LAST UPDATED: May 8, 2019
Best Escort Radar Detectors 2021
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PUBLISHED ON May 8, 2019
Escort's radar detectors are designed to be very user-friendly and easy to use. Their detectors do a good job at catering to the everyday driver who wants a plug-and-play radar detector, without necessarily needing to be a radar detector expert. It's for that reason that even though there are many different brands of detectors, I've often recommended Escort radar detectors to friends and even my own family.
Now Escort makes several different radar detectors at different price points, each one with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Different detectors are best for different people. Let's go through their lineup and look at the main pros and cons of each radar detector.
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Windshield Mount Radar Detectors
The Escort Max 360c is their top of the line model and my personal favorite. It offers long-range performance, some of the best false alert filtering in the business (thanks to the Max's more advanced digital platform), plus directional arrows to help you locate the threat which is extremely useful in practice.
GPS is built-in so that as you drive around, the Max 360c can learn the stationary false alerts around town from speed signs and drugstore door openers. As you drive around, it automatically learns those and begins filtering them out for you so it gets better the more you drive. Escort also has a red light camera and speed camera alerts built-in and they update their database regularly.
The arrows on the front of the detector (hence the '360' in the name) point front, side, or rear to indicate where the police officer is, letting you know when you've passed him, or if there's a second officer up ahead after you passed the first one. This is very helpful.
The Max 360c is also a connected detector (hence the 'c' in the name) with both Bluetooth and WiFi built-in. It can connect to the cloud using your phone or a WiFi hotspot in your car to automatically share alerts with other drivers. This way you get the benefit of knowing not only what your Max 360c sees, but also what all the other Escort drivers ahead of you see, giving you an additional layer of protection against more difficult instant on and laser threats.
As a bonus, when you're connected to the cloud, Escort's detectors can display the current speed limit on the screen right next to your current speed, making it easy to tell if you're speeding and what the speed limit is. It doesn't take into account temporary speed limit drops for school zones or construction zones and the database only works for major roads, but it's a very helpful feature to have.
If you have WiFi in your car or at home, the detector can automatically keep itself updated, downloading the latest software and RLC databases so you no longer have to plug the detector into your computer for updates. It takes care of everything for you automatically.
The Max 360c is Escort's most feature-packed and well-rounded detector. If you're looking for Escort's ultimate windshield mount radar detector, this is their top of the line option.
Note: If you buy the Max 360c direct from Escort, they also offer a 1-year speeding ticket guarantee.
Now if you're interested in the Max 360c, but you don't have WiFi in your car and/or you don't mind taking the detector home periodically to plug it into your computer for updates, take a look at the original Escort Max 360.
The Max 360 offers the same performance and filtering capabilities as the 360c. The main difference is that it doesn't have WiFi built-in for automatic updates and instead uses Bluetooth for the cloud integration, as most of Escort's other current detectors. Using Bluetooth and running the Escort Live app on your phone (Android or iOS), the Max 360 can talk to other drivers' radar detectors on the road, sharing alerts with them in real-time. It's similar to Waze but automatic and hands-free. Plus you can use your phone to more easily configure and adjust settings on your detector.
The Max 360 has arrows to help you locate police officers around you, automatic GPS lockouts to learn where stationary false alerts are located, red light camera and speed camera alerts, and alert sharing capabilities in the cloud. If you don't need the WiFi capabilities and/or want to save a few bucks off the Max 360c, get the original Max 360. For a lot of drivers, I think this is the best choice.
The Escort Redline EX is Escort's stealth detector. For those of you needing a windshield mount Escort radar detector that is undetectable by radar detector detectors, this is the one to get. It also has the ability to detect the new MultaRadar radar guns that are starting to show up across the country.
Starting off with the stealth component, radar detectors are legal in most of the US. They are, however, illegal in VA and Washington D.C. They are also illegal on military bases, in commercial vehicles over 10,000 lbs, and in all vehicles over 18,000 lbs. For this reason, police officers use a radar detector known as the Spectre and the Redline EX has special stealth technology to make it undetectable to the Spectre.
Next, it is capable of detecting the low powered MultaRadar CD and CT radar guns. The MultaRadar is difficult to detect a radar gun that requires specialized hardware in the radar detector to pick up. The Redline EX is Escort's only current North American windshield mount radar detector capable of picking it up. The MultaRadar is in use in Chicago, Maryland, NYC, and Washington D.C. In Canada, it is currently being used in Quebec and heavily in Alberta. If you drive in these areas, the Redline EX would be the preferred choice.
