Best radar gun

Electronics

Most radar guns measure speed in miles per hour and are accurate to between 1 to 3 miles per hour. That said, radar guns used professionally frequently have accuracies down to .1 miles per hour.

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Which radar gun is best?

There are more uses for a radar gun than to be tagged by a cop for speeding down the highway at 11 p.m. because you just want to get to your destination quickly. The next most common usage is in training for various sports, most commonly used in baseball to measure pitching speeds or in American football to measure running speeds.

The best radar gun for any possible use is the Pocket Radar Smart Coach. While it’s true this radar gun chews straight through batteries, you can alleviate this by securing a power pack, and the rest of the features, especially the accuracy, are impossible to ignore.

What to know before you buy a radar gun

How speed is measured

Radar guns measure the speed of an object using either the Doppler effect or lasers to measure.

  • Doppler method: A radar gun that uses the Doppler effect sends radio signals toward the object to be measured. When the radio signals bounce off the target and return to the radar gun, the change in the frequency of the sent wave and the returned wave is measured and then computed into the final given speed. The entire process takes less than a second. 
  • Laser method: Laser radar guns, most often used by the police, use a light shined onto the object and measure how long it takes for that light to reflect off the object and return to the radar gun.

Typical radar gun uses

There are all kinds of different speeds to measure when it comes to almost every sport. 

What to look for in a quality radar gun

Design

The typical design of a radar gun, the shape you most often visualize, is similar to a handheld drill. The front of the radar gun sends and receives the signals with the back housing the display and controls.

More recently designed radar guns look almost like smartphones. You use it as you would taking a picture. Point at your object and press the center button to trigger the measuring mechanism. A benefit of this type of design is the ability to mount it to a tripod far easier than mounting a drill-shaped radar gun.

Controls 

All radar guns are activated by a button or trigger to take a reading but some have additional control options for different uses. The most common alternate mode is a continuous reading mode that automatically takes measurements without holding the gun.

Other popular modes include displaying only the fastest speed of the measuring period or storing the range of speeds an object has during its full testing period, both especially useful for measuring baseball pitches.

How much you can expect to spend on a radar gun

Even the most basic radar guns are going to require many pretty pennies from your wallet. The most basic radar guns that simply measure speed within a few miles per hour can cost a few hundred dollars, and once you start looking at quality options, you’ll find prices up to $500. Radar guns used by law enforcement can cost a few thousand dollars.

Radar gun FAQ

Are the radar guns used by police more accurate than commonly available consumer-grade options?

Very much so, yes. At a minimum, they are accurate within a single mile per hour but are frequently even more accurate than that. However, this comes at a cost, as you must test and recalibrate them regularly. Otherwise, their accuracy can begin to deviate. The next time you’re pulled over for speeding though you followed the speed limit, have them check when it was last calibrated as it may affect whether or not you receive a speeding ticket.

Does it matter where I place my radar gun when I’m trying to measure speed?

A. If you’re using a Doppler effect radar gun, then yes, your radar gun must be pointing in the same direction as the object you wish to measure, as it measures the speed at which the object comes toward or moves away from the gun. In other words, place it in front of or behind the object for accurate results.

Will radar guns remain accurate in precipitous weather conditions?

A. Yes, they will. Precipitation does not affect a radar gun unless the radar gun isn’t proofed against the type of weather to which it is being subjected. For example, it would need waterproofing against rain or snow.

What are the best radar guns to buy?

Top radar gun

Pocket Radar Smart Coach

Pocket Radar Smart Coach

What you need to know: Don’t let the simplistic design fool you, this radar gun is packed with features.

What you’ll love: Bluetooth connectivity and a companion app assist an already impressive device.

What you should consider: The AAA batteries are drained very quickly, almost necessitating a power pack.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top radar gun for the money

Bushnell Velocity Speed Gun

Bushnell Velocity Speed Gun

What you need to know: This is an affordable and solid option if you just want to get some quick reads while saving some money.

What you’ll love: This streamlined and straightforward design can still register speeds up to 200mph.

What you should consider: You lose some good features seen in better models by selecting this low-cost option.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Stalker Sport 2 Series Radar Gun

Stalker Sport 2 Series Radar Gun

What you need to know: This is the perfect radar gun option for any baseball player in training.

What you’ll love: A recall mode shows the last five readings taken, perfect for averaging speeds.

What you should consider: Rechargeable batteries with AC adapters are available but unfortunately sold separately.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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