Speed Camera Detector Buyer's Guide

If you are looking to buy a dedicated speed camera detector you may not be aware of the different features that speed camera detectors offer. Here we introduce you to the features of different speed camera locators. The latest speed camera detectors are the Snooper MY SPEED XL, Road Angel Gem Plus Deluxe (pictured right), Cheetah C550 and the Snooper 4ZERO.

If you would like to buy a speed camera detector click here. Alternatively you may prefer to read about sat nav systems or smartphone apps that provide the best speed camera information. If you'd like to jump to our speed camera detector recommendations below click here.

We also have a SpeedCamerasUK.com online shop where you can buy sat navs, speed camera detectors and other in-car devices. View the online shop.

Choosing the right detector

With a choice of about seven detectors available, the decision of which device to buy can be a bewildering one. Here we look at what's available, with some pointers and recommendations along the way.

1. On-screen information

Screens on speed camera detectors range from basic LED text display on the Snooper 4ZERO and Cheetah C550 to a full colour OLED screen on the Road Angel Gem+ - the OLED screen can show full information about the location such as type of camera, on-screen countdown to the location, speed limit of the road and your speed.

The most advanced system, the Road Angel Gem+ Deluxe, features a full colour touchscreen display which is very clear to see. The screen pictured to the right displays the warning and continue warning through a SPECS or VECTOR average speed check zone, often found in motorway roadwork's. The screen features three speed readouts, these are:

1. Bottom left corner - the road speed limit - 60mph
2. Bottom right corner - your vehicles current speed - 44mph
3. Top centre - your vehicles average speed since the start of the average speed check zone - 47mph.

Having the above information at quick glance on the screen of the Gem+ and Gem+ Deluxe camera locator provides you with the assurance that your are driving within and maintaining the correct speed throughout the complete speed camera enforced stretch of road.

There are also an ever increasing number of dash cams that also feature on-screen speed camera locations.Such devices include the Snooper DVR-4HD (pictured right) and Garmin Dash Cam 35. It's worth noting that while a dashboard camera with speed cameras will provide alerts to fixed and mobile speed cameras via an internal database, none of these devices include any form of detection e.g. radar or laser for the detection of live in use mobile speed cameras a the roadside. In addition, and unlike dedicated Snooper speed camera detectors, the Snooper DVR-4HD can only be updated with new speed camera locations once a quarter (4 times a year). In comparison a Snooper speed camera detector e.g. the Snooper 4ZERO can be updated daily. Read more and see dash camera comparisons.

Speed limits on screen

The best way to not get caught speeding is to always know the speed limit. Knowing the speed limit is becoming more important because since April 24th 2017 there are new higher speeding fines coming into force which are calculated depending on your weekly wage. Click here to read more about the different bands referring to being caught at different ranges above the speed limit.

Two speed camera detectors offer this feature but only one alerts you when you are driving above the speed limit. The only system to offer onscreen speed limits and audible alerts is the Snooper MY SPEED XL. The My Speed XL also shows on screen your speed and the speed limit where your speed is encircled with a red circle if you are driving above the speed limit and it will also provide a beep alert. The speed camera database includes speed limits for all roads across the UK and Western Europe whether there is a speed camera present or not. The other speed camera detector to offer speed limit information is the Road Angel Gem Plus Deluxe. The Road Angel's speed limits database is limited to UK roads only and it does not provide any warning when driving above the speed limit.

Another important comparison factor is the screen size on the My Speed XL is a 4.3-inch screen which offers a much larger speed limit readout than the Road Angel, which together with audible alerts, makes it the best speed limit warning device.

2. Voice alerts

In addition to on-screen information speed camera detectors also provide voice alerts which announce the type of camera and the speed limit, providing all the vital information without even needing to take your eyes off the road. The Snooper 4ZERO, Road Angel Gem Plus and Speed Cheetah C550 all feature voice alerts.

Radar and laser detectors feature a built-in speaker and provide an audio tone/beep to let you know that you are being targeted by a mobile radar or laser gun or a fixed speed camera using radar or laser.

The video below shows the Speed Cheetah C550 on approach to various speed camera location with spoken voice alerts. The video includes locations in the UK including fixed Gatso, fixed red light speed camera, part-time red light camera, variable speed limit camera and one location in the United States of America. The Cheetah C550 features international speed cameras across USA and Canada, UK and Europe or Australia and New Zealand.

3. GPS, Laser and Radar

To alert and detect speed cameras in the road ahead, locators use one or more of three different technologies - these are GPS, Radar and Laser. To read more about each type click here.

GPS only devices like the Snooper DVR-4HD rely solely on a database to warn of fixed and mobile safety cameras. GPS camera locators have been around since 2001 and are a must if you want to receive advanced warnings to all fixed cameras systems including the undetectable Truvelo and SPECs average cameras.

