How to Shop for a Radar Detector on a Budget

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It’s well worth it to get a radar detector. You want to be ticket-free. Tickets get expensive and can potentially get you in serious trouble – if you get too many.

Making the investment of a radar detector can save you money in the long term. But if you don’t have a lot of money to shop for a radar detector right now, it can seem out of your price range.

Wondering how to shop for a radar detector on a limited budget?

Don’t worry: there are ways to shop for a radar detector, even if you don’t have much money. Use this guide to help you find a radar detector that works for you.

How to Shop For a Radar Detector on Any Budget

Read the Reviews

There’s no point in buying a radar detector that’s not going to do the job. Look online for detailed, insightful reviews of the detector you’re thinking about buying.

Radar detectors that have been tested by customers and found to be reliable will be your best bet. See what other users have said about the detector before you buy one.

Detectors that are reviewed by well-known sources are likely to be very reliable. However, keep in mind that there are many models out there that may not have been named in a major magazine or website yet, but that still works very well.

Consider Features

Some people will pay more for things like ease of usability. If you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of simplicity, you can save a lot when you shop for a radar detector.

Don’t worry about advanced customization options if you don’t need them.

You do have to balance this against functionality, though. Some adjustment features allow you to reduce false alarms. Some models have things like built-in GPS, which lets you lock out certain false alarm areas.

It’s up to you what features are worth the extra money. But generally speaking, a simpler radar detector with fewer options will cost less.

Compare Prices

Don’t just buy a radar detector at the first site you find it on. Look around to see if any other online retailers sell the same model at a lower price point.

You may even want to check brick-and-mortar stores near you to compare options thoroughly. Low-cost stores like Walmart and Target carry radar detectors, as well as online retailers like Amazon.

If you find one you like in a store, do a quick online search to make sure it’s not being sold cheaper somewhere else.

Use Price Match Guarantees

While comparing prices, you may find that the same model is being sold at a lower price at another store. Rather than traveling to buy it elsewhere, check to see if the store you’re at does a price match.

If they will match the price of another store, you can save yourself both time and money.

Consider Warranties

You should always shop for a radar detector that has a warranty. Keep your receipt for as long as possible in case there is an issue with your radar detector.

Cutting costs by getting a radar detector with no warranty can cost more in the long run. If your detector breaks in an unusually short amount of time or is defective in any way, make sure you won’t have to buy a brand new one.

Look for Good Controls

Your radar detector should be easy to use while you’re driving. If you’re searching for tiny, hard-to-see buttons on the road, it becomes a safety issue and isn’t worth the risk of an accident and expensive car repair or medical bills.

Find a radar detector with large, easily accessed buttons, and you will save money in the long run by remaining safe.

Balance Cost with Quality

As with most electronics, the simple reality is that a more expensive radar detector will often work better. Although you can find good radar detectors at a reasonable price, they probably won’t fall much below $200.

Beware of a deal that sounds too good to be true. If it sounds like a scam, it probably is.

Not all cheap radar detectors are a scam, of course. But if a radar detector isn’t sensitive enough to do its job reliably, it’s not worth any amount of money. Better to spend $300 on a good radar detector than to get one for $100 and still end up getting tickets.

Buy Direct

Don’t shop for a radar detector that’s used or from an unknown source. This is one item you shouldn’t buy on eBay. Buy from a reliable source and, again, make sure you have a warranty.

Brand-name is also better when it comes to radar detectors. Valentine One, Escort, and Cobra are all known, reliable radar detector companies. Although they aren’t the only places where good radar detectors can be bought, a known brand name is a good sign that your money is being well spent.

Do Your Research

Since radar detectors are not always understood to be ethical products, it can be harder to find information about them than about other consumer electronics.

Although the laws regarding radar detectors are actually very straightforward, many sources avoid talking about them at all because of legal concerns. Consumer Reports won’t tell you who is making the best radar detectors of the year.

However, there’s still plenty of information out there, and it’s worthwhile to do your research before you shop for a radar detector.

Look online to learn about the different features available. Stealth technology and red-light camera information are available on some radar detectors, but not all. Range differs depending on what model you get.

Consider your needs and research what features will be best for you. You don’t want to end up paying extra for features you won’t actually use.


It’s a common misconception that people on a budget can’t shop for a radar detector. There are actually many budget options out there.

In fact, you can find a radar detector for as low as $40-$100. However, those cheaper models often sacrifice accuracy and range, among other things.

A cheap radar detector might be better than none at all. But with a major electronic purchase like this, you’re best off paying a little bit more to get a high-quality model that lasts.

No matter your budget, if you use these tips, you can shop for a radar detector in your budget and save money on tickets from now on.

Do you use a radar detector to avoid getting speeding tickets? Please share your experience with us in the comments section below!

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