How To Choose A Detector Laser - What Features Are Important?

Detector laser - Choosing a laser detector these day is no simple matter. The feature list has grown and todays radar detectors are much more advanced than even five years ago. GPS has had a huge impact on the detector laser market, as have red light cameras and stationary detector lasers hidden all accross todays cities. In order to make an informed decision we must first understand what the modern detector laser technologies are and which ones are important. The newest wave of laser detectors are nothing short of computers, able to do much more than simply detect radar laser beams and alert the driver.

What is GPS and how does in relate to detector laser equipment?

GPS or geographical positioning system is a satelite based location and mapping system. Modern GPS systems have maps built into them to help drivers find not only where they are, but where they want to go. Using this excellent technology, detector laser companies have released databases full of information about speed camera locations and stationary red light cameras. The modern detector laser system is quite likely to contain or have the abillity to upgrade to some sort of GPS database within itself or to be added to your Garmin GPS. You can now buy these databases seperate from your laser detector, and simply install or load them into your existing GPS system. Whether we like it or not, stationary speed cameras and red light cameras are here to stay and GPS databases are a tool to protect us against a momentary lapse in our concentration on the speedometer.

Sensitivity - What is the best detector laser as far as sensitivity?

Sensitivity as far as laser detectors go, is a double edged sword. One of the most effective law enforcement techniques these days for increasing revenue my preying upon unsuspecting drivers is the mobile speed van. These vans move from place to place and hide in places that make it almost impossible for a driver to check his speed and slow down before being caught. Taking your eyes off of your speedometer for even a second can result in hundreds of dollars in accumulated fees, fines, and increased insurance premiums. So a detector laser needs to incredibly sensitive right? Wrong, the technology is already here to make hyper sensitive a detector laser. The problem with this is the huge amount of false positives, the laser detector will be constantly beeping and flashing as it picks up every signal flying through space. This is obviously not an ideal solution nor is a dector laser lacking sensitivity a good choice. The detector laser sensitivity balancing act is an art and a science. I personally think the best option is to have a radar dector that can be adjusted to your city and the roads you travel. Something that can be dialed in over time to account for the specific signal to noise ratio of your surroundings.

How Do You Compare Laser Detectors?

How Do You Compare Laser Detectors?

Comparing different detector laser units from competing manufacturers adds another challenge. They all seem to have different names for the same features. The terminology used in detector laser units is not standard and often apears to be more marketing and branding than descriptive. As you start investigating the specifications side by side, you realize there is not any fullproof way of comparing based on the informatin they give you. The only true way of knowing if a given detector laser is the best, is to try many different ones, but as we know this is impractical and not cost effective. We are then left to the mercy of reviews and recommendations from friends, publications and of course websites.

Laser Detector Review - Cobra XRS 9345

Breaking the speed limit is something that all drivers worry about and although racing around at ridiculous speeds is not advisable, it is extremely frustrating when you are issued a speeding fine for only being slightly over the speed limit. Most speeding fines are for minor offences and many people consider speeding tickets nothing more than a government scam to stealthily take extra  tax from drivers.

Thankfully, there is now a way to combat the instances when you are in danger of breaking the speed limit and incurring a fine. Laser Radar Detection systems are becoming increasingly popular and they work by warning the driver of an upcoming speed camera or law enforcement officer with a  handheld laser speed gun. Alarm bells ring or LEDs light up on the detection device giving the driver enough time to slow down within  the legal speed limit.

The popular Cobra XRS 9345 Laser Detector

The popular Cobra XRS 9345 Laser Detector

The Cobra XRS 9345 is a fairly basic laser radar detection system, ideal for first time users and designed to be used by the masses.

The main features of the XRS 9345 include its detection of 14 radar/laser bands (7 radar; including X Band, K Band, Ka Superwide and Ku Band, 6 laser; including LTI 20-20, Ultra Lyte, ProLaser, ProLaser III, Stalker LIDAR and Speedlaser and 1 safety signal). The laser signals are detected using 360-degree LaserEye detection technology. With heightened sensitivity to signals, the XRS 9345 has various settings to reduce false alarms, which increase its  reliability. In addition, the XRS 9345 has a safety alert which warns drivers if they are approaching emergency vehicles, railways or road hazards, which are all useful features.

