The freedom to relax, drive with confidence, and not worry as much about an unwanted ticket – that’s what an investment in a radar detector can give you. But, what should you look for when you’ve decided to purchase one?
How Radar Detectors Work
Police radar guns “see” a vehicle by transmitting a microwave pulse. Then they make use of the Doppler Effect: the frequency of the transmitted pulse is compared to the frequency of the reflection, and speed is calculated by using the difference between them. The idea behind radardetectors is they look for radar “beams” and find them before than can return a strong enough reflection to “illuminate” you. Radar detectors are essentially microwave radio receivers that make noise or flash lights when they sense an incoming signal on specific frequencies.
Types of Detectors:
- Corded Detectors: Windshield mounted via suction cups and are plugged into a 12V outlet
- Cordless Detectors: Can easily be moved from one vehicle to another and have a cleaner look than corded models, and run off of batteries
- Remote(Hidden) Mount Detectors: Permanently and typically custom installed into your vehicle, virtually undetectable and invisible
Important Features to Look for:
- City Modes: This will reduce the range or sensitivity so that you get fewer false alerts.
- Directional Awareness: Know exactly where the police are at all times. Dual radar receivers provide increased range to keep you protected.
- 360 Laser Detection: A detector with one laser sensor can detect in front of you, but not behind you or off to the sides. 360-degree laser detection systems use two sensors to look for pulses all around you. A system with 360 functionality tend to be more reliable, but sometimes costlier too.
- Visual and/or Auditory Alerts: A voice or LED light alerts you that your radar detector has picked something up. With these alerts you don’t have to take your eyes off the road to look at the display.
- GPS: Some GPS radar detectors can be programmed to “remember” areas that you drive past and alert you when they are approaching. If you drive past an area with a suddenly steep drop in the speed limit, the detector can warn you ahead of time so you can adjust your driving accordingly. Or you can program it to remind you of areas where there are red-light or speed cameras or frequent speed traps
- Smartphone Compatibility: Integrate your radar detector with your smartphone using an Android or iOS App. These apps work to give you alerts provided by other app users, or highlight law enforcement areas others have encountered. There are also radar detectors that transmit alerts directly to your smartphone.
- K-Band Sensitivity: If it’s been aimed at you, your speed has been measured by the time the detector alerts you. If it is being used to target vehicles ahead of you, a detector with a sensitive K-Band reception will alert you. High K-band sensitivity allows manufacturers to promote a detector as giving Instant-On Protection.
Whatever features you find most important to the way you drive, we can help you choose the best radar detector system for you. Stop by one of our stores today and we can walk through all the options and installation for your vehicle.