. But if you have decided to switch off the X band frequency while an X band radar gun is in operation, then you won’t receive a warning of the speed check going on in the area. That’s just the simplistic way of putting it.

It can be more complicated than that. For one, if you’re already a direct target of the radar gun, then your radar detector is of little use. Its warning would come in a bit too late. By the time you’ve decided to slow down, the traffic police would already have a smug look on the face and asking you to pull over.

There are two instances that radar detectors can work for you. One is by catching scatter signals. It means you were driving near a targeted vehicle. In such an instance, you can get sufficient warning. Two is when a radar gun is pulsating a signal continuously. As soon as you enter the fringes of the radar gun’s zone, your radar detector can detect it and warn you that you are entering a speed trap area. However, recent instant-on radar guns now make the second scenario less of an advantage to speeders driving radar-detector equipped vehicles.

What Are the Recent Developments in the Field?

Since the development of X band radar guns in the 1950s, a lot of developments have taken place both in the radar gun and radar detector technology. From X band radar guns and radar detectors, there are now Ka and Ku band speed guns and detection tools.

In fact, some departments have already moved on from using the rather rough radar technology to the more sophisticated laser technology. With the capacity to be more precise and to produce less scatter, laser guns up the game to a whole new dimension. So, if you are entering or living in an area where the police force has already given up their radar speed guns in exchange for the laser ones, then equipping your car with a radar detector—even if it’s high-end—is of little use to you.

It would benefit you then to do more research, especially on what types of speed guns are used in your area, before committing to a speed gun detection tool.

Besides Radar Detectors, How Else Can You Dodge a Speeding Ticket?

Well, the obvious answer is to slow down. But if driving fast is something that you can’t be deterred from, then mobile apps like Waze can certainly help. This free app allows you to share and receive important road information, from traffic and road hazards to speed traps!

So, with the Changing Milieu, are Radar Detectors Worth It?

There’s no easy answer to the question. It depends on some factors, from the reality of the field to personal preferences and needs. To help you through with your decision, here are a few questions for you:

  • How often do you get a speeding ticket and how much does it cost you?
  • Is the detection tool going to pay for itself? If yes, then how soon?
  • What kind of speed guns are police using in areas where you frequently travel?
  • Are radar detectors legal to use in your area?
  • If you’re getting a radar gun, then what type and how much is your budget?


So, are radar detectors worth it despite the emergence of new technologies? Yes, a radar detector may come in handy in various circumstances. In areas where law enforcement is still using X, K, Ka, or Ku bands, it affords you a way to avoid a speeding ticket and a hefty fine.

And used in conjunction with a mobile app such as Waze, you can considerably cut your chances of being flagged for overspeeding—that’s if police enforcement is still using radar technology. But if you’re looking to a no-fail solution, then your best bet remains to be being updated on and conscientious about following traffic laws.

What Is X Band on a Radar Detector?

What Is X Band on a Radar Detector

Got another speeding ticket? It’s high time to slow down and perhaps consider getting a radar detector—that’s if you’re not ready to give up the need for speed yet. In this article, we answer what is x band on a radar detector and show you how it may provide you with the solution to your problem.

But first, it’s important to know how that radar gun caught you red-handed in the first place, and see how a radar detector can work for you.

Here Does a Radar Gun and Detector Works?

A traffic police officer who fires a radar gun towards your vehicle is releasing a concentrated radio wave. When it hits your car, it ripples some of the electromagnetic energy back to the radar device which then calculates your speed by taking into consideration the time it took for the radio signal to return.

Now, radar guns use different bands of radio frequencies. Among them are X, K, and Ka bands—in the same way that radio has AM and FM stations. If your car is equipped with a radar detector and can sense these ripples, then it sends off an alarm, alerting you that speed checks are nearby.

Radar guns may be in the X-band (8.0 to 12.0 GHz), K-band (24.050 – 24.250. GHz),) or Ka-band (26.5 – 40 GHz). Each type has its pros and cons. Now, how efficient a radar detector provides alerts depends on what frequency it is tuned in and its ability to accept those signals.

What Is X Band on a Radar Detector?

X-band was the original band used in speed guns. It’s in the 8.0 to 12.0 GHz range, with 10.5 as the most commonly used frequency in the US and 9.4-10.6 in Europe.

