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View Full Version : Best radar detector under $150



Newbster
06-04-2007, 03:02 AM
Whats the best radar detector for under $150? I know valentines are the best. So ya... Im looking for something under $150...

VikingJZ
06-04-2007, 03:06 AM
None....save your money and get a Valentine One or an Escort Passport 8500 or something.

Plan on spending over $300 to get one that will work the best.

Remember, you can't totally rely on a radar detector. You have to understand what police vehicles look like, particularly the unmarked vehicles. They aren't always Crown Victorias.

PM me if you need more descriptions.


Check out radar detector reviews here: http://www.radarbusters.com/

Mr Celica
06-04-2007, 03:13 AM
radar detectors only work if the cop has his gun on all the time. they don't really protect against laser, where they point, shoot, and get your speed. so unless you have the reaction time needed to slam on your brakes/slow down in the time it takes a laser to go back and forth, they don't help too much. they do however work if you are in an area where there are more cars and the cop is "gunning" everyone, then it warns you that its ahead.

VikingJZ
06-04-2007, 03:35 AM
If you're going to buy a detector for under $150, you better hope you live in a state where most police agencies rarely use laser.

I have a $40 detector and it works okay, but I have been in a car with the number one detector on the market--Beltronics STi Driver--and I can tell you it's phenomenal.

But Mr. Celica is right, a lot of cops don't have radar on all the time. Indiana State Police generally don't do theirs until they're very close to you, and at that point, it's too late. It's better to know what kind of cars police agencies use.

Slider
06-04-2007, 03:37 AM
Pick up a used Passport 8500 x50, I sold mine for $150 locally. It worked great, picked up radar wayyy ahead of time. The cops around here started using laser so I sold it.

Newbster
06-04-2007, 03:41 AM
Whats the difference between radar and laser?

NVM wikipedia says all....

Slider
06-04-2007, 03:48 AM
Radar is a wide beam so the detector can pick up the waves before they're even gunning you. Laser is a small beam about 12" in radius, so if the cop is using laser you're basically screwed, you're not going to get any warning from the radar detector until it's too late.

Radar detectors claim to detect laser but it will only go off if the cop is aiming at you, at that point he already has your speed or if the laser bounces off another car but the chances of that are low. So basically if they use laser in your vicinity don't bother with a radar detector. Also don't let the detector give you a false sense of security and speed everywhere. Since as it was said above some police officers will have the radar off until they see you so you won't get a warning from your radar detector.

Mr Celica
06-04-2007, 04:22 AM
i have a cheap 25 dollar one from radio shack and it works fine for speed traps, but they're pretty much useless these days.. oh well.

Shadowlife25
06-04-2007, 04:45 AM
Don't speed and save yourself the money. :D

Futant3
06-04-2007, 06:19 AM
I don't know about you guys but I don't usually use my radar to get away with speeding. That occasional beep is a good way of reminding me to watch my speed and I'm sure you can find many radars for under $150 that will serve that purpose. That being said this is a product that you get what you pay for so pay well. Cheap ones tend to go off at stupid stuff like automatic door openers etc so they can get annoying and you'll just ignore it.

Shadowlife25
06-04-2007, 07:24 AM
I used to piss off my boss when I'd drive behind him on the highway.... I'd hit the garage door opener, and his radar detector would go NUTS!!! :hehe:

Plus he wa paraniod anyway, cause he loved to speed in his 'Vette. :D

grayscale
06-04-2007, 01:39 PM
It seems most of you have a bad concept of radar guns and radar detectors.

First off, the reason laser has been different from other radar is because it is instant on. The laser is only really on and detectable when it is being pointed at you whereas other types of radar have to be on already to get an accurrate reading of your speed. That being said, there is no such thing as a laser detector, it's just not possible.

The reason I say has been is because of the invention of the POPKa radar band which was specifically designed to deter radar detectors. It is not instant on persay, but rather it constantly changes the frequecy it scans at so that an unequipped detector will not be able to identify it.

