Purchasing a dash cam can save you money in the long run since a recording of a collision can be used to help prove that you’re free of blame and not liable for any damages that occurred. For this reason, many insurance companies even offer discounts if you have a dash cam in your vehicle. While buying a dash cam might be easy, finding the perfect model for your unique needs can be tricky. We made this guide to showcase the best dash cams you can buy so that you can find the perfect new addition for your vehicle.
Buying Guide for Dash Cameras
Why buy a dash camera?
Dash cameras are ideal for ensuring that all of your bases are covered when you’re driving or even parked, depending on the camera in question. They capture the video and (in some cases) the sound of any accidents that you get involved in, no matter how minor. A dash cam not only helps prove that you’re not at fault in an accident but also captures other vital information, like the other car’s license plate. This is especially useful in hit-and-run cases where another car hit your vehicle while it was parked and you weren’t around to witness the incident. This, in turn, might help keep your insurance premiums down and save you money on other car-related expenses. Dash cams can also provide evidence of theft if someone ever breaks into your car, as long as it’s a model that records even when the engine isn’t running. Basically, even one of the most expensive dash cams on the market will cost you a fraction of what the damage from a car accident or insurance payout can be.
Many rideshare drivers prefer to have a dash cam as well to provide evidence and an extra level of safety for the driver and the riders.
What should you look for in a dash cam?
- Video Quality: A dash cam with excellent video quality can quickly pay for itself when an accident occurs and you need to identify the license plate number of a moving car for your insurance company. Look for a dash cam with 4K resolution for the absolute best video quality. However, if you’re on a tight budget, 1080p resolution should also be a great fit for most people’s needs.
- Features: There are a number of important features that you’ll want your dash cam to possess. Emergency (G-sensor) recording can come in really handy, as it will ensure that a recording is saved whenever you get into a collision. Parking mode, which monitors your car while you’re away, is another great function that you’ll want to look for. Lastly, seek out a camera with great night vision and an intuitive, easy-to-navigate interface.
- Number of Cameras: While a single camera might fit your needs, many people can benefit from a multi-camera approach. Rideshare drivers will likely want to have a front, rear, and inside-facing camera to ensure that if anything occurs during a ride, it will be captured on camera. Rear-facing cameras are especially important for insurance reasons, offering you protection and clarity when you’re rear-ended on the road.
Should you use suction cups or adhesive to mount a dash camera?
There are pros and cons to both types of mounts. Suction cups are nice and strong but still easy to move and reattach as needed. They do tend to be bulkier and take up more room, though. Suction cup mounts are generally considered to be the better option if you want your dashboard camera mounted on your windshield rather than on your dashboard. Adhesive mounts will be stronger, although this also makes them harder to reposition, and they might leave residue behind when moved or removed. They take up less space and are less conspicuous than suction cup mounts, so an adhesive mount might be ideal if your dashboard has limited space.
Our Selections for the Best Dash Cameras
ROVE R2-4K Dash Camera
This dash cam comes with must-have features such as emergency recording and a 24-hour parking mode.
Pros: This dash cam has a lot going for it. You have the option to place it on either your windshield or your dashboard, as mounts for both come included with your purchase. The camera itself is equipped with night vision and motion detection, so it will function equally well no matter the time of day, and it automatically starts filming whenever it picks up any movement near your car. It can rotate a full 360 degrees to film at any angle you want. It also has built-in Wi-Fi and a GPS that not only connects with Google Maps to track your route but that also records your driving location and speed. This feature can also be useful for helping prove that you’re not at fault in an accident.
Cons: If you want a subtle or hidden dash cam, this won’t be the model for you. While not the absolute largest on the market, it’s fairly bulky and can’t be completely hidden from view. You’ll have to supply your own memory card, and if you want to share videos, you have no choice but to download and use the associated app to do so. Since the app only works on Androids and iPhones, you’re out of luck if you don’t own either brand.
Bottom Line: This is about as complete of a dash cam as you’ll be able to find on the market. It has just about every possible feature you could want. As long as you own an Android or iPhone (or don’t mind not having access to the video-sharing feature on the app), you’ll easily get your money’s worth with this dash cam. The only reason that you’d want to pass this one by is if you want a video-sharing feature and don’t own the appropriate smartphone or if you prefer something that’s easier to keep hidden from outside eyes.
VANTRUE N4 3 Channel 4K Dash Cam
This dash cam is ideal for rideshare drivers since it beautifully captures everything going on inside the vehicle.
Pros: This dash cam is the perfect balance of subtle and effective. Its small size makes it harder for outside eyes to spot, which is ideal for people who want a more hidden dash cam, yet it’s still able to monitor your entire car. It can be placed on your dashboard or mounted on your windshield and offers a long lifespan in both locations. And since it’s heat-resistant (able to withstand up to 158 degrees Fahrenheit), you won’t have to worry about it overheating and malfunctioning, even after hours of use or a long day parked in the sun. It does pretty well in the cold, too, withstanding temperatures down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cons: In terms of cost-efficiency, this isn’t the best dash camera. It’s much pricier than most other models. And unlike many comparable models, this dash cam doesn’t offer either a Wi-Fi or a Bluetooth connection. This makes it a much harder and longer process to send videos to your insurance provider after an accident, and it means that you can’t connect this device to your phone for GPS or other purposes. Both of these are features that are normally found in a high-end dash cam.
