Radar Detector Information for New Zealand (Which radar detector should I get, what settings should I use...)


Aug 15, 2019
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This is an attempt at some information for NZ users and tries to answer most FAQs. Please post below or PM me if you want to add to it, or if I have made a mistake.

The threats:
Please refer to the NZ section with respect to what is being used as at January 2019
To summarise the above, New Zealand mostly uses Ka Band 34.7 GHz in patrol cars. Fixed and Mobile Speed Cameras use https://www.rdtalk.org/threads/178/ (Redflex) Frequency (REPORTED) ranging from 24.110 – 24.000. The use of Laser has been confirmed in Auckland and Christchurch.

The legal part:
Legal to own and operate a radar detector
(Friendly suggestion, thieves love to smash your windscreen to grab that great V1 deal you got on Trademe, I suggest you take it down when away from your car). Also Cops don't really like seeing them dangling on your windscreen right in the middle, try mount it high above near the rear view mirror, or low so as not to be too low, but not to obstruct your view.

Illegal to use a radar or laser jammer- Not sure what the fine is, but you could get up to 50 demerit points.
Using, in a motor vehicle, equipment that interferes with operation of speed measuring device25
Possessing, in a motor vehicle, equipment that is designed to interfere with operation of speed measuring device25
From what I understand, you can be convicted for a crime for the above see the legislation here: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1998/0110/latest/DLM3820235.html#DLM3820235

Which radar detector is best for NZ?
Depends, how much money do you have to spend? Most high end detectors bought in NZ will cost you on average $1000 NZD. Do you need to spend that much? Simple answer no, longish answer follows.

The cost of a radar detector bought in NZ varies from $20 to $3000 NZD. The main thing these days with higher priced radar detectors are the features that come with them, or features to personalise how often or not they beep at you. So as you will see towards the end of this post (real NZ testing results), a $100 detector may still save you from a ticket, but it is also likely to drive you nuts with false alerts and ruin your driving flow. NZ police are starting to use more and more of instant on (IO). It is where a police officer keeps their radar gun on “hold” so not transmitting radar, and when they see you in the distant- BOOM they switch to transmit- your radar detector goes crazy, and you wind up here wondering why you got a ticket. So the higher end detectors, will not only give you more range (significantly more), but are also better at sniffing out any IO attempts which the officer may be employing on other cars in front/behind you. So you have $100 to spend and you want a good detector, you’re going to be struggling mate. I would personally say save up or if you want to take a risk buy second hand.

Windshield mounted detectors:
For NZ conditions, here are the detectors I would suggest in terms of SPECS, Valentine 1 (Try and get the V1 LE dongle, and this will make your V1 a superstar), Uniden DFR7/LRD950 and ABOVE (R1, R3, R7), Escort & Beltronics have chopped and changed a lot recently, Escort- New Redline EX is a good choice, so is the New 9500IX, I would not recommend any of the cobras, whistlers, like I said, will give you a save, but noisy and unreliable. Also, most US bought detectors will work perfectly fine in NZ for Ka band. So if you spot a great deal on a Uniden R3 or Uniden R7, why not get it using YouShop. Keep in mind, anything declared in value ~$300 NZD is likely to incur GST+customs charges.

My first radar detector about 20 years ago was a USED imported Escort X50 (which I still have)- it cost me about $500 NZD to get into and use in NZ and it was and still is very decent on Ka band, pretty much on par with the very much NZ-loved V1 (which was and still is around the $1000 mark). Between then (early 2000s) to now, (almost 2020), I have tried most if not all brands and most flavours of radar detectors- pretty much everything (unfortunately even rocky mountain) except the K40 series.

Installed detectors:
These are going to be expensive to buy as well as install (unless you do it yourself).
At the time of this writing this, I would recommend the Radenso (RCM - starting ~$2400 NZD) and Escort (MAX CI - starting ~ $2800 NZD), Both of these bought from a NZ/AU retailer (radar direct NZ) should also be able to detect redflex. Another good option is the Netradar DSP which is the same platform as the Uniden R3 and great performer on Ka, but only goes upto 24.050 on K band, so will not detect ALL redflex. This is sold through dontgetcaught in Perth, but radar direct NZ may be able to source it for you.

There are still older models of ESCORT and Beltronics remotes floating around NZ. If you plan on buying one of these second hand, I would do your due diligence and somehow confirm it is actually working. Also, good to confirm if it is a NZ/AU model with ability to detect Redflex, or a imported US model, which will really only be useful for Ka 34.7 duty.

Recommended external links to reviews:
While this video by @Vortex is a bit old now, most of these detectors I have seen being used in NZ, so very relevant for Ka 34.7.
For up to date information see:

Recommended settings for NZ
Segmenting your detector will bring out its best in range and sensitivity, and also only beep when its supposed to (most of the time). Settings below are mostly for NON-V1 users. If you have a V1, I highly recommend you get a V1 connect dongle and set your mind free ;). Using the V1 in L or A mode is a waste of money, might as well be driving with a $100 cobra on your windscreen – CUSTOMISE IT! (Instructions can be found elsewhere on this forum or on Vortex’s website & Youtube channel).

Ka - on
If Ka Band segments are available- As NZ hovers around 34.7 GHz I would recommend Segmenting Ka band to Ka Segment 5 and Ka Segment 6. Basically you want to cover a good chunk of the 34.7 range. Segments 5 and 6 cover from 34.587 to 35.163. I have not really seen anything lower than 34.5, but have routinely seen higher 34.8 – 34.9.
This can get VERY annoying even if your detector has K segments. I normally drive with it off, as I know where the fixed pole mounts in my region are, and you can normally see those mobile vans before your detector goes off.
If you have the OLDER AU/NZ models of escort or beltronics or Uniden – I would suggest K1 on only.
For the newer ESCORT/Beltronics units (SO Redline EX and later) – Use K4 and K1.
If you do some reading, you will realise that if indeed you are targeted by laser, it is pretty much game-over unless you have some laser jammers installed (but hey they are illegal, yes, but parking sensors are not).
GPS- If you have NZ maps and speed cam locations, then keep this on, otherwise off.
MRCD/T, GATSO etc etc – Not used here – OFF
ALL OTHER FILTERS – OFF (Except if using a V1, Junk K filter can be of use).

Where to buy?
Brand new-:

Repco often has good deals – double check with them it is the NZ model they are selling
Radar direct NZ – They have a store in Auckland and Christchurch and a Trademe page. Good service, but do your research, and go in with a mindset of exactly what you want to buy as they will often try and sell you a model which they are overstocked with (personal and word of mouth experiences).
Other stores like Noel Leeming & Harvey Norman – Make sure it is the NZ model.
Second hand:
Trademe – ask to see the serial number, usual due diligence before buying second hand.
Facebook marketplace- If you’re feeling lucky, can get a good deal, but also heaps of stolen and possibly dud units floating around.
Classified section here or on Ebay or elsewhere in the USA: you can use youshop –which is a NZ postal service which givee you a forwarding US address in Portland, Oregon, 97203. So you get the seller to ship it there, and then youshop charges you a fee to ship it to you in NZ. Beware of customs +GST fees if total cost of item (+postage) is getting close to $300 NZD.

NZ testing- 2018: Results from testing conducted by myself and two others in Auckland NZ using a Stalker ATR on Ka 34.7 GHz.
Detectors tested:

Results for ON-AXIS or straight-stretch of road - no hills or curves.


OFF-AXIS - course with curves and variable terrain.
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