Radar detectors work very well as long as you follow some very basic rules.
1- You must trust your radar detector. If you don't, then you've wasted your money.
2-Don't bother going the speed limit. If you do, then you've wasted your money.
3- Don't speed any faster than you have time to slow down for. If you are within range of a typical radar you have approx. 3 seconds from the time your detector goes off to the time the radar has a calibrated. Factor in your reaction time. If you pick up the radar signal from a long distance(some detectors are capable of up to 2 miles) then you have more time, but don't count on it. Usually you will have about 1 second or so to slow down your speed, so stay around 10mph over the accepted speed on your area. If cops don't bother people for 5 over where you are than do 15 over. If you go any faster then risk getting busted and you've wasted your money.
4- Detectors can not defend against cops who use their radars improperly. Such as ones who use say a Ka band radar but turn it on at the last second or ones who use it while moving. Don't blame your radar for getting busted like this.

There are quite a few more things I could list but these are the basics.
So best detectors out there? Beltronics and Escort brands. The Valentine is a joke and a waste, in the many years since they introduced their product they have failed to update it regularly to meet todays standards and it is now archaic in comparison. Beltronics RX65 and Escort Passport9500i are the top of the line at well over $300 new.

Best detector under $150? Well that depends on whether you buy it new or not. I bought my most recent one on eBay barely used for $103 and it does just about everything inluding POPKa detection. It just so happens that you can get the same model new for $150. It's the Beltronics Vector 940.

The website www.radardetectors.com is probably the authority on all things detector like. It is owned and operated by a retired state trooper that gives you all the info you need to know. He field tests most all of the products he sells. He also still travels around training other cops on how to use radar guns, so you could say he's still in the loop. Check out that site for more tips on detector usage and ratings.

Mr Celica
06-05-2007, 04:41 AM
very well said.

Kiasis
06-08-2007, 04:24 AM
I got busted three times in a span of three months. My crime? Going the speed of traffic on my commute (which was about 15 mph over the limit), but being slightly apart from those in front and those behind, making me the easy target. After the third ticket, I got a clue and bought a Passport 8500 and have kept up to date every since. Don't want a ticket - don't speed. If you're in a Celica, anyone....anyone..., then you're probably inclined to drive the car a bit and a good detector will save you hundreds of dollars in fines, increased insurance, etc, etc. Will it save you every time, of course not. But since getting my first passport five years ago, I'm ticket free on the same commute I picked up 3 in 3. Now I slow down, watch to see who speeds past me w/ an irritated look that I'm only going the speed limit, and ends up pulled over. Bet they wish they had spent the money on a good detector.

I've no experience w/ any other set than an Escort, but my cop buddy tells me they're the best, so... get the 9500i (or at least the 8500 X50). It won't save you all the time if you're hell bent on doing 110 mph everywhere you go, but it'll save you way more than you spend on it.

The other thing is to familiarize yourself w/ your state/provincial/etc laws. I did get popped once by a laser (yeah, my 8500 picked it up - just to laugh at me while I got waved over) but beat it in court because I knew more about the laws governing calibration and use than did the cop. I also beat one of the three tickets pre-detector because the radar gun hadn't been tuned recently enough according to State law (boy, was that judge pissed at the CHP officer). The other two cost me my good-driver insurance rate since I used up my free pass (driver's training) about a year earlier.

All this babble to back-up Grayscale and say 'get it and don't go cheap.'

grayscale
06-08-2007, 05:13 AM
Well spoken, excellent info. There are many ways to skin the cat called the law. Kiasis is dead on, make sure you know all of the laws governing your area on radar guns and you may find a cop or two walking away from your car in embarrassment, I know I have. ;)

goretro77
03-05-2008, 05:43 AM
I have had the valentine one for a long time and its been very reliable. I feel very confident that it will pick up the radar down the road.
The directional lights are handy.

You can upgrade it by typing the unit's serial number and they will tell you of the new features.

