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Best radar detector for 2013

what is the best radar detector in AustraliaTHE MOST common question asked is "which radar detector is the best?" or "where can I buy a ... radar detector"

And what about the best motorcycle radar detector?

"What is the best all round radar detector in Australia?" should really be asked as "Which radar detector is the best for me?"

There are four main factors that need to be considered when deciding upon which radar detector is best for you.



Firstly
, are radar detectors legal in your state?

Quite simply, if you live or plan to drive OUTSIDE of Western Australia, then the easy answer is radar detectors are illegal to use. Western Australian drivers are the only ones where it is OK (perfectly legal) to use a radar detector.

The second factor in determining what is the best radar detector is also based on where you live, and it concerns the types of speed measuring devices used by police in your area. You want to buy the unit which detects the types of radars / lasers used in your state most effectively.

The third factor in deciding the best radar detector for you is by asking the question:
Do you want a portable unit (that is powered from your ciggarette lighter or a "hard wire kit")

Or do you want a hidden / installed radar detector that is built into the car so as it cannot be seen?

And finally, the fourth factor to consider is simply...what is your budget to spend on a radar detector?

So let's analyse each of these 4 factors in more detail...

1) Are radar detectors legal to use in the state you live in?

If you are in WA the answer is YES - radar detectors are legal to use
If you are outside WA the answer is NO - radar detectors are illegal to use

If you are in WA, then this question is not so relevant - being legal to use, this question (or more accurately the answer) doesn't limit your choice of detectors to use.

Because radar detectors are illegal to use in all states other than Western Australia, it dramatically limits your choices in selecting the best radar detector.

Naturally, we do not recommend using a radar detector in a state that bans their use, but for those that choose to ignore the laws, you do not want to be buying a radar detector that can be detected by police radar detector detectors.

A unit that detects a radar detector I hear you ask? Yes, that's right, the police have in their arsenal a device that can detect most radar detectors (RDs) - all digital radar detectors except those that are stealth. And by stealth we are not talking about one that is hidden, we are talking about one that is electronically undetectable by the police Radar Detector Detectors (RDD's)

The stealth radar detectors achieve this by masking any and all leakages. If they don't leak any "electronic noise" then no matter how oftern the police change the frequencies their RDD's scan for, they will NOT detect a stealth radar detector.

The only radar detectors that are 100% stealth are:

  1. The Escort Redline - a portable unit that attaches to your windscreen or sits on your dash.
  2. The Escort 9500ci - a built-in unit that is designed to be hidden in your car (requires installation)
  3. The Beltronics STi Magnum (re-badged as the Bel XR Magnum in Australia) - a portable radar detector like the Escort Redline, and in fact has the same antenna inside as the Redline since Beltronics and Escort Radar are the same company (Escort bought Beltronics many years ago)
  4. The Beltronics STi-R+ which is the hidden / installed version of the Bel STi above (re-badged as the Bel XRC in Australia)
  5. The Stinger DSI which is manufactured in Europe and is another hidden / installed radar detector

So if you live outside of WA - we don't recommend breaking the law, but only the radar detectors listed above can't be detected electronically by police RDD's. In other words, if you live outside WA, do NOT buy a radar detector that isn't stealth!

 

2) What are the speed measuring devices used in your state?

In WA, Poliscan speed cameras, and hand-held lasers are the most used devices. Dash mounted radar (also called "moving radar") is mainly used in police cars driving in the country or on highways. A lot of radar detector owners in WA turn off K-band when driving in the city, and only turn K-band back on again when driving on open roads.

So the best radar detector for WA needs to be able to detect laser the best, and then give you adequate K-band warning in the country. This, unfortunately, sorts out the cheaper detectors from the quality ones. The reason being is because the Poliscan speed cameras are such a low powered laser device, most poor quality radar detectors will only "beep" as you drive next to the camera, not actually giving you any advanced warning. And if the Poliscan has been set up in "rear set-up" - in other words measuring your speed and taking your photo AFTER you have driven past, then forget it, no radar detector will give you much (advacned) warning. In this scenario, the only protection is using a laser jamming system with the rear sensors mounted on a 45 degree angle.

The best radar detectors for picking up the mobile speed cameras as of December 2011 are (in order):

  1. A high quality laser jammer (front and rear sensors)
  2. The Valentine One (front cameras only)
  3. The Bel STi-R (front cameras only)

Please note that the above detectors will only alert to the mobile speed cameras, and not alert to the fixed red-light cameras used around Perth. If you want warning against fixed speed/red-light cameras, you will need to use some type of GPS device that has a fixed camera database (or use a free app on your phone, such as Trapster).

Other popular brands of radar detectors in Australia such as the Bel STi (Bel XR), Bel XR70, Bel V940a or the Whistler models tend to be a bit hit and miss as far as decent warnings on speed cameras go. Our testing experience puts these models as inconsistent with their detection range.

