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Radar Detector Vs Laser Detector

Radar guns were first introduced during the Second World War in the military. And in 1949, was introduced into local policing. Radar guns detect the speed of moving vehicles and display data for the police officer to interpret. However, its shortcomings led to the adoption of LIDAR devices by police departments to monitor speed. Radar Detector Vs Laser Detector. Let’s find out what’s the difference between them

Radar Detector Vs Laser Detector

Both the radar and laser detectors are similar yet different. A radar detector detects radio waves and signals of radar guns, while a laser detector detects infrared light from a laser gun. Radar detectors cover a wider range while laser detectors are usually limited in range and serve a single purpose. To combat this problem, manufacturers created laser jammers to augment the functions of a laser detector.

While car owners are picking based on preference, using either of these devices in any jurisdiction depends on the legality of ownership and use. Also, what are the limitations of these devices, and how can they affect the efficiency of speed detection. Keep reading to find out.

What is a Radar Detector

A radar detector is a car accessory that finds radar guns actively monitoring the speed of vehicles in a given range. Law enforcement uses radar guns to check the speed of moving vehicles on the road which usually ends with the officer issuing out a ticket.

Speeding tickets are expensive, especially in the metropolis. Motorists got tired of paying such exorbitant fees and invested in radar detectors. Radar detectors operate on various radar bands: X, K, Ka-bands.

Advanced radar detectors are more sophisticated and feature additional functions such as GPS lockouts and sensitivity settings. Radar detectors now function more than a detector but also as a driving guide and traffic guide, alerting you to heavy traffic and boat roads ahead of you

Radar detectors can detect police radars in the vicinity by sensing the frequencies of the radar band. Each band has several frequencies, with the highest being Ka-band with 5 frequencies. Advanced radar detectors are equipped to deeply analyze any detected frequencies to differentiate false start triggers from radar guns.

False alarms are a menace to drivers. You can avoid false alarms by limiting the bands of your radar detector. For example, the X band is no longer being used by law enforcement, so the general rule of thumb is to disable it as it’ll mostly generate false alarms.

Your advanced radar detector can also lockout areas with regular false alarms to provide for a better driving experience.

● Advantages of Radar Detectors


● Saves you Money

Radar detectors reduce the risk of being ticketed for overspeeding. Depending on your income and state, speed tickets can be expensive. For example, a $100 ticket was issued to a driver doing 47 mph in a 31 mph zone. You’ll avoid paying such fees by installing a radar detector in your car because it’ll warn you before the radar gun gets a reading on your vehicle.

● Traffic Signal

Advanced Radar detectors serve multiple functions. For example, a radar detector now serves as a navigation guide for motorists, warning them of heavy traffic and road blockage, and providing better routes. This is called an inbuilt navigation system that operates on several platforms, including community-based input.

● Legal

If you reside in the United States, then it’s legal to possess and use a radar detector in a moving vehicle except in Washington, D.C., and Virginia. However, radar detectors are considered illegal in commercial vehicles over 10,000 pounds. But as a private car owner, you enjoy radar detectors in the United States.

● Radar Detectors help you manage speed

While Radar detectors help you avoid being ticketed, they also help you to manage your speed. These devices are equipped with an inbuilt GPS to monitor your speed and indicate when the driver is going above the speed limit of the zone.

● The problem of Radar Detector (inability to detect infrared light)

Notwithstanding all its benefits, radar detectors still suffer several shortcomings. Without the ability to detect infrared light from LIDAR, radar detectors become useless against a much more improved detector. Law enforcement had to make this upgrade because of how radar guns work.

The wave it sends is not narrow enough to capture one vehicle immediately, so it travels around and bouncing off different cars and objects before hitting its target. This gave motorists a huge advantage as radar detectors sensed these waves beforehand.

To combat this, LIDAR was invented to shoot narrower beams. Nonetheless, advanced radar detectors now feature laser detection, thereby offering double protection.

What is Laser Detector

Laser detection uses a different method to detect LIDAR monitoring devices. By picking the infrared light, laser detectors can warn drivers of a more advanced and narrower detector in the vicinity. These speed detectors send a direct beam to a car’s headlight.

Laser jammers

Unlike the radar gun, LIDAR is more accurate, precise, and fast. Laser detectors are however equipped to pick out LIDAR beams and alert drivers beforehand. However, unlike radar detectors, laser detectors are limited in range.

Laser detectors are also expensive and can put a strain on our finances. And the fact that most LADIR devices were faster than most detectors forced people to settle for advanced radar detectors and a newer option, Radar jammers.

● Laser jammers (sensors)

Laser jammers intercept laser beams and transmit false data or distort the reading of laser guns. Laser pulses are responsible for jamming lasers while a self-generated response alters the results of the laser. Laser jammers can be well hidden with their components installed in safe and inconspicuous places. For example, jammer sensors should be installed on the front of a vehicle.

laser detector jamming


Laser jammers also work differently. While some Jam to Kill (JTK), others Jam to Gun (JTG). Advanced laser jammers feature an auto switch that disables the jammer after it has detected and alerted the driver of the laser gun in front.

This is the JTK method. Drivers can quickly adjust their speed in stealth mode while avoiding direct beams from laser guns. The other technique, JTG jams the police laser gun until the driver is out of range. This method is risky as most radar guns know when they’re being jammed.

The recommended option is JTK as it is safe and effective.

Which Is The Best Choice?

Are you looking to equip your vehicle with a speed detection device and lock between Radar detectors and laser detectors, then read to find out which choice is better for your personality. Note that the most expensive choice is not necessarily the best option. While price should play a significant role in your choice, it shouldn’t be the only determiner.

● Based on your needs

What are your needs? Are you looking to jam laser guns or simply want to detect devices that may be monitoring your vehicle? If it is the former, then a laser detector is your best option. However, if it is the latter, then a radar detector is enough. Asides from jamming and monitoring speed monitoring devices, radar detectors can also provide navigation and traffic warnings.

● Range

The range is arguably the most important feature for detecting speed devices. Long-range means it’ll detect these devices faster, thereby alerting you before your speed is locked on the radar gun.

● Legality

Lastly, owning and using any of these devices depends on their legality in your state. While radar detectors are legal in all the states except Washington, D.C., and Virginia, laser detectors are illegal in several other states.

Differences between Radar Detector and Laser Detector



Detects Radio Waves of Radar Guns Detect Beams From Laser Guns
GPS-Enabled Transmit Signals
Smartphone compatibility Expensive
Traffic Warning Not Legal Everywhere
Community-Based Platform Can be detected

Advanced radar detectors are equipped with laser detection. However, you can also get a laser jammer if your state law permits.