Speed Camera Detector Buyer's Guide - Radar and laser

Radar speed camera detectors

Radar speed camera detectors warn drivers when they are approaching Radar based speed cameras. Radar usage in the UK is generally limited to fixed roadside Gatso speed cameras, handheld devices and mobile speed traps such as Mini Gatso.

Pictured right the Valentine One G3 radar detector can detect radar guns pointing at both the front of your car and the back of it. A bright red LED arrow then illuminates to illustrate which direction the radar gun is pointing at you from. To view/buy the Valentine One click here.

The Snooper 3ZERO (pictured left) is a great radar and laser detector. In addition you can optionally use the Snooper 3ZERO as a GPS detector by registering the product with the manufacturer and subscribing to their speed camera GPS database. The Snooper 3ZERO does not require subscription to work; it will detect radar and laser bands without paying any subscription fee. To view/buy the Snooper 3ZERO click here.

If you would like to use your mobile phones' GPS capabilities to warn you of speed cameras you should consider buying the Snooper Cobra iRadar (pictured right). This detector provides compatible Apple and Android Smartphones with a leading speed camera database. Plus the Cobra iRadar will detect via radar and laser by installing the supplied detection device under your cars' bonnet.

We sell Radar and Laser detectors here at SpeedCamerasUK.com. Click here to view our shop. To view a comparison table that compares the three different radar and laser detectors we sell please click here.


How does a Radar speed camera work?

Gatso speed cameras and Radar guns operate by emitting a radio signal at a set frequency (e.g. K Band) which is then reflected by the target vehicle. The reflected signal frequency is shifted in direct proportion to the vehicles speed and this shift is used by the Radar equipment to calculate the vehicles exact speed.

There are several radar bands that are used in the UK and Europe, these are:

‣X Band
‣K Band
‣Ka Band
‣Ku Band


How does a Radar Detector detect Radar?

A radar signal is conical in shape much like a torch beam. At 200yards, the normal operation range of a radar gun, the signal is a wide as a dual carriageway. Most of the signal therefore, goes past the target and on up the road - reflecting off trees and houses etc eventually becoming 'radar scatter'. Radar detectors are extremely sensitive radio receivers tuned to these frequencies and can detect very small particles of 'radar scatter' at up to two miles away.

How does a Laser Detector detect Laser?

Laser speed camera detectors warn drivers when they are approaching Laser based speed cameras. Laser usage in the UK is generally limited to mobile handheld devices, that the Police use on the roadside or from bridges. In 2007 Arrive Alive speed cameras in north Wales caught 55,704 offenders. Another 5,610 were caught by officers with hand-held laser devices.

A Laser speed camera emits a narrow, focused Laser beam consisting of a series of pulses which are reflected back from the target vehicle. The times for these pulses to return are measured and from these the speed of vehicle can be calculated.

The Snooper Laser Pod (pictured right) is a laser only speed camera detector. This Snooper product is a good addition to a SatNav. The Snooper will clip onto most satnavs conveniently and provide power to some sat navs.


What are the limitations of a radar and laser detection device?

While a radar and laser detector will alert you to mobile speed camera locations, it will not warn you to every fixed speed camera in use in the UK.

When buying a speed camera detector you need to consider whether you want to receieve alerts to speed cameras that do not use radar and laser. Speed cameras that are undetectable via a radar/laser detector include Truvelo, SPECS, VECTOR, HADECS 3 and Truvelo D-Cam.

If you want to detect all speed cameras (fixed and mobile) you will need a GPS database within the speed camera detector; the best speed camera detector to offer full-protection (GPS, radar and laser) is the Snooper 3ZERO.

Alternatively, you could consider the Road Angel Gem+ (pictured right) which features GPS and laser detection. The Gem+ also has the added feature of LIVE updates thanks to a built-in GPRS connectivity. At the press of a button in-use mobile sites can be added and shared with all other Road Angel Gem+ users.

To learn more about GPS speed camera detectors click here.


What Radar and Laser detectors are there to buy?

We sell a selection of radar and laser detectors including the Snooper 3ZERO, Valentines One and Snooper Cobra iRadar. The Snooper Laser Pod is the only speed camera detector that is just laser detector and makes it a good addition to a sat nav device.

The benefit of buying a dedicated radar and laser detector is the detection range will be superior to other devices. You can use the Snooper 3ZERO without paying a subscription just using the radar and laser detection only.


Are Radar and Laser Detectors Legal?

It is 100% legal (February 2015) to use a Radar and/or Laser speed camera detector in the United Kingdom to warn of all speed camera locations - fixed and mobile.

However the legality differs from country to country in Europe. For example it is understood to be illegal in France, where the Gendarmerie (French Police) have been known to make motorists drive over their Radar and Laser detectors!

For further information please visit our Speed Camera Detector legal page.

Last updated: 14th May 2015