Best Front/Rear Dash Cams: Expand Your View With These Top Cameras
Increase your situational awareness with a quality dash cam
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A good dash cam makes it easy to maintain spatial awareness around a vehicle and record accidents and other events in the case of an emergency. Unfortunately, most dash cams are limited in their viewing angle. Dual-camera dash cameras, on the other hand, let you record both the front and rear areas of a vehicle for better viewability and coverage. Here are some of the top front/rear dash cams you should check out.
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Why Buy a Front/Rear Dash Cam
- Record accidents. It should go without saying that accidents are difficult to recount if necessary. Since human memory is often flawed, it's a good idea to have a second pair of eyes to record the event. This is where dash cams shine, especially with multi-lens cameras that can cover different angles. This makes it easy to record hits from the front or back.
- Get some assistance with safety. Beyond capturing unfortunate events, many dash cams have features that help to prevent the events from happening in the first place. With capabilities like backup monitoring and parking mode, front/rear dash cams can increase your field-of-view or even alert you to dangers you can't see alone.
- Cover blind spots better. Blind spots are a unique danger that plague each vehicle, no matter what make or model. In most cases, simple mirrors don't do enough to give you an adequate view of the blind spot. This is where some hardwired rear-facing dash cams with a wide-angle lens make sense since they can see out of the windows and monitor for cars or other hazards at the same time.
Types of Front/Rear Dash Cams
Stand-alone dash cameras are the most common type available on the market. As a single unit, front/rear dash cams have everything they need to provide basic recording capabilities. Higher-end options will also come with more advanced monitoring features, but nearly all are still focused on simple recording/monitoring capabilities.
A few dash cams come packaged in a multifunctional device. For example, some GPS navigation units and backup camera rearview mirrors have built-in cameras that provide basic recording and monitoring capabilities in addition to navigation. With these cameras, placement is more difficult since the ability to view the device must be maintained.
Top Brands of Front/Rear Dash Cams
Zero Edge Technology
Z-Edge is an American-based company focused on developing automotive and home consumer electronics. Its design philosophy tends to focus on everyday use, so its product line is naturally representative with easy to use features and convenience. The Z3D Dual Lens Dash Cam is one such product that gets some love in automotive circles.
As an electronics company, TOGUARD is one of the few examples of the quality you can get when a company focuses on lens technology. From dash cams to home security systems, with a few hunting cams thrown into the mix, the company's lineup focuses on what technology can see. A good dash cam option is the Mirror Dash Cam Front/Rear System.
Front/Rear Dash Cam Pricing
- $100 and under: Budget dash cams with front/rear facing lenses tend to be more expensive than their single-lens counterparts. With that said, it's still easy to find a decent option in this range if you don't need the best recording quality.
- $100-$200: In the mid-range of dual dash cams, most options tend to offer a standard 1080 recording quality and basic features like G-sensor detection.
- $200 and above: On the top end of dual dash cams, options here tend to be well equipped with a number of advanced features like night vision recording, 4K resolutions, and more. For the best of the best, this is the range to check out if you can afford it.
Most than anything else, a dash cam needs to have a good enough recording quality to make out important details like license plate numbers. With a front/rear dash cam, it's helpful if both cameras have at least full HD video recording capabilities. While 1080p video resolutions are common, higher resolutions like 4K are also a good option for excellent video recording. They tend to be more expensive and rarer in availability than standard HD video footage.
Since dash cams have limited space to save recorded files, loop recording helps a camera keep recording continuously without running out of room. To do so, the camera will automatically overwrite old recordings, meaning it has a memory buffer that recycles the data. In most cases, dash cams can override the buffer manually or when the shock sensor detects an impact to record the file.
While not required, having a built-in GPS can tag the location of an accident. Typically, this unit can also detect the speed of travel so the data can be used for reviewing an accident later on if necessary.
- Recording Capacity: Since all dash cams have a limited recording capacity, it's important to know how much space you have to work with when recording everyday driving events. In some cases, this means having an idea of how much data is recorded in the loop before it is overwritten. Many dash cams come with slots for replaceable memory cards like MicroSD cards, so you can expand or swap out the memory any time you want.
- Power Supply: For continuous recording, you'll need a consistent supply of power. Battery-powered dash cams are commonplace and can last for several hours before needing to be recharged. For longer stretches of power, find one that can plug into the 12-volt outlet of the car.
- Safety Features: Backup camera and blind spot monitoring are both helpful safety features to have to expand your awareness around the car. Some dash cams only provide a live screen so you can see what the cameras see. Others, however, will automatically alert you when a vehicle or hazard is detected.
Best Front/Rear Dash Cams Reviews & Recommendations 2020
- Place the dash cam somewhere along the center of the windshield for the best view. Higher is better.
- Make sure the dash cam is pointed near the road for the best viewing angle. Too high or too low won't catch as much detail as being square with the road.
- It's helpful to clean the screen and lens every so often for a clear image. A basic glasses cleaning solution and microfiber cloth are usually enough to get the job done.
- To increase the amount of video you can record, change the recording solution to something lower than HD or 4K. Lower video qualities and frame rates both take up less space in memory.
Q. How do I mount a dash cam?
A. Most come with a suction cup that seals onto the dashboard or windshield. This is a good way to move the camera around for the best recording angle. Be aware, however, that the suction cup can come undone in extremely cold or hot temperatures.
Q. Can a dash cam drain my battery?
A. This usually depends on your vehicle. Some vehicles have an automatic shutoff feature so devices plugged into the 12-volt outlet won't drain the battery. Consult your owners manual to see if your vehicle has this capability.
Q. Can a camera record at night?
A. If the dash cam has infrared lights, most likely yes. Infrared lights illuminate the camera's view. Most, however, have difficulties recording out of windows, so the quality will most likely be less than ideal compared to daytime recordings.
If you want to see almost everything around you, our top pick is the Rexing V1P.
As a budget-friendly alternative, check out the Crosstour 1080 Front/Rear Dual Lens Cam instead.