New police speed lasers continue to appear, potentially giving the enforcers an edge in the ongoing electronic arms race with drivers. Not surprisingly, we figured it was time for a test of the latest laser jammers.
We tested against lasers representing nearly all of those IACP-approved for use by U.S. law enforcement. From LTI the UltraLyte 100LR, UltraLyte LRB, TruCam and TruSpeed S. From Kustom Signals: the Pro Laser 3, Pro Laser 4 and Pro Lite Plus. From Laser Atlanta-MPH the Speed Laser R and Speed Laser Torch. Last was the Laser Ally, from Digital Ally. (Designed by Dragon Eye Technology and also sold as the DragonEye by that company.)
Laser jammers tested were the Blinder HP905 Compact, Escort Laser ShifterPro and K40 Defuser G5. Here's what we found.
Blinder HP905 Compact
The business end of the Blinder, its laser jammer transceiver (head), measures 2.0 inches by 1.4 inches by 0.55 inch, the smallest of those tested. (Available in twin, triple or quad configuration.)
Its other major component is a multi-function box that houses the microprocessor and serves as a wiring interface box for the power supply and jammers. This also has a small speaker with a thumbwheel volume-control switch, plus LEDs for power-on and alerts, and a USB port.
Bristling with wires, it's certain to be buried under the dash to hide the clutter. Once installed, its status and alert LEDs can't be seen and the audio alerts are muffled.
The voice alerts helpfully identify the make and model of laser gun although we wish audio volume was higher.
The Blinder HP905 Compact's USB port permits online firmware updates to meet future threats. Also offered is a menu of user preferences like sunlight sensitivity and the number of seconds the jammer transmits during attacks.
Escort Laser ShifterPro
The Escort comes with two jammers; two additional jammers are optional. Its largest component is an interface box that also contains the microprocessor and a small warning speaker. The jammers' telephone-style connectors and wiring harness plug into this. There's also a DB9 connector for firmware updates.
The Escort Laser ShifterPro jammer transceiver measures 3.1 inches wide, 1.0 inch deep and 0.625 inch tall. A waterproof DIN connector on each jammer wire allows one transceiver to be replaced—without having to spend a day ripping the system out of a vehicle.
A small green LED in the on/off rocker switch glows steady-green to indicate power-on and it flashes during attacks. It washes out in sunlight and its location—buried under the dash in a typical installation—does nothing to improve its effectiveness.
Unlike the departed Escort ZR4 laser jamming system, the Escort Laser ShifterPro is stand-alone, designed to operate in parallel with a radar detector. (The Escort Passport 9500ci remote (built-in) model and its twin, the Beltronics STiR Plus, receive bespoke versions that are integrated with the system.)
K40 Defuser G5
The K40 laser jammer is intended to be incorporated into a K40 remote radar detector system such as the Calibre, using the detector's alert system. Like the other jammers tested, it has an interface module that accommodates up to four jammer heads.
Unlike the Blinder and Escort, the K40 Defuser G5 is a fixed design and its firmware can't be updated to counter new threats.
The K40 Defuser G5 jammer head is 5.1 inches wide, 0.65 inch tall and 0.88 deep. Although commendably slim, it was the widest of the group, limiting mounting options.
Supplied with the K40 Defuser G5 are universal mounting brackets as well as a polycarbonate license plate bracket, the top of which accommodates a single jammer. This simplifies installation for a one-jammer front system but makes it easy to spot and susceptible to damage.
The K40 Defuser G5 clearly isn't designed for use as a stand-alone laser-jamming system—ours arrived with no documentation for installation or operation and none was available on the K40 website.
How We Tested Them
Testing took place over a three-day period in Mesa, Arizona. Two target vehicles were used, one small, the other large. Learn more about how we tested the laser jammers...
How We Ranked Them
Each laser jammer was rated in six categories. The first five had a maximum of 10 points each; the last had a possible 50 points.
- Mounts, brackets, ease of installation—is the mounting hardware high in quality, effective and is the system easily installed?
- Firmware updates—how easily can the owner download and install firmware updates to meet future laser threats?
- Controls and operation—are the controls intuitive, effective and simple to operate?
- Audible/visual alert system—does it verify that the system is powered-up and ready, can its alerts be both seen and heard?
- User documentation—are the installation and operator guides comprehensive and easy to understand?
- Jamming effectiveness—how well does it neutralize all of the frequently encountered laser guns?
K40 Defuser G5
The K40 Defuser G5 was awarded above-average points for its mounts and brackets and five points in each of three other categories.
Performance was disappointing. It alerted to the most widely used lasers—Kustom Signals Pro Laser 3 and Pro Laser 4; LTI UltraLyte 100LR, Stalker LR—but jammed none of them. (On one pass it briefly blocked the Pro Laser 3 at extreme range, but only on the SUV; the Kia remained easy meat.) The MPH SpeedLaser R could clock the Expedition at 1,742 feet and unfailingly nailed the Kia at any range we tried.
The Defuser G5 couldn't detect or jam the LTI TruSpeed S, or the MPH Torch in Stealth Mode. It detected the lethal Laser Ally but couldn't jam it; same for the widely used LTI UltraLyte 100 LR.
The K40 Defuser G5 earned five points for momentarily affecting a few of the laser guns. But with its uniformly dismal performance, those shopping for laser protection would be wise to look elsewhere.
Blinder HP905 Compact
The Blinder HP905 equaled the Escort Laser ShifterPro in the quality of its installation hardware and outscored it in the ease of updating its firmware. It lost one point to the Escort in controls and operation, alert system and user documentation.
In an earlier test the Blinder HP905 jammed all but one of our lasers. But this time around it was unable to detect or jam two of the newer models.
The Blinder displayed some compelling virtues, but significant gaps in its protection envelope relegated it to runner-up in this contest.
Escort Laser ShifterPro
The Laser ShifterPro earned praise for the thoughtful inclusion of a DIN cable connector near each jammer transceiver, simplifying installation and maintenance. The Laser ShifterPro also scored higher than the Blinder HP905 for the greater volume of its audible alerts.
The Escort lost points for its clunky non-USB Internet connection and less-refined method of audio volume adjustment. Its low-visibility green power-on LED, buried in the power switch, was judged unimpressive as well.
But its remarkably consistent jamming performance gave the Escort the win in this match. It jammed all of our lasers down to point-blank range, regardless of vehicle size or color.
The Escort Laser ShifterPro delivers weapons-grade laser protection, elevating Escort to class leader as the best laser jammer on the market.