Now, your radar detector when tuned in to an X band may detect radar guns operating within four miles. But that’s only applicable if the X band radar gun has been switched on the entire time, providing you sufficient warning before you enter speed trap areas. Still, since a lot of technological advancements have occurred since the introduction of X band radar guns in the 1950s, they are now the easiest to dodge with the help of radar detectors that can catch X band signals.

Here are a few more things you need to know about the X band on a radar detector:

• Bigger size

Compared to radar detectors tuned in to other frequencies, X band radar detectors are high-powered and big. For one, they require a bigger antenna. So, they tend to be bulky.

In principle, the smaller the band frequency of the radar detector the bigger is the size of its hardware.

• Large detection width

Older X band radar guns are known to have the widest detection width of its class. With a beam width of 65 degrees, a police officer can detect the speed of your car even without pointing it directly at your vehicle.

The only time this large detection width can work against law enforcement is when you are driving side by side with another car, or there are more cars in a busy road. In such case, the reading may not provide sufficient evidence for a speeding ticket. It can be argued that the wide beam may have picked up the speed of the nearby vehicle even if it’s evident to the police officer which car was going faster.

• False positives

A common complaint about using the X band is the frequency with which you can get false positives. It appears that automatic doors operate in the same X-band frequency. So, depending on how many establishments equipped with automatic doors you will have passed by, your radar detector tuned in an X band may annoyingly set off that many times.

That’s why some people who have the option to shut off the X band in their radar detectors decide not to use them. Some police departments, however, capitalize on this tendency to shut off the X band amongst radar detector users. The police can catch some overspeeding drivers using radar guns in the X band frequency.

• Stronger rain-fade resistance

Another principle you have to remember with X band radar guns or detectors is that the lower the frequency, the lower is the susceptibility to weather and atmospheric interference, too. While there’s greater weather resistance for the X band than higher frequencies, this means that rain, snow, and ice still have the power to weaken the absorption of microwave radio frequency signals.

There are technologies, however, that have been developed to mitigate the effects of rain fade across frequency ranges.

• More affordable

Since radar detectors in the X band frequency are considered old technology, they are more affordable than their younger counterparts. Added to the K and Ka-band, there’s now the Ku-band that’s used in Europe.

The Pink Elephant in the Room

A question you might have hanging over your head right now is why X band radar gun detectors are still in use when you already have those in the K, Ka, and Ku bands? While it seems like using X band radar detectors is archaic, it has its advantages. And as dictated by some situations, they’re the choice of some departments.

As mentioned earlier, the higher-frequency radar guns come at a heftier price tag. So, if a department aims to have most—if not all—of their personnel equipped with radar guns, then the goal becomes more attainable with the cheaper X band radar guns. Besides the cheaper equipment, using the more familiar old technology also means less need for usage training. This makes radar guns using the X band—or the K band—the more practical solution for some departments.

Thus, you’ll find the X band radar guns more commonly used in rural areas where funds are somewhat limited, and traffic is less dense. Therefore, in such settings, you’ll find switching on the X band on your radar detector to your advantage.

It’s also worth mentioning again that some police departments even in the metropolitan areas are deliberately using the X band radar guns because of the tendency of some users to switch this band off to avoid getting false positives.


So, what is X band on a radar detector? It’s a relatively old band of radar wave frequency that allows your car to detect the presence of X band radar guns and that may provide you enough warning to slow down before you enter a speed trap area.

But because it’s old technology, it’s a bit rough on the edges. X band equipment is expected to be bulkier and more prone to false positives. Still, if you’re not looking to slowing down, then you’ll find an X band radar detector handy, especially in areas where X-band-radar-gun-trotting traffic police officers are aplenty.

How to Determine The Best Radar Detector For Your Needs And Budget

best radar detector

Each year, nearly 41 million speeding tickets are issued in the United States.

If you have a problem taking your foot off of the gas, then you will have to find a way to stay one step of the police force in your area. One of the best ways to do this is by investing in a quality radar detector.

With all of the different options out there, finding the best radar detector can be extremely challenging. The last thing you want to do is rush through this buying process due to the problems this can cause.

Are you looking for the best radar detectors on the market? Consider the following tips to narrow down the radar detector selection at your disposal.

Finding the Best Radar Detector is Easy When Assessing Cost and Performance

The first thing you need to figure out before shopping for a radar detector is how much you can afford to spend. The prices on radar detectors vary from brand to brand, which is why having this information is important.

