One-fifth of drivers end up getting tickets because of red lights and speed cameras are evidence of just how much it can cost. Thankfully, there is a way to help with this, and that takes the form of radar detectors. These compact devices are affordable options to save on what could turn out to be a costly year by detecting speed radar guns, including all four types of speed radars, X, K, Ka, and Ku. If you consider buying one for you, below are five of the best radar detectors for the money, all of which provide an easy and affordable solution to road stress.
The Best Radar Detectors for The Money[table id=77 /]
1. Escort Passport 9500IX Radar/Laser Detector
The Escort Detector, an 8.3 oz. the device only 5.3” in length, 2.9” in width, and 1.4” in height, is as much an ideal travel companion as its name supplies. This isn’t solely justified on how easy it is to carry, its wide range of features make it as effective as it is convenient, best exemplified by its ability to detect all four bands of speed enforcement radar.
It is also GPS-enabled, meaning its circuitry ensures users won’t be caught by speed cameras or even speed traps, the latter enabled by the detector’s ability to memorize locations saved by a driver. The GPS also acts to measure the speed at which a vehicle is moving, and expand its radar accordingly to make sure that a car is not moving so fast that it won’t alert a driver in time.
This sort of sensitivity is championed by the radar’s ability to detect speed cameras, devices that have a narrow signal, making them difficult to locate; the Escort manages to pick up on these by its GPS function, making it completely independent of the need to detect any radar. These include red-light cameras, speed cameras, and loop cameras, meaning users are safe from being surprised by any and all kinds of traffic cameras and speed detectors.
Finally, the device comes equipped with a mute option that memorizes the exact frequency of false alarms, meaning it will only go off when there is a genuine need to alert a driver, all thanks to the 9550IX intelligent design.
- Windshield mount for easy access and use
- LED indicator screen
- Compatible for motorcycles as well
- USB port for updates
- Needs a speed alert feature to help drivers stay in check
With such a wide range of features, it may be a little difficult getting used to the Escort Passport detector, but once users realize how efficient it is, and after having made the necessary customizations that will help it remember all that it can detect, users will be happy to continue their yearly subscriptions and continued use of this detector.
2. Cobra Electronics DSP9200BT Radar Detector
It would be hard to believe that such a miniature device as the Cobra radar detector could be as efficient in detecting all that is emitted from various traffic-controlling devices as it is, but that happens to be the case. Able to fit under the rearview mirror of a vehicle, being so small and light, it easily fits into the palm of a hand, and when it is set at an ideal location and angle of the car it will pick up anything, from the strongest radar to narrow and distant signals.
It features a digital detector that offers a wider performance range, no matter how low the frequency. This also allows the detector to differentiate between signals and alert a driver in a different way thanks to its digital signal processing (DSP). The Advanced Frequency Display Mode is another state-of-the-art feature that allows the device to determine exact frequencies and alert drivers with an intuitive graphic display.
It is also fitted with Bluetooth, which allows users to connect to Cobra’s iRadar Community, thus enabling users to receive notifications of speed cameras and sneaky traps that would otherwise go undetected. All this makes for one of the most precise detecting mechanisms available on the market, packed in an 8-oz. container with dimensions of 3.4” long and 2.3” wide.
- Wide-ranging detector
- Precise alert system
- Compact and easy to use
- Traffic flow sensor rejection
- LED screen hard to read
After going through all it has to offer, the Cobra Radar Detector comes off as a pretty impressive piece, given its size and immense precision. Despite its simplicity, it is without a doubt something users everywhere will appreciate driving around with.
3. Beltronics RX65-Red Professional Series Radar Detector
Very much a standard radar detector, the Beltronics RX65 is a great pick in that it offers the security and reliability that many who purchase such devices look for. It is able to detect X, K, KA, and Safety Warning System radars, all testimony to the wide range of radars it is able to detect and alert.
It features a “POP” radar alert, audible through the speakers on the side of a relatively compact device that weighs only 4 oz. Using a K-band radar signal, it is able to alert drivers of any potential obstructions ahead, such as highway hazards and construction sites. It is also fairly easy to use, thanks to the bright LED display which screens all the different messages alerts, as well as easy-to-access buttons on top of the unit.
