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Best K & KA Band Radar Detectors on the Market 2016

Updated on September 17, 2016
Features like GPS artificial intelligence really set Escort's Passport Max and 9500IX models apart from the rest of the market.
Features like GPS artificial intelligence really set Escort's Passport Max and 9500IX models apart from the rest of the market.

A good radar detector can save you a lot of money in the long-run especially if you know how to use it.

In this post I'll talk about what you should look for in a radar detector, how they work, and then give you a list of my favorite radar detectors on the market in 2016.

Choosing a Radar Detector

How a Radar Detector Works:

A radar detector picks up the frequency from the radio waves sent by a radar gun and other devices.

It does this by sending out a radio wave which searches for a designated object, microwave frequencies, and then returning once one is found.

Higher quality radar detectors can help to avoid false alarms that come from RF interference.

What radar detector is best?

See results

Types of Radar Detectors - Corded Vs. Wireless Vs. Built-In

Radar detectors can be corded, wireless, or built into your car.

What I like about the corded or wireless is that you can move it from car to car.

That being said if you hardwire your corded radar detector, then it won't take up your cigarette lighter which you may want to use for your phone or other device.

Valentine One
Valentine One

Differences Between City Vs. Highway Vs. Auto Radar Detector Modes

If you purchase a higher-end radar detector, then usually you can select a mode that works best in various locations.


Shoots a wider radio wave so that it's not as long.


Shoots a thinner wave which has more distance.


When you have this selected your radar detector changes according to the speed that you're driving. Overall this is my favorite simply because it's easy and you don't have to think about it all the time.

Is a Radar Detector Illegal in your Area?

Radar Detectors are illegal in most provinces in Canada, US military bases, Washington D.C., Virginia, and are illegal for all commercial areas. Radar Jammers are illegal in almost all areas including all 50 US states.

Beltronics RX65 Professional Series Radar Detector
Beltronics RX65 Professional Series Radar Detector

Types of Radar Detector Bands and How they Work:


To me this band isn't of much value because while it used to be used a lot it's now more used with various stores and can send a lot of false signals.

Operating from 10.5 to 10.55 HGZ this radar can be detected from far away because of its higher power output and is accurate at up to 1/2 mile away. Overall you may want to leave your X band on but lower the sensitivity just in case any old school enforcement is on the prowl.


This is a commonly used band that can cause false alarms. That being said some cops still use it so it's worth keeping on at all times. It's accurate at a range of around 1/4 mile.


In my opinion this is the band most commonly used by law enforcement. The reason for this is that it sends out a wider signal. The Ka Wide band has a range of 34.2 to 35.2Ghz and can be detected at up to a half a mile away.

The Ka is a must-have for any radar detector and should never get disconnected. If you hear it, then you'll want to slow down even if you don't see a lawn enforcement official.


This is my least favorite because if it goes off, then most likely you're going to get a ticket. Still, it's worth paying attention to for the times it might be used directly on the car in front of you.

It's more effective for law enforcement because it they can target quickly and effectively and most likely won't set off any alarms from your radar detector.

Pictured: LIDAR or laser detection uses a pulsed laser light rather than radio waves. Even if you have a laser detector it can sometimes come too late so be sure to still look out for policeman manually targeting individual cars.

Best Radar Detectors on the Market 2016

A Good Radar Detector Under $600

Escort Passport Max

At just under $600 this is one of the more expensive but also the our choice for the best legal radar detector on the market. As law enforcement continues to evolve in their use of more modern radar detection techniques, radar detector companies like Escort continue to improve their technology. The Passport Max is the 2013 model and has a lot of features that make it desirable vs. previous year models.

The biggest new feature for this year is the advanced military technology which allows you to identify real threats faster and more accurately than any other detector on the market. Quicker response teams mean you have just that much more time to slow down when you have to.

In addition to having an OLED screen with your speed it also gives you the speed limit so you don't have to think about it when you get a signal.

Best Under $500 Radar Detector 2016

Escort Passport 9500ix vs. Valentine One

This is a fantastic radar detector and the one which I currently have in my car. Voice alerts let you know which band is being targeted and helps you to know whether its really a threat or not.

What I like most about this model is the artificial intelligence GPS which over time will block unnecessary false signals that occasionally come from various buildings in your area.

One other thing I really like about both the Passport 9500ix and the Valentine One is that they come with a screen which shows your current speed.

Valentine One

After having driven with both the Valentine One and the Passport 9500xi I like them both, but overall I like the 9500xi just a little bit better. While it was easy enough to turn off some of the Valentine One's bands it seemed like I was getting far too many false alarms. The GPS features of the 9500xi seem to really set it apart.

One benefit that the Valentine One has that the Passport 9500xi doesn't have is that it gives you a locational direction of where the radar signal is coming from with dual antenna detection. If this is something that you have to have, then the Valentine One may be a better choice for your particular needs.

Beltronics RX65

For the money this is a great radar detector which has great range and works well for the occasional speeder. If you speed all the time, then I'd probably recommend you go with one of the models above for what I feel is additional range.

However, this model does work with Full X, K, and SuperWide Ka bands so again, it's good for those who just speed some of the time.

Whistler CR85

The Whistler CR85 is a simple device that just gets the job done without emptying your wallet. If you don't have a ton of money and need something without a ton of features but highly functional, then the CR85 will do it.

© 2014 Brandon Hart

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