As with any type of electronic device, you get what you pay for when it comes to radar detectors. Skimping on the quality of a radar detector to save money will usually backfire in spectacular fashion.

This is why you will need to do a great deal of research before making a selection. Investing in a detector that contains feature like band selection and super long range is worth the money.

Avoid False Alarms

When trying to find the right radar detector, you also need to find out about the technology it has in place to prevent false alarms. Many lower-quality alarms have a big problem with sending out false alarms, which can be very annoying.

These types of false alarms are usually caused by a radar detecting its own sensor. Luckily, there are a number of radar detectors on the market that feature safeguards against false alarms.

Failing to check out all of the features a particular radar detector can lead to you purchasing the wrong one.

You Want a Radar Detector that is Reliable

Anyone who has ever owned a radar detector knows how sensitive this type of equipment can be. Some of the older radar detectors can be set off by something as simple as an automatic grocery store door.

Not only can this sensitivity be annoying, it can lead to you getting stressed out for nothing. Choosing a radar detector that has built-in features to eliminate these problems is a must. Many of the higher-quality radar detectors feature target counters.

These counters let the radar detector and its owner know just how many alerts being issued. With an accurate radar detector, you will be able to easily identify speed traps and avoid getting a ticket. Considering the cost of a speeding ticket, investing in a quality radar detector is more cost-effective.

A Radar Detector is Only As Good As Its Range

Checking out the range that a radar detector has is also crucial before making a purchase.

Comparing the ranges on the different radar detector models you are looking at is crucial. Once you have made these comparisons, you can easily choose the right detector to meet your needs.

Most people who go out in search of a new detector to replace their outdated one are pleasantly surprised at the upgraded ranges on the new model.

Look For Non-Detectability

Most people fail to realize that radar detectors aren't entirely foolproof. These types of devices rely on police cruisers that are using radars or lasers to target the traffic ahead of you.

If there is no traffic ahead of you, it will be difficult for your radar detector to work properly. There are also certain radar manufacturers that sell laser jammers. These jammers make it impossible for radar detectors to work properly.

The Varying Types of Laser Detectors

Did you realize that there are a number of different types of radar detectors on the market?

Corded detectors are among the most popular and least expensive devices on the market. Generally, these detectors will mount on a car's windshield via a suction cup.

Cordless detectors provide you with more flexibility and are just as accurate as their corded counterparts. Using this type of radar detector will allow you to avoid the eyesore that wires can present.

Remote-mount detectors are generally permanently mounted inside of a vehicle. These detectors provide you with a clean installation and are undetectable when installed the right way.

The Power of Laser Detection

Most of the modern radar detectors use laser technology. Most low to mid-level detectors contain only one laser beam. This laser will only be able to detect laser beams in front of you.

If you are looking for a higher degree of protection, getting a radar detector that uses 360-degree laser detection is a must. These units are generally more reliable and far more costly.

Highway and City Modes

For most radar detectors, highway mode is the default level of sensitivity. Many of the modern radar detectors have what is referred to as a city mode.

When using these detectors in city mode, you will be able to reduce its range and sensitivity. This means that you will be able to reduce the number of false alerts you have to deal with.

Looking for More Information About Radar Detectors?

The only way to get the best radar detector on the market is by doing your homework. With a simple Google search, you will be able to find all of the information you need to make this important decision.

If you are looking for informative blogs about the radar detectors on the market, you have come to the right place. Our team works hard to provide our readers with useful information about the latest radar detectors.

Are Radar Detectors Worth It? Why the Answer Is Most Definitely Yes!

are radar detectors worth it

One in every five Americans received a speeding ticket between 2010 and 2015.

If you live in one of 28 urban areas that spend up to an entire work week in traffic every year, that means the odds of receiving a hefty ticket, and possibly worse, aren't exactly in your favor.

That is unless you have a radar detector.

Are radar detectors worth it? Consider the fact that most speeding tickets range upwards of $100 and that you have a 20% chance of receiving one over the course of five years, then do the math.

Understanding how radar detectors work and how effective they are can help you work out that equation. And, like all electronic devices, there are some that are better than others.

To learn why the answer to the question of whether radars guns are worth it is an unequivocal yes, keep reading.

How Do Radar Detectors Work?

Radar uses radio waves to detect and monitor objects. Its most basic function is to decipher how far away an object is but it can also be used to detect speed.

Using a combination of radar and the Doppler effect, speed guns can determine the speed of a vehicle. But how do they do this?