The Redline EX also offers Bluetooth so it can pair with your phone and share alerts with other drivers in real-time. If you don't need the stealth or MRCD capabilities, I would generally recommend the Max 360 or Max 360c instead due to their arrows and superior blind spot filtering capabilities. For most drivers, the Max series would be a more well-rounded choice. The Redline EX is more of a specialty detector.
Next, let's take a look at the Escort iXc. This is an upper/mid-tier detector. Like the Max 360c, it features both Bluetooth and WiFi with all the same cloud sharing and automatic updating capabilities. It is Escort's second "connected car" detector. However, like the Redline EX, it only has one front-facing antenna so there are no arrows to point to the location of the threat.
With the integrated GPS, it also features the same automatic learning of stationary false alerts, low-speed muting to keep it quiet around town, and the red light camera/speed camera alerts.
My biggest complaint about the iXc is the way it handles false alerts from nearby vehicles with radar-based collision avoidance systems. Every radar detector will false to some cars with blind spot monitoring systems, some more than others, but the false alerts also sound different too. With the iXc, instead of giving you a weak alert, it likes to scream full tilt, making you think you need to immediately slam on the brakes. This gets old pretty quick and is the biggest reason I'm not a huge fan of this detector.
The iXc is the successor to the Escort iX (which is in the process of being discontinued). The iXc has some tweaks under the hood for longer range and better false alert filtering than the original iX, plus a different colored case, but the biggest difference is that the iXc adds WiFi so you aren't reliant upon your phone for cloud integration. If you don't need the WiFi capabilities, you can consider the original Escort iX which is being discounted quite a bit before it goes away.
If you like the idea of saving money over Escort's top tier detectors, you don't need arrows, and you still want better false alert filtering than what the iX and iXc offer, I would point you towards the Escort Max2. It is essentially a Max 360 without arrows.
Now the Max2 is being discontinued so it won't be available much longer. You can still find the Max2 for a little while longer. I like it better than the iX (also being discontinued) because it offers better performance and filtering for a roughly similar price. I also think it's a better value than the iXc if you're looking for more of a mid-ranged detector since most people don't necessarily need the WiFi.
It still has all the other core features like GPS for automatic GPS lockouts, low-speed muting, red light camera alerts, and Bluetooth for cloud-based alert sharing through your phone.
So if you're looking for a well-rounded plug-and-play Escort radar detector without spending $500+, grab a Max2 while they're still around. (Note: If you see the Max2 Platinum, that's the same detector, but with the newer power cable that adds a USB charger port for your phone and sometimes a silver colored case.)
Next, let's start taking a look at the more affordable radar detectors. Of course, these detectors won't have all the same bells and whistles as the top end radar detectors, but they do have some of them so let's take a look at what compromises you'd make and if it's worth it to save the extra cash.
First up is the Escort X80. This detector is very similar to the Escort iX, but without a GPS chip built-in. The range is still pretty good and false alert filtering is decent. It's the lack of GPS that is the biggest compromise here, but fortunately, there is a workaround.
Now without the integrated GPS, the detector will not natively have the ability to automatically learn false alerts around town from speed signs and automatic door openers. It also can't alert you to red light camera and speed cams around. However, because it does have Bluetooth built-in, once you pair it to your phone and run the Escort Live app, you can use your phone's GPS to add back in most of the GPS features. See the speed limit of 55 MPH displayed in the photo above? That pops up too once you connect it to your phone.
Once you pair your X80 with your phone and run the Escort Live app, you'll not only get the alert sharing abilities in the cloud, but you'll also get the same low-speed muting and red light/speed-cam alerts. You'll also get a limited ability to teach it where false alerts are located so it can filter them out. Unlike the previous detectors that can automatically learn where those false alerts are, with the X80, when you come across a stationary false alert that you want to lock out in the future, you'll either need to press the lockout button in the app or triple press the mute button on the detector or power cable. Once you do, it will remember this alert as a false alert in the future and not alert you again. Again, this does require the app to be running and requires your manual intervention initially to teach it what's a false since there's no autolearn with the app, but once you do, you'll have the same GPS lockout filtering and muting that you'll see with Escort's higher end detectors.
The Escort 8500x50 Black is a predecessor to the X80. It has been discontinued for quite a while now, but you can still find it on Amazon for much less than Escort's modern detectors, so let's briefly talk about it.
Now the 8500x50 shares the same underlying platform as the X80, but there is no Bluetooth built-in, it uses an older LED display instead of a newer multicolor OLED, it lacks advanced features like BS/RDR to help improve its performance, and it lacks some of the modern false alert filtering capabilities that you'll really want nowadays. (You can shop around and find a discontinued Escort Live power cable with Bluetooth built-in to add the GPS functionality like the X80, but at that point, you might as well buy a higher end detector in the first place.)