Here's the v1 coverage of pop radar: http://www.valentine1.com/pop/

and the way you can upgrade: http://www.valentine1.com/upgrades/

Theres a lot of radar detectors out there. Good luck in your decision.

celica91gts
03-05-2008, 06:08 AM
i dont believe in radar detectors. cops and clock you from so far away its not even funny. i dont think its worth it. just drive the speed limit and everyone will be happy. for those rare occasions that i do street race or speed.... i think its all luck. i know many people with speed detectors who still have been caught and also cops judge you on it. my friend who got pulled. the cop ask him "what, your cop detector didnt buzz?"

VikingJZ
03-05-2008, 06:18 AM
That site has laser jammers. While the odds of getting caught having one are low to nonexistent, make sure you check the laws.

I don't know how cheap mine is, but its never hit a laser signal for a cop. Its actually now picking up more k/Ka shit than before. I'll be ditching it soon, but its helped. I haven't been stopped for speeding since 2006.

I plan on having a whole system. Valentine, jammer, and GPS mirror

celica91gts
03-05-2008, 06:19 AM
gps mirror?

VikingJZ
03-05-2008, 06:23 AM
http://www.buyradardetectors.com/products/cheetah/cheetah-gps-mirror.aspx

for photo cams.

I don't do a lot of travelling....but when I do dragon or if I transfer to Oregon....i'll want this.

celica91gts
03-05-2008, 06:35 AM
so if i had a huge broadway mirror on my car, could i use that too>?

Slider
03-05-2008, 06:53 AM
I have had the valentine one for a long time and its been very reliable. I feel very confident that it will pick up the radar down the road.
The directional lights are handy.

You can upgrade it by typing the unit's serial number and they will tell you of the new features.

Here's the v1 coverage of pop radar: http://www.valentine1.com/pop/

and the way you can upgrade: http://www.valentine1.com/upgrades/

Theres a lot of radar detectors out there. Good luck in your decision.

Careful around Chicago, I noticed Chicago started using laser. I believe the suburbs still use the good old K and Ka.

goretro77
03-06-2008, 02:50 PM
Yes, I should clarify that I don't speed - I don't want my insurance rates to go up so I do the limit but I like to use the radar detector to know when I'm being scoped out with a radar gun.

Not worth it to speed in public, keep it on a track.

grayscale
03-07-2008, 01:48 AM
Ha Ha, this is funny. If you order a few pieces of informational info from around the net you can find out who has what speed detection devices around the US as they are, for the most part, all registered with their manufacturers and others. Anyway, what you find out is that there are actually very few laser equipped officers in your normal area of travel unless you live in a metropolis like New York, Chicago, San Fran, L.A., Atlanta, etc. Example- I live near Atlanta and there are only 8 laser guns used by city cops. Other than that, 90% of the state troopers use pop ka, the rest use ka. And this should be your biggest concern- pop ka. Unless your detector was made in the last 2 years, or there abouts, you're vulnerable to pop ka.
And this is where I disagree with the valentine 1. How can you "upgrade" to detect popka when it's the hardware that has physically changed?
Anyhow, that's my take on laser- just not enough out there for it to be a major concern.

grayscale
03-07-2008, 01:49 AM
....but when I do dragon or if I transfer to Oregon....i'll want this.
?

goretro77
03-07-2008, 02:09 AM
Other than that, 90% of the state troopers use pop ka, the rest use ka. And this should be your biggest concern- pop ka. Unless your detector was made in the last 2 years, or there abouts, you're vulnerable to pop ka.
And this is where I disagree with the valentine 1. How can you "upgrade" to detect popka when it's the hardware that has physically changed?
Anyhow, that's my take on laser- just not enough out there for it to be a major concern.

