We like to share product recommendations with you and hope you like them! Just to make you aware Educated Driver may collect a small share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.
Updated August, 2020
There are a lot of reasons you might want to use a radar detector in your vehicle. Unfortunately, many of the best models can cost $300, $400 or even more. If you’re not wanting to spend that kind of money, there are affordable radar detectors that work well for the price. This guide will cover our picks for the best radar detector under $100.
Things to Look for in the Best Budget Radar Detector
Frequency coverage – The main four radar frequencies that you’ll want to be able to detect are X, K, KA and Laser. Look for the best cheap radar detector that still checks all these boxes.
Filtering – Some low-end detectors can get annoying by constantly alerting to false alarms, including car anti-collision technology and miscellaneous radar interference. The best radar detector under $100 will feature adequate filtering technology to cut down on these distracting false alarms.
Range – You want a detector that can pick up radar signals from a good distance. Of course these cheaper models are not going to compare with the best radar detectors, but they also don’t cost nearly as much. Regardless, you’ll want to pick a model with good range.
Reviews – Check budget radar detector reviews to see what other customers think of each unit. We also used customer reviews to help make the best recommendations possible.
What is the Best Radar Detector Under $100?
The picks below are our top recommendations for affordable radar detectors. We based these recommendations on our own research and testing, manufacturer specs, and third party customer reviews.
1. Whistler CR75
- 360 degree protection
- Detects X, K, KA and Laser bands
- Traffic Flow Signal Rejection helps filter out false alerts
- VG-2 protection to block detectors
- Choose from city or highway mode
- Optional silent mode with visual-only alerts
- Click here to learn more
The Whistler CR75 is perhaps the best radar detector under $100 for 2020. It offers some fairly advanced features for such an affordable unit.
It has great 360° Max Coverage technology which can detect radar signals from whatever direction they come in from.
Lastly, the option to put it in silent mode and get only visual LED alerts is quite nice in some situations.
2. Cobra RAD350
- Instant On protection for rapid radar detection
- In-vehicle technology filter to reduce false alerts
- Detects X, K, KA, Laser and VG-2 bands
- Color display shows what type of signal is being detected
- Very budget-friendly
- Click here to learn more
The Cobra RAD350 is a great budget-friendly radar detector. It features one of the quickest detection times of any budget model, meaning it will alert you quicker than most detectors in a similar price range.
It picks up all the common bands of radar, and has solid IVT filters to remove a good portion of unwanted alerts.
3. Cobra ESD7570
Primarily, this model of radar and laser detector has coverage of nine bands. It easily identifies the bandwidth most commonly used by the traffic police. It also serves to alert regarding any kind of emergency vehicles in the area. It represents a smooth way to bypass hazards and other jeopardies that can potentially be encountered during travel.
The features of City and Highway mode enable joyful journeys. Considering there are more vehicles in the city, the possibility is great to interfere with another device similar to yours.
These characteristics make an effortless switch from the highly responsive Highway mode to the City mode which is less sensitive. In this mode, the only way to trigger your alarm would be the proximity of a radar gun.
360-degree coverage is another component of this product. It can identify signals from the anterior, the rear, and both sides of your car so the security is high regardless of the position of the traffic police.
- No extras included with the purchase
- Identification of signals from all directions
- Small and useful display
- Ability to detect many different (unnecessary) signals may be misleading
- 360 degrees panoramic coverage
- Laser and Radar Detector of Nine Bands
- Two Cloaking Features: VG-2 and Spectre I
- City/Highway Modes Included
- Click here to learn more
In case you are interested in no-frills, genuine design, the best solution for you may be the Cobra ESD7570. Despite being highly affordable, it contains key characteristics that are going to help you avoid speeding fines.
Its efficiency is among the best features. This useful and economical model can be purchased for about $75.
4. Whistler CR68
We are talking about a product that provides complete band protection, with an ability to detect X-band, K-band, as well as Superwide K-band and laser so it enables alertness to all kinds of radar guns being in modern usage, including lasers of cutting-edge technology. Whistler CR80 can be purchased for around $90.
Due to its 360-degree coverage, it enables protection from every direction. Although this may sound like it may increase misleading alarms, this detector also contains a variety of characteristics that inhibit them.
Primarily, it contains the feature Traffic Flow Signal Rejection to exclude possible fake alarms generated by sensors of traffic flow or by similar radar detectors. Furthermore, it also enables three additional City and Highway modes.
What is impressive is that this radar detector can warn you in many ways. Sound alerts along with a digital icon display as well as a top-mounted flashing LED lights providing intense visual warnings are also present. It also can hierarchize alerts, so it signalizes the most important one in case of detecting many radars.
If you prefer taking a lot of road trips, you will like the Stay Alert feature. It’s pretty interesting how exhausting driving a car on the highway may become. Using Stay Alert, there is a tone going off every minute forcing you to physically engage with the machine to turn the alarm sound off. In the case of getting drowsy, this may be a useful way to refresh yourself.
