Best Radar Detectors With Dash Cams: Summary
- Radar detectors and dash cameras have individual benefits, but there are “two-in-one” options or combo units that give you the best of both worlds.
- Driving with a combined unit saves windshield space and may save you money since you are buying one unit versus two.
- Escort and Cobra manufacture two of the most popular units, although the Whistler MFU440 is a good budget option.
- If you already own a compatible Escort radar detector, the M2 is a “radar-mounted” dash camera. The M2 attaches to the side of the Escort detector.
Automoblog Review & Evaluation Process
Automoblog is a member of the Radar Detector and Countermeasures Forum to ensure truth and accountability when covering radar detectors, dash cams, and any combination thereof. Whether we receive something from a manufacturer to review or purchase it with our own money, we consider the four main points listed below.
- False Alert Filtering: While no radar detector is entirely immune to false alerts, units that prioritize a quiet drive, alerting only when absolutely necessary, receive an extra feather in their cap during our review process. In and around Detroit, we deliberately drive past shopping plazas, industrial areas, places with digital signage, and other locations with sources of non-police radar while evaluating a given radar detector. These locations can and will produce a false K band alert. Some radar detectors do better than others, as they have embedded technology to address and mitigate alerts caused by non-police radar.
- Range Detection: During our radar detector evaluations, we drive roadways in the Detroit area with regular high-volume traffic. Our go-to roads include Woodward Avenue, Telegraph Road, I-696, and M-10 during afternoon rush hour. In these areas, we are looking for the most advanced notice possible of police radar. We pick high-volume traffic times as law enforcement vehicles in Michigan are often nondescript Ford Explorers and Chevy Tahoes, which blend in easily in traffic and can be hard to spot visually. Our friend Vortex Radar from the Radar Detector Forum has the most comprehensive range testing, documenting everything in charts and graphs. We often follow his guidelines when it comes to range detection.
- Price & Value-Added Features: We looked at the cost of each radar detector and dash cam combo versus the amount of features it offers for the money. Examples of value-added features include Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, segmentation filters, and directional arrows.
- Ease of Use & Functionality: The best radar detectors with dash cams should provide a seamless user experience. Ease of use becomes more critical in our evaluation process as the price and feature set of the unit in question increases.
Radar Detectors With Dash Cams Overview
When it comes to these combo units – or radar detectors that also integrate a dash cam as part of their design – there are only a few options on the market. The MAXcam 360c from the Escort MAX family, the Cobra Road Scout, and the Whistler MFU440 are the most prominent options in the United States (and, by contrast, the Neoline XCop 9300s outside the U.S. market). The Escort, Cobra, and Whistler are two-in-one combo units, meaning the radar detector and dash camera are housed in the same unit.
There is another option if you own an Escort radar detector: a “bolt-on” or “radar-mounted” dash cam. The latest version from Escort is called the M2, which is compatible with MAX and iX series detectors and the Redline 360c. Installation is straightforward as the M2 bolts onto the suction cup mount and is run by the radar detector’s existing 12V power cord. Currently, Escort is the only manufacturer offering this style of detector-mounted dash cam.
The table below shows the best radar detectors with a dash camera for 2024. We will summarize the main features and our experience with each combo unit and include videos of dash cam footage we recorded.
|Brand and Model
|Escort MAXcam 360c
|Cobra Road Scout
|Best Mid-Tier Option
|Best Budget Pick
|Bolt-On Option (compatible only with Escort detectors)
Best Overall: Escort MAXcam 360c
Described by Escort as a complete driver alert system, the MAXcam 360c is an enhanced version of the MAX 360c radar detector with a 1440p camera. Escort is known for higher-end and tech-packed units, which is why the MAXcam 360c is the most expensive – but best overall – on this list.
The MAXcam comes with a 12V power cord, suction cup windshield mount, 16GB Micro SD card, a mini USB cable for the dash camera, and a carrying case. The 12V power cord has a USB port on the backside, so you can still charge your phone.
Escort MAXcam 360c Pros & Cons
|Recorded video quality.
|Most expensive on this list.
|Range detection in heavy traffic.
|Learning curve for first-time users.
|App offers real-time alerts and video access.
|App capability may not benefit all drivers.
Dash Cam Footage
The dash cam footage below was recorded with our Escort MAXcam 360c during a fall drive up to Mackinac Island. In this video, you can see us going over the Mackinac Bridge toward St. Ignace, Michigan. The Mackinac Bridge is currently the fifth-longest suspension bridge in the world, stretching over five miles across the great waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.
MAXcam 360c Radar Detector
The radar detector portion includes Escort hallmarks like front and rear antennas, directional arrows for better situational awareness, and AutoLearn Intelligence, which automatically locks out false fixed-location alerts. The MAXcam’s built-in GPS works with the internal software to learn your daily driving routes, locking out stationary false alerts (like automatic doors) over the course of time.
