What is a speed camera detector and how does it work?
A speed camera detector is a device that alerts you when you’re approaching a speed camera. The idea is that it gives you enough time to ensure you are not travelling over the speed limit, saving you the hassle of incurring fines and points on your licence
Speed camera detectors alert you when you are approaching fixed speed cameras and/or mobile units. They also provide warnings about accident blackspots and congestion zones and display/announce the legal speed limit. They offer LED displays, so as to be easily visible at night, and can be updated online.
How do GPS and radar detectors differ, aren’t they illegal?
There are several differences between radar/laser and GPS detectors. GPS speed camera detectors use a database of fixed camera locations. They also alert you to known accident blackspots and school locations. They work based on comparing your current location to the location of speed cameras on the database, to establish when you are nearing one.
Radar and laser detectors pick up on the frequency of transmissions from police radar and laser speed detection equipment. They then alert you to the presence of this equipment. This means they can pick up the location of mobile detectors, which GPS detectors can’t.
There was a lot of talk a few years ago about speed camera detectors being made illegal. However, a ban never took place. This means it is perfectly legal to use all types of speed camera detector in England.
This isn’t the same in every country. In some countries (Northern Ireland, for instance) it is illegal to use a speed camera detector. If you plan to drive to another country, therefore, be sure to check up on the laws of that country before you travel.
GPS speed camera detectors
This type of detector uses GPS technology to pinpoint the location of speed cameras and lets you know when you approaching one. Newer models use a GPS database in conjunction with this, as some speed cameras are now manufactured to be undetectable to satellite technology.
We recommend …
The Cheetah C550 is a high quality GPS speed camera detector. It’s easy to set up and understand and will give you clear voice alerts when you are approaching a speed camera. It also features a bright LED screen, which is visible even in direct sunlight. It comes with free lifetime database updates, meaning the device will always be up to date with the latest sat nav updates.
Rating – 4/5
Radar and laser speed camera detectors
An alternative to buying a GPS detector is a buying a radar and laser speed camera detector. However, unlike a GPS detector it won’t pick up some newer models of speed camera. Cameras by Truvelo, for example, are undetectable.
It also won’t give you any kind of alert for average speed zones. These feature two overhead cameras, installed 200 metres apart. The cameras measure your speed from the first camera to the second.
This is not the case for all radar and laser detectors – some have now combined both GPS with radar and laser detection, so it’s important to choose carefully.
As a rule, radar and laser speed camera detectors are better at detecting mobile speed cameras. Some models can warn you up to three miles before the camera.
We recommend …
This device combines GPS, radar and laser detection. This makes it one of the most comprehensive speed camera detectors available.
With the radar and laser detection giving you great coverage for mobile speed cameras, and the GPS giving you alerts for fixed cameras, you’re effectively covered for all situations.
The Aguri Skyway is quick to set up and works straight out of the box. It also comes with free lifetime updates.
Rating – 5/5
Sat navs with speed camera locations
Sat nav speed camera detection is just as effective as the bulk of dedicated products available. It can also be more cost effective, as the sat nav you already have may be capable of detecting speed cameras. The flaw, though, is the accuracy of the database. When you buy a dedicated GPS detector, the database will be updated frequently (usually every three weeks). However, a sat nav programme will be lucky to get an update once a year! This could result in it failing to inform you about speed cameras. You will also be left in the dark as to the whereabouts of any mobile speed cameras. To rectify this, consider using an additional radar or laser detector in conjunction with your sat nav.
We recommend …
If you want to upgrade your sat nav to one with speed camera detection, we recommend the TomTom Go 5200. It’s the most advanced on the market from a camera detection point of view. It has features like real-time information updates from other drivers and warns you about fixed, mobile and average speed cameras.
Rating – 3/5
Dashcams with inbuilt speed camera detection
A dashcam is a device that mounts onto the windscreen of your car and records footage of the road. In the event of an accident, it provides first-hand evidence for you to call upon. Using a dashcam can bring down your insurance premium and protect you in the event of traffic scams.
Dashcams also have a secondary use, with many models now featuring inbuilt GPS functionality. This means they can give you speed camera warnings, just like a GPS detector would.
This device is great for anyone who wants a high dashcam that also works as a GPS speed camera detector. As mentioned above, a GPS system means you’re covered for Truvelo speed cameras as well as average speed zones. Aguri provides free lifetime updates when you purchase this device, so you will always have accurate alerts.
Rating – 4/5