- Capable of warning the driver in many ways
- Exclusion of misleading alarms due to sophisticated modes
- Relatively small display
- Absolute 360 degrees perimeter coverage, ability to identify signals from the anterior, the sides and behind; Additional 12V power cord as well as a windshield bracket kit
- Designed to provide security from all type of radar guns along with X-band, back-band, super-wide Ka-band, including lasers
- It provides complete laser detection able to identify Laser Atlanta Stealth mode, Laser Ally, as well as LTI Truspeed S
- Includes Pop Mode, being an advanced speed detection feature responding to short blows of radar
- TSFR (Traffic Flow Signal Rejection) enables exclusion of fake alerts generated from radar-based systems of traffic surveillance
- Click here to learn more
This product which enables complete band protection as well as 360 degree panoramic coverage serves its purpose in the sense of having a large grasp. It is additionally very flexible in the terms of reducing its sensitivity of wave picking during city ride, as well as increased reactivity during road trips.
All in all, despite being pretty inexpensive, it is worth the money spent on it.
5. Cobra RAD 380
The Cobra RAD 380 model provides a means for speeding ticket avoidance, keeping you safe from radar guns while securing the front and rear of your vehicle. Being equipped with the latest technology software decreases the possibility of false alerts giving you higher confidence during your travel.
Its capability of providing timely warnings and increased performance due to the continuous software update makes this unit more both preferable and affordable.
- Works good at rejecting false alarms and detecting police radars
- Very high sensitivity regarding many types of waves
- Doesn’t include radar and speed alerts
- Doesn’t feature Bluetooth connectivity
- Forward and Backward Detection – equipped with the ultimate LaserEye technology signals this high-performance radar secures both directions of your vehicle, as it provides you with complete protection wherever you go.
- Distant Range Detection – the updateable cutting-edge IVT Filter and the high-performance proofread circuitry effectively decreases fake alerts generated from blind spots and evasion systems from other transports.
- Timely Warnings – the feature Digital Signal Processing is enabling quicker processing for all identified signals by providing highly precise alerts, which makes you informed regarding the threat before it appears before you.
- Cutting-Edge Updateable Software – increased efficiency and preciseness are achieved as this high-performance radar is placed on the capacity to collect permanent updates of its software, enabling security along with the latest information.
- All Things You Require – the Cobra RAD 380 model is in a package with a vehicle power cord of 12V, windshield positioner with a suction cup, as well as a hook and curve fastener for dash positioning useful in any condition on the road.
- Click here to learn more.
The RAD 380 radar enables you to drive confidently with the help of its best in-class detection range and other desirable features. It may be considered as a way to travel smarter and safer. This is a technology available at a wallet friendly price.
It also gets a longer range and fewer false alerts than other detectors in its class.
6. Uniden DFR1
When we are talking radar/laser detectors with decent and confirmed performance, the Uniden DRF 1 comes into consideration. It features a user-friendly icon display together with a high-performance laser detector.
It is not easy to resist the temptation of speeding a little bit more than the limit when you find yourself on the open road. This device will timely give you the information if your vehicle is in the scope of a radar gun as well as the time to ease the speed and travel with the allowed velocity.
- K band filter for false alerts
- Long distance detection capability
- Doesn’t have a built in GPS in order to mark & ignore false alerts
- LARGE DISTANCE SENSITIVITY – Large Wave Security against Radar and Laser Guns including False Alert Filtering feature.
- ANTERIOR AND BACKSIDE COVERAGE – the Eagle Eye Laser Detection feature enables 360-degree coverage.
- CITY 1/CITY/HIGHWAY MODES – three ways for driving through city and country settings, including Volume regulation through Audio and Video signal strength alerts.
- MEMORY COMPONENT – Easily memorizes your latest settings (apart from Mute) in the case when the system is disconnected or turned off.
- CONCEALED – This Uniden model is not noticeable to VG-2 and Spectre I/IV/IV + radar detectors.
- EXTENSIVE PACKAGE – This model of laser detector is packed together with a 12V DC vehicle Power Core, Reserve fuse for 12v Power Cord, Hook and Bend Position Tape and Dual Suction Cup Windshield Positioner.
- Click here to learn more.
This model is an effective laser detector capable of meeting the majority of the demands by a common driver, despite its perceived value leaving it at the cheap section of the market. A lot of users were left speechless with this precise, panoramic, and almost immaculate device, particularly because of its price which is under a hundred dollars.
It is capable of timely alarming the driver by the means of its audio alerts which identify the wavelength of the upcoming signal.
7. Uniden DFR3
We are talking about a long-distance covering laser detector that offers 360-degree panoramic surveillance and identification of different types of traffic police signals. It is capable of intercepting X and Ka wave signals emitted by radar guns.
This versatile model can be adjusted into three different modes which make it useful for all types of driving environments. Among them is the Highway mode which is suitable for driving in the country, as well as City and City 1 modes which proved to be very useful in urban environments in which interference with irrelevant alarms and radar detectors from other cars is expected to be frequent.
The product contains a visualization feature with a user-friendly icon display along with a numeric signal strength counter capable of determining the intensity of waves emitted by the traffic police radar guns.