Do a search on car forums, and a common theme seems to repeat itself when referencing these models - EG

I don’t rate Bels (apart from some early ones when multis first came out). I had a few recently like the ‘Sti’ that were just plain crap performance on newer Miltinovas (it triggered at the “you have passed a muiltinova” sign) - source

first was a Cobra, That was an uneducated purchase. It looked pretty, had a good interface, but was crap at detecting anything - source

Do you know any ways to gain range on an XR STI? Mine is terrible, like, 50m terrible. And this is my second unit, because when I took my old unit to Neltronics for repair (it wouldn't power up) they suprised me with "it's still under warranty". They ended up giving me a warranty replacement, which is still just as shit performance wise. - source

 I'm on my 3rd Bel XR70 and I'm yet to be impressed. Every camera (about 15 of them) I've been passed I would have to be 25m away looking down it's lense before it'll pick it up. Even when I can see them 200meters away... - source

FWIW I have a Pro78 and am not that impressed with its performance so far. With Multanovas (Ka) the warning distance can be as low as 50m even on a straight road. Worse is it seems inconsistent. - source

If you are getting less than 100m warning against a Poliscan speed camera, then you probably should probably consider looking at a laser jammer instead.

If you are living outside of of WA, where they are illegal to use, then this question is less important. The reason I say that is all the stealth radar detectors listed above are excellent performers across the board. If you considered one of the 5 stealth radar detectors l listed above, it will perform very well against the different radars used all over Australia.


3) Do you want a portable radar detector, or a built in one?

 A portable radar detector must be mounted on the windscreen with a bracket and suction cups (like a GPS device) or it must sit on your dash board. Basically, it must have a clear line of sight with the road.

A fully installed detector, however, is designed to be completely hidden into your vehicle. The radar/laser antennas are hidden in the front grill, and the visual / audio alerts are sent to driver inside.

Advantages of a portable radar detector:

  1. Can be moved from car to car if you have multiple works cars or for a hire car
  2. Doesn't require installation - which takes time and / or money

Disadvantages to a portable radar detector:

  1. Can be seen from outside the vehicle which can make your car a target to thieves.
  2. Less reliable "Laser" detection. (Sensors are away from the beam aiming point)
  3. Cannot be used on a car with a metallic window tint front windscreen (called "athermic" windscreens)

 

 Advantages of a fully installed radar detector:

  1. Can't be seen easily - which protects you from any prying eyes
  2. Generally better at detecting laser and speed cameras
  3. Can be used effectively in cars with an athermic windscreen

Disadvantages to a portable radar detector:

  1. Difficult to move from car to car
  2. Requires installation (costs time and / or money)
  3. Difficult to service if faulty (requires removal from the vehicle)


4) What is your budget for buying the best radar detector?

Whilst many customers believe their radar detector purchase has paid for itself, we understand some people simply have a fixed budget on how much they are willing to spend. This obviously has an outcome for which is the "best radar detector" for them.
 

So what does all this mean?

We'll make it very simple for you:

Western AustraliaIf you are in Western Australia the best portable radar detector is the Valentine One (V1) because:

  1. It detects Multanovas & Poliscans earlier than any other portable radar detector
  2. It detects laser better than any other radar detector period
  3. It detects Highway patrol cars running dash mounted radar extremely well
  4. When programmed / set up correctly, it is a very quiet radar detector (fewer false alarms)

HOWEVER - It needs to be stated that even the Valentine One will not give you enough warning when the Poliscan mobile speed cameras are set up in reverse (taking photos of cars AFTER they have driven past). No radar detectors give a consistent, advanced alert to this type of speed camera setup. The only real protection in this scenario is to use laser jammers mounted on the rear of your car, with the laser heads pointing outwards 45 degrees to either side. And of course for FULL protection, you should consider having jamming heads on the front AND rear of your car, so you're also covered against the many new hand-held lasers and hand-held laser cameras the Perth police use. For those that rarely drive in the country, a front and rear laser jammer system is actually the better choice for the first piece of equipment to buy. Because you'll only really use the radar detector in the country and on open roads / highways.

If you cannot afford a Valentine One, then the next best (budget priced) portable radar detectors in order are:

  1. Escort X50
  2. Whistler Pro-78SE or XTR-690SE
  3. Any other Bel detector mounted sideways on a vertical mount bracket

If you are in WA but looking for the best hidden / installed radar detector then choose the Bel STi-R PLUS:

  1. It detects Multanovas earlier than any other hidden / instralled radar detector
  2. It detects Highway patrol cars running dash mounted radar very well
  3. And of course being fully intstalled into your vehicle, it is completely hidden.

The best laser jammer for Western Australia is either the Laser Interceptor or the Anti Laser G9 (ALG9) because only these two units work against the Poliscan laser speed cameras. The Blinder, and the GF100 will detect, but do not jam the Poliscans.

 

 If you live Ouside of WA we do not recommend using a radar detector because they are illegal to use.
That being said, those that choose to ignore this law usually buy the following:

Outside Western AustraliaFor portable stealth radar detectors:

  1. The Escort "Redline" is our pick for the best radar detector. It's the most popular stealth radar detector.
  2. The Bel STi Magnum (called the Bel XR in Australia) is our number 2 choice.
     
    For fully installed stealth radar detectors:
  1. The Escort 9500ci is the best hidden / installed system on the planet. It has everything - radar, laser jamming and GPS.
  2. The Bel STi-R PLUS (re-baged as the XRC PLUS in Australia) Doesn't have laser jamming like the Escort 9500ci, but excellent in detecting radar. For full protection, you will need a laser jammer to go with it.

The Bel STi-R PLUS and the Escort 9500ci come with an $1800+ price tag in Australia, but if you want an undetectable radar detector that's fully installed (completely hidden) in your vehicle then these are your only options.

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