If, as well as the GPS alerts, you'd like to receive live alerts to mobile laser cameras then we'd recommend a device which includes GPS and a laser detector. Locators such as the Road Angel Gem+ and Gem+ Deluxe feature both.

If you want to detect every speed camera, the device to consider buying is the Snooper 4ZERO. These system detects using radar, in addition to GPS and laser detection. This is the only detector to use all three technologies and it great purchase for people wanting to detect every camera in the UK and across Europe.

4. GPS camera database and subscription prices

The corner stone of any GPS speed camera locator is it's internal database. Prices to access the database range from FREE to £86.99 a year. So why the huge difference?

Some detector manufacturers choose to offer free lifetime speed camera updates to help entice customers to buy their detectors.

The Snooper MY SPEED XL features FREE subscription to speed cameras which can be downloaded as often as you choose. The MY SPEED XL also offers FREE subscription to a speed limit database for UK and Western European roads (this speed limit database can only be updated annually).

The Snooper DVR-4HD offers FREE subscription but the limitation of this device is you can only download the latest speed camera database once every 3 months.

The cheapest subscription (whereby you can download the database as often as you choose) is available with the Cheetah C550. The Cheetah C550 features international speed cameras across USA and Canada, UK and Europe or Australia and New Zealand. Subscription prices for the Cheetah C550 are as follows:

Option 1: £19.99
‣3 years updates for a single region (USA and Canada, UK and Europe or Australia and New Zealand)

Option 2: £34.99
‣Lifetime unlimited updates for all regions
‣Includes up to 3 family owned Cheetah speed camera detectors

The Snooper 4ZERO GPS speed camera database subscription is either monthly, quarterly or yearly subscription fee. Snooper 4ZERO updates via a Windows PC to download the latest version ofthe AURA databas as often as you choose. Snooper update the AURA database daily and the subscription costs: £2.99 a month, £7.99 a quarter or £29.99 a year.

Higher priced databases like that of the Road Angel Gem+ (pictured left) which is charged at either £99.99 for 1 year, £189.99 for 2 years or £249.99 for 3 years access, feature access to the real-time speed camera database instead. This database doesn't need downloading from a PC, instead it updates as the unit is in your vehicle as you are driving using the mobile phone network as it has a sim card built-in to the device.

5. Updating with or without a computer

Most GPS speed camera detectors require a Windows based PC to download the latest database of speed camera locations.

The latest detectors don't require a PC/Mac to update the speed camera database*. Instead these devices like the Road Angel Gem+ use GPRS/mobile phone technology to automatically update as you drive*. To read more about GPRS click here.

*A PC required for software and firmware updates.

6. Additional premium features

You've read what the different detectors do, from the different in-built technologies to the different databases. Now we look at the extra refinements that the manufactures have put into their products.

Rechargeable battery - if trailing leads across your dash board aren't welcome in your car, then you'll want to look at the Road Angel Gems (Gem+ and Gem+ Deluxe). Both models feature there own internal rechargeable batteries, providing between 2 and 4 hour operation. The Snooper MY SPEED XL features a 3 hour rechargeable battery.

Complete control over voice alerts and chimes - Set the distance of warning before each camera and choose the alerts you receive. You can choose a different alert range for each speed camera type (See the Cheetah product page for more details). You can also manually cancel single alerts as they sound. These features are available on the Cheetah C550 speed camera detector.

Live reporting of mobile camera sites - locators such as the connected Gem Plus have the ability at the press of a button to report live mobile camera sites. Within seconds of you or another motorist pressing the button, the cameras location is added to the database and shared with all other users. These locations remain on the database for the following 6 hours.

Driver Vehicle Recorder - The GPS speed camera detector the Snooper DVR-4HD (pictured right) not only has a speed camera warning system built-in but it also has a built-in in-car camera and 2.4 inch screen for playback of videos recorded. As you can playback anywhere this is perfect for providing evidence for road incidents and insurance claims.

SpeedCamerasUK.com Recommendations

We've been selling and recommending speed camera detectors since 2002. Speed camera locators have become far more advanced over the years. Based on the current 2017 range here are four systems that we recommend:

Road Angel Gem Plus Deluxe

The Road Angel Gem+ Deluxe is the very latest device and represents extremely good value. With good on-screen information, speed limits for all roads and live automatically updated speed cameras as you drive. Click here to buy the Gem+ Deluxe from SpeedCamerasUK.com.

Snooper 4ZERO

The Snooper 4Zero has a low price of £150 and includes GPS, laser and radar technology. This is the only system that will warn you of all the cameras including mobile radar guns and live Gatso sites - so if this is a priority for you it is the definitive product to buy. Click here to buy the 4ZERO from SpeedCamerasUK.com.