- Includes voice alert
- Advanced K-band filter
- Extended long range in comparison to other budget-friendly products
- Cannot ignore fixed location false alerts
- Providing long-range radar/laser detection
- Capable of intercepting X, back and Ka-band alarms
- Ability to differ radar/laser signal by relevance through its feature of Highway/City/City1 modes which can be switched regarding the driving environment
- Easily readable & user friendly icon display
- Click here to learn more.
When comparing its value and performance ratio, this detector is difficult to beat. The device is fairly short on features and looks very simplistic, nevertheless, its range is very good when compared to its price.
It can be a useful device for drivers who speed up not more than 10 MPH above the speed limit. It is quite a recommendable buy!
WHAT ABOUT THE SITUATION WHEN YOU APPROACH A LAW ENFORCEMENT VEHICLE, BUT THE LASER DETECTOR IS STILL ON?
This is one of the most frequent topics as far as radar gun detectors are concerned, although the answer to it is pretty basic. All that is required to know is that such a unit can’t identify police vehicles or policemen which are not equipped with traffic control devices.
It means the laser identifier is not going to be turned off. You also have to take into account a different kind of potential situation. Namely, a police vehicle can be loaded with a laser gun which is not active all the time.
The traffic police personnel may turn it on exclusively in situations when they scan the traffic, which can happen regardless of the moment. This means that when you are driving near a car that has active detectors, but the laser alert is lacking, this may signify that the device was activated shortly before you approached the vehicle.
Of course, this is a disadvantage and a realistic situation that must be accepted realistically.
In case something similar occurs, this signifies that the laser gun is on an instant activation mode which means it is not constantly working. Assuming that you dislike situations in which you are regularly the unlucky person to get detected by the traffic police guns in cases when they are instantly turned one, you can certainly purchase laser identifiers of higher quality and sensitivity.
Nearly all models available on today’s market have a wide range of sensitivity modes so you can naturally select the most alert one. This can also signify that you will likely get alarmed by many false alerts.
WHY DOES WRONG IDENTIFICATION OF ALARMS HAPPEN SO OFTEN BY DETECTORS?
Some models of alarms go off so frequently that they may quickly overwhelm you. The case is similar at shops using automated gates, speeding signs, as well as various categories of vehicles very comparable to those used by the road police.
In situations when you get a lot of notifications signalized by your detector, as well as reports concerning radar guns which are not positioned in your vicinity, then you shall check if you have in any case come near or passed by transportation which may be equipped with an accident prevention program.
They may contain sensor functions similar to yours and it means you should tune the identifier sensitivity by shutting some filters down, in regards to the type and its performance.
WILL I BE BREAKING THE LAW IF I USE RADAR DETECTORS?
If you are living in the USA, using radar detectors should not be a legal problem for you. Their usage is entirely following the law, although you should avoid turning them on when you are in the vicinity of military bases, as well as Washington D.C. and Virginia.
Their usage is allowed exclusively in passenger cars, while they are illegal in commercial vehicles. In case you are traveling with a vehicle with a weight exceeding 10 thousand pounds, you should not install one of these.
If we are talking about radar jamming and deception, we strongly advise you not to use them or at least utilize models that would be untraceable by identifiers of radar detectors, because this type of unit is not by the laws in the U.S.
Albeit you are equipped with a laser detector, you should still drive responsibly and carefully wherever you go. The usage of this type of technology is intended for the avoidance of speeding tickets in situations when you drive slightly above the speed limit.
The purchase of this type of equipment will keep you safe and less worried about legal and financial problems. Whenever you approach a location where a laser gun is positioned, this type of detector will timely inform you to slow down and avoid getting a fine.
The utilization of this technology is very effective during travel to other cities or the countryside.
Although the use of velocity limitations is legitimate, there are still cases when they can be evaded. When we are talking about electronic tools intended to avoid traffic police detectors, the market is pretty rich with offers.
For the reason that the market is full of products different by their potential, range, identifiability, layout, endurance, and quality, a thorough investigation of the market is necessary to find the most suitable product.
Other types of technologies, such as the real-time protection network are also comparable to these products.
Is it Worth Paying More for a Higher-End Detector?
Budget-friendly radar detectors like the ones on this list work fairly well, but generally won’t be able to match up with higher-end models. Is the cost savings worth the quality difference?
That really depends. It depends on your intended use of the detector, and your tolerance for risk.
Regardless, we’ll say this: if you choose a cheap radar detector, make sure it’s from a good brand and that it’s well-rated. Really cheap models simply aren’t worth it, as you’ll find that they are constantly being set off by newer vehicles with radar-based safety features.
When choosing a unit, look for specific mention of filtering technology to reduce the instances of false-alerts. Otherwise, your radar detector will be practically useless as you won’t know what alerts you should pay attention to and which you should ignore.
If you’re willing to pay a bit more, it’s probably worth the peace of mind. Be sure to check out our complete radar detector buying guide. You may also want to read our guide on the laws surrounding radar detectors.