Buyers Guide & Information

Best Radar Detectors Under $100

We have reviewed and compared the best radar detectors under $100. Find the best models on the market for a budget price and stay off the police radar!

The radar detector is an electronic device that is used to determine if law enforcement is using a radar gun nearby. While there are many of these items on the market, only a few can be labeled the best radar detector under $100.

If you want to receive maximum protection on the road, but don’t want to invest a lot of money, you want to read through our reviews. We will highlight the best radar detectors under 100 dollars, so you can find the model that suits you.


Preview

Product

Radar Signal

Detection Range

Check Price

Cobra RAD 350 Laser Radar Detector - Long...

Cobra RAD 350

Radar, Laser

Long Range

Uniden DFR3 Long Range Laser/Radar Detector...

Uniden DFR3

Radar, Laser

Long Range

Cobra - SPX955IVT - Maximum Range Detection,...

Cobra

SPX955IVT

Radar, Laser

Maximum Range

Cobra ESR800 12-Band Radar Detector With LED...

Cobra

ESR800

Radar, Laser

Long Range

Whistler XTR-135 Radar Detector

Whistler

XTR-135

Radar, Laser

Long Range

Whistler CR80 High Performance Laser Radar...

Whistler

CR80

Radar, Laser

Long Range

Why Use Radar Detectors – Is It Worth Getting One?

If you live somewhere that radar detectors are legal, it makes sense to have one. You could easily break the speed limit simply by not paying attention. If the police catch you speeding, even unintentionally, you can get slapped with a massive ticket.

In fact, the police are notorious for waiting at the bottom of hills, or where the speed limit changes, to catch people that don’t mean to be speeding. This small investment could save you big down the road.


Choosing a High-Quality Radar Detector Under $100

Speed Receptiveness – Digital vs. Laser types

The laser detector looks for beams located in front of you. It's also possible to get models that use two sensors to offer 360-degree laser detection to look behind and to the side. A radar detector isn't legal to use everywhere, and some police actively search for drivers using the equipment. The radar detector isn't going to alert you to laser beams on the high-tech laser guns used by some departments.

Detection Range

The better the range your detector has, the more notice you have to slow down. You will find several options to choose from. DSP or digital signal processing uses a microchip to recognize radar bands used by the policy. The K-Band is a common frequency on handheld radar guns, while the Ka-Band is the most popular. The X-Band catches all radar, from traffic sensors to automatic doors.

Display & Design

The majority of radar detectors feature the same design. You will likely get a model with a silver or black body that can be mounted in the vehicle. However, newer models are offering functions that make it more user-friendly, such as adding a better display or intuitive buttons that make operation easier.

Updated Database

If your radar detector doesn’t have updated locations, it isn’t going to be very helpful to you. That’s why it’s important to find a device that has an updated and extensive database included. This tool allows the device to find the trouble areas with ease but isn’t always offered on the cheap models.

Mounting Style/Location

The best radar detector under $100 should also include a quality mounting option. For many people, the ideal location to mount the radar detector is at the lower portion of the windshield. You might also consider putting it on the dash instead, but don’t want to place it in a location where it’s easy to spot.

Features

All radars detect law enforcement to some level, but what makes a model the best radar detector under 100 dollars is the different features included. For example, VG-2 detection keeps the police from spotting your equipment. You might also want to look for a volume button, indicators, city and highway modes, voice control, and ensure that false alarms won't be an issue either. 

Price & Warranty – value for money

It won’t be difficult to find a good radar detector under $100, but don’t buy a model solely based on the price. Instead, look at the value you receive by choosing a quality brand that offers a lengthy warranty. After all, buying a cheap radar detector might be ideal today, but what happens when it breaks in a month?


6 Best Radar Detector Under $100 Reviewed

1. Cobra RAD 350

Our Top Pick

Radar Signal

Radar, Laser

Detection Range

Long Range

Display

Seven-segment color display

Key Feature

IVT Filter system

Warranty

Yes, 1-year

This popular model is at the top of the price cut off, but well worth the expense. Cobra is known as a top manufacturer of radar detectors and other electronic equipment. With the patented technology, you will experience far less false alerts than with some other cheap models. That’s because Cobra utilizes an IVT Filter system that removes alerts from collision avoidance systems and other triggers.

Our top pick model will also detect signals coming from the front and the rear of your vehicle. It effectively detects all radar signals, including X, K, and Ka, as well as VG-2 and laser signals. You can easily adjust the audible signal strength to match the tone you want perfectly. With this customization, it's simpler than ever to keep your eyes on the road without distraction. Plus, the seven-segment color display features icons and numeric signs for accurate information.

When you buy a Cobra radar detector, you also get peace of mind knowing that the equipment is covered with a one-year warranty. Of course, one look at the customer reviews should also provide some more confidence for you. If you want to save more money, you might consider opting for the Cobra RAD 250 instead.