Cobras  XRS 9345 sports an UltraBright Data Display, which can also be dimmed to enhance night driving visibility. The memory stays set to retain radar detector settings for as long a period as is required.

This little device is also untraceable  to the Spectre  and VG2 radar detector-detectors, which mean you wont be pulled over for having one of these devices in your vehicle. The laws surrounding laser radar detection systems differ throughout the world so it is important that you check if you are legally allowed to use it in your desired country. Laser radar detection systems are legal in the UK and many states in North America.

One downside to the Cobra XRS 9345 is that some drivers may find it a little awkward to fit, due to its sleek shape. However, considering the highly competitive price, this is only a slight issue to contend with.

The Cobra XRS 9345 has a lightweight, compact design and comes with a one-year limited warranty. It is a very affordable price at only $99.95 and can usually be found for less online.

How Radar Detectors and Laser Detectors have Evolved

Laser Radar Detection Systems are designed for motorists to be alerted to the presence of speed traps before they reach them, giving them enough time to slow down to the required speed limit and avoid a hefty fine.

Although driving over the limit at ridiculous speeds is in no doubt dangerous, the increase in speeding fines for minute infringements is nothing but a government ploy to obtain more taxes. Therefore the appeal of these radar detectors is universal and the advancement in technology, along with the increase in demand, has brought the prices down to affordable levels. Nowadays anyone can afford a laser radar detection system and just like mobile cell phones, they scale from a cheap and basic model to a super-fancy, top-of-the-range, feature-packed system,  with many more to choose from in between.

Does your radar detector look like this?

Does your radar detector look like this?

Laser Radar Detectors are still illegal in many countries around the world, but in America the laws vary from state to state and in the UK laser detectors are completely legal.

The original Radar Detectors worked by detecting the Doppler range-frequency of law-enforcement radar equipment and were able to give warning to the driver as far as 6 miles away. Over time radar detection systems have evolved, but so have the radar guns and equipment used by law enforcement in a bid to combat each other in a form of electronic warfare.  With great advancements in technology, this has resulted in ever-superior radar detector designs as they each battle it out to defeat one another.

One of the features of a more sophisticated and pricey detector is the fact that it can jam the radio waves of the radar guns, scrambling the data that is returned to the police radar equipment. But in direct response to this, there is also counteractive technology available to detect the radar detector.

The most recent development is the ability for the radar detectors to sense laser technology, such as the laser guns commonly used by police officers, also known as LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging). LIDAR detectors are never as accurate as radar detectors because the laser light beams are far more concentrated on their target and unlike radar, they dont emit radio signals out to the sides, but they too are advancing in their designs and many laser radar detector models can now warn you of a police officer wielding a laser speed gun in ample time.

Prices for these systems range from just under $100. to over $2000  for a top-notch gadget, packed with lots of extra benefits.

NavAlert Red Light Camera Detector

The NavAlert is a state of the art laser, radar detection system with the significant bonus of red light camera detection. Red light cameras are devices which take a photograph of a vehicle that breaks the law by driving through a red traffic light.

It is estimated that there are between 5 and 6 thousand photo enforced red light cameras and speed cameras currently operating the United States. The use of these cameras raises many legal and moral issues including the fact that many drivers believe them to be a direct invasion of their privacy. There is also no concrete evidence that these red light cameras effectively help traffic safety.

NavAlert Redlight Camera Detector

NavAlert Redlight Camera Detector

Detection of red light cameras is the main reason the NavAlert system is so well-liked and it is designed to alert every type of Red Light Speed Camera in the USA and Canada , as well as Australia and South Africa

The NavAlert also warns the driver when in close proximity to high traffic collision areas and all permanent safety cameras. The detector sounds an alarm if you are breaking the speed limit near a camera, but it remains quiet if you are within the speed limit

Installation of the NavAlert is very straightforward and it plugs straight into your lighter plug.

The NavAlert speed camera detector has a very extensive database which can store over 150,000 positions in its memory. It also sports a school zone setting, which can be switched on and off, this tells the driver when they are approaching a school, which always has very low speed limits.

