So you’re looking for a radar detector.
You’ve come to the right place.
Now you’ll be able to go fast — but still within the speed limits, of course.
And you’ll be able to test your 0 to 60 without a problem for research purposes (wink).
But there are a lot of things you need to know first before buying a radar detector for the Model 3.
First, it’s not allowed in all states. Second, there are several types, and believe me, you can actually get the real deal if you play it right.
So let’s go fast — into the details of this article.
Radar detectors help drivers keep their speeds in check, which is why you won’t have a problem if you have them in your vehicle.
However, commercial vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 lbs are not allowed to have radar detectors.
The UK had a law against radar detector use almost passed, but it didn’t in the end.
In the United States, commercial vehicles should not have any kind of radar detectors.
However, if you have a laser jammer installed in your vehicle, that’s another story.
If you have a clean driving record, you would have no problem keeping a radar detector. Just make sure not to use it near military bases.
Are Radar Detectors Illegal?
Generally, no, they are not illegal. You can have them and use them for your safety, and no police officer is allowed to confiscate the device or destroy it as it’s your private property — unless there are criminal charges against you or they have a search warrant.
But there are currently two states in the United States that don’t allow the use of radar detectors: Virginia and Washington DC.
Virginia laws have always been on the strict side of the spectrum. Basically, its laws tell you not to have any kind of extra gear or aftermarket modification to your vehicle.
Being a car enthusiast in Virginia would really suck.
Aside from these two states, all other states in the United States allow the use of radar detectors.
But don’t confuse them with radar jammers, which are not allowed anywhere at all.
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What Is the Best Price for a Radar Detector?
The best price would be somewhere between $200 and $500.
You can even take it up a notch and get something close to $1000, but that will be overkill since you can get the same functionality, if not better, at a lower price tag.
The sweet spot would be the $600 and $700 range. However, there are certain nuances that you need to consider, which I will go into detail later on, because not all expensive radar detectors will work for you.
Cheaper ones will definitely not work.
Look at it this way — the money that you can save on a ticket would be about the same price as a radar detector.
Plus, there is a hike in your insurance premium as a result of the ticket which you need to take into account.
So this is the kind of investment that not only helps keep you safe but also helps keep your money safe.
What Are the Best Quality Brands for Radar Detectors?
Valentine and Escort have been at the top of the game for decades. However, there are several rookies that have debuted in the recent past and have shown quite a bit of promise. I have made a list of the best radar detector brands that are worth checking.
However, not all of them are suited for everyone. There are certain nuances that one has to consider when making a purchase.
I have reviewed all of them and will give you the best one you can get, which won’t break the bank yet still give you everything you need when it comes to performance.
My selection is based on real-world performance, not just the data written on the advertisement.
Overall Best Radar Detector for Tesla Model 3: Escort MAX360C
This product hits the sweet spot among radar detectors.
It not only provides you with everything you need but also is the quietest one among all competitors and will not bother you at all with false alarms that are readily heard on high-end products such as Uniden R7 and Valentine V1, which is why they are not on this list.
I know, I know. Escort MAX360C is more expensive than Uniden R7 and Valentine V1. However, as I mentioned before, with more money comes great detectability.
Radar detectors are products where spending more gives you better value for money. But still, you need to keep an eye out while making your purchase. I have seen some retailers selling this same product at a ridiculously hefty price tag.
Now let’s talk about all the features that you can get with this amazing product.
|5.43 x 3.6 x 1.36 inches
|1 lithium ion battery
First is its 360-degree protection — no matter where the radar is coming from, this cute little device will detect it.
Why is it important to have detection from all sides, you may ask.
Well, you may have heard several people complaining that the radar didn’t detect the police officer hiding in the shadows.
It’s because the direction in which the radar hit your car was not in a straight line which most radar detectors work on. So by having 360-degree detection, you will be alerted when a radar is on you no matter where it’s coming from, be it from the sides or from behind you.
It also has built-in Wi-Fi that allows real-time shared alerts and software updates. Gone are the days when you have to take the radar detector out and connect it to a computer to keep it updated.
The feature that earns Escort MAX360C the top spot is its ability to learn and adapt to millions of drivers’ data, from driving styles to speed camera locations and the ever-changing speed limits.
With its autolearn technology, you will steer clear of all the false alerts, i.e. radar sensors from trucks, cars, grocery stores, etc.
Its Escort Live App will alert you of marked locations where drivers have reported some of the peskiest cameras so that you’ll be able to avoid out-of-nowhere tickets. You’ll also get traffic updates in real time.
This means you’ll know the hidden cameras of the officers who are currently on patrol. You don’t even have to look at your phone; the feed will be given straight to the radar detector, and you’ll be warned beforehand.
The range of this radar is one of the most accurate in the market, and with an OLED display, it’s worth every penny.
The display has a number of colors to choose from. You can adjust it to your liking.
Its GPS detection is also remarkable, which means you can have this radar in the UK, and it will still work like a charm.
If you’re looking for the best radar detector in Ontario, Canada, Escort MAX360 is the best radar that your money can get.