The speed gun sends out a concentrated radio wave (i.e the radar). When that radio wave hits an object in its path (i.e. your car), some of that energy is sent back to the gun.

By calculating how long it takes for the radio wave to return, the speed gun can calculate the speed of the vehicle. And it can do so as a car is moving toward or away from it.

Radar detectors detect the radio waves sent out by a speed gun, well in advance of you ever seeing the gun. It scans the area you are driving for electromagnetic frequencies, hones in on signals coming from the speed trap and uses either a visual or auditory signal to alert you of what's coming.

You don't have to understand the intricacies of the way radar works to use a radar detector - any driver is capable of using them and heeding its signal to warn of police ahead.

Are Radar Detectors Legal?

Perhaps even more important than the question "is a radar detector worth it", is the question of whether they're legal. While almost always illegal in commercial vehicles, the law is a bit different for private use.

Under the Communications Act of 1934, radar detectors are legal in private vehicles. This Act states that you are allowed to own a radar detector and authorities are not authorized to seize or destroy it (unless you're being arrested or searched for another crime).

That's where things get tricky.

It's legal to own radar detectors, but it's not always legal to use them in your vehicle. Depending on the state in which you are driving this law can change, so it's important to understand the legality of radar detectors in your state.

In Virginia, for example, radar detectors are illegal. Getting caught using one can land you a fine and it will probably get confiscated. Whereas in Minnesota or California, you can legally own a radar detector but it cannot be mounted on your windshield.

How Effective Are Radar Detectors?

There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to the effectiveness of radar detectors:

  • Radar detectors can't detect piezo sensors, ANPR or VASCAR technologies.
  • If you're speeding and a radar gun has been aimed at you, you've most likely been caught. This is known as instant-on radar and some types of radar detectors have protections for this.
  • Some radar guns are able to sense when a detector is being used. Depending on the legality of detectors and their mounting in your state, this could potentially lead to tickets or seizing of the device.

Just be sure to read through the reviews to find the detector that suits your exact purpose, the laws of your state and the types of radar your police officers use.

Radar Versus Laser

Radar or laser? Which is better depends on how much money you are willing to spend and the kind of technology used by the traffic police where you drive.

Law enforcement is on to radar detectors and some traffic police have started using an alternative.

Lidar is that alternative.

Lidar sends a beam of infrared light toward a vehicle and calculates its speed based on how long that beam takes to return. It's more difficult to detect and far more accurate than radar.

A laser detector can alert a driver when they've been targeted by the infrared light of a lidar device. Some radar detectors include this detection tool. They tend to be more costly but they're very useful where traffic police have switched from using good old fashion radar.

Where Does a Radar Detector Go?

If it's legal in your state to mount your radar detector, you should be mounting your detector right away before you start using it.

While some people prefer to mount it high on the windshield, this can be distracting while you drive. It's best to mount your detector low on your windshield so it doesn't obstruct your view.

Keep in mind that speed guns and cameras are usually aiming for your license plate. You want to mount your device somewhere in the center of your low windshield to maximize the chances that it catches the radio waves.

Not every mount is made equal, some are better than others and it's worth checking out reviews of the best mounts to see what's right for you.

So, Are Radar Detectors Worth It?

Radar detectors are legal devices that come in all shapes, sizes, and costs. Consider that along with the fact that they can save you $100's of dollars in tickets (and demerit points to boot), the answer to the question 'are radar detectors worth it' is a resounding 'yes'.

Check out more of our articles for expert advice on radar detectors and how they work for you.

Radar Vs Laser Detector: Which Is Better?

Radar Vs Laser Detector

One speeding ticket is one too many. But if you’re not looking to slowing down just yet as the solution or if you are in the habit of forgetting, then we'd understand if you’re looking to radar or laser detector to help you out. If you’re a bit confused about which one to get, then please read on about our radar vs laser detector article.

How Does It Work: Radar vs Laser Detectors

Radar Detectors

The most common speed gun that traffic police use is the Doppler radar, which functions based on the Doppler effect. It works by releasing a concentrated radio wave. When it hits an object in its path, some of the electromagnetic energy ripples back to the radar device. The radar speed gun then calculates the speed of the object based on how long it takes for the radio signal to return. This going back and forth of the radio waves happens in a flash.
Now, a car equipped with a radar detector is basically scanning the area for the presence of these radio waves and alerts the driver to slow down since there’s a speed check going on in the vicinity. There are three kinds of radar detection based on Doppler bands:

  • X-band Radar Detection

It’s a low-frequency, high-powered radar. Its output can be detected from up to a four-mile distance. This is the easiest to detect. But because of its common application, you may get false positives as when you pass by supermarkets with automatic doors.

