Most people who need ground penetrating radar equipment know it’s a significant investment. But how much will the hardware and technology actually cost you?

There’s some variation in the cost of radar sets depending on what you need the equipment to do. Some very basic units come with a price tag in the low five-figures, while more complex units can run more than double the cost of an entry-level radar set.

New buyers looking into how much a ground penetrating radar costs should start with a fair assessment of their needs to avoid paying for features they don’t need and work up from that point. Know in advance what you plan to use your ground penetrating radar set for and the package you need to get the job done. Give some thought to how much you plan to use the radar set, and try to factor that against the cost of subcontracting the work to a professional locator for one or two surveys. When you have an idea of what you need out of a ground penetrating radar, you’re ready to start pricing new units. Continue reading and visit our site and learn more about GPR and its cost.

What Are Typical Prices for Ground Penetrating Radar Systems?

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The starting point for new entry-level radar systems is around $14,000. At this price point you get a basic set that can get simple jobs done and last for a reasonable amount of time. Paying higher prices can get you more functionality, but be sure it’s necessary before you buy into a $25,000-$35,000 set. Bear in mind, too, that entry-level sets can often be upgraded later to add functionality.

What Are You Buying for the Price?

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There’s a lot that goes into building functioning ground penetrating radar. The most fundamental component is the base unit. This is usually a rolling boxlike unit that looks like a small lawnmower. The system is more sophisticated than a machine for cutting grass, however. Even the least expensive radar unit should have at least a radar emitter and receiver, cart, battery and basic acquisition software you can operate with a simple, easy-to-read tablet controller. Be wary of some listings — a quoted price for a GPR set may not include some essentials, like a rugged tablet or sufficient batteries. 

At higher price points, you might expect extra features such as GPS integration, advanced post-processing software and interconnectivity with your other devices or with distant locations where you’re feeding data in real time.

What Features Do You Want?

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The features you want in ground penetrating radar depend on what you plan to use it for and how much it will be used. As a rule, the more you need your set to do, the more you can expect to pay for the features you need. Radar systems that will see infrequent or one-off use can be more lightly built and less expensive than the average, but professional quality radar sets are built stronger and heavier, which bumps up their prices somewhat.

Broadly speaking, professional hardware is capable of significantly improved signal-to-noise ratios, leading to greater depths of penetration, the ability to detect fainter targets, and increased clarity. But even among professional-grade equipment, differences in quality and sensitivity can be significant. 

Here are some of the features you’re paying for when you buy a ground penetrating radar set that’s above the entry-level price.

Extra Durable Hardware

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Radar units that need to work outdoors under challenging conditions, over rough terrain or in harsh elements have to be tough enough to keep working under stress. Military-grade hardware tends to be stronger and last longer than more lightweight civilian-grade plastics and frames. The heavier construction tends to drive up the price over the short term, but a unit built with extra buffers and thick case walls may not have to be replaced more than once in a lifetime, saving considerable money in the long run.

Rugged Control Units

The control unit is the brain of the radar system. Look for a glare-resistant screen that can take minor impacts from grit and even hailstones. Research which kinds of weather the model is rated for. Virtually all of the ground penetrating radar units sold in the Northeastern United States and other rough-weather locations can hold up to rain, sleet and snow, but it never hurts to make sure. Less extensive weatherproofing may be called for in the Southwest and other sunny spots, lowering the price somewhat.

When you’re pricing your control unit, be sure to take note of its memory and drive space. These options drive up the cost of a gaming computer at home, and they can do the same for a GPR’s electronic interface. Consider how the unit exports data, whether it has to be plugged into a USB or whether it can transmit over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Finally, the operating systems used by radar sets run the gamut from super user-friendly Windows options to highly complex proprietary software you have to train on to use. The custom GPR software may be more capable, but it’s also more expensive.

Application-Specific Software

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Beyond the operating system that comes installed in your control unit, the radar set has to run some kind of task-oriented app to get usable data. The simplest, and therefore least expensive, packages just provide simple reporting and are usually installed as the default. More complex software packages may be able to perform fairly sophisticated data post-processing, GPS integration and custom analysis. A customized app package that’s designed for your particular needs is typically most expensive.

Support Services

Complex hardware and software packages don’t operate on their own; they require a fairly sophisticated chain of support that goes all the way back to the factory. Before you make a purchase decision, factor in the support you’re given for a particular unit. Many hardware developers are willing to provide training for free to the people at your company, which may include online or on-site training, or in some cases require end-users to travel to a training location. 

If you’re buying ground penetrating radar, it helps to also have support for troubleshooting, repair and preventative maintenance and return service. Look into the warranty your manufacturer offers before you commit to a sale. Pay attention to any return/repair/replacement policy as well.

Finding the Right Price for Your Ground Penetrating Radar

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Getting a good price for your ground penetrating radar system may take time and some research effort, but it isn’t overly complicated. Once you find a radar that works for your needs, whether that’s locating underground utility lines or complex geological mapping of a site, the price is largely a reflection of how much you’re getting and what it’s worth. Learn more about buying a new ground penetrating radar from US Radar’s friendly team of skilled professional reps by calling (732) 566-2035. You can also reach out online for a quote.