Pros

  • Fewer false alerts
  • Easy to mount
  • Highly rated
  • Reads all signals

Cons

  • Top-end of price point

2. Uniden DFR3

Runner Up

Radar Signal

Radar, Laser

Detection Range

Long Range

Display

Icon and numeric signal strength display

Key Feature

Highway and city modes

Warranty

Yes, 1-year

Another long range laser radar detector worth checking out is from Uniden. While it has some of the same features as the last model, it is slightly cheaper. This model will detect emissions from radar guns and send you an audio alert so you can slow down in time. You can expect it to work with a multitude of bands, including X and Ka. The DFR3 also utilizes separate modes for highway and city travel, making false alerts less prevalent.

Like the first model, this Uniden detector also comes with an easy-to-read display. The icon display with numeric signal strength counter makes it simple to get the information you need while on the go. Plus, this dash-mounted detector won’t take long to set up. Even the batteries you need are included with the package.

Uniden might be better known for its line of walkie talkies and cordless phones, but you don’t want to overlook this communications giant when it comes to radar detectors. Just take a peek at the excellent customer reviews. Plus, this model features a one-year warranty, just like the Cobra option does. You can save a little cash and still have the protection you want against expensive speeding tickets.

Pros

  • Simple mounting
  • Detects all signals
  • Separate highway and city modes
  • Top-rated brand

Cons

  • Doesn’t have Cobra’s IVT filter

3. Cobra - SPX955IVT

Value for Money Option

Radar Signal

Radar, Laser

Detection Range

Maximum Range

Display

Ultrabright data display

Key Feature

360-degree detection

Warranty

Yes, 1-year

Another option from Cobra is this maximum range detector. With the super-fast circuitry inside, you can expect a decent detection range and plenty of advanced warning, even on some of the fastest and instant-on guns. If you prefer, you can even personalize the detector with a voice alert. By getting the alert audibly, you won’t need to take your eyes off the road, and can instead focus on slowing down.

As with the earlier Cobra model, this one also has 360-degree detection. It uses the LaserEye technology along with the City and Highway modes to lower the chance of false alerts, especially in densely populated regions. That’s because Cobra utilizes IVT (in-vehicle technology filters) that reduce alerts from other equipment such as collision avoidance systems.

The ultrabright data display is simple to read and has the identification icons you need for quick information. Plus, this instant-on detector receives rave reviews from customers across the nation, so you know it will provide reliable service for you as well. In addition, Cobra detectors are covered by a one-year warranty. This guarantee allows you to make an investment and know that you will be taken care of. You really can’t go wrong with a Cobra detector alerting you to a speed trap.

Pros

  • IVT filter
  • Detects all signals
  • Two modes
  • Highly rated

Cons

  • Isn’t always in stock

4. Cobra ESR800

Best Radar Under $100 with Smart Features

Radar Signal

Radar, Laser

Detection Range

Long Range

Display

Ultrabright data display

Key Feature

Specific band detection

Warranty

Yes, 1-year

Because we know you can’t get enough of the Cobra detectors, we included another long range option. This 12-band radar detector includes voice alert, offering the best radar under $100 with smart features. With this voice alert, you know when there's a reason to slow down without ever taking your eyes off of the road. In fact, the voice alert even offers up specific band detection.

If you prefer to look at the display to see what’s going on, this option is simple to read with its ultrabright information. This radar will detect in a 360-degree circle around your vehicle. The threat doesn’t need to be in front of you. Just like the more expensive models, this one also features a highway and city mode to make detection easier than before.

While this detector includes a one-year warranty, it’s vital to note that the reviews aren’t as good as with most Cobra products. While the reviews aren’t tanking by a long shot, it’s still worth taking a look at. It seems that the lower price means less refinement as some users had trouble getting it dialed in so that it didn’t beep constantly. However, it’s hard to go wrong with any Cobra product, so this might be a good option if you don’t mind spending a little time on configuration.

Pros

  • Voice alert
  • Easy to read display
  • Two modes
  • 360-degree detection

Cons

  • Reviews lower than most Cobra products

5. Whistler XTR-135

Cheapest Radar Detector Under $100 (Budget Option)

Radar Signal

Radar, Laser

Detection Range

Long Range

Display

Icon

Key Feature

360-degree coverage

Warranty

Yes, 1-year

This Whistler radar detector might not be the most known on the market, but it offers some superior functions for a budget option. Not only is it small and discreet, but it has a handy icon display. You have complete band protection with this compact radar detector offering 360-degree coverage. It’s simple to adjust between the highway and city modes, as it was on the more expensive models.

