Radar Detectors
Buyer's Guide

Valentine 1 radar locator Beltronics Pro RX65 radar detectors Escort 8500 X50 radar detectors

VEIL maximizes the performance of all radar detectors!

Report UPDATE: Radar Detector Buyer's Guide 2007-2008

For your convenience this radar detector test and comparison guide is grouped into two parts. The first - the top performance/price tier comprised of radar detectors of Beltronics, Escort, and Valentine Research and the second - radar detector units from Beltronic/Radioshack, Cobra, PNI, and Whistler.

Currently, the best overal performing* radar detectors (top price category) are:

$300+ Radar Detectors:

  • BEL STi Driver($449), BEL RX65 Pro($329) & Vector 995 ($299)
  • Escort 8500 X50 Red/Blue Display ($299/$339)
  • Valentine 1 ($399)
These radar detectors performed the best at detecting laser - the Valentine V1 radar detector being the most adept by a wide margin.

When used in conjunction with good radar detectors, VEIL provides you with precious additional reaction time - time you wouldn't otherwise have to safely slow down - and enables you to avoid speeding tickets.

Although this may sound counter-intuitive, in general, it is actually easier for radar detectors to detect police laser at greater distances than up close - essentially the opposite of police RADAR. The reason being that as the targeting distances increase so does the laser beam spread pattern.  The wider the beam is, the greater the chance that laser detectors will "see" it.  when the distances decrease, the beam gets narrower.

Therefore, if an officer targets either your front license plate or a headlight, at shorter distances, the laserbeam may not be wide enough to reach the laser section that is mounted high-up on windshields.  Which means NO ALERT

To minimize this "effect", you should mount them as low as you can against the windshield or place them on the dash. 

The exception to this recommendation is with the Valentine 1 radar detectors. Since these detectors have demonstrated an overall superior ability to alert to "off-axis" laser you could mount your Valentine 1 high, to maximize your chances of seeing the rare advanced warning from a vehicle that is being targeted ahead of yours without compromising your ability to be alerted to laser up-close.

In either case, make sure there are visual no obstructions that could block the detectors' "field-of-view", like wipers or UV filters that are routinely incorporated into the windshield.

The others have laser detecting capability as well, can detect POP (67ms variety) - a lethal form of radar that occurs in bursts of 16-67ms, too short a duration for those models that are not specifically built to detect it.

The latest Valentine 1's offer superior POP RADAR detection capability and are are unique in being able to occasionally (~10%) sniff out the MPH K-35 hand-held K gun when its POP mode operated at a blistering 16ms!

VR's newest revision of their detector includes "Euro" mode that can be enabled to perform especially well with Gatso/Multanova police RADAR - popular throughout europe, this low-powered RADAR waveform is most difficult for conventional radar detector ` to pick-up.

Valentine 1's also distinguish themselves as the only ones in this group to be able to spot Laser Atlanta's stealth mode police laser.

Where you travel primarily and what forms of speed enforcement are being used should be the determining factors in ultimately deciding which is best overall radar detector for your needs.

In our opinion, if laser is used heavily in your areas of travel, you seek the very best in laser detectors (in a windshield mounted unit), desire to have the greatest rear radar sensitivity, and the ability to identify the source of the radar or laser threat, the Valentine 1 would be your natural choice.

If, on the other hand, you wish for the most recent advancements** in radar detection filtering, all-around top performance, and steller Ka performance, either the BEL Vector 995, Bel RX65, Bel STi Driver, or Escort Passport 8500 X50 would make a terrific addition to your windshield.

Our own experiences suggests that the Escort X50 has an edge in laser detecting sensitivity when compared to the BEL RX-65 Pro & STi Driver.

The Bel RX65 has the distinction of being the ergonomic champ and has the added ability to operate on Ku (as can the V1 & 995) - an older European radar band - which may come to our shores.

The RX65 Pro provides the additional ability to have its Ka performance tailored for either European or US Ka usage.

The BEL STi Driver is the only detector which provides the convenience of stealth driving in addition to RX-65 like performance. (That's a big 10-4).

Bottom Line: You really can't go wrong with any of these top tier detectors.

Want even more extensive radar detector comparisons? Read our exclusive radar detector review in which we drove with the top three for several thousands miles to see if we could determine the overall best radar detector.

Now that you are armed with a good radar/laser detector, discover how you to use it to avoid speed traps!

Watch VEIL in action! Check out these cool videos!

Hear what other enthusiast drivers say how VEIL helps them fight speeding tickets!

Under $200 Detector Group

  • Beltronics Vector 895 ($199)
  • Cobra 9400 ($119)
  • PNI RW 3000 ($149)
  • Whistler 1776 ($179)
In the under $200.00 category, the Beltronics RadioShack Vector 895 Series available exclusively at Radio Shack has been reported to perform almost as well as its more expensive brethren with respect to outright performance, demonstrated superior laser sensitivity as well, and was recently rated a top value in Motor Trend's 2005 comparison especially when paired with VEIL!

On the POP RADAR detection front, the Whistler 1776 detected both K and KA POP RADAR consistently while the Cobra 9400 had a tougher time with both forms of POP RADAR. Its important to keep POP RADAR detection abilities of this detector aspect in perspective. Currently, we do not believe POP RADAR is being used to actually issue tickets and the number of such police radar guns in operation is still quite small (relative to all other RADAR forms. You should be more concerned about laser detection capability than POP RADAR.

With respect laser detection ability to police laser, both the Cobra and Whistler detectors perform similarly and have decent sensitivity to two very popular police laser guns - the Kustom Signals Pro III and the Stalker LZ-1. Our own radar detector tests suggest a slight performance edge with the Cobra radar detector.

On the Radar Detector Detector (RDD) immunity, the Whistler 1776 turned in an impressive performance - on the SPECTRE III - relative to the top radar detector tier.

As good as the Valentine 1 radar detectors are at spotting laser, the great likelihood is that by the time your radar detector sounds its alarm, you have already been clocked with laser - even on a motorcycle - unless you have protected yourself with VEIL, an active laser jammer, or both.

That's why several detector manufacturers also build active laser jammers - otherwise known as ECMs or electronic counter measures.

Would you like even more detailed comparisons? Read this informative radar detector test; driving along with the top models for many miles to find out which one was the best overall detector.

Since you are considering arming yourself with a radar/laser detector, learn how to successfully avoid speeding tickets with them!

Hear other enthusiast share their experiences saying with how VEIL helped them beat speeding tickets!

See VEIL provide stealth protection! Watch these performance videos!

Purchase with Confidence at these Trustworthy Purchasing Sources for:

Related Reading:

Beltronics STi Driver Review
Escort Passport 9500i
Valentine One
How to Avoid Speeding Tickets with your Radar Detector
The Ultimate Radar Detector Review
The Ultimate Laser Detector Review

Latest News:

Beyond viewing this site, you can continue keep-up with the latest info about our continuing long-term comparisons of the top performing models and our real-world driving experiences (frequently updated) by visiting the VeilGuy blog. Be sure to opt-into our mailing list, so you don't miss any of the action!

*According to field testing of SpeedZones.

**Another distinction (especially) for the V1 and both BELs worth noting are their abilities to hide from RDDs - such as VG2 and SPECTRE/STALCAR II/III created in the land of OZ.

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  •  Cobra 9400
    Cobra 9400
  • escort  8500 X50
    Escort 8500 X50 Blue
  • PNI RW3000
    PNI RW 3000
  • Beltronics/BEL/Radioshack vector 895
    RadioShack Vector 895
  • Valentine 1/w POP
    Valentine 1
  • Whistler 1776
    Whistler 1776

targeted without protection