Whistler CR97 Review: Why it is the Best Budget Radar Detector

Whistler CR97 Review

The Whistler group’s products like the radar detectors and dash cams are gaining more popularity as they keep improving their products gradually and still the prices are at a minimum. The Whistler CR97 is their new addition to their best radar detector series, the CRs. And within a few months of its release, it has gained much popularity. Thanks to the improved performance.

In this Whistler CR97 review, I will be examining the various features of this device, like sensitivity, range, false alert filtering etc.

Introduction to the Whistler CR97

The CR90 was the first of the CR series to gain some momentum. Later, whistler released the CR93, which was quite good and hence got a place in our list of best radar detectors under $200.

Now they’ve come up with the Whistler CR97, which is one step ahead of our expectations. This one is showing significant improvement in terms of sensitivity, false alert filtering, and overall performance.


Pros and Cons in short

  • Significant improvement in X band sensitivity.
  • Improved K and Ka-band sensitivity.
  • FMCW and CW radar detection and identification.
  • Detects VPR laser guns also.
  • Auto-muting of CAS.
  • Does not filter out speed on green radars.
  • Fast response to instant-on radars.

  • Mounting options are limited to suction cups.
  • Many false alerts in towns (read below).

Radar and Laser Sensitivity

Whistler CR97 Review
Whistler CR97

For the past ten years, Whistler has been sacrificing sensitivity to X band to improve sensitivities of K and Ka bands. The X band radars are being used mainly only in New Jersey and Ohio, so it does not affect the majority of their customers.

However, the CR97 has significant improvement in X band sensitivity. If you drive through Ohio or New Jersey quite often, this radar detector will save you from more tickets than many other radar detectors of this price range do.

The K band detection is also showing improvement, compared to the previous Whistler CR93. However, the K band sensitivity also causes increased false alerts. The false alerts often make the radar detectors useless as we tend to ignore actual alerts. Thankfully, Whistler has improved the false alert filtering system on this device so that false alerts won’t be a problem.

Whistler claims to have increased the K band sensitivity upto 3dB and 150% increase in detection range.

The Ka-band sensitivity has doubled compared to the Whistler CR93. This puts the CR97 among radar detectors that cost as much as $500. The company claims an increment of 6dB in Ka-band detection on Whistler CR97.

Talking about lasers, the Whistler CR97 has all the specifications required to detect even the latest police lasers. It can detect Dragon Eye Compact and other variable pulse rate guns with an above par detection range. As these lasers are used only in a few regions, this feature won’t be useful to many.

The CR97 does a decent job in detecting LTI, Kustom and Stalker RLR laser guns also. To be honest, Whistler has always been good at detecting laser guns.

So this radar detector has a great range and sensitivity. It detects even the latest laser guns. And it has a high sensitivity. Does that make a radar detector perfect?

No, not if it gives too many false alerts.

False Alert Filtering

Nobody likes a radar detector that gives too many false alerts. What if you mistake an actual threat for a false alert? Or, what if the detector filters an actual threat?

Well, Whistler CR97 has the least chance of giving you any of those experiences. The false alert filtering system on this one can be called top-notch since they have added a unique feature on this device.

This radar detector can identify FMCW or frequently modulated continuous wave radars. In simple words, those trashcans like radars by the sidewalks. These radars are easy to miss since they use low powered K-band waves. Most radar detectors filter out these systems since they use the same technology used by CAS systems.

This is indeed a great feature as the number of FMCW radars are expected to increase in coming years. As of now, only a few radar detectors are able to detect FMCW radars, like the Uniden DFR8. However, the Whistler CR97 has a similar range like them.

This is a huge step by Whistler since these photo radar systems are being installed at traffic intersections these days. It takes a few weeks for these newly installed systems to get added on GPS database, for other radar detectors to alert you. Hence Whistler is one step ahead of other brands by adding this feature.

This device has other helpful features also. Suppose you’re on a highway and some CAS system is causing your device to go off. You press the mute button. Then, the device will auto-mute for some time if another source is nearby while showing the FMCW information on the screen.

On other radar detectors, we had to press the mute button each time a new source is found. This is a cool feature as we press mute once, the device stops most of the false alerts.

However, the filtering in towns is not upto the mark on this device. The device does give many false alerts. But there is a nice feature which will reduce the annoyance by false alerts, called Auto Quiet Speed. You can select one speed below which the device will lower the volume to level 1. When driving above the set speed, it will give alerts as usual.

Another feature is the Auto Filter Speed. In this setting, below the set speed, the device will apply the highest filtering. Both these features give us a quieter device around town.


The Whistler CR97 is the best from whistler so far. It stands out from other detectors with FMCW identification. The range and sensitivity towards laser and radar are comparable to radar detectors of twice its price. The X, K, and Ka-band sensitivities have shown a significant increase.

While the false alert filtering is good on highways, the device produces many false alerts around town. But if AQSPD and AFSPD are set, the false alerts are gone to a great extent.

But if you are looking for a more quieter radar detector with better performance, Uniden R3 is my pick.

Overall a great deal for its price and the best budget radar detector.


Whistler CR97 Review: Why it is the Best Budget Radar Detector

The Whistler group's products like the radar detectors and dash cams are gaining more popularity as they keep improving their products gradually and still

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