Escort also beefed up the false alert filtering on the MAXcam 360c and included two convenient sensitivity modes in Auto No X and Auto Lo K. You can also experiment with different Ka segmentation filters.
False Alert Filtering
The MAXcam utilizes the Blackfin 706 DSP (digital signal processing) and SDR (software-defined radio receiver) 9363 chips from Analog Devices, both of which are found in the Redline 360c, Escort’s flagship unit. Blackfin DSP integration is becoming more common across the Escort MAX family, including the MAX 360 MKII, which took the top spot on our list of best radar detectors for 2024.
With Blackfin DSP integration, the MAXcam 360c does a better job of analyzing all available radar sources in the immediate area, prioritizing only legitimate threats. In essence, Blackfin DSP integration gives the MAXcam a deeper degree of false alert filtering, which helps justify the higher price point relative to other options on this list.
The Redline 360c is still the best in Escort’s lineup for range detection because of its triple antenna design (two front, one rear), but the MAXcam holds its own. Based on our experience, the dual-antenna MAXcam’s range detection isn’t quite as far as the mighty Redline, but it’s longer than the standard MAX 360c (in other words, the MAXcam is great in the range detection department!).
Dash Camera Specs & Features
The 1440p camera is powered by a Sony Starvis sensor that captures about 80 percent more pixels than a 1080p camera. Included is a 16GB SD card that automatically stores footage on a running loop, which can also be accessed in real-time via the Drive Smarter app. Additional features include an integrated G-sensor, parking mode, and an emergency mayday alert.
Bluetooth & WiFi Connectivity
The MAXcam 360c is compatible with the Drive Smarter app, connecting owners to a network of other Escort radar detector users. The Drive Smarter app gives the MAXcam access to shared alerts, including active radar bursts, red light and speed camera locations, and other road hazards. Likewise, you can issue an alert for others via the app if you notice something like a speed trap or a stationary patrol car.
While the Drive Smarter app is slowly improving in its overall functionality, Escort still has some bugs to work out. We find that Drive Smarter is hit or miss, depending on when we connect to it.
When Bluetooth connectivity issues are non-existent, the Drive Smarter app lets you view and download recorded footage from the MAXcam and set additional safety and security measures. Drive Smarter also includes a Mayday Alert, a feature that allows you to input an emergency contact (in the event of an impact, a text message is sent to your emergency contact). The app also stores incident reports to assist with the claims process.
The good news is you don’t necessarily need the app to enjoy the MAXcam 360c. The unit’s hardware is unaffected, meaning you still have long-range radar detection and excellent camera quality. While you won’t be able to access your footage on the fly, you can pull it off the unit later with the included mini-USB cable.
Perhaps as an additional cool factor, the MAXcam 360c can connect to Wi-Fi (hence the little “c” in the name). When connected, the MAXcam will check for the latest firmware updates and initiate them automatically.
Our comprehensive written review of the MAXcam 360c goes through the features and settings menu more in-depth. Likewise, our YouTube video review details a bit more about how we use the MAXcam 360c here in Detroit.
Best Mid-Tier Option: Cobra Road Scout
The Cobra Road Scout is similar to the MAXcam 360c in that it’s also a combo unit, but it doesn’t pack the same punch. It’s the more economical version of the MAXcam, offering similar features but lower performance. Overall, the Road Scout is not a bad choice for a radar detector with a dash camera, but it’s not the best either, based on our experience.
The Road Scout comes with a suction cup windshield mount, a 12-volt SmartCord USB power cord (so you can still charge your phone), and a 16GB SD card and micro USB cable for the dash cam. A handy travel case and a quick reference guide are also included.
Cobra Road Scout Pros & Cons
|Compact and lightweight.
|More affordable than the MAXcam.
|Built-in GPS lockout functionality.
|App offers real-time alerts and video access.
|App capability may not benefit all drivers.
Dash Cam Footage
The dash cam footage below was recorded during a summer afternoon trip through downriver Michigan and the Detroit metro. Night footage on I-75 and M-10 are also included, along with a quick trip through the midtown area of Detroit.
Cobra Road Scout Radar Detector
The Cobra Road Scout will alert you to X, K, and Ka radar bands and laser (LiDAR) guns. It does not have directional arrows like the MAXcam 360c, which is among the reasons for the price difference. Overall, the Road Scout’s dash cam is sufficient, but the radar detector leaves much to be desired. Although the false alert filtering is above average, the detection range is meh.
Manual GPS Lockouts
Most manual GPS lockouts we initiate in areas with known false alerts rarely stick, meaning any permanent digital signage on your daily drive will trip the Road Scout. Unlike the MAXcam 360c, the Road Scout does not have auto lockout capability (among the reasons for the price difference).
