LAST UPDATED: May 24, 2019
Best Trucking Dash Cams: See More Behind The Wheel Of Your Truck
The best dash cams for trucking to help increase driver awareness and safety
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON May 24, 2019
Just like any other vehicle on the road, trucks are susceptible to unexpected accidents or incidents. Trucking, however, can invite a false sense of security given a typical rig's larger size and presence. To prevent worst-case scenarios or to capture them if the inevitable occurs, a good truck dashboard camera can come in handy. Whether you're an individual truck driver or a fleet manager, check out our guide on the best dash cam for truckers to meet your needs and to increase safety and capture events on the road.
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Why Buy a Trucking Dash Cam
- Capture events. Dash cams offer a lot of value when unfortunate accidents happen. With many triggered by impacts using a G-sensor, dash cams can capture details those involved in an accident either won't notice or remember when it occurs. Therefore, the camera's video recording can serve as a record of events in the aftermath of an accident. Some even work in low-light conditions with night vision or infrared technology. You can also capture smaller details like license plates.
- Increase driver awareness. Extra help while driving never hurts. When driving a truck, this is especially true since the larger vehicle presents greater challenges in terms of blind spots. A dash cam can act as a second pair of eyes and may even offer advanced features like blindspot monitoring and alerts.
- Add some parking security. Trucks can present an inviting target to thieves when parked overnight on the road. Dual-lens dash cams, however, can give you a degree of comfort as it records events while a truck is parked. It might not prevent a thief from breaking in, but the camera can provide a record for police later on.
Types of Trucking Dash Cams
The most basic type of dashboard camera recorder is the single-lens model. Using one wide-angle lens for a large field of view, the dash cam captures anything in front of the lens. While this limits coverage and possibly the details it can record, the single-lens setup is more friendly on the wallet and can be good enough in most cases with a truck.
Adding more than one camera into the mix can help increase the recording coverage and the driver's real-time view. Dual-lens dash cams are the most common type of multi-lens device. Typically, most come with both lenses built right into the body to cover the front and interior. Some dash cams come as multi-lens kits with extra cameras you can place around the vehicle as well.
Top Brands of Trucking Dash Cams
While the company has a long list of sports and action equipment, Garmin also has a long history making automotive products for daily drivers and working professionals alike. In addition to many high-quality GPS navigators, the company's lineup of dash cams works well for trucking use, offering a number of advanced safety features that can help record driving events and prevent accidents. For a good starter choice, check out the Dash Cam 65.
Trucking Dash Cam Pricing
- $100 and under: Budget dash cams tend to offer a set of lean features centered around basic on-road recording. Recording resolutions are a standard HD (1080P) quality in most cases.
- $100-$200: Midrange dash cams begin to introduce more advanced features like automatic on and off, G-sensor recording, and high resolutions. On average, the recording quality hovers around standard HD and 2K.
- $200 and above: Beyond $200, you are likely to find a number of general and truck-specific dash cams with advanced safety features. Some even include 4K resolution and multiple lenses to capture more details on the road or in the cabin.
The most important part of any dash cam is the camera itself if you want clear images and clear videos from the device. In order to get the most in terms of recording quality, the built-in camera needs to have a clean glass lens, good recording resolution, and a wide recording angle. Typically, full high-definition recording is standard for most truck and general-use dash cams. Higher resolutions like 2K and 4K are also common in the upper price ranges. Any of these resolutions are good for superior video quality. For truck use, a recording angle of around 170 degrees is best.
To actually see the recorded footage or what the camera sees in real time, you'll need a built-in display. In general, bigger displays are better for real-time use. LCD screens around 3 inches or more in size also make it easier to use advanced safety features like blind spot monitoring. A resolution of at least 1080p (full HD video) is the best for spotting details. Larger screens also make menus and settings more user-friendly.
Most dash cams don't record and save everything they see. This is why memory is important. To save space, some actually only turn on when an accident is detected or when set to manual by the user. Since memory is limited, most dash cams only use loop recording that captures footage a few minutes in length that will get deleted as new footage is recorded. You'll be stuck with the built-in memory of some camera options, but many come with expandable SD memory card slots to swap out new memory.
- Number of Cameras: It goes without saying that trucks are massive. A complete rig won't work with just a single dash camera if you are wanting to cover most of the blind spots around the vehicle. This is why it's important to consider the number of cameras you actually need.
