Best Backup Cameras: See What’s Behind You While Backing Up
Increase your rear view with these top backup cameras
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BY Robert Bacon / LAST UPDATED ON July 16, 2021
When purchasing a new vehicle, you’re faced with deciding what extras you want and what ones you can do without. If you thought a backup camera wasn’t necessary when purchasing your vehicle but now think differently, don’t worry. It’s not too late to fit a backup camera to your vehicle. The best part is that you can get an even better camera than if you got the factory standard system.
There are tons of cameras to choose from with plenty of different features. The main thing you want to keep in mind when choosing a camera system is what type of vehicle you’ll use it with. Some wireless camera systems have a limited range, which makes them unsuitable for use with large vehicles and trailers. We’ve created a list of the best backup cameras on the market, so you can choose the one that’s best for you. If you’re still undecided on what camera to choose, check out the guide below.
This system is, essentially, the complete package when it comes to backup cameras. The 1080P camera is one of the highest resolution models on the market. Everything is clearly visible on the 5-inch LCD screen.
- Between the high-resolution camera and HD 5-inch monitor, you can see crystal clear images
- The wireless system is easy to set up and extremely stable. Comes with a 2-year warranty
- The system isn’t suitable for large vehicles or trailers, as its range is only 30 feet when attached to a vehicle
A good backup camera to purchase when you have an existing monitor or infotainment system.
- Wide viewing angle. Straps onto the license plate frame with the same mounting screws for easy installation
- Good-quality low-light image using eight LED lights
- The camera's color doesn't come across accurately on many displays
- Night vision is limited in distance
- The backup grid doesn't move as the car turns
The Leekooluu LK3 is one of the best value cameras on the market and also features (almost) every feature you could want. The only issue people could have with this model is that it’s not a wireless system.
- The HD 1080P produces a clear image every time
- The image processor has night vision mode, enabling you to see up to 30 feet in complete darkness
- Incredible value for the money.
- Not a wireless system, so it involves some extra work to set up
- Some users needed longer wires so they could use the system on trucks with 8-foot long beds
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Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Why Buy a Backup Camera?
- Increase your rear view. Vehicles are full of blind spots. While basic rear and side mirrors do a good job of reducing those spots, there are still areas that a simple reflective surface can't see. Backup cameras give you a low, straight view of the vehicle's rear that you may need to park safely in larger vehicles.
- Make parking a breeze. With a straight view of the rear, parking is much easier. When backing out of a parking space, you can see more of what's behind you without cranking your head around or readjusting the mirrors. You can also back into parking spaces more easily.
- Add rearview recording. Some backup cameras act like dash cams, recording events during an emergency. For rear fender benders or worse accidents, a rear view can help document the accident if it can't prevent it altogether in the first place.
Types of Backup Cameras
License plate backup cameras come in two distinct types, both of which mount in the license plate spot behind the car. Some cameras come built into a replacement plate frame that installs over the plate itself. Others are just a strap with holes that fit the existing mounting screws to sit on top of the existing frame and plate. In both cases, the camera is in a good position for getting a low viewing angle.
Mirror and dash cam backup cameras feature a built-in display that offers a good view of the rear action without requiring an additional LCD or infotainment panel. The camera itself is either a separate unit that mounts on the rear bumper, or is one built into the unit where the camera can see the interior of the car and out of the rear window.
Often the most basic option available, individual backup cameras are small units that lack a display or any means of mounting. Some require permanent, often professional, installation but can be easier to integrate into existing camera systems. This type makes it easy to find the exact image quality and connection options (wired or wireless) you want to install on your vehicle.
Top Brands of Backup Cameras
Auto Vox is a Chinese company that specializes in auto safety products. With several high-end backup cameras like its Wireless Dash Cam, Auto Vox is a good brand that has many years of experience with blind spot and rear view monitoring systems.
