While we're sure you're all careful and attentive drivers, we're all susceptible to accidentally slipping a few miles above the limit and being served a fixed-penalty notice. There can be any number of reasons for this, including poorly calibrated speedometers, so for peace of mind, a radar detector can make sure you're on the right side of the law.
Speed cameras may not be every petrolhead's favourite thing in the world and many may see them as a shameless cashgrab by local councils, but they do have a place on our roads.
Also called speed camera detectors, a radar detector can help you keep check of your speed and are perfect if you miss a speed limit sign when driving. These gadgets are up there with dash cams when it comes to keeping you legal, so we've found the best radar detectors on the market in the UK and listed them below.
The best radar detectors:
This really small radar detector will quite happily sit on a dashboard minding its own business
- Small and discreet
- Live updates
- Not a detector, it's reliant upon live infomation
The best radar detector for style
The Saphe Drive Mini is a simple and stylish radar detector. Connect your phone to the device
- Quality build
- Really easy to read
- Updates can be buggy
4. Saphe One+
Best budget detector
The Saphe One+ is a compact radar detector and the best budget option. Connect your phone to the
- Compact size
- No subscription needed
- No laser detector
What you need to know about radar detectors:
Are they legal to use in the UK?
Radar detectors are 100% legal to use under UK law. There have been whispers from the government about banning them, but no legislation has been presented so far.
Note that these are different to radar jammers, which block the radar. Some police forces consider using a laser jammer to be perverting the course of justice, which can come with a hefty fine and even jail time in some instances.
And remember, if you're planning a trip to France, the Republic of Ireland or a number of European countries leave your radar detector at home. They're illegal to use and you will be fined and have the device confiscated so make sure to check before your go.
How do speed camera detectors work?
Radar detectors will alert you to the position of fixed speed cameras (some can also detect mobile ones, too). Some are GPS based and will know when a speed camera is nearby while others use radar to detect the signals coming from police speed detectors. Others still are reliant upon eagle-eyed drivers to report them which means they're not really detectors.
What features should I look for in a radar detector?
Your number one priority should be to get a quality item. There are plenty of less-than-reputable examples for sale that are suspiciously cheap, and these should be avoided. The last thing you want is to find out that your radar detector doesn't work or is inaccurate.
Look for a clear display so you can read the information clearly without having to take your eyes off the road. Some will sound an alarm, too, which is a great feature.
Speed camera locations are always changing so look for a device that can be updated. This is usually done by plugging the device into a computer and downloading an update, although some will require a subscription.
Ryan Gilmore is the Deputy Autos and Tools Editor for CAR, specialising in car cleaning and hand tools. With an MA in Automotive Journalism, when he's not testing buckets he can be found looking at old Porsches.