LAST UPDATED: May 6, 2019
Best Dash Cams: Record Events and See What's Around Your Car With These Top Picks
The best dash cams for any vehicle on the road
The Review Team
How We Decided
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PUBLISHED ON May 6, 2019
Everyday driving presents a lot of potential hazards. From avoidable obstacles to unavoidable accidents, it is helpful to have an extra pair of eyes on the road, especially when you need a record of certain driving events. This is where a good forward-facing dash cam comes in handy. Whether you need it to help you look for potential hazards or record events when the unavoidable does happen, the right dash cam can be invaluable. Check out our very own handy guide on some of the best dash cams available right now.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Tested Dash Cams
Why Buy a Dash Cam
- Record accidents. It should go without saying, but it's difficult, if not impossible, to remember key details when an accident happens. This is where a dash cam can be most helpful when the unexpected happens. Should you have to go to court or provide a record of the events, a dash cam clearly lays out what occurred, including who may be at fault, without any question of accuracy.
- Get help watching for hazards. Many dash cams have extra features to alert you when it detects a potential hazard. For example, some cams have features to detect if a car in front of you slows or stops unexpectedly, or if you are getting too close to it. Some also have blind spot monitoring systems, parking mode, lane departure warnings, voice control, forward collision detection, a rear-facing camera, and other high-end safety features that many modern cars have at upper trim levels.
- Get more functionality. A dash cam doesn't just record video in a lot of cases. Many cameras, especially integrated models, come with other handy features like GPS navigation, Wi-Fi connectivity, or backup monitoring capabilities. If you have an older car and want to get more use out of it, a multifunctional dash cam can be a great investment.
Types of Dash Cams
A basic dash camera is pretty much nothing more than a lens, hard drive, and possibly an LCD screen. This type of dash cam tends to be smaller and more affordable than other options. They are easy to mount virtually anywhere in a car and come with only basic recording capabilities, meaning they are easier to learn and use from the start.
Integrated Dash Cams
If you want more from a dash camera, this is a good type to check out. Often built into a GPS navigation device or a backup camera display, this type of dash cam plays well with helpful features. Much like individual cameras, they often mount to a window, dashboard, or rearview mirror.
Multi-Lens Dash Cam
More advanced dash cams tend to cover more recording angles. To do this, they use extra built-in cameras to capture multiple angles at the same time. The most common is the front/rear dash cam that can record either the rear window, interior of the vehicle, or rear bumper with a separate camera.
Top Brands of Dash Cams
Taking a modern approach to electronic design, Aukey is a brand that focuses on hardware development more than other competitors. It creates a wide range of electrics, with a good track record on dash cameras. Check out its Full HD Dash Cam for a good all-around recorder.
This American multinational technology company was established in 1989 by Min Kao and Gary Burrell. It is headquartered in Olathe, Kansas. The company makes products for the marine, aviation, automotive, fitness, and outdoor industries. If you’re thinking of getting a new dash cam for your vehicle, we recommend the Garmin GPS-enabled dash cam with voice control.
Dash Cam Pricing
- $100 and under: Despite conventional wisdom, it's possible to find a decent dash cam under $100 if you are willing to live without a few extra perks. Dash cams in the range are basic recorders, often with a decent lens and recording quality.
- $100-$200: Spend a bit more, and you will find plenty of high-quality dash cams with extra features like G-sensors and nighttime recording. This is a good range to start with if you are looking to upgrade an existing cam or want the best option right out of the gate.
- $200 and above: This is the luxury range of dash cams. Here, you will find models with advanced safety features and higher-quality recording capabilities like 4K recording resolutions.
Arguably, the most important feature on a dash cam is the camera itself. The lens and sensor combination will largely determine the viewing angle and recording quality of the device. It's important to find a high-quality lens free of blemishes and defects so you can get a clear image. Wide-angle lenses are more preferable for quality video since they capture more of what is in front of them.
Although most dash cams can record continuously, they are limited by the amount of space they have to save files. This is why most cameras only save a video when directed or when the G-sensor detects a crash. To save more video, you will need a dash cam with more memory. Memory cards like MicroSD cards are perfect for holding long recordings at a typical 1080p video resolution.
All dash cams need to be placed somewhere in the vehicle in order to be used properly and securely. Dash cams have different ways of mounting to different surfaces within the car, but a basic suction cup is the most common and simple form to use. This allows you to attach the camera to the window or dashboard and start recording immediately without too much effort.
- Recording Angles: Ultimately, a dash cam is only as useful as the angles it can record. If you have a single-camera system, for example, you have to use it in the front or back of the vehicle you want to record. Multi-camera systems, on the other hand, give you more options to record when setting it up in the first place. For the ultimate coverage, choose something with 360-degree recording capabilities to cover all of the angles.
