Electric field sensors based on warm vapors of Rydberg atoms have distinguishing features that offer new application possibilities. A single sensor can operate over a wide spectrum of frequencies, from DC to THz, with a consistent instantaneous baseband bandwidth of approximately 10MHz. The sensor head containing the vapor is highly transparent and can be made small relative to the electric field wavelengths, enabling accurate measurements with sub-wavelength spatial resolution. Presently Rydberg sensors rely on the spectroscopic method of electromagnetically induced transparency (EIT) for preparing and probing the atoms, and though simple and effective, this places limits on the sensitivity and instantaneous bandwidth of the sensor. I will discuss these limitations and the optimal EIT parameter regime considering presently available laser technology, and show performance of a promising new prototype vertical external cavity surface emitting laser (VECSEL). Finally, I will present results on recent demonstrations, such as a Rydberg-based spectrum analyzer with sensitivity of -145dBm/Hz and dynamic range >80 dB.