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What is the Difference Between A Radar and Laser Detector?

Don't Get Caught Speeding!

Law enforcement radar guns and radar detectors have evolved over time to counter each other’s technology. The speed of your car can be detected by using radar and laser devices, so that old radar detector is obsolete. The difference between standard radar (x,k,ka bands) and lidar (laser) is that radar systems use radio waves, and lidar uses narrow light pulses to gauge your speed. So what is the difference between the detector types?

Beltronics Vector 995

Cobra 15 Band Radar/Laser Detector

Radar Detectors:
A radar detector is a small device that mounts on the windshield or dash of a car and warns the driver of incoming radar waves emitted from law enforcement speed detecting devices.  Police speed sensing radar systems work by emitting radio waves which deflect off of objects and return to the gun. Using a mathematical calculation, the time it takes the waves to return to the gun determines the vehicles speed. These radio waves however can be a bit unpredictable because they bounce off of everything from your car, to the car next to you, to stationary objects and even particles. It’s because of this, that radar detectors are so effective. A radar detector will detect stray waves before the majority of the waves will reach your vehicle, giving you time to adjust your speed. Radar systems are still the most commonly used, so a high quality radar detector is often better than a lower quality radar/laser or laser detector.

Beltronics Vector 995

Beltronics Radar/Laser/Safety Detector 

Laser Detectors:
A laser detector is similar to a radar detector, it mounts inside a vehicle and will warn the driver of incoming laser light beams emitted from law enforcement speed detecting technology. Police laser based speed detection equipment, known as Lidar, uses laser pulses from a handheld gun to specifically spot and detect the speed of a vehicle. These laser pulses are 99% accurate and happen hundreds of times per second, which make it very difficult for a laser detector to spot. The farther away you are from the lidar gun, the more effective a laser detector will be.

Radar/Laser Detectors:
The newest radar detectors on the market are likely to come as a combination, with built-in laser detection as a standard feature. Radar/laser detectors mount on the dashboard or window of a vehicle just like radar detectors do and they even look relatively the same. For that extra piece of mind, a radar combination laser detector will offer complete detection in one compact package.

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Staff writers at Sonic Electronix are experts in their field. In addition to a complete in-house training program, these experts typically have many years of hands-on experience in their specialty. Some come from car audio installer backgrounds, while others come with extensive retail experience.
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