- Visibility: Some people see a dash cam as a good deterrent to would-be thieves. Basically, if they see that they are on camera, they're less likely to steal the car or something inside. Unfortunately, dash cameras are easy to take out or destroy, meaning a near-invisible camera might be the better option.
- Other Features: To have a multifunctional dash cam, it's helpful to have other useful features built into the device. Some of these features include things like GPS navigation, backup monitoring capabilities, and more.
Best Dash Cams Reviews & Recommendations 2020
The Rexing V1 Dash Cam is one of the few discrete dash cam options that still offer 1080 recording resolution. This translates into a dash cam that is small enough to hide in spots around the interior of a vehicle while still producing a great video recording. The image quality itself is largely thanks to the built-in Sony Exmor IMX323 image sensor.
Combined with the high-resolution image processor, the actual recording lens has a 170-degree recording angle to capture nearly everything that is in front of a vehicle. Better still, the dash cam features a splittable loop recording that can capture between three, five, and 10-minute segments. Working in tandem with the loop recording is a G-sensor that kicks on when a collision is detected.
There is a lot to like with this discreet dash cam, especially when it comes to basic installation and use. The camera comes with an adhesive mount that will quickly attach or detach to many surfaces inside of a vehicle. Image quality is superb with the 1080p sensor and the ability to support SD cards up to 128 GB.
Unfortunately, while the daytime recording capabilities of the camera are great, the same can't be said for nighttime use. It isn't much the dash cam can do to get the same level, but many competitor models do a better job at teasing out details in low-light conditions. With this one, on the other hand, the image often appears grainy at best.
The Apeman Dash Cam somehow crams a lot of features into a small price tag. Normally, most dash cams make you pay, literally and figuratively, for higher-end features like night vision recording and automatic accident detection. Things with this one, however, are a bit different.
For the price, you get a lot in terms of image quality with this dash cam. The image is extremely sharp, and the large screen makes it easier to make out details in the recording right from the device. We found installation to be fairly straightforward, especially with the included instructions. Best of all, this one is truly install-and-forget, meaning you don't have to worry too much about it after you've mounted it.
Unfortunately, you get what you pay for with this dash cam. In terms of build quality, there is some room for improvement. Most of the issue is the choice of materials since this one likes its plastics over more traditional metal construction. The plastic casing can cause some problems in heat, so be sure to take it out of the car when not in use in the summertime.
The name Garmin is synonymous with small dash cams. The company decided to add the Dash Cam Mini to the fold, despite having many small dash cams. We’re very pleased with some of its features. It is one of the smallest dash cams we’ve ever seen and is only 2.1 inches tall. Because it isn’t big enough to fit a display, you’ll have to use your phone when running the setup.
The first thing you should do is download the Garmin Drive app. It will connect your phone with the camera through Bluetooth, then engage its Wi-Fi hotspot. The app allows you to see any captured or real time video footage. You can also change the video quality, activate the date and time watermark, align the camera, and format the SD card.
The 140-degree lens captures everything in front of your vehicle and Wi-Fi uploads any videos you’ve saved to your phone. However, the app makes it impossible for you to view the live feed. You have to uninstall it and reinstall it in order to see the feed. The dash cam also needs an SD card to work but does not come with one. You have to buy the SD card separately.
This is a two-way dash cam that allows you to record both the road in front of you and the inside of your vehicle. It works on all 12V and 24V vehicles and mounts in a breeze. With the sturdy casing and intuitive design, it's one of the best choices on the market.
Thanks to the innovative technology, the dash cam can handle low light conditions and ensure high-quality footage at night. Because of the HDR video system, both cameras automatically balance the light and dark areas and provide excellent footage all the time.
The thing that makes this dash cam special is the 24-hour parking mode that activates the video when it detects motion. There's also a timer and an audio recording with a built-in microphone. Additionally, the camera supports microSD cards of up to 256GB, comes with a GPS feature, and offers an 18-month warranty.
The Rove R2-4K dash cam gives you an option to record videos of up to 2160P. It's a quality device that ensures clarity and footage quality during every ride. Thanks to the revolutionary super night vision technology, you will also be able to record nighttime situations.
The dash cam is quite packed with some useful features. There are built-in Wi-Fi and GPS features to help you connect to your other devices and record your location and speed. The app works on all iOS and Android devices, so you can easily download your videos and share them with your friends and family.
When it comes to the extras, there's a parking mode, a motion detection feature, a G-sensor, a time-lapse video, and much more. The dash cam also supports SD cards of up to 128GB and comes with a one-year warranty. Thanks to the quality 360-degree suction mount, you'll be able to easily install and use the dash camera.