Plus, this system comes complete with a quiet/auto quiet mode and safety warning system. You can also use the alert priority system and have confidence in the VG-2 detection. Your kit comes complete with a 12V power cord, windshield bracket kit, and non-skid dash pad, which is more than some other models offer. When the system indicates trouble, it also tells you the strength so you can make quick adjustments as needed.

We recognize that this model struggles to get customer reviews, probably because many consumers opt for a more-known brand instead. With that said, the reviews that are offered are favorable. Plus, you get a one-year warranty, just like with the other options. With that in mind, there’s nothing to worry about, especially when you factor in how much money you will save.

Pros

  • Compact
  • Easy to mount
  • Highway and city modes
  • 360-degree detection

Cons

  • Lack of customer reviews

6. Whistler CR80

Best Rated Model Under $100

Radar Signal

Radar, Laser

Detection Range

Long Range

Display

Digital icon

Key Feature

Detects all forms of radar

Warranty

Yes, 1-year

If you want a Whistler with more customer reviews, just wait until you check out this model. The high-performance radar detector offers 360-degrees of perimeter protection, so you can be alerted about signals from every angle. This gun reads X, K, Ka, and laser for superior coverage. It also detects Laser Atlanta Stealth mode, LTI Truspeed S, and Laser Ally.

With the Traffic Flow Signal Rejection system, you won't have to worry about so many false alerts from the traffic monitoring systems. Furthermore, it offers POP model, a digital icon display, and rear voice alerts. Your detector kit comes complete with a 12V power cord, direct wire kit, windshield bracket kit, and a dash pad for a quick installation.

The nice thing about this best rated model is that there are several other options to choose from. If you want something less or more robust, you should be able to find it by browsing all of the selections on Amazon. You don’t even have to leave the product page to find them. Plus, Whistler offers a one-year warranty, further providing users with peace of mind. If you want to avoid costly speeding tickets, there’s a Whistler radar detector out there to cover your back.

Pros

  • Easy to install or hardwire
  • Includes everything needed
  • Highway and city modes
  • Highly rated

Cons

  • None

Types of Radar Detectors

  • Dash/Window Mounted 
    Having the detector mounted high on the windshield might help pick up a signal faster, but it also becomes more noticeable to police and could hinder your visibility. The dash-mounted detector might operate slightly slower, but it remains concealed.
  • Remote/Custom-installed
    If you don't want everyone to know you are using a radar detector, you might prefer having one custom or remote-installed. This equipment is placed strategically in the vehicle, so it cannot be seen.
  • Digital Vs. Laser
    Police departments are using either radar or laser equipment. While radar is cheaper to use, many departments understand that laser is more effective and accurate. While some radar detectors can spot laser guns, it’s not often with great accuracy.

Installing & Using a Radar Detector

Once you find your new radar detector, it’s time to use it. Installing a radar detector isn’t complicated, but you should always start by reading the owner’s manual.

Start by figuring out how you will power it. Will you use batteries or plug it into the vehicle? Then, you need to mount the detector. Depending on what model you choose, using it might be as simple as turning it on or setting advanced features.

You can also hardwire most radar detectors, as shown in this YouTube video.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

How far do radar detectors detect?

Depending on how sophisticated your radar detector is, it could spot signals up to four miles away.

Which radar detector is better Whistler or Cobra? What is the best make of radar detectors under $100?

Both of these companies offer quality radar detectors. We think both brands offer some of the top radar detectors under $100. Look through our options to find the model that suits your needs.

Are radar detectors legal in the United States?

Radar detectors are legal in most states. It’s not legal to use radar detectors in Virginia, Washington D.C., or on military bases. Plus, they can only be used in passenger cars or light trucks.

What does laser alert mean on a radar detector?

The laser alert signifies that LIDAR has been detected. It shows that a LIDAR gun has been aimed at you, which might mean that your speed has already been measured.

What should I expect in terms of performance from radar detectors under $100?

Radar detectors under $100 should still give you plenty of time to respond to a speed trap. The biggest difference between these models and more expensive options are the features included.

What are false alerts on a radar detector?

False alarms can go off when you pass automatic doors, speed signs, or vehicles with collision avoidance systems. To avoid receiving too many false alerts, you might need to adjust the sensitivity.

Are radar detectors the same as radar jammers?

The radar detector tells you where radar is being used to track speed. The radar jammer, on the other hand, uses electromagnetic radiation to disrupt the cop’s radar gun. These devices are not legal in most states.

Is it worth buying radar detectors under $100?

Absolutely! We have shown you several models that will live up to your expectations. Of course, if you want more features, it might be worth increasing your budget slightly.


Conclusion

The best Cobra radar detector under $100 is the Cobra RAD 350. This model features a great price, considering the range and amount of features offered. There’s no reason to get caught speeding ever again.

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