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Escort Passport 8500 X50 Radar Detector: $300
Escort Passport 8500 X50 Radar Detector: $300
First, a word of caution. Radar detectors are reasonably popular devices among my peers: In the latest Zogby/Fortune Small Business poll, 37% of small business owners said they had used one. But laws on radar detectors vary. You can't use them in Virginia or Washington, D.C., or on U.S. military bases. In California, Minnesota and New York, it's illegal to mount one on your windshield, though not on the dashboard. Federal law prohibits their use in large commercial vehicles. Most Canadian provinces and European countries ban radar detectors as well, so be sure to check local laws before you travel.

The Escort worked straight out of the box and mounted easily on my dashboard. Its best feature is the ability to detect POP radar guns, which are increasingly popular with law enforcement.

You can adjust the Escort's sensitivity to minimize false positives, a big issue for city drivers (garage-door openers and security alarms often confuse radar detectors). I found the Escort sleek, stylish and simple to operate, with a few buttons controlling all of its major functions.

NEXT: Valentine One Radar Detector: $400

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