Bottom Line: If you live in a location with extreme or highly fluctuating temperatures, this is a great dash cam since it can withstand both near-boiling heat and below-freezing cold. However, if you’re on a budget, you’ll want to look for a more affordable model. The same is true if Bluetooth and/or Wi-Fi connectivity are important features that you’re looking for in a dash cam.
CHORTAU Dash Cam
This budget-savvy dash cam features crisp 1080p video and a wealth of advanced features for its low price point.
Pros: This is a lower-priced dash cam, and it doesn’t sacrifice useful features to achieve affordability, either. It offers both super-high video resolution and an extra-wide lens angle. The high resolution better captures high-quality, crystal-clear video footage, while the extra-wide lens angle captures more footage in one shot. With both the motion detection and parking mode, this dash cam is able to monitor your car 24/7. It’s extremely easy to set up to boot.
Cons: This dash cam has a feature known as loop recording, which not all users will find beneficial. Loop recording means that once your SD memory card storage is full, the new video will override the oldest remaining and unlocked videos. While this ensures that you’ll always have room for new recordings and won’t have to go in and delete old ones manually, you also run the risk of losing old videos that you might need to go back and watch again. Also, this dash cam only comes with a windshield mounting option. It can’t be installed on your car dashboard.
Bottom Line: This is the ideal dash cam for anyone who’s budget-conscious or -restricted, as it’s both highly functional and highly affordable. While any dash cam can help save you money in the long run, this one will save even more due to its low-end price. The parking mode makes it a great choice for anyone who parks on the street or in a parking garage, as these locations are more high risk for hit-and-runs than a driveway or personal garage. But if you’re concerned about the loop recording deleting important older videos or if you prefer a dashboard-mounted camera to a windshield one, you might want to look elsewhere.
COOAU 1080p Dash Cam
This dash cam comes equipped with GPS tracking, Wi-Fi syncing, and a handy parking mode.
Pros: Thanks to its compact size, this dash cam is pretty inconspicuous, and its black color will blend right in with your rearview mirror to ensure that it’s even more unobtrusive. And even with its small size, you don’t need to worry about its ability to capture video from the angles that you need, as it has very limited blind spots and is able to cover up the same field of view as six lanes of traffic. As a bonus, it has the option to watermark your car’s license plate into the videos if you so choose. All you have to do is punch in your license plate number, and it will automatically print on all of your videos. This ensures that you’ll be able to prove that the videos produced are yours and taken from your car.
Cons: Unfortunately, this dash cam doesn’t provide you with the choice between a windshield and a dashboard mounting. The hanging suction cup attachment requires that it be attached only to your windshield. And unlike other models that come with an infrared (IR) mode, this dash cam doesn’t automatically switch to IR mode when it’s dark. You have to make the switch manually.
Bottom Line: This is about as close to a hidden dash cam as you can get in a windshield-mounted model without obstructing your camera’s view of the road and other cars. It’s not a great option for people who prefer a dashboard-mounted camera, but it’s perfect for anyone who wants something discreet and capable of personalizing their videos. Anyone who has to street-park their car overnight (or leave it anywhere else with poor lighting) might want to opt for a dash cam that automatically switches to IR mode.
Rexing 4K Ultra HD Dash Cam
A wide-angled dash camera with wireless sharing capabilities.
Pros: This discreetly designed dash camera keeps itself well-hidden as a witness to the road ahead. The ultra-wide-angle lens and wide dynamic range will capture a sweeping view of your surroundings. The technology of this camera is superior, with 2160p video filmed through a seven-layer glass lens and auto-exposure adjustments. The dash cam features a supercapacitor that can withstand extreme temperatures from -20 to 176 degrees Fahrenheit. If a collision is detected, the current video is locked, ensuring your footage is protected and not overwritten.
Cons: Because this dash cam has loop recording, not all users will find the old videos being overwritten as a convenience. Another issue with this camera is that the setup can be a struggle because of the unclear instructions.
Bottom Line: If you want a dash cam that won’t get in the way but that will capture a wide view, this is a great option. It features a parking monitor, Wi-Fi connectivity, and loop recording sessions.
REDTIGER F7N 4K Dual Dash Cam
This dual dash camera allows users to capture a super clear view, even at night.
Pros: This dash camera will allow you to guard your car in 4K. The wide angles of the dual cameras capture all pedestrians and vehicles around the car, which is pertinent for regular and rear-end collisions. The camera has built-in Wi-Fi with an easy connection through the Ucam app, which allows you to preview, playback, and download videos and manage the device. This camera also records your driving route, speed, and other information that can act as evidence. The camera’s sensors improve low light sensitivity and ensure clarity at night so that car license plates will be easily visible.
Cons: The older recordings are automatically overwritten; however, sudden shock or collisions detected will automatically lock the video. Some reviewers mentioned that the autoloop function does not work well on this camera, and you have to put the card into your computer to delete older files.
Bottom Line: The dedicated hardware kit allows you to monitor the surrounding environment when the parking monitoring function is in use. Though it is small, the dual dash camera is mighty and records with clear quality.
A dashboard camera is an absolutely worthwhile investment for people who spend a lot of time driving. With more models and features available now than ever before, you should have no trouble finding a dash cam that’s just right for you and your needs. Whether you need a model with extra-strength night vision for frequent nighttime driving or one that functions even when your vehicle isn’t turned on, there’s a dashboard camera that can benefit almost every driver.