The Best Radar Detector Under 200 Guide

best radar detector under $200

The best radar detector under 200 have always been hotly debated pieces of technology. In fact, they are so controversial that many countries around the world have made it illegal to even own them.  Fortunately for most residents of the United States, radar detectors are only illegal in Virginia and Washington DC.  If you are a commercial truck driver, you’re also out of luck, as they are illegal for this use.

While some condemn their use, radar detectors are an undeniably useful piece of technology that lets the user detect if they are being tracked by police radar.  If you like to go fast, it is important to choose the best radar detector under 200 for you.

Our Most Recommended Radar Detectors

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Name

5 Star Rating

Cobra ESD7570 9-Band Radar/Laser Detector4.0
Cobra XRS9370 High-Performance Radar/Laser Detector4.1
Escort Passport 8500X504.4
Whistler XTR-335 Real Voice-Alert Radar Detector4.0
Beltronics RX65-Red Professional Series4.3

Why You Should Own a Radar Detector

best radar detector under 200The obvious benefit of using a radar detector is not getting speeding tickets while traveling above the speed limit.  If you are a driver that never speeds and follows every rule of the road, radar detectors aren’t for you.  For those that wish to get places fast, a radar detector is almost essential.

Even some who never speed occasionally find themselves traveling down an unfamiliar road, caught up in the flow of traffic, unaware that they are speeding.  In situations like these, a radar detector can also prove to be invaluable.  In fact, if a user avoids as little as one ticket because of the radar detector, the detector has already paid for itself.

Most detectors work on the base of detecting a Doppler radar radio wave fired from a police officer’s radar gun.  If the detector picks up this radio wave, it makes a noise, warning the user to slow down before they are detected by the police.

Many users of radar detectors don’t care where their radar detector came from, as long as it saves them a ticket, but their history is interesting.  Radar detectors were first released in the early 1960’s.  Some popular early models included the Radar Sentry and the Fuzzbuster 2000.  Throughout the years, radar detectors and radar guns have evolved, attempting to counter new advancements in technology against each other.

Currently, LIDAR is the newest technology used to catch speeders.  Instead of using radio waves to detect speed, LIDAR detectors pulse laser light at a moving vehicle.  Many older radar detectors cannot detect LIDAR, so it is important to realize that radar detectors are not foolproof.  Most radar detectors will do an adequate job at detecting police officers, as LIDAR is not widespread throughout the United States just yet.  If you want the best radar detector, expect to pay upwards of $600.

While radar detectors are legal in much of the United States, in many places across the world it is illegal to even own one.  If caught with one in your possession, expect to pay a hefty fine and have your device seized.  Finally, it is important that you own a radar detector and not a radar scrambler.  Using a radar scrambler is illegal in the United States, with fines up to $10,000 and a possible imprisonment of one year.

With literally hundreds of different models for the best radar detector under $200 and various manufacturers to choose from, buying the right radar detector can be a confusing task.  Many people claim they do not work at all and are a waste of money.  Others state that only buying the best, most expensive radar detectors will keep you from getting a ticket.  Some say that if you are spending less than $100 on a radar detector, then you are effectively throwing your money away.

For those looking to buy a great radar detector at a decent price, expect to spend anywhere from around $50 to $200.  Buying the best radar detector under 200 dollars will provide you with a reliable, useful detector that won’t break the bank.

Top 5 Best Radar Detectors Under 200

First, the Cobra ESD7570 9-Band Radar/Laser Detector is Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in Radar Detectors.

It earned this spot for good reason.  Costing a modest $41.99, the Cobra is the perfect radar detector for someone on a tight budget.  To install it, it is as simple as plugging it into your cigarette lighter, mounting it on the inside of your windshield, and hitting the road.  It is designed to provide 360 degree detection of all laser signals, perfect for picking up signals that aren’t directly in front or behind you.

It also detects all known police scanning bands, which include X, K, Ka, and LIDAR.  Many users disable X and K, as they are older radar bands not often used by police.  If you leave these on, expect to be bombarded with tons of false hits.  It is important to realize that if disabled, the unit can’t help you avoid actual police radar.

The Cobra also offers City and Highway modes, allowing you to ignore false readings often encountered in towns, such as automatic doors at grocery stores, for example.  However, many users advise to always leave Highway mode on, as it detects radar at a greater range.  One user claimed that they detected a state trooper three miles down the highway.  Despite everything it does right, there are a few negatives about the ESD7570.

Users report a ton of false hits, which can be extremely infuriating.  Worse, it can lull the user into a false sense of security.  Also, the display is nearly impossible to see in bright sunlight.  Still, for its cheap price, the Cobra ESD7570 can’t be beat.

If you are looking for a radar detector that is a bit nicer than Cobra’s ESD7570 model, look no further than their XRS9000 line.  It eliminates the screen brightness problem its predecessor had, which was one of the major faults of that unit.