False Alert Filtering
Although detection range and manual GPS lockouts are an issue, the Cobra Road Scout makes up for it by offering a solid false alert filtering system. The IVT Filter (or in-vehicle technology filter) prevents any potential falses that could be triggered by the advanced safety features on other vehicles around you. This includes radar-sensor-dependant systems like adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring.
Other redeeming qualities of the Road Scout include an info-packed display screen, its lightweight construction, and an Auto sensitivity mode.
Dash Camera Features & DriveSmarter App
Similar to the MAXcam 360c above, the Road Scout is compatible with the Drive Smarter app, which replaces the previous Drive HD and iRadar apps.
Drive Smarter effectively combines the two apps, increasing the Road Scout’s overall ease of use. Prior to Drive Smarter, both apps were really needed to achieve full functionality with the Road Scout (Drive HD for viewing, editing, and sharing videos and iRadar for user-generated alerts like red light and speed camera locations).
With Drive Smarter, you don’t have to switch back and forth between the apps on your phone or the Road Scout itself, eliminating a somewhat involved process. Similar to the MAXcam 360c, the Drive Smarter app has improved for the Road Scout versus its initial rollout, and we are hopeful that future updates within the app will enable it to run more smoothly.
However, like the MAXcam 360c, the Road Scout’s radar detector and camera hardware will work without the app (you can pull your dash cam footage off later via a hardwired connection to your laptop).
Cobra Road Scout: Daily Driving
On any given day driving around metro Detroit, we are more inclined to reach for our MAXcam 360c (covered above) or the M2 (covered below). Granted, the MAXcam 360c is nearly double the price, but so is the performance. The MAXcam 360c has a nicer camera and absolutely torches the Road Scout when it comes to detection range, especially Ka alerts from the rear.
It might be different if the Road Scout had a more muscular radar detector to match its camera, but that just isn’t the case.
Best Budget Pick: Whistler MFU440
This is the one radar detector and dash cam combo on this list that, in full disclosure, we do not own. While we own a Cobra Road Scout, an Escort MAXcam 360c, and an M2 dash camera, the Whistler MFU440 we have yet to add to our collection. We are including it as our budget pick and as a less expensive alternative to the Road Scout.
Our summary points below are pulled from Whistler’s spec sheet, Amazon reviews, and an overview video of the MFU440 recorded at the 2018 SEMA show by our friend Vortex Radar.
Whistler MFU440 Pros & Cons
|Price point & easy to use.
|Slow Wi-Fi connectivity.
|iOS and Android companion app.
|Radar detector performance.
|Bilingual (English/Spanish) OLED display.
|Some one-star reviews on Amazon.
Whistler MFU440 Summary Points
The Whistler MFU440 comes with a power cord with a USB port, a windshield bracket kit, and an owner’s guide.
As described by Vortex Radar during his 2018 SEMA video, the MFU440 is based on the Z-31R+, the top model in Whistler’s Z Series lineup of radar detectors. Even though the Z-31R+ might be the top Z Series detector, it still has a wallet-friendly price of $150. That said, it appears with its Z-31R+ underpinning, Whistler wants a specific price range (affordability) for its MFU440 combo unit.
Key radar detector features include a built-in GPS for red light and speed camera notifications, three city settings, and a traffic signal filter to minimize false alerts. Dash cam features include a 130-degree optical quality lens, loop recording, and the ability to support a 32GB SD card.
Bolt-On Option: Escort M2 Dash Cam
The M2 is a “radar-mounted” dash cam that attaches to a compatible Escort radar detector, including the brand’s popular MAX and iX series and the Redline. Despite having a 16GB SD card to capture footage, the M2 is not a standalone unit but a bolt-on accessory powered by the radar detector.
The M2 comes with a long bolt, two washers, a windshield mounting bracket, and a USB data cable to transfer footage from the dash cam to your computer. Although the M2 comes with a 16GB SD card, it can support an SD card up to 128GB.
Escort M2 Pros & Cons
|Adds weight to the radar detector.
|Only compatiable with Escort units.
|Video includes GPS markings.
|Bluetooth connectivity & app performance at times.
Dash Cam Footage
The recorded footage below includes portions of a late-October drive across the Detroit metro. The nighttime footage is from I-275, while some of the daytime clips are from the Southfield Freeway (M-39).
Camera Features & Drive Smarter App
As a follow-up to Escort’s M1 dash camera, the M2 is a noticeable upgrade with 1080P resolution, a 140-degree field-of-view, dual-band Wi-Fi, G-Sensor, and a built-in GPS. The GPS records your speed, location, and other valuable information that could be useful during an insurance claim.
