LAST UPDATED: November 6, 2020
The Best Dash Cams Under $100 (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Protect yourself and your vehicle with these reliable dash cams
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PUBLISHED ON November 6, 2020
Every vehicle on the road should be equipped with a dash cam. This helps eliminate disputes when reporting an accident as well as insurance fraud. The evidence you obtain might even be critical in helping claim the insurance of the at-fault party. Dash cams have captured perpetrators of break-ins and joy-rides — and innumerable viral driving accidents and incidents.
Dash cams have become so affordable that you can easily get a decent one for under a hundred dollars, which means that there is no reason for you to not equip every vehicle you own with one. The cameras come in a variety of functions and mounting installations. Some just go on with a suction cup; some used adhesive tapes or attach to the rearview mirror. Some cameras come with a rear camera attachment and will require more installation work than a front camera only application. Here are some of the best dash cams you can buy for less than a hundred dollars.
This ultra HD, low-profile dash cam is equipped with an extra wide-angle lens that is protected by seven layers of glass. It will capture footage from a 170-degree radius.
- Can withstand extreme temperatures
- Can be connected to your phone via Wi-Fi
- Features a low-profile design for inconspicuous placement
- No rear camera support
- Can only record three minutes of video
- Some complaints about app and cell phone compatibility
This dual-lens security camera provides a viewing angle of 170 degrees in the front and 120 degrees in the rear, providing you with a comprehensive and all-inclusive view of your surroundings.
- Features an upgraded, high-performance processing chip
- Has a large F1.8 aperture on the front camera for high light sensitivity
- Rear camera is fully waterproof
- Not capable of loop recordings
- Recording time is very short using the included microSD card
- Some complaints regarding durability and reliability of the product
This dual-camera system provides 2.5 K resolution with a viewing range of 170 degrees in the front camera and 160 degrees in the rear camera.
- Rear camera features parking assistance
- Features continuous loop recording
- Features a touchscreen
- Parking monitor also works as a surveillance camera when the car is turned off
- You need to replace your factory rearview mirror to install the camera
- Installation is more complicated than some other models
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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.
Benefits of Dash Cams Under $100
- Security. Dash cams provide added security for your vehicle by catching and recording accidents, break-ins, thefts, and vandalism on camera that can then be used in insurance claims or to help catch perpetrators.
- Protection. Oftentimes, if a potential thief or vandal knows you have a dash cam, it will deter them from tampering with you. It also offers irrefutable evidence in the case of an accident, providing protection from false accusations and potential insurance fraud.
- Evidence. Footage from dash cams can be used as evidence in either accidents, vandalism, or theft in order to help authorities piece together a chain of events or glean insight into possible leads.
- Back-up assistance. Most dual-camera systems come with a handy backup camera assistant feature, protecting you from unseen hazards behind your vehicle and making it easier for you to back into tight parking spaces.
- Employer protection. Companies and employers can use dash cams to ensure that their fleet is being protected while away from company headquarters and that their drivers are being responsible and careful.
Types of Dash Cams Under $100
Front-Facing Dash Cams
Front-facing dash cameras are usually mounted on the windshield in a way so as not to obstruct proper views when driving, but still be able to capture a high-quality digital video that encompasses between 150 and 170 degrees of surrounding visibility. They do not cover blind spots or full side views of your vehicle.
Dual Facing Dash Cams
Dual facing dash cams feature more comprehensive coverage of your vehicle from almost a complete 360-degree viewpoint. One camera is mounted to the windshield on the front of your car, while another camera is usually mounted near the license plate on the rear of your car. Both cameras are equipped with wide-angle lenses for maximum viewing and the rear camera is fully waterproof to protect it from harsh weather conditions.
Garmin is a multinational technology company that was founded in Lenexa, Kan. in 1989 by Min Kao and Gary Burrell. It’s a leader in the personal GPS technology sector, offering such well-respected products as the Garmin Drive Portable GPS unit and the Garmin Dash Cam Tandem.
Learn more about our top recommendations for GPS units for your vehicle here.
Rexing USA has offices in both Connecticut and New York and is one of the top-selling dash cam companies on Amazon. It specializes in dash cams, body cams, and outdoor cameras, such as the Rexing P1 Body Worn Camera and the Rexing Woodlens H1 Outdoor Wildlife Camera.
VanTop is a new camera company, founded in 2017. Its mission is to provide comprehensive filming capabilities to a global base of consumers. Its top-selling products include the VanTop Moment 6S 4K/60FPS Action Camera and the VanTop H612 Mirror Dash Cam 2.5K HD With GPS.
Anker was founded in 2011 by Steven Yang after he left his software job at Google. Originally specializing in replacement laptop and cell phone batteries, it has expanded its repertoire to offer such innovative products as the PowerExpand 12-in-1 USB-C PD Media Dock and the 10W Max Wireless Charger.
Perhaps not the feature you would think of off the top of your head, but there are several different ways to mount a dash cam, each of which can determine which one you choose. Do you want a camera that mounts via a removable suction cup to either your windshield or dash, or do you want a more permanent adhesive mount that might keep your dash cam from accidentally falling, but may also leave behind residue when it comes time to remove it?