Additional features of the NavAlert include a GPS speedometer with supreme accuracy, a current location compass in Latitude and Longitude measures (always useful in an emergency) and Voice and LED Alerts keep you updated on your current status  when you are approaching speed cameras, schools, red light cameras, high collision areas and fixed speed cameras. You can also divide your  speed camera locations into each of these different categories for personal preference and organisational benefits.

Regular updates for the NavAlert are available from and these are very easy to implement using a USB cable supplied with the NavAlert unit. Kudos goes to NavAlert for keeping these updates free of charge, unlike many other big brand laser detection system manufacturers.

The NavAlert system costs $249.99 but can be sourced for cheaper on the web. This is a very competitive price for such a useful gadget and It comes with a full 1 year warranty

Stinger DSI Laser Detector

None of us want to get caught speeding; its embarrassing and costly, not to mention the fact it can put you at risk of losing your driving licence. However, no matter how careful we profess to be, we all slip up on occasion and run the risk of being caught by a speed camera. Nowadays there are many Laser radar detection systems available on the market which give you fair warning of any speed cameras up ahead.

Impressive LCD intergace of Stinger DSI

Impressive LCD intergace of Stinger DSI

The Stinger DSI is one of the latest to hit the shelves and it doesnt come cheap at over $2000. The Stinger DSI is a fully integrated system featuring laser, radar and GPS as well as a multitude of cool features including options for jamming. The reason for the extortionate price tag is the fact that this system uses military technology as opposed to traditional radar detection technology. Whether this is really as fandabydozy as it first seems, remains to be seen.

Not yet available in the United States, the DSI has just been released in the UK after a successful run of sales throughout Spain, Germany and Holland.

The biggest plus for the Stinger DSI is in its ability to warn drivers of speed traps at twice the distance away than traditional radar detectors could and because of this military technology it is  completely legal, even in countries with a radar detector ban. Initial set up of the Stinger DSI may take a bit of time, but the actual system is very easy and straightforward to use.

In recent months the Stinger DSI has seen numerous updates to its laser detection technology and although it is great that this is being updated regularly, it is inconvenient in the fact that you cannot add these updates yourself.

The integration of GPS was a top feature of the Stinger DSI because it included speed trap location alerts, fixed camera warnings and best of all trip logging, which was especially useful for business executives to differentiate between work and personal travel. Unfortunately the original GPS Database was supplied by Novus who no longer provide them with GPS data. This means that there are currently no GPS updates available until such time that Stinger can get a new GPS database dealer.

Another major pitfall to transpire with this system is the detection of the Gatso frequency, which turns out to be the same as Active Cruise Control and is a feature commonly present in many new cars on the road. This can result in a lot of falsing, which is certainly not acceptable behaviour from such an expensive gadget.

However, even taking into consideration some of these downfalls, there are just so many fabulous aspects to the Stinger DSI that the overall verdict is  a thumbs up.

Whistlers XTR-695 Detector laser

Whistler has been manufacturing speed trap detection systems for a few years now and the XTR-695 is one of their highest class of laser radar detection models.

The most distinctive feature of the Whistler XTR-695 is the Radar Signature ID (RSID) which cleverly indicates Ka radar signal frequency bands (33.8 GHz, 34.0 GHz, 34.3 GHz, 34.7 GHz and 35.5GHz) on the display whenever police radar alerts are detected. The XTR-695 has supreme sensitivity on Ka and very rarely produces false results, thanks to its filter mode technology.  False alerts are a common problem with similar devices so this is definitely a plus point.

The XTR-695 features a choice of seven different display colors for you to choose from and personalise your screen and frequency alerts. This is a really cool feature but it is spoilt by the fact that the main display is a bit dull, particularly in daylight. In very hot conditions the display may even completely disappear which really defeats the purpose of being able to personalize your colors. However, it is not all bad, the voice alerts are very clear and there are blue periscope LEDs on the top, which flash on and off in unison with the alarm. These combined features mean it may not be too much of a hindrance having to live with this dimly lit display screen.

Whistler XTR 695 laser detector

Whistler XTR 695 laser detector

The menu is very simple to navigate through and the XTR-695 offers a fantastic 360 degree coverage of all radar and laser bands. An additional bonus is the integrated 72-point digital compass. Another great aspect to this model of laser radar detector is its discrete design. The XTR-695 is jet black and blends nicely into your vehicle interior to decrease the likelihood of people noticing it.  If you follow the recommendations and install the detector as low as possible on the windshield, you will also see better detection results.