Part of the gadget’s high-tech functionality consists of its AutoScan feature that increases the detector’s range and differentiates genuine from false alerts. With its programming capabilities, users can customize the different features of the device, allowing users to let it know what consists of a false alarm, as well as adjust settings to their region. The detector pack includes a coiled smart plug and a windshield mount to top off all it has to offer.
- Compact and easy to use
- Wide range detectability
- Advanced technological features
- Frequently detects false alarms
The Beletronics Radar Detector is all you expect from it, and that turns out to be a good thing. Though it may not feature every single capability some detectors have, it is pretty much a standard detector that gets the job done, and reliably so, offering drivers the security and comfort they need. It’s pretty to use too, perhaps best showing why it can be summed up as simple and efficient.
4. Escort Passport 8500X50 Black Radar Detector
The Escort’s X50 Black features a V-Tuned radar receiver that covers K, Ka, and X-band radars as well as the “POP mode” radar that is new and goes undetected with more outdated detectors. The X50 is anything but outdated, as is made immediately apparent from its sophisticated exterior look, and this is further justified by the many functions it is capable of.
The digital signal processing, or DSP, allows for the detector to pick up on all the aforementioned frequencies by expanding its range, all while working to isolate false alarms. This efficiency is further helped by the Traffic Sensor Rejection feature, or TSR, which eliminates false alerts caused by surrounding activity.
All these features are made easy to control with the detector’s LED screen, which displays the different functions being put to use, all operated by simple buttons. For the most part, one need not worry about manually operating the X50 as its automatic laser detection is constantly at work, thanks to the 12V DC connection, made possible by the SmartCord that the detector includes.
It also includes an AutoMute feature, making those times that a false alarm does go off easy to solve with the click of a button; this is easily accessible thanks to its windshield mount that allows it to be easily placed near the driver’s seat. Other than that, this compact piece includes a travel case, making it easy to carry around wherever you go.
- All-band protection
- Enhanced radar
- Easy to use
- False alarm reduction not efficient
- Suction caps
Though the X50 tends to be a little too sensitive at times, it certainly never fails to alert users whenever needed, and with certain measures provided to alleviate any disturbances caused by false alarms, this handy device works like a charm.
5. Escort Passport S55 High-Performance Pro Radar and Laser Detector
From a company that has quickly established itself as the dominant brand in car radar detector manufacturing, the S55 is yet another example of why Escort Passport tools are simply the best. It features all that is expected from it, and what the brand has been slowly perfecting with every make, such as the wide-range band radars it is able to detect.
It has a long-range too, as well an AutoSensitivity intelligence feature that helps it determine genuine instances in which to alert a driver from the chaos of the open highway, such as traffic interference, and so eliminating constant false alarms and topping off all the standard features.
What makes this particular radar unique, however, is that it is compatible with ESCORT Live, a community network feature that allows one user to benefit from all the saved information other drivers in the community have picked up, such as surprise locations that could catch a driver unaware. This makes the detector efficient beyond its receiving range as well as having much-needed information about local speed limits in areas one is about to approach.
It also has a rare multiple meter display that includes a Standard Bar Graph, an ExpertMeter, and a SpecDisplay that makes reading all the different information on its bright LED display easier than ever. Add that to its programming capabilities and you find customization coupled with state-of-the-art functionality that makes this detector one of a kind.
- Instant-on POP mode
- Long and wide range detectability
- Escort Live feature
- AutoSensitivity prevents false alarms
- Doesn’t include Ku band detection
It is clear to see that Escort is attempting to perfect the art of radar detecting with the S55, and save for a few missing features that would make this product perfect, there really is nothing to complain about. With two suction cups attached to the 1.1-lb. unit, all one needs to do is find a convenient place in the car to put the S55 and it will begin working its magic. This convenient and easy way to use the detector allows users to better appreciate the many functions it has to offer.
Conclusion for the Best Radar Detectors for the Money
The very simple question of whether one can practically avoid speeding tickets and other such inconveniences is answered in a very simple way with the purchase of a radar detector. The fact of the matter is that these rules are in place for a good reason, but that doesn’t mean that measures can’t be taken to keep drivers in check, as these modern pieces of technology do so well.
From the five listed options above, much can be calculated in the way of time and money spent, but the best way to sum it all up is to state that opting for any one of the above options will make a driver’s life easier.