Heck, it’s the best one wherever you are.
You can get this radar with a dash cam, mount, or power cord, which is what I suggest so that it turns on and off with your car. You only need to tap the wire onto the right source.
For complete installation, you can refer to the installation section below.
✅ Has everything a radar detector can offer
✅ 360-degree protection
✅ Excellent range
✅ Has built-in Wi-Fi for real-time alerts
✅ Autolearn technology
❌ A little expensive
Best Budget Radar Detector for Tesla Model 3: Cobra RAD 480i Laser Radar Detector
By putting this inexpensive radar detector here, I’m contradicting myself.
I mentioned that the best price for a radar detector is somewhere between $200 and $500.
This one is way less than that. However, when you look at its performance, you can’t just let this deal go away. Because numbers don’t lie.
|4.25 x 2.75 x 1.25 inches
Let’s talk about its features.
This Cobra RAD laser radar detector is a front and rear detection system, not 360 degrees like Escort MAX360C.
It has an IVT filter to cancel out false alerts, as well as iRadar app compatibility.
The range on this radar is also quite good, not nearly as good as Escort, but still, with its price tag, it’s a steal.
A very ingenious way to get the best out of this radar is to mount it in the center as low as possible because most modern-day radars would point toward the bumper of your car at the level of the hood.
Keeping the radar close to this area would increase the possibility of in-time alert.
Unlike the tapping of wire required in Escort, this one comes with a 12V radar detector cord which does not require any tapping into the existing wires.
Simply connect it to a 12V port on your Tesla Model 3.
On a side note, this radar is completely useless in Canada.
✅ Very inexpensive
✅ App connectivity
✅ Two-directional coverage
✅ Good range
✅ Comes with a 12V cord
❌ Would not always detect cameras and radars
❌ Not for Canada
Tesla Model 3 Radar Detector Installation Guide
The installation of these radars is pretty straightforward.
Let me break it down for you:
- Find the source where you will tap in for the power supply, located under the passenger side A-pillar.
- When you’re done connecting the radar, route the wires under the plastic trims all the way to the middle of the center console.
- If you want to mount it on the rearview mirror, you need to take the wire up from the A-pillar. On the other hand, if you want the radar above the center touchscreen, you can route the wire under the passenger-side footwell into the center console and above the screen.
- Once you’ve set up the radar, you can make the connections and test it out before putting all the interior trim pieces back in place.
Note: Be very careful around the area of the airbags. It’s best to turn off your Tesla Model 3 before doing anything related to the electronics and anything that involves removing trim pieces close to the airbags.
Here’s a video by Khoa Phan YouTube channel to help you understand the installation process better.
There are several states where you’re not allowed to place the radar detector behind the windscreen, so it’s best to place it on your window visor or dashboard.
You can also place it inside your dashboard. However, some peace officers might not like the fact that you have hidden away your radar detector.
Always acknowledge the fact that you have a radar detector and never lie about it because if an officer stops you, he probably already knows that you have one.
Mounts for Tesla Model 3 Radar Detectors
Center Console Screen Mount: TPARTS Floating Display (works for all kinds of radars)
Now this one is actually intended to be a phone mount, but the Tesla community has absolutely loved the way the radar gets mounted on this floating phone mount.
Tesla online forums are full of praises for this product.
The magnets on this mount, however, are said to be somewhat weaker than one might expect.
But with the radar detector on top of it instead of a phone, it holds up pretty nicely.
|Movable 360 degree and magnetic
|Compatible with devices
The line of attachment for the radar provided by this mount is the best.
In the center, as close to the ground as possible, the bumper at the hood line is the spot where most radars point at.
If you can place it in the center as close to the ground as possible, it would allow the radar to beep before your speed gets locked on by the peacekeeping officer because the speed gun would point toward the car close to the ground to get the most accurate data.
If your radar is high above, it might be too late before the radar goes off.
Think of it this way: The radar is pointing at you at an angle. Now if you’re far away, that angle barely gets to the bottom of your car, and when you come close to the radar, the angle would now point at your dashboard and then toward your rearview mirror.
So it’s best to place it close to the ground to get early detection of the radar.
✅ Relatively inexpensive
✅ Looks good
✅ 360-degree movement
✅ Has magnets
✅ Almost perfect spot to mount a radar detector
❌ Some say magnets are a bit weak
Rearview Mirror Mount: Radar Mount Mirror Mount
One of the most popular mounts for radar detectors is the rearview mirror mount.
And because it’s expensive, there are a number of competitors competing for the same market, which means you can get it at a competitive price.
This mount is inexpensive and does the job.
If you want a version specific for the Cobra RAD radar detector, here it is.
And here’s the one for Escort MAX360C.
This mount is relatively easy to install. It will take you about five minutes tops.
The only drawback of this product is that cheaper radars would not be able to detect signals properly as most radars would point at the bumper at the hood line.
✅ Most stable mounting
✅ Most popular
✅ Relatively inexpensive
❌ Not the best placement
Dash Pad: Bysameyee
You can use these very inexpensive sticky pads to stick your radar onto whatever surface you want — preferably, the dashboard.