Interesting, this independent test I read once:
http://www.guysoflidar.com/radar-detector-laser-jammer-shootout-2005/pop-radar-test.html

grayscale
03-07-2008, 03:35 AM
Interesting article, I'm still curious how you can just udate for something like that, but oh well. What I did notice in the article though was that they specifically stated that it was not a real world test and simply a test of yes or no of capabillity/distance. In reality, the problem with the valentine is it's very poor filters which leads to numerous false readings which throw off porper reads.
Excerpt from www.RadarBusters.com
"The Valentine does have the advantage of having dual antennas, allowing its directional arrows identify the direction that the radar is coming from. However, Radar Roy and other reviewers have all agreed, that the filtering on the Valentine 1 is inferior. So much so that in the November 2004 issue of Autoweek magazine's review, they called the Valentine 1 the "Chicken Little of radar detectors".

Escort and Beltronics have a single antenna that is bi-directional. This allows you to receive radar from front and rear, at distances equal to or exceeding that of Valentine. Escort and Bel also have the best filtering on the market today.

One of the best independent reviews we have ever seen concerning the comparisons between the Escort, Bel and Valentine radar detectors was performed by Bob (The Veil Guy) and his wife Lisa. It is titled The Ultimate Real-World Radar Detector Review '05 and is posted on his website LaserVeil.com. Bob and Lisa examined the real-world performance of these top three radar detectors during a 2300 mile trip that covered five states, in which they encountered virtually every form of radar/laser speed enforcement currently in use today. This extensive report covers price, quality, display, alert, performance along with other important features."

goretro77
03-07-2008, 03:49 AM
Wow, guess I should just whip my v1 out the window. lol!

cs363
03-07-2008, 04:09 AM
Hmm yet from the same website (http://www.radarbusters.com/badgeratingsarticle.cfm) we get this:

"We do not sell the Valentine 1, however as many people consider this radar detector the bench mark of radar detectors we do test it. The Valentine 1 is an excellent unit with excellent range and filtering. The big drawback in our opinion is the price as it costs $399.00 In testing, the Escort 8500 outperformed the Valentine 1 in range and filtering. Upgradable by Valentine"

The statement regarding range and filtering directly contradicts their own statements in the article posted by Grayscale. I think part of the key here is that first sentence....we do not sell Valentine 1........however, they do sell Bel & Escort which I agree are acknowledged quality brands, yet they also sell Whistler which is now a cheap and innefectual unit going by most tests and user comments. Having owned both a Bel Sti and a Valentine I found them to be similar in performance in real world conditions, I personally prefer the valentine as I like the 'bogey counter' and directional arrows as they work well in New Zealand as our traffic cops often work in packs, patrolling a section of one highway.

All personal preferences aside I think anyone that gets a Valentine, Bel or Escort is getting a high quality unit that should work well for them as long as their expectations are'nt unrealistic as previously covered by Grayscale's post. Here we have a 100km/h open road speed limit, though the cops will usually allow up to 10% variance - outside of that it's ticket time. With a good radar detector you can travel at 115-120 and be reasonably confident of avoiding a ticket, excepting bad timing with an instant on radar and a cop who is ticket hungry!

grayscale
03-07-2008, 10:18 AM
Wow, guess I should just whip my v1 out the window. lol!
I'm just havin' a little debate here, don't go throwin' things out windows and ruffling your feathers.

grayscale
03-07-2008, 10:31 AM
Hmm yet from the same website...
Good find! I stand corrected.
I did read somewhere else that Bel bought Escort.

Just for the record, one thing I don't like about ALL detectors is that you have to buy one with whole bunch of options you don't need/want to get the performance you want. I could really care less that mine talks to me, or has different warning tones, it's enough that just makes an alert noise. I'm only interested in the band, the distance it is from me, and the filtering capability. The further away it can pick them up the better, which should be the major concern of any buyer.

grayscale
03-07-2008, 10:39 AM
i dont believe in radar detectors. cops and clock you from so far away its not even funny. i dont think its worth it...
Almost forgot about this one. Laser is the only one that has a real significant ability to get you at a great distance, and I've already covered their downside. As for the other bands, all of the detectors that are "worth" paying good money for can see the further than the other bands 99% of the time. And with all radars, they must have line of sight to nail you whereas a detector does not. Where I live, the "over the hill" and "around the corner" capabilities are important to me.