Glass-Mounted Radar Detectors
A glass-mount detector attaches to the windshield. It's powered by a cigarette lighter or power outlet and can be easily moved among vehicles.
Performance (radar range) varies by price. Under-$200 models offer a fraction of the range found in high-end models; the better ones are $450 and up.
In town, range is less critical than resistance to false alarms. A few GPS-enabled models, all of them from Escort and BEL, are the best choices for city driving. They also warn of red light and speed cameras.
Best model for the highway
Best model for city driving
Built-in Radar Detectors
A built-in (remote) radar detector has discreet components and is hidden from view. The radar/laser antenna mounts in the grille area; controls and display are in the cockpit.
There's no cord clutter and most power-up automatically. Some Escort and BEL models have GPS, which reduces false alarms dramatically while also protecting from red light cameras.
Features and performance both rise in lockstep with price. Some upmarket models also offer laser shifters, including a second pair to protect the back of the vehicle.
Best Built-in Detector
- World's best radar performance
- Dual Laser ShifterPros
- Minimal false alarms
- Red light camera warnings
Best Low-Cost Built-in Model
Top-Rated Low-Priced Models
What to Expect
In exchange for a lower price, mid-priced models offer fewer features. Except for the entry-level, most have the basics: auto mute, dimming display and warning tones, for example. Pay a bit more and you'll likely find voice alerts and extra filtering to reduce false alarms.
Paying less doesn't always mean living in the slow lane, though. In one test, for instance, the BEL Pro 200 had better Ka-band radar performance than the $649 Escort Max 360.
Best Detector Under $230
- Superb radar range
- Voice alerts
- Red LED display
- Coiled SmartCord with remote
Best Detector Under $199
- Class-leading radar range
- Exceptional laser range
- Warns of red light cameras
- Extra filtering limits false alarms