As well as the common Doppler radar devices, the XTR-695 has the ability to detect LIDAR devices used by police officers. This is a breakthrough in laser radar detection technology and something that is only recently being implemented into laser detectors.

Another useful characteristic is the stay alert feature which tests the alertness of the driver by encouraging them to interact with the device. If the required button is not pressed within 3-5 seconds then an alarm goes off at full volume to get the drivers attention.

Accessories available for the Whistler XTR-695 include power adapters, dash and windshield mounts and the Whistler INTELLICORD, which allows you to remotely control some of the radar detector settings, including power on/off, city modes, dim/dark and quiet/auto quiet by simply pressing a button.

The recommended retail price of the Whistler XTR-695 is $249.95 but you can generally source it for as little as $149 on the Internet. Well worth the money, the XTR-695 is a feature-packed laser detection system with an array of alert options which even prioritise themselves when two or more alerts occur at the same time. During a multitude of tests and conditions the XTR-695 has proven to be an excellent laser radar detector, which easily rivals some of the far pricier laser radar detection systems on the market.

PassPort 9500ci Detector Laser

The PassPort 9500ci is a top of the line, creme de- la- creme, detector laser system. The Passport 9500CI custom installed and can be tweaked to your exact preferences. Its more than a radar detector, its really a complete detector laser defense system. This baby does it all and has the bells and whistles youve come to expect.

Writing a ticket

Writing a ticket

The Passport 9500ci is also a GPS which when coupled with the detector laser make it one bad little gizmo. It can identify not only the source, but the location of radar signals automatically. False signals are eliminated as this smart detector laser learns and adapts to the information it receives.

No worries about being seen, this radar detector laser system is custom installed to be completely hidden. This magic device is completely undetectable to all police detectors, so they will not even know you have it. They cannot find it electronically, or visually, so it works even in states where detector laser devices are banned.

So why the GPS?

The Passport 9500ci is literally a little computer. It has a database with thousands of speed camera locations, red light cameras in North America. The GPS will always know where you are in relation to upcoming threats and will alert you before its too late. New database updates are available on their website so your never running on outdated information.  If you dont want to take chances, and can afford it, this detector laser is the obvious choice.

What is a Radar detector?

A radar detector is a passive electronic piece of equipment that is used by drivers of cars, motorcycle and commercial trucks in order to find out if the speed in which they are driving is being watched by local law enforcement. The law enforcement officer will also be using a radar gun in order to determine the rate of speed in which you are traveling. They will decide if that is a safe enough speed to allow you to continue or they may pull you over as a warning or maybe cite you a ticket.

Most law enforcement officers use a system called a Doppler radar. This system runs a beam to the motor vehicle and then the radio wave gets into the vehicles speed. The Doppler radar then measures the speed and the officer can determine exactly how fast you are going. That is why it is so important to not speed just for fear of getting a ticket but for fear that you may hurt someone driving in excess of the speed limit.

Giving a ticket to a woman

Giving a ticket to a woman

Back in the late 70’s and 80’s radar detectors were just that simple devices that could just detect radar, today they have a bunch of cool features such as GPS, this GPS is different than the GPS that you use to find directions to someone’s house. This GPS will direct you where to stay away from, speed traps, false readings and even where to find red light cameras.

Some of the radar detectors offer 8-point compasses and even voice alert. Voice alert will tell you rather than having you look on the radar where your nearest detector is.  Once radar detector companies understand the need for better technology they get right to it. There are passive radar detectors, which are legal in some states, and active detectors that are not legal at all.

There is now soothing called a LIDAR Detector, this device was created because the newest line in detecting speeders is pulsed laser light or LIDAR. Regular radar detectors cannot pick up these lasers so it is open season on you if you are speeding. But it has been said that LIDAR is not as effective as radar detectors.

Radar detectors use radio waves that can expand about 85 feet while the laser detectors can only reach about 6 feet so an officer will have to be right behind you to catch you speeding with the LIDAR. This is a new concept and a lot may have to be worked out, radar is currently the best way for Police to catch you speeding and for you to avoid getting a speeding ticket.

