What Do the Best Radar Detectors Have in Common

Searching for the best radar detectors among all the available brands on the market requires a little knowledge about different features and what they do. Some radar detector brands are basic models designed to notify the driver about radar from police radar kits, while other models have advanced features, such as radar and laser detectors in one unit. Cost, efficiency, convenience and sensitivity are all important when choosing a radar detector, and if you're on a budget, it's good to know what kind of radar local police use so that you can match the features to what you'll encounter on the road.

City Mode
The best radar detectors allow you to adjust their sensitivity. Radar detectors detect electromagnetic waves from radar guns, but they also can pick up waves from other sources, especially in a city, where there may be several false alarms within a few blocks. Choose a radar detector that allows you to switch between a normal operating mode and a city mode to reduce false alarms in urban areas.

Multi-Directional Laser Detection
Cheaper models of radar detectors have a single laser sensor that can pick up beams that are aimed at the front of your vehicle, but any beams from the side won't register. When choosing a radar detector, look for models that have 360-degree detection. While you'll pay a lot more, you'll appreciate the reliable coverage.

Range
Without good range, you won't get an early warning to slow down. The best brands offer at least one mile of range in urban areas and up to eight miles on the open highway. Find out how well a radar detector copes with hills and curves, as police will often use geography to their advantage when they're setting up speed traps. Check the range for POP radar as well, which is often much lower than the range for always-on police radar.

Warning Methods
Most radar detector brands will give drivers the option between an audio alert (usually a beep) and a visual alert (flashing LED lights). The best models allow the driver to choose one or both types of warnings, adjust the volume and even put the device on mute. There should also be a nighttime driving option that dims the detector's warning lights so that your eyes aren't constantly adjusting to different light levels.

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