Without GPS, it'd be a tough detector to reasonably run in an urban environment. Plus, without any modern BSM filtering, you're going to get a bunch more false alerts. It is certainly affordable though so if you're looking for a really inexpensive detector, this detector is one you can consider if you drive in more rural areas and you don't see a lot of other cars around you and so your detector won't be dealing with as many false alerts in the first place.
Next, let's take a look at the Escort 9500ix Platinum. The Escort 9500ix is Escort's best selling detector of all time. It was released about a decade ago and its age shows, which is why Escort has since replaced it with the Escort iX (which has also since been replaced by the iXc), but the 9500ix has historically been very popular so we should address it as well.
Under the hood, the 9500ix shares the same underlying platform as the 8500x50 Black, X80, iX, and many other detectors. (Escort often uses the same platform and adds different features around it, creating different models of detectors.)
The appeal of the 9500ix is that it was Escort's first radar detector with automatic GPS lockouts. This autolearn capability meant it was the first detector that could learn and filter out false alerts as you drive around town, an incredibly useful feature. However, it's otherwise a very dated detector in terms of performance, false alert filtering, and features.
The detector was discontinued for a while and brought back to life as the Escort S75G (same thing with a few minor changes and a new name). Because of the name recognition of the 9500ix though, they decided to bring it back. To somewhat refresh the detector, Escort has released a "Platinum" version which has an updated power cable with a USB charging port for your phone, but the detector is otherwise still the same as the one released about a decade ago.
This was a great detector for its time, but if you're looking for a detector today, I would really recommend something like a Max2 instead for modern false alert filtering capabilities.
The Escort S55 is a stripped-down version of the X80 that retails for less than half the price. The X80 itself was already lower-end by Escort’s standards, so the S55 is just about as basic as you can get in this product line. In fact, its functionality has been slimmed down so far that it doesn’t even sell on Escort’s website, instead being found on resellers like Amazon and eBay.
Here’s the thing: Neither the X80 nor the S55 are bad radar detectors. But the X80 already relied on your smartphone for some of its most important features, and on an outdated system for the rest of them. The S55 shares and compounds those problems. Specifically, its backing software was developed before blind spot detection became a common safety feature on new cars. Since blind spot detection relies on radar to work, it’s increased false positives in urban and suburban areas by a factor of 10. You’ll get no signal through all that noise.
Even worse, the S55 isn’t compatible with Escort Live, which removes the workaround the X80 had for its lack of GPS. Adding insult to injury, there’s no audio jack.
It’s a shame, because the S55 does have a few things going for it. The case feels surprisingly sturdy for how cheap it is, and it’s got extraordinary range, catching speed traps miles in advance. However, you’ll have to suffer through a lot of false positives along the way.
Looking at something a little different now, let's take a look at Escort's cordless detector, the Escort Solo S4.
Unlike all the other detectors that require you to plug it in for power, this detector runs off of a pair of AA batteries (though you can plug it in too). The idea here is if you're looking for a more convenient option for getting into a rental car where you don't have to plug your radar detector into a cig. lighter for power. Plus you don't have to have an ugly cable hanging down your dash either (though you could hardwire your radar detector for a permanent install).
The thing is though, other than the convenience aspect, this radar detector is otherwise pretty awful. It's a cosmetically refreshed and otherwise unchanged version of the Solo S2 released back in 2002 and the Solo S3 released in 2010. It's now 2021 and this is literally the same technology that was being used at the turn of the century. I'm not kidding...
Performance is utterly abysmal. To save power, it runs with much lower sensitivity levels, even if you plug it in with a power cable. With the reduced performance, it performs alright in straightaways, but drive down a curvy road and it often won't go off until the police officer already locks in your speed, rendering itself effectively useless. It has zero modern false alert filtering capabilities, no GPS, and likes to misreport strong K band false alerts as Ka-band alerts (which evidently is normal according to Escort's engineers), meaning it's constantly reporting low priority alerts like shopping center automatic door openers as really high priority alerts.
The detector is now being discontinued. If Escort ever makes another cordless detector, I hope they take the time to give it some much needed modern updates. In the meantime, if you have your heart set on going cordless, at the expense of pretty much everything else, you can still find the Solo S4 available online. Personally, though, I'd highly recommend going for a corded detector and getting a detector that's better in pretty much every conceivable way.