Yi has a history of bringing high-tech solutions to many spaces like auto safety products. Blending high-performance cameras, sensors, and artificial intelligence, its camera options like the Mirror Dash Cam offer a lot in terms of overall performance and safety. It also offers several high-quality action and VR cameras.
LeeKeeLuu is a company that was first registered in Shenzhen, China in 2016. The manufacturer specializes in cameras and carrying cases specially adapted for electronic equipment. The company produces backup cameras to suit a wide range of vehicles, from compact cars to large trucks. The Leekooluu LK3 is a fantastic option for small- to medium-sized vehicles but, if you need something for an RV, you could check out the Leekooluu LK5.
Backup Camera Pricing
- $50 and under: This budget range is full of simple, basic backup camera options. License plate backup cameras are the most common. Installing these budget options can be more difficult than more expensive wireless options.
- $50-$100: There's a good mix of a high-end license plate and mirror backup cameras in this range. A few lower-end wireless options also exist here.
- $100 and up: The top price range has fewer backup cameras than the less expensive categories, but the options here provide a lot of functionality. Wireless connectivity is common, and many cameras come as complete kits that offer everything you need for your car.
The main event of a backup camera takes place in the camera itself. Smaller than most action cams and digital camcorders, these cameras typically lack the HD quality of higher-end consumer products. Still, the quality of the camera will determine how clear the image appears in the monitor. Cameras with 480p and 720p recording resolutions are the most common.
To use a camera at night, extra light is required to illuminate the surroundings. Backup and rear car lights lack the capabilities to offer this illumination, so most cameras come with a few LED lights for assistance. The number and intensity of the lights will influence how bright the night vision image appears.
Enhanced Safety Features
Some backup camera systems offer more than just a good view of the rear area. Enhanced safety features include a backup line or grid to gauge distance, recording functionality, and collision detection. Higher-end cameras can also work with other front and side cameras to offer a near 360-degree monitoring coverage around the vehicle.
- Power Supply: All cameras require some kind of power supply to actually work since few come with built-in batteries. To use the car's power, the camera needs to connect to either the reverse lights, a fuse box, or the interior 12-volt cigarette lighter. Routing a power cable may be required.
- Monitor: To actually use a backup camera, you'll need some kind of monitor to see the image. Unless the camera has a built-in monitor (i.e. a dash cam) or can tie into an existing infotainment panel, you will need a separate screen or specialized rearview mirror for the display. Unless you have a wireless backup camera, there will also be a cord to the route.
Best Backup Cameras Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Don't rely solely on a backup camera when driving. Just like your mirrors, it has its own limitations.
- Clean the lens of the camera every now and then, especially after snow or rain. The small lens can easily get blocked with dirt and debris.
- If you find a blank screen after installing the camera, there is probably an issue with the monitor itself or the connections.
- Larger vehicles like trucks and RVs may require more than one camera to get the best rear coverage possible.
Q. What are the colored lines for in the backup camera image?
A. Those lines give you a visual reference for how close rear objects are to your vehicle. For example, something that intercepts the red line is close to hitting the vehicle.
Q. Can I install a backup camera on an RV?
A. Yes. Many backup camera kits include a camera that can be placed in other positions further back from the monitor. Wireless kits are the best for this kind of placement since you won't need long cords.
Q. Can I install a backup camera myself?
A. Depending on the backup camera, yes. License plate and mirror cameras tend to be easy to install if you can manage the cords and power connections. Some, however, require some holes to be drilled for wires or the camera itself.
Q. Can I add more cameras to a backup camera system?
A. This depends on the monitor and the number of inputs it has. Some displays only have one input just for a backup camera. Others can handle more cameras for the front or sides.
The DoHonest V25 Wireless Backup Camera gets our pick as the best backup camera. This package hits all the right marks, both in terms of its camera and monitor. To top it all off, the system is wireless and easy to install.
To save some money, check out the eRapta ERT01 2nd Generation Car Rear View Camera instead. Coming with just the camera, this option is a good choice for supplementing an existing display or infotainment system.