The Best Dash Cams Under $100: Record Accidents, Thefts and More
Protect yourself and your vehicle with these reliable dash cams
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BY Lisa Conant / LAST UPDATED 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 as well as innumerable viral driving accidents and incidents.
Dash cams have become so affordable that you can easily get a decent one for under $100, which means that there is no reason for you to not equip every vehicle you own with one. The cameras come with a variety of functions and mounting installations. Some just go on with a suction cup; some use adhesive tapes or attach to the rearview mirror. Some cameras come with a rear camera attachment and require more installation work than a front camera only application. Here are some of the best dash cams you can buy for less $100.
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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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
- 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.