This is an important key feature to assess before purchasing a dash cam. What good is a camera that can’t store the right amount of footage for you to review after an incident? Storage is usually handled by either a microSD card or a memory card, both of which allow for a finite amount of data to be saved on them. Some dash cams have the capability of uploading footage to internet-connected cloud-based storage for longer-term and larger capacity storage.
High image resolution is key in obtaining good quality videos that have the clarity needed to properly identify objects, people, license plates, street signs, and much more. Look for dash cams that offer a wide-angle lens for larger viewing areas and a wide dynamic range that will provide HD videos. In terms of options, 1080p or FHD are excellent resolutions if you want to be able to read license plates or other smaller details around you.
- Internet Connectivity. Vehicle-embedded internet connections or Wi-Fi allow for important footage to be quickly and reliably uploaded to a cloud-based storage system. This is an excellent option if you don’t want to sort through or delete footage after each day of driving incident-free.
- Lens Angle. Having a wide lens angle provides an all-encompassing and comprehensive view of your vehicle’s surroundings. The wider the lens angle, the more you can see. Wide lens angles provide you the luxury of seeing incidents earlier than short-angle lenses, providing more of a backstory to anything that may happen while you’re in your car.
- Customer Support and Warranty. Be sure to get a dash cam from a reputable company that provides excellent customer support via email, phone, or text. A good camera will also come with a reasonable and comprehensive warranty that will protect your investment from any manufacturer’s defects or malfunctions.
Best Dash Cams Under $100 Review & Buying Guide in 2021
The Rexing V1 4K Ultra HD Dash Cam takes dash cams further by recording videos in 4K Ultra HD, thanks to its OmniVision OV4689 chipset. Instead of relying on batteries for backup power, Rexing used a supercapacitor, which gives it a broad operating temperature range from -20 to 176 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as giving it enhanced longevity over batteries while making it safe from heat-related battery explosions. If the G-Sensor is triggered by a collision, the camera automatically locks the video to prevent it from being accidentally overwritten. When the GPS function is turned on, it will record information like your speed and location. Thousands of reviewers swear by the Rexing.
This is only a front-facing camera, so you won’t get coverage in the rear of your vehicle. Its Wi-Fi option that allows you to upload footage to an app on your mobile phone is a great feature, but be sure that the app is compatible with your phone model.
The VanTop H610 Rear View Mirror with Dash Cam is one of the most versatile dash cams on the market. It’s designed to attach over your existing rearview mirror. It has a 2.5K Ultra HD front camera with a 160-degree field of view and a 1080p HD rear camera with a 140-degree field of view, which gives it a much more comprehensive recording area. The rear camera also provides reverse parking guidance, but that function requires tapping into your reverse light wiring. The night vision sensor is powered by the latest Sony Starvis IMX335 image sensor, which provides excellent performance in low-light conditions. The mirror also features a 10-inch IPS touch screen, making it incredibly responsive to change between the viewing options as well as adjusting the setup of the system. If the emergency sensor is triggered in an incident, the camera locks the video to prevent it from being erased.
While this camera system takes more time and effort to properly install than some of our others on the list, this one is a very high-functioning and reliable camera once you do get it set up, so don’t let the need to spend a little extra time to hook it up deter you from getting a great product.
The Roav by Anker A1 Dash Cam provides excellent clarity of its videos thanks to the Sony Exmor sensor and chipset. It records videos in 1080p HD. The advanced Nighthawk Vision technology enhances its night vision performance, which is crucial for capturing details like license plate numbers in poor light. With the Roav app on your mobile device, you can conveniently download video clips wirelessly through Wi-Fi, while its competitors require the camera and memory card to be removed and inserted into a computer to access the videos. It has a wide-angle lens, allowing for up to four lanes of video to be captured. The built-in G-Sensor allows the camera to be activated when motion is felt like if someone bumps your vehicle when it is parked. The mount allows plenty of adjustment to fit any vehicle and mounting locations.
Please note that this model of camera does not come equipped with an SD card, so you will need to buy one prior to use. We recommend a Class 10, 32 GB card or higher. Be sure to format the card inside the camera to ensure proper function before using it.
If you would like your vehicle to act as a discreet surveillance system, the Aukey DRA1 1080p Dashcam could be that device. The function can be turned on but it requires a continuous power supply. While it can be a great function, just be aware that if turned on, it can drain the battery of infrequently used vehicles. Setting the camera up and reviewing videos is easy with its large 2.7-inch LCD display. Aukey includes two mounts in the box: a suction cup mount if you like to move the camera between vehicles, and an adhesive mount for a more permanent installation. The camera has a large F1.8 aperture with a 170-degree field of view and will record in 1080p. A 6G lens system increases the sharpness and clarity of recordings.
This is a compact and well-designed camera, but it doesn’t come with a rear camera or the ability to loop record, so that’s something to consider prior to purchasing. You may want to buy extra SD cards to store footage until you’re ready to view it or erase it.
