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Don’t Get Caught Off Guard With the Best Radar Detector

  1. Escort Passport 8500 X50 Black Radar Detector
  2. Beltronics Pro RX65 Radar Detector
  3. Escort Passport 9500CI Radar Detector
  4. Beltronics STiR Plus Radar Detector
  5. Buyer's Guide

Many police officers claim that radar detectors are tools for scofflaws and habitual speeders with disregard towards other road users. While we are not advocating reckless driving in any way, some areas are known for having speed traps to ambush those driving over the posted speed limit. Thankfully, the best radar detectors in 2022 will help even the playing field so that you're less likely to be caught off guard. Take a look at our recommendations below and a close look at our buyer's guide to finding the radar detector for your needs so you can avoid getting a ticket.

Detailing the Best Radar Detectors of 2022

Escort Passport 8500 X50 Black Radar Detector - Best Radar Detectors Overall

The Passport 8500 has always been one of the top-performing radar detectors on the market (with a good value message to boot), but Escort has not been sitting around idly. The nature of this industry is such that manufacturers are constantly forced to upgrade and innovate, or simply wither away and disappear into obscurity. The upgrades done to the 8500 series in the X50 Black both subtle and obvious. The previously silver-colored outer casing has been swapped for a matte black one, which is better for cutting down on reflections and distracting glare. Escort has made some changes to the internal components as well, and are now claiming to have unlocked '40% more performance' compared to the standard X50 (silver) model. Even if this claim is overly optimistic, there's no question that the new Passport 8500 X50 Black is still one of the best performers in its price range. Escort offers the Passport 8500 X50 Black in two models - one with a blue display, and one with a red light display. There is no difference between the two except for the color of the display, so choose the red display model if you want to save a few bucks.

Beltronics Pro RX65 Radar Detector - Runner Up

Before the introduction of Beltronics' current flagship models (STI Driver and GX65), the RX65 was the company's top offering. Now, the Beltronics RX65 is one of the best value radar detectors on the market thanks to its combination of high performance and a comparatively lower price. It features excellent sensitivity for all North American police radar bands (X, K, Ka), as well as the rarely encountered Ku band. The RX65 is capable of beating out other radar detectors in terms of detection range, and can compete with the best for giving advance warning of police presence. The RX65 also features 360-degree laser detection with high sensitivity - useful for areas where prolice officers like to rely on laser. While the laser sensitivity is not as high as the Valentine One, the RX65 can still compare to detectors costing hundreds of dollars more.

best Escort Passport 9500CI Radar Detector

Escort Passport 9500CI Radar Detector - Honorable Mention

The Escort Passport 9500ci (with 'ci' meaning 'custom-installed') is an undetectable remote radar detector - the only one on the market besides the Beltronics STI-R. The Passport 9500ci offers extremely high levels of sensitivity on all bands of radar, and comes with an integrated laser jamming system (Escort calls this laser 'shifting'). On top of that, the Passport 9500ci system is GPS-equipped, allowing it to automatically filter out false alarms and keep a database of speed limit camera and red light camera locations. The Passport 9500ci comes with a blue display and a small controller, both of which can be hidden with ease. Professional installation is required to properly set up the Passport 9500ci, unless you're extremely knowledgeable with setting up remote radar detectors. The Escort Passport 9500ci is not cheap, but the amount of useful features it comes loaded with makes it worth the price.

Beltronics STiR Plus Radar Detector - Consider

When new models which share the same name and design as previous products are released on a regular basis, it can get tricky to keep track of which is which. The Beltronics STiR Plus is an update to the highly rated STi-R 'installed' model. Eagle-eyed shoppers will notice that the control unit for the new STiR is identical to the Escort Passport 9500ci - this is because the two are electronic twins (to a point). To ease some of the confusion, the new model drops the dash in the name. Compared to its predecessor, the STiR Plus bumps performance up another notch while adding some key features that make this a better radar detector than ever before. The STiR Plus is built on Beltronics' most capable platform, and thus offers unbeatable radar detection range combined with total invisibility from even the latest radar detector detectors. The STiR Plus closes the gap between it and its stablemate, the Escort Passport 9500ci, by offering a built-in GPS receiver and a preloaded database of known positions of speed cameras and red light camera-equipped intersections. However, the main reason why you would want to spend over $1000 on the STiR Plus is not the amount of features it comes with, but for its amazing performance when it comes to detecting police radar. The STiR Plus offers more range and sensitivity than even the best high-end dash-mount detectors, and can interface with laser jammers for added protection against LIDAR. Despite the high price, the Beltronics STiR Plus is an excellent value. If you can afford to have such a system installed on your vehicle, there is nothing better.