  • K-band Radar Detection

It’s a higher frequency radar than the X-band with a shorter range. It can be detected from a quarter of a mile or two. K-band radar guns can be used from a stationary point or a moving vehicle.

  • Ka-band Radar Detection

Used in portable radar guns (a.k.a. stalker guns), it works at higher frequencies than K-band. Modern radar detectors are equipped with this for greater accuracy and less false positives.
How well a radar detector receives radio waves from radar guns will depend on what frequency it is tuned in or able to accept.

Laser or Lidar Detectors

Because radar detection technology is becoming prevalent, the traffic police have moved on to newer technology—lidar—which is more difficult to detect. Instead of radio waves, lidar (light detection and ranging) guns use a concentrated beam of infrared light. It fires an infrared light to a target, waits for the light to be reflected back to it, and computes the speed of a car based on how long the light took to return to the starting point.
While they are more challenging to detect, lidar guns can also be challenging to use. It needs to focus on a small spot of the vehicle such as the license plate or headlights to get a reading. It is very accurate though, taking several samples in less than half a second. Additionally, compared to a radar beam that’s 100-200 feet wide at a distance of 1,000 feet, a laser beam is no more than three feet wide at the same distance. Because of their target-specific capability, laser or lidar guns are ideal for heavily traveled roads.
Now a car with a laser detection tool receives an alert when a laser or lidar gun is targeting them. But if it only has one laser sensor, then it can only detect beams aimed in front of it. If it is aimed from behind or on the sides, then it will not receive alerts. If you want to get 360-degree laser detection, then you will need to invest on more costly and reliable 360-degree laser detection models.

Is It Legal to Use Radar or Laser Detectors?

Yes and no. In some countries like Japan and the Philippines, it is legal to have radar detectors installed in vehicles. Meanwhile, other countries such as Italy and Saudi Arabia prohibit its use. France and Malaysia even go the extra mile of prohibiting not only its use but also its sale and ownership.
For a few countries, it’s more complicated. They have federal and state laws for it. In the US, for example, it’s okay to use them in all states except for Virginia, Washington, D.C., and military bases. Additionally, in Illinois, New Jersey, and New York, only non-commercial vehicles may use them. And per federal law, all commercial vehicles over 10,000 pounds and all vehicles more than 18,000 pounds are banned in its use wherever you are in the country.

Do Radar and Laser Detectors Work?

Basically, when either a radar or laser gun has already targeted you, it’s too late for you to slow down even if you receive a warning.
Unless the traffic police are using some old form of the radar gun that constantly emits radio waves, you’ll be sufficiently forewarned as you enter speed trap areas. As it is, modern radar guns have an instant-on function, and laser guns operate in an instant mode as well. This makes detection challenging. In some cases though, traffic police officers forget to maximize this function and have their guns turned on for a long time. Thus, targeted or non-targeted cars with detectors get alerted in time.
Another way that radar or laser detectors can work for you, in a sense that it gives you enough time to slow down, is when it picks up scatter signals from other targeted vehicles. This way you know that there are speed guns in the area and that you need to make necessary adjustments. Laser detection though is more challenging than radar because it’s three-foot wide beam produces less scatter than the 100-to-200-foot wide radar beam.
If you want something to keep traffic police from getting a speed reading of your vehicle, then the issue of radar vs laser detector becomes moot. You would need radar or laser jammers, which are illegal in most countries—even those that allow the use of radar or laser detectors. You can be slapped with an obstruction of justice case or something like that if proven to be in possession of one.
So your safest bet is still to observe speed limits applicable to certain areas. But if you can’t help stepping on the gas, then you can still benefit from radar or laser detectors and some luck.

How To Mount Radar Detector: The Four Ways To Do So!

Mount Radar Detector

Speed limits can be a little annoying, especially when you are in a hurry or always on the go. It translates to a few collections of speeding tickets, and you being late wherever you need to be. If it has been this way for quite a while, chances are you have already gotten yourself a radar detector because who would want to spend some bucks on the said tickets anyway? You are probably learning how to mount radar detectors by now. So without further ado, let's get this show on the road!