The best defense against speeding tickets is not to speed. But some people have what they call lead feet.  So the next best thing is to have a good solid radar detector at your side but do yourself a favor and make sure that they are legal in your state.

Can A Radar Detector Save You From A Speeding Ticket?

Radar Detectors or Jammers have been called essential for beating a speeding ticket but do they really work? First we have to point out that Radar Detectors and Jammers are illegal in Virginia and in Washington DC and on any United States Military Base. They are also illegal in commercial vehicles in Illinois and New York. Then you have an indirectly illegal radar detector in Minnesota and California. In these two states, they detectors they are not illegal but if you hang them on your windshield and they obstruct your view while driving then they are considered to be illegal. Check with your local state laws because they change all the time.

All a radar detector is going to do is let you know that there is an officer with a radar detector looking for speeders. If your detector goes off you should have the common sense to slow down immediately and thank the detector from getting you a ticket. But there are others who believe that their detector is going to jam the frequency and they won’t get caught. Do your self a favor and be the first person.

Police writing a ticket

Police writing a ticket

There are times when an officer is sitting on the side of the road or possibly hidden from sight and someone drives by with a radar detector, that officer can tell where the jammed frequency is coming from and you may get caught anyway. Basically, if you don’t speed you won’t get caught. Let’s say the office pulls you over any way despite your trusty detector, he is not going to be lenient just because he sees you have a detector especially in a state that frowns on them in the first place.

You may also think to your self that by having a radar detector you can avoid a ticket by slowing down but the truth is that when a Police Officer sees you slow down when you pass him, it could give him reason to pull you over. If you are going to invest in a jammer then make sure that it can spot a detector a mile away.

There are two types of Jammers, there are Passive and Active. The passive jammers, are legal in most states because they don’t emit any type of radio frequency. While active jammers are illegal because they do transmit frequencies. So, if you plan on getting a radar detector then save your money and do some research and get the best they have on the market. The best way to not get a speeding ticket is to not speed. But the answer to the question, Can A Radar Detector Save You From A Speeding Ticket? the answer is not all the time.

It is a hit and miss answer, some detectors work well and can warn you in plenty of time when there is a radar in the vicinity and then there are others they just don’t work. The best way to find out if they work is by trial and error, but it is not something that is recommended.

Do Radar Detectors Promote Speeding?

There are many myths regarding radar detectors and one of those myths is radar detectors promote speeding. Is this truth or a myth? The truth is that it is a bit of both. It really depends on the person. Some people buy these detectors so that they don’t get caught speeding.

Some of the time the scenario runs like this, you are driving along maybe 5 to 10 above the speed limit but you are in a hurry to get some place and you have no time for a speeding ticket so you use the detector to warn you in plenty of time for you to slow down. Then once you get to your appointment you drive at a normal rate.

Funny answer to ticket

Funny answer to ticket

The other scenario works like this, you are speeding because you have a fast looking car like a mustang or maybe a BMW. You speed just like to breathe but you may have too many tickets and you want to avoid another one or you have doesn’t see anything wrong with driving 10 to 15 over the limit.

The people who purchase simple detectors use them as warning signs that they should not drive so fast and the people who buy the tricked out models are using it to avoid speed traps for speeding and maybe other reasons as well.

While there is no real evidence that people buy these detectors so they can speed, it can be viewed as that way.  Like we said it all depends on the drivers and their driving history. Sometimes people don’t realize they are speeding because others are speeding and they are keeping up but that is no excuse. So they purchase these radar detectors as warnings to themselves to drive slower.

Speeding is right up there as a huge reason why people get into accidents. Maybe it is a good idea to purchase a detector so it can monitor your speed. It can’t really make you slow down but if the alert sounds off and you look and realize that you are speeding you can make a conscious effort to slow down.

It has also been said that radar detectors are dangerous drivers to begin with but that isn’t necessarily true. Radar Detectors are illegal in some states so make sure that you are allowed to have them, if you get caught with one and you live in a state that it is illegal to carry one you can face FCC violations.

Keep in mind that radar detectors can help you become more conscious of speeding and for most people it does not promote speeding.  If you did use a radar detector to help you not get caught as you speed, think twice before you do speed, you never know who could be speeding too. Driving is a privilege and other people have to trust that you are going to obey the laws just as they do. It just may save someone’s life.