Buyer's Guide

A radar detector is a useful tool and is best treated as such. When combined with high levels of situational awareness and making intelligent decisions, a good radar detector acts as an extra "sense" in paying attention to the road. Radar detectors are primarily designed to detect the usage of radar within its operating range, hence the name. The mere presence of a police car is not enough to trigger an alert unless a radar device is active.

Not all radar detectors are created equal. The ones worth any consideration are usually pricey, so buyers must decide whether the investment is worth it compared to the cost of even a single ticket. There is no such thing as a "budget" radar detector— only good ones and bad ones. We've narrowed down the wide array of radar detectors offered for sale to recommend only the best since the difference between a 'close call' and a speeding ticket can be quite expensive.

Factors to Consider Before Buying the Best Radar Detector


A sensitive radar detector will alert users to even the slightest hint of radar presence. The best radar detectors on the market will sound an alert if there is an active radar trap around the corner, over a hill, and way out of visual contact. The more sensitivity a radar detector has, the more likely it is to alert you to the presence of a radar speed trap. Unfortunately, this also often includes non-threats such as automatic door openers, microwaves, and even other poorly-shielded radar detectors. False alerts can get annoying and tedious, though many of the newer GPS-equipped radar detectors can automatically lock out false alarm signals at the source. For more information about this feature, scroll down to the "features" section of the buying guide.

LIDAR is becoming increasingly popular with some police agencies. Instead of using sound waves as a medium to measure speed, LIDAR sends out invisible laser pulses and calculates the closing speed. This laser beam is extremely narrow compared to radar, and traffic enforcement officers can use a LIDAR gun to pick out a single car from a crowd. LIDAR is also extremely quick and does not have the same spread as radar, making it very difficult to detect. The car in the next lane could be targeted by an officer using LIDAR, and your detector may not even alert you. By the time your own detector alerts you to LIDAR, you have already been clocked.

This is not all doom and gloom, however. There are inherent drawbacks to laser speed detection, and several instances of case law acknowledge this fact. LIDAR also operates on a light principle, which means variables such as humidity, precipitation, and other weather factors can affect the reading. On top of that, there are highly effective countermeasures available. While high-end radar detectors can sometimes alert drivers to LIDAR before they themselves become the target, laser jammers can prevent a LIDAR gun from registering a speed.


The detection range of a radar detector is another important factor. A highly sensitive radar detector is of little practical use if it cannot detect the presence of speed traps past 500 feet. On an open road, some of the best radar detectors sold today, such as the Escort RedLine and Beltronics STI Driver, can pick out radar from more than 10 miles away. Better detection range always works in your favor to buy you time before you fall within ticket range. When looking at potential radar detectors to purchase for yourself, prioritize the ones that offer a longer detection range even if you plan on driving mostly in the city.

LIDAR is a different story. At further ranges, a radar beam can be hundreds of feet wide. A speed-measuring laser pulse is never more than a few feet wide, even past a quarter-mile. Though the accuracy of LIDAR at that range is questionable, the beam itself is still present and can be picked out by more capable radar detectors. This means that even if the car in front of you is being targeted, you have a chance to react before your speed can be measured. The Escort RedLine, Beltronics STI Driver, and Valentine One are particularly talented at picking out laser from a distance.

Additional features

These days, radar detectors are no longer just simple devices that sniff out radar frequencies. The general trend nowadays is that manufacturers are including GPS capabilities with their high-end detectors, combining ultra-high sensitivity and range with a GPS function that can pinpoint the location of false alerts. This means that the radar detector will stay quiet until a genuine threat is encountered. Models sometimes come with pre-loaded databases of photo enforcement locations, making it much easier to avoid any problems before they come up. You can also program these models manually in case the auto false alert lockout fails for whatever reason.

Some radar detectors feature signal shielding so that they are undetectable to a police radar detector detector (RDD). For passenger cars, radar detectors are illegal in Virginia, the District of Columbia, and on military bases. Federal regulations prohibit the use of radar detectors in commercial vehicles over 10,000 pounds. Radar detectors are also illegal in most of Canada, with the exceptions being British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. If you fall into any of these categories and insist on using a radar detector, do so at your own risk. Some models are undetectable to the latest Spectre RDDs used by law enforcement and provide class-leading detection capabilities. However, we do not condone skirting the law, and you can expect stiff fines and penalties if you are caught using a radar detector illegally.

Price and value

This is a tricky segment for radar detectors. While spending $400-$500 for a box to sit on your dashboard may seem absurd, you need to keep detection performance in mind. At nearly $500, a radar detector is a much better value than something you can buy for $49.99 at a local electronics store simply because it offers superior performance. A radar detector that will not alert you to police speed traps is a waste of money at any price while one that will spare you those precious few seconds before you're clocked is worth every penny. This is something to keep in mind when considering which radar detector to purchase.

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