How Does a Radar Detector Work?

Radar detectors have been growing tremendously popular at a surprisingly fast pace. This could be due to the fact that they solve a major problem of most drivers out there, which is avoiding to be ticketed for speeding.

A radar detector is actually a pretty simple device whose sole purpose is to alert the driver of the police ahead. This, in turn, gives them time to lower the speed they are driving at, and avoid getting ticketed for speeding.

However, though you would find many different types of radar detectors nowadays, they are all basically just radios. They are tuned to the same frequency as the police detectors, so that they can detect the signals sent by the latter and alert the user.


Before deciding to get a radar detector for your vehicle, you need to check if the laws in your area allow using one. After all, the laws regulating the use of radar detectors vary widely, and can be pretty complicated, as in most parts of the US.

Furthermore, in some places, they may be legal but it may be illegal to mount them on the windshield. Similarly, there may be several more such laws, and hence you simply can’t afford to overlook them before going for a radar detector.

Different types of radar detectors

Radar detectors come in three different types, and each of them offers something specific to the users. The first type is the corded radar detectors, which are the most commonly used radar detectors.

They are usually mounted on the windshield of a vehicle, and probably due to this, they are also the most regulated among all the three types, especially in the US. Also, as there are placed at a considerable height from the ground, they are pretty effective at detecting the police radars.

The second type is the cordless radar detectors. They can be easily moved from one vehicle to another, and are also small in size.

The third type is the remote mounts. Besides being the most expensive of all the three types, they are also the smallest ones. They can easily be concealed in the vehicle, giving them a huge upper hand as it makes them least noticeable of all the three types. However, their biggest downside is that they are usually a permanent installation so they're not ideal radar detectors under all situations.

Of course there are well known brands within the industry and Beltronics detectors are always a great choice.

Features to look out for

After taking a look at the different types of radar detectors, let us now move on to learning about the features they may come with.

City mode

This feature can be extremely useful if you tend to drive a lot in city areas. After all, as there may be a lot of devices sending signals similar to a police radar device, a radar detector that doesn’t come with this feature may keep throwing false positives, which can obviously be annoying. A city mode feature will be able to filter out such false positives for you.

Laser detection

Some radar detectors may come with only one laser sensor, which may only be able to detect signals that target you from the front. However, those coming with two may offer a 360 degree protection, but will usually cost more.

Voice alerts

Radar detectors coming with a voice alert feature will allow you to know what’s ahead without taking your eyes off the road.

A final word

There are also more features worth adding to the list, but the listed ones are seemingly the most common and useful ones. Based on your needs and condition, you may be able to find a radar detector that meets your requirements well using the above given information.

  • Updated June 2, 2017