Bonus #1: Custom Installed Remote Detectors
Next, let's take a look at custom installed radar detectors. Instead of attaching a little box to your windshield, these radar detectors are installed somewhere around the grill area of your vehicle. Inside the cabin you have a display, controller, and speaker which is much easier to tuck away and blend into your vehicle, giving you a more OEM look.
Custom installed detectors ultimately give you a much cleaner install, they don't leave anything sitting on the windshield and visible to potential thieves or law enforcement, and sometimes they're actually necessary for people who drive higher-end vehicles with heated windshields that block any sort of RF signals like GPS signals, toll passes, as well as police radar. In these instances, a custom installed detector would be the way to go.
Now they are more expensive than windshield mounts. Instead of ~$200-650, we're looking at $1,400-$2,400, plus the cost of professional installation. These are undoubtedly more expensive and more involved to install, but provide a very clean and custom looking install once all is said and done.
First off, let's take a look at the Escort Max Ci. This is easily one of my favorite radar detectors available on the market, period. I run mine pretty regularly.
It offers the longest range performance of any radar detector I've ever tested, the BSM filtering is very good, it's got arrows if you pick up the optional rear radar detector antenna, Bluetooth is built-in for cloud integration, <a href="https://youtu.be/4IWjqpK25yk">it is undetectable to radar detector detectors</a> like the Redline EX, and it basically has all the key features most would want. It does lack MRCD support and WiFi, but otherwise, it has most everything.
If you want laser protection, you can also get it with Escort ShifterMax laser jammers which are the second best laser jammers on the market behind the AntiLaser Priority. The Max Ci running radar only, paired with the ALP, is my preferred setup of choice, but you can use Escort's jammers too which integrate directly with the radar detector into one singular package. If you get the full Escort radar and laser package, that's known as the Max Ci 360. (Escort also makes standalone laser jammers as well as jammers that can integrate with your windshield mount a radar detector, if you go that route instead.)
If you want a Max Ci, unlike Escort's windshield mount radar detectors, you can't buy one online. You'll need to find a local dealer and have them install the system for you.
Escort's other custom installed a detector is the Escort iX Ci. It's basically a custom installed (hence the 'Ci' in the name) version of the Escort iXc and it's Escort's more affordable custom installed solution.
The range and filtering isn't on par with the Max Ci, it has an older blue LED display instead of the multicolor OLED, and it is detectable by radar detector detectors, but for those who don't want to splurge for the full-on Max Ci 360, this is a more affordable way to still get the advantages of clean and hidden custom installed detector at a more budget-friendly price point.
Plus you still get Bluetooth, automatic GPS lockouts and red light camera alerts, the ability to add arrows with the optional rear antenna, and otherwise good performance and range. The installers I've talked to said that 99 percent of people go with the Max Ci platform, and I would do (and did) the exact same thing.
If you'd like an iX Ci, then like the Max Ci, you'll need to find a local dealer so you can purchase the system and have them install it for you.
Bonus #2: Adding Laser Jammers to your Windshield Mount Radar Detector
Radar detectors are fantastic for radar, but they provide little real-world protection against police officers using a laser. Unlike with radar, you generally don't get any advanced warning if an officer is using a laser. By the time they shoot you and your radar detector goes off, he already has your speed. That's assuming it even goes off in the first place. Sometimes it won't because laser is such a thin beam of light and hard to detect. Realistically though, a laser sensor in a radar detector is effectively a speeding ticket notifier.
To properly combat laser, you're going to need a laser jammer. Unlike a radar detector that simply detects laser, a laser jammer detects laser and then actively fires back and jams the police officer's laser gun, temporarily preventing him from getting your speed. This provides you a few seconds to slow down, disable your jammers, and allow him to get your speed doing the speed limit.
Note: Laser jammers are illegal in several states. (Read more about laser jammer laws.) In areas where jammers are prohibited, you can rely more on Escort Live (and similar apps like Waze) that will alert you when officers shoot other drivers ahead of you who are also running the app. In order to protect yourself when you get shot, you will need to equip yourself with your own set of laser jammers.
If you'd like to get laser jammers for your vehicle, which Escort refers to as laser "shifters," even though they're the exact same thing (po-tay-to, po-tah-to), there are several versions available that can plug into your radar detector and add proper laser protection. If you get Escort's shifters with the custom installed radar detectors, Escort calls them the ShifterMax. If you go for the shifters which can integrate with a windshield mount a radar detector, there's the ZR5 and ZW5. In terms of jamming capabilities, they all perform the same.