There are a few things to keep in mind, though. First, the dash cam can record in 4K, but the sensor doesn't allow you to fully use the resolution. That means you won't get the most of the sensor. Also, the phone app tends to crash from time to time, and the parking sensor might lag occasionally.
Crosstour offers a wide-angle dual camera to help you record road situations both in the back and the front. With the 1080P and 170-degree coverage, it's useful to have it in the vehicle. Furthermore, the camera comes at an attractive price, so you can enjoy its benefits without being too hard on your pocketbook.
The camera comes with a GPS feature, allowing you to record your driving routes, speed, and locations. It also has a loop recording feature and a 128GB memory card. And if that isn't enough, there's a G-sensor that detects collisions and an automatic-record feature that saves proof of incidents almost immediately. Additionally, you'll get a one-year warranty for some extra peace of mind.
One of the main drawbacks of this dash cam is the glare that might appear under some circumstances. It's not by any means a common thing, but it might bother you sometimes. Also, a lot of buyers complained about the night vision not being very reliable. It seems that the camera doesn't offer high-quality footage at night.
This is a 1080P dual dash camera that captures situations in the back and the front of your vehicle. With the wide-angle coverage and crystal clear video resolution, it's one of the best choices on the market. You can even use it at night and enjoy outstanding video and photo quality.
The camera offers low light sensitivity, so it can easily adjust to different light environments. Thanks to Image Signal Processing technology, it offers clear video all day and night. Additionally, you can use the Wi-Fi connection and the phone app to transfer, download, and share your recordings.
You'll also be pleased with the fact that this device is easy to install. The low-profile design ensures convenient handling, and the intuitive interface allows for easy use. There are also many extras such as a loop recording feature, a parking mode, and more.
However, you might have a couple of issues with the Wi-Fi connection and the phone app. The auto-connect feature doesn't work very consistently, and the app might lag from time to time. Also, make sure to check the dash cam dimensions because some buyers reported it's bulky. It might not fit behind all types of rear-view mirrors.
The VanTop dual camera offers Ultra HD video resolution and incredibly clear footage in all day and night conditions. Both the rear and the front cams are adjustable and quite wide, so you'll enjoy high coverage during every ride.
The dash cam comes with a night-vision feature and adjusts to extremely low light conditions. It allows you to record road situations in great detail and even gives parking assistance. Thanks to the backup camera, you can park in reverse with ease. Furthermore, there's also loop recording and a G-sensor. You'll also love the innovative IPS touch screen that ensures easy use.
Still, keep in mind that the camera might have a limited viewing angle in live stream mode. Despite the description, the device doesn't offer a wide-angle coverage in all situations. Also, some buyers complained about the glaring screen. It's not a deal-breaker, but it might bother you in some situations.
If you're looking for an inexpensive dash camera, the Crosstour Mini might be an excellent choice for you. It's a compact and low-profile device that allows you to record clear footage. It also offers quality construction and some extra features.
The camera mounts in a breeze and offers 24-hour parking monitoring. It also has a G-Sensor to detect sudden movements and shocks. Thanks to these features, you'll stay safe on the road and have all possible situations recorded on the memory card. The camera also works great during the night, and you'll be able to adjust the lens according to your needs.
The main issue with this device is the lack of adhesive for the mount. You might have to buy more to install the camera properly. Also, once installed, the device might be difficult to remove. Another minor issue might come from the fact that the motion detection feature is not that sensitive and might lag from time to time.
- Suction cups have a habit of falling off in hot and cold temperatures. To keep the dash cam mounted, put it on the dashboard so gravity will work with the camera.
- Make sure you place the camera somewhere within a clear view of the front or rear of the vehicle. Nothing should obstruct the view for the best results.
- Some dash cams have settings to switch to accommodate the camera's positioning. If you place the camera on the left, right, or center of the car, be sure to adjust these settings accordingly.
Q. Can a dash cam prevent an accident from happening?
A. In general, most basic dash cameras can't prevent an accident. The camera needs advanced safety features to warn you of potential hazards before they become a problem.
Q. How is a dash cam powered?
A. Most dash cams have a built-in battery for power. Some also can be recharged using the 12-volt outlet within the car itself.
Q. Do I need 4K recording capabilities?
A. Not necessarily. Higher recording resolutions are good if you need to make out details in a recording, like a license plate. For everyday recording and use, however, a basic HD recording resolution is more than enough.
Q. Does a dash cam record all the time?
A. Technically, no. The camera is usually on and recording any time you are driving. However, the unit doesn't save the entire recording. Instead, it saves just a few minutes of video into the temporary memory. When it detects a crash or you tell it to save the video, it will then move the file into the long-term memory storage.
Our top pick is the Rexing V1 Car Dash Cam. Get a sleek dash cam that can capture good detail and a wide view angle.
Save some money with the Apeman Dash Cam if you want a more budget-friendly option.