Having a radar detector in your car allows you to drive with confidence. It’s a device that provides a sense of freedom so that you can relax without having to pay attention to your speedometer every second that you’re on the road.
Technology has made huge advancements in radar detectors in recent years, making them more powerful and effective than ever. And yet they still provide the same basic functionality you’ve come to know and trust.
When looking for the best radar detector to meet your needs, there are a number of factors you need to consider. After all, not every radar detector is designed the same. Let’s take a look at a few features you need to be aware of when you decide it’s time to buy.
8 Features For Choosing the Best Radar Detector for You
If you’re going to use a radar detector, you want one that works well. Here are 8 features to look for when choosing the best radar detector for your needs.
1. Highway Mode and City Mode
When you look for a good police radar detector, it should have more than one mode. With most detectors on the market, highway mode is the default setting. This has to do with the sensitivity of the radar. If you aren’t able to reduce the sensitivity, you’re going to get far more false alerts than a device that also has city mode.
City mode reduces the range of sensitivity in order to cut down on false alerts. This might not sound like a big deal, but just wait until you’re getting alerts for every parked car and road sign you pass.
Buying one that features both modes will make your life much easier.
2. Radar Detectors Featuring GPS
Having a radar detector with built-in GPS is an advantage for a number of reasons. One of the primary reasons to want GPS in your device is so it can be programmed to remember areas you’ve driven past, and then alert you the next time you approach the same area.
GPS is also able to communicate with the satellite to know when there is a sudden drop in the speed limit, giving you the heads-up to slow down. Or it can be programmed to remember speed traps or areas that have traffic cameras.
Another nice feature of a GPS is that it can automatically decide when to switch between highway mode and city mode without you having to make the switch manually. This might not sound like a big deal, but it’s one less thing you’ll have to worry about while driving.
3. Types of Laser Detection
If you purchase a basic detector with one laser that simply detects laser beams in front of you, it’s not covering your back or sides. This is why you want a 360-degree laser. These detectors utilize 360-degree laser detection to look for laser pulses coming from all directions.
It really makes sense to own one of these because you never know which direction the laser will be coming from.
Yes, these models will certainly cost you more, but they tend to be more reliable and you are much less likely to get pulled over.
4. Visual and Voice Alerts
Owning a detector that features both visual and voice alerts can come in handy. The voice alert will tell you what it picks up, which is great because you never have to take your eyes off the road.
But a visual alert, like a flashing or pulsing light, quietly lets you know what is detected, which helps if you have children in the car or there are sleeping passengers.
5. Smartphone Compatibility
It seems that there are fewer and fewer areas of life that aren’t somehow integrated with our smartphones. This includes the top radar detectors.
There are currently apps available for iOS and Android that allow radar detectors to interact with your smartphone. Thus you can easily share speed enforcement areas with other drivers in the vicinity.
This can be a great feature, allowing you to communicate with family and friends who frequently travel in the same areas.
6. VG-2 Technology
VG-2 is a type of RDD technology formerly used by police to pick up oscillations on a single frequency band. This is an older standard technology that has been mostly phased out.
7. Spectre Technology
More sophisticated that VG-2, Spectre is another type of RDD technology that has proven to be significantly more difficult to circumvent.
Spectre operates on several bands and thus is able to pick up more emissions from a radar detector. It’s possible to find a few radar detectors on the market with the ability to evade Spectre, but only a handful. And Spectre keeps evolving, making it all but impossible to beat.
8. VG-2/Spectre Shielding Technology
Some detectors warn you that a radar has been detected, and then automatically shut down to avoid discovery. While other, more costly detectors, offer invisibility protection by shielding you from both VG-2 and Spectre, while continuing to operate without being discovered.
Keep in mind that if you want this level of protection from your radar detector, be prepared to pay for it. After all, this kind of technology doesn’t come cheap.
Also be aware that radar detectors are not legal in every area, so being invisible is very important and might just save you from a costly ticket.
Choosing the Features You Need
Radar detectors can be a great tool for keeping you out of trouble. Most people are in a hurry, rushing around to get from one place to another, and can use all the help they can get to make life move just a little faster.
The best radar detector on the market won’t be cheap, but neither is paying an expensive speeding ticket.
Using a radar detector is no guarantee that you won’t get pulled over, yet it’s still a great way for a heads-up that a speed trap is nearby. So always use it responsibly and be alert.
Click here to see the best radar detector under $100.