The Escort ZR5 is Escort's standard laser jammer. The two small black heads are installed into the grill area of your vehicle. Wires then run back into your engine bay, through your firewall, and up to your windshield mount radar detector. If you'd like rear protection as well, you can install two more laser jammer heads on the rear of your vehicle and run the cables back inside to plug into your system. Once paired, you have one single control hub for both radar and laser protection. (The ZR5 can also be run standalone with its own dedicated controller, but there's no advantage to this setup over the ALP.)
When an officer shoots you with laser, your radar detector will alert as your jammers start to fire. Then you slow down and double-tap the mute button to disable your jammers. It is absolutely critical that you disable your jammers within 3-4 seconds. To make this process hands-free, Escort will soon be adding the ability for the jammers to automatically disarm after several seconds, giving you enough time to slow down and avoid the ticket while your jammers do the rest. (This functionality is already available for the ShifterMax connected to the Max Ci and iX Ci.)
If you'd like to run a set of ZR5's with your radar detector, you will need to have a newer Escort radar detector. It is currently compatible with the Max 360c, Max 360, and Redline EX. Compatibility with detectors like the X80, Max2, and iXc are planned in the future.
If you like the idea of pairing a jammer with your radar detector like the ZR5, you only need protection for the front of your vehicle (where you'll see the majority of laser shots), and you'd like a simpler installation that doesn't require drilling through your vehicle's firewall (especially handy for leased vehicles or cars that are more difficult to install into in general), take a look at the wireless version of the ZR5 called the Escort ZW5.
The ZW5 is functionally the same as the ZR5 with the exception that it's limited to 2 heads up front. Installation is also much simpler because instead of running a cable through your vehicle's firewall, you have a waterproof box you install in your engine bay and an updated power cable that plugs into your radar detector, both of which have wireless communication capabilities so the laser jammer in your grill can communicate with your radar detector on your windshield without having to run wires directly between the two. It makes the installation much simpler and quicker if you do it and cheaper if you're paying a professional to do it. Plus you don't have to worry about going through the hassle of running wires through your firewall which is a really nice plus.
The ZW5 comes in two versions, depending on what type of power cable you'd like for your windshield mount radar detector. One version uses a cig. the lighter cable which is more plug and play. The other version uses a direct wire that needs to be wired into your vehicle's fuse box for power and takes a little more work to install, but you wind up with a cleaner setup in the end and leave your cig. lighter open for other devices like a phone charger.
The ZW5 is currently compatible with newer detectors like the Max 360c, Max 360, Redline EX, and iXc. Support for some of the older detectors is in the pipeline.
Bonus #3: Dash Camera
Finally, if you'd like to get a dash cam as well to pair with your windshield mount a radar detector, Escort offers the M1 dash cam. It's essentially a little box that plugs into the side of your radar detector and while you drive, it records everything at Full HD 1080p.
It attaches to your radar detector's suction cup mount and then plugs into the same power cable as your radar detector itself, with a passthrough cable to power the radar detector itself. There are thousands of different dash cams available on the market. The appeal of the M1 is that it provides for a more integrated setup with your radar detector, letting you use one mount and power cable for both devices. This makes it both more travel-friendly when hopping into a rental car, plus it makes the install into your primary vehicle much easier with just one mount and power cable.
As for the dash cam itself, it offers all the basic features like 1080p recording, WiFi for easier configuration and downloading videos to your phone (you don't need to be connected to your phone while you drive), constant recording and automatically overwriting the oldest footage when the card gets full, a button on the back to manually mark and save clips when something interesting happens on the road, and impact detection to automatically mark and protect clips in case of an accident.
Now realistically speaking, you can find other dash cams with more features (like GPS), better video quality, and a lower price. The appeal of the M1 is that you get one convenient and integrated package with your radar detector since both share the same mount and power cable.
The M1 is compatible with most of Escort's windshield mount radar detectors. It is not compatible with the ZW5. It is compatible with the ZR5, but only if you run it standalone and don't wire it into your radar detector. See Escort's website for complete details.
Conclusion: Best Escort Radar Detector?
As you can see, there are quite a few options available. Escort makes a bunch of windshields mount radar detectors with different feature sets and at different price points to appeal to different radar detectors.
If you were to ask which setup was the "best," looking across Escort's offerings, I would say that it would be a combination of the Escort Max 360c on your windshield paired with the ZW5 laser shifter in your grill or the ZR5 instead if you also want rear protection. In fact that Max 360c / ZW5 combo is the exact setup that I run in my wife's car and it works great. In my car, my preferred detector is Max Ci 360.
No one setup is the best for everyone to pick what best suits you and enjoy. Once you purchase, be sure to check out my radar detector setup tutorials to learn how to set up and use your new radar detector.