Cheetah C550

Buying the Cheetah C550 is a great choice if you want complete control over the alerts you hear and the distance you receive them which can be tailored to your needs for each camera type. The Cheetah will also warn of international speed cameras in the USA and Canada, UK and Europe or Australia and New Zealand. Click here to buy the Cheetah from SpeedCamerasUK.com.


If you want not only a GPS speed camera detector but also speed limit warnings then you should buy the Snooper MY SPEED XL. Unlike the Road Angel which only tells you speed limits across the UK, the MY SPEED XL informs you of speed limits across the UK and Western Europe. Furthermore it can be set to alert you when driving above the speed limit.

How do speed camera detectors work?

Many detectors these days don't actually detect. Instead using a built-in database and GPS satellite technology they relate your precise GPS-location with that of the built-in speed camera database. As you approach a speed camera location the device knows this and alerts you from a pre-set range. GPS databases are preloaded with both fixed and mobile speed camera locations.

A speed camera detector is a phrase coined from the early devices from the 1990s and refers to a device which uses radar and/or laser technology. These systems actually detect live speed cameras e.g. fixed Gatso cameras and mobile sites using radar or laser technology.

These days as the technology used in speed cameras has advanced, using a conventional radar or laser detector simply would not warn you to all the cameras in use on the UK's roads. For example SPECS average cameras are totally undetectable and simply take a time stamped digital photo at two points. The cam eras software then compare the time between the two.

There is however a place for radar and laser detectors today, but no longer as a standalone device but along side a sat nav with a good GPS speed camera database. Or for motorists who just wish to receive alerts to mobile speed camera locations. To read more about radar and laser detectors click here.

Speed camera detector technology explained

Speed camera locators use a variety of different technology, here we cut through the jargon and explain the different technologies you'll find inside a speed trap detector.

GPS which is short for Global Positioning System use an internal and updatable GPS database of speed camera locations. When the GPS enabled speed camera detector is switched on and affixed to your vehicles windscreen or dashboard, the orbiting GPS satellites tell the device your exact GPS location. The internal speed camera database is then compared to your GPS location and any approaching speed camera fixed or mobile and in the database is then alerted to by the device.

GPRS which is short for General Packet Radio Service uses mobile phone technology to provide a real-time two-way connection between the speed camera detector and the manufacturers database. Updates and new speed cameras can be automatically added without the need of updating from a PC. Likewise the user can also send fixed and mobile speed camera locations back to the manufacturer/suppliers database too.

Laser detection enables you to detect laser based mobile cameras such as Police handheld laser guns.

Radar detection enables you to detect radar based fixed and mobile cameras such as fixed Gatso and mini Gatso.

Speed Camera Detector Questions and Answers

Question: My wife has been caught a few times just over the limit but received points, so she is now after a speed camera detector. What is the best option for me as both of my computers are Macbooks?

Answer: None of the speed camera detectors we sell are MAC compatible. They all require Windows based PC's for updating.

However, as alternative you could consider the Road Angel Gem+ or Gem+ Deluxe which features laser detection, GPS database and LIVE speed camera updates as you drive thanks to the fact the Gem+ includes GPRS (mobile phone/sim card) technology. The Road Angel Gem+ also includes all road speed limits, so you always know the correct speed limit for any road in the UK. Subscription costs: 1 year £99.99, 2 years £189.99, 3 years £249.99.

Our current best seller is the Road Angel Gem+ Deluxe. While this model has the highest subscription costs it features live updates when and where you need them – when the device is on your vehicles dashboard – NO NEED FOR A PC. The Gem+ also features laser detection.

You will however NEED to connect the Road Angel Gem+/Gem+ Deluxe to a Windows based PC up to four times a year to receive the latest firmware updates and UK wide road speed limit database. Day to day speed camera updates are received via GPRS (mobile phone/sim card) technology.

Question: I'm in the market for a new detector, I had quite a few years ago a Road Angel detector that constantly went off for no reason. It also was almost unusable on the motorway due to it warning every gantry.

Has technology moved on? Yes, the Road Angel Gem+ models utilise built-in SIM card for real time updates via the mobile phone network.

Road Angel Gem+ subscription costs: 1 year £99.99, 2 years £189.99, 3 years £249.99.

All other GPS based detectors we sell require a Windows based PC with internet connection for updates.

Snooper 4ZERO subscription via PC costs: £2.99 a month, £7.99 a quarter or £29.99 a year.

Cheetah c550 (pictured right) subscription via PC costs: £19.99 for 3 years or £34.99 for lifetime speed camera updates.

I just want a detector to tell me if the camera is live

While fixed Gatso speed cameras use radar technology, the vast majority of new generation fixed UK speed cameras, e.g. VECTOR, SPECS, HADECS, Truvelo (D-Cam) do not use any form of radar or laser technology. Therefore the only way to receive alerts to these cameras is via a detector with a GPS database. Effectively they are undectable, there is nothing to actually detect.

if its not a detectable one that it is there if i am going OVER the speed limit. All GPS based devices will provide the speed limit prior to a fixed or mobile speed camera located in the GPS database.