In addition, the XRS boasts an even greater range than the ESD series.  While the range of the first model was great, more range is always appreciated in radar detectors.  The XRS9370 costs approximately $64.  If you feel you need a brighter display and even greater range, the upgrade may well be worth the extra money.

The next step up, the XRS9470, costs nearly $100.  Included in this model is an even brighter display, which indicates what bands are being detected, along with a voice alert function.  This makes the device even easier and safer to use.  The next step up, the XRS9570, is approximately $30 more, at retail.  However, on Amazon, it is only a couple of dollars more which is worth every penny and great for the best radar detector under 200.

Instead of a display that lights up which band is being detected, it gives you a text display, which makes finding out what band is detected easier than ever.  The voice alert function is still present in this model.  The XRS9000 series is a decent upgrade from Cobra’s ESD7570 model.  If you are worried that sunlight may cause a problem with the display while driving, upgrading is a great choice.  One of the only faults of the XRS9000 series is that sometimes, the suction mounts can fail.  If you are serious about buying this model, consider upgrading to a more permanent mount.

The Escort Passport 8500X50 Black Radar Detector is an older model, though one certainly not to be overlooked.

Retailing at $339, it can be bought for as low as $186 on Amazon. While it is more expensive than many of Cobra’s offerings, there are a few reasons it is a good choice over other radar detectors.  First off, it has a digital text display, similar to Cobra’s 9570.  It has three brightness levels, perfect for when you need your display to be crisp during the day or dimmer at night.

The Passport also features three high resolution meter modes.  These are the standard bar graph, ExpertMeter, and the SpecDisplay.  These displays allow utmost customization to best fit a user’s needs.  Also customizable are their audio tones, allowing you to tune your detector to your every desire.

One of the best features of the Passport 8500X50 is that it has less false readings than other radar detectors in the price range.  If you find yourself annoyed at how often you pick up false readings with other radar detectors, consider switching to the Passport.  It can give you a little bit more peace of mind.

Unfortunately, as it is a bit of an older unit, it does not detect LIDAR.  This can be a deal breaker for some, but it is important to realize that many detectors in this price range do not.  A final note about Escort is that by some user’s accounts, their customer service is notoriously bad.  If you are looking into a Passport, be prepared to jump through some hoops if something fails.

Whistler offers a great budget friendly radar detector with some features usually reserved for more expensive units with their XTR-335.  Priced from $68.99 on Amazon to $119.95 at other retailers, the XTR-335 offers an extremely bright display in addition to an integrated voice system.

Also available is a basic, yet functional, dim/dark mode, perfect for when you are driving at different times of the day.  Another great feature is as you approach a radar gun, the unit starts to beep faster and a blue light flashes on the unit, making it impossible to miss that you are being detected. Definitely a deserving spot for best radar detector under 200!

The XTR-335 does have a few downsides, however.  Although it does detect laser signals, it does not come equipped with a laser diffuser.  In short, once your unit alerts you of a laser being detected to find your speed, it is already too late.  Another negative for some will be that there is no silent mode.  If you desire a unit that you can silence and only pay attention to the display, then you will have to look for another unit.

For some, who may find themselves distracted easily, having the noise always on can be a great feature.  In very uneven terrain, or an area with a lot of twists and turns, the XTR-335 really shows its shortcomings.  In some situations, the unit cannot detect radar further than a few hundred feet.  In these situations, it may already be too late.  However, Whistler’s offering is a great, low budget radar detector that offers features usually only found in more expensive units.

Another tried and true radar detector is the Beltronics RX65.  Available with a red or blue display (red display priced at $137.95 on Amazon), the RX65 has been around for over 10 years and has stood the test of time.

The top of the unit has large buttons on it, for power, city, volume, and programming.  Programming the Beltronics RX65 to fit your driving style is a breeze.  It lets you change the sensitivity of each band, perfect for avoiding false readings.  The display is bright and vibrant with text and comes with a mute feature, letting you catch an overview of your situation with a quick glance and no loud noises.

The range of the RX65 varies from three to four miles, which is plenty of time to slow down if you detect a police officer.  It is important to note that the KA band is almost foolproof.  If the unit goes off on the KA band, there is a cop around.  False alarms on the K and X bands are commonplace, like any other radar detector.  Like Passport, Beltronics’ customer support is lacking.

However, their best radar detector under 200 generally will last a long time, so it is very rarely an actual issue.  Another final note on the RX65 is that since it is an older unit, it does not detect LIDAR.  Again, this may be enough to deter a potential buyer.  However, it is important to realize you get what you pay for and the RX65 is certainly cheaper than many other options.

No More Speeding Tickets!

For those who like to go fast, are on a budget, and avoid speeding tickets, the five best radar detector under 200 listed above are all great choices.  It is important to realize that none are foolproof, and it is still possible to get a ticket even while using a radar detector.  Choose the right detector that fits your needs and budget, but most importantly, stay safe!

 

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