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.


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's 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.


What Radar detectors are there to buy?

The only radar and laser detector available to buy is also a GPS based camera detector which is manufactured by Snooper, called the 3ZERO.


Laser speed camera detectors

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.
How does a Laser speed camera work?

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.


What Laser detectors are there to buy?

The Snooper Laser Pod is a laser only detection device. The Laser Pod is a very small device (roughly the size of a box of matches) and can either be used on its own - plugging directly into a cars vehicle power adaptor or via sat nav. Though with the sat nav option the Laser Pod requires your sat nav to have a 5volt input to be compatible.

Also available is the Snooper 3ZERO. This speed camera detector has both Laser and Radar detection meaning it will pick up mobile devices! It also features GPS technology for warning you to fixed speed cameras.


Are Radar and Laser Detectors Legal?

It is 100% legal (September 2013) to use a Radar and/or Laser speed camera detector in the UK 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.