- Extra Safety Features: A dash cam can help enhance driver awareness and reaction times with advanced safety features. The most common features include things like blindspot and parking mode systems, lane change assist, red light detection, nighttime recording, accident detection, continuous recording, continuous loop recording, and other automated detection systems.
Best Trucking Dash Cams Reviews & Recommendations 2020
The Rexing V1LG is a dual-camera recording solution designed for nearly any vehicle. Its rear camera connects to the main forward unit with a basic cable, making it easy to mount it in various locations around a truck cab for the best view. The front camera recordings in full 1080p HD, while the rear camera has a lower 720p recording resolution.
The main attractive part of this camera is the front recording resolution. Image quality, particularly at night, is good to capture smaller details while driving. The rear camera isn't quite as capable in low-light conditions but can also get the job done. While the unit has GPS logging, the log sheet lacks speed information in the records.
Old Shark's 3-Inch Dash Cam offers design perks that a good number of other budget models simply lack. A 170-degree recording angle and 1080P resolution put it on par with most other dash cams, although the recording angle is perfect for use in trucks to cover the entire front view of the vehicle. What really makes this dash cam our Best Value pick is the enhanced durability the camera features.
With an operating temperature between -15 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit, the dash cam does a good job of remaining operational even when left exposed to the harsh conditions of direct sunlight. The camera also does a good job of preserving battery life by turning on and off automatically with the engine. Finally, the automatic G-sensor kicks on when an impact is detected to save the recording into long-term memory.
While it can survive working in high temps, the camera tends to run hot itself in these conditions. The body can feel like it's on the verge of cooking, even though actual damage is unlikely. Heat buildup also occurs if the camera runs for a long period of time. Other cons here include a less-than-ideal battery life when not plugged in and a suction cup that can fail to stay mounted in heat.
A camera that's designed for use with taxis, Uber, Lyft, and other personal transportation services has a lot to offer to fleet managers who want to keep an eye on drivers as well as the road. TOGUARD's Dual Dash Cam fits into this category, providing two separate cameras that can each rotate 360-degrees between the front and back and a few handy safety features that are perfect for truck use.
The unique perk with this camera is that both cameras each have a 170-degree recording angle that is large enough to capture almost the entire view of the front and the cabin of the truck. The near-360-degree angle range works well with the general on-road recording, but the real advantage of this setup comes with the camera's 24-hour parking monitor and motion detection system. If you plan on leaving a truck sitting around, this dash cam can stay on to capture events.
The only major quirks with this dash cam is with the built-in screen. The screen has a habit of turning off after three minutes by default, and it's difficult to find the right instructions and menu settings to change this if you want to keep the screen on at all times. The included instruction manual is confusing in other areas, as well, such as how to set up the camera before the initial use.
- For covering the blind spots of a truck, multiple cameras will be needed. If you want good coverage but can live without the recording capabilities, truck-specific backup camera kits are also a good option.
- Mount the dash cam as close to the center of the windshield as possible. This position offers the best view for covering the entire road.
- If you have a dash cam that doesn't want to stay mounted to the windshield, place it on the dashboard instead. This will help it work with gravity instead of against it.
- Play around with the recording and resolution settings if battery life is an issue. Higher resolutions and longer recording times tend to drain the battery more quickly.
- Cameras with a wide dynamic range capture better details and are less prone to grainy or low-quality videos at night.
Q. Will a trucking dash cam cover my blind spots?
A. Not without extra cameras. The front mounting position of most dash cams doesn't have the view to cover blind spots or the rear view. Extra cameras will expand this view so blind spots are monitored and recorded.
Q. Can a dash cam drain my battery?
A. Many trucks and other vehicles have an automatic shut off with the 12-volt cigarette lighter plug if the battery is used too long without the engine running. Some dash cams also have an automatic shut off to prevent damage to the battery or power plug.
Q. Do dash cameras record audio?
A. Some dash cams can record audio from the interior compartment. For truck use, these dash cams are perfect if you want to keep an eye on drivers from within the inside of the cabin.
Our top overall pick, the Rexing V1LG Dual Channel Dash Cam, is a good general- and truck-use dash cam that offers a great recording angle and resolution.
For a budget-friendly option that doesn't sacrifice too much in recording quality, check out the Old Shark 3-Inch LCD Dash Cam instead.