Now it might catch some dirt on top of it, which is why you should cover that area with another tape with the non-sticky side up around the naked corners.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do radar detectors work in the UK?
No, radar detectors are often useless in the UK. My fellows in the UK would have to deal with the Peize system which requires you to have a GPS database system as policemen over there are using fixed speed-based cameras and a regular radar detector won’t work.
You would need a different kind of radar detector like the Escort MAX360. This will do wonders in the UK.
Which radar detector is undetectable?
Radar detectors can easily be detected by peace officers when they are checking what speed you’re going at.
They know right away if you have a radar detector installed on your Model 3. Hiding the fact that you have a radar detector can get you in trouble though.
It’s best not to have anything illegal on your vehicle and be a good citizen.
Can a radar detector drain the car’s battery?
Although radar detectors use the battery, it will surely not drain it — that is, if it’s connected properly.
A poorly connected radar detector can drain the battery if it is on all the time.
The best way to connect a radar detector is to get the power source that delivers current only when you crank the engine or, in some cases, when you press the brake pedal, which is actually the best way.
However, in the case of Tesla, there’s no cranking up the engine. So you must know the exact source which only provides power when you actually move, not when your Model 3 is resting in the parking lot.
You can refer to the complete installation guide above to not drain your battery.
How can I avoid radar detection?
You can avoid radar detection by going within the speed limit.
There are devices available that would block the radar frequencies that hit your vehicle. However, they have been made illegal, and if you use such devices, you will see law enforcers sooner or later.
There are also products like radar diffusers, which temper with the police radar, which again are illegal to have.
How do radar detectors work?
Radar detectors will detect the frequency that the police radar uses to measure your speed.
The frequency that will hit your vehicle will bounce back to their detectors, and the time it takes for the frequency and the change in wavelength will tell them your speed.
You can think of it this way: Suppose you throw a ball toward a wall and it comes back to you in a certain time. Now if the wall is closer, the time it will take for the ball to come back will be less.
Every time the wall comes near you, the time it takes to come back will lessen. The electromagnetic waves burst on your car, and they bounce back to the radar. This process keeps repeating itself.
Using all that data, your speed will be calculated.
Now if you can reduce your speed in the meantime while the calculations are being made, you can save yourself a ticket.
I have given all the ways you can go about reducing the chances of an out-of-nowhere ticket so you will not only be able to save money on the ticket and insurance premium but also be safer overall.
How do radar detector apps work?
There are thousands of speed cameras mounted permanently across the United States. These apps would mark their places so you would know when the next speed camera is approaching.
However, they might not tell you the location of the ones held by peace officers on patrol.
Can Uber drivers use radar detectors?
Yes, Uber drivers can use radar detectors. However, to avoid getting the eyes of your passengers for having one, it’s better to mount it somewhere which is not visible.
Some people argue that it might give others the false assumption that you are going to go fast. However, these radar detectors are extremely useful in school zones and can give you a warning signal to lower your speed for everyone’s safety.
It’s also helpful when you’re entering a low-speed zone from a high-speed zone. There are several speed limits across the United States with weird and abrupt changes. So this device can really save you on those insurance premiums.
You just basically pay for the device instead of a ticket, not to mention that insurance premium hit.
Why is my radar detector going off for no reason?
If your radar detector won’t stop beeping or would beep every other mile you travel, chances are, you have one of the cheaper radar detectors.
Normally, I would never recommend products that are expensive when you can get the same product for much less.
Radars, on the other hand, do stand by the quote “the more expensive, the better.”
Good radars will only detect certain frequencies that are used by peace officers when they take your speed reading, and cheaper options will detect every other radio frequency that comes their way, making them go off all the time.
To avoid this from happening, you can look up your state’s normally used frequency band, and if your radar allows you to turn off certain frequency detection, you can turn them off, and you will not get any more false alarms.
Normally, you will get beeping from nearby trucks and cars with radar sensors to detect nearby cars, which mostly use 24.75 hertz (K band).
You can turn off that signal, and you’ll be good to go.
Final Thoughts: Best Radar Detector for Tesla Model 3
Get Escort MAX360C and you’ll not regret it. It’ll be expensive, but it’ll be worth every penny.
If you want to save money and you’re not a heavy footer, you can get away with a simple, inexpensive option, the Cobra RAD 480i.
You have several mounting options for your radar detector, but I’d suggest you go for the invisible phone mount by TPARTS, which is great for radar detectors.
Don’t go for the cheapest options out there. You won’t be able to avoid tickets with the so-called radar detectors that cost like $20. Seriously, that would just be a box making random noises.
Zac LudicrousMechanical engineer by profession. TSLA shareholder before the hype. EV enthusiast all day long. Zac enjoys learning about the future of battery technology, autonomy, and EVs. He considers Tesla Model 3 the most important vehicle of the 21st century -- and is in a quest to improve the ownership experience of every Model 3 owner he possibly can.
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