The Crosstour CR600 Dual Dash Cam offers surprisingly excellent value as it is one of the most reasonably priced dash cams — and it comes with a rear-facing camera. Also, if you are not a fan of suction cup type mounts, this unit uses a mount with industrial-grade 3M tape that adheres to your windshield. The front camera will record 170 degrees of video in 1080p HD while the rear camera will record 120 degrees of video in 720p HD. It also has an intelligent parking function, which automatically starts recording for 30 seconds if the vehicle is bumped. The same G-Sensor also locks a recording when the car is bumped or in a collision, just in case you need it as evidence. To boost its low-light performance the front camera uses an F1.8 aperture while the rear uses an f2.4 aperture and an image sensor that provides High Dynamic Range (HDR) processing.
This model comes with a 32 GB microSD card, which isn’t the greatest for storing more than a few minutes of data, so you might want to upgrade to something with a bit more capacity, or keep a couple of spares on hand.
The Apeman Dash Cam 1080p deserves an honorable mention for being an excellent all-around, well-functioning dash cam that’s offered at a refreshingly low price point. Its 1080p offers superior resolution and clear images that are very comprehensive thanks to the FHD, 170-degree wide-angle lens that the camera is equipped with. A large 3-inch screen allows you the ability to replay important moments, even while driving. A built-in G-sensor is capable of automatically detecting a sudden shake or impact and will lock the footage so that it can’t be overwritten even during looped recording, so no need to worry about losing key footage.
This camera isn’t a dual-lens system, so you’ll only get to see incidents that occur from the front of the vehicle, but its great price point more than makes up for any drawbacks.
If you want to record what’s going on inside your car as well as outside, the TOGUARD Dual Dash Cam with IR Night Vision is the perfect solution. This is an excellent option for Uber drivers, taxi drivers, or ridesharers. The cleverly designed camera features two six-glass HD lenses that simultaneously record to provide in tandem sequences of events both in and out of your vehicle. The interior facing camera features four brightly lit LED lights with an F1.8 aperture for creating high-quality, clear images in low lighting conditions. This system is also equipped with loop recording, parking monitoring, and G-sensor motion detection capabilities for added peace of mind.
While this is technically a dual-camera system, the second camera is really designed for interior use and won’t function as well as a camera that is specifically made to sit outside and monitor the rear of your vehicle.
Next on our list is the well-appointed Chortau Dual Dash Cam. This dual-camera system is equipped with a front camera capable of 170 degrees of wide-angle viewing and a rear camera that will capture 130 degrees of surrounding footage. This helps to record activity in the blind spots of your vehicle. A sensitive G-sensor automatically detects sudden jarring or impacts and immediately locks and saves any relevant footage so it can’t be recorded over until you’ve viewed it. Convenient loop recording capability records over unnecessary footage and provides uninterrupted monitoring.
The dash cam requires a 32GB SD card for recording, which is not included in the package, so be aware that you’ll have to buy and format your own card prior to using the system.
- If you don’t have a camera that automatically uploads footage to a cloud-based storage system, be sure to have spare microSD cards on hand in case one malfunctions or you fill it up and can’t view the footage for a while.
- Don’t skimp on the microSD card. Get a Class 10 card to ensure high-quality memory function.
- Check the positioning of the camera before you permanently secure it. You want to make sure you’re seeing your surroundings from the best vantage point possible.
- Properly configure your system settings before initial use. Putting in relevant information, such as automobile V.I.N, GPS tracking info, and more, can save you headaches in the long run.
- Be sure to hardwire your camera to your vehicle’s 12-volt battery if possible, as this will ensure the easiest and most malfunction-free operation.
- Check your recordings frequently so see if anything suspect or strange is going on when you’re not in the car.
- Keep your windshield clean when driving. Since the front camera rests on the inside, debris and dirt on the outside of the windshield can greatly detract from video quality.
Check out our favorite windshield wiper recommendations here.
Q: Is it worth it to get a dash cam?
Many of today’s dash cams are extremely budget-friendly and can save you thousands in the case of an accident by providing indisputable evidence to support your claims, so yes, it’s worth it.
Q: What is the best dual dash camera?
The best dual dash camera will have wide-angle lenses on both cameras that will cover if not all, almost all of the surroundings for a full 360-degree view of your vehicle, leaving nothing to chance. They will also have 1080p and FHD technology that will yield crystal clear images.
Q: Is there a dash cam without wires?
Technically, no, all dash cams currently on the market need to be wired either directly to your vehicle’s battery or plugged into a 12-volt outlet or cigarette lighter in order to have enough power to record footage the entire time you’re driving. Many dash cams come equipped with wifi capabilities, which should not be confused with being “wireless” in their setup.
Q: Can your dash cam be used against you?
Short answer: Yes, it can definitely be used to determine if you’re at fault for an incident. Authorities may need a warrant to obtain footage, but that’s not usually too difficult to obtain in certain cases.
Hopefully, this comprehensive buying guide helps to educate you about the complexities of and available features on today’s dash cams. As their popularity continues to grow, you have more and more great options, whether it’s the Rexing V1-4K Ultra HD Car Dash Cam or the Crosstour Dual Dash Cam Front and Rear FHD 1080P Mini in Car Camera, you’re sure to find the one that’s perfect for you.