Question: I am going to buy a camera detector with the primary reason being to warn me to mobile camera vans. My question is with the laser detectors, do the laser speed cameras have to be pointed at your car for it to alert you? If that is the case would it not be too late of a warning?

Answer: For alerts to mobile speed cameras I would recommend either the Road Angel Gem+ Deluxe or Snooper 4ZERO (4ZERO pictured right) speed camera detectors and then subscribe to the updateable GPS database of fixed and mobile speed camera locations.

While both speed camera detectors feature a built-in laser detector, these alone can't always provide an advanced warning to a live mobile laser site. Why?

1. The laser beam can be as small as 10cm in diameter when it hits your vehicle; the laser detector needs to pick this beam to provide an advanced warning.

2. If you are the only vehicle on the section of road where the mobile laser camera (van) is positioned and the camera operator takes aims and triggers the laser gun. This will effectively be the first time the laser detector will be triggered by the camera operator's laser gun; this may be the only reading he/she uses to make the prosecution if you are speeding.

GPS databases provide advanced warning to known mobile speed camera sites in advance. In addition, the Road Angel Gem+ Deluxe (pictured right) features live updates via a built-in GPRS mobile phone module. This provides two-way communication between the device on your dashboard and Road Angel speed camera database. The benefits of which are two fold:

1. Ensures you have the very latest speed camera database when and where you need - on your dashboard in your vehicle. In comparison Snooper 4ZERO updates are carried out from a Windows based PC connected to the internet.

2. Other Road Angel Gem users can add mobile speed camera locations as they are spotted; these locations are added within 30 seconds to the live database and remain there for the following 6 hours.

Road Angel Gem+ Deluxe subscription costs: 1 year £99.99, 2 years £189.99, 3 years £249.99.

Snooper 4ZERO updates via a Windows PC and the subscription costs: £2.99 a month, £7.99 a quarter or £29.99 a year.

Question: I thought having a speed camera detector of these in your car is illegal.... is this right?

Answer: Speed camera detectors that use either solely or a combination of GPS/Radar/Laser technology are 100% legal to own and operate in the UK. Take the device across the channel and into France and it's a very different story. In France they are illegal, but not here in the United Kingdom.

Question: I am about to buy a new Range Rover SVR. What is the best way to fully protect myself (as far as is possible) with a built in system. The vehicle will have HUD, can any warning system be incorporated into this? I intend to travel on the continent as well.

Answer: The devices we sell are all standalone and don't work with third party products or devices.

My recommendation would be the Snooper 4ZERO which includes radar and laser detection and a GPS database for known mobile and fixed speed camera locations. Updates via a Windows PC, Subscription costs: £2.99 a month, £7.99 a quarter or £29.99 a year.

This device doesn't just include speed camera locations in the UK, but also a growing number of countries across Europe and the rest of the world.

Follow up question: Thank you for your very prompt reply. I asked about having a system built into the car i.e. no wires visible anywhere. Your answer suggests that this isn't possible - is this correct?

Follow up answer: Yes, currently it is correct - nothing is available to be built in a car. The now discontinued Pogo Alert+ could be hardwired into a vehicle and offered a separate GPS antenna and separate laser detector to afford a more integrated bespoke installation. The screen for could be mounted anywhere on the dashboard.

Current models have built-in GPS antenna and laser/radar detectors. As a result these units e.g. Snooper 4ZERO need to be mounted on the windscreen or on top of the front dashboard (both mounting options are in the box when you buy from SpeedCamerasUK.com), this is to achieve a positive GPS satellite fix and also so the radar and laser sensor/detector can see the road ahead and Police handheld guns.

The Snooper 4ZERO includes a hardwire power cable in the box, so can be hardwired in your vehicle.

SpeedCamerasUK.com Online Shop

All of the speed cameras detectors at SpeedCamerasUK.com are also available to buy from us and include FREE delivery within the United Kingdom (UK). For deliveries outside of the UK please see delivery information for costs.

We hold extensive stock of each model (unless otherwise indicated) with dispatch same working day for orders placed before 3pm on any working day.

12+ years of online trading

We first started selling speed camera locators right here at SpeedCamerasUK.com in August 2003. We also sell the same products at our sister website ActiveGPS where we also sell an extensive range of GPS products, accessories and mapping software.

With 12 years of trading you can rely on us to only supply the best tried and tested products with unrivalled product knowledge from ourselves and, equally important, excellent support from the relevant manufacturer if it is required.

To view the latest range of speed camera detectors to buy click here.

Last updated: 21st April 2017

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