Radar & Speed Camera Detectors
Check out our article on the best police radar and speed camera detectors
Radar speed camera detectors warn drivers when they are approaching in-use radar speed cameras, especially mobile speed cameras. These units can detect the various frequency bands that are emitted when Police and road safety team operators use their radar guns, plus they also detect fixed speed camera devices. However, many mobile cameras today actually use laser technology rather than radar, as the operating range is typically up 1 mile away, rather than the typical 200m range of radar speed cameras.
Another limitation with radar detectors is the false alerts from various devices such as automatic shop doorway sensors, traffic lights and signals, plus other vehicles using adaptive cruise control. But radar detectors are still useful as they will detect all Gatso speed cameras if they are live. Around 15 years ago Gatso speed cameras were the number one speed enforcement camera in the UK, but on the UK roads today you have to contend with a number of speed enforcement cameras which are completely undetectable via radar detectors, these modern speed enforcement cameras include Truvelo, SPECS & VECTOR (average speed check devices), HADECS 3 and Truvelo D-Cam.
Laser speed camera detectors are useful in the UK to detect the mobile handheld laser devices that are often used by the Police use on the roadside or on bridges. Laser speed cameras emit focused Laser beam pulses which are reflected back from the target vehicle and the speed of the vehicle is calculated based on the time taken for these pulses to return. Whereas with a radar device the signal is conical and in the normal operation can be as wide as a dual carriageway so much easier to detect at long range. Gatso speed cameras and Radar guns operate in a number of radar bands in the UK and Europe, including: X Band, K Band, Ka Band and Ku Band.
If you want to detect all speed enforcement cameras in the UK, you will need a device that incorporates a GPS database for all the fixed camera, plus radar and laser detection for mobile speed traps. The downside to these GPS units is they are more expensive, plus they need updated regularly or they will not be aware of the latest speed camera locations. However, if you already have a sat nav with a speed camera database, then you could just add a radar and laser detector for full protection. You would then have effectively the same protection for all types of speed cameras (mobile and fixed) as a dedicated speed camera laser/radar detector.
Although the legal status of radar and laser detecting devices was questionable in the past, since a legal ruling in January 2016 it is now 100% legal to use a Radar and/or Laser speed camera detector in the UK to provide warnings of all speed camera locations. But be careful when driving abroad, the legal status is different in France for example where radar/laser detectors may be confiscated and destroyed and you will also have to pay a fine!
Snooper 4ZERO GPS Radar/Laser Detector
Currently, the best speed/radar camera detector on sale in our opinion is the excellent Snooper 4ZERO GPS & Radar/Laser Detector. This device is a 4 in 1 unit, which features detection of laser and radar speed traps, plus fixed site using GPS database (subscription required) and warnings for high risk zones. The Snooper 4ZERO has a 1 mile detection range with Europe-wide coverage (please check local laws on speed trap detection before using abroad) to avoid speeding and possible fines.
The Snooper has a long history at the forefront of speed trap detection, the original Snooper was established in 1979 and since then they have been the market leading speed trap detector manufacturer. This latest device, the 4ZERO uses the most advanced GPS technology to provide accurate alerts for all fixed speed traps including Gatso, Truvelo and Watchman systems, as well as motorway SPECs and even average speed cameras. The Snooper 4ZERO is expensive, but when you bear in mind that insurance premiums can increase by up to 30% after a speeding conviction and penalty points, it makes sense to protect yourself with the very best technology available in terms of speed trap detection.
The Snooper 4ZERO incorporates a highly sensitive laser detector and sophisticated radar detector in one package. Plus the 4ZERO uses a GPS database which is updated regularly and verified by a professional team to ensure that the information is accurate and up to date. This database warns drivers of Gatso, Watchman & Truvelo Cameras, SPECs average speed and temporary roadworks cameras, Speedcurb, Accident Hotspots and Schools, plus "High Risk Zones". The subscription for the GPS database is pretty reasonable at just £29.99 per year with a number of payment options available, while the device itself costs around £140.
Microfuzion X313 Car Radar/Laser Detector
Those on a budget may prefer the Microfuzion X313 Car Radar/Laser Detector. This unit is much cheaper than the Snooper costing around £80 but it does not have a GPS capability, instead this unit relies on detecting radar bands and laser pulses. In practice, this means that detection of fixed speed cameras can be a little last minute, without the advance warnings given by those detectors with GPS which "know" where the cameras are well in advance. But at this price it's hard to complain and it would be unfair to expect the same performance as devices costing 3 times as much.
The Microfuzion X313 Radar/Laser Detector is also a little flimsy when compared to the Snooper and other leading brands, but it seems to work reasonably well but has less effective range than more expensive units and is not as sophisticated. This unit is a bit like the radar detectors of 5-10 years ago, if you want the best possible detection and the latest technology – then this device is not for you, but if you just want basic detection of mobile cameras and are on a limited budget, you will probably find that the Microfuzion X313 is perfectly adequate for your detection needs, especially if you already have a smartphone with GPS with a speed camera database which can be used for fixed cameras.