When connected to the Drive Smarter app, you can view a live feed in real-time via the camera’s Wi-Fi and save footage you have already recorded to your phone. Wi-Fi capability also means the M2 can receive automatic firmware updates, which you will be notified of via the Drive Smarter app.
The M2 defaults to its emergency mode during a collision, hard braking, or any other event that triggers the G-Sensor. This saves the footage separately from the M2’s continuous loop mode, so it’s not recorded over. An audible alert of “File Protected” will sound.
The M2 comes with a long bolt, two washers, and a windshield mounting bracket. There are two things to keep in mind when it comes to installation. The first is to position the radar detector closer to your steering wheel than usual. This “left offset” will allow the M2 to film from the middle of your vehicle.
The second is how the M2 will add weight to an already heavy radar detector, a possible concern if you own something like the Escort Redline 360c or MAX 360c MKII. To ensure the best possible seal, clean the radar detector’s suction cup mount and a small area of the windshield with rubbing alcohol.
If you purchase an M2, this helpful installation video from our YouTube channel will have you up and running in less than five minutes.
M2 Dash Camera Considerations
If you already own a compatible Escort radar detector, the M2 is a less expensive upgrade compared to the Road Scout or MAXcam 360c.
On Escort’s website, you will see various options for bundling the M2 with compatible detectors. Consider pairing the M2 with the Escort Redline 360c if range detection is most important to you when looking for a radar detector. The drawback will be the price, but you will save with the bundle option versus buying them individually. And the Escort Redline 360c is consistently a top-tier and high-performing radar detector.
We prefer to bundle the M2 with the MAX 360 MKII, a radar detector we have enjoyed reviewing and driving with around Detroit. It will have the best price point of the bundle options, and the false alert filtering of the MAX 360 MKII will be on par with the Redline 360c.
Radar Detectors With Dash Cams Conclusion
If you want to save windshield space and consolidate your radar detector and dash cam, the options above offer a nice balance of performance for their respective price points.
For additional insight, browse through the Radar Detector & Countermeasures Forum, which has entire discussion sections dedicated to nearly every brand of radar detector and dash camera (including radar detectors with a dash cam!). There are tons of people on there (myself included) who can help you with any questions or troubleshooting.
Carl Anthony is the Managing Editor of Automoblog and the host of AutoVision News Radio and AutoSens Insights. As a respected automotive industry thought leader, Carl has appeared on numerous podcasts and radio shows, including Wrench Nation, Cars Yeah, The Car Doctor, and Brains Byte Back, in addition to appearing as a regular contributor on MotorMouth Radio on WHPC 90.3 FM. His work can also be seen and heard 24/7 on the Automoblog YouTube channel.
Radar Detectors FAQ
Are Radar Detectors Legal?
Using a radar detector in a privately owned passenger vehicle is legal in the U.S., with the exception of Virginia and Washington D.C. Radar detectors are illegal in commercial vehicles. See this guide to radar detector laws for all 50 U.S. states if you have additional questions.
How Do Radar Detectors Work?
While proprietary technology can differ between each radar detector manufacturer, think of a standard radar detector in terms of receiving and deciphering.
Every radar detector has a “horn” or antenna (sometimes more than one) and an internal microprocessor. The antenna picks up or receives the police radar gun, and the microprocessor deciphers it, ultimately showing on the display screen important info like signal strength and band type.
Radar detector manufacturers build on that basic principle with their own hardware and software to achieve increased detection range with fewer false alerts.
Will My Radar Detector Alert to Laser Guns?
Yes, all radar detectors will alert to police laser guns, meaning your radar detector is also a laser detector by default.
Some radar detectors are compatible with an accessory called laser shifters, but those are different from laser jammers, which are illegal in some states. Police laser guns use a technology called lidar, which stands for light detection and ranging.
What Is The Best Radar Detector For Me?
The best radar detector for you will depend on where and how you drive and how much you want to spend.
If you love having the latest and greatest gadgets, you might enjoy the features a high-end unit will provide. By contrast, if you only need a gentle reminder of police radar in the area, you can find something more basic but still of good quality.
I Saw a Police Car, Why Didn’t My Radar Detector Alert?
Contrary to popular belief, a radar detector will not always alert every time a police car is nearby. Sometimes, a patrol car will have its radar gun off, meaning there is nothing for the radar detector to alert to.
Traffic officers also use an enforcement strategy called “Instant-On” radar, where they only use their radar gun at certain times (think like the storied image of the officer on the motorcycle hiding behind the billboard).
If this happens, traffic officers will only target one vehicle at a time. Most high-quality radar detectors will alert to Instant-On radar with plenty of advanced notice, although it’s still possible to get a ticket via Instant-On if you are not careful.