How to Mount Radar Detectors?

There are many different ways and methods to install and mount a radar detector. Arguably, there are also advantages and disadvantages in the location you chose for your radar detector. We will try to cover them while giving instructions on how to mount your device carefully.

Furthermore, the popular choice is mounting it on the windshield. However, your dashboard is also a good location to mount your radar detector. And while we are on it, let’s discuss other unorthodox ways to install your device.

  • On your windshield

The most popular way to mount a radar detector is on your windshield. However, there are many different ways of mounting a detector on the windshield, too. Some models come with mounting attachments which makes them easier to install.

  • Suction cups

There are a lot of radar detectors that come with suction cups that can be directly attached to your windshield. The ideal spot, of course, is somewhere where it will not block your view. Placing it in the upper left corner of the windshield would be ideal. You can also place it in the lower left corner, just above the steering wheel for easy and accessible viewing.

Meanwhile, some models that have built-in laser detectors will have an optimal function when installed lower on the windshield. Laser detectors are often aimed low at the front of the car, and the low proximity of your detector will be able to read these laser signals. However, you will still need laser jammers to avoid a ticket.

  • Mounting brackets

Depending on the model of your radar detector, some do come with mounting brackets. These can be installed on your windshield without much hassle.

Meanwhile, if a specific brand does not come with a mounting bracket, then worry not for there are a lot of universally fitting aftermarket brackets that you could choose from.

These laser and radar detectors are usually designed to be easily detachable for your convenience.

  • Permanent hard-wired installation

Another way to mount your radar is by permanently installing it on your console panel. This requires a few power tools and some basic knowledge about car electronics. It’s best to let experts handle such difficult task because if you don’t know much about car electronics and drilling holes, you may end up screwing your console and wiring!

When done properly, you will have a secured device. Also, installing the device on your console will not cause it to block your view and help you keep your eyes on the road. Unfortunately, if your unit has a laser detector, setting it up somewhere else other than the windshield would render the laser detection feature useless.

  • Visor mount

Specific models can be easily mounted on visors. No difficult procedure involved, just simply clipping the device on the visor.

The Challenge

Mounting your radar detector is pretty easy. With aftermarket brackets and mounting devices readily available, you have a wide selection of options for setting up your radar detector. However, for most people, the dangling wire that connects to your cigarette lighter is annoying. It also makes your car interior look cluttered.

For some people, they can go by without having a problem with these wirings. However, if you can’t stand the sight of untidy wirings, then it will involve, maybe, an hour or so to clean them up.

If you don’t have plastic prying tools to open the ceiling and your dashboard, then you may instead have your radar detector installed by a professional. Some distributor would also offer installation services for a charge. This is your best choice since they are adept at mounting their devices.

Now, if you want to do it yourself, then be prepared cause you will need to buy some tools and a few feet of compatible wire.

The Optimal Location of Your Device

Radar detectors are a great way to get a warning and jam speed detectors to avoid getting a ticket. Some devices are bundled with laser detectors to add up to its value.

Now, depending on which you want to prioritize, the location of your device plays an important role.

  • Mounting high

If your place has more radar detectors than laser detectors, then mounting it high will be more advantageous. Radar signal detection will work at its best when it is placed closer to the roof.

  • Mounting low

If you prioritize avoiding laser detection, mounting your device low on the windshield will be better at detecting these signals. However, you will still need laser jammers installed on the front of your car to avoid getting a ticket.

The laser detector can only tell you that you are being clocked, but you will still get a ticket. Attaching laser jammers on the grill and near the license plate will help you avoid getting detected.


Installing and mounting your radar detector is pretty straightforward and won’t require much effort on your side. Windshield mounting with suction cups is the easiest way to get them installed pretty quickly. Mounting brackets are hassle-free too. However, you may need custom-fit brackets depending on the model of your vehicle.

The challenging part comes in tidying the wirings and connections your device needs. If you are not bothered by dangling wires, then you have no problem at all! On the other hand, if you can’t stand the sight of cluttered wires, then you may need to conceal them on the ceiling or behind the dashboard which requires more effort. A professional can make things easy with a  few added charges.

In the end, how to mount radar detector is not tricky at all nor is rocket science. Now, it’s all about a hassle-free driving experience especially when you are always in a hurry and on the go. Just make sure that you remove your radar detector out of plain sight to fend off thieves!